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tv   Worlds Apart  RT  November 10, 2018 10:30pm-11:01pm EST

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holding human rights is hard work for many societies but also because of the hypocrisy and politiques associated with the issue to divide between preaching and practicing out of reach to discuss that i'm now joined by peggy takes a director at the un human rights office thank you it's good to talk to thank you very much for your time to be here now you gave a number of interviews and reach you talked with some alarm about the advent of the post human rights era and before you talk about these new phase let me ask you about be human rights era which supposedly preceded it how would you define it chronologically and how was it different from what we see around us today right well i think i have to clarify and i am not an alarmist about where we're heading on human rights i think what's happened over the course of the seventy year history of the universal declaration is that there's been a global understanding of certain basic rights fundamental rights that all people have and that we've been working together over that period to try to implement them and i think globally we've made enormous progress and i always say that i'm very
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glad to be a woman today rather than a woman in my mother's generation or my grandmothers and i think my daughter will live in a world that's that's probably better off for women's rights than my generation was so it's that type of progress that we see during the human rights era and yet this was also during the period. wars were launched on false pretexts we saw legalized torture research secret prisons the. dehumanization of abu ghraib i mean all those abuses that were supposedly committed by human rights respect and actuaries abroad rather than at home i wonder if let's be clear i mean there the basic premise of universal human rights is that human rights abuses occur every place and anybody who tries to say there are countries that are rights respecting and others that are not isn't isn't really taking taking account of that reality i'm from the united states myself and the. in the united states there are all sorts
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of groups that work on human rights abuse in the united states every day because there's a lot still to be done. in preparation for this interview when through your twitter feed you quite often meet people who have a sound with many key in the world they believe that there are certain countries who will represent clear abusers of human rights like russia china cuba syria and then there are others who are more respectful of human rights like the united states or western europe do you think that division. is less. i think the division was never that clear and i do think there are a number of trends that have made people recognize a very important fact and that's the indivisibility of human rights one of the big things that happened in the human rights movement is that when it first started it grew out of a movement following the second world war that focused more on political and civil rights and it's taken some time for the discussion around these issues to catch up and there are still some who focus much more on the political and civil side than
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on the economic and social rights side but i think part of what's happened more recently is that we see how the two things are completely interrelated that you know it's important not only to be able to be invited to a dinner but to have food to eat at the dinner so we have to take a bowl sets of rights and i think some of the criticism of the human rights movement is justified in that there wasn't and hasn't been as much attention on the economic and social right side i come from a country russia rich often finds itself on the receiving end of human rights criticism and i think there is a strong perception in my country that people especially from the developed world they are so harsh on russia because they centrally for god's diocese dieties forgot how hard it is to uphold human rights. in practical sound. societies didn't have to balance human rights against other considerations is there any truth to that. well let me let me make two points one is there are sins of
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omission and soon seville mission right there's no basis upon which torture should ever be permitted how do we realize the right to education the right to health and what does that mean in a society that has lots of constraints in terms of its ability to achieve those rights you know those are two different equations and we have to we have to respect that they will be achieved in different ways but at the same time i do think that this idea that there is a political view on what our rights and what are not i think most people understand that they have rights and they want those rights respected and you know maybe the language around it is seen as political but i don't think most people disagree with the fact that they have rights that their government ought to be protected and they're pretty appreciative when people see the you know demand that those rights be respected but i also think there are very few states that abuse human rights just for fun. more often those violations are current because of how those states
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balance the rights of individuals against the interest and the rights of the state and i specifically want to mention the bt rights issue here in russia the north caucasus because it's a law and they have a lot of western press writes about it a lot and it's usually portrayed as a standalone issue whereas in russia it's farther of a much larger security religious cultural dialogue do you think human rights advocates even need to concern themselves with any structural analysis trying to understand the decisions that states make on those very sensitive issues three points you raise a lot of topics at once one is i don't like to use the word balancing rights because i don't think that's the right equation we don't we don't have to trade off human rights to achieve other things we don't need to give up human rights to be secure in fact in my view human rights help us to be more secure are there tough dilemma sometimes between which human rights. is going to try basically we're here
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at a tech conference we look at for example online speech there are some who argue that you ought to be able to have all sorts of hate speech on line that's free expression it should stay there there are others who would say no in fact if that speech incites violence and people can be hurt by it then of course the tech companies have to take it down so you know there are there are tensions among straights now when we look at a situation like the example of the treatment of l g b t i people i do think that for me i just think we of course have to look at the broader context but i see that not as a question of our rights being violated or god to me it's a question of how best do we come up with solutions that will have traction in the place that we're talking about less so we always look for a pragmatic approach that allows us to be able to talk to people and address why the issues exist and find good solutions that will allow us to move away from
