Prof. Rıfat Okçabol

According to Kuyaksil (2012: 21) human rights are „The inalienable rights of individuals, inherent to them as human beings, to be equal before the political authorities regardless of their sex, age, beliefs and opinions.” The „Universal Declaration of Human Rights“, which was adopted in 1948, is a historic document containing many important articles. This document has been prepared by distilling conclusions from the atrocities, massacres, injustices and suffering experienced in the historical process. Behind the basic conception contained in this document, there are also traces of the reflections and explanations shaped in the historical process. Nevertheless, it is difficult to ensure that countries grant this declaration the importance it deserves.

Connotations of Human Rights
in the Historical Process
Slavery emerged in Sumerian societies (4000-2000 BC) as a consequence of wars, it was consecrated by temple priests and merchants turned it into a commodity with the establishment of laws by kings (Ergül & Güvercin, 2021). In the Ancient and Middle Ages, when slavery reigned, there were no „human rights“ in the present meaning. Despite this, intellectuals who have given importance to „human beings“ have appeared and some of them have granted certain rights. For example, Osiris (2513-2374 B.C.), one of the Egyptian gods, explained his virtuousness with the following phrases; „I never did evil to anyone. I did not lead my relatives to misfortune. … I never made anyone work beyond their strength. No one was afraid, no one suffered poverty and pain, no one was unhappy because of me. …No one shed a tear because of me. I did not kill anyone. I never ordered anyone to be killed by tricking them. I never lied to anyone” (Hançerlioğlu, 1976: 35).

Confucius (551-478 B.C.) claimed that strong governments that had achieved unity in China could eliminate injustice and bring peace to individuals and families. Cyrus the Great, Persian emperor (590-429 BC), granted certain rights to the inhabitants of the conquered lands, such as the right to worship freely (Akpınarlı, 2018). In the city-states of ancient Greece, citizens living in the cities, except for slaves, enjoyed certain rights and freedoms. While Plato, Socrates and Aristotle placed the state at the center, sophist philosophers such as Alcidamantius, Protagoras and Sophocles placed the human being at the center. For example, Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) stated “The one who by nature does not belong to himself, but to another, is a slave by nature”, while Alcidamante (420-320? B.C.) stated “God has given freedom to all, slavery is unacceptable” (Ergül and Güvercin, 2021: 1). In both ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, democracy for free citizens was practiced, although in a different way than it is understood today. Staoic thinking, which arose around 338 B.C. and was founded by Zeno of Citium, was opposed to the thinking that placed the state above all else and emphasized the individual.

Slavery is an atrocity that lasted until the 19th century. The first „rights“ demand actions in history arose with the slave revolts during the Roman Empire. One of the most famous slave revolts in history is that of Spartacus. When the revolt of Spartacus, one of the ancient gladiators, ended in Italy between 73-71 B.C., Spartacus was killed and 6,000 of his men were crucified along the way (Wasson, 2014). The first and largest black uprising in history was the ‘Great Black Revolt’ against the Abbasid caliph in 869-883 (Çelik, 2022).

Since God was the source of law and power in the Middle Ages and God was not opposed to slavery, one could not speak of human rights. Despite this, unlike the ancient Greeks and Romans, the pre-Islamic Turks respected women. Yusuf Balasaguni, in his book „Kutatgu Bilig“, written in the 11th century, warned that rulers should be guided by reason and that all people should be treated well and fairly (cited by Kuyaksil, (2012: 36). Al-Farabi (870-950), one of the Islamic thinkers of Turkestan, gave importance to justice, peace and social solidarity with the aim of leading people to true happiness. Al-Mawardi (974- 1058) of Iraq-Basra also held that the caliph should be removed from office if he did not act according to justice.

Avicenna of Bukhara (980-1036) also affirmed that the superior power of the caliph could acquire legitimate character with the direct or indirect consent of individuals (Tosun, ty, 33-34).

