Asian governments' pledges: A mockery of democratic practices
In the last ACHR REVIEW, Asian Centre for Human Rights stated “Voluntary pledge is an important element of democracy. It is not mandatory but almost all political parties, small or big, submit election manifestos prior to elections. Most political parties seldom fulfill the manifestos and in democratic countries, non-performing political parties are kicked out during elections”.
Since then, a large number of Asian governments have submitted “voluntary pledges”. The number of candidates which have not submitted any pledge from Asia have been reduced to minority:
However, a cursory scrutiny of the voluntary pledges made by Asian countries shows that these are not pledges but statements of self-glorification which are also full of rhetoric that discredited the UN Commission on Human Rights. Asian countries have successfully reduced the entire exercise of making voluntary pledges to a mockery. In comparison to Western European and Other Countries, not a single Asian country has made a pledge to sign or ratify any international human rights instrument or take effective measures at national level such as establishing a National Human Rights Institution. It remains the fundamental difference between the East and the West and the key obstacle to an effective Human Rights Council despite pledges from the Asian states to make it effective. The Islamic Republic of Iran states that “If elected it will spare no efforts to assist the international community to safeguard the Human Rights Council from injustice, double standards, and politicization”. China also stressed on “impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity in the consideration of human rights issues". The
For many countries submitting a voluntary pledge is a mere ritual. Otherwise, why would Or should we read that Bangladesh has made a pledge to “protect” its deplorable human rights record before the Human Rights Council and therefore the candidacy.
Or should we read that Bangladesh has made a pledge to “protect” its deplorable human rights record before the Human Rights Council and therefore the candidacy.
In its pledge Bangladesh has not extended invitations to any of the Special Rapporteurs on economic, social and cutural rights and civil and political rights.
Bangladesh has not extended invitations to any of the Special Rapporteurs on economic, social and cutural rights and civil and political rights.
Despite such gross human rights violations,
Even though officials of the government of
After years of discussion about the establishment of a National Human Rights Institution, the draft Human Rights Protection Bill for establishing National Human Rights Institution was made public in 2003. The Draft bill was however set aside. Two years later, in 2005, the government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party agreed in principle to resubmit the Human Rights Protection Bill after some modification before the Diet, the Parliament. Until today the Human Rights Protection Bill of 2005 has not been adopted. The government of
This is despite that a NHRI would have been useful to combat discrimination against indigenous Ainus, Burakumin (descendants of feudal era "outcasts"), Koreans, and alien workers. The Korean permanent residents most of whom were born, raised, and educated in
Long way to go
Long way to go
If the pledges made so far are any yardstick, undoubtedly Western countries are more serious commitment to human rights and democracy in comparison to the countries which seek to hide under the garb of "impartiality, objectivity, universality, politicisation and double standards". And it does not depend on the level of economic development. Otherwise, Japan will not be following the footsteps of Bangladesh on the establishment of NHRIs.
If the commitment made through voluntary pledges is a yardstick to cast votes, none of the Asian countries that submitted candidacy are worth voting. Yet, those States which have made genuine pledges can make a difference by not electing those States which are economical with the truth. It is an issue of voting for the bad ones over the worst.
It is an issue of voting for the bad ones over the worst.