Human Rights and Global Politics
As it seems that tyranny is not only on the ascendancy, but is also being applauded by certain populations with a wide range of nations, there is a pressing need to take a stand for rights, and dignity is critically needed. Frustratingly, the corporate media seems biased when it comes to dealing with ongoing critical issues, domestic or international. This intensifies the ignorance, denial and minimalization of many critical issues as people think “if it were important, they would cover it.” One would think that folks would learn. As you read through this article, think on the number of times over the length of years to decades that each group bobs to the surface only to be submerged again. Yet the issues remain unresolved and all lack concerted, cooperative, action to be addressed effectively.
The tyranny of human rights violations – planned and alleged – goes unabated across the globe. Late American historian Howard Zinn must have sensed the human cries against nature when he called “Tyranny is tyranny.” Nobody seems to care for the paper of dried words and meanings of the UN’s human rights declarations, or respect for human dignity in crises and conflicts. “Hell on Earth,” said the UN Secretary-General when he saw the insanity of bombings on 400,000 civilians entrapped in Eastern Ghouta (Syria) a few months ago. Millions perished while the UN Security Council debated on and on chemical attacks on the innocent civilians across many war zones. Thousands and thousands of innocent victims of war and ethnic cleansing are fleeing imminent death and destruction to relatively peaceful Western Europe – countries that are closing their doors as well as hearts. For decades, hopes of peace have been dashed away by death and despair across the Middle East. The international institutionalized systems of governance were supposed to protect the innocent victims from the scourge of wars, and provide protection to civilians in conflict zones. Not so, the UN has become a voice of spectators, mainly occupied with public debates and services, not conflict management and peacemaking but settling displaced people in camps to be operated by the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
A New Outlook on the Dysfunctional Global System of Governance
In a sense, global institutions are failing to respond to the humanitarian crises or to prioritize conflict prevention or peacemaking.
The abstract words of Magna Carta, the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other wishful ideals of the universal protection of human rights – all appear blindfolded to the pains and sufferings of the forcibly displaced people across Syria, Iraq, China, Afghanistan, Yemen, Palestine and many other lands. The global human moral values are at a crossroads without questioning the insane political behaviour towards the refugees camping on divided national borders in many European countries. Recently, at the centenary commemoration of the First World War in Paris, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron reminded the EU nations how nationalism was responsible for instigating the two World Wars. European history tells that the doctrine of nationalism repudiates the notion that human life and wellbeing is sacred. The UN Charter was the embodiment of the guaranteed security to protecting the rights of the people from the “scourge of war.”
Human Rights Violations and the Raging Wildfires
Humanity and nature are interconnected. To know the nature of things is to know one’s self. The global understanding of human rights violations appears detached from the sensational media coverage and inner thoughts of human minds seen on the screen. The truth and facts of life are often presented as fantasy because they could unfold rebellion and insurrection against the ruling elite. But, the real experience, if shared by firsthand observers, could send an electric jolt to a living human consciousness.
Read More: HUMAN RIGHTS AND PEACE
Laws are supposedly known, self-defining, unambiguous and clear statements for tangible actions. Otherwise, there cannot be a dictum of law and order. Or is it a presumptuous elucidation of lost human history that consumed millions and millions during the two World Wars. Time is living, not dead, and we must learn to defy failed human logic of ‘war for peace’. Do the UN laws really protect human rights in real-world crises? With an inquiring inner eye of the human spirit common across all societies, the UN has no power or logical force to use and hold the aggressors accountable for their crimes. This is an impregnable truth shared by all knowledge-based scholars. Over the decades with political obsessions and unacceptable realm of reason, the powerful states continue to victimize their political opponents or those who have varied identities of ethnicity, belief, language and racial outlook. As an integral part of human civilizations, we are at great loss when disconnected from the norms of respect and honour for equal rights and dignity.
Recently, the raging wildfires in California attracted immediate attention because of an uncontrolled sensation, and the nature of human property losses caused by the wildfires. All concerned appeared on edge day in day out to control or extinguish the wildfires and to safeguard the affected masses. The consequences of the fire are imagined with intensity and utmost care. Have you ever seen a similar approach given to the planned and deliberate violation of human rights, and killings of the innocent civilians caught in bombings and chemical warfare in the Middle East or elsewhere? Is it a question of thought or strategic priority or urgency to do the best in unusual situations of conflicts? Are we just becoming a non-living statistic in the record of causalities?
Rohinga and Uighur Victims
“The Syrian government has routinely used banned cluster munitions and barrel bombs across Syria to inflict terrible harm and suffering on civilians. Now, they have started duplicating these horrific tactics in Idlib and we don’t have any reason to believe that they will stop.” — Amnesty International,
Tyranny of human rights violations and forced displacement of civilians is fast spreading across the globe. Corresponding tragedies experienced by the people – human bodies and souls crushed by deliberate violence, massacres, rapes and forcible eviction in Myanmar (Burma), China, Syria and other critical situations. All authoritarian leaders enjoin an erotic ambition to rule and remain in power, even if they have to dehumanize all the population. The resulting degeneration and destruction goes on for decades. This aggressive instinct should have been challenged and stopped even by force, if not by reason, by global leaders and members of the UNSC. Alas, their conscience feels no sense of guilt for the ongoing crimes against humanity. Time and history are not on the side of the tyrant, egoistic rulers – soon they will be floating like scum on the torrent of time.
We must remain connected and vigilant to our obligation to protect human rights and give life to history. Dr Fozia Alvi, a physician of Pakistani-origin who has been working at University of Calgary (Canada), did just that to help the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Her commitment and dedication saved several hundred human lives through adequate medical care and humanitarian assistance against the shallowness of man’s cruelty to fellow human beings. Rohingya people are victims of “genocide” described by the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner (UNHCR) in Geneva. For long, they have been the victims of targeted ethnic cleansing by Tatmadaw – the ruling military elite of Myanmar. Conflicts often bring unity to human diversity. To all civilized people, there is a rational impulse of humanity to help fellow humans who are in pain and anguish due to torture and exploitation. Dr Alvi along with Yvonne Ridley, a reputable journalist and humanitarian activist from the United Kingdom (UK), has joined with others to set up orphan camps on the border areas of Turkey and Syria. These individuals demonstrate courage and a deep sense of humanity to initiate and organize humanitarian help to the most vulnerable, innocent children, men and women in conflict situations – what could not be undertaken by many resourceful organizations and global institutions. The people of Uighur – a nation in its culture and socio-political identity–are under immense tyranny and are being victimized because of their ethnicity, faith and cultural values. Amnesty International reports that:
“The past year has seen an intensifying government campaign of mass internment, intrusive surveillance, political indoctrination and forced cultural assimilation against the region’s Uighurs … Families have suffered enough. Hundreds of thousands of families have been torn apart by this massive crackdown. They are desperate to know what has happened to their loved ones and it is time the Chinese authorities give them answers.”
The need is urgent for the knowledge-based, 21st-century humanity to come together and challenge the tyranny and insanity of human rights violations. This challenge must accompany a remedial action – a package of planned broad scope humanitarian assistance to all the refugees, enriched with a sense of moral and intellectual security to protect their rights and to ensure a return to normalcy in human societies.
The voices of reason are loud and clear as humanity cannot suffer the penalties of tyranny and evil-mongering of the few sadistic warlords. We the people of the world enjoin focused minds and imagination to articulate a new world of One Humanity, brotherhood and peaceful coexistence amongst all, free of hatred, intrigues, tyranny, encroachment and animosity.