Inhuman indulgence at UN Human Rights Council
Human Rights Council at the United Nations, is supposed to be the most revered and supreme representative of the Human Rights in the world. The topic “Human Rights” has become one of the most controversial subjects in the world today. The term was coined following World War II when punitive actions were taken primarily against the German and the Japanese for heinous war crimes. After the formation of United nation charter in 1945 and theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) Panel in 1948, its charter was essentially for the “dignity, freedom, justice and peace for all in the world”. It imparted Civil & Political as well as Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to all human. This included the rights to ethnic and religious minorities as well. Later, refugees incl women and children were added in the list.
Human rights violations occur when the States or non-state actors breach any of the terms of the UDHR or other international human rights or humanitarian laws. In regard to Human Rights violations, article 39 of the United Nations Charter designates the UN Security Council as the only tribunal that may determine the Human Rights violations. Human Rights abuses are monitored by United Nations committees, national institutions & governments and by many independent non-governmental organizations, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, World Organisation Against Torture, Freedom House, International Freedom of Expression Exchange and Anti-Slavery International.These organisations are expected to collect the evidence of the Rights violations and abuses free of any biases in their domain areas and submit to the UN. However very often their collections of data alleged to be heavily biased, based upon various types of influences (whether internal or external). Influencing the Rights Bodies in Autocratic and Theocratic states are all too common and any/all their report submissions must be seen in that light. There, the lives of the people making such reports, are at stakes if found unfavorable to the state. Even a democratic nation may be able to influence some specific types of reports; but the extent of influence is relatively marginal at best. Democratic nations are also vulnerable to the influences from abroad. Some of the prosperous nations run Lobbying groups. These groups are known to indulge in influencing opinion both within and abroad, in other democratic nations. In India, many of the NGOs, amnesty groups and others receive foreign funding in making biased reports and also indulge in distributing the finds among those carrying out anti-national activities. These funding agencies may be religious, leftist or other ideological groups inimical to the state. It is not only against India but any other democratic nations where others have interest, are facing such influencing lobbies from abroad.
Stronger or more influential the nations (or group of nations), more are the biases. In such list of influential nations, three categories often escape the culpabilities for rights violations. These are the P-5 nations (USA, China, UK, France & Russia); Influential groups of nations (Islamic Countries, European Union & African Union) and Strong military block (NATO). On the other hand, the radical & violent groups in a nation may prohibit their independent Human Rights bodies from even collecting the data that might go against them. In the present day context, nations having Jihadi groups, some 147 of them thriving as on today, don’t allow any Human Rights Body to work with any degree of freedom within territories. Killing of the Human Rights workers in Pakistan are the burning example.
They pose clear threat to lives of anyone trying to even collect the rights violation data. The present day hotbeds of Jihadi terror include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Palestine. Lives of the Human Right bodies are at grave risk in those States.
In fact, all 57 Islamic nations have legitimized their acts which is a clear threat to the world peace. It is highly deplorable as to how the UN permitted the Cairo Declaration in 1990 to adopt an Organisation of Islamic Nations (OIC) resolution that is contradictory to the basic Human Rights charters. Undoubtedly, it is "manipulation and hypocrisy, designed to dilute, if not altogether eliminate “civil and political rights protected by international law" and attempts to "circumvent the principles of freedom and equality”. It is this approach through which the Islamic nations are trying to shield the culpabilities of 147-odd Jihadi groups incl Hezbollah and Hamas. There is no doubt that Islamic Nations are guilty of maltreatment of ethnic minorities within member countries, such as the oppression of the Kurds in Syria and Turkey, the Ahwaz & Parsis in Iran, the Hazaras & Sikh in Afghanistan, Hindu and Sikh in Pakistan & Bangladesh, Buddhists from Malaysia, Al-Akhdam in Yemen, or the Berbers in Algeria. Besides, the crimes of non-state groups also must not go unpunished such as ISIS committing heinous crimes on the Yezidis, Boko Haram against school girls and so on.
The Cairo declaration was later replaced by their 18-member Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Islamic States as advisory body. However, tone & tenor were largely the same…self-guarding and inimical to the minorities. Washington Post in their 10 July 2015 had published the inhuman treatment and disappearance of religious minorities from Islamic nations. Of late, a commission report by British Secretary Jeremy Hunt has concluded that Christians have been subjected to religious persecution in the Middle-East, almost amounting to Genocide.
