What is the Right to Life?

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What Does Right to life Mean

The right to life is one of the most fundamental human rights , if not the most fundamental, constituted in the vast majority of modern legal systems.



It is the right that any human being in the world has to continue living , without their existence being threatened by third parties, be they people or institutions (governmental or not). In addition, it protects them from any form of mistreatment or violence that makes their lives an unworthy existence.

The right to life is justified in numerous philosophical, religious, sociological, ethical and even biological approaches. It is considered fundamental in numerous international treaties and civil laws , being the basis of any other recognizable set of rights.

It is considered that slavery , terrorism, genocide , forced disappearance and ill - treatment against this violate basic human right. Anyone who engages in such activities may and should be prosecuted and prosecuted by the various governments of the world, without this type of crime ever being prescribed.

However, like other rights, the right to life is neither absolute nor absolute. There are situations in which violence is used with legitimate rights, such as situations of armed conflict.

Even so, there is a set of rules regarding what situations justify the violence of another human being and what crimes are simply unjustifiable and are therefore considered crimes against humanity .

On the other hand, other cases are particularly controversial when it comes to talking about the right to life, such as abortion , euthanasia , suicide or the death penalty .

See also: Fundamental rights

International deals

The right to life is enshrined in numerous international orders, the most important of all being Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations , which reads: “Every individual has the right to life, the freedom and the security of his person ”.

Other treaties that also contemplate this right are:

  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
  • The American Convention on Human Rights;
  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child;
  • The Pact of San José de Costa Rica;
  • The Convention for the Punishment of the Crime of Genocide;
  • The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination;
  • The Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
  • The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Right to child life

Vaccination is one of the factors that guarantees the right to life of children.

The right to life, in the case of children, is measured through different indices and rates that various international organizations such as the UN use to measure the quality of life in countries.

For example, the Human Development Index (HDI) is a method designed in 1990 to assess the development of countries that considers the preservation of human rights, nor the development of the capacities of the population . This is how it differs from the measurement of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which offers purely economic information.

And together with the HDI, to measure the right to a child's life, the Infant and Under-5 Mortality Rate (MMR5) is considered , calculated according to the following parameters:

  • The knowledge on health of the mother;
  • The number of doctors available per 1000 inhabitants;
  • The country's vaccination rate;
  • Access to maternity and child health services;
  • The food ration per inhabitant;
  • Household income and food presence;
  • The availability of drinking water and sanitation processes;
  • Social security available for the child.

Death penalty

The death penalty or capital punishment is the sentence to die that is allowed in some countries and legal orders. In them, the State decides that the crimes committed and proven are unforgivable, and merit the execution of the accused. This punishment had its origin in Roman Law , and was administered above all for perduellio (treason).

The death penalty is not welcomed by those who fight for the right to life , since a State that executes its citizens contradicts such a right and could, given the conditions, administer this punishment at its discretion.

Even so, currently, of the countries that make up the UN, 55 maintain the death penalty in their legislation, although strongly regulated, and 102 have definitively abolished it.

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