Caring about individuals’ rights is the goal

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Time: September 21, 2018 

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote ‘Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is’ when he was ill and tired and in a state of disgust. His work however was not random in focusing on man as the “individual” in the philosophy of Nietzsche occupies an important place, as he is the one who should live “high up” right there near the “spring” with the “cold winds and eagles” embracing the mountains and confronting the sunrays with his fiery heart.

Nietzsche wishes that this superior state can take man away from false morals, bad habits and a hypocritical social system, because such a system suppresses instincts of the body and the boldness of the spirit.

In his ‘Social Contract’, Jean-Jacques Rousseau built his theory on society and the civil state on the principle of ‘contract’, which cannot come about without an authorization from the “individual”. As such, although the transition to the “city” resulted in something of an apparent limitation to the freedom of the individual, it was within the context of preserving and consolidating it, and creating a healthy legal and social environment in which the individual lives.

The preservation of people’s safety in society and the safety of those detained in prisons are responsibilities that have the same value because everyone is a citizen, with the same rights and duties, living in a legal entity which is the “state”

Hassan Al Mustafa

The Kingdom and preserving human rights

This centrality of man in modern philosophies was the main reason for writing my last two articles in the Riyadh newspaper about the Binaa program for detainees at the General Intelligence Prison in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom. I am mentioning this because someone asked me a question about the purpose of writing about this program.

The preservation of people’s safety in society and the safety of those detained in prisons are responsibilities that have the same value because everyone is a citizen, with the same rights and duties, living in a legal entity which is the “state”.

In the year 1435 H, the Kingdom issued the Code of Criminal Procedure. According to Mohammed al-Muadi, the official spokesperson of the Human Rights Commission, “the Kingdom is a party in five conventions and three optional protocols of the United Nations’ basic international human rights conventions and is also a party in many regional charters pertaining to human rights.”

The laws and treaties referred to have not been signed as a luxury, but rather to be executed and developed. They are part of the culture and the therapeutic behavior on which modern approaches to “prisons” have been built and transformed into rehabilitation centers and spaces for intellectual reviews and discussions rather than punitive places.

The modern state is far from the concept of “revenge” because it is an entity that cannot coexist with the concept of “hatred”. One of its most important functions is to regulate the lives of citizens and guarantee their rights, including those who have violated the law. The failure of some people to abide by these regulations does not permit others or even institutions to react to this by non-compliance, otherwise the “law” will lose its meaning, and society will return to the life of the jungle.

During a discussion with a number of the ‘Binaa’ program team, I found that they had an open mindset about the importance of the individual and expressing his problems without coercion during the sessions of the rehabilitation courses. This is one of the strengths of the program and a key factor behind its success.

Hassan AlMustafa is Saudi journalist with interest in middle east and Gulf politics. His writing focuses on social media, Arab youth affairs and Middle Eastern societal matters. His twitter handle is @halmustafa.

This article was first published in Al Arabiya English  

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