Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Second Generation of Human Rights Mindset: Remaining of the Long Finished War

The Cold War was over and many believes that today is the new era for the universal and united concepts of human rights in the Western hemisphere. There is no longer“this group of rights is inferior to that group of rights”. Is this true? Judge Silvis in his talk with students from Leiden University in the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg addressed the civil and political rights as the &First Generation of Human Rights&. It might only show his way of classifying civil and political rights with the economic, social and cultural rights to commemorate the long passed history, but it could also implicitly reveal the existence of these two type of separation for human rights in the unconscious mind of the European Court of Human Rights' judges.
In the last 5 years, HUDOC website reports that from 7.415 applications being submitted to the Court related to the &second generation of human rights&, only 104 are declared admissible and 44 cases lead to follow up decisions (43 resolutions of the Committee of Ministers and 1 recommendation of the Committee of Ministers). While facing the second generation of human rights issue, the fundamental rights mention in ECHR are used as indirect recognition due to the absence of those rights in the Convention. The protection of ‘finding historical truth’ for example, is not exist in the present Covention. However, through the case of Dink v. Turkey (2010), the Court was able stretch the use as Article 10 on freedom of expression to certain degree that it would also fit the scene of denigrating Turkish identity for the victim by expressing views on the Armenian massacre 1915.

European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France
As much as it is indeed exciting to see how the judges plays with interpretation, this however could lead to another big problem: overstretching the concept of fundamental rights itself. In a recent case of housing as resembles in Winterstein v. France (2013), France was found guilty of the violation of Art. 8 due to its decision to evict group of travellers and not being responsible for their alternative housing. The question that appear from this case: is it the right to get a home that must be provided by the authority or the right to respect home that has already existed as mentioned in Art. 8? The Court with it’s decision, trying to combat State’s action to conduct activities that might violate human rights of certain community using power and running away from providing accommodations as the consequences.
Finally, the answer for how long can the separation between these two type of rights and the indirect implementation of ECHR to the “second generation rights” could last, rely on how legal scholars and practitioners understand the words “interdependent” and “indivisibility” of the two rights. If the overstretching interpretation of civil and political rights seen as necessary enough address all the needs for the development of economic, social and cultural rights, then it is our legal creativity (not just reasoning, but also imagination) that must be responsible to be expanded for wide ranging context in the coming years.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Standardizing warmth and human rights

I was just having a regular chat with one of my close friend in Indonesia via whatsapp when suddenly we were trapped in a conversation about the relativity of perspectives. It began when i told her my trip stories to Andalucia, the beautiful and warm side of southern Spain. I told her how warm it was there, even orange trees on the sidewalk could still manage to produce oranges redundantly in the wintery Europe. I told her that Spain has no crazy wind and rain like the Netherlands, even if it rained we won't suffer from cold as we usually experienced in the land of dikes.

Listening to my story of how i crazy in love with the Spanish weather, her cynical response was: then why you wrapped yourself with shawl and hats in all of your pictures when it was "warm" there?

The way i dressed up in Spain

Well, i have two good reasons. First, i was on vacation and i just bought the shawl and hats, why not wearing them in this winter trip? My new stuffs, after all is in need to be exposed, at least for my own pleasure. Wearing new things in the first week of the new year is as much as fun traveling to a new place with new friends.

Secondly, the way i define warm in this trip is of course a referrence I made to compare it with the current weather condition on where I live: The Netherlands. She thought i was using her standard of warm (she is currently enjoying tropical climate) and thus found the using of word warm in my stories contradicted with the reality i posted in form of photos on social media.  Then i have to explain again to her that although it looks sunny and oranges happily make their appearances hanging out at the branches of the trees, it is still winter in Spain. Sunny and warm in wintery Spain could range from 10 to 12 degree Celcius while sunny and warm in Indonesia could range from 26 to 28 degree Celcius. However, she insisted that i was implying a wrong term because it misled her, warm is warm, it must be used on term of suhu ruang (room temperature). I, because understanding her position who does not experience the cold of northern wind, decided to end the arguments. I joked that even people in Middle East are wrapped with fabrics in such a hot climate, she responded by saying that it is due to the sharia obligation to cover up. An askar (sharia police) in Mecca will chase a man who shows up his shank in the area of the holy mosque if he doesn't dress up properly, she added. Am i wrong? Is she wrong? Well, no, none of us is wrong actually.

Human is created and shaped by their genetics and environment. Perspectives or point of views on seeing things are shaped by experiences and experiments, other directly or through someone else (testimonium de auditu). The chat that i had with my friend reflects this. Geography could play significant key on how terms and believes are being defined. The word warm in Europe is apparently have different standard as in the tropics. Is it make sense to talk about warm in Europe to someone who's exhausted by daily tropic heat? Is there any universal standard for warm?

