Human Rights As Global Security Issue

By Anas Khan.


  1. Human rights in a globalized world
  2. Human rights violation in Afghanistan
  3. Human rights violations by USA under the guise of democratization
  4. America’s human rights violations throughout the globe
  5. Every action has a reaction
  6. Devastation in one state is treacherous for all
  7. Pakistan’s blasphemy law triggering migration
  8. Human rights violations in Iran carrying global effect
  9. Logic for insurgents
  10. Human rights violations while countering terrorism
  11. The Way-forward

Human rights in a globalized world

In a globe where problems do cross borders without passports trigger prolonged effects on the society, environment and culture of the sapiens leaving there. Human rights is no more a domestic issue but has morphed into a global dimension.  Human rights violations within a state do affect other states and the globe as a whole because human rights crisis in one society trigger security threats in other spaces of the world.

Human rights violation in Afghanistan

The old cliché of the world as a global village was witnessed when 9-11 happened, which depicted that the embers of the fire in an old cave in a far fetching mountain (Afghan war) could blaze up the sky-crappers (World-Trade Centre) of the village (globe). Human rights violations in Afghanistan are hidden from none when in the aftermath of 9-11, villages and towns were bombarded in Afghanistan by NATO forces and the barbarism was called as ‘collateral damage’. Take the Chowkar-Karez village, which was demolished and 93 civilians were killed and later Pentagon officials claimed that; “The people were dead because we wanted them dead”. On another occasion, Chief of the British Defense Staff Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, claimed that the treachery will continue “until the people of the country themselves recognize that this is going to go on until they get the leadership changed.” The worst violation of the human rights is the imposition of the system which is admired by the powerful and not by the humans living there. That’s why among many circles, it is echoed that today’s liberals are the worst realists. Equalizing the unequal is the worst violation of human rights as the world has witnessed the equalization or democratization of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.

Human rights violations by USA under the guise of democratization

FBI defines terrorism as “To intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” The question arises that wasn’t the attack on Iraq and Afghanistan not triggered by political objectives i.e. democratization. Violations of human rights by USA has leaved devastating effects on the global security as Pentagon and World trade center were blown because of American interventions in the affairs of other states. Department of Defense studies in 1997 claimed that: “Historical data show a strong correlation between US involvement in International situations and an increase in terrorist attacks against the US.” This mirrors the link between US human rights violations and terrorism vis-à-vis global insecurity.

America’s human rights violations throughout the globe

Take Yugoslavia which was blown for 78 days and nights and Iraq which was bombarded for 40 days and nights relentlessly by the US-led forces. Now the question arises that whether those countries were reconstructed after bombing? The answer is no. Isn’t this human rights violation to deprive the citizens of a far fetching country of shelter and infrastructure? Reaction to the violations of human rights led by USA was felt in the form of US-embassy bombings in Saudi Arabia and US-Iran diplomatic crisis of 1979 in which US was blamed for intervention in the internal affairs of Iran. Hence global insecurity, conflict and terrorism have been inflamed as a result of human rights violation.

Every action has a reaction

If Bush and American media could term the 9/11 incident as attack on the American civilization, freedom and democratic norms then isn’t the war in Afghanistan, an attack on the norms and culture of Afghans? Deprivation of individuals of the right of self-determination of who is to be made ruler Mullah Omer, Saddam Hussein or Gadafi is among the worst exploitation of the human rights. The chaos triggered by American interventions has engulfed the whole world in insecurity.

Devastation situation in one state is treacherous for all

In today’s world, foreign policy isn’t foreign because it imprints long-ranged effects in domestic scope; it encompasses food security, environment security and human security. Take the migration issue; if a state stands incompatible in pledging employment and basic rights to its citizens, then they do flee of the border and the problems of one state are dealt by another state i.e. Germany welcoming the Syrian refugees. This is because of interconnectedness of the globe and therefore the world has never come close before as it is today. But the problem originates when immigrants pose security threats for the host state; take the case of Afghan refugee who raped and killed the daughter of the High Commissioner of EU and that incident flamed a campaign against the entry of refugees with the tag of rapefugees. It was later found that the criminal was involved in trying to rob and murder a girl in Greece before migrating to Germany. Hence the act caused the EU to collaborate information regarding immigrants and refugees. The considered example mirrors the correlation between humans’ right of taking refuge and insecurity emerged in Europe. Globalization is the force behind the conundrum of refugees’ right to settle and insecurity of the host state as many of the European states remain reluctant to pledge asylum and refuge to the war-hit masses.

