War and Human Rights
From the times of earliest recorded history, humanity has gone to war. The reasons have been as diverse as humans themselves. Man has gone to war for religious or ethnic differences, to gain territory or other natural resources, to overthrow an unjust government or to stop the destructive actions of another country. Whatever the reasons, however, times of war are times when normal respect for human rights are most in danger of being suspended, when man’s inhumanity to man becomes more frighteningly apparent.
Human Rights Asserted
In the wake of World War II, with the horrors of Holocaust and the massive slaughter that this conflict entailed, the United Nations convened to write its Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was set down to assert the inherent worth and dignity of every individual and to confirm that certain rights – the right to shelter, water, food and medical services, the right to practice one’s religion and to express one’s opinions, for instance – should not be suspended even in times of armed conflict.
Human Rights Subverted
Sadly, this declaration has had little effect on human rights violations in the many wars and conflicts that have taken place since this it was penned back in 1948, while the world was still reeling from its second world war in as many decades. It is estimated that worldwide, some $1.5 million dollars is spent every single minute on war. Approximately 30,000 people monthly die each month as a result from armed conflict. And these deaths do not include the ones that occur peripherally – for instance, as the result of money being spent on military force instead of life-saving programs to provide clean water, nourishment and basic shelter to the most vulnerable members of humanity. This does not include the brutalization of women and girls, such as the estimated 200,000 to 400,000 Bangladeshi women who were raped in one 9 month period of conflict in their country in 1971. This does not include the total war upon the nonmilitary population: in the average modern armed conflict, approximately 90% of victims are now civilians.
What You Can Do
If it easy to fall back in despair against the sheer magnitude of war’s devastation, but there are still things that anyone, anywhere can do. Raise your voice against the madness of armed conflict and the lives that it destroys – sign a petition, go to a protest, write to members of your government to let them know that there are those who continue to balk against the prospect of mass destruction of human life. Support groups like Amnesty International, who act as watchdogs to report and bring focus to human rights violations, or UNICEF or Doctors Without Borders, who work under the most dangerous of conditions to help those who are suffering the most. Above all, do not remain silent, as silence too often is taken for acceptance.
by The Great Gathering
Copyright The Great Gathering 2014©