Instead of lecturing other countries like Bangladesh, the US should look at its own human rights record
Faced with growing gun proliferation, US politicians have done nothing more than indulge in empty talk and prolonged debates, while pointing fingers at the human rights situation of other countries like Bangladesh.
US ambassadors in different countries of the world, including Bangladesh, are busy with saving humanity or preaching human rights to developing countries. But the guardian of global human rights appears to be struggling lately at home. There is rampant domestic gun violence in the United States and the country often sees questionable actions that go against human rights and tend to bypass existing international laws and norms.
Gun deaths are rising horribly in the USA and expatriates from different states are often becoming targets of hate crimes. Less than six months after the murder of a 20-year-old American citizen of Bangladeshi origin Syed Faisal Arif, 42-year-old Abul Hasim and 22-year-old Yaz Ahmed Ramim died in criminal attacks in the United States. On July 18, a group of assailants broke the window of Yaz's car parked outside during work hours and tried to enter. When Yaz stopped them, a gunman fired at him, which took his young life. On July 23, another Bangladeshi individual lost his life in the United States, marking the second fatal shooting in five days. The victim, Abul Hashim, was shot dead during a robbery at his grocery store in the Casa Grande area near Phoenix, Arizona.
According to CNN, there have been 407 gun attacks until July 2023, which has increased several times over the previous period. Their report says that the number of gun attacks in the first six months (January-July) of any time in the past has exceeded the record. In 2021, there were nearly 400 gun violence incidents in the first six months, and the numbers are only increasing. Every day someone is losing their life to gun violence.
According to the information of Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit organization based in Washington, more than 24,000 people have faced gun deaths in the United States since the beginning of this year. Among them, 10,787 people were killed and 13,596 people committed suicide using guns. Out of these 163 children aged 0-11 years and 858 young teenagers aged 12-17 years were killed.
Gun violence on the rise
It is clear from these statistics that gun violence in the United States has taken a terrible form. However, this huge number of deaths includes not only gun attacks but also gun suicides. Data from the Gun Violence Archive shows that most of the deaths during this period were suicides. About five percent of the world's population lives in the United States, but 46 percent of the guns in the hands of the common man are in the hands of American citizens. The United States tops the list for both privately owned guns and mass shootings.
According to one statistic, more than 1,000 people die each year in the United States at the hands of law enforcement agencies alone. Bangladeshi expatriates are not left out of these attacks. Police are yet to start investigating the killer of Bangladeshi youth Faisal who was shot dead by the police in January this year, but his police killer is still employed on the job. And the man who killed Ramim reportedly ran away from the police in handcuffs! This is the human rights situation of the country that gives human rights lectures to the world!
Pointing fingers at others
Martin Luther King's lifelong dream was that the United States would be a nation without racism. For this, he fought all his life. Yet race-colored incidents of gun violence are happening continuously in schools, supermarkets, petrol pumps, restaurants, parks, or places of worship. Why do people take to the streets under the slogan 'Stop Police Brutality' in the US? Why are people repeatedly accusing the police of racist behavior?
Even though these questions are on everyone's mind now, the United States is busy chronicling human rights violations in other countries. One gunshot after another has shattered the "American Dream" that all men are endowed with the unalienable rights to life and liberty. Faced with growing gun proliferation, US politicians have done nothing more than indulge in empty talk and prolonged debates, while pointing fingers at the human rights situation of other countries like Bangladesh.
The United States invaded Iraq in 2003 under the pretext that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. It killed millions of civilians. According to Brown University in America, at least 184,000 to 2,700,000 civilians died due to the American attack. The US later admitted that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. According to the research titled "Cost of War" by the American Brown University, 1,74,000 people were killed directly in the Afghan war. 47,000 of them were civilians. In the United States itself, the way black people are shot dead by the police without trial, strangled with boots on their necks, human rights itself cry out: we can't breathe.
Notwithstanding, America's hands are full of blood and the stain of human rights violations cannot be removed even if one pours all the perfumes of Arabia on those hands. Therefore, it is the demand of the time to avoid sermonising on human rights to other countries and pay more attention to the protection of the human rights of children, teenagers, and foreign citizens in their own country The time has come for the United States to stop caring about other countries' protection of democracy and human rights and instead concentrate on setting its own house in order.
(The author is a Canada-based researcher and writer. Views are personal. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)