WORLD: Judicial institutions which act as checks on executive power are being dismantled

Opening Statement by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, made at the Human Rights Council 32nd Session on 13th June 2016 forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

Distinguished President of the Council,
Excellencies
Colleagues and friends

When the Inter-American Commission announces it has to cut its personnel by forty percent – and when States have already withdrawn from it and the Inter-American Court;

When States Parties now threaten to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court – and, even more recently, others threaten to leave the United Nations, or the European Court of Human Rights and the European Union;

When those calling for departure have seemingly already fled in their minds from the urge to protect the world from the untold sorrow and miseries which twice swept the world, and brought about the creation of many of these very institutions;

When filthy abuse by politicians of the vulnerable is tolerated; when the laws – human rights law, refugee law, international humanitarian law – are increasingly violated, and when hospitals are bombed – but no one is punished;

When human rights, the two words, so rarely found in the world of finance and business, in its literature, in its lexicon. Why? Because it is shameful to mention them?

When working for the collective benefit of all people, everywhere is apparently losing its ardour, and features only in empty proclamations swelling with unjustified self-importance and selfishness –

Then do we really still have an international community? When the threads forming it are being tugged away and the tapestry, our world, is unravelling? Or are there only fragmented communities of competing interests – strategic and commercial – operating behind a screen of feigned allegiance to laws and institutions?

I think of a video clip I saw on the internet only days ago, where the body of a young child, a young girl, with a face that is white with dust, nose bloodied, hair springing with life still and her body crushed, inert as the rubble – dug out as she was from a bombed building in Syria, so reports said, just days ago.

The poet Hafiz says:

As pallid ghost appears
Speak the epic of thy pain

Please stop this, because this madness can be stopped.

READ FULL STATEMENT HERE.

About Admin

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) works towards the radical rethinking & fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in Asia, to ensure relief and redress for victims of human rights violations, as per Common Article 2 of the International Conventions. Sister organisation to the Asian Human Rights Commission, the ALRC is based in Hong Kong & holds general consultative status with the Economic & Social Council of the United Nations.

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