Are Human Rights Universal, Or a Reflection of Western Interest
PAPER NEEDS EDITING AND PARAPHRASING GRAMMAR Basic Universal Human Rights are universal, however the argument that a reflection of equality where all individuals are subjected and are entitled to equal treatments disregarding of one's ethnic background or race . Human rights are universal and are subject to be applied to all persons around the globe without being discriminated by religion and culture. There are concepts used to explain how the human rights originated from the western countries. Such as the USA and how they were developed and imposed by other nations in the different parts of the world where human rights got violated which led to the formation Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights got executed in areas where social, political, religious and economic injustices such as slavery and extrajudicial killings got consecutively practiced . Most of the states in Africa and Arabian lands were mostly affected having high numbers of victims. In the Muslim world, social injustices get much felt as the Sharia laws being in implementation do not concur with the human rights. In most of the Muslim world, the rights of children and women get infringed in such a manner that children are used as vessels of war and therefore are at the forefront during attacks . The innocence of children is taken as a hideout by extremists to transport drugs, ammunitions and often used to gather information and logistics of war. In the African setup, most of the communities practice community revatism whereby they tend to focus much on their cultural settings. This way they give less attention to rights to the so-called less fortune in the communities such as the widows, children, women, and people with disabilities. Those with disabilities are considered to be cursed and are not given any respect despite their age . Furthermore, girls and females in some communities in Africa such as those of Maasai, Samburu undergo female circumcision as a rite of passage and as a necessity for one to get married. The Africans, however, see no disrespect for women as it is by their culture. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is considered as inhuman in the western setup and also in the UDHR ; this is because the practice gets conducted under unhygienic conditions, and crude tools such as knives and unsterilized blades get used. The circumcised girls are considered adults and are deemed to get married soon. This practice makes most girls deprived of the right to education as a majority they drop out of schools as soon as they circumcised. Early marriages are on the rise in the African continent as young girls get forced by their parents after circumcision . Parents do this in exchange of livestock for their young daughters depriving them of pursuing further education. In the African set up the man pay the dowry to marry a woman while in Asian countries such as India women pay dowry, a contradiction to the western culture where no dowry gets paid by both parties. Wife battering in the African setup is also an issue of concern. Men are the heads of the families and issues commands over women and children hence dictates what gets done . Mostly women and children have no choice rather than obey the man's orders failure to which ends up with careful battering as a way of disciplining. In African and some parts of Arabian states, this practice is culturally acceptable but acts in contradiction with the human rights charter advocate for equal rights and opportunities for both men and women. Also, the freedom of expression is not a guarantee to women in Islamic and some parts of Africa as acts as the spokesman on behalf of the family. According to Ignatieff, M. "Taliban stone women to death when caught adulterating" pg xiii).Within Sharia law, women receive fewer rights, far less than men do, and a great inequality exists between the genders. Gentlemen can use physical force against ladies at any time he feels so. Human rights get further violated in the Islamic countries where Sharia laws get put into practice. The Sharia laws act in total contradiction with the human rights as it advocates for the principle " ... a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye..." if a person is caught committing adultery he/she is stoned to death ; this indicates how neglected gender equality is within the sharia laws. Men have the upper hand to retain children in case of divorce or separation hence women have nothing to claim similarly a single woman cannot testify in a court of law as a single man can do. Evidence provided by gentlemen is more weighted than that produced by women. Religious extremism conducted by the Islamic states such Nigeria, Somalia and Syria in the jihad war tends to violate the human rights. The human rights charter outlines the freedom of conscience and liberty to belong to the religion of choice; however, it prohibits individuals from having conflicting interests with those of others. The jihad termed as the ‘Holy War' is used by the Islam to propagate war against Christians as they are termed pagans and need to wipe them out, this has led to the increased persecution of Christians since the times of Adolf Hitler in the persecution of Jews during the first world war. Enslavement and killing of innocent people in the glory of religion has contradicted with the human rights which advocates for the right to life of all people HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE WESTERN CULTURE The human rights emanated from the west and hence saw the need to impose them on non-western countries. Different schools of thought have been postulated to show how western cultures emerged and soon spread all over the world soon to get regarded as the universal human rights that were to be effected even to non-western states . The concept of Liberalism arose as the need for the enlightenment of non-western countries making them aware of their human rights in need to restore order . It emerged from the consensus from human rights advocates, that everyone has a right to be respected, have equal and moral worth and of which the human rights were capable of accomplishing. The western states being the pioneer of the human rights saw the need to make other non-western countries aware of their rights. During the times of introduction of Christianity to non-western countries, missionaries were used to reach the interior people preaching and converting as many pagans. The western nations had different motives and used Christianity to hide their ill motives . Missionaries' arrival in the non-western countries opened up the way for other Europeans to invade the states. Spigiel, J. in his article, 'The Virtue of Patience' argues that "to be patient is to endure discomfort without complaint" (page 1) morality of Christianity taught people the new art of subjection and the willingness to obey the inner voice. These ideologies of slavery were used for domination and later control of the non-western state . It's through the missionary action that economic exploitation of continents such Africa came to happen as more and more white men kept intruding in the continent forcibly displacing the indigenous people and rendering them homeless with no other economic activities to depend on as a source of food and livelihood. Many groups of people who were displaced became squatters; some were forced into slavery while others got killed as a result of rebellion against the European settlement and activities. The most dehumanizing way is how the slaves got captured and how they got treated in the farms. Despite the teachings of the Bible that all human beings are equal and got created in Gods likeness, the western countries such Britain, Germany, French and Portuguese continued to invade non-western countries now to exploit and colonize the prospective countries entirely. Christianity had already prepared the way as people had already been taught to be obedient and therefore could not resist any rule imposed to them by their so-called masters. The art of equality got abandoned, and now other rival religious groups such as Islam had started taking effect to counter the unjustified denial of the human rights. Islamic religion led to the establishment of Islamic states . Economic exploitation was the primary reason for colonization of non-western countries so that they could impoverish the continents and bring them down to their knees; this was made possible most of these countries depend on the western nations solely for donations and aid. The failure of a country to create good relations with the West leads to a suction of all grants and donations that were being channeled to that country until the country decides to abide by the regulations provide; this makes the countries beg for resources which were rightfully theirs. The concept of imperialism claim that human rights, colonialism, and Imperialism originate from an imbalance of power which enables stronger nations to control weaker states economically, politically and culturally through laws and influence . Imperialism gets described as a policy of extending control over foreign entities as a means of acquisition of empires. The European countries use imperialism to areas on which they have interests on while using the banner of human rights as the shield. Many countries, especially in Africa and Arabian countries have fallen victims under this concept. The USA invaded the Libyan government under the rule of Colonel Muammar Gadaffi; they claimed that Colonel was a dictator and triggered human rights activism in Libya; this led to revolution and rise of opposition against the government, a coup to overthrow the then government under Colonel Muammar Gadaffi. The crisis emerged and rose to uncontrollable levels, and the country was in chaos. The American government craved for this to happen so that they could exploit the oil-rich country and cripple down their economy . The use of NATO forces as a way to restore peace in Libya worked as planned as the western people set up their camps along the oil-rich regions, mined and airlifted to their mother country America. By the time they were through many people had been killed including the Libyan president . The human rights kept silent and ignored the chaos that took place in Libya, held no one accountable but blamed the fallen president for dictatorship. A new government was soon set up to replace the so-called dictator government but faced significant problems as their economy had crippled down. Oil, their main mineral, and backbone of the nation's economy had been exhausted. Now the Libyan government, a country that used to stand on its own now depends on foreign aids and donations. All these problems were brought up by the western states in their way to uphold the doctrine of human rights of equality and freedom of speech and movement. In his book 'a global intellectual history,’ Lorca, A. states that "The Western nations have the right to extract resources... not exploited by the non-western countries..."(Page 212). The West continues to harass non-western states still in the quest to restore order and enlighten then citizens of those countries. The introduction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), targets the leaders in the Arabian and African continents. In Kenya after the 2007 post-election violence, the human rights watch was among the groups of organizations that sought to restore peace . Several negotiations and investigations get held, and the so-called perpetrators of war summoned to the ICC for trials, but fortunately, the cases never succeeded as the investigations were groundless and involved political sidelines to favor the opponents. Similar cases have happened in Africa, President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo became a victim and summoned to the ICC. The president of Sudan Omar El Bashir has been on the wanted list of the ICC as he got accused of running a dictatorship government and is claimed to have committed a lot of crimes against humanity. Economic and political exploitation does not only end in Africa. The western states continue to extend their hand to the Arabian countries that are rich in oil. The killing of Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan by the UN Special Forces contributed to further aggression of the Muslims leading to the creation of ISIS . It's through imperialism that the western states added to the setting up of empires of which they had full control of so that they could be able to exploit and again destroy the economy of the subjected countries. According to Lansford, T. argues that "Disputes from fellow members over trade hinders regional cooperation making it hectic to enforce human rights," (Page 1448) entirely. The lack of a standard body in the world such as a standard government hinders the full administration and execution of human rights; this is because most of the European countries consider themselves as being super powers. Countries like America, Russia, China, Germany, and England act autonomously and find other countries not capable of making their own and hence tend to make own rulings