UNHRC proceedings are a sham
by Senaka Weeraratna on 17 Mar 2014 2 Comments

The inquisitorial type proceedings we are witnessing today at the UNHRC in Geneva in the name of Human Rights are nothing but a sham. In a nutshell, the UNHRC sessions are full of hypocrisy and humbug; an abuse of process in the most shameful manner. It reminds us of the crazy times of the Christian Inquisition in Europe which lasted for over 600 years, where people who simply questioned religious dogma or did not agree with the prevailing orthodoxy were dragged to a fake trial where the accused were presumed guilty until proven innocent, which was almost impossible. A mere accusation was sufficient to establish guilt. 


The accused was neither given a list of the charges nor allowed to defend himself nor allowed to retain a lawyer. The process of natural justice was honoured in the breach. There were both procedural flaws as well as substantive law bias against the accused. Punishment was unduly harsh, usually a sentence of death in an abominably cruel way i.e. being thrown to the fire or burnt at the stake.


No civilization is lily white in terms of inhumanity towards others. But in the race to find the dubious winner of planned inhumanity or deliberate destruction of other civilizations around the world or holocausts or mass murder of entire races, western civilization takes the cake. It has been brutal towards both man and animal because its fundamental orientation is based on the totally wrong notion ‘the world exists to serve us’. Anyone who stands in the way, whether black man, brown man or yellow man or nature ( including all other living creatures) must yield to the will and ‘justice’ of the white man.


Gandhi’s views on Western Civilization


When Mahatma Gandhi was asked by a reporter what he thought of western civilization, Gandhi gave an acerbic answer: ‘it would be a good idea’. This is one of Gandhi’s most famous and perhaps most clichéd quotations. The reporter aimed to get a good quote and was duped with a tongue in cheek retort.


By implying that Western civilization doesn’t exist, Gandhi made it clear that in his opinion the current model of Western civilization cannot be viewed as civilized at all. Gandhi often referred to Western Civilization in his writings and speeches and was reluctant to hold it in high regard; he never restrained in holding industrialized civilization to be a curse because of its materialistic, consumer-oriented goals.


Gandhi was never at a loss for words. In another speech, he made critical remarks of Western materialism, saying, “I wholeheartedly detest this mad desire to destroy distance and time, to increase animal appetites, and go to the ends of the earth in search of their satisfaction. If modern civilization stands for all this, and I have understood it to do so, I call it satanic.”


Gandhi had an innate love for his beloved India and a lingering fear that India might one day become a ‘westernized’ nation. In another speech, he expounds on this theme:

“India’s destiny lies not along the bloody way of the West, of which she shows signs of tiredness, but along the bloodless way of peace that comes from a simple and godly life. India is in danger of losing her soul. She cannot lose it and live. She must not therefore lazily and helplessly say, ‘I cannot escape the onrush from the West.’ She must be strong enough to resist it for her own sake and that of the world. European civilization is no doubt suited for the Europeans, but it will mean ruin for India, if we endeavor to copy it.”


The type of moral leadership that Gandhi gave not only to India but the whole of Asia is no more.  Instead of the independence of spirit and defiance that Indian leaders like Gandhi, Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose or Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (Iron Man) showed in their heyday, we see in today’s Indian leadership a crass crawling and servility to imperial western powers unbefitting a great Asian nation.


Re-kindle the Spirit of Asia


We must rekindle the spirit of Asia. Sri Lanka belongs to Asia. We are part of the great civilizations of Asia. An insult to one is an insult to all – all of Asia who are united by a shared past and still retain pride in our beautiful and elegant cultures and common destiny. The Human Rights discourse of the West is nothing but a farce: a shallow game of the white man for the entertainment of the white race to mock at other races black, brown and yellow on a moral premise where the biggest violators in history have been the very white race now pointing the finger at others.


The challenge before the non-European races is to break away from this trap. Not to put or allow someone else to put a noose around our neck. UNHRC represents that trap. There is no justice there. It has been converted into pure theatre to make fun of the weak, meek and the defiant small nations. The same old colonial game of White Man’s Burden, but in a new manifestation of protecting human rights. 


In a sense, the charade at UNHRC is a blessing in disguise. It has awoken us all - Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim and all others who call Sri Lanka their home. We must remain bold and defiant. Even if we get one vote in Geneva let us accept defeat with our heads high. The world applauds the defiant - those who stand their ground against overwhelming and superior forces. Moral cowardice is a trait of the failure. It is clear to anyone except the sinister who visits the north of Sri Lanka today and witnesses the great efforts being made to develop, resettle and spread economic benefits without discrimination. The people in Sri Lanka wish to leave in peace. Let outsiders not interfere or disturb the prevailing peace in the country.  


Much of the conflict in the world comes from the colonial mindset of those who want to re-colonise this world. These are the real war mongers. It is time that the rest of the world stands up, join hands and call spade a spade.


European Union – Double Standards


It is unfortunate that the European Union (EU) is part of the witch hunt directed against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. The EU never fails to engage in moralising and preaching on human rights and the like to poor third world countries whose continuing deprivation is largely due to the long years of colonial rule under members of the EU. Countries like Spain, Portugal, Belgium, France, Britain and The Netherlands had vast empires and built their prosperity on the backs of resource rich third world countries, and have never been brought to justice or called to account for crimes against humanity during the period of colonial rule.


The EU which is quick to finger point at other nations e.g. Sri Lanka, about human rights abuses has never properly examined or debated the unpleasant history of its EU members’ experience in the colonial wars all around the world. These European countries suffer from collective amnesia when it comes to the self-examination of the criminal behaviour of their own citizens in other countries, both past and present.


Experiment with ideas from the East as basis of conflict resolution


It is time that the civilized world begins to experiment with ideas emanating from the three main Eastern Civilizations namely Japanese, Chinese and Indian as the basis of conflict resolution.  We have friends in Asia that we can tap into through historical bonds in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Malaysia, China, Laos, Japan, Korea, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Philippines etc. This is quite formidable.  


We must never forget that the founding charter of UNESCO lays down a cherished goal influenced heavily by the spirit of Buddhism: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.” The persecution mania of the UNHRC stands in total contradiction to the peace ideals that UNESCO is trying to promote.


As the centre of gravity of global power shifts to the East, the leaders of Asia must not shirk their most important challenge and responsibility - to give moral leadership to the world at a time when the West is struggling to maintain even a pretense of morality in its interaction with other countries as we see in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Venezuela, and now Ukraine. An international conference on the theme of Global Moral Leadership at the initiative of Asian nations would be most opportune at this time.     

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