Dr. Zafar Bangash, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), in an interview with The Islamic World Peace Forum (IWPF) commented on peace and justice on the occasion of International Day of Peace.
IWPF: Given the slogan of the UN General Assembly this year, in line with the International Day of Peace (September 21, 2018), which is The Day’s theme for 2018, is “The Right to Peace - on the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” what practical measures do you propose to materialize this slogan?
With so many wars raging in the world, most of them in the Muslim world, peace is needed more than ever. Peace, however, will only be achieved when there is justice and adherence to international norms and standards. The injustices inflicted on people in different parts of the world, whether in Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, etc. are contrary to the stated objectives of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The very regimes that proclaim these objectives the loudest are also the biggest violators.
Wars and injustices will only end when foreign occupiers or instigators and promoters of terrorists abandon their aggressive and inhumane practices. There is no peace because predatory powers, led by imperialists, Zionists and their regional allies want to impose their will on other people.
The United Nations can play an effective role if member states get together to uphold the principles enshrined in the UN Charter. This year’s theme provides a good opportunity for the UN to live up to its lofty principles.
Given recent developments in the world and in the region (Daesh, Saudi attacks in Yemen, war crimes of Zionists in the region, Syria and insecurity and instability in the Middle East) what are the international requirements for creating a world full of peace and security?
The essential prerequisite for peace in the world is that laws should apply equally to all. There should be no distinction between the powerful and the weak. If militarily powerful countries are held accountable for their aggression and crimes, then there would be greater possibility of peace. But this requires strong institutions that can implement the rules. At present, unfortunately, such institutions are weak and function only at the behest and pleasure of powerful states. So long as this situation prevails, the chances of peace and security will remain slim.
In light of the objectives and measures of the Islamic World Peace Forum in the field of establishing just peace in the world, what measures do you propose for promoting just peace discourse in the world?
Throughout the world, there are people opposed to war and aggression. These people exist even in the countries that are guilty of perpetrating war crimes and crimes against humanity. A major effort should be made to link up with such people whether they are in North or South America, Europe, Asia or Africa. World public opinion should be mobilized by linking with such people to strengthen the peace movement globally. A powerful, united global peace movement can have a major impact on the policies of their respective governments and block their aggressive moves and warmongering.
Do you think that international organizations and international human rights defenders responsible for establishing peace in the world have not been able to act with true responsibility for peace in the world?
Unfortunately, international organizations and human rights defenders have failed in fulfilling their responsibilities to establish peace. Many human rights organizations selectively target some countries but deliberately overlook or downplay the crimes of others. We can immediately cite the example of several countries. Human rights organizations either ignore or downplay the abuses perpetrated by such countries as the United States, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Zionist Israel. As long as there is selective concern, there will be little peace or security in the world.
Every country guilty of human rights abuses should be named and shamed, and a campaign launched to boycott such countries. This would most specifically apply to countries like the US, a number of European countries, Zionist Israel and Saudi Arabia. If the major violators are held accountable for their misdeeds, there would be much greater chance of others falling in line.