Mockery Of Human Rights By UNHRC Members

Mockery Of Human Rights By UNHRC Members

With China, Russia, Pakistan, etc. being elected to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the organization took another step for enhancing its reputation. Let us take a look at the human rights issues of the elected as well as the nominated nations.

Crux of the Matter

Elected And Nominees
Russia, China, Pakistan, Cuba, Uzbekistan and Nepal were recently elected to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Board, where Saudi Arabia was also among the nominees. The mentioned nations have been elected for a 3 year term starting from January 2021.

An NGO named UN Watch compared the situation to “making a gang of arsonists into the fire brigade”.

Following are the notable ‘Human Rights achievements‘ of the mentioned nations:

China

  • More than 1 million Uighur Muslims are held in detention camps in Xinjiang.
  • Cases of forced labour, forced sterilization and organ harvesting have been reported in Xinjiang.
  • Recently imposed Security Law in Hong Kong to curb dissent and reportedly uses forced labour in Tibet.

Russia

  • Alexei Navalny, a critic of Putin, was recently poisoned allegedly by Russia agents.
  • Several opposition leaders and journalists have been killed in recent years.
  • Annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Saudi Arabia

  • Saudi Arabia executed a record 184 people in 2019 as per Human rights group ‘Reprieve’.
  • Limb amputations have been used as punishment, and flogging was used as a punishment method till April 2020.
  • Women need a male guardian’s permission to marry or file a lawsuit.
  • Several activists and journalists have been imprisoned or have ‘disappeared’. Most notable recent case is of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey in 2018 by Saudi agents.

Pakistan

  • Forced conversions: More than 1,000 Christian and Hindu girls are forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men per year as per the Movement for Solidarity and Peace (MSP) report.
  • Death penalty for blasphemy (insult to Islam). More than 40 people are on a death row for blasphemy as per the recent Human Rights Watch report.\
  • Faisal Khan, a 15-year-old boy, recently shot dead an American citizen accused of blasphemy inside a Court in Pakistan. The case went viral after Police guards reportedly clicked a selfie with Faisal in admiration.
  • Several Balochistan activists have been abducted and disappeared in recent years. Around 1,000 Baloch activists and separatists have been killed between 2011 and 2016 alone. Balochistan is a resource-rich region, but most of its resources are diverted to the Chinese controlled Gwadar port. As of 2017, 90% of the Balochistan population lives without clean drinking water.

Read about the unusual nominees of Nobel Prize Peace Award 2020 here: Unusual Nominees Of Nobel Peace Prize 2020

Curiopedia
  • The World Food Programme is the food-assistance branch of the UN and the world’s largest humanitarian organization focused on hunger and food security. The World Food Programme launched its first programmes in 1963 through the Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN General Assembly on a three-year experimental basis, supporting the Nubian population.
  • Leopold II was the second King of the Belgians and the owner & absolute ruler of the Congo Free State from 1865 to 1909. Leopold’s administration of the Congo was characterised by atrocities, including torture and murder, resulting from notorious systematic brutality. Modern estimates range from 1 million to 15 million deaths.
  • Genocide is the intentional action to destroy a people—usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group—in whole or in part. A term coined by Raphael Lemkin in his 1944 book “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe”.

Aarey Metro Shed Shifted To Kanjurmarg

Aarey Metro Shed Shifted To Kanjurmarg

As Maharashtra Government announced to shift the Aarey Metro shed, let us look at Aarey forest and the controversy surrounding the Metro shed.

Crux of the Matter

Kanjurmarg Shift
On 11 October, 2020, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced the removal of the construction of the Metro car shed in Aarey Milk Colony, Mumbai. The shed would be shifted to Kanjurmarg, Mumbai, where the land would be “available at a zero rate”, claimed Thackeray. The move comes days after state the Government withdrew cases against activists who protested the cutting of trees under the previous Government in 2019.

Thackeray also announced to increase the land in Aarey categorized as “reserve forest”, increasing it from the previous 600 acres to 800 acres. It would also be linked to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).

We know that jungles are converted to cities, but here, the city is converted to a jungle. We must preserve what we have and carry out development in the remaining areas

Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra Chief Minister

What Is Aarey?
Aarey Milk Colony was established in 1949 as a milk processing centre for Mumbai, and is spread over an area of 3,162 acres. Projects like the Film City etc. have reduced the green area of the colony, which still has 1,800 acres of green space and contains 290 species of flora and fauna. It comes under the “eco-sensitive zone” category of Sanjay Gandhi National Park and is home to 27 tribal settlements of over 10,000 people.

