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The Other Face is not Necessarily Glowing

The Other Face is not Necessarily Glowing

Saturday, 13 March, 2021 - 12:15

Protecting human rights is a goal that mankind aspires to achieve, meaning it has a beautiful, glowing face so long as it is credible and based on facts. However, on the other hand, if we are being honest, it also has an ugly, dark face when it is politicized and exploited to further interests and make gains. Also, you cannot give lessons, lecture and criticize others about their human rights record while you are afflicted with glaring human rights violations, so don't throw stone if your house is made of glass.


Justice, since the time of primitive societies, has been an obsession that dominates social consciousness. Western philosophy has produced remarkable intellectual flickers on these humanitarian questions, which we put forward for further enrichment. The men's actions usually stem from the mind, as Kant explains through his idealist doctrine, in which he links the meaning of moral law with the concept of goodwill, which is imposed by duty and through which the social good is realized.


As for the English thinker Clifford, he believes that every human being has two selves, one individual and another social and that the moment once these two selves come into conflict, the conscience is born, and it is then that the social (moral) good materializes. Thus, the secret lies in ethics, and it is in ethic that Jean-Jacques Rousseau (the man behind the concept of the social contract) saw ethics as a process of cross-fertilization and excretion; that is, the cross-fertilization of the mind (politics) with the conscience (ethics) leads to the stage of secretion, the production of law (the contract). This means that ethical behavior preserves the growth of life, as the thinker Herbert Spencer puts it. This is a beautiful and philosophical statement, but the important question is, how does the West deal with it?


Human rights currently constitute a new source of legitimacy; indeed, they defy the realist school's traditional conceptions about the relationships between states, and it has made global oversight an inevitable reality, rendering the protection of human rights a principle and a reality after it had been an idealistic slogan.


Through my legal experience, I have found that some international human rights organizations are dignified, independent, credible, and have a history of committing to principles that they do not waver from when they issue their international reports. With that, they go off the track of professionalism sometimes because of the directives of those who prepared the reports and their claims that everything within them is true. Here, we find the real point of contention, as this reflects on the institution's credibility and status. The personal stances of this or that individual have a clear impact on the way reports are drafted and formulated, and these can inflate and exaggerate matters per their directives. Although reputable institutions have certain mechanisms for issuing such reports, the responsibility is unfortunately on the writer's shoulders. The truth is they have been undermined by a few employees, and some of them, unfortunately, are Arabs with certain positions about some countries. They thereby continue to exploit human rights reports to discredit this or that country.


As for the annual human rights reports issued by major countries' foreign ministries, most of them are politicized because of political infiltration and the harnessing of the human rights issues to further the political agenda of the state issuing the report. The reports are exploited to meet certain objectives, and thus, through the reports' propaganda, it imposes pressures and dictates on this or that country to achieve what it wants.


In certain countries, especially when the left comes to power, governments rally around these reports, promote their veracity and use them to further their political agenda by issuing statements in which they decry the supposed human rights violations to subordinate and blackmail whomever they want. Readers of these reports say that these states' human rights record is clean as a whistle, though the reality is otherwise.


There is a contrast between global conceptions of human rights and the glaringly selective implementation methods and double-standards adopted by Western states. This imbalance is apparent when they respect these rights inside their countries and violate them outside these countries. The West speaks a different language when it comes to the rights of peoples or minorities in certain European countries, not to mention the state terrorism of countries like Iran in their treatment of Sunni citizens.


Another issue is respect for peoples' cultures. What the West believes is a human rights violation, the Muslim community may see as the opposite, a practice that lies at the heart of its culture and beliefs, such as the death penalty as a punishment, for example. Freedom of opinion is another example; it is at the core of the rights emphasized by human rights organizations, but it is appropriate that they have a ceiling that averts harm to others. Freedom of opinion is relative and should be restricted when it comes to certain topics, such as the issues of contempt for religions and insulting of everything religious, because this is a serious matter aimed at inciting hatred and discrimination.


The West's problem is in the conflict between principles and interests. Though it advocates enlightened ideas, the West's dilemma becomes apparent when it cannot adapt its proposals for Muslims, as shown by their avoidance of taking the religious, cultural and intellectual dimensions of societies, though international law grants all states the right to sovereignty, giving them the right, for example, to shape their legal and criminal justice systems in accordance to their cultural and social makeup.


Clinging to the universalism of human rights while respecting peoples' cultures is a formula for success, as it removes the human rights' ugly face from view, thereby doing away with the West's contradictions.


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