Can A Government Put Human Rights Before National Interest?

Posted on August 5, 2012 in Specials

By Smriti Rana:

“But look what happens when the government gives you rights. When the government gives you rights, unlike when god gives you rights, the government can take them away. When the government gives you rights, the government can tell you how to exercise them.”-Rick Santorum.

We often hear about laws being amended, pressure parties holding rallies against government policies, and conflicts between different social groups regarding their liberties. But how do we know that those amendments aren’t hurting other minorities? Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “A man will fight harder for his interests than his rights.” The question that I now raise is; do we know when to draw the line between what we deserve and what we desire?

The government gives and ignores rights on a whim. Many of the problems in our country are because of this very reason. Though human rights are by no means trivial enough to just overlook, there is a correct way and time to apply them. Where are we going wrong? Well, take the case of Ajmal Kasab for instance. He’s been found guilty of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Why has our government still not taken action? Protecting his rights seems to be of more importance than providing justice? What about the wishes of all the survivors and the family of the deceased? They’ve made it abundantly clear that they want him hung, and though this may seem somewhat of an irrational request, it really isn’t. He has killed their loved ones and destroyed lives, so does he not deserve their harsh judgment? It makes sense too; I mean what are we waiting for, another horrific 26/11 kind of attack?

In such cases, the government is jeopardizing human life and overlooking the rights of so many people just to protect those of one. A young girl shot in her leg by this gunman who is also a surviving eye-witness of his guilt, still has to rely on crutches. Though her studies are going well, her family has had to move many times, due to neighbours being uncomfortable and fearful about their safety in her presence. A completely “normal” life seems to her like a distant dream. In my opinion it isn’t right. It’s not just a matter of revenge for the lives of a few people, but a matter of national interest. Do we want this person alive just so he can turn on us again and kill several hundreds more?

Sometimes, actually more often than not, the government seems to be working against us than for us. As just another face in the crowd, I want justice to be delivered. I want to be able to believe in the decisions the government of my country takes. We’re people with rights, and we demand them today.