The U.N. Charter: Has It Delivered Its Promise?
The preamble of the United Nations states:
"WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED
- to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
- to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
- to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
- to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
AND FOR THESE ENDS
- to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
- to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
- to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
- to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all people,
HAVE RESOLVED TO COMBINE OUR EFFORTS TO ACCOMPLISH THESE AIMS
Accordingly, our respective Governments, through representatives assembled in the city of San Francisco, who have exhibited their full powers found to be in good and due form, have agreed to the present Charter of the United Nations and do hereby establish an international organization to be known as the United Nations."
During the 73rd UN General Assembly meeting the world community heard loud and clear from the world leaders and dignitaries that the UN has failed to live up to the lofty goals for which it was created after the World War II. As a matter of fact, human race is in a dire state today than ever before in the last 70 years.
The Ground Reality
Millions of people have been rendered homeless as a result of war, political unrest and economic insecurity that have become the new norms these days. Some four million Syrians have fled their homes to escape murderous assaults from its own government - the criminal Assad regime. They have found refuge in neighboring Turkey, which continues to spend billions of dollars to look after them.
Almost a million Rohingya Muslims and Hindus have been forced out of the Rakhine (formerly Arakan) state of Buddhist Myanmar who have now settled inside Bangladesh since September 2017 to escape government-orchestrated genocide there. Tens of thousands of Rohingyas have also been killed and gang raped by Suu Kyi’s government forces and Buddhist fascists that want to make Myanmar religiously free of non-Buddhists. The Myanmar government forces are also at war with separatists in various Christian-majority states.
In next-door India, some 100,000 Kashmiri civilians have been killed by government security forces since 1989 to ensure that the Muslim residents of the restive territory are denied their overdue rights to a long-promised plebiscite to determine whether they want to secede or remain part of the so-called ‘democratic’ India.
Under Narendra Modi’s rule, Hindutvadi fascists are rejuvenated and are making a mockery of country’s secular constitution and thousand-year old history of religious co-existence by lynching minority Muslims daily under the pretext of saving ‘sacred’ cows. In the BJP-run state of Assam some 4 million Indians have been rendered stateless a la Myanmar-style. Because of their non-Assamese heritage, they are falsely accused, much like in Myanmar, to be infiltrators from Bangladesh. Deleted from the (National Registration Card) list are 3.8 million Bengali-speaking Indians of which 2.5 million are Hindus, the rest 1.3 million are Bengali-speaking Muslims. Names of some people who appeared on voters’ list way back in 1965 and 1966 were deliberately left out this time. Even family members of a freedom fighter have been excluded. Some 1,200 people, including children, have also been kept in detention camps because they protested.
India has also threatened to expel nearly 40,000 Rohingya migrants it says have illegally settled in the country, including 15,000 registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), provoking sharp criticism from the UN.
While their troops may be involved in periodic stand-offs on the disputed Himalayan border and they may be competing for influence in Myanmar, both India and China are on the same page regarding the . Within the UN, they have tried to protect Suu Kyi’s government that has been committing war crimes against the Rohingya. These two governments have huge infrastructure projects in the Rakhine state, the ancestral home of the Rohingya.
The India-funded Kaladan multi-modal project is designed to provide a sea-river-land link to its remote northeast through Sittwe (formerly Akyab) port. The China-funded Kyauk Phyu port is to be the starting point of an oil-gas pipeline and railroad link to Yunnan state in China. The wider efforts to take Myanmar oil and gas from the Shwe gas field to Guangzhou, China, .
The Plight of the Uyghurs
The broad and sustained offensive on human rights that started after President Xi Jinping took power some six years ago shows no sign of abating. The death of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo in a hospital under heavy guard last year highlighted the Chinese government’s deepening contempt for human rights. The near future for human rights appears grim, especially as Xi is expected to remain in power at least until 2022.
In , a nominally autonomous region with 11 million Turkic Muslim Uyghurs, authorities stepped up mass surveillance and the security presence despite the lack of evidence demonstrating an organized threat. They also adopted new policies denying Uyghurs cultural and religious rights. The authorities have long persecuted them, collectivizing them, their residences, requiring them to submit to and biometric tests.
