The Real Red Line for Human Rights Activists

This charter was adopted by all members of the UN, why should it be naive to pressure them into respecting it?
This charter was adopted by all members of the UN, why should it be naive to pressure them into respecting it?

At end of the day, this is what really needs to matter most in the minds, hearts and what goes for soul of human rights and prodemocracy activists all over the world:

that we still live in a world where decision-makers everywhere are still at ease with the use of mass murder as an acceptable instrument of advancing or fending for one’s interests, and where massive human rights violations are still subject to neglect if the perpetrators are powerful enough to “cause trouble” beyond their borders.

That this attitude legitimates continued recourse to brute force and violence by all and sundry, therefore defeating the very purpose of agreeing on certain international norms, including the Charter of the United Nations, not mention the Universal Declaration of Human rights, is seldom given a second thought. That this state of affairs will continue to undermine our ability to establish a fair and viable international order is never taken into consideration when debating policy, be it on the domestic or international fronts.

“Rather than focus on human rights violations only when they are being perpetrated by certain sides and ignore them when they are being perpetrated by others, motivated by our different ideological views, we do better to focus on rejecting the practice itself, regardless of the identity of the implementing side, be it a state, a corporation or some ideological or ethnically-based group. Those who cry foul against America and Israel while justifying the same or even worse practices when perpetrated by the likes of Putin, Khamenei or an Assad are disingenuous and not worthy of being called human rights activists.”

Meanwhile, there are those of us who only focus on violations and crimes when they are perpetrated by a perceived ideological enemy such as America, the West and/or Israel, but they are always willing to proffer thousands of excuses and even run to man the barricades when such things are perpetrated by their ideological camp, or one with which they are sympathetic. It’s not the crime that is the problem to them. It’s the identity of the perpetrator. This is surely not how one advances the cause of human rights, freedom and dignity in the world.

But, if we can agree on condemning certain crimes and certain basic violations irrespective of the identity of the perpetrators, and their purported grievances, their actual merits, from their point of view and ours, notwithstanding, then perhaps a common agenda and strategy can be agreed in this regard between all different rights groups.

No More Mass Murder. No More Systematic Violations of Human Rights.

This should be our common goal. Pressuring the powers-that-be in this world to come together to agree on venues and ways to prevent such occurrences, and/or punish the guilty parties and compensate the victims for when they do occur should be the primary objective. Moreover, pressuring for unilateral action by democracies to prevent or stop such violations should not be seen as illegitimate or an ill-advised course, not when the UN is crippled by vetoes from powers that are themselves guilty of gross rights violations, including mass murder, and enabling mass murder.  Perhaps a push for changing the entire decision-making structure of the UN is in order, and I think that it is the job of the legal experts among us to begin producing visions and pushing for open dialogue in this regard.

(Relevant in this regard is my old article: Toward a new World Order)