/Erosion of the International Law and Human Rights – Kritika Shekhawat

Erosion of the International Law and Human Rights – Kritika Shekhawat

Kritika Shekhawat
Jaipur, Rajasthan – INDIA

The havoc of World War II induced the nations to unite in order to uphold human rights. In 1948, the international community formally committed itself to worldwide protection of human rights by the adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the United Nations General Assembly. In more than six decades of its existence, the UDHR has shielded human rights but the violations in the last decade are growing at an alarming rate as has been refl ected by various reports published by Amnesty International[1], The World Justice Project[2]. The Rule of Law Index, 2019 reports a signifi cant diminishing of human rights in more than two-thirds of the 113 countries surveyed. Various rights ensured to people including right to life, liberty and security of person[3] are threatened time and again by the recurring armed confl icts. Globalisation has also added to the slow erosion of human rights as nations are now constantly at war due to innumerable reasons.

Dr. Justice A.S. Anand, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, India stated that the cult of terrorism has been continuously striking at the very root of human rights of innocent people and the ruthless, barbaric and inhumane killing of innocent people are being carried out with a view not only to challenge the authority of the Government but to pose formidable challenge to the enjoyment of human rights[4]. Threatening of political and civil rights includes a massive danger to the right to education. All human rights are interrelated and interdependent; the enjoyment of one particular human right relies on the enjoyment of other right(s). This means that the right to education is necessary for the realization of various other human rights, such as the right to work, rights to freedom of expression and of association, and to access health services.

Global reports suggest that schools have constantly been the epicentre of various human rights violations and have also become a breeding ground for insurgency. Millions of children living in countries which are at a constant state of internal confl ict or external aggression such as in the Central African Republic, Nigeria, and South Sudan have had their education constantly jeopardized. Many are drawn into fighting as soldiers or forced to support armed groups[5].

Attacks on schools are one of the most easily quantifi able ways of gauging the effect of a confl ict on education. During 2001, for instance, Israeli soldiers shot at nearly 100 schools in the Occupied Territories, using rubber bullets, live ammunition and tear gas. Another 71 schools came under attack through tank shelling or rockets fired from helicopters (DCI, 2002). In East Timor, the violence of September 1999 destroyed between 80% and 90% of school buildings and related infrastructure (UNDP, 2002).[6] Human Rights Watch documented over 126 attacks and armed threats against education professionals, students and schools in the year 2019. In Jammu and Kashmir, India in the year 2016, within 3 months 26 schools were under attack thus affecting over 4000 children.[7] Children living in countries at war have come under direct attack, have been used as human shields, killed, maimed or recruited to fi ght. Rape, forced marriage and abduction have become standard tactics in conflicts from Syria to Yemen, and from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Nigeria, South Sudan and Myanmar.[8] The groups have killed, beaten, abducted, and threatened education
professionals; intimidated students; terrorized parents into keeping children out of school; and damaged, destroyed, and looted schools.

The various reasons enumerated by experts for attacks on schools are, opposition to the school curriculum including language, subjects, values, or culture that the armed group rejects, educating women and girls, or if the school is being used for political purposes, such as polling station during national or state elections. Armed forces and armed groups view educational institutions as convenient places to recruit children as combatants. These attacks become an easy way to perpetrate sexual violence among children, and along the route to and from, schools or universities as part of broader patterns of confl ict-related sexual violence.[9]

Attacks on schools, teachers and students result in fear and causes students to drop out and deprive them of basic right to education. The importance of education can be no less emphasised. Education can break generational cycles of poverty by enabling children to gain life skills and knowledge needed to cope with today’s challenges. Education is strongly linked to concrete improvements in health and nutrition, improving children’s very chances for survival. It empowers children to be full and active participants in society, able to exercise their rights and engage in civil and political life. It also acts as a powerful protection factor: children who are in school are less likely to come into confl ict with the law and much less vulnerable to rampant forms of child exploitation, including child labour, traffi cking, and recruitment into armed groups and forces.

In the new era of sustainable development, where all countries are expected to implement a universal development agenda, all governments need to be held accountable for ongoing human rights abuses affecting a signifi cant part of their young population, as well as a failure to provide adequate or timely protection to which children are entitled under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In recent years, many countries have been a part of international and regional political drives to ensure that all children have access to quality and continued education in the countries that lag behind the most. Such efforts have had some success, with tens of millions entering primary education, and more girls staying in school and pursuing secondary education, improving gender parity in more countries.[10] Thus, a constant unifi ed solemn effort needs to be taken globally in order to provide education to all,
which will help in turning the human rights dream into reality.

[1] https://www.amnes t y.org/en/ lates t /research/2018/02/annual-report-201718/#:~:text=
[2] https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/research-and-data/wjp-rule-law-index-2019
[3] Article 3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
[4] https://nhrc.nic.in/press-release/hu-man-rights-violations-root-cause-conflicts-terrorism-
[5] Report by Human Rights Watch, The Education Deficit, Failures to protect and fulfil the right to Education through Development Agendas.
[6] http://www.monitor.upeace.org/innerpg.cfm?id_article=927
[8] https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/11/burning-kash-mir-schools-161102102009566.html
[9] https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/worldhas-failed-protect-children-confl ict-2018-unicef
[9] Education under Attack, 2018 by Global Coalition to protect Education from Attack (GCPEA)
[10] Achieving Sustainable Development and Promoting Development Cooperation, Dialogues at ECOSOC