04.11.2013 Author: Vladimir Odintsov

Foreign Office and human rights in Libya and Iraq

32The remarkable aspiration of the British Foreign Office to only accuse the administrations of Libya and Iraq for the current state of events there, concealing their initial cause, consisting in initiation by the West and Great Britain in the first place of the recent military intervention in these states in breaking the international law.

In October the British Foreign Office published an “innovation” for the annual report on the human rights in those countries, which critically stated that “progress in abidance of human rights  Libya and Iraq  continues being very slow”.

In Libya according to British experts such state of affairs is determined by the “fragile political situation, difficulties for the current Libyan government in execution of the total control over security, absence of the progress in development and adoption of the new constitution and problems in judicial and penal systems”. Serious problems are outlined in treatment of the prisoners, claims are made for the appropriate execution of rights of the convicts.

In Iraq case British scientists attribute the major problem in the rights-protection field to “significant aggravation of the safety in the country, reaction of the Iraq officials to the terrorist attacks in the form of execution of the mass verdicts (mainly with accusations of terrorism)”. Due to this very fact in August the so called Ambassador of the Great Britain in Iraq “pointed to” the “special concern” of the Albion.

These “innovations” of the Foreign Office cannot be overlooked not only because of the topics touched by the British experts and complexity of the inner-political processes, occurring in these recently influential and successful in the Arab world states.

History of the western, in the first place British manipulations of the Arab world are not limited to the last century, although in the XX century Great Britain together with the USA actively tried to alter the map of the Near East, overturning the undesirable regimes and getting rid of the hostile leaders. The major driving force of these policies were definitely the interests of the economic benefit, struggle for the access to the energy sources and control over the trading routes.

From the middle of the XX century the official London and Washington neglecting the rights of the people inhabiting Near East countries organized military expeditions aiming at destabilization of the secular Arab states. Particularly, in 1956 the Suez crisis was provoked and an armed intervention in Egypt was prepared, which, however, failed. There were two attempts on Naser´s life, which also failed. There were attempts to stir up two revolutions in Syria, but these attempts weren´t successful either.

Today the recently prosperous Naser´s, Kaddafi´s and Hussein´s states are ravaged, their resources ransacked, state infrastructure ruined and children grow surrounded by gun sights. All these happened in the first place because of the officials of London and the USA, which by organized military NATO interventions broke the law of war prevention (jus contra bellum) and international humanitarian law (jus in bello). From the legal standpoint no armed rebels in the domestic conflict (either in Libya, Iraq, Syria or other country) cannot be looked at as civilians and NATO cannot have authority not only to lend help to one politically beneficial to the West side, but also to its defense. As in case with the opposition delivery of the military arms, it spread all over the region, started being used by various extremist and terrorist groups, including Al-Qaida jihadists.

Speaking of human rights violation in Libya and Iraq, Foreign Office by some “strange coincidence” didn´t point to the concern of the guilt by its authorities in the deaths of civilians in Libya during British air force attacks in Tripoli. Or in the deliberate deception of the kingdom´s subjects when the decisions about the intrusion of the British army in Iraq were made on the basis of the false data about Saddam´s Hussein´s possession of the weapons of mass destruction.

According to several competent NPOs, Great Britain attempting to keep its image of a leader in observance of the human rights standards carefully conceals many occasions of the domestic human rights violations, which British authorities are responsible for. The acute problems for the Great Britain are the same problems mentioned by Foreign Office in Libya and Iraq.

Thus, criticizing Libya for serious problems in treatment of the prisoners British experts don´t want to accept the use of tortures and non-human or humiliating treatment in their penitentiaries. The examples of these may be particularly the resonant court case on the fact of use of tortures and violence against the Kenyan businessman O. Avadh, which sued the British authorities with the request to accept the involvement of the secret services of the country to unlawful kidnapping of people suspected of terrorism.

In this context, the report of the chief inspector of the prison in England and Wales promulgated in August 2011 is demonstrative about the conditions of prisoners´ keeping in one of the UK ‘s largest prison Wandswort. It has been listed numerous violations of prisoners’ rights, including the lack of access to basic hygiene.

Or should one remind who has invented concentration camps? Those were Victorian gentlemen during the Second Boer War of 1899—1902, and not Nazis. The name of the inventor is Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener, a British Field Marshal.

In September 2011, the Special Citizens Commission of the UK under the leadership of W. Hague completed the three-year investigation into the death of Iraqi citizen B. Musy, use of torture and severe bodily harm to another nine Iraqis detained by British troops in Basra in 2003

In September 2011, one of the most high-profile scandals connected to the violations of the right to privacy, correspondence and telephone calls in the UK was the so -called “Newsgate” when employees of the edition of “News of the World” illegally wiretapped phone conversations of celebrities, politicians, and victims of high-profile crimes .

In April 2012, the National Black Police Association (NBPA) appealed to British Prime Minister David Cameron with a request to take control of the situation with a large-scale discrimination on grounds of race in London Police.  But there’s little surprise, according to The Telegraph David Cameron himself stated that Britain should put a limit to the flow of the work force coming from the Eastern Europe. Among the “unwanted” are  the workers from Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, the same very countries that share membership with Britain in the EU and NATO.

Such examples are multiple.

As for the relatively clear desire of the Great Britain to take the “looking” position for the countries of the “greatest danger” from the point of view of democratic norms, we must not forget that Foreign Office did not confer such authority to anyone. First of all, due to no flawless policies of London.

Vladimir Odintsov, a political commentator, special for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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