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Obama and the services of his lip
Rather, how his promises on human rights’ violations were lip service

2009 was been a busy year for all those who battled against human rights violations. Human rights activists were busy campaigning for a range of issues; from people harassed in places like Gaza and Sri Lanka to illegal prisons, genocides and bonded labour.

Amidst all these, there was a ‘ray of hope’ in the form of America’s new President. Obama’s promises like closing Guantanamo Bay’s prison, bringing peace in Central Asia, decreasing troops in Iraq, et al brought in some good news for the activists. But by the end of 2009, all this has turned out to be more or less a service of the lip. To worsen matters, many other human rights scandals like BlackWater (in Iraq), sexual harassments of Tamil women in refugee camps, debate over arrest warrant of Omar Bashir (the Sudanese president) and the recent news of resurfacing of ‘Blood Diamond’ activities have shamed the world. According to recent reports by various NGOs, blood diamonds are still trading freely and smuggling is quite rampant. Both Human Rights Watch and UN’s Kimberley Process want such countries to be suspended out of diamond trade; but unfortunately, no concrete action has been ordered so far.

While the beginning of 2009 gave some hope to human rights activists, they have found themselves back to square one in 2010 – rather, a few steps backward. Since no major breakthrough happened in 2009, the whole of 2010 will obviously be a busy season for both the activists and abusers. Issues regarding war crimes and illegal prisons will continue to be paramount. Even numerous pending and ignored cases at the International Court of Justice are expected to be closed due to huge media pressure. In addition, 2010 is anticipated to be a year where the residual factors (war crimes) of war and conflicts will take centre stage.

By:- Sray Agarwal

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