Home / World / 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – why the UN has forgotten its principles – foreign policy

70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – why the UN has forgotten its principles – foreign policy

70 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948. The document was written as a result of the cruelties of German national socialism and World War II. The international community would say they would never let it happen again. The same rights for all people have been anchored and should be recognized by the nations of the world.

An expert commission led by Eleanor Roosevelt agreed on the document, which sought to protect human invincible dignity in thirty articles. A milestone in human history.

Seventy years and many massacres later, thousands of political prisoners are held in prisons in the world and more than 1

40 countries are tortured. But the UN Human Rights Council allows regimes as members who systematically commit the most serious human rights violations. The panel shall observe the overall observance of the human rights declaration and condemn violations. Current members include Saudi Arabia, China, Pakistan, Venezuela, Afghanistan and the Philippines …

Hillel Neuer is the head of the UN Watch Organization. Since 2004 he has documented global human rights violations and condemns the UN's failure in general. Together with 25 other human rights groups, he organizes the annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights – a kind of counterpart to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

While representatives of despotic regimes meet in the UN, Neuer offers his victims a stage and gives a voice to dissidents from Cuba and Venezuela to Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.

How did it happen? And what more can countries like Germany do to turn the tide back and return the UN to their principles? BILD met him for the interview.

PICTURE: Why is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights an important document in view of the global situation?

Hillel Neuer: "For decades we have seen how human rights activists in closed societies such as the former Soviet Union refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It has some legitimacy as the first document of its kind and the first international instrument that focuses on human rights and has been signed by almost all countries in the world. Previously, it was all about governments and relations between governments, not about the individual and his rights. This has led to a paradigm shift. "

So Today, the explanation has a brilliant force in addition to the UN?

New: "Absolutely. You can criticize the explanation here and there, but it stands for the right things and is one of the most translated documents in the world. The problem is international agreement. On December 10, people are sitting all over the world in countries without freedom, looking at this document. It's a time that gives them moral reinforcement and flow power. This document is a sign of hope for them. "

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Photo: Fredrik von Erichsen

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Hillel Neuer in an interview with BILD reporter Antje Schippmann Photo: Fredrik von Erichsen

What happened, why failed the implementation? Currently, countries such as Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Pakistan are in the UN Human Rights Council …

New: "Eleanor Roosevelt was chairman of the Universal Declaration, René Cassin was her vice and around the table sat Charles Malik from Lebanon, John Humphrey from Canada, and PC Chang from China. All idealistic people who meant it seriously. Then there were no longer individuals who were in the Commission, but governments. And governments – although they are democratic – have their own interests . "

Do democratic countries fail to respect human rights themselves in their own interests in the United Nations?

New: "Governments are not by themselves the best powers to execute human rights worldwide. We have major democracies here in Europe, but in terms of international pressure against human rights violators such as Iran, Saudi Arabia or China, they have their own interests. Today, at least half of the member states of the UN Human Rights Council are dictatorships. Not only are they bad for maintaining human rights, they are also the opposite. Countries like Cuba try hard to undermine the idea of ​​human rights. "

How are the democracies damaged? And what could they do to combat UN corruption?

New: "Democracy is silent on the one hand that horrible things happen in the United Nations and on the other hand they often do it themselves. For various reasons, for example, there are 56 Islamic nations that make resolutions against Israel Canada wants to be elected to the Security Council, they want 56 votes to support it. So, Canada changed its voting behavior in favor of these countries and has also begun supporting the UNRWA Palestinian Assistance Organization, although there are serious problems with anti-semitism and reverberation of terror. "

A short-term strategy.

New: "Yes, because in the long run it will be possible to allow for corruption of UN principles, which will ultimately harm even countries like Canada and the EU countries themselves. The UN will not disappear and for some reason they stand for something. For example, members of the UN Human Rights Council must show their human rights record. Anyone who has committed serious human rights violations may be removed from Council Article 8 of the Constitution. And yet: The largest human rights violators are sitting there and nobody removes them. Only Libya's dictator Gaddafi was once removed, a unique case. "

Should structural changes be needed? What can Germany do with the given methods?

New: "It's not about the reform of the UN institutions, it only distracts. It's about what you can achieve with available resources. To get a bad resolution and say no. The Arab states do not want 20 votes against the EU states, it's embarrassing to them. For example, if they knew the EU would vote no, they would reduce their resolutions against Israel.