The Chinese government has long conflated peaceful activism with violence in Xinjiang, and has treated many expressions of Uyghur identity, including language and religion, as threatening. Since October of 2016, authorities have arbitrarily recalled passports from residents of Xinjiang. Since about April of 2017 authorities have arbitrarily detained thousands of Uyghurs and other Muslims in centers where they were forced to undergo “patriotic education.” Authorities also ordered Uyghur students studying abroad, including in Egypt, to return to Xinjiang; and in July, Egyptian authorities rounded up those who had failed to return, possibly at China’s behest. By September 2017, about 20 Uyghurs were forcibly repatriated to Xinjiang while 12 were released. Some of those who returned were detained; a Xinjiang court sentenced Islamic scholar Hebibulla Tohti to 10 years in prison after he returned with a doctorate degree from Egypt’s Al-Azhar University. In April 2017, the Xinjiang Counter-Extremism Regulations, which prohibit the wearing of “abnormal” beards or veils in public places, became effective. Also, in April, Xinjiang authorities issued a new rule banning parents from naming children with dozens of names with religious connotations on the basis that they could “exaggerate religious fervor.”
Chinese officials, since early 2018, have imposed regular “” on families in Xinjiang. These visits are part of the government’s increasingly invasive “Strike Hard” campaign in the region. During these visits, families are required to provide officials with information about their lives and political views, and are subjected to political indoctrination. Since 2014, from government agencies, state-owned enterprises, and public institutions to regularly visit and surveil the Uyghur people. Cadres also carry out political indoctrination, including promoting “Xi Jinping Thought” and explaining the Chinese Communist Party’s “care” and “selflessness” in its policies toward Xinjiang. They also warn people against the dangers of “pan-Islamism,” “pan-Turkism,” and “pan-Kazakhism” – ideologies or identities that the government finds threatening. The authorities expect all of these to be done through “heart-to-heart” talks about everyday life.
It is that as are confined to re-education camps. There they are detained arbitrarily by Chinese authorities and subjected to forcible re-education that includes declaring Muslim worship sinful, until the government decides to release them. The camps are described as an organized form of “.” News reports indicate that the children of Uyghur parents sent to these re-education camps are , where, as one orphanage worker described it, the children are “.”
As of September 2017, more than were posted in the province. Reports indicate that Uyghurs experience increased , arrests, interrogations, at checkpoints, and forced assimilation. A Freedom House on the state of religious freedom in China suggests that Uyghur Muslims are among the most highly persecuted religious groups in China.
It goes without saying that China’s deeply invasive forced assimilation practices of Hanification against Muslims not only violate basic rights but are also likely to foster and deepen resentment in the region.
Alarming Events in Palestine
At least 200 Palestinians have been killed since the Gaza protests began on March 30 of this year to demand the right of return to lands that Palestinian families fled or were driven from on Israel’s founding in 1948. The Zionist leaders have mastered the art of lying and deception. As they expand their illegitimacy over the Occupied Palestine and kill the native Palestinians mercilessly, they are mindful that their evil ploys to make the Holy Land ready for the emergence of ad-Dajjal still face uphill battles. After all, Iran and Turkey remain as the last vestiges of resistance against the powerful apartheid state of Israel. So, the conspiracy goes on to destroy these two countries by hook or crook.
It was no accident that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on September 27, 2018 brought his dog-and-pony show once again to the United Nations General Assembly and advised the world that he knew of a secret site of Iran’s (non-existent) nuclear weapons facility. He urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to immediately rush to that site, discover the horrible weapons, and thus condemn Iran. Have not we seen enough of such charades from the arrogant leaders of the state of Israel that never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in the last few decades?
We live at a time when the grip of demonic forces – thanks to the war criminals like Netanyahu and Trump – seems ever strong. With their deep connection with the military industrial complex, they want to bring about war through chaos, deception and lies while maintaining their python-like hold on the WMDs. Perhaps the IAEA should inspect Israel’s nuclear facilities. Would Israel allow such inspection of their own sites?
Thanks to the currency manipulators and Trump’s threats, the Turkish Lira dropped by 40 percent since the beginning of the year. It did not matter that the Turkish government has only 28.5% debt as percentage of the GDP (compared to 236.4% for Japan and 82.3% for the USA, according to 2017 year-end ), and that the economy has been bullish for many years in a row with all the positive economic measures.