In the Christian world, the Italian Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274), who defended slavery, affirmed that if divine law and natural laws found through reason are violated and individuals are mistreated, they are not obliged to obey rulers. Meanwhile, the Italian Marsilius of Padua (1270-1340) argued that the direct participation of the people in the making of laws was necessary and that no one could be forced to believe (Maral, 2020: 5-7). The formal, although limited, recognition of some rights became a reality in England with the ‚Great Charter‘ (Magna Carta1) signed in 1215 between the king and the landlords under pressure from the latter. With this agreement, it was accepted that the king would share part of his powers with the nobles who owned the land and that the state would be governed by laws, not by religious norms. The security of life and property of the individual was to be protected against the arbitrary actions of the king.

As intellectual development in Europe increased with the Renaissance, advances in human rights were also taking place. For example, the Enlightenment era saw the development of the idea that all human beings are endowed with reason by nature and are therefore equal. John Locke (1632-1704) argued that human beings have inalienable natural rights and that the purpose of political order is to guarantee freedom (Kalabalık, 2016). He stated that when there is no separation of powers (legislative, executive and judicial), the state can interfere with the rights to life, liberty and property, and in this case, the people have the right to rebel against the government. The rigid Christian doctrine of the Middle Ages was softened by the reforms promoted by the cleric Martin Luther (1483-1546) (Çüçen, 2018: 209).

In 1628, the English Parliament sent a Petition of Rights to the king, reminding him of the rights of the Magna Carta. The Habeas Corpus Act, adopted in 1679, recognized the right of a detainee to appear before a judge. In 1689, the Bill of Rights was enacted, which embodied the superiority of parliament over the monarchy and included articles on individual rights and liberties (Kuyaksil, 2012: 29). In Europe, the state system emerged in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years‘ War. Human rights have been considered a matter of domestic law of the State (Terzi, 2027). The French writer Montesquieu (1689-1755), emphasized the importance of the separation of powers for the control of freedom and the rights of the individual. The french writer Voltaire (1694-1778), defended that religious institutions and people in power do not have the right to punish individuals without prior trial. The Genoese Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) affirmed that political society is a structure based on the will of individuals with equal rights and obligations, and introduced the concept of ‘sovereignty of the people’ (Tosun, ty: 36).

In North America, human rights movements originated in the aspirations for independence of the British colonies. The British colonies of eastern North America, when they undertook the process of independence, formed a joint body called the Congress. This Congress, in a declaration published in October 1774, stated that the inhabitants of the colonies had the right to life, liberty and property. In May 1776, Congress proposed that each colony draft its own constitution (Tosun, ty: 16). Thomas Paine (1773-1809), an englishman who emigrated to America in 1774, published in 1776 his booklet „Common Sense“, in which he advocated a republican regime and demanded equal rights for citizens. 20). Virginia, in its constitution of June 1776, included articles affirming that all men are born equal, free and independent. The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America2 of July 4, 1776, included the following important statement: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In France, during the struggle against the king, the ‚Social Contract‘ was published in 1762 (Clapham, 2020: 20) and the ‚French Declaration of the Rights of the Man and the Citizen‘ on August 26, 1789. Some of the statements in this declaration are as follows3:
• Human beings are born and live free and equal in rights.
• Freedom means to be able to do what one wishes without harming others.
• Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The Ottoman Empire (1299-1922) respected the beliefs of the peoples who inhabited the regions it occupied. A text similar to the British Magna Carta was signed in the Ottoman Empire on September 29, 1808 under the name ‘Deed of Alliance’. With this alliance, certain administrative rights were granted to powerful local rulers called ‘Ayan’. With the Edict of Gülhane/Tanzimat (means Regulation and Organization) of 1839 and the Edict of Reform of 1856, announced under pressure from foreign powers, some rights were granted to the mostly non-Muslim Ottomans. With the constitution (Teşkilatı Esasiye) enacted in 1876 under pressure from Ottoman intellectuals, the sultan agreed to share some of his powers with the parliament (Gürbüz, 2021).