In addition, Germany could at any time make good resolutions on the issue about oppression of women in Saudi Arabia or detained journalists in Turkey or for Buddhist monks in Tibet or for one million Muslims claimed in reeducation camps in Xinjiang province of China. However, we do not see any of these activities, either from Germany or from other EU countries, countries. And if there is a resolution it is usually very mild.

What about civil correction is human rights organizations opposed to this decline?

New: "Human groups like Amnesty International have done a good job in their history, but many have changed. At the Geneva Summit, we focus on human rights violations that clarify who violated human rights , as in Venezuela, where the government has detained Leopoldo Lopez – arbitrary arrest of a democratic opposition leader. Many human rights groups have moved away from this classic model.

Amnesty International used to be a clear advocate for political prisoners, but today, Amnesty International including poverty, economic and social equality. These are valid concerns that may even have roots in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but who is an innocent economic injustice? For many people, the guilty are capitalism, the western countries. But you can not identify who committed the violation human rights, who the victim is and what the crime is.

And so many activities of human rights groups today are moving away from classical political and civic rights and social and economic rights. The fight for human rights disappears and you move into a space where economic models compete with each other. The socialist model promises to be the best for the people, but in Venezuela, for example, it hurts the population. When human rights groups strive for a socialist economic policy, one thinks of human rights, and I think that's a problem. "

Why do you think why human rights have developed in this way?

New: " When Eleanor Roosevelt and René Cassin established the Human Commission, they had a great moral clarity. They had just defeated Hitler, Cassin on the side of Gaulle, Eleanor Roosevelt on her husband, US president, and they saw that sometimes you have to go to war to prevent major evil. In general, they had a somewhat moderate political attitude that many human rights activists lack today.

Some of the human rights groups who unfortunately decide today's discussion comes from the Cold War. They began as anti-imperialist peace groups and renamed human rights groups after the end of the Soviet Union. Still, they still remain in the left-wing political spectrum, and the ideology that drives them is often not just about the rights of the individual but also about anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism.

There is often an anti-western element. Unfortunately, these groups tend to be quieter in terms of Chavez or Maduro, and also relatively quiet against Cuba, as it does not fit into their story when human rights abusers are socialist governments. New: "The UN today has an alliance between the worst dictatorships, ie China, Cuba, Iran and others who runs an anti-western story. And then there are non-governmental organizations in the West that agree. This leads to a toxic overlap on many issues, whether it is Israel – a classic example where human rights groups like Amnesty support the UN.

So you're on the side of dictatorships that lead into dozens of anti-Israeli resolutions. It is a blend of worldview that has damaged the original idea of ​​human rights and human rights.

New: "Morris B. Abram was a young Jewish lawyer from Georgia who was founded by Morris B. Abram was part of Nuremberg's attempt after World War II and then returned to Georgia. There he quickly became a leading advocate of human and civic rights and a leading person in the civil rights movement in the face of former segregation.

He took Martin Luther King Jr. Out of prison twice, brought him along with Kennedy. In the 1960s he was an expert on a UN committee against discrimination. He presented one of the drafts that eventually became the basis of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1969). On January 13, 1964, he presented Abram's design. He saw how this world of human rights was corrupted. He was a leading voice for the black bourgeois movement in the United States and saw the movement turn to extremists, with Malcolm X, for example, replacing the classic model for individual human rights.

But Abram did not change and was excluded from the human rights world in the 1970s. Another example is Irwin Cotler, former Canadian Justice Minister and Human Rights Attorney. He stands to the left of all questions, but if he sees violations of human rights in Venezuela, he will appeal to them. "

What are you hoping, how will it mark the 80th anniversary of the declaration? The UN is ordered? And you continue for so long, even if you are considered" the most hated man in the United Nations "?

New: " We have no choice, even if it's still the case! You never know when things will change in the world. I hope that the victims we meet in our human rights work will one day take the place they deserve. Just like Vaclav Havel, who was first destroyed as an enemy and then became president of his country. The same thing happened in Poland, in South Africa. I hope one day Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma will be the leader of Venezuela. And Saudi Arabia Raif Badawi will be in the UN Human Rights Council instead of representatives of this murderous regime. "

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