Metro Construction

  • October 2019: Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) initiated the construction of ‘car shed’ under then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP, which is designed for the ₹32,000 crores “underground Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro corridor”.
  • In the same month, Maharashtra High Court allowed the State Government to construct the shed after dismissing the petitions filed against it.
    Mass protests involving activists, celebrities, and students occurred over the cutting of trees, with Shiv Sena, an ally of BJP, also joining in the protests.
  • The Supreme Court then directed to stop the construction. However, 2,141 (98%) trees out of the decided 2,185 trees were cut and ₹100 crores were spent before the SC put a halt.

Next Government’s Move

  • Uddhav Thackeray stopped the construction 1 day after taking over as the CM in November 2019.
  • January 2020: A 4-member committee appointed by Thackeray recommended to let the shed remain in Aarey.
    The committee listed logistical problems, cost escalation, and added delay in initiating the 33.5 km underground Metro route as reasons for letting it stay. Instead, it recommended preserving the green areas in the colony “like a protected forest”.
  • Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) recently released a report contradictory to the Thackeray appointed committee. It claimed “technical merit” in relocating the car shed to a land piece in Kanjurmarg.
  • The Colaba-Bandra-Seepz would now be integrated with the 14.5-km Jogeshwari-Lokhandwala-Vikhroli-Kanjurmarg line.

Reaction

Criticism From The Past

  • Former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis tweeted against the recent decision.
  • Fadnavis claimed that the project cost would increase by “at least ₹4000 crores” as evaluated by the committee appointed by Thackeray.
  • He also claimed that Kanjurmarg land is in litigation and “will require at least 2 years to stabilise” due to its ‘marshy’ nature.
    Overall, a 4-5 year delay is expected in the Metro project.

Support For The Move

  • Activists like Chinu Kwatra, Zoru Bhathena, etc have praised the decision, claiming that the decision would save the forest which is commonly referred to as “city’s lungs”.
  • Bhathena has labelled the move “win-win for everyone”.

Citizens will get the priceless benefit of better Metro connectivity, government will benefit from lifelong cost savings from merging depots, and Mumbaikars will forever benefit from the preservation of the Aarey forest

Zoru Bhathena, Activist
Curiopedia
  1. ‘Tree Sena’ is an initiative launched in December 2019 by Indian YouTuber Saiman Says. The initiative aims to plant over 4000 trees in and around Aarey Colony in Mumbai, in honour of the 2000 trees which were cut down in October 2019.
  2. Dara Khurody was an Indian entrepreneur known for his contributions to the dairy industry of India. The colony was the vision of him and was established in 1949.
  3. Saamana is a Marathi-language newspaper published in Maharashtra, India. The paper was launched on 23 January 1988 by Bal Thackeray, the founder of the Shiv Sena. A Hindi version of the paper, Dopahar Ka Saamana popularly known as Hindi Saamana, was launched in February 1993.

118th Birth Anniversary Of Jayaprakash Narayan

118th Birth Anniversary Of Jayaprakash Narayan

As India commemorates Jayaprakash Narayan, the renowned freedom fighter and social activist, on his 118th birth anniversary, let’s look at his social work before and after Independence, and the famous ‘Sampoorna Kranti’ or Total Revolution Movement.

Crux of the Matter

118th Birth Anniversary Of ‘JP’
India celebrated the 118th birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan, a renowned socialist activist, on 11th October. PM Modi commemorated JP Narayan, tweeting how “he valiantly fought for India’s freedom and when our democratic ethos was under attack [and] for him, there was nothing above national interest and people’s welfare”.

Pre-Independence Life

  • Jayaprakash Narayan was born on 11 October, 1902.
  • He was inspired by Marxism while studying in the US.
  • 1932: He was imprisoned for participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • He formed the Congress Socialist Party (CSP) – a left-wing socialist group within the Congress party.
  • 1939: He was imprisoned again by the British.
  • November 1942: He made the famous escape from the Hazaribagh jail. The ‘Quit India movement’ initiated by Gandhi acquired more intensity after the British initiated a mass search to capture JP ‘dead or live’.

Post-Independence Life

  • 1948: JP Narayan left Congress along with most of the socialists.
  • 1952: He formed the ‘Praja Socialist Party’ by merging his ‘Socialist Party’ with the ‘Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party’ of J B Kripalani. He also reportedly rejected PM Nehru’s request to join his Cabinet.
  • 1954: JP left politics and joined the ‘Bhoodan Yajna Movement’ of Vinoba Bhave, which induced landlords to give up land to the landless poor. He also called for an increase in village and micro-level democracy.

