We all make mistakes; That’s what makes us human. And it is our inherent and inviolable dignity that enables us to flourish, in spite of our fallen humanity. Taking someone else’s life as a price for an error will not serve as a cure to creating a better society nor can it heal the wounds caused by it. Real change can only be attained if we recognize that this cycle will never end until we figure out and fix the root cause of the problem instead of a ‘Band-Aid’ solution, which in this case is the re-imposition of death penalty.
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, explicitly stated that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. Simply put, every single human person regardless of race, creed, sex, age etc. innately has human dignity. That said, this inviolable dignity is present in all regardless of criminal offense. The discussion around death penalty will always be controversial and inevitable, until we as a collective fully recognize the fundamental truth of our person.
Everyone is born equal; Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, we at one point or another can be impulsive especially during a time of extreme negative emotion and trauma that may result from past experiences that inform our behaviour. Based on research conducted by Walden University, nobody is inherently born to be vicious but rather, could be a result of a myriad of different causes such as biological factors pertaining to how one’s mind may work and their neuroendocrine functioning, adverse childhood experiences and trauma, influence of a negative social environment and eventually substance abuse that may significantly affect one’s judgement (Walden University, 2018). That said, even with all these factors, one’s human dignity remains intact.
Imposing death is simply not the answer nor the solution to underlying problems that prevent us from creating a safer and better society. Without addressing the root causes behind certain actions, taking one’s life simply becomes a lazy, band-aid recourse to the fundamental issues. Using human life as payment cannot bring back what was lost. The feeling of anger, pain and anguish will still remain and linger, hindering authentic peace and harmony. Looking back at our readings from the Certified Training Program, Charles Malik in his text “Man In The Struggle For Peace” says that man by nature will keep on struggling for that attainment for peace and this struggle may appear hypocritical without hope.
We, as a collective, must understand that there is more to being human than what we see on the surface. Every single human person is capable of change; we are never stagnant entities that are incapable of being a better person under the right circumstances. What we need more of is suitable guidance, appropriate rehabilitation, empathy and devotion to the truth, that will also give us a better foundation for our existence. Ensuring that proper foundations are set in place through the basis of objective values like solidarity, dignity and peace is a more compassionate option in dealing with the growing conflict we have with wrong-doers. Without understanding the fundamental truth, the vicious cycle of crime will never cease to exist. I stand with the World Youth Alliance in its fight to preserve life and honor the dignity of persons, as putting life into the hands of another is never the solution to the wickedness of the world.
Published: June 11, 2021
This piece is written by Rachel Cuevas, a World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific intern aluma.