Human Rights and the Capital Punishment

As part of the requirement for our Philosophy 171 class, I submitted a research paper just recently on my ideas regarding the ethical basis behind the capital punishment, or the complete lack thereof.  Through the analysis of the said practice using several different theories under metaethics and normative ethics, I arrived at the conclusion that the capital punishment must be abolished once and for all. However, for this blog post, I would like to evaluate the punishment based on what I have learned about human rights in our NSTP class.

The most obvious violation of the death penalty is the right to life. Even though we are referring to criminals here, I don’t believe anyone has the right to decide when to end a person’s life. Though I understand that it is the obligation of the state to ensure the safety of its citizens, killing is not the way to do it. Further, I find it very illogical how the state executes criminals to advocate that slaying is wrong. One cannot do another wrong to justify the evil a felon has committed. Second, the justice system is normally negatively prejudiced towards the marginalized, even though in some cases, they may actually be innocent. Supposedly built for the purpose of promoting justice, hence its name, the justice system does not entirely live up to its pledge of service when it wrongfully accuses innocent people.

The death penalty has always been a controversial issue. There have been a lot of arguments and debates whether to pursue this kind of punishment or impose another penalty. It is unfortunate that this sensitive issue has been on the table for so long and no resolutions have been agreed on regarding how to castigate the criminals. We need solutions to prevent and eventually stop the crimes.

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5 thoughts on “Human Rights and the Capital Punishment

  1. I agree! No matter how dangerous we deem a person, I don’t think we can ever claim he is “too dangerous to be kept alive” because that is not up to us to decide. It is not for us to judge when it is someone’s time to die.

  2. I agree as well. Capital punishment is a total violation of an individual’s right to live. The state should never resort to killing a convict as punishment or to resolve the issue of increasing crime rates.

  3. However heinous the crime be, capital punishment should not and never be considered the last resort in executing justice.

  4. I also agree. There were a number of cases in the past in which the government sentenced innocent people to death. The sad reality is that our country’s justice system is always in favor of the rich and powerful. When a rich and powerful person committed rape(for personal pleasure) and murder, he can always dole out bribe money to the court officials just to escape the law. On the other hand, when someone from the marginalized sector committed a crime, even if it is not yet proven, he’ll received his punishment immediately. For me, the government shouldn’t reconsider death penalty as a punishment for criminals. There are other better and more effective alternatives. Furthermore, the government should be always fair and square in imposing punishments to criminals be they rich or poor.

  5. Agreed, your point on killing to avenge killing is spot-on, it is morally reprehensible. Although I remember a discussion in my own Philosophy class previously where someone suggested that committing a crime is tantamount to violating another person’s human rights and should be treated as a suspension of his own human rights. Not saying I agree, but it’s food for thought.

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