By Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.
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 and called “Tyranny is tyranny.” Nobody seems to care for the dried-ink paper written words and meanings of UN human rights declarations or respect for human dignity in crisis and conflicts.
“Hell on Earth”, said the UN Secretary General seeing the insanity of bombings on 400,000 civilians entrapped at Eastern Ghouta (Syria) several months earlier. Millions perished while the UN Security Council debated the chemical attacks on innocent civilians across many war zones.
Thousands and thousands of innocent victims of wars and ethnic cleansing are fleeing from imminent death and destruction to relatively peaceful West European countries.
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 NGO’s.
A new outlook of dysfunctional global systems 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 pain and suffering of forcibly displaced people across Syria, Iraq, China, Afghanistan, Yemen, Palestine and many other lands.
Global human moral values are at a crossroads without questioning the insane political behavior towards the refugees camping on divided national borders in many European countries. Recently, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron on the First World War ceremonies reminded EU nations, how catastrophic was the nationalism that instigated World War II. European history tells us that the doctrine of nationalism repudiates the notion that human life and well being is sacred. The UN Charter was the embodiment of guaranteed security to protect the rights of the people from the “scourge of war.”
Human Rights Violations and the Raging Wild Fires
Humanity and nature are interconnected. To know the nature of things is to know oneself. The global understanding of human rights violation appears detached from sensational media coverage and inner thoughts of human minds seen on the screen. The truth and facts of life often presented as fantasy because they could unfold human cruelty against the ruling elite. But the real experience if shared by first hand-observers could send an electric jolt to a living human consciousness.
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 World War II?
Time is living, not dead and we must learn to defy the failed human logic of wars for peace. Do UN declarations 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 aggressors accountable for their crimes.
It is an impregnable truth shared by all knowledge-based scholars. Over the decades with political obsessions and inacceptable realm of reason, powerful states continue to victimize 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 to be disconnected with the norms of respect and honor for equal rights and dignity. Recently, raging wild fires in California attracted immediate attention because of uncontrolled sensation and the nature of human property losses caused by the wild fires. All concerned appeared on edge – day and night – to control or extinguish the wild fires and to safeguard the affected masses.
The consequences of wild 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?
Tragic Tensions of Time and History bring Rohinga and Uyghur Victims under Global Focus
“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, 9/14/2018.
A tyranny of human rights violation and forcible displacement of civilians is fast spreading across the globe. Corresponding tragedies experienced by the people – the human body 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 destructiveness goes on for decades.
This aggressive instinct should have been challenged and stopped even by force if not by reason by other affluent global leaders and members of the UNSC. Alas, their psychological conscience feels no sense of guilt for on-going crimes against the humanity. Time and history are not on the side of 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 working at the University of Calgary (Canada), did just that to help the Rohinga refugees in Bangladesh. Her commitment and dedication saved several hundreds of human lives with adequate medical care and humanitarian assistance in the shallowness of man’s cruelty to fellow human beings. Rohinga people are the victims of “genocide” described by the UNHR Commission in Geneva.
For a long time, they were targeted victims of ethnic cleansing by the ruling military elite of Burma.
Often conflicts bring unity in human diversity. To all civilized people, there is a rational impulse of humanity to help people in pain and anguish of torture and exploitation. In a message, Dr. Alvi along with Yvonne Ridley, a reputable journalist and humanitarian activist from the UK, joined collective minds 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 – something that could not be undertaken by many resourceful organizations and global institutions.
The people of Uyghur – a nation in its culture and sociopolitical identity is under immense tyranny and is being victimized because of their ethnicity, belief and cultural values. Amnesty International (9/24/2018) reports that:
An estimated up to one million predominantly Muslim people are held in internment camps in Xinjiang in northwest China. Families tell Amnesty of their desperation for news on missing loved ones. China must end its campaign of systematic repression and shed light on the fate of up to one million predominantly Muslim people arbitrarily detained in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR)…..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.
The need is urgent for knowledge-based 21st century humanity to come together and challenge the tyranny and insanity of human rights violation. This challenge must accompany a remedial action – a package of planned accumulated 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 One Global 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 co-existence among all, free of hatred, intrigues, tyranny, encroachment and animosity.
Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in international relations-global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and is the author of several publications including: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking (Germany, 2012); and Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution: Approaches to Understand the Current Issues and Future-Making. (Lambert Academic Publications, Germany, 10/2017).