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  • Article threeeveryone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

  • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

  • Last year, we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  • And it was an appalling year for human rights.

  • How do I know?

  • Because until only a few months ago, I was the U.N. human rights chief.

  • These attacks cannot go unanswered.

  • And I've seen violations of human rights firsthand.

  • Probable genocide in Myanmar;

  • Imprisonment of journalists in Egyptand their murder in Turkey;

  • Authoritarian-minded leaders elected in Brazil, Hungary, India, Russia, Italy and Austria;

  • Oppression in China, Cambodia, Venezuela;

  • Children separated from their parents and locked up right here in Trump's America.

  • And I haven't even mentioned North Korea.

  • Most of our political leaders are morally weak, shortsighted and mediocre.

  • It used to be that abuses were called out and many were stopped.

  • Human rights violators had something to fear.

  • But today, the silence of those public officials is astounding.

  • Their hypocrisy, sickening.

  • And I fear they're no longer willing or able to defend the human rights of all people.

  • And as a result, the worst human rights offenders are able to act with complete impunity.

  • In all conflicts, you will see the most extreme of human violence.

  • A bus filled with schoolchildren was struck by a missile.

  • Nothing was seemingly being done to prevent these sorts of attacks, which were becoming commonplace.

  • In Syria, if you measured the rhetoric of Western leaders, the rhetoric was quite strident.

  • “I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets.”

  • In Yemen, where we see children being blown up in buses, in marketplaces, schools, attending a wedding.

  • I don't recall ever hearing a heavy condemnation of those airstrikes.

  • What it says about Western leaderswell, it doesn't say very much.

  • The way they prioritize their defense contracts seems to produce silence.

  • So there may well be a connection, a nexus between weapons sales.

  • “$3 billion, $533 million.”

  • And the resulting muted response by Western governments to what was happening in Yemen.

  • The Rohingya population in northern Rakhine, in October of 2016, there was an attack.

  • And what we saw was frightful, the most extreme actions taken, even against small children, and seemed to be systematic in its organization and planning.

  • There was a conference soon after the attacks.

  • Maybe not even a single person attending mentioned the word Rohingya, which is the right to self-identification by that particular community.

  • And if that's taken away from you, then what do you become?

  • You become almost disposable.

  • The U.N. itself is far from perfect.

  • There wasn't resistance.

  • Yemen, for example, when we had asked for an investigation, it took us a number of years before we actually had one approved.

  • On Myanmar, it took us a few months before we could get to that position.

  • My term ended after four years.

  • It was clear to me that if I wanted an extension, what they would have asked me to do is not to discuss this issue or that issue and to start bargaining.

  • And I wasn't going to be holding a position like this and then remain silent.

  • It's easy to think, now that we have our human rights, they will be there forever.

  • They cannot be taken away.

  • But they are like the air you breathe.

  • You don't think about it until you are gasping for your last breath.

  • Know and defend your rights and cruciallythe rights of others as well.

Article threeeveryone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

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World Leaders are Failing Human Rights. Here's Why. | NYT Opinion

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    Celeste posted on 2019/07/13
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