It is sad to see these days the obscene powers of the rich and powerful countries that could break the economy of any country by design despite all the fundamentals being at the right place. Any consumable product could be falsely declared as unhealthy to bring a country’s economy to its knees. Consider, e.g., the case of Malaysian palm oil, which is labelled as dangerous to health. Under the pretext of saving the habitat of animals, i.e., the jungles, even palm diesel is condemned. Forgotten there are the facts that 60% of Malaysian (compared to 30% forest coverage in the world) and that such boycott is depriving hundreds of thousands of people from jobs and a decent life. Malaysia has been practicing sustainable forestry management for more than a century, long before it became fashionable.
It goes without saying that the world is in a state of turmoil - economically, socially and politically. The trade war between the USA and China, the two most powerful economies, is wreaking havoc and the rest of the world is feeling the pain.
Socially, new values challenging the concept of marriage and family, of moral codes, of respect, etc., are undermining the age-old family and moral values. Gender-based violence is at a new high making the lives of many difficult, let alone threatened.
Frustrated and marginalized, nihilism has become the new elixir for some confused young men and women. These neo-Kharijites are tying bombs to their bodies and blowing themselves up in crowded places to cause maximum casualty. Billions of dollars are spent every year to ensure security of the travelers, but terrorism has not abated an iota. Unless the root causes of terrorism are found and weeded out, and hearts and minds are won, we will only be wasting our time and money.
Consider in this case the Palestinian problem. In 1948, Palestinian land was seized to form the state of Israel. The Palestinians were massacred and forced to leave their ancestral land. They tried to fight a conventional war with help from sympathetic neighbors. The powerful friends of Israel ensured the failure of this attempt. More Palestinian land was seized in the 1967 war. And Israeli settlements continue to be built on more and more confiscated Palestinian land and the Palestinians are denied access to these settlements built on their land. The apartheid walls built around the illegal settlements have created new Bantustans for the Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories. Blocked on all sides, even access to the Mediterranean Sea, Gaza has been turned into the largest concentration camp in our time. Food and medicine carrying aid ships to the stranded Palestinians in Gaza were not only stopped from reaching the Gaza coast, these were also attacked in international waters by the Israelis killing aid workers.
The fight for justice has turned into an imbalanced war of the Palestinian David trying to fight the blood-thirsty Israeli Goliath with kites, catapults and stones. While their ineffective weapons don’t kill any Israeli, they continue to be shot with live bullets and arrested. Massive retaliations continue to be mounted by Israel, rocketing and bombing hospitals, schools and other buildings, killing innocent civilians including school children and hospital patients. Thousands are incarcerated. International laws are broken with full disregard to human lives and properties.
Despite all such criminal activities the powerful countries around the globe from the USA to India continue to reward the apartheid state of Israel. Ignoring the advice of many experts, the U.S. President Trump has even recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In his speech on November 1974 at the UNGA, the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) leader said, “I came here Mr. President holding the gun of a revolutionary in one hand, and an olive branch in the other. Do not topple the olive branch from my hand, don’t make the olive branch fall from my hand.”
Forty-four years have passed since that memorable day in the UN, and still the Palestinians are without a state. They are denied the right to self-determination. They are waiting for the world, esp. the UNSC, to intervene on their behalf. Will they ever see justice?
In his speech at the UNGA, President Erdogan of Turkey warned: “The efforts of those, who do not raise their voices against the oppression of the Palestinians, to reduce the assistance for them, are only increasing the courage of the oppressors. Even if the whole world turns its back, we, as Turkey, will continue to be on the side of the oppressed Palestinians and to protect the historical and legal status of our first kiblah, Al-Quds.” He urged the international community to protect the legal and historical status of Jerusalem.
The idea of peace without justice is an illusion and is morally repugnant. Unless the Palestinians can return to reclaim their land and live as equal citizens warring against them will neither stop their legitimate aspirations nor stop terrorism. And as we have seen in recent decades, others (non-Palestinians and non-Arabs) are willing to become the Palestinian Spartacus who don’t mind dying for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
In this age of internet connectivity, truly, local problems no longer remain local. They draw supporters, even from faraway places, from concerned global citizens for a legitimate and yet neglected grievance. While such facts should deter any oppressor or usurper from committing its crime, the sad fact is that arrogance of power often blinds it from seeing what is so obvious!
This article was first published on October 9, 2018.