The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was formed as a basis for freedom, justice and peace in the world for all citizens. Since when did international law and human rights become a negotiable form of conduct, broken by powerful governments to censor information that should be public knowledge?
Under allegation of rape and sexual assault in Sweden, founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange has taken refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange currently faces the threat of extradition to Sweden. If this materialises, he is likely to battle further extradition to the US where he will be faced with charges related to WikiLeaks’ activity.
It is evident that the US government is attempting to use the allegation of rape to fuel a witch-hunt against Assange. As Chief Editor of WikiLeaks, he is involved in exposing information to the public regarding political conspiracy, corporate domination, and the double standards and abhorrent lies of many world leaders. The US has been waiting for an excuse to chase Assange down for years and their long-awaited plans are finally coming to light.
Late last week the British government wrote menacingly to the Ecuadorian Embassy, “You need to be aware that there is a legal base in the UK, the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, that would allow us to take actions in order to arrest Mr Assange in the current premises of the embassy.” It added, “We need to reiterate that we consider the continued use of the diplomatic premises in this way incompatible with the Vienna Convention and unsustainable, and we have made clear the serious implications that this has for our diplomatic relations.”
These biased, duplicitous comments are representative of the British government’s stance on the issue at hand. They state that granting Julian Assange political asylum places the Ecuadorian Embassy in conflict with the Vienna Convention; however, this claim is contradictory. Threats to infiltrate a foreign embassy would contravene international law of justice and the declaration of human rights.
It seems that England have conveniently forgotten the events of June 1967 concerning Chinese infiltration of a British Embassy. Red Guards from the People’s Republic of China broke into the British Legation in Beijing, and assaulted three diplomats and a secretary. The People’s Republic of China authorities refused to punish this action. I am confronted with the irony of this situation: Assange’s motive as a journalist and publisher is to expose injustice, yet the governments that are attempting to condemn and extradite him are essentially exposing their own sanctimonious encroachments.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed and adopted by all countries involved in the Julian Assange case, states in Article 19 that, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
What leads the British government to believe it is acceptable to reference diplomatic acts that apparently uphold their view and disregard the fundamental concepts of human rights? Furthermore, Article 14 states that, “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”
As a young person becoming progressively more involved and aware of social and political discourse, the desperate pursuit of Assange makes me angry — angry that the true issues raised by WikiLeaks are being compromised and shunted into the corner, whilst diplomatic decision and legal action are taking the stage. The corrupt nature of corporate power and imperialist capitalist governments should be taking the forefront of media attention and investigation, rather than Assange’s heavily debated situation.
Where does this leave the power of freedom of speech? By suppressing public access to information and condemning freedom of speech, governments are indirectly encouraging an uprise of resistance. This kind of suppression and conniving use of power extricates citizens from democratic liberty. If the public’s freedom of opinion and honest speech is exploited, violence is more likely to become prevalent.
Julian Assange is an altruistic hero among common citizens and a preconceived criminal in the eyes of the government. Why aren’t these two vital spheres of society working together? The needs and rights of the public are not being met by authority and Assange’s stealthy, persistent campaign for freedom of speech is the result.
Ideally the actions of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks would not be necessary, for there would be no clandestine immorality in government. In reality, however, the governments administrating this contemptuous case are dishonest and uncontrolled.