Red Lantern Analytica webinar on ‘Human Rights and Global Peace’
On 10 December 2021, in observance of Human Rights Day 2021, Red Lantern Analytica hosted a webinar titled ‘Human Rights and Global Peace.’ The twenty-first century has been a turbulent time for human rights, with governments such as China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and numerous West Asian countries constantly chastised for failing to respect their populations’ human rights. Countries like China have become increasingly authoritarian over time; some of its most heinous activities include enslaving its population, sinicize religion, and arresting citizens for tweets critical of the Chinese Communist Party. The Red Lantern Analytica-organized panel featured specialists in the fields of human rights, security, and weapons proliferation.
Dr. Satoru Nagao of Japan was the first speaker. He is a non-resident scholar at the Hudson Institute and an expert in US-India-Japan Security Strategy. Dr. Nagao began his presentation by stating that China has begun a series of aggressive military actions in the region over the last few years, including staking claims to large swaths of the South China Sea, repeatedly threatening Taiwan’s sovereignty, and repeated actions along the Sino-India border. All of China’s current confrontations are similar in that China has demonstrated territorial entitlement in both the South China Sea and along the India border, and even when ruled wrong by an international court of arbitration, they refuse to withdraw their foolish and preposterous claims. The democratic countries of the globe must unite and exert pressure on countries such as China to adopt democratic standards.
China has installed weapons on disputed islands in the South China Sea and has even flouted international environmental regulations, flooding international markets with cheap goods and hurting domestic companies. Another reason for the low cost of Chinese items is that the Chinese government compels incarcerated Uyghurs into involuntary employment, i.e. slavery.
Mr. Michael Johns, co-founder and president of the Tea Party movement, was the next speaker. He has also worked as a speechwriter for the US President and as a policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation. He began his talk by emphasising that all humans are born with human rights. Human Rights are not discriminatory on the basis of gender, religion, nationality, or ethnic origin, and nations are not permitted to violate an individual’s Human Rights. Numerous violations of human rights by states have occurred in the twenty-first century that could have been fully avoided if democratic nations around the world had done more to prevent their violation. The United Nations Human Rights Council faces a slew of issues, including providing a platform for some of the most heinous abusers of human rights in free and democratic states while avoiding accountability for their own actions. With this in mind, Johns declared that he backed the United States’ decision to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council.
He noted that it has been nearly a year since the US proclaimed China’s treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang to be genocide. China has again demonstrated to the world its disregard for human life and human rights. He has referred to the Communist Party of China as a ‘evil empire’. Apart from perpetrating genocide against the Uyghurs, China has developed a thriving drug trade and participates in the unanesthetized organ harvesting of dissidents for profit. The world’s priority should be to put a stop to China’s genocide against the Uyghur people and to liberate the millions of Uyghurs held captive. China’s actions must be held accountable. It continues to jeopardise the culture, language, history, and individual identity of minority provinces such as Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong in the modern day.
Marc Finaud, the Geneva Centre for Security Policy’s Head of Arms Proliferation, was the following speaker. He began by emphasizing that, it is necessary to recognise that weapons and their proliferation jeopardise fundamental human rights. Arms accumulation and proliferation in nations violate virtually every human right outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Slavery, torture, and arbitrary detention are all addressed, as is the right to life. Nuclear weapons, in particular, constitute a threat to the right to life due to their indiscriminate destruction. Additionally, he stated that International Human Rights Law is always applicable, in times of war and peace.
Additionally, he added that Civil Society is a pillar in defending Human Rights, and as such, they should be able to express their concerns without fear of punishment. Finally, he emphasised that no international treaty has codified the Right to Peace as a Human Right, and that this must be done in the future.
Meenakshi Ganguly, Human Rights Watch’s South Asia Director, concluded the day’s proceedings. Ms. Ganguly began by noting that authoritarian and totalitarian countries such as China coerce their inhabitants into submission and feel they have the right to govern every part of their citizens’ lives. China’s actions have frequently demonstrated that it does not respect citizens’ rights to free expression, criticism, assembly, and a variety of other related rights. Regrettably, some nations throughout the world have begun to emulate the Chinese model, claiming that if their citizenry relinquishes some liberties, their economies would grow as well.
Civil society and the general public are the defenders of human rights, and if they do not believe in them, they cannot exert pressure on their governments to respect them. The time has come for collective action; democratic countries must speak out and assist in the spread of democratic values and standards to authoritarian countries such as China.
Following the final speaker, there was a brief question-and-answer session and a vote of thanks, which brought the event to an end.