Friday, 11 February 2011

Prisoners Voting - Is it a Human Rights issue at all?

Something which I think has not been properly addressed throughout the debate on Prisoners Voting is whether the right to vote is or should be considered a Human Right. For my part, I think not and here's why; voting is required for democracy and so by extension, the right to vote means the right to democratic government. Whilst I would love to see all states adopt democracy, I don't feel it is for other sovereign nations to impose in the same way that we should expect and demand all states to respect freedom of religion, protection from persecution based on sex, sexuality or race and the right to life in general.

Those are the kind of rights that I feel are universal and they can be applied no matter what form of governement is in place. This is not the case with the right to vote. Human Rights were never established as a way of changing governments and regimes but as a guideline as to what the minimum requirements were for civilised nations to treat their citizens. By adopting the right to vote as a human right, the ECHR are in effect, advocating democracy as a human right and one which should be adopted. I think that is going beyond their remit.

There has been calls of 'shame' from both sides of the fence on this issue which is frankly ridiculous. This isn't a black and white issue and one which is so morally clear that to be for or against represents shameful behaviour. Those calling names would do well to display a little civility on the matter and a little less arrogance that their opinion is so obviously the right one.

No comments:

Post a Comment