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News :: Human Rights
Comments on Helen Clark’s refusal to discuss global ethical human rights.
by Anthony Ravlich
Email: anthony_ravlich (nospam) yahoo.com
Phone: (0064) (09) 940 9658
Address: 10D/15 City Rd., Auckland City.
01 Sep 2013
Some independent human rights professionals made comments on the refusal of Helen Clark, Head of the United Nations Development Program, to discuss the global ethical human rights alternative to neoliberalism
Comments on Helen Clark’s refusal to discuss global ethical human rights.
Human Rights Council (New Zealand)
10D/15 City Rd.
Ph: (0064) (09) 940 9658
Some independent human rights professionals were prepared to make comments after I posted my recent article ‘Helen Clark ignores question on global ethical human rights’, http://www.indymedia.org.nz/articles/1207, on the social networking sites in late August, 2013.
They were informed that any comments could be made public. There were also a number of ‘likes’ for the discussion without any comments made.
My post was as follows:
“Politics trumps universal human rights. When Helen Clark, Head of the United Nations Development Program, was asked during question time why the UN says nothing about the ethical approach to human rights, development and globalization to replace neoliberalism, she ignored the question.
Youth, wanting a future, are faced with fighting for their individual rights (freedoms and economic and social rights) not just against the State but also the World. They should also be able to ethically pursue their dreams. In my opinion, only universal human rights truth will free them from global mass discrimination. The above article describes one way youth can fight the domestic and global system”, END.
Whereas ethical human rights emphasizes a ‘bottom-up’ approach to development and democracy neoliberalism, in my view, involves very extreme ‘top-down’ control i.e. human rights made compatible with the neoliberal economic policies of the IMF which is a UN specialized agency (see appendix below for a brief description of global ethical human rights).
The following are the comments made in response to the above post:
Christopher Anthony, Education and Child Protection Officer, UNICEF, stated:
“Yes so very much true...Politics linked with power, absolute power and power corrupts...Power to dominate. Power to come out with policies which promotes and justifies monopoly over resources....it is the 11 % of the rich (Nations, Institutions and persons) having hold and control of more than 70% of the world resources. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer...Where is the ethic? Equity? and Human dignity? Does the UN have an answer? As an independent entity..UN needs to take a stand for the millions of poor living in poverty, devoid of Human dignity. It's time we share and work for a more Humane world”.
Ebai George, President, Rome Area, Italy, Civic and Social Organization, Human Rights Training Committee, stated:
“Its time we shift from academic and conventional human rights to tackling the real human rights issues as enlisted in the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all related protocols! Grassroots education and campaigns on Human and Civil rights will take us there!”
Jack Sigman, Masters Candidate American Military University, International Relations, Engineering Laboratory Technician, stated:
“But politics always trumps human rights. Read the transcripts of the debates over the genocide convention”.
Gordana Vukomanovic, Developer/International standards with sport of the Republic of Serbia, stated:
“It is relevant to understand that Helen Clark is just a figure [head] and that she is short for the serious understanding and knowledge on the economy. She made her success nationally and internationally opposing intervention of USA in Iraq. The truth is that her opinion or position of New Zealand considering problem of military interventions by USA all around the world did not change anything in reality. But shortly after that New Zealand provided support to the veterans of the longest and most expensive American war, Vietnam. So the positive opinions are usually coming from the Greens in New Zealand and it is much better not to take Miss Clarke seriously, she is usually unaware what about she should talk and what to answer. She is short for vision regrettably as per my 12 years long experience with New Zealand”.