Pakistan’s blasphemy law triggering migration

Pakistan’s blasphemy law is being criticized in the west for its nature of targeting minorities. Under the guise of Blasphemy law and Pakistan’s inhumane treatment of minorities; thousands of non-Muslims has fled from Pakistan thus causing demographic challenges for the host states. That’s how laws in one country affect other states in the globalized world. In that case, America’s concerns regarding the nature of blasphemy law in Pakistan isn’t surprising.

Human rights violations in Iran carrying global effect

Iran’s treatment of its minorities is triggering International community to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs. In the past, major wars have been fought by the US under the guise of human rights rescue. In Iraq, Saddam was accused of human rights violations and Taliban’s regime too was bombarded with the common accusations of violation of human rights which followed America’s intervention in those countries. One of the factors behind US-Iran rift is the treatment of human rights in Iran. Such trends have further worsened the situation of global security and peace.

Logic for insurgents 

In war-torn countries, ISIS, Taliban and Al-Qaeda have been recruiting individuals to fight USA in the battle fields. Militants fuel their tactics by referring to the cruelty and atrocities by USA in the prisons of Guantanamo bay. The human rights violations by USA in those prisons trigger anger towards USA which is one of the factors behind global insecurity under the banner of human rights. Amnesty international terms Guantanamo Bay as gulag of the hour.

Insurgents fighting on religious lines i.e. Taliban boost their recruitment process by showing up US human rights violations and killings in religious seminaries or madrasahs through drone attacks exacerbate the process and Taliban succeeds in getting sympathies and support. Here, human rights violation triggers terrorism in the era of world-wide web when propaganda and brainwashing by insurgents are carried out through social media.

Saudi’s human rights violations in Yemen     

Yemen which is already encompassed by internal civil war and poverty is crumbling with airstrikes held by its strong neighbor; Saudi Arabia. The brutal slaughter of Yemenis is among the worst tragedies faced by the world today. 3,700 civilians have been killed in the war as opined by the UNO.

In an ideal world, UNO must be used to hold the fire but in a world ruled by the Machiavellian codes of persuasion and selfishness, this isn’t going to happen. Yet, behind the curtain support of the states such as USA and UK proclaimed as the champions of democracy is adding fuel to the fire and human rights stands to be under strain.

Human rights violations while countering terrorism

In counter-terrorism, human rights ought to be protected. The difference between oppressors and the oppressed-ones decrees to zero level if human rights are to be violated by the state.

The Way-forward

While fighting the war on terror, a state must be coerced to keep its head to fulfill the following human rights parameters;

a) Abuse of prisoner rights in detention ought to be restricted

b) Erosion of civil liberties must not be compromised

c) Rights of ethnic minorities must not be curtailed

d) Manipulation of international law to serve narrowly defined national interests is not to be lauded.

The globe is speedily spinning towards “post human rights world” with the Trump’s triumph and Europe’s attitude towards refugees. Since World War 1 of 1917 to 2018, the insecurity and chaos in the world is still on the peak either in Yemen, Syria or Iraq. Lest the Vienna convention on human rights decree to a tale, the human rights ought to be considered in the chaotic milieu. The human rights violations being committed by the states further add fuel to the fire as terrorist groups inject in the minds of the recruits that states do violate human rights.

About Author:

Anas Khan is learning International Relations at National Defence University, Islamabad. He bears keen interest in geopolitics, diplomacy and Afghan war. He has been working on the project, “Towards Jinnah’s Pakistan”. 

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