Why doesn't that mean that people have power?
(& copy bpb)If something always has a value, one says: it has a dignity. Everyone has a dignity. Human dignity means that everyone is valuable because they are human.
Article 1 (1) of the Basic Law states:
The dignity of man is inviolable. It is the duty of all state authorities to respect and protect them.
This is how the philosopher Immanuel Kant explains human dignity:
Things are valuable when we can use them. Shoes, for example, are valuable if they fit and you can walk easily in them. When the shoes are broken and no one can walk in them, they have no more value.
It's different with humans. That is why Kant says: Everything has a value, but man has a dignity. What has dignity is always valuable. A person is always valuable. Even if he is sick or unable to work.
What has dignity even has a special value. For example, when a person dies, you cannot simply replace him with another.
Article 1 protects people in their dignity.
The state must never treat a person as if he is worthless. The state must not leave a person who is in great danger alone, as if he were not worthy. The state must also protect people from others who treat them as if they are worthless.
Under no circumstances may the dignity of a person be violated. It doesn't matter how old a person is, what religion they have, what state they come from and whether they are a woman or a man. Human dignity is the most important rule in the German constitution. Nobody is allowed to violate a person's dignity.
That means: Nobody has the right to do violence to another person.
For example, during the Nazi era, disabled people were detained and killed because they had a disability. This is called "Euthanasia" murders.
Human dignity forbids such a thing. Nobody should be tortured or killed.
All people must be treated with dignity. No person who really needs help should be left alone.
This also applies, for example, to all people who are sick. And for all children who are without parents.
The dignity of people who have broken a law must also be respected. This has been confirmed by the Federal Constitutional Court.
For example, it decided that people in prison must also have the hope that they will be able to leave the prison at some point. Also someone who murdered another person.
A life without hope is not dignified. A court must therefore check after 15 years whether a person can leave prison again.
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