The industrial revolution, which began at the end of the 18th century, led to the concentration of capital in certain hands and further reinforced social inequality. There has also been an increase in contrary thoughts and actions. For example, the french Saint Simon (1760-1825) argued that, since the basis of society is work, society must be governed by workers. The french Charles Fourier (1772-1837) argued that industry impoverished people, while the Welshman Robert Owen (1771-1858) argued that workers created wealth and that workers had a right to be rich. German socialists Karl Marx (1813-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) also elaborated socialist ideas that articulated workers‘ rights as a source of social wealth. Meanwhile, the French Revolution of 1848, the Paris Commune of 1871 and the Soviet Revolution of 1917 led to the adoption of ’social, economic and cultural rights‘ (Kalabalık, 2016: 17).

The ‘International Committee of the Red Cross‘ was created in 1864 as a result of the work of a commission established in Geneva in 1863 to ensure that belligerent states complied with certain standards. Many Geneva Conventions on the rules to be followed in war have been signed, one of the most important being that of August 12, 1949 (Gürbüz, 2021: 65)

Events Not Complying
With These Declarations
Even though the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man were published, the United States and France did not comply with their own declarations. For example, for decades, human rights were considered rights only for white men: Slaves and women could not benefit from these rights. Even in Europe, women gained the right to vote and to be voted for 100 years after the publication of these documents. Vermont, which joined the United States in 1791, banned slavery with a law passed in 1777. The U.S. did not recognize slaves as human beings for years, and in 1857 it was decided that black slaves did

not have the same rights as white Americans. Even though the proposal to abolish slavery was passed in Parliament on January 1, 1863, it was not legislated until January 31, 1865. Black slaves were not granted much right to education until 1867. Although the slave trade was banned in Denmark in 1792, in France in 1794 and in England in 1807, the practical implementation of the prohibitions took place later (Yurdakul, 2020). Slavery, which Napoleon Bonaparte had reintroduced in the French colonies in 1802, was banned again in 1848.

The United States of America (USA), founded by the union of 13 small states, occupied Texas, against which Mexico declared war to protect its territorial integrity, but the USA won the war and occupied the northern region and committed massacres. In North America, they settled in areas where indigenous peoples lived, driving them to other areas and killing them. They also invaded Haiti and reached the current borders. France invaded Egypt in 1798, several West African countries, including Algeria in 1830 and Vietnam in 1859.

Establishment of the
League of Nations
The Hague Peace Conventions of 1899 and 1907 were held with the participation of the world’s most powerful states. “The first conference was organized in response to a call ‘to find effective means to ensure a real and lasting peace for the benefit of all peoples, (…) to put an end to the arms race’ made by Russian Tsar Nicholas II“ (Birinci, 2017).

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson announced on January 8, 1918, 14 principles, known as the Wilson Principles, and spoke of an international organization that would mutually guarantee the political independence and territorial integrity of all States.

On January 18, 1919, in the aftermath of World War I, the Paris Peace Conference began its activities. At that conference, it was agreed to establish a League of Nations for the purpose of ensuring lasting peace, justice and security in the world, solving international problems through cooperation and upholding the rules of international law, and to prepare the corresponding agreement. On January 10, 1920, the articles of agreement were accepted and the League of Nations was created. The victorious states of World War I were founding members of this organization, but the United States and Russia did not participate. This organization adopted the Slavery Convention in 1926 and successfully carried out work in the prevention of trafficking in women and children, in the fight against drugs and in the organization of health issues. However, after Japan’s attack on Manchuria and Italy’s attack on Ethiopia, Italy, Japan and Germany left the organization, and since World War II could not be avoided, the organization lost its function (Clapham, 2020; Polat, 2020). Meanwhile, H.G. Wells‘ book „Human Rights“, published in 1940, had a great impact and influenced the evolution of this field (Wells, 2021).

Establishment of the
United Nations
The search to ensure international peace and security increased during World War II, especially due to the Nazi genocide of Jews. In this context, delegates from the United States, China, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union met in the United States in August-October 1944 and determined the basic principles of the Charter of the United Nations. These principles had been debated with the participation of 50 countries in April-June 1945 and signed as the Charter of the United Nations on June 26, 1945 and the United Nations (UN) was officially established on October 24, 1945. The United States, one of the driving forces behind the drafting of the UN Charter, dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, killing more than 200,000 people.

