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A bill of rights is essential to protect citizens from their government. Discuss - Essay Example

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Two decades ago in 1986, the world watched in awe as the Filipino people rose as one to topple the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, a regime best known for large-scale plunder and gross human rights violations. The 1973 Constitution, notorious for legitimizing Marcos’ reign…
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A bill of rights is essential to protect citizens from their government. Discuss
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Download file to see previous pages Recent developments in the Philippines have put this Southeast Asian country in the news and have garnered the attention of the international community once more. This involves the spate of killings of activists and journalists by unknown elements alleged to be connected with the military. (Amnesty International, 2005, p. 202) According to the non-government organization KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of Human Rights) (2006), there have been 607 documented killings from January 2001 to May 30, 2006. Amnesty International, the European Union and the Catholic Church have each spoken out against the government to condemn these acts of politically-motivated state-sponsored executions.
This paper will examine whether or not a bill of rights, standing alone, is enough to protect the people from the excesses of government and it will use the current Philippine problem of extra-judicial killings as background. It will argue that the defense of sovereignty -- and, as a corollary to that, internal security -- is not enough to justify the use of state-sponsored repression.
The phenomenon of state-sponsored oppression is by no means unique to the Philippines. It has in fact been extensively researched and discussed all over the world. Says Mitchell and McCormick (1988, p. 476)
Governments organize police forces and armies to protect their citizens, build schools and hospitals to educate and care for them, and provide financial assistance for the old and unemployed. But governments also kill, torture and imprison their citizens. This dark side of government knows no geographic, economic, ideological or political boundary.
Such killings and torture demonstrate grave violations of political rights and liberties. It has been opined that political rights and liberties are of paramount importance because of their impact on other rights, such as social and economic rights (Bollen, 1986, p. 567). The universal condemnation of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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