│Azril Mohd Amin's personal views
At the recent Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session held in Geneva on 24th October 2013, it was clear that many Western countries were pressuring Malaysia to sign and ratify certain international human rights treaties; including the ones that allow for unbridled freedom of religion (such as Article 18 of ICCPR on freedom of religion). There were also calls from at least 5 countries for Malaysia to abolish her anti-sodomy laws (section 377A of the Penal Code and the various Shariah enactments); this eventually for allowing same-sex marriage. Indeed, Western countries are willing to go to the extent of overriding the sovereignty of nations in propagating ‘universal standards’ of human rights achievements.
Although the phrase “human rights overrides sovereignty” is high-sounding, in reality it is only a public mask to hide the true face of the western countries’ resource-based addictions and a public excuse for them to pursue their own national interests behind the scenes, in fulfilling these addictions. The former American Vice-President put it bluntly and clearly: “The American standard of living is not negotiable”, he said. This is the same man who praised his own daughter for conceiving a child by an unknown man to create a family environment for her female lesbian lover.
This is the same man who must know that it would take several – three or four – globes the size of earth to give a resource-base for his vaunted “American standard of living” for all citizens of earth. In other words, it is not possible. As noted sociologist Ivan Illich would put it, there can be no “energy equity” or any other kind of equity as long as the Americans are not willing to moderate their demands in transport and consumer behavior.
But then, so must some of the Malays, Chinese, Indians, and others; Malaysians integrating themselves into ‘human rights’ coalitions such as COMANGO, who have fallen prey to this revolution of “rising expectations” worldwide. All these good or maybe not-so-good people may not even be conscious of the metaphysics behind their “human rights” aspirations. In this case, it is up to the Muslims to teach them what this agenda really is, and why we cannot accept it.
Apparently, Western countries led by the Americans are holding the moral flag for safeguarding the human rights of all people on this planet, but to do that, they violate other countries’ sovereignty, interfere with their internal affairs, forcing their lifestyles upon the others, overthrow governments, and attack countries and their leaders with military force and desperate action, a desperate action characterized by a certain clown named GWB as “shock and awe”.
Behind their mask, several Human Rights NGOs become “preachers of human rights,” and in the case of Malaysia, issue the so-called Stakeholder Report on Malaysia to expose the “terrible” conditions in this country. Human Rights NGOs especially in Western countries do this as well for more than 190 countries. Using this strategy, they disrespect other countries’ laws and turn what should be a mutual dialogue into rather boring polemics. Under these circumstances, “human rights overriding sovereignty” has already become the most powerful cliché-weapon of some Western countries, wielded with no less force and ugliness as communist doctrine used to be in other parts of the world.
There are no hints that “human rights overriding sovereignty” is legal in the UN Charter, although the saying itself does violate the UN Charter in spirit. The Charter regulates clearly that “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state. (Chapter I)”
The present Charter has been clarified as follows: “No State or group of States has the right to intervene directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State.” “No State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another State so as to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights and to secure from it advantages of any kind.” These principles are stated in the “Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations“, as issued on Oct. 24 of 1970 by the United Nations.
After giving 28 items of human rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights written in 1948 says, “These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations,” among which is the concept of national sovereignty and privacy itself.
When coming down to its own sovereignty, America, the country that is claiming the right to override other people’s sovereignty in the name of human rights, will never compromise, as the former Vice President has clearly stated. As of now, the United States still refuses to sign the Ottawa Treaty, which aims at stopping the effects of anti-personnel landmines (AP-mines) around the world, as well as the Kyoto Protocol, which aims at controlling global warming, because such treaties are thought to have an adverse effect on its sovereignty and national interests.
In fact, “human rights overriding sovereignty” is an alternative phrase for “causing mischief in the land” as forbidden by Al Qur’an. Whether a Western coalition intervenes in Libyan civil affairs, the Syrian, Tunisian, or Algerian Civil Wars, or other aspects of the “Arab Spring”, the great fear of all Muslims is that the powerful American government, with its hidden agendas, will set up its influence and control to its own advantage in the name of protecting “human rights” in these countries.
The most diabolical fact of trans-national human rights protection is that it is a policy which is borderless, and so contrary to the very foundation of the United Nations itself, which was established to guarantee and protect the many new national sovereignties that came into being with the collapse of European colonialism as well as the re-drawing of borders by the victors of the two world wars. What could be done to kill a country’s leader or leaders could be done for any other purpose as well, as has already been shown many times by the western powers, especially the CIA, since World War One.
It is by no means certain that leaving an Arab Muslim country alone to prove its own founding documents and leadership will result in the ascension of extreme terror in the world. Therefore, the West must NOT be allowed to use this excuse to intervene anywhere. Perhaps the campaign to outlaw all war on the planet earth would help us to prevent the hidden sabotage of our cherished Muslim values as our countries change and regroup for the twenty-first century.