This right is one of the most important rights because without the right to life it is impossible to enjoy other rights. This right is very important to all human beings because it is fundamental to ensuring that people are treated equally (1).
According to the Kenyan law:
- Everyone has the right to life
- The life of a person begins at conception
- Abortion is not permited unless, in the opinion of a trained health profesional there is need treatement. (2)
Examples of when this right is relevant.
The Right to Life has an impact on the way that essential services (such as medical or welfare services) are provided, or how and whether these services can be accessed (1). Meaning that everyone should have the right to services that will save their life.
It also has an impact on the delivery of medical resources for patients (1). Meaning that all patients have the right to get the medicines and procedures they need to stay alive.
A woman with a recurring depressive disorder had attempted suicide on several occasions. She was initially assessed by the hospital as being at high risks of deliberate harm suicide. Following treatment, she was reassessed as moderate to high risk of self harm. The Supreme Court held that the hospital had a duty to take reasonable steps to protect her from the real immediate risk of suicide (3).
Sometimes there are exceptions to having the Right to Life, particularly when you are putting someone else’s life in danger. For example, a person’s right to life is not breached if they die when a public authority (such as police) uses necessary force to:
-Stop them carrying out unlawful violence
-Make a lawful arrest
-Stop them escaping lawful detainment
-Stop a riot uprising(1)
No one should be condemned to death penalty or execution (1).