Originally Posted by Ryano
Comparing the Nazi death camps to having the death penalty for convicted criminals is ludicrous.
Hang on a second.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights lays down the fundamental principle that it's the right of every individual from being killed by another. So in other words, the UHDR says that as a fundamental principle, the state should not use a death penalty.
The document was published in 1948, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt. The US signed up to it (but I think didn't ratify it, though that's another story).
Anyway, the date is significant, because the UHDR was indeed set up as a response to the Nazi atrocities. For the Nazis, it was obvious, absolutely obvious and self-evident, that the Jews, Romanies, etc were groups that should not enjoy the same rights extended to everyone else. For some in Middle-Eastern countries today, it's equally obvious that an adulterous woman should not enjoy the same rights as everyone else. For some in the west, it's obvious that terrorists have surrendered their human rights; for some in Burma, it's political dissidents.
So one group of people in the majority always defines certain actions and groups as criminals and then sets no limits on what can be done to them. And every majority group always says: 'Yes, but our criminals, our criminals are the real
criminals, just look what they've done/ what they are. They're animals. They have no rights.' Execute them, harvest them for organs, nothing is too bad to be done to people that bad.
The principle of the UHDR, with its anti-death penalty stance, is to limit the power of the state to act against its people, and you can't half-buy into it. You have to either accept the principle wholesale or reject it. Those annoying human-right toutin', anti death penalty folks can point to a document signed by the majority of countries that links back to the extermination camps.
So the connection between the two is a real and historical one.