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a situation where rights are being abused i can give you a practical example. not too long ago i interviewed they had of one of north caucasus region regions i asked him directly about this subject and here told me predictably that there were no all gay people in his republic and therefore there could. be no discrimination and as unlikely as it seems i can understand why he would say things like that because if he were to say the opposite he would lose all legitimacy in the in the eyes of his community and he said bill if you pursue policies that have direct bearing on other human rights security and counterterrorism etc would be greatly compromised i'm saying that those considerations should kind of be disregarded when we think about these tiny minority that may well be discriminated well how big does a group have to be before it matters how they are abused by it i mean is your argument then that if it's us. small group maybe it's ok to trade off their rights
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for the rest because the reality is you know especially on the issue and a minimum what we are talking about are people who are often in danger physically because of their identification with something which we believe is an inherent part of their humanity so so we can we can agree that how that issue will be addressed in certain societies may be different but we can't disagree that every person has a right to their physical integrity you can't attack somebody because of who they choose to love and how they choose to do it i mean how we are talking on the same page here that nobody should be discriminated or prosecuted because of who she or he was one of these people but the typical approach in the west would be just removing the they have a government. if russia perceives a. group nothing will change i mean we can charge
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a pretty. damn in terms of social mores but it's not and it's not going to be that way for a number of decades i mean by that but there are just two options there isn't you know sit back and do nothing whatever agree with and others are going to be able to there's a lot of that can be done first of all the government could show that it's committed in a variety of ways to making change happen so you try to find ways to engage on the issue and to open up the situation that allows for people to feel safe so you can you know you clearly can provide more protection to people you don't have to even talk that much about it but you could make people feel safer secondly you know the assumption here is that you know nobody knows there are no gay people nobody knows anybody who's gay well we all know that's not the case and what we've found in other places is that when we actually allow a different environment to develop people have families people have you know who care about their well being and that's a community of people that. can change the way society is while king about very
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specific cultural community is a muslim community and you know that in muslim societies that those issues are treated differently i will give you an example of being with for example it's a gay capital by night and a fairly conservative society during the day and those kinds of groups they rarely intermingle it's kind of don't ask don't tell policy and maybe that's not good enough for somebody but for those societies. that's bearable at least for the time being don't you think that there's a bit of a push to apply western advocacy standards to communities who have totally different cultural understanding and cultural expectations no i mean what we're saying here is that there are basic rights that all communities have to accept that's true and the cultural relativism that says no it's ok if you know women are subjugated and some fundamental way because it's a religious constraint or if you know there are certain people who are who are
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excluded from from rights no we're not going to that's not part of the way that we view it but i i object really strongly to that being the the idea that that's a western idea the universal declaration of human rights for example has its origins in a lot of african states who put these things forward and who now sometimes are the ones that push back on it but i do think that if we look globally we will find many more people who are part of this movement who see this as important and i take your point that we have to be smart about how we pursue the these rights and sometimes it can come across as preachy or political but i do think that ultimately most people want other people to be free to be who they are and to not have their rights not have their physical security at least in jeopardy now this emphasis on individual rights i think is a product of western civilization and it is a very. important moral and institutional achievement some would argue though that
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dot achievement is now on to a task in a number of developed countries especially those dealing with migration or the fears of migration how big of a challenge is migration to the current human rights framework i think it's a really good question because it is where if we go back to the beginning of this conversation where i think some of the so-called you know supporters of human rights countries that have been very proud of their human rights records have been called out and have been shown to be quite narrow minded and quite unwilling to sometimes live by the same standards that they have that they've been very adamant and seen in the rest of the world what migration means on the ground for most people is not nearly as stark as as what we hear in the press and what we see in the media so you know i do think migration is a global phenomenon and ultimately societies will have to find ways to deal with
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these issues that are rights respecting and we have to be there pushing back on this and the global compact on migration that will you know has been negotiated and will be confirmed in december is a is an important step forward and saying that all states have this obligation and need to do more on this front thank you we have to take a very short break now but we'll be back in just a few moments stay tuned. there's now a building groundbreaking here in rwanda and though why says terrorists. memories . twenty four years ago this country saw. the world.
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after the genocide there are women in rwanda a man. fell to women to fix the broken. you know world of big partners newton's law and conspiracies it's time to wake up to dig deeper to hit the stories that mainstream media refuses to tell more than ever we need to be smart we need to stop slamming the door on the back and shouting past each other it's time for critical thinking it's time to fight for the middle for the truth the time is now for watching closely watching the hawks.
