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Synderesis: something we are in dire need of

This is an article I jointly wrote with my friends and colleagues in the Argituz Human Rights Association, Bertha Gaztelumendi and Juan Ibarrondo back in February 2014. These were somewhat delicate times in that there were attempts to take steps towards peace that were systematically criticized in a very aggressive manner from certain centres of opinion. What we wanted to do with this article was precisely to point out the dire need for syderesis. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, synderesis is the inborn knowledge of the primary principles of moral action. Precious little of that was then present in the Basque context… and such is the case also today, albeit fortunately in possibly slightly less severe proportions in the field of human rights today.

In this article we start by saying that “axiology is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of values and judgements of values. We are now going to attempt to apply a small exercise of axiology, for which we shall be needing some deontology, the main objective of which is to study the foundations of duty and the moral norms that professionals in a determined field are to adhere to.

We wish to propose such reflections because certain media, certain politicians and several participants in talk shows, when referring to people released from prison with the derogation of the Parot Doctrine, seem to have lacked the smallest amount of deontology, and have ignored -sometimes even intentionally- the basic principles of Law.

In a minimally civilized country, when a person that has been condemned to a prison sentence has served his or her time in prison, he or she has paid his or her debt to society and is then released with their full rights restored. This implies that, de facto, they once again are equal before the Law, like the rest of citizens. This also implies that any temptations to discriminate against them, not allowing them to be candidates in elections of depriving them from subsidies they are fully entitled to could take us eventually to another sentence against Spain at the , once again prohibiting retroactive measures. Such a sentence would once again be impecable and undisputable from a juridical point of view as its latest decision”.

Shortly before this article was written, the European Court of Human Rights quashed the so-called Parot Doctrine. According to that doctrine instituted by the Spanish Supreme Court a few years before, convicts of certain crimes that caused ‘social alarm’ were to serve their sentences to the full without any of the thereto applicable benefits for good conduct etc that until then reduced such sentences. All of this, of course was applied in a retroactive manner, which is contrary to the most elementary principles of Law.

It is my intention, in due course, to publish here the full translation of the article. Until I do so, you can read the full original version in Spanish in the links below.

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