One wonders how the religious minorities have vanished from the Islamic nations which can be considered the biggest of the rights violations amounting to Genocides. However, OIC being a very influential block, has seldom been subjected to a credible investigation by neutral agencies for Rights violations of ethnic & religious minorities, women & children. The Human Rights watch dogs have conveniently closed their eyes from the happenings. The ethnic black community have long been suffering discriminations in USA but not a single resolution has held them culpable. In the last 20 yrs or so, the Radical Islam has been carrying out gross rights violations in the name of religious ‘Jihad’ through 147-odd terrorist organisations but the world has remained largely mute. UN is yet to frame the definition of ‘terrorism’ because it does not suit the Islamic Block of the nations and their supporters.
The most glaring bias of the Human Rights panel have been in their highly partisan view when it comes to initiating actions against the Jihadi & Terror groups operating from Islamic nations. Most of them in Asia are acting against Israel or India, besides feudal & sectarian violence against other Islamic entities. These are two solitary individual nations, the homelands of the religious groups of Jews & Indian Religions (of Hindu, Jains, Buddhist & Sikhs). The religious minorities of Indian religion have been wiped out from the Islamic nations…the erstwhile parts of undivided India. UNHRC by its constituent bodies, have been over-represented by the Islamic nations who largely act and vote as a single block. This is the reason, Israel and India have been suffering the partisanship of the UNHRC. At any given time, Islamic nations form the largest bulk of the UNHR member states. At present, of the 47, there are 15 Islamic nations in the UNHRC panel (shown below), the largest chunk of a religious block. There was a time when their numbers were 20. Hence, when it comes to taking action against religious persecution of Islamic radicals & terrorists, they unitedly stand together. In the present UNHRC, some of the worst violators of Human Rights are the members like China (violators of Tibetan Buddhists & Uighurs), Russia (political opponent), Pakistan (Baloch, Hindu, Sikh rights), Bangladesh (Hindu & Sikh rights), Burkina Faso and Somalia (Christian rights). It is a huge challenge to the UNHR to act in a free and fair manner. If Islam could have a say in the matters of Human Rights, so should be other religions…esp those which do not have their own State Religions. It is notable that Islam is in 57 states, Christians in 16 and Buddhism in 4 nations. Hinduism, the 3rd largest religious group in the world has no state for the mix of the oldest (Hinduism) and newest (Sikhism) religions. It may be appropriate for the UNHCR to recommend India adopt a State of “Indian Religions” that do not find representation elsewhere. It will only be just for the apex body of the Human Rights to render voice to the voiceless and none should have objection.
In the most recent UNHRC meeting held on 27 May 21, the Islamic block of the nations managed to omit reference to the terrorist groups of Hamas and United Jihad Council from being named in the resolution against Israel. It is no surprise that Israel has rejected the resolution outrightly.
UNHRC has specific areas of its concerns and investigations that includes the broad groups as enumerated in the text box. It has 3 fixed review meetings in a year. In every review meeting 16 nations are reviewed for their performance on Rights issues. Thus a four year-cycle to complete review of all 193 Member States of the UN are done. Besides, special review of any unusual occurrences could be called for at any time of gross Rights Violations.
Suggestions to prevent the wrong doing by UNHRC
1. The influence of any religious block must be removed from the decision making of the UNHR. However, if one block is favoured to have opinion, others too must be given the same provision esp the religious groups which have no religious state for own interest.
2. The reports from the subsidiary bodies of the UNHR like Amnesty International must be unbiased. In order to ensure this, all govt-favouring reports from autocratic & theocratic states must be weighed against the govt interferences. On the other hand, all unfavourable reports from a democratic nation be reviewed if the state has alleged any influence or wrong-doing by others.
3. Whenever a special session is called against a state which has religious or ethnic connotations, the bulk vote by religious or ethnic block bust be factored in such way that no wrong-doing is indulged against the loner State who don’t have their religious or ethnic backing among the members.
4. It is strongly felt that during periodical or special reviews, some thumb rules be followed as basic tenets and an independent enquiry must be set-up to investigate the followings under the overall guidance of the Commission: -
- Decline in the Religious demography of any religion esp the Ethnic minorities in a State. The minorities should be defined as those under 15% pf the population.
- Abduction & conversion of the women of the minority groups.
- Deaths under confinement.
- Rapes committed on a religious/ethnic group of women.
Human Rights violations for reasons other than religious concerns too need equal condemnations. Many of the African & European nations are believed to be committing Rights Violations on the basis of Race, Colour and Creed. Rights violation against the female sex and children are equally appalling. Lower caste people in the Asian nations have been exploited for generations. They need to be given equal rights too. If the Human Rights Group of the UN/UNSC wishes to be seen as a saviour of the Rights, it must reform the constituent members of the council to represent all sections of population on realistic terms esp for religious and ethnic groups. Unless that takes place, abolition of Human Rights violations will remain a distant dream of the world.