Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Human Rights: Government Failures, NGO Need to Organize!


In his final address to the Human Rights Council on 26 February 2018, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein decried the "pernicious use of the veto" by permanent members of the UN Security Council - the USA, Russia, and China in particular - to block any unity of action to reduce the extreme suffering of innocent people in "the most prolific slaughterhouse of humans in recent times."

However, it is not only the veto in the Security Council which prevents governments from acting. There is a wide-spread failure of governments to act. "Time and again, my office and I have brought to the attention of the international community violations of human rights which should have served as a trigger for preventive action. Time and again, there has been minimal action."

He continued by mentioning States in which armed conflicts were the framework for constant human rights violations, including the fundamental right to life: Syria, Yemen, Myanmar, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He highlighted the growing wave of narrow nationalism promoted by political parties and in some cases by the leaders of government. " Xenophobes and racists in Europe are casting off any sense of embarrassment - like Hungary's Viktor Orban who earlier this month said 'We do not want our colour...to be mixed in with others' "

He concluded with a warning and an encouragement to action. "It is accumulating unresolved human rights violations which will spark the conflicts that can break the world...For the worst offenders' disregard and contempt for human rights will be the eventual undoing of all of us. This we cannot allow to happen."

In the light of the use of the veto in the UN Security Council and the realpolitik considerations of States in general, it is the task of non-governmental organizations (NGO) to promote the resolution of armed conflicts through negotiations in good faith and the respect of humanitarian international law while the armed conflicts go on. NGOs must work so that universal human rights are the basis of society at all times.

In order to carry out these crucial tasks, NGOs must become stronger, have greater access to the media, increase their networks to more countries, and develop greater cooperation among themselves. These challenges require a wise use of current resources and efforts to increase them. There is a need to increase cooperation with universities and other academic institutions for background information and analysis. Government representatives always look for factual errors in NGO presentations as a way to discredit the whole presentation. Dialogue with the representatives of governments must be continued and, if possible, made more regular. States will continue to be important agents in the world society, and we must try to be in contact even when government actions are unreasonable, even criminal.

Cooperation among NGOs will facilitate an outreach to more sectors of the world society. Often a specific NGO will reach a particular milieu - religious, geographic, professional, social class. By cooperation a wider audience can be reached, and techniques for positive action set out.

As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stressed armed violence, systematic repression, waves of hate and xenophobia are strong today, and there is a real danger that they will grow. To meet these negative challenges, we who uphold the unity of the human family must organize ever-more effectively.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Peace Plan: Ten Ways To Tackle Online Hate

A Helen Clark Foundation project to reduce online harm will be presented today in competition at the Paris Peace Forum... 'The Christchurch Principles' is the only Australasian initiative out of the 120 international projects chosen to be highlighted at the forum. More>>

ALSO:

Good Death: A Historical Perspective On Euthanasia

Some critics of the bill present religious and moral objections against euthanasia, while proponents have focused on the trauma and pain of terminally ill patients and their families. All these arguments have a long history. More>>

5 November - Parihaka: How NZ Government Misused Laws To Crush Non-Violent Dissent

This week, Māori in the Taranaki region remembered the “day of plunder” – the 1881 government invasion of Parihaka, the small settlement that had come to symbolise peaceful resistance to the confiscation of Māori land. More>>

Scoop Hivemind Report: Common Ground On Biodiversity

The HiveMind report Protecting and Restoring New Zealand’s Biodiversity, published today, analyses and summarises the findings of this engagement in which over 500 Kiwis took part. [Image: Cameron Houston, DOC] More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Trudeau’s Election ‘Victory’

Even before the votes were counted, the prospect of a Liberals/NDP minority government was being depicted as being not only Big Energy’s worst nightmare but as grounds for the western province of Alberta seceding (Wexit!) from Canada... More>>

ALSO: