Universal Declaration of Human Rights



Mohammad Jamil

TOMORROW the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Day will be observed throughout the world, as on December 10, 1948 United Nations General Assembly had adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Unfortunately, the event will be marred by the outrageous act of US President Donald Trump who has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced to move the US Embassy there. This is violation of United Nations Charter as well as resolutions committed by the founder-member of the United Nations. Arab and European leaders have warned this could spark violence and destroy any hopes of reviving the Mideast peace process. Ahead of the announcement, US allies in the Middle East and Europe had urged Trump to refrain from taking steps they fear could ignite violence and stir unrest across the region. But Trump says that Jerusalem Embassy Act of October 1995 was passed to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
Yet, the US had never endorsed the Jewish state’s claim of sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem and its future was linked to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace agreement. However, all US presidents since then had been issuing waivers after every six months because of the national security concerns. Anyhow, there has been worldwide criticism on Trump’s decision from left, right and centre. Palestinian President Mehmood Abbas said that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will lead to endless religious war. Referring to a broad international consensus, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Jerusalem’s status was an issue to be decided through negotiations. “In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear there is no alternative to the two-state solution.” At the Vatican, Pope Francis prayed that “Jerusalem’s status quo would be preserved to avoid adding new tension to a world, already shaken and scarred by many cruel conflicts.”
Leaders from Britain, France, Germany and Italy were critical of Trump’s decision. French President Emmanuel Macron called the US move regrettable. British Prime Minister Theresa May said she intended to speak with Trump and express concerns. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meeting in the Turkish capital with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, said the president’s stance would provide a boost for terrorist groups. OIC and Arab League will hold extraordinary meetings soon to discuss the issue. If the developed countries are sincere in eliminating the scourge of terrorism and make this world a better place to live in, it should help the developing countries so that they can allocate adequate funds for health, education and other social sectors in their countries. In fact, it is the responsibility of the founder signatories to the charter to help the millions of impoverished so that they could lead a decent a life.
The UN was founded in 1945 after World War II to replace the League of Nations, which had failed to stop wars between countries, and could not provide protection to the weaker nations. The United Nations Organisation’s stated aims are: facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace. But big and mighty have over the years showed utter disregard to the aims and objects of the UN. India and Israel top the list of human rights violators and they continue committing atrocities on Kashmiris and Palestinians respectively. However, they have failed to break their will and determination during the last seven decades. There is consensus among analysts that Kashmir and Palestine are the flashpoints, and real threat to world peace. And if international community fails to implement United Nations Security Councils resolutions, the desire for a peaceful world will remain an illusion.
When people of Kashmir realized that international community would neither pressurize Indian into implementing the UNSC resolutions nor it would persuade India to put an end to its barbarities, Kashmiris took up the arms in 1989, and since then more than 90000 Kashimiris have laid down their lives since 1989. In Pakistan, some analysts had radiated an aura of optimism and pinned high hopes on the Congress leadership for the resolution of all outstanding issues including the Kashmir dispute, but they have now been utterly disappointed over India’s intransigence. There are others who are skeptical about resumption of the stalled composite dialogue till the Congress is at the helm of affairs because Kashmir was forcibly occupied during Congress rule. Anyhow, if India does not resolve the Kashmir dispute, the people of the region would live in trepidation because both India and Pakistan are nuclear states.
Palestinian question is of equal importance, and there is a perception that its resolution will have positive effect on tackling terrorism in its long-term perspective. For lasting peace and stability in the world, both Kashmir and Palestine issues have to be resolved. The UN and the big powers should ask Israel to put an end to its naked, contemptible and brazen aggression on Palestinians. If the US and the West continue pampering Israel, the billowing flames could engulf the entire region. Then Egyptian President Anwar Sadat while addressing a joint meeting of the US House and Senate as long ago as 1975 had said: “I urge you, in the most emphatic term, to lend the Palestinian people your understanding and support. Help them to overcome despair and frustration. The continuation of neglect and defiance is but an open invitation to violence, negativism and extremism.”
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.

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