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welcome back to worlds apart of the baggage checks a director at the u.n. human rights office. talking before about human rights being treated with respect or concern and i would also say that some deep suspicion in certain corners of the well do you thing human rights organizations have any responsibility sharing the responsibility for that sure i do i spoke earlier about the fact that i think the fact that western organizations have tended to focus on certain rights and not others. political and civil rights rather than this much on economic and social rights played into that concern and made it difficult for people in the developing world in particular to see the human rights project as something that mattered to them in the same way and i also think that there are are those who want to use the
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human rights framework sometimes as as a tool to advance agendas but i also think that as i said that. we can debate human rights as. a set of things that people engage on but most people when you sit down and talk with them about what's behind it if you read them the declaration of human rights those thirty articles of that declaration are things that most people believe they want for themselves they want for them their children and they want for their societies now you came to the united nations after decades of human rights watch an organization that's been had by the same person kind of for all for twenty five years now a person who in an interview with me endorsed a bombing of syria you know lateral american bombing of syria i'm surprised to hear that because that's against human rights watch policy so i don't want an accurate description of what he does and i don't really know you but you brought it up and.
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while i was at human rights watch there were there are policies and there's a very explicit policy of human rights watch about when they can make such an endorsement and i know that that policy was never was in the heat of the discussion and it is on the record in everybody can check it out but what i wanted to ask you why they did you as a u.n. official do see any problem with the house of a major human rights organization endorsing a military attack against a country in circumvention of the united nations. as a u.n. official it's not my job to apply in. human rights organizations they can take positions that i find to be wrong and they do on occasion they disagree with my office and we disagree with them that's free expression now. are there human rights organizations that support positions that i think are antithetical to human rights or anti human rights if they were to do that then yes of course we as an organization would be able the same way we do with governments to say you know we
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think you're going in the wrong direction on that and that's part of why interject it on this issue because i do think on. on this issue which i think we're talking about the period where i was at human rights watch at the time there was an incredible debate and maybe your viewers might be surprised here but there was a big debate within human rights watch about what was the morality of those conversations and what should happen from a human rights perspective is there ever a time when use of forces is justifiable on human rights i'm getting the recent history or for his quite a few examples of what many human rights community believe that it was justified series no one example there was libya before the what i would call misuse humanitarian intervention so i do think that those recent wars have all for it and i don't know humbling when it comes to the human rights advocates who are usually people with good intentions but do they often do they always understand where there
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was intentional you talked about syria right after you talked about libya and i think that answers your own question i think there were many who fairly quickly supported the humanitarian intervention in libya because they saw it as this is a regime that had been repressive of human rights for a long time there are people in direct danger and if we have the ability to help them we should do it and i think what we saw in libya is that that initial impulse was not followed by a commitment and an engagement that was as respecting of human rights as as was needed and so i think there were many people who came to the discussion about syria with that in mind but and that they thought differently and were less likely to support military engagement and syria it's interesting that your vision of what happened it's more or less in line with president obama's vision of what happened there was an intervention and not enough follow up but i think from i shouldn't say that i said follow up that was not rights respected and there was follow up in just
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it didn't follow the principles upon which the intervention was alleged to have happened but. i think from the russian perspective there was a clear case of abusing the humanitarian mandate and taking it much further than. was initially a green do you think in the aftermath of the idea of the doctrine of humanitarian intervention and responsibility to protect. will ever be rehabilitated look the principles behind responsibility to protect again if we read them together i think you would agree with with what's there what it says is that states have to come together when a government is unwilling or unable to protect its people from gross human rights violations and in fact it says that that should be done within the auspices of the united nations in accordance with the charter so on that that's what responsibility to protect says so is that are the principles within it something that people in
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general i think support and us has the concept of responsibility to protect is it as viable as something on which we can engage people around protection of human rights obviously it's been incredibly harmed by the discussions over over libya now used to be very critical and skeptical about the un security council and the veto power as an impediment to human rights protection is that still your view as a un official it's not really in my place. the methodology of the un security council or what i can say is that our organization does look for all security council members to live up to the un charter which is of course the mandate behind the un security council and that means that if there is a situation of mass atrocities we would expect all security council members to engage on that in a way that is consistent with the un charter the reason that i was asking this is
