Human rights violated in so many ways internationally
Three cases going through international courts serve as perfect examples of the fluid defining line of human rights violations. If you were to ask anyone near you what they thought such violations were, they might answer rape, torture, false imprisonment and other horrible crimes against one of more people. And those definitions are what the world courts are grappling with.Let’s take the example of Germany’s laws concerning sex offenders (including pedophiles). In order to reduce their sentence and — according to the offenders — ensure they no longer have any urge to offend, Germany gives offenders the option of castration. And indeed, of the 104 surgically altered between 1970 and 1980, only 3 percent have reoffended. The problem is, are they being coerced with the dangling carrot of reduced sentencing? Are they being pressured to become “normal” by going under the knife? And what about women offenders? Do they have equal access to surgical “remedies”?The same dilemma is facing the courts in the Czech Republic with the added perspective that the ex-Communist regime could, and did, mandate castration if the judge thought it best for society. This enforced castration does not sit well with Czech Republic’s new status as a member of the European Union. Old cases are being dusted off and new cases are being appealed. The Council of Europe is investigating. This is not a small matter. Fall foul of the council and your whole membership could be downgraded.Meanwhile, in Germany — a country never to do things by half — they are faced with opposition by a long-winded but capable organization called the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT). CPT is hot on the case and is referring it to the World Court in The Hague. Their argument is that the physical effects are irreversible and may have serious physical and mental consequences; surgical castration does not conform to recognized international standards and is not mentioned in guidelines drawn up by the International Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders (IATSO); there is no guarantee of a lasting reduction in the sex offender’s testosterone level; and it is “questionable” whether consent to surgical castration “will always be truly free and informed.” They may be right. Meanwhile, offenders who would like to return to some semblance of normal life are having an option taken away from them. And recently the Council of Europe also sanctioned Germany over this castration policy.And that takes us to Guantanamo. During the conflict in Afghanistan, several very young boys were “captured” (rescued, really) from enemy sex dens and returned to their parents who promptly sold them (forced to sell them) to Taliban pedophiles again. That’s the culture. The Marines didn’t like that, so next time they captured these boys to keep them safe. Where to put them? What holding facilities do they have for kids? None. So they sent them — to keep them safe — to Gitmo. And in Gitmo the pedophile prisoners went at the boys again. So they build a separate block (tents and such) for the boys. And then the international do-gooders (and I do not use that term pejoratively) got involved, insisting that it was a human right violation to keep children prisoners of war. Which it is. And the boys were sent back home. You guessed it — the outcome was not pleasant.So just where is the defining line of human rights in all of this? When do human rights rules etched in stone begin to promote more evil and immoral consequences? In the end, our government and those in Europe need to reign in their habit of hiding morality behind the cloak of rules and law. The law is sometimes an ass — at least until the public demands it be changed.Peter Riva, a former resident of Amenia Union, now lives in New Mexico.