Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, May 29th, 2020

The Inherent Dignity of Mankind Should be Respected

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The Inherent Dignity of Mankind Should be Respected

Men’s dignity and rights are transgressed widely across the globe. One’s blood is spilt for his particular color, race or beliefs and one falls the victim of rape for her sex or just for pleasure. Torturing or abusing the individuals physically – which flagrantly insults their dignity – is changed to normal practice.
Men’s “dignity and rights” are natural and mankind has to be treated equally. Similarly, the philosophy behind his rights and dignity is being bestowed “reason and conscience” by their Lord. Hence, dignity is a divine blessing which roots in religion and should be deemed sacred. Ultimately, this attitude will be conducive to peace and brotherhood across the globe.
It is an incontrovertible fact that man’s dignity is absolute and inviolable under any circumstances. In other words, it is more instrumental than one’s rights to life. As a result, taking individuals’ life during war is allowed but transgressing their dignity or torturing them, which is considered offensive, is forbidden at any time.
Immanuel Kant underlines three rules regarding man. Firstly, he believes that contrary to animals, man is autonomous and able to decide rationally. Secondly, man’s dignity originates from his autonomy and this differentiates between men and animals. Thirdly, he speaks of “principle of end”. Kantean morality is based on a moral principle: “treat all mankind equally and as natural principle of end”. So, since man is “principle of end” he must not be used as instrument by others.
Based on Kant’s third rule, slavery is unlawful for it is man’s mere exploitation and human is not considered as “principle of end” in such a case. Moreover, since human’s dignity is ignored in love affair, it is a taboo. Same is the case with gambling, committing suicide or selling parts of body for earning money, or abusing women’s body or beauty for satiating carnal desires. According to him, in committing suicide man uses himself as instrument to get rid of anguish and suffering, in selling a part of body he violates his dignity and in abusing women their dignity is ignored and they are used totally as instrument. Man is “his own master” not his “owner” and has to value his rights and dignity.
Dignity is “unconditional” and “absolute worth”. That is to say, man is naturally dignified irrespective of his race, color, sex, beliefs, etc. whether people hold him in high esteem or not. Moreover, dignity as “unique worth” is on the top of worldly worth – which surpasses all material values.
After all, man’s natural rights have long historical roots – Cicero, Romans orator, opined about it before Christ. Natural rights are universal which transcend the time and geographical limitations. These rights are unchangeable, inalienable and a real barometer – which means that these are in accordance to man’s nature and any rules contradicting the natural rights are invalid.
The rules like “don’t kill others” originates from the natural rights of “harm no mankind” or “certain punishments must be considered for certain misdeeds” originates from “each perpetrator must be punished”. Therefore, natural rights are the barometer for man-made laws and suit men’s nature.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has uncovered the reason behind violence and violation of men’s rights and dignity and also suggests the prescription for healing the men’s chronic wounds as it states, “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people….”
Nonetheless, men suffer bitterly from violation of rights and dignity – especially by the militants. For instance, Jihad-e nikah which was proclaimed by the self-styled ISIS group was a flagrant transgression of women’s dignity. Based on this immoral ideology, women were considered to satiate the militants’ carnal desires under a sacred cover – using women as mere tool. According to Kant’s aforesaid idea of the “principle of end”, mankind must not be utilized as instrument and this was highly wicked of the religious radicals for doing so.
Violating the rights and dignity of mankind will continue unabated unless we listen to the call of our conscience and uphold code of ethics in individual and social life. In the same way, men’s natural dignity – which is also mentioned in religious texts – should be considered serious regardless of people’s ethnic backgrounds. Additionally, the state has to put its peremptory law into practice transparently so as to prevent from flagrant violations. Since “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts”, people have to hold one another in high esteem and “act in spirit of brotherhood” – this will be the only way to remedy the chronic problems of human societies.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan and freelance writer based in Kabul. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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