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because the un these days talks a lot about prevention especially conflict prevention and it's not clear to me at least what is man by because. if. the syrian conflict do you think there were any points when base mass. killing mass destruction could have been averted over the last seven years i'm not an expert on syria but i can i can talk about it in the general sense of what we in the human rights community see we think that there are situations where there are in demick ongoing human rights abuses and addressing those human rights abuses creates more stability in a way that could allow a situation like syria not to develop so if there were for example you know stronger structures that would allow people to express their rights then you might not have had to get to the point where there were there was the. ultimate breakout in conflicts so we look at some of the root causes of conflict the human rights and
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some of those we see in many of these instances it's economic rights that are being violated if we can build up those systems so that there are better ways to address grievances within societies then we can avoid conflict more successfully the international peace and security rich started the mediation efforts in syria specifically pointed to impartiality was a major issue during all three stages so mediation demanding for the departure undock case of president assad. as a precondition for the talks made those talks impossible i know you the cost that these were very critical of president assad do you think in hindsight advocacy to unseat him was to. the syrian people that's not a question i can opine on in my current role or probably even in line prior wall what i can say is that i do believe that calling out those who have the ability to end human rights abuses even if we can debate who is responsible for them is is. is
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relevant is important and many times the answer is not. those things aren't happening the answer is oh i don't have the ability to change it and that i don't think is the reason that i sometimes the answer is that the reporting of human rights violations is simply ignored accurate or exaggerated to produce a political impact i know that in one of your interviews you called the white house minutes for example true heroes who save lives and give hope despite the. supposed civil defense group was founded by several well i don't really think that's what this interview is going to be about and i don't think it's the right place for it i'm not going to debate the character of their wife how much of what i want to ask here is whether you feeling civil activities should really be paired with the foreign funding because absolutely and you know why because not to allow people to have foreign funding is a violation of their ability to have free expression and to do and gauge in their
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societies effectively if you don't like what they have to say then don't listen to them but to cut off funding and to say that groups don't have the ability to engage in their own societies how they want to that saying to people you don't have or you don't have the ability to influence your own society in different ways now i think it's really unfortunate what has happened with civic space and with the fact that we all know that people individually have to be able to engage with their governments and one way to do that is through civil society groups and one way that civil society groups are able to be effective is through foreign funding and this this idea that receiving foreign funding means you're a foreign agent simply isn't borne out by the work of those groups that you do know of many of the governments not only russian unfair and gone but many other governments around the world i think i would say increasingly so highly suspicious of the human rights work specifically because they perceive it as a cover or as a tool or as some sort of foreign agenda you know what they're going to only recent
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groups that's that space that kind of attack is a group that works on disability rights in hungary i mean. they're reporting on abuses within the system in place there for people that are disabled i mean these are not issues that are political and i'm not saying that at all and they. should be valid i mean well then take on the substance don't take on the funding but do you have an issue with how an organization is exercised in mandate you have absolutely the ability to challenge that to say you're not credible because you're not engaging in a way that is respectful of the society and of of the rights here but to say and because we disagree with what you're doing we're going to make it impossible for you to operate to me that shows an inability to accept criticism and inability to accept dissent in a way that's not healthy for any society russia is very keen on rebuilding syria.
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recently charged that the secretariat passed some sort of a secret directive in which it tied the allocation of funds for development to a genuine and inclusive political transition in that country do you think it's ethical do you think it's fair to condition development on a political outcome i don't know anything about the particular situation you're talking about so i want to make clear that my comments have nothing to do with that if you're talking in general about whether we should condition development aid on political ideas my answer is no but if you think the question is whether we should condition development on things that will make sure that our development aid is sustainable and his rights respected and my answer is yes and sometimes let's say the word inclusive one of the problems that has happened is that it goes in and it helps one community and not another and then in fact the whole foundation of the work that's being done is in
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a solid because the the roots of the conflict are actually spurred on by the way the development assistance is being done so if you ask for developed. assistance then i think you do have to actually you know respect the ability of those who are given that assistance to also say we want to work we wanted to be sustainable and for it to be sustainable in my view you have to do it in a way that respects rights well we have to leave it there but i really appreciate your candor thank you very much for your perspectives thank you for inviting me i encourage our viewers to keep this conversation going on our social media pages and hope to see you again same place same time here on worlds apart.
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during the past thirty is lebanon has been subject to six invasions from israel. six invasions. practically every every five years we are having. one and this is definitely cannot see how clever.
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the headlines here on our two international emanuel micron that welcomes donald trump to paris ahead of armistice day commemorations with the two leaders attempting to settle their differences following a dispute over proposals for a european army. the white house finds itself in boiled in further controversy after it uses an allegedly doctored video clip to justify its banning of cnn's jim acosta from press briefings. as saudi arabia posts a tweet in support of the yemeni children where the u.n. warns tens of thousands die every year as a result of the saudi bombing campaign.


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