Asia is home to four dozen nations. Consequently, it witnesses most of the world's human rights violations. Asia is rising and its stakes are undoubtedly appraised by global forums. Asian players are now giving competitive time to the United States which is the world’s biggest economy. With growing powers and fame, we need to deliver some sincere duties to resolve regional conflicts, unfair competitions between countries and exclusionary nationalism. This includes the wellness of the region and the world. This is unattainable unless and until we dare to talk and solve human rights issues. At least, we, the South Asians, have so much in common and it is now time for us to start scratching it.
Human right is the idea of treating all human beings without any discrimination. The United Nations has adopted a series of resolutions and conventions to promote human rights. The most important one is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. It states that all people are born free and equal in dignity and rights, regardless of race, sex or religion. Several international organisations, such as the United Nations, have an international presence in Asia to help safeguard and promote human rights in the region.
Asia has the highest number of human rights abusers in the world. China and North Korea are among the nations where rights violations are reported to be very high. In North Korean, people are not allowed to open foreign books or speak foreign languages. Despite being home to most of the world's human rights abuses, many nations in Asia still haven't attained their human rights goals from past treaties. According to Human Rights Watch, this could be due to 'political expediency' rather than 'corrupted will.' Some Asian leaders are blamed for choosing to ignore human rights violations in their countries in order to remain in power.
The situation is not so different in the South Asian region. The countries of this region are collectively facing the common challenges of impunity, endemic violence, and institutionalised discrimination in realising their human rights goals. This is so much vulnerable with high prevalence of poverty, imbalanced development, political instability, slow economic growth, low literacy, widespread malnutrition and rampant gender-based violence, along with discrimination in education, nutrition, health and employment in all these regions. There is hardly any day without heartbreaking incidents of human right violations. The record of good faith and good practice of democracy is actually way poorer when one looks through the lens of neutrality.
The very rich civilisation of Asia is now into the imitation game of “American Dream”. The major currencies in these regions are under strict watch of the United States of America as we are growing the market by devaluing our currencies as a whole. The richness of wealth desired by everyone is a long term attainable thing. However, everyone is looking for a shortcut way to make wealth and this is a major catalyst in Asia involving incidents of human right violations. The middle-class population seems to be quite perplexed with ambitions and political chaos in these regions. The only possible way to make life happen is exploitation of others physically, mentally or any other way possible.
Human rights violations in Asia affect a large number of groups, mainly religious and ethnic minorities and indigenous groups; women and children; LGTBI persons; human rights activists, journalists and academics. The inter- and intra-societal factors appear to be major catalysts. The people in our region are so gracious that we hardly oppose or resist many forms of exploitation. Minorities need to be protected as they are more vulnerable. Policies alone can do no good if they are not executed effectively. The reports alone are not good because no true Asian will happily embrace the beautification in papers.
People, states and deep states seem to follow different trajectories in Asia. The rage among people against the state is increasing. Actors of human rights are rather treated with distrust. The relations across open borders are becoming more and more toxic. It is now time to step forward. Our record on ratification of treaty at global scale is really horrible. There are reasons that need to be addressed. We need to establish our own declaration of human rights. The presence of global players is welcome but we need to acknowledge that our deep rooted convictions and issues are solved better and faster with our own antidote for human right violation. This needs to be led by nations with more friendly and non-aligned identity among Asian member countries. Nepal can be the entity to resolve all these issues under its belt, but its issues related human rights violations need to be resolved first with national consensus. However, Asian nations must seek every opportunity to work together until our collective shortcomings are remedied.
(Chataut is an independent researcher and CEO of Prisma Technologies Pvt. Ltd., an election campaign management agency).