US Has No High Moral Ground On Human Rights
Kenyans have been informed that the US Senate is likely to soon pass a bill to stop providing funding for training and technical help for the Kenyan police and military in the wake of allegations of serious human rights violations by them in the Mt Elgon region inMarch 2008 (“US senate bars aid to Kenya military, police over Mt Elgon”, the STAR, Wednesday June 6, 2012). The allegations are reportedly to be based on a well-researched and comprehensive report by the prestigious Human Rights Watch and, according to the US officials based in Kenya, on impeccable evidence collected by them on the ground.
No one with an iota of ethical orientation and a deep love for Kenya can condone what happened in Mt Elgon four years back. The guilt for the atrocities that were committed there must be unequivocally established and the people responsible for them must be punished as per the provisions of the Kenyan constitution and penal law. But, for the Americans, the worst violators of human rights around the world and domestically, to take a moral high ground in this matter is totally ridiculous, atrocious and unacceptable.
Even as the Obama administration considers imposing sanctions on Kenya, different units of the US police and military establishments are killing and maiming innocent people, women and children included, with total impunity and around-the-clock in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and in many other places around the world. They are reported by Human Rights Watch to be using drones, cluster bombs and many other weapons of mass destruction to carry out their “global war on terror”.
Their police and military personnel have committed and continue to commit, the worst human rights violations in the prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanomo Bay and many other places around the world. “Water-boarding” is just one of the techniques they use to break down human beings physically and psychologically, reducing mostly innocent people to the state of animals being tortured by very sick human beings. Amnesty International, a sister organization to Human Rights Watch, has even asked that the earlier President George Bush and some of his cronies be tried for crimes against humanity by the same International Criminal Court that is set to try four Kenyan politicians for similar crimes.
But the US is not even a member of the ICC! While the Obama administration considers slapping sanctions on Kenya for the Mt Elgon carnage, the budgets allocated for the highly abusive police and military killers of the US keep sky-rocketing. The question is: who can and will impose sanctions on the mighty United States? By the way, I happen to be an American citizen.
ARUN ELHANCE is a writer and social commentator based in Nairobi.Heis the author of Hydropolitics in the Third World. Elhance123@yahoo.com