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When Trump dumped the UN Human Rights Council

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Saturday, 23 June 2018 00:34


By Nilantha Ilangamuwa

At last it has happened. US President Donald J. Trump has dumped the United Nations Human Rights Council, a premier body which over the past 70 years has been working towards protecting and promoting human rights. 

Pathetic! No other word would better describe such a decision influenced by the power grabbed by abusing the fundamental rights of the democratic citizen. If Xi Jinping of China or Chairman Kim Jong-un of North Korea made such a decision in their area of power then the world would have some sort of understanding about the decision because universal norms and principles are outside the system through which they were groomed and hold their current positions. But the question is whether the big seller of democracy has the right to hammer the rights of those systems through which it takes benefit – especially as a leader in a democracy. No doubt, it is indeed brutal. 

The stated reason by the Trump administration for its decision is that it was because of the Council’s anti-Israel policies. It is not because of the US’ long-term denial of access to the criminal sites - known as the black sites and prisons where inmates, treated worse than animals, are held by the US deep state - to the UN special rapporteurs and related officials assigned to the subject. Yes, it is just because of what the Trump administration has found to be the biased policies towards Israel implemented by the UN Human Rights Council.

Elated Israel

Apparently, the decision made by the Trump administration thrilled the Knesset in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, known as Bibi, who is currently the subject of a corruption inquiry, has bragged about the decision by hailing it as a “courageous decision against the hypocrisy and the lies”.  Bibi is happy because this way he can persecute and propel justice on his terms and continue his administration unhindered. But this unrealistic approach without addressing the root causes of the crisis between Palestine and Israel will never solve anything and will suffer the inevitable, despite the excessive political power that the current administration is using. That is exactly what history is leading us to understand in detail. 

It was Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion who, after making a decision to expel the Palestinians, said: “The old will die and the young will forget.” But history has proven that the old has died, true, which is a reality, but the young have neither forgiven nor forgotten. The violence goes on and is passing from generation to generation. 

However, what are the social and moral consequences of this decision to pull the United States of America from the UN Human Rights Council? And what are the prevailing alternatives to promote and protect basic human rights when the so-called superpower and its allies pull out from international institutes?

Trump’s decision to pull out from the Human Rights Council will create an interesting question over the US’s co-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka. What will happen to the co-sponsored resolution if the US is no longer there? That’s the question of the moment. This question will play an interesting role in local politics in the coming days.  ‘If Trump can, why can’t we?’ will be the question asked by those guilty of undermining and hiding the gross crimes committed against unarmed civilians in this island during the last few decades. Power will ‘liberate’ them but conscience will punish them if political power subjugates the criminal justice procedure.

However, there is no doubt that in their 70-year-old mission, the United Nations received more negative criticism than positive appreciation. It is indeed true that the United Nations requires immediate restructuring to enhance the rights of every man and woman on the planet towards equal opportunity to live freely as a human. But this cannot be achieved by a United Nations funded by few nations which are allocating a certain amount of the annual budget towards this fundamental value. It has to be a collaborative effort of all member states. Such an effort can draw up the plan to dig deep and find the root cause of the very problems of social disorder and address them adequately.

Political deal-making

On the one hand, the Trump administration is taking every possible action to make thicker wheeler-dealer politics as Trump himself reaffirmed – that his politics is nothing but making deals. By following in Trump’s footsteps, Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo described the importance of economic diplomacy at the Detroit Economic Club in Detroit, Michigan two days ago. I believe that this is the first time in US history that the Secretary of State is dumping issues such as human rights, rule of law and criminal justice to make way for economic deals. Can anyone imagine the lamentations of those souls that left US soil years ago after producing and promulgating the bill of rights after seeing what is happening under the Trump administration? 

On the other hand, Prime Minister Theresa May is taking radical steps to mark her own political milestones by caging and constraining the United Kingdom. The country produced one of the earliest laws, the Magna Carta in 1215, promulgated to devolve power to ensure the rights of the people under the king. Both these leaders are finding their own way by refusing to accept the existing system to gain personal political advantages.  

It is not rocket science to understand what will happen when the foundations of any construction is attacked. This is what is happening under the so-called populist political phenomenon. It is nothing but an example of ‘monsters’ in action, as described in Gramsci’s readings: “The old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born. Now is the time of monsters.”

In this situation, because of the rich historical contribution that they have made in restorative justice and protecting basic norms and ethics of mankind, the Scandinavian countries and their allies have a pivotal role to play in balancing global power and enhancing the rights of every man and woman on the planet. Mere criticism without a substantive alternative will lead us nowhere.  

Preventing forthcoming nightmares lies in collaboration rather than isolation. This crisis cannot be solved by engaging in mere criticism without constructive approach. With such an approach, the movement capable of consolidating countries and citizens for protecting and promoting human rights can be formed to correct the course.

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