The human rights discourse seeks to support the rights and dignit of people regardless of their racial and religious backgrounds. Supporting mankind is the main objective of the human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL). People are born free with fundamental rights and should be able to exercise their rights and liberty without being discriminated for one reason or another. Non-discrimination is a universal principle and needs to be supported globally.
Humanitarian law is observed in global war and civil conflicts, but human rights are applicable during the time of war and peace. For instance, one is allowed to violate one’s dignity neither during the war nor peace. On the other hand, targeting civilians, the wounded, and war prisoners will take place during the war. There are also rights the subject of human rights and humanitarian law, both of which seek to support the rights and dignity of mankind in all circumstances.
According to international instruments related to human rights, all people are born free and equal in rights and dignity and should have freedom of thought and expression; be treated on the principle of humanity; be immune from slavery, discrimination, and torture. Degrading one or treating them with inhumanity, torturing, and violating their dignity are not allowed at all and they are supported by both human rights and IHL. Treating based on human principles is a golden rule. During conflicts, non-combatants, the wounded, and war prisoners must be treated with humanity. To put it succinctly, treating one with humanity and respecting one’s inherent dignity is the non-derogable rights - i.e. they should be maintained all times and under all circumstances, including during states of emergencies. The principle of humanity is supported by both human rights and IHL. Therefore, inflicting unnecessary sufferings or torture during the war is against IHL.
In fact, violating one’s rights will outrage the public conscience and all states have to show reaction against this act. That is to say, when one falls the victim of discrimination on the basis of his race, color, or creed in any parts of the world, it will be outrageous to all. Similarly, the escalated militancy and regional conflicts shedding the blood of people are highly shocking. Despite international instruments and democratic discourse, the rights and dignity of people are violated to a great extent. Both states and militants are involved in violating human rights and IHL. The escalated militancy has compounded the violation of human rights and IHL since the militants respect neither national nor international laws. They trample upon the rights of civilians, including women and children, in the worst possible way. A large number of people lose their lives in light of militancy and conflicts. Terrorist fighters spill streams of blood and show no respect to one’s life or liberty. The graph of civilian casualty is very high in war-torn countries.
According to the Civilian Protection Advocacy Group (CPAG), about 1,372 people were killed and 2,360 others were wounded in Afghanistan within the last eight months of 2017. The bulk of casualties resulted from suicide bombings, airstrikes, and ground operations. The self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has claimed the responsibility for the death of 327 and injury of 924, the report said. It added that foreign airstrikes killed 62 and Afghan Air Forces strike killed 167.
Considering the large-scale civilian casualties in Afghanistan, the humanitarian law is not observed in war-torn countries – not only Afghanistan but many other states such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, etc. Both states and militants are involved in violating IHL.
It should be noted that it is not only states to observe humanitarian law but also individuals. When a person commits crime against humanity or genocide, s/he must be prosecuted – be it in international conflict or civil unrest. Similarly, torturing war prisoners or raping women, who belong to hostile party, by a soldier will be considered flagrant violation of IHL and he will be prosecuted.
To one’s unmitigated chagrin, the militants violate IHL through targeting civilians and torturing war prisoners with impunity. They show no respect to the law of war since they are not legally formed. In such a case, all states will have to campaign against terrorist groups as a reaction to violation of human rights and IHL since protecting human rights is the responsibility of each state.
To sum up, it is believed that violation of human rights or IHL outrages the public conscience and all states have to react to this issue through prosecuting individual and imposing sanction on states, which infringe on one’s rights and liberty. Thus, the international community, comprised of states, needs to put an end to violation of human rights via adopting an effective mechanism.