The West, ASEAN’s Terms for its HR Declaration & the Missing Piece
The Sacrifice of Isaac by the Spaniard painter Pedro Orrente, 1580-1645, (above) and the Italian Caravaggio, 1571-1610 (below).
This is the stuff that’s the bedrock of western civilization – the father Abraham would kill his son Isaac all because he heard a voice in his head and pretended it was from God. (In Malaysia think Petra Kamarudin who’d see his own son jailed rather than spare some kopecks to a cop on a matter that is of, he proclaims, ‘principle’.)
Which is also to say that in the western culture every person is ‘created’ free unless some voodoo person such as Abraham came along and proclaim otherwise. The position of Abraham’s God was eventually replaced by the State and the word ‘created’ replaced by ‘born’ so that 1,500 years later, every new born needed protection from under the knife of the latter, the State, in another fresh round of commandments called the ‘universal’ Human Rights Declaration.
Implicitly, this is to grant the State powers over life and death that it didn’t possess – and shouldn’t and hadn’t – because most of the HR terms are, originally, the duties and responsibilities of the State and not rights to be given away.
The State is instead the final embodiment of and the natural extension of the family that ASEAN recognises, as does Confucian ethics, to be the political base unit of Asian societies. (Hence a son is considered sacred not sacrificed). In another phrasing, the sum of those State duties and responsibilities fundamentally constitute the Mandate of Heaven or, in Chinese ethical language, ‘as the people see, so heaven sees; as the people feel, so heaven feels’.
The same mandate in the Malay version, as attributed to Hussein Onn: “The post of President of UMNO is … one entrusted to me by the representatives… because I was aware of my responsibility. We have heard the cries for freedom before… but acquiring real freedom is not easy. What is the use of reaching for the moon, if we cannot grasp it? Cries of freedom, bathing in blood and so on will not cause the moon to fall into our laps. Unity, cooperation and initiative, these are the secrets of success.“ (cited in Art Harun)
But the inference in the HR regime is dire: what the State gives, it can now take away. Like that malicious and vindictive western thing called God.
If such is the source of a universal value then, clearly, ASEAN or Asia can have nothing to do with it. Yet, now comes the pontificating of the American named Barack Obama (see bottom of post).
on Monday, 19 November 2012.
WE, the Heads of State/Government of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (hereinafter referred to as “ASEAN”), namely Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, on the occasion of the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
REAFFIRMING our adherence to the purposes and principles of ASEAN as enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, in particular the respect for and promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the principles of democracy, the rule of law and good governance;
REAFFIRMING FURTHER our commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of the United Nations, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, and other international human rights instruments to which ASEAN Member States are parties;
HEREBY DECLARE AS FOLLOWS:
1. All persons are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of humanity.
2. Every person is entitled to the rights and freedoms set forth herein, without distinction of any kind, such as race, gender, age, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic status, birth, disability or other status.
CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS…
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS…
RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT…
RIGHT TO PEACE
38. Every person and the peoples of ASEAN have the right to enjoy peace within an ASEAN framework of security and stability, neutrality and freedom, such that the rights set forth in this Declaration can be fully realised. To this end, ASEAN Member States should continue to enhance friendship and cooperation in the furtherance of peace, harmony and stability in the region. …
Adopted by the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States at Phnom Penh, Cambodia, this Eighteenth Day of November in the Year Two Thousand and Twelve, in one single original copy in the English Language.
The Missing Article in the Declaration
RIGHT TO SOVEREIGNTY AND INDEPENDENCE
Every person and the peoples of ASEAN have the right to be free from extra-regional and all external cultural, ideological, religious, political, social, economic and material influences so as to truly and freely prescribe and independently organise themselves in the way each ASEAN member sees fit and necessary. Such rights and freedom shall include:
- freedom from Sin, from religious bondage and injunctions, from religion and from proselytizing in religious theism by their agents or individuals, and from the conversion arising thereof, of minors in particular;
- freedom from cultural absolutism and all its related social ideologies proffered in disguises of universal values and moralities, and of its spread thereof;
- freedom from the tyranny of political ideology, from its interference in the affairs of ASEAN member states by any and all persons, individually or in cohort, by parties, associations, or States, in any form or by any means, disguised or overt; and
- freedom to resist against domination by one human on another human, in any and all of its forms, disguised or overt, that set rules and conduct directing attitudes and instigate, ferment and upset the peace, harmony and stability of the region and within individual ASEAN member states.
How Asean Change the HR Terms in its Declaration
Of the ten Asean members, the Philippines government stood, as early as 1993, in the forefront of making the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration by way of instigating for and driving towards that goal. Why the Philippines?
