Human rights in the "fast lane" of democracy
April 25, 2014
By: Dr. Greta Tüllmann, Source: freiewelt.net, April 25, 2014
Human rights is one of the highest, if not the foremost, value of Western democracies. Everything in our system is based on respect for human rights, from the preambles of almost all the constitutions of Western states, to their practical implementations such as in the criminal law and even in the punishments of serious offenders; everywhere there is a right to human dignity and the respect for basic human rights.
But the message of probably the greatest achievement in human history that has spread across the entire world also seems to be pushed more and more into the background in the modern governments of this era, especially when it comes to taking concrete action.
Human rights based on the principles of democracy show their real value when, for example, it comes to our relationship with representatives of nations and governments where the human rights are galaxies apart from ours.
One of the three top-ranked state violators of human rights in the world is the Iranian regime, where for decades the people and in particular the women have been treated with medieval harassment, placing many in danger. By the "command of God", people are executed in their hundreds, tortured in the thousands upon thousands, and millions of Iranian women are deprived of their human dignity to a worse extent than in any Arab state.
Since the era of globalization, the West has been ignoring human rights more than ever. Apprehensive of the economic situation, the satisfaction of shareholders, the easy money, and speculations on the capital markets are more important than the freedom of whole nations. When these realities come into contact with human rights, as recently unfolded in the Crimea crisis, the emphasis on a people's rights remains secondary. Except for minimal sanctions, no action has been taken so as not to jeopardize fragile economic relations with Russia.
But Iran has once again become more and more a favorite destination for our elected officials, as the visit of the Austrian Foreign Minister shows. It was not because of its deplorable human rights situation that Iran was subjected to sanctions and embargoes, but solely because of its nuclear program. Now there is an interim agreement, and corporations are scraping their hooves. So their representatives are sent in a political race to stake their claim on the fallow Iranian market.
But, first of all, Iran consists of a nation which yearns for freedom, and which has been simmering under the surface since 2009. The workers protests, ethnic groups, prisoners and even in the Iranian exiles are not at all silent. But the Western press writes little about these years of rebellion. It is mostly mentioned only as a side note. There are Amnesty International's calls for "urgent action" on the dire human rights on an almost daily basis. But neither under the much embraced “moderate” mullahs' President Hassan Rouhani, nor due to the interim nuclear agreement, there is not the scarcest sign of change by the mullahs. On the contrary, today, more Iranians are executed than the in days of the internationally despised Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The West must slowly come to grips with whether it finally wants to ridicule its own constitutions, or whether it wants to hold to its true values; at least in the face of the number 1 fundamentalist country in the world. No citizen, especially the young people, will believe their government's false claims of human rights.
They have turned around and are no longer participating in the elections; rather, they prefer U.S. bashing on YouTube. They are now inclined toward theories of conspiracies and losing their faith in Western democracy. And those who are struggling with their blood and endless suffering for an Iran to follow the example of Western democracies also come to doubt the path they have chosen.
Is this the future that will continue to actively fuel our policy? Maybe it is not only the Austrian representatives who should consider this when they soon again squint toward Tehran.
Interview with former Iranian political prisoner Mostafa Naderi