Why the EDL isn’t a Human Rights Organisation
The fact that the EDL don’t have a membership scheme makes it easy for them to disassociate themselves from disgraced members, but also equally problematic to actually prove they aren’t members. If you count every ‘like’ on your Facebook page as a member to exaggerate your numbers, you have to accept responsibility for the paedophiles, arsonists, murderers and racists when they are exposed. In Facebook world, if you have EDL, any variation of regional infidel groups or the Nse motto in your name, have a friend list full of EDL members, or are a member of the EDL and other far right FB groups, you can justifiably be considered as representing the EDL. I concede that large groups of people will always consist of individuals with varying opinions, but the EDL are a single issue group, that issue being ‘militant Islam’. They are a group formed by violent football hooligans with links to far right organisations who have singled out a minority group which just happens to include Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Arabs and Africans. It doesn’t take a genius to predict the type of follower they would attract.
When the EDL mission statement was published it was naturally greeted by sniggers, guffaws and pant wetting belly laughs. As laughable as the claim to be a Human Right organisation is, let’s humour them and examine the evidence.
To be able to declare yourselves a human rights organisation you need to demonstrate that you support and adhere to the Human Rights Act 1998, all of it. The articles of the act protect:
- the right to life,
- the prohibition of torture,
- the prohibition of slavery and forced labour,
- the right to liberty and security,
- the right to a fair trial,
- no punishment without law,
- the right to respect for private and family life,
- freedom of thought, conscience and religion,
- freedom of expression,
- freedom of assembly and association,
- the right to marry,
- the prohibition of discrimination,
- restrictions on political activity of aliens,
- prohibition of abuse of rights,
- the limitation on use of restrictions on rights,
- the protection of property,
- the right to education,
- the right to free elections,
- the abolition of the death penalty.
These articles also correspond with the European Convention on Human Rights.
According to international law, human rights organisation should display the four following characteristics:
1. is ‘non-governmental’ meaning that it is established by private initiative, is free from governmental influence, and does not perform public functions.
2. has an aim that is not-for-profit, meaning that if any profits are earned by the organisation they are not distributed to its members but used in the pursuit of its objective
3. does not use or promote violence or have clear connections with criminality
4. has a formal existence with a statute and a democratic and representative structure, and does normally, but not necessarily, enjoy legal personality under national law.
2 & 3 might me stumbling blocks for the EDL.
Official human rights groups include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Red Cross, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the International Peace Commission, Liberty, Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).
Does the English Defence League sincerely believe it deserves to be considered in the same genre as these organisations? Rachel Brett of The Political Studies Association wrote in her report The Role and Limits of Human Rights NGOs at the United Nations:
‘What distinguishes a human rights group from other political elements of any given society is that while political advocates usually seeking to protect only the rights of their own constituents, a human rights group seeks to defend the same rights for all members of that or any other society.’
Although they use the persecution and discrimination of minorities in Islamic countries as a reason to protest against what they see as the Islamification of Britain, there is precious little evidence that the EDL actively support the minorities in question. It is little more than opportunistic scaremongering, designed to dehumanise and demonise Muslims, and legitimise their grievances. The EDL are quite vociferous in their explanation of what exactly they are defending. It generally runs along the lines of the British way of life, British values, British culture, and the future of British children. They are defending these from ‘militant Islam’, its advocates and adherents. I have yet to see EDL members campaigning for justice and equality for women in Saudi Arabia, for gay men in Iran, for Palestinians in the West Bank or for rape victims in Pakistan. They are quite happy to advertise these injustices, often accompanied by graphic videos or pictures, but only with the pretext of highlighting Islamic barbarism. How does this demonstrate the desire to ‘defend the same rights for all members of that or any other society.’? Quite simply it doesn’t. But there’s no need for a critical analysis of contradictory philosophies. Allow me to list just a small selection of reasons why the EDL is not a human rights organisation.
Members of human rights organisations would not find themselves in the situation of being charged with “soliciting murder and using threatening, abusive or insulting words likely to stir up racial hatred” and conspire with people accused of “possessing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism and disseminating a terrorist publication.”
Members of human rights groups do not receive ASBO’s for persistently committing violent crimes.
Let’s drop the pretense and call a spade a spade shall we. The EDL are not a human rights organisation, you are a single issue, far right, English nationalist/nativist group. Rather than chant ‘Allah is a paedo’ or ‘Muslim paedos off our streets’, a human rights group would engage in dialogue, conduct research, co-operate with communities and authorities and present its findings with recommendations. The EDL has no intention of doing any of this. I therefore propose that you cut the disingenuous bullshit, show a bit of integrity and admit what you are.