Few would be surprised to learn that locking crims up violates their right to freedom. Society has decided over the years that this is preferable to letting them continue to violate the rights of others.
But what should we make of this statement in the Herald today?
They say National's "no parole for the worst murderers" policy and the proposed "three strikes and you're out" law could breach international obligations on torture and civil rights.
That surely says more about those 'obligations' than it does about the policy. New Zealand has very lenient sentencing laws compared to the US, for example. You can't murder, be sentenced to 13 years and be out in 8 as here. More likely you would be in for life. For particularly cold blooded murders you may be executed.
Regarding Act's three-strikes policy:
"[This is] potentially in violation of New Zealand's obligations not to arbitrarily deprive individuals of their liberty and not to employ cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment," the ministry said.
This would be in response to the crim violating our individual liberty and employing violence on us. While it shouldn't be used for minor offences, it doesn't seem completely unreasonable for cases of extreme violence and murder.
However, all is not lost:
National has apparently not heeded the advice, which was given two weeks before the bill was introduced in February.
So the UN isn't running the country just yet.
Act's David Garrett makes the point well:
"They shoot people in China for much less and we have just concluded a free trade agreement with them. And we can't be offside with the Yanks because half their states have three strikes."
I wonder what the bleeding hearts at the UN made of the Chinese executing the company heads responsible for the melemine affair. No doubt this breached international obligations. I await the resignation of the Chinese government in response.
Meanwhile, Africa is polishing its reputation as a beacon of international obligation breaching.
A state-sponsored witch-hunt has begun in Gambia where as many as 1000 people have been kidnapped from their villages and taken to "secret detention centres" then stripped, beaten and poisoned.
The again this is in Africa. I expect the UN to use the full power at its disposal, issue a strongly worded statement, urging immediate action by the 'international community' - and do nothing.