Human rights and charity should be across borders


Sandeep Pandey returned his Magsaysay Award last year in protest against America’s approach towards Palestine. He also returned all the degrees he had got from American universities – a dual MS in manufacturing from Syracuse University, New York, and a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Berkeley.

He correctly highlighted the contrast between America’s internal and foreign policies. While expressing his sincere admiration for America’s high regard for human rights within its boundaries, he criticised the USA for showing a different face in Gaza. He said, “I think the US is one country which respects human rights the most and offers the best freedom of expression, but sadly it is true only within the country.”

Interestingly, there is so much to be learned from the internal policy of the United States. The same thing is applicable to Germany because of its sensitivity to human rights violations. In a recent development, Germany has reiterated its sensitivity against even a faint trace of racism. The display of any Nazi symbol, including the ‘SS’, has long been banned in Germany. Recently, Germany has withdrawn jerseys with number 44 immediately after it was pointed out that there was a resemblance between that number and the stylized SS used by Nazi Party’s Schutzstaffel group.

However, it appears that just like America, Germany leaves its commendable sensitivity against human rights violations far behind in their foreign policy. Nicaragua has recently brought a case against Germany at the International Court of Justice. In the case file, Nicaragua said, “Germany is facilitating the commission of genocide” in Gaza and violating the Genocide Convention by providing Israel with military and financial aid.

Earlier, South Africa sought emergency measures from the court. The court in its order asked Israel to ensure that its citizens and soldiers must not violate the Genocide Convention. The convention forbids actions intended to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

It has become extremely difficult to supply food to the Gazans because of Israel’s blockade. Now, Gazans have been relying on a wild plant known as khobeza to battle hunger. The health ministry in the Gaza Strip said that over 33,000 Palestinians, including many children and women, had been killed in Gaza.

Samantha Power, the director of the US Agency for International Development, has admitted that famine has begun in Gaza. She said, “In northern Gaza, the rate of malnutrition prior to 7 October was almost zero, and it is now almost one in three kids.” Global experts and aid agencies have warned for months that nearly all 2.2 million Palestinians would soon face extreme hunger.

The dichotomy between the internal and foreign policy of the United States of America and Germany is profound. It is said that charity begins at home. It is good to see that charity begins at their respective home countries but unfortunately, it has not been allowed to cross their border.

Sujit De,