SHAFAQNA| by Nasibeh Yazdani: Human Rights Day 2020 theme is defined as “Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights” in order to build back a better world after the pandemic by ensuring that Human Rights are central to recovery efforts. Meanwhile millions of Muslims around the world have already been killed and displaced and suffered injustice and tyranny throughout the years.
Every year on 10 December, the International Human Rights Day is celebrated across the universe. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) proposed by the United Nations in 1948 proclaims the inalienable rights which everyone is entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better world by ensuring that Human Rights are central to recovery efforts. Meanwhile millions of Muslims around the world have already been killed and displaced and suffered injustice and tyranny throughout the years.
Here is six times the UN failed to uphold international human rights law:
The occupation of Palestine
At least 15,000 Palestinians were killed and some 750,000 out of a total population of 1.9 million were forced to take refuge far from their homelands between 1947 and 1949. More than 7,000 Palestinians have died in the conflict between 2000 and 2014. Today Israel controls 85 percent of historic Palestine. It also imposes a crippling blockade on Gaza and continues its construction of illegal settlements on occupied lands in defiance of several UN resolutions calling for an end to those activities. The United States has also used its veto power several times to counter UN Security Council resolutions that have condemned Israel’s use of force against Palestinian civilians, TRT World reported.
The ongoing confrontation in the disputed Kashmir region has become one of the greatest human rights crises in history, marked by wanton killings, rape, incarceration of leaders and activists, torture and disappearances of Kashmiris, despite several unimplemented UN resolutions over the issue. The mountainous region is divided between India and Pakistan, who have both claimed it in full since gaining independence from British colonists in 1947.
In 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence after a referendum. Following the declaration of independence, Bosnian Serbs mobilised their forces into the country with the help of the Serbian government, which led to the start of the war. From July 11 to 19, in 1995, Bosnian Serb forces murdered 7,000 to 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnian city of Srebrenica.
The Srebrenica massacre, the worst mass killing on European soil since World War II, occurred two years after the United Nations had designated the city to be a “safe area” for civilians fleeing fighting between Bosnian government and separatist Serb forces, during the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Srebrenica was the culminating event in a yearslong campaign of genocide against Bosnian Muslims. In 1994, over a year before the massacre, the U.S. Department of State reported that Serb forces were “ethnically cleansing” areas, using murder and rape as tools of war and razing villages.
But the Clinton administration, fresh from a humiliating failure to stop a civil war in Somalia, wanted to avoid involvement. And the United Nations refused to authorize more robust action to halt Serb aggression, believing it needed to remain neutral for political reasons. It took the slaughter in Srebrenica to persuade these international powers to intervene.
Acting sooner could have saved lives. In my 1999 book, “Peacekeeping and Intrastate Conflict,” I argued that only a heavily armed force with a clear mandate to halt aggression can end a civil war. The U.S. and UN could have supplied that force, but they dithered, The Conversation reported.
Yemen civil war
The Saudi-led coalition began its intervention in Yemen in 2015, escalating the war, which left the poorest country in the Arab world in a state of disaster. Yemen is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, staggering impacts on human life, basic public services and the economy. A crisis with more than 24 million people – some 80 per cent of the population – in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 12 million children, according to UNICEF. This devastating humanitarian crisis has, for years, gone largely unnoticed. But the world can’t afford inaction any longer — too many lives are at risk.
The toll on innocent families is becoming more severe as escalation in violence has led to increased displacement and death. People are struggling to survive, severe outbreaks of COVID‑19, cholera and other communicable diseases are ongoing, and the risk of famine looms. Millions of Yemeni people need help. But, the UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan for June through December of 2020 is facing a shortfall of more than $2 billion for humanitarian response, ReliefWeb mentioned.
Rohingya Muslims genocide
On August 25, 2017, Myanmar launched a major military crackdown on the Muslim ethnic minority, killing almost 24,000 civilians and forcing 750,000 others, including women and children, to flee to Bangladesh, according to the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA). The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. The UN has described the Rohingya as the “world’s most persecuted people.”China stood behind Myanmar on the Rohingya crisis by blocking efforts for the Rohingya in the UN Security Council.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people now shelter in vast refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The COVID-19 pandemic has added additional complexities, news.un mentioned. Conditions in the camps have worsened as humanitarian services are scaled back during the coronavirus pandemic, according to The New Humanitarian.
China’s Repression of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang
The Uighurs and other mostly-Muslim Turkic minorities in China are being subjected to the most brutal forms of oppression and the Chinese government’s so-called “re-education camps” are holding over a million of them out of sight, Aljazeera reported.
The United Nations Human Rights Chief has requested access to the camps, and the European Union has condemned China’s actions. In June, the United States imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for aiding the human rights abuses of Uighurs in Xinjiang. Yet the sanctions will most likely not have a major effect, as the individuals sanctioned likely have few assets outside China. A stronger, more cohesive international response, both economically and politically, will be key to change, The Gate told.