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Human rights, a framework for developing the world

Otto Kölbl (on facebook), created: 2010-08-01, last modified: 2015-07-20

The San Francisco Conference was organized in 1945 to elaborate and sign the UN Charter, corner stone of the modern framework for international relations. Photo: United Nations.

The San Francisco Conference was organized in 1945 to elaborate and sign the UN Charter, corner stone of the modern framework for international relations. Photo: United Nations.

Nowadays the world is torn apart by endless ideological struggles. As soon as the Cold War had ended at the end of the 1980ies, the West triggered a new conflict with the Moslem world. More recently, our media have used the emergence of China as a great power to launch a crusade against the "last bastion of communism".

However, I am absolutely not convinced that all these conflicts are really necessary. I think that it is much easier than what we think to find a common reference framework which a great majority of governments and people is willing to accept. This is precisely why international law and the human rights were elaborated.

Unfortunately, the Western governments and media, who pretend defending these ideals, will more often than not betray them. Each one of these betrayals will lead to an outcry of protest from those who have the impression that they are cheated of their rights. In some cases, our media will echo this protest, see for example the occasional sympathy for the Palestinian cause. Other problems are simply silenced, either because no official voice relays the public outcry, or because our media have managed to discredit the voices which try to push us to question our entrenched convictions.

If we want these frameworks to work, we must apply them rigorously, which implies an ability to question ourselves. It is not a question of sticking at whatever cost to decisions taken decades ago, this is just about realizing that the aspects which seem to us essential and worth fighting for are not necessarily the same in the eyes of people living in other regions of the world, under conditions which are so different from our daily life.

The UN General Assembly (here in its 60th session in 2005) has voted all the fundamental texts in the fields of international law and human rights. Photo: United Nations.

The UN General Assembly (here in its 60th session in 2005) has voted all the fundamental texts in the fields of international law and human rights. Photo: United Nations.

This ability to listen to other people and to take seriously those who come from other cultures is not very common in our media, even though it is essential if we want to build bridges to other continents. This website tries to kick-start a real dialogue, in a field where the West tends to put on its body armour and to brandish its civilizing sword.

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