Christchurch: Let Humanism Triumph | 2019-03-18 |

Christchurch: Let Humanism Triumph

Dr. Akhter Hussain

18 March, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Christchurch: Let Humanism Triumph

Dr. Akhter Hussain

The dastardly acts of mass murder inside mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand have been traumatic events beyond the comprehension of the common people around the world. According to media reports, about 49 people are already dead and many more are fighting for their lives with bullet injuries. This has been the worst form of human right violation in New Zealand.

However, these kinds of violence are on the rise at different parts of the world. Here it may be noted that in almost all of these cases of violence the innocent civilian people have been the victims. These heinous crimes are being committed in the name of differences in religion, race and ethnicity everywhere across the continents. These demonstrate the rise of intolerance among people in different parts of the universe. Religious and political indoctrinations and hidden economic agenda are major causes of these kinds of acts of extreme and senseless violence. Every now and then, these acts are perpetrated.

It appears that these kinds of violence have increased manifold after the demise of the bipolar and with the emergence of the unipolar world. Failure in national integration also leads to widespread ethic violence in different countries. Yugoslav crisis has been a glaring example in this regard. With the dismemberment of the federation, the federating units particularly Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina locked among themselves in one of the cruellest forms of ethnic conflicts leading to physical annihilation or cleansing of people of different religions and ethnicities.

Here it needs to be pointed out that people of these regions lived in relative peace despite perceived hidden tensions for centuries. After mass killings and destructions peace was restored in the Balkan where the United States of America played the decisive role. Later, the perpetrators were brought to justice through the international Court of Justice. The other case of genocide and ethnic cleansing has been Rwanda. It has been reported that in just 100 days in 1994, some 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda by ethnic Hutu extremists. They were targeting members of the minority Tutsi community, as well as their political opponents, irrespective of their ethnic origin. The Hutus constitute about 85 per cent of Rwandan population. However, ultimately the peace was restored with the assistance of the international community. The trials of the masterminds of the genocide were also initiated.

However, other than Rwanda, ethnic and religious violence, in some form or other, are going on in different countries of the African continent. These are causing immense sufferings to the innocent people who are caught into these crises. The other important feature of the African crises is the forced drafting of the minors into the armed groups. The atrocities that are committed by these conflicting groups are crimes against humanity. However, these kinds of tragedies did not end there.

The Libyan, Iraqi and Syrian crises also repeated the similar atrocities with widespread human rights violations against unarmed civilians, especially women and children. Unfortunately, these are still going on though it is expected that very soon these acts of atrocities and human rights violation will end there soon with the defeat of the trouble mongers.

Another humanitarian crisis that directly concerns Bangladesh is the continuing Rohingya crisis. Since the last two years, about a million Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar or Burma to escape its military’s indiscriminate campaign of ethnic cleansing. The crimes against humanity committed by the Myanmar Military included mass killings, sexual violence, and arson. It needs to be mentioned here that the Rohingyas have been facing discrimination and repression under successive Myanmar governments for decades.

Currently, the Rohingyas are the largest stateless populations in the world as their citizenships have been denied by the Myanmar government. Due to international pressure, Myanmar has agreed to take them back to their country. But it seems that she is reluctant to do that. The solution to this crisis is not at sight now causing immense sufferings to the forcefully displaced Rohingyas and also putting immense pressure on Bangladesh to deal with the crisis for a long time with its limited resources.

There are many failures collectively on our part as global citizens in addressing these crimes against humanity in the right perspectives. Narrow national economic and political interests dictate the moves of the states, especially the powerful ones, in dealing with these crises and human rights violations. However, there are of course instances of collective global initiatives to successfully solve some of these crises. Besides state initiatives, at the individual level, people with sanity and human qualities around the world have been very vocal against these atrocities and crimes committed against the humanity. When it comes to humanitarian cause common people register their protests and extend their help and support for the distressed and violated people and communities.

It needs to be pointed out here that with increased globalisation, movements of people from one country to the other have increased manifold. Now people move and settle in different countries for better opportunities and livelihoods. Here it needs to be remembered that these types of settlements and immigrations take place legally with the official approvals of the host countries. However, in some cases, people do stay in some countries illegally for many reasons but primarily for better income and to remit money for their family members living back at home countries.

The recent incidences at Christchurch, New Zealand are eye openers to all peace-loving people professing different religions and coming from various ethnicities that we need to be more vigilant and must pursue concerted efforts to contain these violence and safeguard the human rights of all irrespective of colour, religion and ethnic backgrounds. At the end, we can say that all is not lost when we see a 17-year-old Australian boy breaking eggs on the head of one of their senators for hate preaching during a news conference on Saturday in Melbourne, Australia indicating humanism will always definitely triumph over inhuman acts. 

(The different sources of information are acknowledged with gratitude).


The writer is a Professor, Department of Public Administration, University of Dhaka and Member, National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh.