International Human Rights, Decolonisation and Globalisation: Becoming Human

By Shelly Wright | Go to book overview

8

The death of the hero

The Universe sent darkness to our humble home, which is gone now. The letter, and every single book, and dear things: they all burned like Rome. But it is just an image! Have a look…

(Ferida Durakovic)


War, peace and human rights

An examination of conflicts, former conflicts and emergencies around the world indicates that there is a close if complex relationship between the protection of human rights, the levels of violence and oppression within societies, their political and economic stability, and war. Human rights abuses in Indonesia committed by both government forces and gangs of paramilitary thugs have been linked to factionalism within the military, a serious lack of central authority and decades of authoritarianism, corruption and transmigration. The result has been a series of uprisings and disturbances involving indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities as both victims and perpetrators leading to fearful levels of violence in the archipelago's outer islands (Murdoch 2001a).

Human rights were identified during the Second World War as one means of achieving post-war reconstruction and preventing violence. The connection between respect for human rights and the prevention of war is referred to in both the Preambles of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration. Human rights are specifically referred to in the Preamble to the European Convention as the 'foundation of justice and peace in the world' and the formation of unity between states as based on 'effective political democracy'. Societies emerging from colonialism, political repression or war and who are also dealing with long-term socio-economic problems have frequently experienced extreme levels of violence that may be very difficult to contain or remedy, as in many parts of Africa or in our recurring examples of Indonesia and East Timor. Euro-American thinking frequently forgets the levels of violence prevalent in Europe itself through centuries of continental conflicts and ongoing colonial violence overseas. This violence strongly determined the drafting of unified European institutions such as the European Convention and its implementation mechanisms.

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International Human Rights, Decolonisation and Globalisation: Becoming Human
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements x
  • 1 - A Civil Religion 1
  • 2 - White Man's Rights 13
  • 3 - Witches, Slaves and Savages 36
  • 4 - Subjects, Soldiers and Citizens 62
  • 5 - Peoples of the Book 87
  • 6 - Speaking Truth to Power 112
  • 7 - Emerging Images 134
  • 8 - The Death of the Hero 160
  • 9 - Ghosts in the Machine 187
  • 10 - Becoming Human 213
  • Bibliography 227
  • Index 260
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