Total Revolution

  • 1973: Students of L D Engineering College, Ahmedabad started protests against price hikes including mess charges, etc, which turned into ‘Navnirman Movement’ which caused the resignation of the state Government. JP became part of the movement and was influenced to initiate the same in Bihar and other states.
  • 1974: JP called for Sampoorna Kranti (Total Revolution) in Bihar as leader of the student movement, which initiated the movement which is now called the ‘JP Movement’. They demanded the resignation of Bihar Government and the eradication of unchecked corruption, poverty, etc.
  • He was joined by Jan Sangh, Socialist Party, and major opposition groups in the movement. Current Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, former Bihar CM Lalu Yadav, etc. were part of the JP movement as youth leaders.
  • The Total Revolution was soon converted into a national movement, which united opposition parties of several states against Indira Gandhi – accusing her of corruption and failure in Government functioning.
  • 1975: JP called for a mass rally to demand the resignation of Indira Gandhi after a lower Court found her guilty of fraud in Lok Sabha elections. Indira Gandhi instead imposed a nationwide Emergency, with JP and several other opposition leaders being shown into jail.
  • Demand to free him also came from outside India, as UK Activist Surur Hoda initiated the ‘Free JP campaign’ which was led by 1959 Nobel Peace Prize winner Philip Noel-Baker.
    JP was released within months but suffered serious health damage.
  • 1977: He delivered his famous speech to more than 1 lakh people at Ramlila ground, Delhi after the Emergency ended, asking people to vote for “freedom”. Janata alliance, formed under his direction, defeated Indira Gandhi in the election. However, JP continued to keep his distance from politics.
  • 8 October 1979: Jayaprakash Narayan passed away at the age of 76.
Curiopedia
  • Ramavriksha Benipuri was a freedom fighter, Socialist Leader, editor and Hindi writer. Jayaprakash Narayan’s biography, Jayaprakash, was written by Ramavriksha Benipuri.
  • In March 1979, while Jayaprakash was in hospital, his death had been erroneously announced by the Indian prime minister, Morarji Desai, causing a grief wave of national mourning, including the suspension of parliament and closure of schools and shops. When he was told about the gaffe a few weeks later, he smiled.
  • Jayaprakash Narayan is also known as the “Hero of Quit India Movement” and he is remembered for leading the mid-1970s opposition against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, for whose overthrow he had called for a “total revolution”.

History Of Taiwan

History Of Taiwan

As Taiwan celebrates its National Day on 10 October, let us look at its history, its relations with China and its presence in the 21st Century.

Crux of the Matter

Taiwan is an island separated from China by a 150 km strait.

Taiwan Before World War II

  • Taiwan was ruled by Qing Dynasty of China till 1895.
  • 1895: The First Sino-Japanese War occurred. Japan defeated China, with Taiwan being ceded to Japanese control.
  • 1911: Uprising started against the Qing dynasty.
  • 1912: The Qing dynasty was removed and the ‘Republic of China’ (RoC) was established. China went under the rule of the Nationalist party (Kuomintang), which was later transformed into Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) in 1919.

Taiwan After WW II

  • Japan surrendered at the end of World War 2, after which the Allied forces put Taiwan under the control of China, which was ruled by the KMT (Nationalist Party).
  • 1949: Civil war in China, going since the 1930s, ended. Communist Party of China (CPC), under Mao Zedong, won the war and declared a People’s Republic of China (PRC).
  • KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek took exile in Taiwan along with 2 million of his soldiers. He formed a Government there and claimed itself the official Government of China. Meanwhile, the CPC continued its rule in China.
  • 1971: The United Nations (UN) officially recognized the Communist Party of China as the official representative, and stopped recognising Taiwan. Several countries shifted their embassies to Beijing and considered Taiwan as Chinese territory.

Taiwan Miracle
Taiwan embarked on economic development through industrialization labelled as “Taiwan miracle”. It proved successful as its Gross National Product (GNP) grew by 360% in the period 1965 – 1986, while its Global Industrial Production output grew by 680% in the same period.

  • China provided a “peaceful reunification” option to Taiwan in 1980s. A ‘1 country, 2 systems’ was offered to grant Taiwan autonomy while uniting it with China, which Taiwan did not accept.
  • 1988: Lee Teng-Hui became the first President of Taiwan born in the country.
  • 1996: First elections occurred in Taiwan. China initiated “missile tests” amidst elections, against which the US sailed aircraft carriers to protect Taiwanese elections.
  • 2000: Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian promised to not declare independence if China did not attack it and let it continue with its autonomy.

