On March 15, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein cautioned that the UN system was under pressure and that the stakeholders should not take the system for protection of human rights for granted. Ostensibly, he assumed that his audience in Geneva understood what pressure he was talking about in his speech that lasted minutes, to allow more time for questions and answers.
Though one can still pin hopes in different factors and actors, it is not wrong to assume that the cherished dream of living as one global human family, envisaged in the preamble of Universal Declaration of Human Rights faces serious challenges. The EU collectively and member and non-member countries in Scandinavia, moreover, Canada and New Zealand still manifest the resilience to stand for the dream of common future of humanity, yet several subverting factors are surfacing.
The universal human rights embodied the aspirations of people around the world but the observance of human rights also forms an important part of global governance that created a measure of common ground, political stability and facilitated economic growth. Nevertheless, a widespread disregard for human rights has restricted the potential and outcomes of, for instance, the International Criminal Court (ICC).
124 countries are party to Rome Statute that created the ICC with universal jurisdiction to deal with crimes such as genocide, torture and disappearances in 2002. China, Russia, the United States and a large number of Asian countries did not become full party to it. African countries with autocrat governments facing prosecutions are now threatening to abandon the ICC. In another example, the UN Convention Against Corruption in effect since 2005 is ratified by 140 states including Pakistan, yet states’ behaviour has hindered results due to non-compliance in checking corruption, according to Ophelie Quraishi.
Untreated conflicts, armed and otherwise, corrupt governance practices and lack of rule of law undermine local governance and create crises in global governance, simultaneously. Cohesive global governance needs; freedoms, creativity, relations and happiness that allows participation in alleviation of suffering and enlivening of existence.
The global challenges of climate change, poverty and illiteracy are difficult to overcome using narrow interpretation of nationalism. Nationalist agendas need to embrace the egalitarianism of global citizenship with universal responsibility.
Had governments paid more attention to enforcing and respecting human rights, the international human rights regime would not have been vulnerable to above-mentioned crises. As shown in election results in the Netherlands and Canadian government’s response to politics of alienation, the political developments in the West are asymmetrical, some even encouraging.
Jacob, Peter. Quest for global governance. The Express Tribune, March 27, 2017.