Re: Human rights, violence and genocide


Life and Issues with Tunde Thompson
[email protected] 

Your column on the topic Human Rights as a solution to violence and genocide published on Monday, December 10, 2012, refers. Thanks for the nice piece. I will like to humbly add to the extant United Nations’ Declaration on Human Rights (UNDHR), the inalienable right to live and work in a healthy environment. And I am inclined to see a healthy environment (comprising the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and ionosphere), as one which is completely devoid of all kinds of pollution (which could be industrial or domestic; radioactive, chemical and biological), and with which man is in a balanced interaction.

The understanding is that a healthy environment conduces to healthy living and the actualization of one’s potentials. If this is adopted and made an instrument to be implemented by all, including the world’s military powers, it will certainly help to enforce all the Nuclear Test Ban Treaties and also ensure better disposal of industrial, human and animal wastes.

I agree with the need for a zealous implementation of the Declaration. The problem is not with the substance of the Declaration, but that of adapting or integrating it into the strategic policies of members -nations of the UNO. Therefore, the lukewarm attitude of member-nations of the UNO to the implementation of the Declaration has reduced it to a mere paper work and a statement of good intentions. Some countries are afraid of interference in their internal affairs under the cover of the UNDHR. Groups purporting to fight for Human Rights (apparently sponsored by hostile agencies from abroad operating under the cover of NGOS), have taken advantage of such a Declaration to foment trouble in their own countries.

At best, countries have selectively implemented the articles embodied in the Declaration, carefully avoiding anything that will jeopardize their internal affairs. It has been written a good number of times (and I don’t seem to know the aim) that the killing of Mohammed Yusufu, leader of the Boko Haram murderous and terrorist gang (a man who personally killed and superintended over the massacre of thousands of people in the North), was an unfortunate incident. The morbid and therefore unwholesome philosophy of the Islamic sect from the time it made its debut (and which the slain Yusufu was instrumental to formulating), has been the killing of all the Christians in Nigeria and the total destruction of the Christian Religion.

His members find it expedient to premise their murderous escapades on the killing of their sect leader. The impression is created that the life of their leader is more precious than the lives of thousands of souls he killed; that his killing is an act to regret, and those that he killed deserved the treatment meted out to them. For the number of times the killing of the murderous gang leader has been said to be unfortunate, his followers have been emboldened to unleash terror on innocent people; killing and maiming with reckless abandon. If his killing is unfortunate, then he is justified in his murderous escapades.

Furthermore, if the killing of their leader, M. Yusufu is unfortunate, then the atrocities which he committed are a non-issue. And terrorism should be overlooked. If that is the case, then the entire world should regret and strongly condemn the United States’ SEAL operation that led to the unfortunate killing of Osama bin Laden and apologize to the Al Qaeda movement, pay compensation to his family and those of members of the movement killed in different parts of the world; those that killed Osama bin Laden should be arrested and prosecuted, and Al Qaeda should no longer be called a terrorist organization.

When a project is futile, there is need to go back to the drawing board and take a harder look at it. This may call for rethinking the entire project, and it becomes even more compelling as it affects the destiny of people. To be glad to forge ahead with any project, it must hold out a lot of promises and evidently impact on the lives of all, in a positive way. Events in our  country compel a re-think of the Nigeria project. As we limit ourselves to the topic of the discourse, we can readily observe as one step (allowed) led/leads to another. There was the Jos massacre of Easterners in 1945; the Kano massacre of the same Easterners in the entire North in May of 1966; the pogrom of 1966-67, especially in the same north.

The killings of the same people and other Nigerians by moslem fanatics still go on in the North. Such ethno-religious cleansing, by the given definition of genocide, qualifies to be so called. Being acts of genocide, there is a need for the urgent intervention of the international community to prevent the extinction of some races from the planet. Nigeria is sliding into total anarchy. The call is not to save Nigeria from extinction but to save humanity from destruction. Perpetrators of the act of genocide (including all their financiers and supporters in high and low places within and outside our shores), should be arrested and prosecuted in the international court of justice and penalties administered.

There should be no half measures! The world community cannot behave as if all that matters is her economic interests. And that brings us face to face with the hypocrisy of only acting when there is a perceived or naked threat to the interests of some powerful nations. It is disheartening that the sensitivity of the world community would appear to be dulled to the happenings in this place.

The aims and objectives of having an assemblage of nations in a UNO stand defeated if, through her agency, the world body cannot act as an organic whole, or chooses to act in a selective manner that suggests the subordination of the august body to the pursuit of the insular interests of the most powerful member-nations. -Kalah Moshood.

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