Istanbul – December 10th was another World Human Rights Day. As known, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was prepared based on the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal” was accepted on December 10th, 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly.
The declaration aimed to prevent the repeat of disasters such as the WWI and WWII, during which millions of innocent people lost their lives, and to establish a mechanism that would stop authoritarian leaders determined to attain their political interests and agendas at all costs. It intended to stop those leaders that might regard any means, including violence, as acceptable in achieving or pursuing their inhuman agendas.
However, despite the 67 years that have passed since then, things seem to have developed in the opposite direction. Many countries of the world saw peaking human rights’ violations, while Middle East became scene to some of the worst violations of human rights ever recorded. Human Rights activists are reporting inhumane practices in these countries almost on a daily basis.
In Particular eleven countries are scenes to the worst cases of human rights violations ever and are frequently mentioned in reports. These countries, ranked beginning from the worst are Nigeria, Yemen, Myanmar, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somali, Pakistan, Congo Democratic Republic, Sudan and Syria.
These reports draw particular attention to the fact that the civilian deaths in these regions usually occur due to random use of rockets, barrel bombs, ballistic missiles and other weapons in residential areas. The report explains that tens of thousands of innocent civilians have died or become permanently disabled in the last two years due to such attacks on civil areas. More alarmingly, this number is increasing every single day.
Syria is one of these countries where civilian deaths are incredibly high, and more disturbingly, these attacks are happening before the eyes of the whole world.
In Syria, a battlefield consisting of conflicting interests and goals, more than 300 thousand people have lost their lives, in one of the cruelest and the most ruthless wars of all times. 7 million people had to leave their homes, 4 million of those have had to seek refuge in foreign countries and 14 million people became dependent on humanitarian aid in their own country. For the already downtrodden Syrians that have been forced to migrate, the Mediterranean Sea has turned into a sea of death and became a gravesite to thousands that drowned in its waters.
The US Senate has drawn up a 6000-page report on torture and war crimes carried out by CIA. According to the report, the disproportionate use of force, mistreatment of black population by security forces especially in recent years, made the US one of the offenders in human rights.
China’s situation hasn’t changed much over the last couple of years, and the disappearances at the hands of the military and security forces, unsolved murders, torture and extrajudicial execution continued especially in the East Turkestan region.
The same report also pointed to human rights’ violations in Egypt which can be considered a country with an alarming humanitarian crisis in our modern day as well as historically. It is known that these violations are continuing at full speed. Thousands of people have lost their lives in Egypt after the military coup of July 3rd 2013. Arbitrary arrests of dissidents, extended periods of detention and cases of torture are still underway without showing any signs of slowing down any time soon.
The deplorable state of the Rohingya, who has been subjected to terrifying cruelty, pressure and discriminative practices for decades is also covered in this report. The report makes it clear that the systematic persecution against 140,000 Rohingya Muslims still continues at full speed. Currently about one million Rohingya in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships by the Bangladesh border continue to face restrictions on movement, employment, and religious practice.
Furthermore, the year, 2015 saw shocking mistreatment of, refugees by various European countries -reminiscent of the time of Hitler- and raised questions about the sincerity of the West that is claiming to be the pioneer of Human Rights and democracy. More alarmingly, France has made an official request to the Council of Europe, to suspend their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights because of the country’s “state of emergency” in the wake of November 13th attacks in Paris.
Crimes against humanity, of which only a small portion are listed above, are getting more common and more disturbing in different parts of the world. Today, millions of people have to live without homes, without food, without proper access to healthcare and other basic necessities, due to the negligence, indifference, apathy, cruel practices and sanctions.
As a matter of fact, in terms of total resources and economic wealth, our world can easily accommodate the entire world’s population. Yet, selfishness, material ambitions, conflicts of interests, lack of love, compassion and kindness is causing the sufferings of millions of innocent people.
It is critical that the UN, the author of the Convention on Human Rights, should watch over these people and ensure that their rights are protected, especially during these days. It is unacceptable that the UN settles with remarks of condemnation when violence against civilians are reaching historical levels. There are even arguments that the UN has now became a rather symbolic institution, mostly focused on legislating the interests of a few powerful states. The world expects great things from this important institution. It is never too late to once again assume the mission of protecting human rights as an urgent and corrective step.
Our world needs a brand new system of love, compassion and peace. Let’s take this opportunity to once again rise up and work for a world worthy of human dignity, for a world of peace, love and happiness; for a world of justice and perfected human rights.
Photo credit: Danish Ismail/Reuters
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