Yet the Philippines has, among Asean members, the worse record of human rights violations by both the State, its government and by its society at large, individually or in groups: for example, on average, nearly two persons a day are either abducted or have simply disappeared, caused sometimes by the State’s security forces, other times for extortion and ransom by individuals or gangs. (The violence as documented on YouTube.) Its literacy rate is the lowest among the original six-member Asean; child labour, without pay, is an industry. Why are Filipinos so pathetic?
The second question answers the first: that is, the quest for an Asean HR regime hid the dilapidated state not just of its government but its society at large so that the face of the Philippines, as presented to the world, was a liberal, kindly establishment inherited first from Catholic Spain and then from constitutional, rule-of-law America.
The impression given is somewhat like the situation in India: the Philippines might be poor but at least it is righteous and especially democratic.
After the HR Declaration the Filipinos were patting themselves on their shoulders while preaching about the failings of other Asean members:
“Critics say the Asean’s landmark declaration of human rights is full of loopholes. If the true situation on the ground is far from ideal in the Philippines, it is actually much worse in other Asean countries.“
When the Philippines apologised for the declaration as yet “not perfect“, the Bangkok Post, doyen of western culture in Thailand, pronounced it was at least “honest“
If, however, the second question answers the first, what answers the second?
The Philippines poor societal records mirror numerous former Catholic colonies ruled before by Europeans: Portuguese Africa and Spanish Central America are clearest examples.
Managing or running those countries were not done for its own sake. Colonies exist, so the word means and says, as colonies not as human habitats requiring organisation, care and treatment. For 300-400 years, up to the early twentieth century, the European judiciary (the much widely-praised arm of the democratic State) treated such places as dumping ground in the sentencing of their criminals. Banishment away from a clean, upright, moral Christian society to instead, say, Chad or Australia was a form of jail punishment.
But it wasn’t just the imports of criminals that the offshore colonies must endure. All that came also with western ideological, religious and legal culture that found residence in the Philippines, never mind the American constitution praised periodically by the Voice of America (VOA) because it had been copied in toto – with the Bill of Rights actually thrown in. When re-stating the US dissatisfaction for the Asean Declaration, the VOA would add to its pontificating that the Philippines is a “robust” democracy whereas Cambodia is “communist authoritarian” and Brunei, presumably somewhere in between, is “monarchical”.
Yet among all three, or the Asean Ten, state violence and individual thuggery is most endemic in the Philippines. That violence is Filipino culture, it has arisen not by accident but has grown out of deep white, Christian society, from roots reflected widely in former Spanish colonies. Gabriel Garcia Marquez expressed this culture best in prose form such as the book length In Evil Hour and in the short story One of These Days.
All of which is to also suggest that the HR Declaration, like the Constitution of the Philippines, would look good on paper only if Asean were to hold it up like it is a mirror for the western values that has been touted as the ‘universal’ standard. What Asean has done instead is to throw out the mirror, made in the US, shipped in by the Philippines, and to have that replace with its own.
Here, below, was how it was done and spot the philosophical difference in one word that has never, never, never been invoked in western Christian civilization, hence in the UN:
The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
The Asean Human Rights Declaration, General Principles, Article 1:
All persons are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of humanity.
Note #1. DAP’s Anti-Human Rights Law
When Lim Guan Eng’s Penang DAP, along with its ruling partners enacted this November the “anti-hopping law” Guan Eng was acting in violation of and in subverting a specific provision in the UDHR. This is the same HR regime from which both Pakatan and he had repeatedly wanted written into a proposed Malaysian Human Rights Bill.
Here’s the DAP Law:
1. So as not to be forfeited of a Penang assembly (dewan) seat, the DAP Law compels any assembly member to remain with his/her political party unless
- he gives up his membership, or
- is expelled as a party member, or
- stops from becoming a member of the political party concerned on whatever reasons
2. Any (dewan) member who is elected as an independent candidate must vacate his seat should he join any political party.
Here is how the DAP Law violates the UN UDHR and note in particular clause (2):
- (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
- (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Note #2. ASEAN as instructed by Obama
Here’s the US, in the person of Barack Obama, lecturing southeast Asia about democracy:
It’s worked for us for over 200 years now, and I think it’s going to work for Thailand and it’s going to work for this entire region. And the alternative, I think, is a false hope that, over time, I think erodes and collapses under the weight of people whose aspirations are not being met.
That piece of nigger – like gweilos everywhere – actually thinks 200 years is a big deal. Response to Obama.