Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, December 14th, 2017

The Need for Criminalizing Ethnocentrism in Offices

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The Need for Criminalizing Ethnocentrism in Offices

The ethnocentric movements of some individuals in government’s body, mainly in the field of employment, was followed by a wide reaction from the public. This was called against the constitution, national unity, and coexistence of Afghan nation. The backlash from high-ranking officials, political figures and the public against those who foment ethnic and factional issues, will be an effective start for a legal plan to criminalize hateful and abusive behavior. The need for criminalizing the ugly deed of ethnocentrism is crystal clear. There is a direct relation between ethnocentrism and crime. In short, this issue is one of the main reasons behind discrimination, violation of citizens’ rights, conflicts, unemployment, poverty, and corruption in the government’s machinery in Afghanistan. The root of many crimes against the integrity of body and soul and against dignity and property come from tribal, factional and linguistic behaviors.
Criminalization is a process through which the state forbids an act and seeks to prosecute perpetrator. Sanction is a severe response to a criminal act. In fact, the principles of criminalization are the fundamental criteria by which the state restricts citizens’ rights and freedoms and introduces norms and legal behaviors. These principles will be as following:
Principle of harm: In legal instruments, this principle is defined as the most significant justification for restricting rights and liberty. Based on this principle, an act will be known as crime when it harms the society or people. Religious tenets in Islamic legal system and international instruments do not only confirm this issue but also place emphasis on forbidding detrimental acts and stipulate certain punishment for perpetrators. So, criminalizing an act and restricting one’s rights and liberty will take place on the basis of being harmful to society or people.
The principle of legal paternalism: This principle justifies state coercion to protect individuals from self-inflicted harm, or in its extreme version, to guide them toward their good. In modern philosophy and jurisprudence, it is to act for the good of another person without that person's consent, as parents do for children. Paternalists advance people's interests (such as life, health, or safety) at the expense of their liberty. In this, paternalists suppose that they can make wiser decisions than the people for whom they act. The essence of paternalism is based on goodwill of the citizens; that is, “I understand your goodness better than you.” Thus, the acts which harm the body, soul or self-morality of a person or property will be known as crime and punishable.
Legal moralism: This is the theory of jurisprudence and the philosophy of law which holds that laws may be used to prohibit or require behavior based on society's collective judgment of whether it is moral or not. Legal moralism goes beyond the Harm Principle and argues that the law is supposed to promote morality and that the immorality of an action is a reason to make it illegal. Legal moralism is best articulated in Plato's Republic where Socrates argues that the job of the state is to create and enforce laws to foster moral citizens. Even if an action only harms the person engaged in the activity, or occurs with the consent of others, the fact that society deems the practice immoral can be reason enough to make it illegal. Legal moralism does not mean that every immoral action should be criminal, but only that the immorality of an action is a reason to consider making it illegal.
In addition to the aforementioned principles, ethnocentrism is considered crime in religious tenets, national laws, and various international instruments. The Holy Koran has underlined equality of mankind, tribes, and ethnic groups and defined tribes the sign for understanding one another.  All human rights instruments – including the law of Cyrus the Great and King Hammurabi and the first declarations of human rights endorsed in England, America, France, and International Covenants and Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) – have emphasized on the equality of mankind and forbad any kinds of discrimination or superiority.
Afghanistan’s Constitutions also states in article 6, “The state shall be obligated to create a prosperous and progressive society based on social justice, preservation of human dignity, protection of human rights, realization of democracy, attainment of national unity as well as equality between all peoples and tribes and balance development of all areas of the country.”
Based on the said criteria, the logical reasons in national law and international instruments suggest that despicable and disgusting behaviors such as ethnocentrism and superiority should be criminalized. The issue of ethnocentrism will be highly destructive for the society and all three powers (judicial, legislative and executive powers) should pay attention to this issue. Needless to say, if ethnocentrism is not particularly criminalized, it will result in irreparable loss and horrible consequence in the country. This issue is detrimental for both national unity and national interests.
In brief, Afghanistan is the common home for all citizens regardless of their ethnicity, the issue of ethnocentrism should be criminalized in order to prevent from harm, and uphold the moral values, social order, national security and interests, and public welfare.

Syed Ali Mutahari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be Reached at the outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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