We are living in a world where human rights are violated at practically every level, familial, local, national and planetary. The 2013 Annual Report of Amnesty International, that covers 159 countries, makes just this painful observation, with respect to 2012. Instead of advancing respect for human dignity and the rights of individuals, peoples and ecosystems, we are returning to barbaric levels. The violations are endless, and the means of this aggression are increasingly sophisticated.
The most cowardly form are the «drones», planes without pilots, directed by a young soldier in front of a TV monitor, as if he were playing a game, who from a base in Texas manages to identify a group of Afghans celebrating a wedding, where presumably there may be a guerrillero from Al Quaeda. That presupposition is enough, with a small click, to launch a bomb that annihilates the whole group, including many innocent mothers and children.
Under this perverse form of preventive war, inaugurated by Bush and criminally continued by President Barack Obama, who has not fulfilled his campaign promises regarding human rights, like the closing of Guantanamo or suppression of the unpatriotic «Patriot’s Act», anyone in the United States can be detained for terrorism, without the need to let the family know. This is like the illegal kidnapping that we in Latin America know all too well. In terms of economics and human rights, a true Latin-Americanization of the United States is taking place, in the style of the worst moments of the times of our military dictatorships. Today, according to the Amnesty International Report, the United States is the country with the most violations of the rights of individuals and peoples.
With the greatest indifference, like an absolute Roman emperor, Obama refuses to offer any justification for the world espionage his government carries out, under the pretext of national security, covering areas ranging from tender email exchanges between two people in love, to the secret and multimillion businesses of Petrobras, violating the right of privacy of individuals and the sovereignty of whole countries. Security annuls the validity of the inalienable rights.
The continent that suffers the most violations is Africa. Africa is the forgotten and vandalized continent. The big corporations and China buy lands there (land grabbing) to produce food for their populations. It is a neo-colonization more perverse than the previous one.
The thousands and thousands of refugees and immigrants caused by hunger and the erosion of their lands are the most vulnerable. They comprise a subclass of people rejected by almost every country, “in a globalization of insensibility”, as Pope Francis called it. The situation of many women, according to the Amnesty international Report, is dramatic. Women comprise more than half of humanity. Many are victims of violence of all types, and in several parts of Africa and Asia, they are still being subjected to genital mutilation.
The situation of our country is worrisome, given the level of violence occurring everywhere. I would say that it is not just violence, but that we are mounted on structures of systemic violence that afflict more than half the Afro-descendant population, the Indigenous people who struggle to preserve their lands against the unpunished voracity of agro-business, the poor in general and the LGBT people, discriminated against and even murdered. Because we never conducted an agrarian reform, either political, or tributary, we watch as our cities fill up with hundreds and hundreds of «poor communities» (favelas) where the rights to health, education, the infrastructure and security are insufficiently guaranteed.
The most important fundament of human rights lies in the dignity of each human person, and in the respect due to that person. Dignity means that a human carries the spirit and the liberty that allows one to shape his/her own life. Respect is the recognition that every human being possesses an intrinsic value, that a human is an end in itself and is never a means to anything else. Before each human being, no matter how anonymous that person may be, all power finds its limit, including the State.
The fact is that we live in a type of world society that has identified the economy as its structuring axis. The reason is purely utilitarian, and everything, even the human person, as Pope Francis has said, is turned into «goods for consumption that once used can be discarded». In such a society there is no place for rights, only for interests. Even the sacred right to food and drink is guaranteed only to those who can pay. Those who cannot pay will wait by the table, with the dogs, hoping for some crumbs to fall from a table laid for the opulent.
In this economic, political, and commercial system are found the principal, but not exclusive, phenomena that inevitably lead to the violation of human dignity. The current system does not value persons, only their capacity to produce and to consume. The rest are just the remainders, oil to be used in production.
Besides being humanitarian and ethical, the task is principally political: how to transform this type of evil society into one where human beings can be humanly treated and enjoy basic rights. Otherwise, violence will be the norm.
Free translation from the Spanish by
Servicios Koinonia, http://www.servicioskoinonia.org.
Done at REFUGIO DEL RIO GRANDE, Texas, EE.UU.