World Leaders are Failing Human Rights. Here’s Why. | NYT Opinion


article three everyone has the right to
life liberty and security of person no one shall be subjected to torture or to
cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment no one shall be subjected to
arbitrary arrest detention or exile last year we celebrated the 70th anniversary
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it was an appalling year for
human rights how do I know because until only a few months ago I
was the UN Human Rights chief these attacks cannot go unanswered
then I’ve seen violations of human rights firsthand probable genocide in
Myanmar imprisonment of journalists in Egypt and murder in Turkey reminded
leaders elected in Brazil Hungary India Russia Italy an or suppression in China
Venezuela children separated from their parents and locked up right here in
Trump’s America and I haven’t even mentioned North Korea most of our
political leaders are morally weak short-sighted and mediocre it used to be
that abuses were called out and many were stopped human rights violators had
something to fear but today the Silence of those public officials is astounding
their hypocrisy sickening and I fear they’re no longer willing or able to
defend the human rights of all people and as a result the worst human rights
offenders are able to act with complete impunity in all conflicts you will see the most
extreme of human violence a bus filled with schoolchildren was struck by a
missile nothing was seemingly being done to prevent these sorts of attacks which
will become in commonplace in Syria if you measured the rhetoric of Western
leaders the rhetoric was quite strident I have decided that the United States
should take military action against Syrian regime targets in Yemen where we
see children being blown up in buses in marketplaces schools attending a wedding
I don’t recall ever hearing you know heavy condemnation of those airstrikes what it says about Western leaders it
doesn’t say very much the way they prioritize their defence contracts seems
to produce silence so they may well be a connection and nexus between weapons
sales three billion dollars five hundred and thirty three million dollars and the
resulting muted response by Western governments to what was happening in
Yemen the ranger population in northern our
kind in October of 2016 there was an attack and what we saw was frightful the
most extreme actions taken even against small children and seemed to be
systematic in its organization and planning there was a conference soon
after the attacks maybe not even a single person attending mentioned the
word drew hinge on which is the right to self-identification by that particular
community then if that’s taken away from you then what do you become
you become almost disposable the UN itself is far from perfect there
was resistance Yemen for example when we had asked for an investigation it took
us a number of years before we actually had one approved on Myanmar it took us a
few months before we could get to that position my term ended after four years
it was clear to me that if I wanted an extension what they would have asked me
to do is not to discuss this issue or that issue and and to start bargaining
and I wasn’t going to be holding a position like this and then remain
silent it’s easy to think now that we have our human rights they will be there
forever they cannot be taken away but they are like the air you breathe you
don’t think about it until you’re gasping for your last breath know and
defend your rights and crucially the rights of others as well

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