The UN consists of the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Trusteeship Council, the General Secretariat, the Economic and Social Council and the International Court of Justice. The General Assembly is composed of representatives of all member states. The Trusteeship Council was created to ensure the best management of international peace and security The Security Council, responsible for maintaining peace and security, is composed of 5 permanent members; China, the United States, Russia, France and the United Kingdom, and 10 temporary members. The temporary member states change every two years. The UN General Secretariat executes the organization’s program and policies, prepares reports on incidents that disrupt international peace and security and submits them to the Security Council. The Economic and Social Council is the body directly responsible for human rights and can also create other bodies to ensure the maintenance of peace and security ( Çalık, 2015). The International Court of Justice is the judicial organ of the UN in charge of resolving inter-state disputes. In 1950, the UN created the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to ensure the legal protection of refugees and the resolution of their problems.

The Universal Declaration
of Human Rights
The UN Economic and Social Council created the Commission on Human Rights on April 29, 1946, composed of representatives of 18 States, and the Commission on the Status4 of Women on June 21, 1946, to ensure equality between men and women. The Commission on Human Rights has prepared a text on human rights. In 1947, the American Anthropological Association pointed out that the text had been drafted in accordance with Western European and American values and also stressed the disadvantages of applying the values of one culture to all peoples (Demir, 2006: 43-44). The text prepared by the Commission was adopted as the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ (UDHR) at the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948, without any proposed amendments. Some of the articles of this declaration are the5 following:

• All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood (art. 1).
• Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status (art. 2.1).
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person (art. 3).
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms (art. 4).
• Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance (art. 18).
• Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers (art. 19).
Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available. Higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit (art. 26.1).
Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace (art. 26.2).

Since the concept of human rights developed mainly in the West, the understanding of the West -capitalist countries- was dominant in the declarations. The UDHR did not reflect the expectations of Muslim countries, Far Eastern countries, countries that had not gained independence and the Soviet Union. The Soviets

• abstained from voting for the following reasons; the non-inclusion of rights such as the right to resist oppressive governments, participation in street demonstrations, recognition and respect for the collective rights of national minorities, self-determination of colonized
• peoples, the right of workers to have their own means of communication to disseminate their ideas,
• the non-inclusion in the Declaration of social and economic rights violated by capitalist countries,
• the absence of clauses in the declaration preventing the exercise of rights in a manner leading to fascism, the ignoring of suggestions that human rights should be compatible with state sovereignty (Demir, 2006), and the incompatibility of the understanding of freedom of religion and belief with the Soviet policy that ended the church-school relationship and religious teaching upon the October Revolution. Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia also abstained from voting in support of the Soviets who had liberated them from Nazi occupation. Meanwhile, the South African Union abstained from voting because of its anti-racism articles and Saudi Arabia abstained from voting because of the articles reflecting an understanding of secularism.

Efforts to Make the
UDHR Functional
Following the UDHR, numerous human rights conventions have been signed within6 the UN. The UN has also established a number of independent expert committees to monitor the implementation of the conventions by the signing7 states. These conventions and committees usually enter into force a few years after they are signed/established. The UN established the ‚Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights‘ in December 1993 to make the UDHR functional. The UN Commission on Human Rights became the UN Human Rights Council in 2006. The United States joined the Council in 2009. Ambassador Nikki Haley, permanent representative of the United States to the UN, announced her withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council, which she accused of being a „hypocritical and self-interested organization“ and chronically biased against Israel (BBC News Türkçe, June 19, 2018). Also, special days/weeks related to human rights have been established in reference to the theme of the international conventions and the day they were signed, in order to embrace and disseminate the understanding of8 human rights.

In Europe, the Council of Europe (CoE) was created on May 5, 1949 for the protection of human rights and the application of the rule of law. The CoE has elaborated numerous conventions, such as the European Convention on.9 Human Rights of November 4, 1950. The European Commission of Human Rights, created in 1954, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), created in 1959, and the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe are entrusted with ensuring that signatory states comply with their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. Meanwhile, regional human rights conventions have been signed, such as the American Convention on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (November 22, 1969) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples‘ Rights of the African Union (June 27, 1981).

