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Sunday, 7 November 2010

Human Rights: Human Responsibilities.

United Nations Human Rights Council logo.Image via Wikipedia
A recent event prompts me to ask a serious question. The British Parliament, in order to conform to European Law, has decided to allow convicted prisoners the vote. It is doing this simply because it would otherwise face costly law suits under Human Rights legislation.

My question is this:  We have a Bill of Human Rights. Why do we not have a Bill of Human Responsibilities?
Everything in nature has an opposite – good/bad, dark/light, big/small etc. Surely we should understand that our laws need to reflect natural laws? If we have a written statute that guarantees human beings certain inalienable rights, is it not sensible to have similar legislation dealing with human responsibilities?

The Bill of Human Rights is constantly used in courts to back up the often spurious claims of offenders, criminals and other anti-social groups and individuals. It seems to me that if a person wants the backing of the law, they must conform to that law themselves. By breaking that agreement, they surely place themselves voluntarily outside the protection of the law, don’t they? No one forces an individual to break the law. Okay, I accept that in certain countries and under certain regimes there are laws which we, in the so-called free world, hold as abhorrent. It is possible for such laws to be excluded from any international agreement on responsibilities.

I suggest that the UN, as the most fitting international organisation, should set up a discussion with all the nations of the world to discuss the idea of a Bill of Human Responsibilities, which, once enacted, could be used to counter the spurious claims of terrorists, murderers, rapists etc who use the Bill of Human Rights to gain undue rights. It might also make people a little less likely to commit certain crimes if universal legislation existed to outlaw harm to others.

I’d be interested in all opinions on this and invite your comments and observations.

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