 I remember 2 years ago during Leiden Ontzet outing my Dutch teacher asked me, "Louie why you hide under the shade? Don't you like to be under the sun?" My answer to him was "For someone who come from tropical country like me, we try to hide from the sun as much as possible." He couldn't understand my statement. It took three months for me to then agree with his view on European way of enjoying sun. After three suffering months of winter in Netherlands i began to love sun and prayed for sunny days.

Simple thing like this lead my imagination elsewhere. If even for "warm" we need to look it from various perspectives due to geographical diversity and the local perception of "warm", can we also apply the same thing to human rights?

Human rights after all is a concept. It is arguably universal. In my small classroom here in one of leading European countries for human rights, we discuss and debate about the standard of human rights and the terrible human rights situation in the eastern hemisphere. Because we live in such a democratic country with good governance and good facilities, we strive for better living condition. Right to vote, right to access information, right for same sex marriage, right to have peace at night. If we speak using this language to the sea gypsy tribes in The Philippines or to the people who live under the religious authoritarian regime like Brunei, will they understand? They live in different geographical location and experience things that have not ever been encountered by other western countries. That experiences shape their values on seeing things. For the majority of this people, maybe, voting is not important. Or same sex marriage. Hence, talking to these people about human rights standard would not be different from me talking about how warm is Spain to a friend of mine who lives in the tropic all of her life.

Human rights is a concept. It is good for everyone. However the term universal itself is seriously debatable. Some culture might do not recognize the concept of human rights at all but it would still be good for them to apply it. Some culture might already recognize this concept, but come up with different application. At the end I suggest that it is true we cannot have one standardized draft of human rights for the entire population of the planet, as it is as impossible to have one fixed term for "warm" in different spots of this earth.

Have a warm January!


Friday, January 8, 2016

Oasis Kemanusiaan di Al-Andalus

Sejak kecil saya sudah bermimpi untuk dapat berkunjung ke Andalusia. Mimpi ini tentu saja tidak datang dengan tiba-tiba. Imajinasi tersebut muncul saat saya duduk di bangku kelas I SMP melalui enam jilid buku bernama Ensiklopedia Islam untuk Pelajar terbitan Ichtiar Baru Van Hoeve. Saat itu kami sekeluarga baru saja pindah dari Bali dan ayah saya ingin agar anak-anaknya yang berlatar multikultural ini embracing ajaran Islam dengan baik, salah satu caranya lewat buku pengetahuan dasar yang kaya dengan ilustrasi berwarna itu. Dari sekian ratus lembar-lembar berwarna itu, saya biasanya akan skip langsung ke bahagian-bahagiaan yang bercerita tentang kisah para nabi atau kerajaan-kerajaan (kekhalifahan maupun kesultanan) Islam di berbagai pelosok dunia. Dasarnya memang suka dengan cerita-cerita rakyat dan dongeng, bagian-bagian yang bentuknya narasi itulah yang bagi saya lebih menarik daripada entri mengenai hal-hal fiqih.