Islamic countries also held meetings on human rights, especially in the 1990s. These meetings, such as the meeting on Human Rights in Islam held in Rome on January 27, 2000, emphasized the religious nature of human rights (Maşalı, 2004).

Human Rights Violations
despite the Declaration of Human Rights
It is difficult to claim that the UDHR has been fully implemented since it was signed. Just after the signing of the UDHR, China invaded Tibet in 1950. Imre Nagy, President of Hungary, announced in 1953 his withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact10 and the Soviet Union temporarily occupied Hungary in November 1956. The forces of the Warsaw Pact members; Soviet Union, East Germany, Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary, temporarily invaded Czechoslovakia to stop the political liberalization reforms, the so-called ‘Prague Spring’ initiated by Alexander Dubcek in Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Between 1979 and 1989, the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan.

The U.S. has not cared about the independence of countries, nor about human rights, and has intervened wherever and whenever it wanted. For example, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) supported the 1949 military coup that overthrew the elected government of Syria. In Iran, the elected Prime Minister Mossadegh was overthrown by the CIA when he nationalized the oil companies. US troops intervened militarily in Lebanon in 1958 to maintain „stability“ and invaded Vietnam in 1965. The US overthrew democratically elected governments in Guatemala in 1954, Zaire in 1961, Indonesia11 in 1965, Chile in 1974, Pakistan in 1979, Turkey in 1980, Peru in 2000 and Venezuela in 2002. For example, Paul Henze, CIA Middle East officer, said about the September 12, 1980 coup in Turkey: “Our boys did it12”. In Pakistan in the 1980s, they trained Islamist groups, known as the Taliban, to overthrow the pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a Taliban, were considered freedom fighters before the attack on the twin towers on September 11, 2001 (Yıldırım, 2004). In 1991, they attacked Iraq, which they had supported during the Iran-Iraq war between 1980 and 1988, and launched an inhumane embargo that lasted a decade, preventing the import of even children’s medicines.

In 1999, the US prepared a „National Security Strategy for a New Century“. In this document, three objectives were set: to strengthen US security, to promote US economic prosperity and to promote democracy and human rights in third countries (Bilgiç, 2014: 177-178). Despite this, the US invaded Afghanistan after the Twin Towers incident in 2001. They invaded Iraq in 2003, spreading the lie that „nuclear weapons were being made“ and claiming that they would bring democracy. Furthermore, 12 member states of the European Union (EU) supported the United States in this invasion. The US, which had organized several attacks against Libya since 1981, used NATO13 to attack Libya in 2011 and ensured that Gaddafi was lynched. In Syria, they are supporting the sharia forces against the secularist Assad. No NATO member has opposed this.

States do not respect human rights, and in every country there are many people who do not care about human rights. In many countries, parties that do not value human rights come to power. According to a survey conducted in 15 European countries, fifty percent of those who consider themselves racist to some extent harbor hostility toward Gypsies, Jews, Turks and other Muslims (Yumul, 1998). “What is Europe’s biggest human rights problem?” Morten Kjaerum, Chairman of the EU Fundamental Rights Institution, answers this question by saying: “We are confronted with racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. The attitude of our governments and our society towards asylum-seeking immigrants poses a serious human rights problem” (quoted by Sommer, 2009: 1).

Israel is another country where universal human rights violations occur. The capitalist world helped create the state of Israel in Palestine after the Nazi massacre of the Jews. Under a plan drawn up by the UN, the Jews living in Palestine were able to establish the state of Israel in 1948. Since then, in every incident between Israel and other Arab countries, Western countries, especially the US, have supported Israel. In the cases of Iraq’s invasion of Iran in the 1980s and Israel’s attacks and occupations against Arab countries, UN sanction resolutions could not be implemented as they were vetoed by the US. Israel has been attacking Muslims in Palestine, occupied by Israel since 1967. At times, it even organises military operations against the Muslim holy site ‚Al-Aqsa Mosque‘ in Jerusalem.