M.k. Bainiwal, engineer, senior executive in a government of India company, Dalit Rights activist, states:
"VICTIMS OF CASTEISM (worst form of Racism) REQUIRE JUSTICE ENFORCEMENT "ACTION" FROM UNITED NATIONS ;
BUT, SO FAR, ONLY REPORTS, STUDIES, ANALYSIS & ADVISORY CALLS FROM UN, WHICH HAS NEVER GIVEN ANY JUSTICE. -------- It is a pity that so many reports & advices are issued by United Nations for prevention of Caste Based Discrimination & Persecution in India, but never any action is taken to enforce justice for victims and penalty for casteists. Despite the terrible intensity of this thousands years old tyrade (Caseism), UN's action so far has been restricted only to studies, reports & advices. Casteism dominated Indian society has never cared for Studies/Reports/Advices based casteism elimination efforts of world community, UN or any human rights / justice favoring agency and carries out this systematic ruthless inhuman practice (in various direct & indirect forms) in unabated manner with blatant ignorance of all concerns of human rights community, as the prevailing system gives the casteist oppressors a wide scope to go unpunished and unconvicted despite all complaints of victim, howsoever the crime may be serious. Hence, Studies/Reports/Advices of UN have always failed to make any impact on the pathetic situation of caste based marginalization, discrimination & persecution of helpless depressed castes and tribes (300 million dalits).
Therefore, this situation of inaction by UN against Casteism in India is responsible for the continuous systematic persecution of dalits by dominant caste (upper caste hindu) oppressors and for prevailing situation of denial of justice to casteism victims. ....WILL UN START ANY JUSTICE ENFORCEMENT ACTION EVER AGAINST THIS THOUSANDS YEARS OLD INHUMAN PRACTICE OF CASTEISM (which is in fact more horrible than Racism) ??? ------------------------------------------- Casteism (Caste Based Discrimination, which is the most horrible form of Racism) is an inhuman evil, where the victims (marginalized depressed castes/tribes people - Dalits) are bound to suffer discrimination & persecution even after getting education because the dominant caste people, having thousands years old deep rooted poison of Caste Apartheid in their minds, force discriminatory practices even against educated people of marginalized castes, to impede their growth and to keep them at the lowest strata of the society forever (Inhuman Caste System of India/Hinduism, categorizes & treats dalits as "Untouchables" i.e. inferior to even animals, and denies them all basic human rights, forcing religious-social rules of doing inhuman occupations upon Dalits, like - cleaning/carrying the filth of people & human excreta, cleaning sewers & drains, carrying dead animals & removing their skins, crushing stones, etc. These inhuman occupations have been forced upon depressed castes (dalits), for thousands years, generations after generations, denying them education and good jobs, making a system where the children of dalits are forced to do the slavery occupations of their fathers & forefathers).
In the absence of honest justice enforcement system, this holocaust against helpless voiceless dalits, goes on and on without any prevention. Despite the enactment of certain Casteism prevention laws, the system of Caste Based Discrimination/Persecution, practically goes on unabated and oppressors go unpunished, as the voice (complaints) of dalit victims go unheard everywhere. ............. Therefore, Justice Enforcement Action from World Community / UN is required, instead of mere views, reports & advices."
(If I had been given the opportunity at question time after Helen Clark’s lecture there were there other questions of major concern to me which I would have liked to have asked. Some of these are described in an email I sent to her prior to her lecture, see ‘To question Helen Clark regarding UN silence on global ethical human rights to rule the world’, Auckland indymedia, http://www.indymedia.org.nz/articles/1189 ).
The ethical approach to human rights, development and globalization (briefly, global ethical human rights) is universal, includes all the human rights, but, realistically, emphasizes first addressing the most serious violations which is a commonsense interpretation of the declaration.
The ethical approach was first introduced in my book, ‘Freedom from our social prisons: the rise of economic, social and cultural rights’ (Lexington Books, 2008) which was recommended on the UN website for about two years.
It gives people a choice. Being universal I regard global ethical human rights as a far more authentic interpretation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) whereas neoliberalism requires the latter to be made compatible with the IMF’s neoliberal economic policies.
Whereas ethical human rights seeks to help people, in my view, neoliberalism uses human rights as a political weapon both against its own people and internationally.
