Minorities And Human Rights
Prof. Balmukunda Regmi
Human rights have become a universal agenda. To avoid duplications, the term “human” is also broadly used in this article to represent any of mankind, nation, religion, culture, country, language, race, sex, region and similar other concepts. Dressed as life jacket to the weak, human rights is designed, censored, implemented and monitored by the powerful. The scribe highly supports the survival rights of all languages and traditions. However the seemingly pro-minority movements have more often than not been orchestrated by handful of hidden foreign hands aiming at castration of national lingua franca and common culture.
The corrupt leadership of the underdeveloped countries is approached with lucrative rewards like educating their children in costly schools and universities, providing jobs in the UN and other high-paying NGOs to their relatives, helping them win elections and so on, should they close their eyes at what the foreign masters are doing in their country - a sort of win-win deal between the shrewd masters and the corrupt officials at the cost of the vulnerable people.
The US invaded Iraq in the pretext of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) of the Saddam Hussein regime and security of Kurds and other opponents. The invasion cost over 250 thousand lives as a consequence. As reported by Dylan Mathews and others, the then US President George W. Bush and British Premier Tony Blair knew that there existed no such as WMD and the accusations were made for political gains. However, The Hague is blind on it because it knows its roles in broader sense. Instead, it concentrated its efforts to containing the Serbs.
The hawks know who is stronger in broader terms. Some sporadic or local strongholds are sacrificed to please those who are likely to reign globally and for longer durations. President Bill Clinton was acquitted of the Monica Lewinsky affairs that took place right in the White House with his subordinate as the former belonged to the elite politicians of the USA. President Donald Trump is getting linked to the hush money he is supposed to have paid to silence affairs he had before he entered the presidential race as he has been considered a temporary threat to the American political establishment.
During the India visit of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1959, he and premier of the former British colony Nehru were trying to find out ways to strengthen the bond of friendship between the Negro people of America and the people of India. As experienced by Gandhi, the status of Indians was very similar to that of Africans, the former slaves of the whites. The majority was suppressed by the supremacist minority. The best example is recently abolished apartheid of South Africa, where the minority Africans ruled the non-white majority.
Recently some provinces and cities in China have abolished local “Halal Food Certification Rules” citing its widespread misuse for the economic benefits of certain groups, discriminating against non-Muslims. The rules were extended to cover meat, flour, bakery, vegetables, medicines, mineral water, toothpaste, tissue paper, cosmetics, leather shoes, and even human blood, halalising everything possible. Leading employees in these enterprises had to be Muslims, or people with trained Muslim lifestyles. Also there were grievances on the part of the consumers that teammates had to choose a halal restaurant for gatherings if there was at least one Muslim in the group. Charging the enterprise for registration as a halal outlet, the certifying agency, Chinese Muslim Association, had become a small tax bureau.
In their attempt to safeguard minority religions in Nepal, Europeans helped form what they called caucus of MPs representing indigenous groups and invited them to European tour-cum-orientation in constitution drafting, lobbied for secular constitution, the poor country okayed. Then they lobbied for reservations on racial lines; okayed. Then they recommended ousting Khas Aryans from the proportional representation list, to give political leverage to the minorities that would deprive a people that makes a third of Nepalese population.
To support the minorities and indigenous people, the Europeans have helped establish innumerable number of NGOs in Nepal, tried to uplift their spirits through establishment of churches, Sunday schools, and initiatives like “Early Childhood Education Centre” and “Teach Nepal” founded by two foreign Christians Reiny de Wit (Dutch) and Tam (Singaporean) whose recent teacher recruitment advertisement open only to Christians verified by a church causing a social discontent. Christianity, a major religion of the West, has taken pains to salvage the aborigines who have traditionally worshiped nature from the imperialism of Hinduism in South Asia, of Confucians, Taoism and Buddhism in China, of Islam in the Arab world. All in the name of minority rights!
Ethnic conflicts are a source of profitable trade to countries which export weapons. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the ten top weapons exporters between 2012 and 2016 were wealthy countries. The situation remains similar to what the major US automobile industries had done during World War II, to put in words of Charles Hingham (Trading with the Enemy, 1983), they maximised profit by supplying both sides with the materials needed to conduct the war. Dominating powers justify such activities in terms of power balance. Should all countries discourage the sales of small and medium arms, the ethnic conflicts would come under control.
Often, the minority is an easily exploitable entity. Convert some people to an alien faith, then you can meddle in a hitherto peaceful homogenous country; migrate some culturally, racially, religiously or otherwise different people to an old civilisation living in harmony , then you have space for conflict management. Ask two incompatible people to share a common state, then you reap endless fruits of peace-keeping business. Sow the seeds of isolation and independence to an otherwise happy minority and you have space for preaching peaceful coexistence. Simply put, vulnerable minority is a source of inspiration, income, business, excuse for the omnipotent to fight against immediate underdogs.
(Regmi is a professor at Tribhuvan University and a researcher at Charhar Institute, China)