Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

Unmitigated Suffering of Individuals Not Poignant?

To end man’s cruelty and scourge of war, a number of individuals believe that triggering the public sentiments through citing tragic stories and magnifying the sanctity and dignity of mankind will be significant for mitigating pain and suffering since warring sides are likely to fathom that the victims are similar to them and should not be hurt or killed. The literature and art reflecting the man’s dignity and painting the figures of innocent victims will shake the conscience of warring factions and violators of human rights so that they stop war and violence.
A number of individuals, however, believe that one has to pursue the philosophical and scientific bases of human rights and humanitarian law, to which warring sides are committed. The international community and human societies are entitled to engage in issues of a country where the fundamental rights of mankind are largely violated. Supporters of this idea argue that a state will be delegitimized in the wake of flagrant violation of man’s fundamental rights at national and international level. Therefore, the international community is allowed to interfere in a state’s internal issues.
The inherent dignity of mankind, which makes practicing law mandatory, is one of the bases for respecting human rights and humanitarian law. Generally speaking, dignity is the recognition that mankind possess a special value intrinsic to their humanity and worthy of respect simply for being human. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states, “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.” Meanwhile, “human dignity” is also salient in religious texts, including Islam and Christianity.
Human dignity is also prominent in mysticism as mankind are defined “the image of God” and people have the abilities and capabilities to reach the perfection and pinnacle of humanity and morality and mirror God in their entity. Based on mysticism, man is the spirit of the universe and the epitome of God’s name and characteristics. Such a man will, certainly, not resort to killing and spilling the blood of his fellow beings.
The principle of respect to life is also considered one of the bases making respect to human rights and humanitarian law mandatory. Right to life is also inherent and natural and one of the fundamental rights of mankind. Basically, there is not only physical life, but also life related to one’s emotion and mind. That is, one’s senses and mental health should not be threatened, either. Muslims’ Holy Book says, “Whosoever killed a person…it shall be as if he had killed all mankind.” Article 3 of UDHR maintains, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” It adds in Article 5, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Personally speaking, citing the magnitude of pain and suffering as well as sad stories of victims is unlikely to shake the conscience of killers and fighters. For instance, the Taliban spilled the blood of civilians, including women and children, and killed countless of people for more than the past two decades. As a result, thousands of heart-wrenching stories of victims were circulated on media, including social media, and tearful pictures of mourners were displayed, but the Taliban fighters continue their militancy and killing civilians without an iota of mercy. That is, the feelings of murderers are not touched by sad stories and pictures of victims.
In the meantime, the philosophical and scientific bases of human rights and humanitarian law are simply narrated in national and international instruments without putting an end to the scourge of war and ongoing pain and suffering of individuals around the world. Both states and groups are widely engaged in violating the rights and dignity of people throughout the globe. The genocide in Myanmar, the flagrant violation of people’s rights in both democratic and non-democratic states, and the bloodshed in war-torn countries continue. The world is simply watching the flagrant violation of law and rights.
With this in mind, the international community has to engage more actively in pressing the world to respect human rights and humanitarian law and militant groups to either resolve tensions through negotiations or be universally campaigned and fought against.
In short, the ongoing violation of human rights and humanitarian law are outrageous to the collective conscience. Individuals and human societies have to respect and protect the fundamental rights of mankind, especially their rights to life, as well as their dignity.