Wolfgang Kaleck: “Citizen surveillance will not disappear with the end of the pandemic”

Wolfgang Kalek, German lawyer and founder European Center for Human Rights (ECCHR)has been traveling the world for over twenty years, raising its voice for human rights. argued Edward Snowdenformer NSA employee who exposed their major programs espionage americans, Argentine mothers of Plaza de Mayo and condemned Donald Rumsfield For CIA torture. His war, which he calls “endless”, is collected in his book “Our global struggle for human rights” (Rocaeditorial).

– Thanks to your experience. What is your diagnosis of the state of human rights in the world?

-Well, the world is in a major crisis, not just in terms of human rights. We are facing a series of crises: economic crisis, environmental crisis, pandemic crisis and now war. What else can we get? What’s going on is hard to understand and digest, but we need to analyze how to face these new realities. All these crises I mentioned did not come out of nowhere.

-Did the epidemic represent a regression for human and civil rights in the world with compulsory house arrest, compulsory vaccination certificates…?

-This is a difficult topic to answer because we have the extreme right to deny that there is a pandemic or that he invented conspiracy theories. It is a little difficult to criticize in an area occupied by the extreme right. However, it seems clear that the implementation of surveillance systems will not disappear with the end of the pandemic. States do not miss any opportunity to strengthen their surveillance systems. The day before yesterday it was terrorism, then I don’t know what, then there was drug trafficking, then something else. And now the pandemic. The digital surveillance infrastructure installed will not end.

-So we regressed in this area

– There are more worrying things. An ‘apartheid’ was established by vaccination. Nordic countries have produced vaccines for their populations, but have been discriminated against by large populations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Inequality has increased in our societies, but also between North and South. This is a big problem. Also in terms of human rights. He has the right not to be discriminated against. He has the right to health, the right to a minimum guarantee of social and economic existence. And all these rights are now at stake. And these are fundamental rights, economic and social rights are fundamental rights. And if we don’t deal with that, we’ll go with a fiction. Consensus is needed to take action against dangers such as pandemics or environmental disasters around the world. But how do we build them if we let inequality grow? This makes me feel so sad.

In your book, you ask yourself whether legal means are sufficient to uphold human rights. I would like to know if you have an answer

– No, no, absolutely not. But the important thing for me is that there is an important legal norm margin for the protection of human rights, basically from 48 And that’s important. But that’s not the only thing. But the protection of human rights should work more than the field of law. And we are not looking for great victories, we are taking steps forward. We are the actors of a very long struggle. Our struggle is endless.

-How do you see the state of universal justice now, after a few years in Spain when many steps seem to have been taken with the prosecution of Pinochet or the establishment of the International Criminal Court?

– There are backward steps and forward steps. While the causes of universal justice have somewhat stalled in Spain and Belgium, they are advancing, for example, in Germany, France, Sweden and Norway. For me, this means that it is necessary to develop a European vision for universal jurisdiction. Because the International Criminal Court, for example, as we have seen before, has limitations on the fact that it cannot judge the Syrian war. On the other hand, Germany did this (against a former Syrian colonel) and I want this practice to be a European practice.

– Do you appreciate the double standard in the practice of universal justice?

-Yes. Neither surprise nor new in history. In one of my books entitled ‘Double standards’, I explored this very double standard from the second world war. And, of course, most strikingly, colonial crimes were not investigated. And this attitude continues. It seems that the law only applies to others. And you have to get over this attitude. In fact, part of the ICC’s lack of legitimacy is due to the fact that some African countries and for some reason perceive it as a court for Africa. This is why countries like India and South Africa did not sign their charters.

You defended Snowden. Such a case of double standards?

-Clearly. How do we leave Edward Snowden, who has contributed so much to our understanding of surveillance, of the dangers of surveillance, between the alternatives of exile in Moscow or a maximum security prison in the United States? What they did to him is very serious and I feel very sorry for the government of my own country, which, as far as I know, has done nothing for him and for him. Most Germans were in favor of granting him asylum. Neither Germany nor any other European country we speak of. First, for fear of confrontation with the United States, but we must also take into account that there is a community of secret services and they all want the same technical measures as those of the CIA or NSA. They see Snowden and Assange as a danger and are incredibly overreacting. They break all their rules to punish those who enlighten their own crimes. This harms not only those individuals, but also the entire society and the rule of law.

The government’s covert espionage programs are proliferating. There has been a major espionage scandal in Spain recently through the Pegasus program.

– Clearly all these electronic espionage programs are a violation of constitutional rights, especially when they are aimed at protected groups such as journalists and lawyers. This is a scandal. The strong thing for me is that they have used it in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, India, Mexico. But… How could European countries like Spain come up with the idea of ​​using this technology designed for authoritarian states? It harms society and the rule of law, but unfortunately most people don’t see it that way.

Source: Informacion


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