The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) proclaims that all people are entitled to a life of dignity and self-respect. Article 8 of the UNDHR in particular states that “Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law” (Mayerfeld, et. al., 2007). Charles’ role in keeping Gabrielle’s murder under wraps is not in technical violation of this law, for Charles and Gabrielle are of different nationalities and there is no evidence from the story that would implicate Charles for breach of this article. But, the fact that Charles had utilized his power and privilege within theUKto suppress knowledge of Gabrielle’s death strongly supports the view that ‘legal’ rights are indeed distinguishable from ‘human’ rights. While Charles may not have broken laws in theUK, he had decisively breached the spirit of humanitarianism which is the founding principle of UNDHR. There are more instances from the story that further support this assessment. For instance, Charles is also guilty on account of aiding an elected public representative (his wife Muriel) in suppressing due process following Gabrielle’s murder. The laws applicable to ordinary citizens assume added significance when applied to elected representatives, for it is through their conduct that they set an example for other citizens to follow. Hence Charles is guilty as a result of his own illegal conduct as well as being an accomplice in thwarting due process of law (Mayerfeld, et. al., 2007).
The charge levelled against Charles on humanitarian grounds is also applicable to Bill. Bill was the only direct evidence to the murder of Gabrielle. But he never seriously thought of disclosing the truth to the police, for he felt that his ‘relationship of convenience’ with Charles had served him well and there is no point in putting an end to it by way of aiding justice and the law of the land. Bill did not impede judicial investigation inHungary(which is Gabrielle’s native country). But Bill had certainly acted against the spirit of humanitarian ethics by not voluntarily choosing to make a complete disclosure to the police. This further goes on to prove that ‘human’ rights are indeed different and not always convergent with ‘legal’ rights and that upholding the former is a higher virtue in any civil society (Neuman, 2003).
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