Civil and political unrest raging around the globe

Topic: Civil & political unrest raging around the globe.

Currently, the world has been witnessing an unprecedented eruption of civil and political unrest in four continents almost simultaneously.

(A) Critically analyze 3 countries facing civil and political unrest currently, in the context of : 1) UDHR (universal declaration of human rights); and 2) ICCPR (international covenant on civil and political rights) (

B) Critically evaluate the reasons for the protests by examining the role of the government towards the people

(C) Distinguish between civil and political protests and discuss the peoples’ rights violated thereof.

Background 3
International Bill of Human Rights 3
Global Unrest 3
Critical Analysis 4
Catalonia 4
Chile 4
Lebanon 5
Role of Government 6
Distinguish between political and civil unrest 6

Civil and political unrest raging around the globe
International Bill of Rights
Since its inception, the UN has been successful in carrying out its mandate of maintaining international peace and security. Through UN general assembly resolutions, the UN has been able to come up with the International Bill of Human Rights. The ICCPR and UDHR are part of this along with the International Covenant in Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. ICCPR was enforced on March 23, 1976, and attempts to ensure the protection of civil and political rights . UDHR was adopted on December 10, 1948, and encapsulated all human rights broken down into six articles with its aim focus being to uphold dignity and respect for all humans .
Global unrest
As stated, currently, the world has been witnessing an unprecedented eruption of civil and political unrest almost simultaneously. In South America, Chile and Bolivia are experiencing countrywide protests as a result of political issues. In Europe, Catalonia is fighting for independence from Spain. In Asia, citizens of Hong Kong are fighting against oppression from mainland China’s rule. In Africa, the Egyptian government has been oppressing protestors while in the Democratic Republic of Congo, refugees’ rights are violated. In the Middle East, protests have broken out in Lebanon and Iraq due to unfulfilled fundamental human rights.
The fight for independence by Catalonia has been a tightly contested debate between Spain’s leaders and Catalonia’s leaders. In the past decade, Catalans have formed a pro-independence movement aimed at pushing for the right to moral, cultural, and political self-determination . On October 1, 2017, Catalonia held a referendum to decide on breaking away from Spain. On October 27, 2017, the Catalan declaration of independence was passed by the Parliament of Catalonia, declaring the independence of Spain and the founding of an independent Catalan Republic .
Spain retaliated by taking Catalan independence leaders to trial. The Spanish Supreme Court trial found nine leaders sentenced with 100 years in jail for leading the breakaway. International Trial Watch, however, stated that this was a major violation of human rights as Spain was refusing the convicted leaders free trial, freedom of expression, ideology, peaceful assembly, and political participation . Pro-independence protestors who have taken to the streets to defend their leaders face brutal police force.
Chile’s government has recently been forced to draft a new constitution after a series of countrywide protests. Protestors have taken to the streets to voice their dissatisfaction in the social and economic rights accorded to them in the Pinochet-era constitution . The existing constitution, despite numerous changes, was created during General Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship rule in 1973-1990. As such, the protection of human rights was not given much emphasis. Pinochet oversaw numerous human rights atrocities during his regime. There is also the injustice of economic equality in Chile, with the wealth divide being too wide. The constitution’s violation of ICCPR Article 27 that upholds minority protection has led protestors to fight for equality while the government’s approach to illegally detain protestors violates the UHDR Article 18-21, namely the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of thought.
The case for Lebanon’s unrest is similar to that of Iraq. Although protests in Lebanon were sparked by the introduction of a tax on WhatsApp calls, which was rescinded within hours, protestors have taken this opportunity to voice their opinions on their government. The Lebanon government has not provided citizens with the required social and economic rights, and it has been blamed for oppressing the rights of civilians to vote and take part in government. Political sectarianism has been attributed to be the main contributor to corruption and mismanagement in Lebanon’s government, which has resulted in the country’s economic downfall. Political sectarianism violates ICCPR Article 25 that upholds the right to political participation. Furthermore, Lebanon’s president has enraged the protestors by taking an antagonistic route of insulting them . The Prime Minister’s resignation has also not been well dealt with as the president claims the government will still follow political sectarianism rather than through democracy.
Role of Government towards the people
There has been a consistent underlying government factor for all three cases. There are general themes witnessed: economic polarization, political repression, corruption, and mismanagement . The governments have been ruling their citizens through oppressive measures consisting of corruption and mismanagement which affects the economy. More so, once protests break out, the tendency of suppressing protestors in a bid to quell the unrest witnessed is preferred. As such, citizens become disconnected from the ruling government resulting in a reform push.
Distinguish between civil and political protests
In conclusion, from the above-stated examples, political and civil unrest have gone hand in hand with one complementing the other. Unrest and protests have been caused by the inability of the government to uphold its citizens’ rights along with corruption and mismanagement happening at the government level. Governments have also not been able to deal with protestors well by oppressing their movements through brutal police force, further violating UHDR and ICCPR laws.

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