The fight for global justice
Secretary General of Amnesty International Irene Khan wrote the prologue to the yearly Report. It is a splendid text, of which we extract only some ideas due to the lack of space that we have.
“If human rights are used as a cloak by governments to put on or cast away according to political expediency –she asks herself-, can the international community of states be trusted to bring about that vision? And what can the international community of citizens do to rescue human rights from the rubble?
“The challenges facing the global movement for human rights today are stark. As activists, we must confront the threat posed by callous, cruel and criminal acts of armed groups and individuals. We must resist the backlash against human rights created by the single-minded pursuit of a global security doctrine that has deeply divided the world. We must campaign to redress the failure of governments and the international community to deliver on social and economic justice.”
“The global security agenda promulgated by the US Administration is bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle. Sacrificing human rights in the name of security at home, turning a blind eye to abuses abroad, and using pre-emptive military force where and when it chooses have neither increased security nor ensured liberty.”
“Look at the growing insurgency in Iraq, the increasing anarchy in Afghanistan, the unending spiral of violence in the Middle East, the spate of suicide bombings in crowded cities around the world.”
“Double speak brings disrepute to human rights –she continues- but sadly, it is a common phenomenon. The USA and its allies purported to fight the war in Iraq to protect human rights – but openly eroded human rights to win the “war on terror”. The war in Iraq was launched ostensibly to reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction, yet the world is awash with small arms and conventional weapons that kill more than half a million people a year. To make matters worse, in the name of combating the so-called “war on terror”, many countries have relaxed controls on exports to governments that are known to have appalling human rights records, among them Colombia, Indonesia, Israel and Pakistan. The uncontrolled trade in arms puts us all at greater risk in peace and war.”
“According to some analysts, there is a real risk that the targets of UN Millennium Development Goals – such as the reduction of child and maternal mortality, getting all children to primary school, halving the number of people with no access to clean water – will not be achieved because international attention and resources have been diverted to the war on terror,” denounces AI with rigorously.
“The poor and the marginalized are most commonly denied justice and would benefit most from the fair application of the rule of law and human rights. (…) In reality economic, social and cultural rights are neglected, reducing human rights to a theoretical construct for the vast majority of the world’s population. It is no mere coincidence that, in the Iraq war, the protection of oil wells appears to have been given greater priority than the protection of hospitals.”
“In times of uncertainty the world needs not only to fight against global threats, but to fight for global justice. Human rights are a banner to mobilize people globally in the cause of justice and truth. Thanks to the work of thousands of activists in Latin America, the tide is turning against impunity in that region. Despite the crusade by the USA to undermine international justice and ensure global immunity from prosecution for its citizens, the International Criminal Court appointed its prosecutor and began its work in earnest. Slowly, the courts in the USA and the United Kingdom have begun to scrutinize government attempts to restrict human rights in their war on terror”
“There is no stronger international community than global civil society. Through its members and allies in the human rights movement, Amnesty International is committed to reviving and revitalizing the vision of human rights as a powerful tool for concrete change. Through the voices and visions of millions of men and women, we will carry the message of human rights forward,” concludes Irene Khan and, from the CCS, we fully join this pledge.
Carlos Gª Fajardo
Translated by Carlos Miguélez
This article was published in the Center of Collaborations for Solidarity (CCS) on 02/21/2005