Human Rights v Tyranny


The following is the text of an address I delivered to a conference in Geneva on Thursday 19th September.

The title of my contribution to this conference is taken from paragraph three of the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. QUOTE “It is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law” UNQUOTE

The problem, I say, is that there is no universal enforcement of the rule of law to ensure and protect human rights. Why not?

One part of the sad and brutal truth is that virtually all if not all governments only pay SELECTIVE lip-service to human rights; and some demonstrate by their policies and actions CONTEMPT for them. The other part is that the only institution we have for enforcing the rule of law, the UN Security Council, is more often than not paralysed and made impotent by the conflicting self-interests of the Council’s five permanent and controlling members. (In verbal parenthesis I’ll add that I never cease to be amazed by the hypocrisy of our leaders and their governments. Early this month the Obama administration accused Russia of holding the Security Council “hostage” for vetoing a resolution to authorize the U.S. to attack Syria. The truth is that no country holds the Security Council hostage more often than America. It has, for example, cast 42 vetoes to prevent the Zionist state of Israel being called and held to account for its crimes).

I want to start with a personal note. The consequence of my exposure to the real world over many years is that I don’t give a damn about being English and British, a white man with blue eyes and blonde hair. I am a citizen of the world, period. (To be completely frank, I don’t want an English or British team to win a football or a cricket match just because I am English and British. I am content for the best team on the day to win).

I also want to offer you my one-sentence take on the state of things here on Planet Earth. Modern life is a de-humanizing process, reducing us to units of consumption; and the name of the game for each and every one of us is, ought to be, CLAIMING BACK OUR HUMANITY.

In my view evidence that such a process was underway would be that each and every one of us who live in the Rich World (the North in development jargon) was demanding that a priority be given to ensuring that the poor majority of Planet Earth’s human inhabitants had what I call the SEVEN MOST BASIC OF ALL HUMAN RIGHTS.

They are:


Adequate food and nutrition

Clean water

Sanitation (meaning safe and secure sewage disposal)


Education and

A work/job opportunity

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