IRAQ: As terrible madness unfolds in Iraq, we are all at war

The Asian Human Rights Charter guarantees all persons the right to live in peace, and stresses that this right “can be guaranteed only if states are accountable to the international community”. The war that the United States has launched on Iraq this week has not only breached this right, but also entirely undermined the means by which states are held accountable for their actions.

This war is sheer colonialism. It is a war against all of civilization, and against all of us. It is a gross violation of human rights threatening all the years of work by the Asian Human Rights Commission and like-minded organizations, and challenges our most cherished principles. It is a war that we take personally.

By this mindless act, the United States has not merely challenged the mandate of the United Nations and its Security Council, but also over fifty years of efforts towards an international community that respects human rights and seeks peaceful resolution of conflict. It has challenged every tenet of democracy and the rule of law. It has undermined every international treaty ever signed, for if the most powerful nation in the world does not feel beholden to international will, then who should? It is in this sense that the need for state accountability so clearly articulated in the Asian Human Rights Charter has been undermined, as indeed have all such international agreements.

War is wrong, a terrible wrong. War is stupidity, a terrible stupidity. War is failure, a terrible failure. War is madness, a terrible madness. It is up to all of us who cherish civilization, democracy and human rights to do everything within our means to halt this war. We will not sit idly by. It must be stopped.


21 March 2003
Asian Human Rights Commission – AHRC, Hong Kong

Link: Asian Human Rights Charter (in English, Chinese and Korean)

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AS-05-2003
Countries : Asia,