7 Feb 2015

Top UN Official Says 'Global War on Terror' Is Laying Waste to Human Rights:Battling terrorism shouldn’t justify torture or mass surveillance

The United Nations, which is the legal guardian of scores of human rights treaties banning torture, unlawful imprisonment, degrading treatment of prisoners of war and enforced disappearances, is troubled that an increasing number of countries are justifying violations of U.N. conventions on grounds of fighting terrorism in conflict zones.

Taking an implicit passing shot at big powers, the outspoken U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein of Jordan puts it more bluntly: “This logic is abundant around the world today: I torture because a war justifies it. I spy on my citizens because terrorism, repulsive as it is, requires it. 

“I don’t want new immigrants, or I discriminate against minorities, because our communal identity or my way of life is being threatened as never before. I kill others, because others will kill me – and so it goes, on and on.”
Speaking Thursday at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., Zeid said the world needs “profound and inspiring leadership” driven by a concern for human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people.

“We need leaders who will observe fully those laws and treaties drafted to end all discrimination, the privation of millions, and atrocity and excess in war, with no excuses entertained. Only then, can we help ourselves out of the present serious, seemingly inexhaustible, supply of crises that threatens to engulf us,” he declared.
Last year, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was accused of subjecting terrorist suspects to “enhanced interrogation techniques”, including water-boarding, sleep deprivation and physical duress.

The Western nations, who have been involved in air attacks inside Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, have both justified and dismissed thousands of civilian killings as “collateral damage” – even as they continue to preach the doctrine of human rights and the sanctity of civilian life inside the General Assembly hall and the Security Council chamber.

And, meanwhile, there are several countries, including Jordan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which continue to justify the death penalty in the execution of terrorists and the public flogging of bloggers and political dissenters – as part of the war against terrorism.
Last week, the Islamic State of the Levant (ISIL) was accused of brutally killing a Jordanian air force pilot because Jordan was part of a coalition launching air attacks on ISIL forces.

In return, Jordan reacted swiftly by executing two convicted prisoners – with links to al-Qaeda – as a retaliation for the killing of the pilot.
“It was an eye for an eye,” a Jordanian was quoted as saying.
Last December, 117 of the 193 U.N. member states adopted a General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty. But the executions have continued.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has publicly opposed capital punishment, says “the death penalty has no place in the 21st century.”
Javier El-Hage, general counsel at the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), told IPS his group applauds the high commissioner’s call for ‘better leadership’ and a ‘global rethink on education’ as the two main weapons the world could benefit from in the struggle against the ‘causes of the worst conflicts and atrocities across the world,’ present and past.

Specifically, on the area of leadership, Prince Zeid called for leaders that are ‘driven by a concern for the fundamental freedoms of all people,’ who fully observe international human rights treaties.
On the educational front, he said children everywhere should be taught what ‘bigotry and chauvinism are,’ the ‘terrible wrongs they can produce,’ and that ‘blind obedience can be exploited by authority figures for wicked ends.’
“As the high commissioner suggests, the worst atrocities of human kind have in fact been caused by bigoted, chauvinist authoritarian leaders representing a fraction or even a majority of a country’s population, but who, through achieving a monopoly in education and information by cracking down on dissent and independent media, pushed radical economic, nationalist, racist or religiously extremist agendas in a way that trampled the rights of minorities and dissenters of all kinds,” Hage added.
For example, nationalist, racist or religiously extremist agendas were used against Jews in Germany, Ukrainians in the Soviet Union, Kurds in Turkey, and against blacks until recently in apartheid South Africa and even most of the Western World until the abolition of slavery.

These discriminatory agendas are still being pushed today against the Uyghur and Tibetan peoples in China and against Christians and different Muslim faiths under theocratic dictatorships across the Middle East, including the ones like Saudi Arabia or Jordan that are friendly to Western democracies, as well as the ones like Iran or Syria that aren’t.
Zeid said international human rights law represents a distillation of humanity’s experience of atrocities, and the remedies to prevent them. But today, leaders are too often deliberately choosing to violate those laws, he complained.

3 comments:

  1. UN is a farce - the idea was a good one - every nation represented and even handed justice for all. But - turns out to be a tool for the power elite.

    Posit this - It's ok to bomb innocent civilian homes and murder people if you are the state of Israel. But, if I make a comment about you bombing and murdering innocent people, then I'm guilty of hate-speech and must go to prison.

    Truth is, I'd rather be in prison than remain out here with the likes of all of you who can let this happen - I'm too ashamed to be counted among you.

    "Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison" - Thoreau

    If the UN was a genuine world body they would prosecute Israel for war crimes and genocide in Palestine - else they are a complete farce.

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  2. WarIsaRacketBySmedleyButler7 February 2015 at 16:11

    The power of indoctrination, brainwashing, mind-control, and propaganda cannot be understated by the social engineers who have "domesticated" the human race. Who is that view us as 'cattle'?

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  3. How nice of Zeid to say such a thing. Of course this proclamation amounts to as much as when a Bush or a Clinton or an Obama proclaims they will "accept full responsibility" for whatever blood is currently dripping of their is hands.
    (AKA)
    Absolutely Nothing..

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