Some dominant powers in the current international order prioritize civil and political rights and ignore, even trample, the economic and social rights of many of their own populations, and of peoples in other parts.
Rich nations invest heavily in weapons to kill but fail to address the critical social problems of important sectors of their own countries. These same nations set themselves up as arbitrary and subjective defenders of human rights around the globe, for geopolitical interests, forgetting about their own citizens who are systematically excluded from the wealth they like to flaunt.
In the United States, the richest and most powerful country in the world, elements on which its self-centeredness and supposed “exceptionalism” are based, there are close to 40 million people, or 12 percent of its total population, living in poverty, according to official data. The U.S. Children’s Defense Fund reports that one in six children lives below the poverty line in the United States, the only country that is not a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
International organizations say close to 900 million people suffer from hunger worldwide and the number is growing, not decreasing. Yet no war is being waged against hunger. On the contrary, wars are generating more hunger and poverty. Even in the wealthy European Union 17 out of 100 adults suffer from “severe food insecurity.”
When each year we produce twice as much food as is needed to feed the world but tens of millions are at risk of starvation, including 1.4 million children, we suffer from a systemic problem.
Today, it is estimated that between 667 and 685 million people are trapped in conditions of extreme poverty, 89 million more than before the pandemic. If China was able to lift more than 100 million citizens out of extreme poverty to declare itself free of that scourge in 2020, amid the pandemic, why can’t others do it?
Economic inequality increased in 2021, further contributing to the growth of poverty. By the start of 2022, Human Rights Watch denounced that the concentration of wealth in the United States had reached its highest level in 40 years, with richest 1 percent of households appropriating “approximately one-third of all private wealth.”
The HRW report highlights how the poverty rates among black, Latino and Native American households were twice that of white households, which “highlights the persistence of disparities based on race and ethnicity.”
On the UN stage, China has said it is urgent to eradicate the racism and systemic discrimination that persist in many nations, conditions that are worsened by the rejection of immigrants fleeing the misery inherited from colonial systems and a brutal international order that it is time to reform.
Will those who claim to be so concerned about human rights heed China’s call?
In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights all the rights listed are precisely “universal,” none is more important or relevant than another. However, the elites view truly comprehensive social inclusion as an existential threat that would jeopardize their ability to dominate and manipulate.
The uncompromising “champions” of human rights focus on the set of civil and political rights that they claim to guarantee in their societies, and largely neglect social and humanitarian rights.
They attack China for fighting terrorists who massacred hundreds of Chinese civilians on their own territory in 2014 and talk about concentration camps that even their sophisticated satellites cannot locate. At the height of cynicism, those who spread anti-Chinese propaganda are the same ones who have maintained a concentration camp in Guantanamo, depriving hundreds of alleged terrorists imprisoned far from their national territory of all legal protection.
In their fierce campaign against China they are supported by the same people who allowed the CIA to practice torture against Muslims in their own countries. It is not necessary to prove it, they have recognized it.
As Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights manifests, “everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.”
That is why it is everyone’s duty to fight for a new world order that will promote the common good in a future of shared well-being.