At least 19,453 people have been killed in Israel’s ensuing assault on the Gaza Strip and at least 52,286 people injured, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave. At least 7,600 people are missing, according to the Hamas media office. The victims are mostly children, women, and elderly people, majority civilians. Around 71 percent of the population in Gaza “faces severe hunger, with 98% experiencing inadequate food consumption for the territory’s 2.3 million people, basic services have collapsed, and most people are homeless. Gaza is live hell on the earth.
ON 10 December 2023, the world celebrated 75 years of World Human Rights Day. This Universal Declaration was adopted by the UN in 1948 and is still considered relevant today as was in 1948. This year’s theme revolves around freedom, equality and justice for all. The purpose behind this landmark document declaration was to establish a global human rights system. But can we even say that the global human rights system exists today when humanity is challenged by Israel’s on-slough in Gaza?
This year many world leaders from across the world joined the Doha Forum and openly criticized the Israeli genocide in Gaza. They called for an immediate ceasefire which has become a test for international institutions, particularly the United Nations. This siege has exposed what many perceive as a global institutional failure to stop Israel’s relentless bombardment and the killing of women and children. But can the UN demand Israel and the US enough of the damage caused to Gaza? If not, can they ask other states like Russia to stop human rights violations in Ukraine?
If we look at the UN mandate carefully it is aimed to achieve the following key objectives. Promote and protect all human rights; protect the right to development; provide technical assistance to States for human rights activities; coordinate UN human rights education and public information programs; work actively to remove obstacles to the realization of human rights and to prevent the continuation of human rights violations; engage in dialogue with governments to secure respect for all human rights; enhance international cooperation for the promotion and protection of all human rights; coordinate human rights promotion and protection activities throughout the UN system and rationalize, adapt, strengthen and streamline the UN human rights machinery. But here the question is are these above objectives achievable today or do they remain fancy terminology alone?
If we look at the world system and the role of the UN we can see there is a disconnect between rhetoric and practice. The UN Secretary-General himself said the situation in Gaza is fast deteriorating into a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians as a whole and for peace and security in the region. But the UN under the leadership of the current Secretary General seems to be unable to bring a ceasefire. According to various UN representatives, “norms and values of the UN mandate are not followed correctly. The UN General Assembly has been hijacked and become a talking show only. There is a lack of democracy in the UN where the powerful are misusing their privileged position. The UN leadership demanded the full implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that they had back in time because with the existing arrangement they cannot serve humanity nor can overcome the existing inequalities”.
Reports of several UN agencies, and International Organizations have been expressing their deep concerns, but all failed to stop killing of Palestinians in Gaza. The public opinion all over the world, including the common American citizens and Israelis are in favor of immediate ceasefire in Gaza, but, the extremist Government of Israel and some hardliners in the US are major obstacle in passing the UNSC resolution for saving human lives in Gaza. Irony!
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was the latest US official to head to Israel to press for a transition away from high-intensity warfare.
The United Nations Security Council has postponed a vote calling for a sustainable cessation of hostilities in Gaza to give more time for diplomats to meet US objections to the wording of the draft resolution. It was scheduled to be held on Monday in New York but the US said it could not support a reference to a “cessation of hostilities”, but might accept a call for a “suspension of hostilities”.
It is strongly urged and appealed that all nations and individuals with a sense of humanitarianism must raise their vice till the blood shedding is stopped in Gaza.