Is force-feeding an international human rights violation?

Or would it instead be a human rights violation to let hunger-striking inmates starve? Or maybe both? Debra Saunders quotes my puzzlement at “the emotional atmospherics of hunger strikes, in which people are using other people’s morality as a weapon against them.” [San Francisco Chronicle/ syndicated]

2 Comments

  • On 2013. June 1, I addressed the same question to NYT columnist Joe Nocera (whom I often agree with, but not this time):

    Subj: Is starvation acceptable alternative to force-feeding?
    To the Editor of the “New York Times”:

    Those who wish to outlaw force-feeding of dangerous captive hunger-strikers (Joe Nocera’s column, 2013/0601 Saturday)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/01/opinion/nocera-is-force-feeding-torture.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0.
    need to make clear that allowing suicide by starvation is morally acceptable, an autonomous decision for which the striker is solely responsible.

    Is Mr. Nocera ready to push international human-rights opinion in that direction?

  • Hugo, not just Nocera, but the authorities he cites also simply ignore the problem of starvation. The WMA says, flatly, “forced feeding of hunger strikers is unethical, and is never justified.”

    I don’t think I’m reading too deeply to assume that means that hunger strikers should be allowed to die.

    Frankly, I can see where radical leftists and Islamists have common ground, especially in their blithe disregard for human life.