Friday 26th of February 2021
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Kuwaiti Writer: Arabs Must Respond Rationally To Human Rights Reports

We Should "Rid Ourselves of [Our] Oversensitivity to Foreign Reports"

"I hope that we can rid ourselves of [our] oversensitivity to foreign reports, particularly American reports [on human rights in the Arab world], and that we can adopt a rational approach to the opinion of the other.

"The U.S. State Department's annual human rights report is not the end of the road, nor a verdict that must be implemented. Many efforts have been invested in its preparation and publication... and it deals with the state of human rights in most countries of the world – [including] women's rights, children's rights, harm to freedoms, discrimination, [and more]. This report, like all other human endeavors, can include mistakes, [and therefore] should not necessarily be considered a final verdict.

"This report draws the attention of the peoples, the governments, and the authorities across the world to various aspects of human rights, and is not necessarily an indictment or a lawsuit... The fully transparent release of the report, via the media and Internet, and in various languages, is clearly not aimed at inciting the peoples against their governments. To the best of my understanding, the aim is to try to independently, impartially, and scientifically assess the state of human rights across the world.

"[However,] the release of this important annual report evokes reactions that are inflamed and far too hasty, and in many cases are unwise and lacking in the professionalism, objectivity, and diplomacy required in such cases. These reactions are 'unhealthy' in both style and content, even though many international reports clearly present the figures and indicators of the prevailing situation in various countries in the world. These figures and indicators reveal, [for example, which] countries spend several times more on weaponry than they do on health and education, [or which] countries are afflicted with ecological and health problems...

"These international reports – which today, in the age of absolute transparency in information, are fully accessible to the public – must be approached rationally, not in a volatile manner...  The [volatile] approach lacks wisdom and diplomacy, and reveals the embarrassing superficiality of those who rush to respond in an extreme manner to such reports, like a rocket exploding. These are unhealthy [patterns] of behavior.

"Anyone following the reactions to the recent 2009 U.S. State Department report on the state of human rights in the world cannot hide his surprise and his sense of shame over two things – one, the hasty response by officials in several countries, that may have [even] preceded their reading or understanding the report, and two, the harsh and belligerent rhetoric about the report, obviously coming from senior [government] officials who are not experts [on the subject and who are responding] carelessly. These two things evoke amazement, sorrow, and shame, all at the same time."

"...Experts Should First Read the Reports, and Then Carefully Examine the Information [in Them]... and Use [It]... to Improve the Human Rights Situation"

"Reason says that experts should first read the reports, and then carefully examine the information that they contain – perhaps it is correct, perhaps not – and after that should try to use these reports, or parts of them, in order to improve the human rights situation in various areas. Doubtless these reports, whether they are American or international, include much that is positive, and many points that the experts will pay attention to and learn from – particularly regarding the connection between health [services] and human rights...

"We should set aside our hidden feelings and our oversensitivity complex vis-à-vis reports by [other countries'] foreign ministries, particularly the U.S. [State Department], and we should treat the opinion of the other with wisdom, reason, and scholarliness instead of the excitability and emotion that has caused us to lose many battles.

"Let us read the reports thoroughly before we release our tongues and find fault, condemn, and threaten... Let us give the Arab mind a chance to read these reports in depth, as necessary, and give a chance to experts in international charters, agreements and relations, and in human rights principles and health [services], to study these reports before... we attack the international reports and curse those who compiled them and distributed them in public. [Let us do] this instead of seeking a fig leaf... to cover our weaknesses at upholding human rights, and first among those the right to medical treatment..."

source : www.memri.org/
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