On this Human Rights Day, Let Us Remember that the U.S. is the Greatest Violator of Human Rights in the World

As the international community celebrates December 10th as International Human Rights Day, it is imperative that the world also affirm that violators of the fundamental human rights of peoples and nations will be held accountable.

From the war in Ukraine to mass incarceration of Black, Latino and Native Peoples in the U.S. to Obama’s ongoing war in Yemen to murderous economic sanctions, coups, assassinations, war and abandonment of Afghanistan, international arms sales, commodification of COVID vaccines, illegal military occupations in Syria and Iraq, the pending invasion of Haiti and the resource wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that have cost over six million lives. The one force behind all of this death and destruction is the United States’ culture of death. This culture is the same one that allowed millions – disproportionately working class, African, and racialized peoples – to die from COVID-19 with little support, and that fuels the wider U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination globally, fundamentally opposed to the fulfillment of true democracy and human rights.

The current genocide in Gaza and the destruction of Palestinian society and culture perpetuated by the Zionist state of Israel – in full view of the world – with the full support of the United States of America, demonstrates once again what Dr. Martin Luther King pointed out more than fifty years ago:  the U.S. continues to be the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet. The racist right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu could not carry out its genocidal policies in Gaza without the material and political support from the U.S.

Therefore, the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) calls on the international community to demonstrate that it will not allow the normalization of fascist genocidal violence that systematically destroys the credibility of the human rights idea, as well as the structures that are, theoretically, supposed to protect fundamental human rights.

The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1674 on April 28, 2006 that “reaffirmed” decisions from the World Summit of the previous year, where the concept of humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity was adopted. This resolution was framed as a strengthening of international mechanisms for ensuring that the interlinking principles of the United Nations Charter, peace, security, international development – but especially human rights – would be protected.

The resolution commits the Security Council to act when civilian populations are being subjected to acts that constitute genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.

The U.S. veto of the December 8, 2023 UNSC resolution calling for a ceasefire in order to address the humanitarian crisis impacting the occupied Palestinian population being subjected to ethnic cleansing and genocide, placed the U.S. in opposition to the very principles of the UN Charter and the international consensus on human rights.

The people of the world are asking: where is the “humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect” for Palestinians? The sacrifice of the people of Gaza dramatically exposes the cynicism, opportunism, and vacuousness of the Western human rights rhetoric. It is now absolutely clear that so-called humanitarian intervention to protect human rights only occurs when it is in the interests of white Western imperialism.

The egregious crimes in Gaza should result in the U.S. and Israel being expelled from the United Nations at minimum. But beyond that, charges should be brought against the Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister and U.S. President Joe Biden along with his Secretary of State Antony Blinken, with immediate sanctions imposed on other Israeli and U.S. officials involved in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Gaza. As a peace and human rights organization, we further call on all states to exercise the concept of Universal Jurisdiction to arrest and prosecute those named individuals.

Yet, we do not see that kind of definitive action being executed by the states that make up the United Nations.

This is also why on this Human Rights Day, the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) reasserts its commitment to the Black radical People(s)-Centered Human Rights (PCHRs) framework as an alternative to the individualistic, legalistic, conservative and state-centered liberal framework. For BAP, human rights are political, emanating from the demands of the people, collectively committed to social justice, authentic democracy, and self-determination.

As Ajamu Baraka, BAP’s Coordinating Committee Chairperson and leading theorist on PCHRs points out:

The idea that Western colonial/capitalist states were defenders of human rights struck many in the colonized South as either delusional or an affirmation that in the eyes of the West they were not human. For the colonized and racialized who were burned alive, tortured, and murdered by these champions of human rights, it was understood that whatever human rights were supposed to be they did not include the racialized and colonized peoples of the world.

And what are People(s)-Centered Human Rights?

PCHRs proceeds from the assumption that the genesis of the assaults on human dignity at the core of human-rights violations is located in the ongoing structural relationships of colonial-capitalist oppression. Therefore, the PCHRs framework does not pretend to be non-political. It is a political project in the service of Africans, as well as the colonized working classes, peasants, and socially oppressed. It names the enemies of freedom: the Western white-supremacist, colonial-capitalist patriarchy.

This conception and practice of human rights is the only way for the human rights idea to have any relevance to oppressed nations, peoples, and even states victimized by the globalized colonial/capitalist world order.

From this approach, human rights becomes a weapon for the oppressed and provides a vision of the new societies that must be constructed in order for fundamental human rights – the right to food, housing, health, education, the means to earn a living, leisure, and the rights of mother-earth – to be realized.

A fundamental right within the People(s)-Centered Human Rights framework is the collective right of the oppressed to fight their oppressor. This is the right being exercised by the Palestinian resistance against the illegitimate Israeli fascist apartheid occupation state.

Peace is also a fundamental PCHR. BAP’s call to support the demand to make the “Americas” a Zone of Peace was launched with this in mind. On this Human Rights Day, we say that the right of peoples and nations to self-determination in our region must be absolute to counter the hegemonic plans of the human rights monstrosity to the North – the United States of America where one of its military leaders, SOUTHCOM commander, Laura Richardson argues with a straight face why the racist, imperialist Monroe Doctrine is still applicable.

As a strategic priority, BAP will launch its “North-South Project for People(s)-Centered Human Rights” under the direction of Ajamu Baraka on the commemoration of the assassination  of Malcolm X on February 21, 2024. The objective of the project is to liberate and decolonize human rights, grounding its creation, protections and implementation within the peoples of the world struggling for radical social change. In the meantime, BAP will continue to demand that the state-centered human rights regime take seriously its own mechanisms and principles and end the impunity for outlaw states like the U.S. and Israel.

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) seeks to recapture and redevelop the historic anti-war, anti-imperialist, and pro-peace positions of the radical black movement. Read other articles by Black Alliance for Peace, or visit Black Alliance for Peace's website.