THE 10th of December was the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when countries all over the world joined together to endorse this declaration and incorporate it in their constitutions and laws.
Kuwait did the same 56 years ago when it issued its Constitution. It incorporated some articles containing the declaration, such as Article 29 which states: “All people are equal in human dignity, public rights and duties before the law, without distinction based on race, origin, language, or religion … ”
In the actual United Nations Human Rights Charter, the words “or color or wealth” are mentioned; but they were not incorporated in the Kuwaiti Constitution due to the fact that there is no suspicion of racism based on color or wealth in this country, let alone an article eliminating this suspicion. Discrimination between people because of wealth is nonexistent in this community.
Therefore, there is no need for a specific article against such discrimination. This is mentioned in the explanatory document of the article which was written in gold ink. Kuwait adopted it from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Human rights topics and honoring human rights principles in words and deeds are no longer an option for a country to take or leave, as they have become compulsory as per the agreements on human rights signed by countries. Kuwait is a signatory to more than 11 human rights agreements.
The clearest among such agreements signed by Kuwait is the Paris Declaration which requires the establishment of independent authorities in charge of monitoring the extent that countries and people uphold human rights.
Because of this, Kuwait recently established the National Human Rights Bureau. It is not a governmental authority but a completely independent entity as a result of international agreements that Kuwait signed in this regard.
To demonstrate the level which these principles must be adhered to, I will narrate a story about the visit of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to China – a major country in terms of its military, economy and population.
The German president affirmed the importance of protecting human rights and abiding by its principles which were laid down by the United Nations as the basis of world order.
Steinmeier mentioned it in his speech to the students and officials of a Chinese university, describing adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 70 years ago as a milestone and auspicious moment from the past.
Referring to the history of Germany which was marked by dictatorship and repression for many years, Steinmeier continued to say, “This makes us particularly sensitive to and aware of what happens to those who do not share the prevailing opinion, belong to an ethnic minority, want to practice their religion or campaign non-violently and peacefully for their ideas and beliefs.”
In his speech, President Steinmeier called for strengthening German-Chinese cooperation to stand up and defend universal order; on top of the list are the contents of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Here we are, the principles of human rights are crossing borders. It is not possible for a country or authority, where human rights principles are violated, to entrench itself without any interference in its internal affairs.
These noble issues and principles are no longer luxury issues discussed by the elite in velvet chambers. In fact, these principles have almost developed fangs and claws.