Today, I find myself compelled to pen this down, with war, violence and crimes, I have one question to ask— where are we heading as humans?
There have never been so many armed conflicts in the world since World War II as there are today.
Every day, I wake up and read news about some new war crimes. It is all over my social media feed and my news mailbox, and now it has made a place in my head. Living rent-free makes me anxious about the very next day!
Are there going to be more people killed? Are more individuals going to be displaced? Would more children lose their childhood? Would more humans lose their means of life? And how many humans are still left with their rights?
I find myself often asking these questions, recalling my school years. Days when I was introduced to human rights. I used to believe in their universality.
Growing up in a family of advocates, I was taught to value equality and fairness. The very idea that every individual has these legal rights since birth made me feel safe. We humans, regardless of our background, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
We have 30 basic Human Rights, out of which seven are non-negotiable. The right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education.
The irony is that these rights vanish in times of conflict. Rather, I should emphasise that these rights are meaningless in some countries. Today, it appears to be a mockery of all I believed in... I am left clueless, wondering if we ever cared about human lives or if these rights were mere words to be signed in treaties.
It is so disheartening to see the world evolve… How can we all go about our normal routines with so many wars around?
I know we can’t do anything about it, but the question remains: do we want to do anything about it? Well…whatever the answer is, here’s something I want to add.
We not only lose lives in war, but we also embrace a slew of other atrocities that deprive people of their dignity. People are driven into poverty.
Fragility, conflict, and violence affect two billion people as of now, with half of them living in severe poverty by 2030. Can you imagine by 2030, one billion humans will be living in poverty due to conflicts?
Currently, 360 million people globally need humanitarian assistance, with 260 million on the edge of famine.
Conflict-related sexual violence is committed against women and children.
In the year 2022, MONUSCO recorded 701 cases of conflict-related sexual violence. 503 were against women, 187 were against girls, and 11 were against men. The rape of women during war has happened throughout the history, and I see no end in sight.
In 2023, we are still fighting; no one is safe, and children are exposed to violations more than ever. Sadly, the world's dismal scenario aligns with the 75th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was ratified by global leaders in 1948 in the wake of a world war that no one wished to repeat.
After having numerous treaties and organisations dedicated to safeguarding these rights, we are dramatically failing when it comes to their application.
"There are many worlds in the world we live in," I read somewhere, and that is very true now.
We see worlds where human lives and situations are striving, and their rights are protected, and then we see worlds where violence and criminality have taken control, and their lives are meaningless. My problem here is we pick and choose our cries. Stronger nations exploit the weaker ones, this is an ever-repeating pattern.
As we talk there are numerous violations taking place. All the powerful nations playing a role in these transgressions will go unpunished. Wielding their influence in international forums, steering the course of justice according to their interests.
Anyway, how do you serve justice to people after completely destroying their nation and leaving an entire generation of deprived and traumatised individuals? There’s no way to reverse it. We all have to live with this guilt that, yet again, we have failed as a society.
From Gaza to Gabon, Armenia to Afghanistan, Myanmar to Mali, Ukraine to Yemen; the whole Middle East is at war. I find myself uncertain if there is a way out of this misery. War is always against humanity, it can never be good.
All that said, I will leave you with two questions: Will human rights ever be universal? Or have we all just accepted our failure to safeguard these rights?