religious freedom

Human Rights Day

The 10th of December of the year is observed as Human Rights Day. 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 following 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 of 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 and documents of human rights abuses free of any biases to submit to the UN. However very often their collections of data are heavily biased. 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. In these groups emerge the followings:-

  • Strong nations (USA, China & Russia),
  • Influential group of nations (Organisation of Islamic Countries, European Union, African Union
  • Strongest military block of nations (NATO)

World wonders how the religious minorities have vanished from the Islamic nations which can be considered the biggest rights violation. However, OIC being a very influential block, seldom a credible investigation by neutral agencies have been initiated. Rights violations of women & children esp of the religious minorities are taking place daily in nations such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh but the Human Rights watch dogs have conveniently closed their eyes. 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 numerous terrorist acts 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.

All sovereign nations are expected to protect their nationals against the rights abuse irrespective of religion, caste, class, ethnicity, age, sex or any other criteria. However, in those days there was not so much of general biases against another human being to whom one had no relation directly or indirectly.but who in those years of Rights drafting could have imagined that a conspirator of Terror sitting in the remotest area of other country can cause devastation, massacre and injuries to lives & properties of innocent lives in other country, other continent? Such atrocities caused by individuals or groups, at times supported by the State, has been going on for decades...unhindered.....on various pretexts.....with both weak & mighty nations being targeted. Unfortunately, the international communities are yet to define the word “Terrorism” because it does not suit some states who are either the perpetrators themselves or harbour terror for their narrow geo-political or socio-religious gains. Also, UN has been alleged to be partisan in its approach.... banning and applying wide sanctions against some and turning a blind eye to the others.

In spite of the UN charters on Human Rights, violations by both States and non-State actors have continued from time to time. Black community remains at the edge of social inequality esp in the nations with white majority. Female sex remains disadvantaged, underprivileged, socio-economically weak, exploited by the opposite sex as well as the orthodox families and the societies. Crime against the women are ever increasing. Children too are exploited at all levels. Their basic rights are threatened. There are rampant child labour in many countries. They too are enslaved and sexually exploited. Nobel laureate Shri Kailash Satyarthi is put-in significant effort to free the bonded-labour children in India.

All said and done, the lower caste individuals and their families have been suffering the worst exploitations esp in the rural India. They had generations of their forefathers as bonded labour to the upper caste. It is rampant in all religions. Thanks to some of the upper caste reformers in past who have taken to their cause of equality, ending untouchability and providing reservations in education and employment. Even now, they have not come anywhere close to being equal in the social status. However, things are changing for good.

Religious minorities in almost all Islamic countries have largely vanished and the few remaining ones continue to be persecuted but UN has turned blind eyed. Population of the religious minorities in Pakistan were approx. 21% in 1951 which is <4% now with reports coming every now & then of their persecution, forced conversion and abduction & marrying of their women to Muslims. Pakistan is not alone in carrying out such atrocities on religious minorities. Of the 71 Islamic nations, 67 are reported to be committing such crimes with impunity, with the UN watching helplessly. Only 4 Islamic nations can be called moderate where religious minorities are not facing extreme persecution. Non-Muslims in those nations do not enjoy the same rights as those of the Muslims. They have to pay special tax “Jajiya” for their safety in an Islamic nation as it is mentioned in their Quran and Hadith. The basic pretext being “No Dhimmi (non-Muslims) are supposed to live freely under Islam. Such are the level of atrocities that Washington post had to bring out a special column titles “Are Muslim countries really unreceptive to religious freedom?”… that provides a detailed account of the Muslim atrocities on their religious minorities in Islamic nations. ( Human Rights watch has possibly closed its eyes to the gross Human Rights violations.

Tony Blair institute for Global Change names five of the ten deadliest countries Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan & Iraq as very fragile states. Mali, Egypt, Nigeria & Pakistan equally affected but out-side major conflict zones. Beyond these countries, there are numerous other countries affected by violent Islamist extremism. If UN has to have its credibility, depleting religious and other ethnic minorities in any state must be probed thoroughly and the perpetrators be punished. The Human Rights panel must initiate investigation at the earliest. Then only its credibility can be restored. “Jihad” as one of the seven tenets of Islam has long been used as a tool of terror on non-Muslims and there is no word of concerns from secular individuals, societies or even UN to ban it in all forms. All state or non-state actors presently find it convenient to pronounce Jihad and as a result, Islam is at loggerheads with almost all other religions & faiths in the world. Recently, Imran Khan, PM of Pakistan was seen chanting carrying out “Jihad” against India. Women have suffered the worst in rights abuse esp religious. Islamic nations don't recognize their rights. They are kept in veils/burqa. They cannot step out of the four walls of their homes without company of the male family members. They cannot talk to strangers, cannot use mobile phones, cannot drive a vehicle, have no right to speak out against male folks and so on.... Islamic rulers and groups have abused women esp of other religions with impunity for slavery and forced conversions. Yezdis in Iraq, Christian girls and women in Nigeria and Sikh/Hindu/Christian women in Pakistan are the latest examples of such crimes.

One may question the indifference of the Human Rights Group at the UN as to why they are not seeking detailed investigations on the HR atrocities on the minorities in the Islamic nations. The answer to it is for everyone to see…majority of the nations in these belong to the Islamic group or their supporters (for whatever reasons). There are many who are not affected by the Islamic radicalism, terror or atrocities so they hardly ever show any concerns. As a result, the Muslim nations are able to carry out the gradual Genocides of their religious minorities in impunity through gross HR violations.

Human Rights members

It is strongly felt that time has come when UN must render a clear mandate to the Islamic nations to treat the religious minorities at par with Muslims. All radical acts against non-Muslims must stop. They should ban “Jihad” as an inhuman act of Islam once for all even if that warrants amending the relevant verses of Quran and/or Hadith. Religious and other forms of group violence cannot be permitted to be carried out with impunity against anyone, be it the same or any other religions. It is beyond doubt that Islamic countries have larger clout in UN, but it is time some corrective measures on radical Islamic terror & violence in form of Jihad is banned. It may need some amendment in Quran but it is the global need of the hour.

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. Unless that takes place, abolition of Human Rights violations will remain a distant dream of the world.

Read More Articles ›

View Other Issues ›