Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Criminals and the Right to Vote

Criminals are set to get the right to vote, and people are in uproar about it. But, again, this needs to be looked at objectively.

There is a difference between human rights and civil rights. Human rights are inalienable - they extend to everyone, no matter who they are, what they have done, or what their circumstances are.

The qualifications for a civil right are a little more complex.

The logic is that because voting is a human right, then it is therefore inalienable, and it should therefore extend to prisoners, who cannot be denied human rights by law.

I agree. That they cannot be denied their human rights by law.

And since 1976, when the International Covenant on Civil Political Rights took effect (to which the UK is a signatory), the right to vote has been considered a human right.

Prisoners in China get the vote. For what it's worth in a one-party state.

I, personally, do not think it should be considered a human right. The right to vote should be a civil right, one enjoyed by law-abiding, mentally competent adults. Not incarcerated criminals, children or people incapable of managing their own affairs because of a mental disorder.

By law, we must give them the right to vote. But the law is wrong.