Taiwan In 21st Century

  • 2006: Taiwan removed the National Unification Council (to manage unification with China), which drew strong criticism from the mainland.
    Relations between Taiwan and China improved in the following years.
  • 2008: China sent 2 giant pandas to Taiwan as gifts.
  • 2010: Both countries signed ‘Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement (ECFA)’, the most significant pact in their history.

Tsai Era

  • 2016: Tsai Ing-wen, a pro-independence candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party, became the President of Taiwan. China broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan as Tsai didn’t acknowledge “one China”.
  • In the same year, US President Donald Trump broke decades old protocol and talked to Taiwanese President on phone.
  • January 2020: Tsai claimed in January 2020 that “we don’t have a need to declare ourselves an independent state [as] we are an independent country already and we call ourselves the Republic of China, Taiwan”.
    Chinese aggression has prompted several nations to strengthen their ties with Taiwan.

France discussed supplying upgrade to the French warships Taiwan bought in 1991 in May 2020 and told China to focus on the Covid-19 pandemic when it criticized the move. US put a demand to include Taiwan in the UN in May 2020 as Taiwan successfully managed the Covid-19 pandemic, with 524 total cases and 7 deaths as of 8 October.

Did you know that the Chinese embassy in India has written a letter to Indian media to not refer to Taiwan as a nation or its leader as the President after several Indian newspapers featured an ad by the Taiwanese government ahead of Taiwan National Day, which featured President Tsai Ing-wen with a slogan “Taiwan and India are natural partners”? Quench your curiosity here: Taiwan National Day: China Interferes In Indian Media Reporting

Curiopedia
  • The Blue Sky with a White Sun serves as the national emblem of the Republic of China. In the “Blue Sky with a White Sun” symbol, the twelve rays of the white Sun represent the twelve months and the twelve traditional Chinese hours.
  • Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician who was the paramount leader of the People’s Republic of China from 1978 until 1989. The system of “one country, two systems” was formulated by Deng himself.
  • The Taiwan consensus is a Taiwanese political term, which was coined in 2011 by Tsai Ing-wen, and is intended to replace the “1992 consensus”. The “1992 consensus” is based on the “One-China policy”, which is a policy asserting that there is only one sovereign state under the name China.

Taiwan National Day: China Interferes In Indian Media Reporting

Taiwan National Day: China Interferes In Indian Media Reporting

As Taiwan celebrates its National Day on 10 October, China directed Indian media to modify their reporting of the day, continuing its attempts to interfere in media of other nations.

Crux of the Matter

Taiwan National Day
Taiwan celebrates its National Day on 10 October every year to mark the Wuchang Uprising of 1911, which ended the Qing dynasty in China and established the ‘Republic of China’. However, a controversy has occurred over Chinese interference in coverage of the event in India.

Indian Media Reporting Taiwan
Several Indian newspapers featured an ad by the Taiwanese government ahead of Taiwan National Day, which featured President Tsai Ing-wen with a slogan “Taiwan and India are natural partners”.

Chinese embassy in India issued a letter to Indian media as it considers Taiwan its territory. In the letter, China asked Indian media to “not violate the One-China principle”. It also asked Indian media to not refer to Taiwan “as a ‘country(nation)’ or ‘Republic of China’ or the leader of China’s Taiwan region as ‘President’”.

Taiwan Hits Back
In response to the Chinese letter, Taiwanese foreign ministry tweeted that “Taiwan’s Indian friends will have one reply: GET LOST!” (to China).

Ironically, China interfered in the Indian territory a week back when the Chinese foreign ministry claimed that “China has not recognised Ladakh union territory illegally set up by the Indian side”.

To read about the history of the formation of Taiwan and its relationship with China and world nations, check this story: History Of Taiwan

Curiopedia
  • The Blue Sky with a White Sun serves as the national emblem of the Republic of China. In the “Blue Sky with a White Sun” symbol, the twelve rays of the white Sun represent the twelve months and the twelve traditional Chinese hours.
  • Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician who was the paramount leader of the People’s Republic of China from 1978 until 1989. The system of “one country, two systems” was formulated by Deng himself.
  • The Taiwan consensus is a Taiwanese political term, which was coined in 2011 by Tsai Ing-wen, and is intended to replace the “1992 consensus”. The “1992 consensus” is based on the “One-China policy”, which is a policy asserting that there is only one sovereign state under the name China.