For those who are not very intellectually inclined or perhaps, understandably, are very cynical of intellectuals, the artists seem able to describe it in a more convincing way for many people .For example, the recent popular music from the UK and America is now often describing the times as revolutionary e.g. ‘there’s an emptiness up there’, ‘if there’s a future we want it’, ‘its not a funeral - it’s the revolution you know’, ‘dreaming of the things we could be’, ‘if we keep holding on ….we’ll work it out…its worth it’, ‘all I need is something to believe in’ etc etc.
In my view, youth do not have to ‘reinvent the wheel’ - simply look at the plan below and if they like it all they need to do is verify its accuracy and provide the world, global youth in particular, with this choice (via the internet).
This ethical plan means that, in my view, the revolution can be non-violent - the UN cannot continue to ignore an alternative which is based on universal human rights truth (for all) rather than politics (for a small minority) otherwise they will be held to account for any revolutionary violence that occurs.
However, I consider, and where it can be perhaps best understood by people not familiar with human rights, ethical human rights can be seen to equate with the Golden Rule which the major religions believe in (in fact, it may even be the origins of the UDHR).
The Golden Rule states: “One should treat others as one would like to be treated oneself” (‘The Universality of the Golden Rule in the World Religions’, Teaching Values.com, 6 April, 2013, http://www.teachingvalues.com/goldenrule.html ).
According to global ethical human rights if you do not have, at the very least, the ethical core minimums of the human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights you would be living in a situation of extreme violence (this includes extreme poverty) which equals slavery.
So according to the Golden Rule if you do not want to be treated as a slave then you should not treat others as slaves.
However, while under global ethical human rights all individuals have duties, the State has the ultimate duty to ensure all within the country have their core minimums human rights although it is also prepared to help the global community, where necessary, to achieve theirs.
Global ethical human rights – a brief description:
(1) An ethical human rights requires the core minimum (at least) of all the rights in Universal Declaration of Human Rights for all. This would entail survival with dignity PLUS the added dignity of self-help (including a voice in the mainstream, without any discrimination). This would be sufficient for the individual (and consequently the State and the World) to reach his/her full potential. The core minimum rights are ensured but higher levels need to be earned.
The principle involved is the equal status of civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights at the level of the core minimum obligations of the State.
Both ‘survival rights’ and ‘self-help rights’ are encapsulated in Article 22, UDHR, which states: “Everyone has the right to social security and is entitled to realization…..of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensible for his dignity and the free development of his personality”.
(2) There is an emphasis on an ethical ‘bottom-up’ development e.g. small social/ economic entrepreneurs, small/medium business, and new, original ideas to forge new paths into the future with such development of human knowledge (e.g. space travel may be necessary for human survival) to be based on the individual rather than determined ‘top-down’. This would, in my view, mean far greater employment.
For example, Article 2(1) of the Declaration on the Rights to Development describes ‘bottom-up’ development: “The human person is the central subject of development and should be the active participant and beneficiary of the rights to development”.
Affirmative action can then be applied where, in my view, it is meant to - those who suffered the worst discrimination which includes those 'tall poppies' excluded by the establishment and who, in my experience, were treated just as badly. Many of the latter would likely employ the others.
(3) An ethical globalization requires an ethical human rights 'bottom-line' for all States - to protect against extreme ‘top-down’ control by the State as well as ensuring fair competition without exploitation (e.g. China and India would not get an unfair competitive advantage by exploiting their workforce). Ethical globalization does not require regionalization so States do not have to forgo considerable national sovereignty.
This is not a return to protectionism. For example, people can be informed e.g. labelling of goods, where imports are made, for example, with child or sweatshop labour. As well as ensuring no such exploitation takes place it provides opportunities for domestic production.
(4) There are also duties. Article 29(1) states: “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible” i.e. all have duties including groups and associations, the Corporations, the mainstream media, public bodies including Academia, as well as political, racial, religious groups etc.
Consequently, individuals can pursue their dreams ethically thereby overcoming a major criticism of individualism that it is freedom without social responsibility.
PS. Due to major technical difficulties my blog on Guerilla Media cannot be accessed however many of my articles can be found San Francisco Bay Area indymedia and Auckland indymedia.
This work is in the public domain