133 votes

You have the right to remain silent, but why?

As with many such rights, you should look to pre-modern Europe to understand the context in which such rights were introduced. At that time, without forensic evidence, the best chance of a conviction ...
  • 96.5k
111 votes
Accepted

In most U.S. states, female genital mutilation is illegal. So why is male circumcision legal?

Clitoridectomies are not equivalent to male circumcision. Clitoridectomies are equivalent to removal of the glans (the head of the penis, which contains most of the nerve endings that produce sexual ...
  • 55.7k
82 votes

Freedom of speech and where it applies

This is a common misconception. Freedom of speech does not mean that everybody can say whatever they want, whenever they want and wherever they want. It means essentially that people cannot be legally ...
  • 15k
71 votes
Accepted

Why is the death sentence considered to be an unacceptable punishment in the Council of Europe, while life imprisonment is not?

There are actually several points that make it different: The European charter of fundamental rights states in its very first article that human dignity is inviolable. (Just like the German Basic Law ...
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65 votes

Why is the death sentence considered to be an unacceptable punishment in the Council of Europe, while life imprisonment is not?

I can answer this from the US angles, which largely mirrors the European thinking. Stats from this Wikipedia entry The justice system sometimes fails. There are people unwilling to accept a system ...
  • 40k
57 votes
Accepted

Why don't countries revoke an IS fighter's citizenship arguing they have become citizens of IS?

Because recognizing another entity as a country entails admitting it's legally entitled to hold some territory. So the next question would have been: what territory is ISIS legally entitled to hold/...
  • 116k
52 votes

Why were China, Russia and Cuba allowed to join the UN human rights council?

If you want to have an organization that includes every country on Earth, you have to have standards that are acceptable to the lowest common denominator nations. Otherwise, they'd "take their ...
  • 56.8k
50 votes

Why is the media concerned about the sharia and the treatment of women in Afghanistan, but not in Saudi Arabia?

It's a little disingenuous to say they're not concerned about it, as much as it is to use 'the media' to describe a highly textured and diverse industrial sector. That said, the status of women in ...
46 votes

Does freedom of speech mean freedom to mock everything?

In very general terms, the contemporary understanding of freedom of expression is that it should be relatively uninhibited provided that it satisfies two conditions: It does not infringe on other ...
43 votes

How do Western democracies justify censorship of foreign media outlets?

You linked the case of RT. The story of the RT ban is, in large parts, the story of RT DE, and the question if that is Russian or German news (or possibly Serbian, or Luxembourgian). Even democracies ...
  • 87.4k
40 votes

In the US, is there any crime for which the punishment is slavery?

Are prisoners considered as slaves? Prisoners are held in prison due to their breaches of laws, prisoners remain in prison for specific terms, prisoners cannot be traded, prisoners have rights (...
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39 votes
Accepted

Does freedom of speech mean freedom to mock everything?

It is a bit more complicated. I live in Germany, and StGb §166 (StGb being "Strafgesetzbuch", the penal code) makes insults against religious groups illegal. There is also a paragraph in the ...
38 votes

Why, according to the UN, "gender-biased abortion" is against human rights but "abortion in general" is not?

"Unborn baby" is not a protected characteristic and hence the "unborn" cannot be discriminated against. Many would argue that the "unborn" are not legally persons and as ...
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38 votes
Accepted

If the justifications for informed consent are questionable, then why would it be a legal requirement?

First of all, politics is not about philosophy. Politics is about finding rules for society which are practical and which work for everyone, or at least for those who are in power. You can provide as ...
  • 69.1k
35 votes

Why is the media concerned about the sharia and the treatment of women in Afghanistan, but not in Saudi Arabia?

This question is starting out from a false assumption, that the media does not regularly cover, mostly in a negative fashion, events in Saudi Arabia concerning both sharia and its treatment of women. ...
34 votes

What limitations to freedom of speech are there in the US and Canada?

Up front: Holocaust Denial is not limited under U.S. law. There is an adequate list on Wikipedia of free speech exceptions, that for convenience I will replicate here: Communicative impact ...
33 votes

Why were China, Russia and Cuba allowed to join the UN human rights council?

There seems to be unfortunately no mechanism to keep this from happening. This is not the first time it has happened: Libya got the chairmanship in the past, under Gaddafi. The problem is that, as ...
32 votes

In most U.S. states, female genital mutilation is illegal. So why is male circumcision legal?

It takes time for things to change. 200 years ago slavery was legal. 50 years ago genital mutilation was acceptable, and so was electroshock therapy for gay people. Today those things sound like ...
31 votes
Accepted

Would a Russian visa ban be compliant with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

OK, let's look at the horse's mouth. Article 13 Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including ...
30 votes

You have the right to remain silent, but why?

Being arrested can be extremely stressful, especially if you are innocent since you might fear being prosecuted for something you didn't do in addition to being caught off guard. After the arrest ...
  • 1,351
30 votes
Accepted

What are the current battlegrounds for people’s “rights” in the UK?

Abortion is legal until the end of the 24th week. Not in Northern Ireland. UK progressiveness really ought to remember to look at the whole UK. I would say that the big areas at the moment are: ...
  • 21.3k
30 votes

What can US senators do against diversity trainings in the US Army?

Congress can pass legislation to end or defund the programs In the United States, Congress determines what the military is allowed to do and provides funding for those activities by passing ...
  • 14.9k
27 votes

Why don't countries revoke an IS fighter's citizenship arguing they have become citizens of IS?

Clever arguments don't really matter that much, it doesn't make the problem disappear, from either a political or human rights perspective. Some countries have revoked citizenship in similar ...
  • 29.7k
27 votes

What can US senators do against diversity trainings in the US Army?

They are announcing a platform position for the next election, approximately "If Republicans are elected, we will end these diversity training programs.". The purpose for asking for these ...
  • 4,106
26 votes
Accepted

Why is Canada's bill C-16 believed to be legislating pronoun use?

There is no factual basis for the claim that incorrect pronoun use will lead to negative consequences. The bill does two things: It adds gender identity or expression as protected classes under the ...
  • 32.7k
24 votes

Freedom of speech and where it applies

Consider where your line of thought will lead: You own or have rented a house or apartment, I presume. Would it be censorship if you stop me from painting political slogans on your bedroom wall? Or ...
  • 87.4k
23 votes

Why can't we use freedom of speech and expression to incite people to rebel against government in India?

Sedition, the technical legal term for what you're talking about, is prohibited by section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). This dates all the way back to the colonial era, and was originally ...
22 votes
Accepted

Who supplies Saudi Arabia with weapons?

Who supplies Saudi-Arabia with weapons? As you can read on the Wikipedia article on the Royal Saudi Air Force and Saudi-Arabian ground forces, Saudi Arabia has the following aircraft capable of ...
  • 69.1k
21 votes
Accepted

Why US is opposing International Criminal Court?

The united states has never really been supportive of international law treaties. The main reason is many of them violate rights granted to citizens and are fairly major breaches of sovereignty. Most ...
  • 13.5k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible