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Article three—everyone 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 Egypt—and 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 leaders—well, 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 crucially—the rights of others as well.
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World Leaders are Failing Human Rights. Here's Why. | NYT Opinion

2629 Folder Collection
Celeste published on July 14, 2019    Celeste translated    Evangeline reviewed
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