Sebuah entri khusus mengenai kekhalifahan Bani Umayyah di Andalusia (istilah bangsa Arab untuk menyebut Spanyol) membuat saya terpukau. Di Andalusia, selama kurang lebih 700 tahun pernah berdiri sebuah sistem pemerintahan Islam yang mengakomodir kehidupan masyarakat Yahudi dan Nasrani dengan damai. Di tempat itu ilmuwan-ilmuwan serta seniman-seniman terbaik umat manusia lahir serta berkarya, kelak menginspirasi belahan bumi Eropa lainnya dengan Renaissance. Sepertinya utopis sekali Andalusia ini: semangat convivencia alias hidup bersama antara tiga agama Abrahamik di tengah masyarakat yang sekuler dalam segi ilmu pengetahuan menciptakan istana-istana, taman-taman, perpustakaan-perpustakaan, universitas-universitas serta pemukiman-pemukiman yang indah. Cordoba, kota yang dijuluki oleh seorang biarawan asal Jerman yang berkunjung ke sana di abad pertengahan dijuluki sebagai Ornament of the World. Jalanan kota Cordoba telah beraspal dan diberi lampu penerangan saat malam ketika London dan Paris masih berkubang lumpur di kala hujan. Cordoba sebagai ibukota kekhalifahan dinasti Umayyah yang baru (dulunya di Damaskus sebelum kemudian direbut oleh dinasti Abbasiyah) memiliki kurang lebih 70 perpustakaan dan koleksi buku sebanyak 400.000 volume, yang terbanyak di Eropa saat itu. Pasta gigi dan deodoran juga dikenal oleh bangsa Spanyol dan Jerman pertama kali lewat Cordoba.
La Mequita Cordoba dari atas jembatan Romawi Puente de Romano.
Saya memegang foto peta kuno kep. Maluku karena dulunya
dari Sungai Guadalguivir inilah kapal-kapal pemburu rempah Spanyol
berlayar mencari rute menuju Maluku.
Bagi anak kecil seperti saya yang besar di tengah cerita-cerita mengenai isu antarumat beragama serta etnis, Andalusia adalah oasis yang menyenangkan. Oasis ini seringkali saya kunjungi di dunia imajinasi saya, membayangkan istana khalifah yang dipenuhi oleh juru tulis Kristen, ahli ekonomi Yahudi serta tabib-tabib Muslim. Semuanya hidup bertetangga dengan rukun, mengembangkan kebudayaan serta peradaban milik bersama yang membuat iri negeri-negeri lainnya. Meskipun pada akhirnya bangsa Moor (julukan orang Castilla atau Spanyol masa kini untuk kaum Muslim) dan Yahudi terusir secara paksa melalui Spanish Inquisition, rasa yang ingin saya hirup adalah kenangan bahwa pada suatu masa di tempat ini umat manusia dari berbagai latar belakang pernah merayakan indahnya menjadi khalifah di bumi Tuhan yang penuh berkat. Oasis yang membuat saya punya kepercayaan terhadap golden age bersama seluruh anak cucu Adam.
Kastil Alhambra di kejauha, Granada.
Minggu pertama di bulan Januari tahun 2016 menjadi hadiah terindah untuk si Louie kecil yang tiap pulang sekolah rajin mengulang-ulang bacaan tentang Andalusia ini. Saat menapakkan kaki di jalan-jalan berbatu Albayzin dan memandang Alhambra dari kejauhan, saya terenyuh. Melankolis sekali rasanya mengingat masa indah itu telah berlalu, tapi hati saat itu terus terang justru lebih dipenuhi oleh rasa senang. Bagaimana tidak, imajinasi kanak-kanak saya akan negeri ini mewujud dalam citra nyata! Ketika saya mengunjungi Catedral La Mezquita di Cordoba dan menyentuh hutan pilar-pilar marmernya, tubuh saya mendadak tersempal jauh sekali: lamat-lamat saya dapat mendengarkan gaung suara Ibn al-Arabi yang menyuarakan pandangannya mengenai kesatuan antara Tuhan dan mahluk dalam doktrin Wahdatul Wujud dan penjelasan Abenhazen mengenai heliosentrisme dengan alat bantu globe perunggunya seusai sholat Jumat. Di sini, di tempat ini dulu orang-orang besar itu sibuk berdiskusi tentang masalah-masalah spiritualisme hingga persoalan sains seperti mengapa air bisa mengalir dari tempat tinggi ke tempat rendah tanpa ada persekusi. Segala ide semerbak bersama masyarakatnya yang diverse dan moderate. Liberalisme dalam hal berpikir justru lahir di jantung agama Cordoba. Lalu saat saya berada di Sevilla, ah, Sevilla! Kota yang tidak akan pernah dilupakan Tuhan karena kecantikannya. Inilah ibukota dinasti Umayyah Spanyol yang pertama sebelum berpindah ke Cordoba. Di kota ini pula seluruh kekayaan dunia mengalir, mulai dari perak dan mutiara Amerika hingga rempah-rempah Maluku.
Ngobrol sore di Casa de Pilatos, Sevilla.
Rumah ini unik sekali karena menggabungkan
arsitektur Moorish dengan Renaissance

Masih ada banyak siku jalanan, gedung, alun-alun dan taman yang belum saya kunjungi. Seminggu rasanya sungguh terlalu singkat untuk dapat mengeksplorasi setiap sudut negeri imajinasi saya ini. Kami berada di Granada tepat saat perayaan Toma de Granada atau perayaan kekalahan Sultan Boabdil of Granada terhadap Isabella dan Ferdinand berlangsung. Kami pun berada di Sevilla tepat saat perayaan Los Reyes Magos alias Tiga Raja dari Timur datang berkunjung untuk membagikan hadiah kepada anak-anak yang baik. Ada terlalu banyak kebetulan yang bagi saya pribadi adalah sebuah "kode keras" untuk datang kembali.

Sambil berjalan kaki di area Juderia (pemukiman orang Yahudi yang letaknya berada persis di samping Katedral Masjid Cordoba) saya menyanyikan lagu Sefardi Avram Avinu (Bapak kami Ibrahim). Lagu yang menyisakan gembiraan akan hari-hari penuh damai dan persatuan di oasis bernama Al-Andalus. Tak ada yang lebih membahagiakan selain mengawali tahun dengan imajinasi yang menjadi kenyataan.

8 Januari 2016
1:11 PM