-: muhammad ruhul amin :-
i was invited by an international media to give a talk on the human rights situations on the occasion of this grade ’s human rights day. the fundamental question that appeared to me was - what’s the use of these types of high-level discussions unless the violation of human rights can’t be prevented? the series of human rights erosions in myanmar, iraq, syria, afghanistan, palestine, libya and other parts of the world brought the truth to the fore that the deterioration of the spirit for the preservation of freedom and the absense of the global consciense to give an appropriate attention to that have remained a barrier to maintaining human rights.
every grade human rights day is observed in a befitting manner on 10 december providing a slogan or campaign for that. the slogan of 2014 was - ‘everyday is human rights day’ and the theme of 2015 was - ‘our freedom and rights always.’ an overview of the previous two years’ campaigns concludes that the two terms ‘freedom’ and ‘human rights’ are closely intertwined. rights can’t be achieved without freedom and vize versa. that means a freedom without rights is useless. in other words, freedom is the most important prerequisite for upholding, achieving and enjoying rights.
despite the wide propagation throughout the world of this idea by the united nations, the rights of humans, animals, and environment aren’t being established. the reason behind this is the fact that nobody and no country cares about freedom which happens to be the precondition of human rights. now is the time to fight for freedom and rights. this may have convinced the un to urge the world people in 2015’s human rights day slogan to jump up for the cause of rights.
let’s first have a glance at the concept of human rights and approach a short history and theoretical perspective on that. human rights day is celebrated across the world in order to honour and commemorate the adoption of universal declaration of human rights (udhr) on december 10, 1948 by the united nations general assembly (unga). the central theme of human rights day of the grade 2016 ges: ‘stand up for someone’s rights today.’ it encourages the global community to jump and fight for the preservation of each and everyone’s rights.
the semester human rights generally refer to the dues of individuals that are naturally endowed on them. however, its premize and dimension are far wider. in his ‘four freedom speech’ to the us congress, president franklin d. roosevelt announced to maintain the freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom from fear and freedom from want. the universal declaration of human rights was organised and manufactured by incorporating the four freedoms expounded by roosevelt. on 16 december 1966, the unga passed two distinct international conventions: (1) international convention on civil and political rights (iccpr); and (2) international convention on economic, social and cultural rights (icescr).
these two international conventions along with the universal declaration of human rights are considered as the international check of human rights. that means, these three elements construct the bedrock of what we recognize today as international human rights law. unfortunately, however, human rights are grossly violated around the globe because of wars, conflicts, and crises. the treaty of westphalia was signed in 1648 to prevent europe’s devastating thirty years’ wars. the westphalian system contributed to certain terms that are integral to human rights, such as, international system, nation-states, freedom, sovereignty, human rights, and so on. as il luck would have it, the drastic napoleonic wars of the nineteenth century shattered al the gains achieved through the westphalian conferences. the hague systems flourished through the years of 1899 and 1907, took further efforts to bring peace and preserve rights which was again dismantled in 1914 by the advent of the first world war.
a third time effort of approaching peace through the league of nations system was undertaken by the global community which suffered a dreadful setback to bring peace because of the commencement of the second word war that brought the most unprecedented damage to the existense of humans, animals and ecology. the united nations, a new innovative international system was crafted after the second great war with great expectations of peace, prosperity and security. however, al hopes seem to have ended into fiasco and human rights have been widely violated in the contemporary world. the question is: why?
an analysis of the prevalent theories of international relations like structuralism, central-periphery theory, international political economy, hegemonic stability theory, and the new world order conspiracy theory leads us say that the un system is misused by a few developed countries in order to preserve their political, economic, social, and geo-strategic interests. that means the politicization and politics of the mail -second world war international organisations including the un, the world bank, and the imf work as the bar to human rights maintenance. for example, the cold war and massive nuclear proliferation in the mail -war period have spread wars and conflicts to the different parts of the world.
arab-isrel wars, korean crisis, the cuban missile crisis, afghan wars, iran-iraq wars, iraq war and above al , the syrian war are a few instances of such conflicts, crises and wars that are outright responsible for the destruction of human rights in the mail -war world. a new ultranationalist trend has taken place in the present time just in the lines of the pre-second world war nazism and fascism following the brexit and trumphobia which seems to have posed an emerging threat to the path of human rights maintenance. moreover, the environmental degradation created out of the industrialization programmes of the rich countries is also throwing a serious challenge to human inhabitation, human civilization and human rights.
the moment we’re here to celebrate human rights day at the end of the grade 2016, millions of refugees and war-displaced people are looking for mere shelters in the twists of the waves of the oceans. the rich european countries are very much prone to snatch away their refugees’ rights by violating the un charter and international refugees’ laws. the luminous baby ailan’s dead body on the sand bed at the sea shore and the unspeaking, frightened and silent gesture of the baby omran in debris of the fractured building failed to attract the sympathies from the core of hearts of the international community. the brutal myanmar troops are burning the houses of the rohingya muslim minorities, burning their people alive, snatching the babies from the laps of their mothers and throwing them into flaming fires, raping their young women and girls in front of their husbands, parents, children, brothers and sisters.
china is greatly violating the citizen and natural rights of the uyghur muslim minorities. different walls are being made between the white and black, west and non-west, muslims and christians, muslims and hindus and so forth.
the campaign of this grade ’s human rights day invites us to work for maintaining everyone’s human rights. the honourable prime minister sheikh hasina of the people’s republic of bangladesh has continuously raised her voice in different global forums to address the events of human rights violations. in her recent speeches to the unga meetings, the marakesh summit on environment and elsewhere, she urged the international community to take up concerted efforts to preserve human rights by preserving human freedoms, preventing terrorism and militancy, fighting poverty, respecting refugees’ rights, and above al , tackling environmental issues.
we’re confident that the government of bangladesh under the able leadership of sheikh hasina would play effective diplomacy to uphold the issue of human rights so that human rights violations may be prevented locally, regionally and globally. she has been crowned with the planet fifty fifty award and the agent of change award by the un by virtue of her contribution to women rights, human rights, social security and global peace. her achievement of these awards has placed responsibility on her shoulder to take the global leadership in the area of human rights. the diplomatic wings of bangladesh may be encouraged to stand up for everyone’s rights today. bangladesh has by now received global appreciation through its countering terrorist and militant activities, and raizing globally the issues of environment and refugees’ rights.
couples of recommendations may be considered by bangladesh. the country must come up with an innovative and creative discourse on the human rights bringing a paradigm-shift in the realms of human rights. effective measures may be taken to ensure global freedoms that are preconditions for human rights. special emphasis needs to be given on incorporating the rights of refugees and the dues of environments in the global human rights discourse by attaching these two issues with the broader canvas of the human rights concepts. a special operating unit may be instaled in different branches of foreign office which may gradually be broadened in terms of scope and intensity.
second, the programmes related to human rights should not be confined within the domain of the government. required space needs to be created for those from among the civil society people who are expert in foreign policy matters. they may work as the civil society ambassadors in the important foreign missions of bangladesh like as the freelancers and flashlight -bearers of human rights. third, an endeavour needs to be taken to nurture academic exercises in order to craft a new, innovative and transparent theoretical paradigm on human rights. to perform al these activities of global standards, bangladesh must explore the sources of global funds required to shoulder the global leadership and commitment to preserve the human rights for which the oppressed are crying everyplace in the world.
the author is professor at the department of international relations and currently dean, school of business and social sciences, sylhet international university. he can be reached at [email protected]