How distant the claims of concern for human rights, fair play and religiosity are from the reality of day-to-day life. Claim to be the heirs to ancient civilizations and cultures give way in the face of avarice and greed for power.
The US, the self-styled flag-bearer of human rights, Britain and France the fathers/mothers of parliamentary democracy and liberty, continue their interference in lands away from their homeland often claiming a commitment to defend these virtues.
In Afghanistan, according to British charity ‘Save the Children’ (SCF), in the aftermath of the US invasion of that country in October 2001, UN data revealed that at least 26,025 children were killed or maimed between 2005 and 2019. In 2019, the SCF said US operations led to the greatest number of killing and maiming violations of all the global conflicts covered in the charity’s worldwide report.
The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology revealed under its anti-terrorism ‘War on Terror’ policy, the US created the Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) under which its agents tortured thousands of prisoners in efforts to extract forced confessions from prisoners. The US torture facility at Guantanamo Bay, the Abu Ghraib, held 7,490 detainees.
The report into conditions operating at the Abu Ghraib revealed there was evidence of horrific abuses suffered by the detainees in an unsupervised and dangerous setting.
In March 2011, Britain and France attacked Libya and its infrastructure – hospitals, schools, water and sewerage facilities – turning probably the most developed country in the Middle East into what is today a failed state with no government and bands of brigands backed by one of the other invading nations, ruling different parts of that country.
The eastern countries of our world do not fall far behind in inhumane treatment of countrymen or non-countrymen and women. In the 1940s, Japan invaded China and Korea among other countries in that part of the world, wiping out entire villages and enslaving entire populations.
One can hardly forget Japans abuse of Korean women whom they forced into becoming sex slaves to the Japanese invading armies. The Japanese state referred to these unfortunate females as ‘comfort women’. In the same manner, we also recall the millions killed by America in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War in the name of ‘fighting communism’ or ‘protecting democracy’. Pakistan though a friendly nation, the less said the better of its treatment of religious communities other than those of the Islamic faith.
In Sri Lanka during the civil war, thousands of innocent Tamil civillians were picked up by the governments of that period and tortured to extract confessions. Some of these prisoners still languish behind bars even though no charges have been brought against them. A large numbers of civillians also died during the course of the war and the country has been castigated before the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
Our giant neighbour India played no small part in backing those countries who called Sri Lanka to account. The Daily Mirror does not defend human rights violators and other violations. We continue to combat efforts to curtail freedom. But we do demand that the field be levelled and all violators irrespective of status be brought to justice.
Two days ago, we learned of the death of Fr. Stan Lourdusamy – an 84-year-old Indian Jesuit priest suffering from cancer, who also had Parkinson’s disease. Stan Lourdusamy, as he was popularly known was arrested from his home in Ranchi on October 8, 2020 on terrorism charges!
Despite protestations of his innocence, Fr. Lourdusamy was in remand custody.
It is difficult to imagine an 84-year-old, suffering from cancer and Parkinson’s disease leading a terrorist armed conflict. The good priest’s weapons were his computer and intellect, through which he exposed atrocities being committed against members of the low castes and tribal groups in India. He also dared dissent with the ruling powers in India. He was incarcerated in prison. After a year of imprisonment, he contacted Covid-19 and died two days ago.
Rights violations are rights violations. Violations whether they are committed by large powers or by petty nations, need to be held to account.
Sri Lanka was singled out at the UN as it is a small nation with a tiny population. It has therefore no market value unlike countries whose population runs into several millions. Its time world bodies like the UN look not only at crimes of so-called insignificant states, but hold the hypocrites who control the world to account
Disclaimer: Tyranny and defence of human rights and democracy - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view