One of the most important human rights issues is racial and religious discrimination. The US is one of the most problematic countries in this regard because of its racist policies within its own country (Akdeniz, 2020). Racism against black people continued until the 1960s. Japanese who had emigrated to the US were interned in camps and isolated from life during World War II. In the late 1940s, Senator McCarthy launched a ‚witch hunt‘ against communists and democrats. After the 11 September 2001 attack on the ‚Twin Towers in New York, Muslim immigrants were also targeted. It is also the US that supports fanatical religious groups to prevent developing countries from turning to the left. The US backed the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood against the independentist Abdel Nasser in Egypt, the nary Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) against the socialist regime in Algeria and the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) against the secularist Yasser Arafat, who was fighting for independence.

The economic and cultural globalisation that began in the 1980s has also resulted in negative developments in human rights. During this process, the exploitation of developing countries has increased and the gap between rich and poor has widened, even in developed countries. As a result of this process, while Western culture spread throughout the world, civil unrest increased in many countries with the provocation and support of Western countries under the pretext of protecting the rights of minorities. For example, terrorism, especially advanced as a result of the separatist movements that began in Turkey in the 1980s, continues its activities and the US cooperates with such movements in northern Iraq and northern Syria. Although Yugoslavia was divided into seven countries at the end of the bloody wars, the unrest did not come to an end. Another negative impact has been the privatisation of pubThe economic and cultural globalisation that began in the 1980s has also resulted in negative developments in human rights. During this process, the exploitation of developing countries has increased and the gap between rich and poor has widened, even in developed countries. As a result of this process, while Western culture spread throughout the world, civil unrest increased in many countries with the provocation and support of Western countries under the pretext of protecting the rights of minorities. For example, terrorism, especially advanced as a result of the separatist movements that began in Turkey in the 1980s, continues its activities and the US cooperates with such movements in northern Iraq and northern Syria. Although Yugoslavia was divided into seven countries at the end of the bloody wars, the unrest did not come to an end. Another negative impact has been the privatisation of public services that were provided free of charge by the state. The provision of services by private organisations has a higher cost to society and has increased inequalities in education, leading to the concentrated control of schools in the hands of high-income groups (Chapman, Boyd, Lander, and Reynolds, 1996).

Privatisation of education has increased inequality of opportunity and has led to the emergence of religious schools in Muslim-majority countries (Daun 1996: 50). Privatisation has also accelerated in higher education. In countries that did not have any private educational institutions in the 1980s, the proportion of private institutions increased rapidly over two decades, reaching 80% in Brazil, and 60% in Indonesia (Newman, Couturier, and Scurry, 2004). While the capitalist countries did not take measures for equal opportunities in education, the Warsaw Pact countries and especially the Soviet Union placed importance on equal opportunities in education. There were no public schools in these countries, but after the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 25 December 1991, public schools increased in all these countries. Higher education ‚for-profit‘ institutions have also spread in the USA. (act. Crowther and Martin, 2005: 446). In the USA, a student in the top income quartile was 4 times more likely to finish school by the age of 24 than a student in the lowest income quartile in 1979; this probability increased to 10 times in 1995 (Mortenson, 1995: 1). Another consequence of globalisation is the human capital flight from developing to developed countries (Kaya, 2003).

Mexico in 1917, and subsequently many European states included social rights in their constitutions. Nevertheless, even in countries that have human rights articles in their constitutions and have signed the relevant international conventions, it is difficult to claim that sufficient importance is given to human rights. UN human rights conventions and protocols have also not been effectively implemented (Fırat, 2010: 65). For example, although there was a massacre of 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda in 1994, the UN took no action (Kavukçuoğlu, 2011: 15). Even when several hundred thousand people were killed in the Sudan-Darfur region, the UN did not get involved. The genocidal atrocities committed in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s failed to be prevented. In 1995, they intervened in the massacre in Srebrenica, Bosnia, when it was too late.