that are to be imposed and executed to the whole world . This act makes some countries inferior and is not even able to make decisions regarding their affairs but rather consult from well up countries on how they should run their governments. The superior countries tend to oppress the other nations by imposing stunning rules which favor their side; this denies the other countries the freedom of choice of partnership and on what basis they should engage. The human rights movements are authorized with the mandate to ensure that human rights are fully executed and maintained. Most of these movements arise from the west and tend to assume that all nations are implementing the doctrine of human rights entirely; this is not the case as most of the violations take place despite their presence. Refugee camps are one of the major areas that the rights of individuals get violated. The majority of the camps get run by the Western countries under the shades of the United Nations. People who find themselves in refugee camps are either victims of war from other countries and come to seek peace in a foreign nation or are individuals who have run out of their countries in search of food to sustain them in their daily lives. The refugee problem has led to the rise of extremism within the camps due to oppression by the security personnel entrusted to keep an eye to the refugees. The security personnel turn against the people within the field and treat them inhumanely . Rape cases among women and torture of men and youth who try to resist the oppression are evident; people get killed while others disappear without traces. All this happens in the eyes of the United Nations who claim to execute the human rights. The United Nations forces that get sent on peacekeeping missions do not enforce human rights to areas that they get addressed to; rather they tend to contradict them, they torture the innocent people in claims to get information . Many people get killed while others sustain serious injuries that leave them disabled and dependent on their relatives. In their quest to search for justice they end up being frustrated as they lack support from the governments to seek compensation. Justice for the weak has never got accomplished as it tends on to have weight on the Europeans states , an example being the International criminal court for justice (ICC). Most of the western countries are non-members, but rather push the Arabian and African countries to be part of it, in case any of the African countries try to pull out, they face significant opposition and even issued with threats of economic suction and statements of how the countries are unable to stand on themselves issued. The non-western countries are considered not to have a system that is capable and trustable to maintain and uphold integrity and justice provision in their states. These countries, therefore, get denied the freedom to exercise their governance to its citizens despite the presence of the constitution. Helton, A argues that "The international system of refugee protection doesn’t work as stipulated despite the diplomatic reassurances of states to uphold protection principles to the refugees in the asylum," (page 65). The western countries decline any treaties and doctrines put in place to enhance international unity. These nations tend to sink the economy of countries depending on tourism as a source of income by issuing travel advisories to their citizens . The current American president Donald Trump issued the ban on the Muslim travels to America without any consultation citing that the Muslim dominions were a significant threat and impending terror lived in them. These bans made all Muslim seem like agents of terrorism even in the American state. Some of the Muslims even get deported back to their countries in the fear that they could trigger terrorist actions in return. In the prisons most of the rights of individuals are not adhered to, victims have curtailed the freedom of expression and even tortured to death. The human rights never keep track of these events hence does not execute its mandate in the right way. Press, B. asserts that " Nations should protect people and that no one person within their jurisdiction should be deprived their right to liberty and security by religion and should bring to justice all perpetrators of these rights"(page 683). In religion, most of the churches such as the African Independent Churches and the Catholic churches are curtailed the freedom to choose the sermon of their choice, summons directly comes from the authority above of which the authorities happens to be from the western countries. In the Catholic denomination, for example, the samples come directly from Rome, the home of the pope. CONCLUSION Human rights being a concept from the western states have contributed significantly towards the achievement of human rights to each and every individual through human rights awareness and enlightenment. Major disrespect of human rights across the world reduced including the upholding of gender equality. Sensitization of the rights of women, youth, and persons with a disability also got achieved. Although human rights were a concept from the western states, it has continued to be misused by Western countries in their quest to economically cripple non-western countries to retain their relevance in power. The lack of a single independent regulatory body to oversee the implementation of human rights has continued to favor the western nations as they are paramount to dictate what get considered as a human right violation and which is not. The Sharia law continues to hinder the implementation of the human rights as they significantly contradict on especially on the equality of all genders. Christianity has also been used to subdue communities through obedience giving an upper hand to the western states to exploit them even against their wish. Therefore the human rights are not universal as they get only enjoyed by the powerful few individuals in power, but a reflection of the interest of the western state in their quest to control non-western states economically and maintain the levels of super powers. References Anderson, Benedict R. Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London New York: Verso, 2006. Print. Anghie, Antony. Imperialism, sovereignty and the making of international law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Archibugi, Daniele. The global commonwealth of citizens: toward cosmopolitan democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008. Print. 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