To answer these questions, I believe we must first arrive at a definition of human rights violations or atrocities. According to Wikipedia, human rights refers to the universal rights of all human beings regardless of race, color, nationality, religion gender and culture. From the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is basically based on inherent human dignity. Concurrently, human atrocities are violations of rights inherent to an individual. Normally, it is a term used when a government violates national or international law related to the protection of human rights.
(Wikipedia, 2007) I am of the opinion that the international community has an inherent responsibility to stand up against any form of human rights abuse. International courts such as the International Criminal Court and international organizations such as the United Nations must be vigilant in protecting the rights of each human being. They must be the first to safeguard the interest of each person against any crime that may be done against them by either the military in their respective government or their government per se.
For instance, the International Criminal Court is designed to bring into effect those peremptory norms of international law which safeguard such fundamental values as human dignity, the respect for life and limb of innocent persons, and the protection of ethnic, religious or racial groups. (Cassesse, 2007) In addition, the International Criminal Court must bring to justice any state which violates the dignity of its citizens. Doing so will uphold the most important international values, including the respect for human rights.
Moreover, taking these steps will uphold and vindicate community rights. International non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch is an indication of what the international community can do in order to help curb the rise of human atrocities in any country. They have the resources to let the international community know of any wrongdoings being done in certain areas of the world. They can mobilize other local organizations to stand up against these atrocities by mobilizing public opinion.
For instance, Amnesty International has worked and is further exerting its efforts for the protection of those detained because of their non-violent opinions and is seeking that Articles 18 and 19 of the UDHR be recognized globally. On the other hand, Human Rights Watch opposes basic human rights violations like death penalty and sex discrimination. It is an advocate of freedom relating to fundamental human rights like freedom of religion and the press. Another significant player in the bid to curb human atrocities is the local community.
One cannot overemphasize on the power of the locals to intervene in such problems. Setting up international organizations will not solve the problems that are festering a country. Healing must come from within. The local community must always be on the look-out for any atrocities being done and must bravely report this to the authorities. As noted in the website of the Crimes of War Project, each international institution will need the support and cooperation of other institutions and, most significantly, of States themselves and local communities for that matter.
For example, local community can be a source of vital information related to the patterns and mechanisms of the problems in the community that can help solve an international crisis. (Cassesse, 2007) I also believe that the power of media can be best utilized in addressing the realities of human rights violations. Since the media can effectively capture the attention of many people, the local and international media should make it their responsibility to report any news of wrongdoings or injustice.
(Cassesse, 2007) This will also help in making each community whether local or international”to be more vigilant in such cases. It must be understood that the measures to be taken by the international community will have no significant bearing without the support of the local community. No amount of intervention will be effective if the local community will not render its support. As noted by Antonio Cassesse in an article entitled A Big Step Forward for International Justice, the best response to atrocities lies in a prudent and well thought-out combination of various approaches both local and international.
(Cassesse, 2007) He writes, international criminal law is a branch of law that, more than any other, is about human folly, human wickedness, and human aggressiveness. It deals with the darkest side of our nature. It also deals with the way societies organize themselves to stem violence and viciousness as much as possible. Clearly, given the magnitude of the task, no single response may suffice. Instead, a broad array of responses, each tailored to specific circumstances, is needed effectively to fight international criminality.
(Cassesse, 2007) Hence, intervention of human atrocities is both a local and international responsibility one that must be taken seriously and diligently by all societies in the world.
Cassesse, Antonio. crimesofwar. org. A Big Step Forward for International Justice. 7 March 2007.