As the consequence of US and EU policies in the Middle East, almost every day migrants who want to flee to Italy or Greece by sea become victims of the strict mentality of these countries and die by drowning. The EU, which does not want migrants to come to its countries, is capable of leaving Turkey with more than 10 million migrants. Moreover, the EU imposes more visa difficulties on Turkey on a daily basis. An important organisation dealing with racism is the ‚European Commission against Racism and Intolerance‘ (ECRI), established in 1997 within the CoE. This Unit publishes a report on racism in the countries from time to time. According to these reports, racism is a problem in many countries. Turkey, which has not signed international conventions such as the “UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education”, the “European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages” and the “Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities”, is one of these countries (Asia Turkey Strategic Research Centre-TASAM, 2004). According to the document of 31 December 2021 prepared by the ECtHR14 Public Relations Unit, the percentage of pending cases -applications concerning human rights violations- at the ECtHR by country is as follows: Russia (24.2%), Turkey (21.7%), Ukraine (16.2%), Romania (8.1%) and Italy (5.2%).

Today, the slave trade of past centuries has been replaced by modern slavery. Modern slavery consists of forced marriages, forced labour and child labour. According to the Walk Free Foundation’s 2023 report, the countries with the highest rates of modern slavery are: India (11 million), China (5.8 million), Russia (1.9 million), Indonesia (1.8 million), Turkey (1.3 million) and the United States (1.1 million). Even though it has not yet entered the literature on modern slavery, a member of a cult who surrenders his will to his sheikh/leader is also a modern slave.

The US military intervention in Iraq in March 2003 and Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine in February 2022 are similar human rights violations. The CoE did not impose any sanctions on the 12 EU countries that acted in agreement with the US. However, on 16 March 2022, the CoE decided to expel Russia from the Council of Europe for human rights violations (Bayraktar, 2022).

The inability of the UN to function adequately is often related to the fact that conventions and protocols enter into force long after they have been opened for signature, that the UN sometimes falls behind events or is biased, and that members of the UN Security Council veto resolutions. Sharia is one of the reasons why human rights have not been sufficiently adopted worldwide, but a more important reason is the capitalist conception, which focuses on the exploitation of countries‘ human and natural resources. In Sharia there is no recognition of children’s rights or gender equality. A homosexual person can become head of state in the West, but in countries under Sharia law he or she can even be lynched.

The capitalist understanding is even more dangerous than the Sharia. Millions of people do not have enough to drink, eat and shelter, and are deprived of education and health services. The USA, which writes reports on human rights violations in countries, can intervene in any country at any time and can find support from other developed countries for such actions. The US and the EU do not care, for example, about Sharia law in Saudi Arabia, a country with which they have good relations. Nevertheless, countries with secular regimes that oppose it, such as Iraq and Syria, are attacked under the pretext of ‘bringing democracy’, resulting in the death and displacement of millions of people. Because of the capitalist mentality;

• While people are starving, wounded and dying, arms dealers are thriving.
• There is corruption and drug addiction in almost every country.
• As summarised above, many countries have adopted Sharia law, often with the help of the United States. While complaining that Turkey does not comply with ECHR rulings, the US and EU, even in the general elections support the AKP government, which is on the way to transforming Turkey into a Sharia state, where ‘moderate Islam’ was considered appropriate in the 1990s.
• In almost no country is democracy and human rights sufficiently addressed in education-training processes.
• Educational procedures are not intended to form free individuals with a conscience who recognise the truth.

As the British Defence Secretary Alan Clarke said in 1998 “Diplomacy is the business of the reconciliation of conflicting national interests, whether through compromise or threats. Seeking to fulfil the Declaration of Human Rights is pretty low on the list of priorities” (quoted by Clapham, 2021: 85). This statement is proof that the problem of human rights will continue as long as the capitalist conception continues.

* This article is published simultaneously in the 10th issues of PoliTeknik International and PoliTeknik Español

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    Indonesia, killing civilians in an attempt to divide the country. As the disarmed Indonesian Communist Party steadily increased its vote in the 1960s, the far-right, U.S.-backed General Suharto, using an uprising as an excuse, took full control of the country in 1967. They launched an appalling anti-communist propaganda campaign,
    arresting and murdering about a million leftists or those accused of being leftists, and sending another million to concentration camps.
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