Dharma and human rights are closely related ideas for Hindus. Since ancient times, Hindus have believed that human beings should have a code of conduct, regardless of natural differences, that facilitates the harmonious existence and functioning of society. Hindus called this code of conduct by the name “Dharma”. Any type of physical, emotional, or spiritual injury to other human beings is forbidden by Dharma. Hence, there was a strong foundation which naturally protected the rights of every human being. Since Dharma emphasized “individual duties”, ordinary citizens within Hindu populations around the world benefited from the protection this system provided. It became the best safeguard against those who were potential violators of “individual rights”. In other words, when everyone acts according to Dharma, the individual rights of everyone are naturally protected. Hindus were always reminded of their obligation to protect and practice Dharma and believed in the age old dictum “prevention is better than cure”. It is no wonder that the types of human rights abuses prevalent around the world, especially in Europe and the Middle East, were non-existent in India and other Hindu countries. This practice of constructing individual behavior within the norms of Dharma resulted in the most ancient and genuine pluralistic tradition in the world.
Human rights are of great importance to everyone, especially Hindus. We, therefore, urge all elected officials to lay substantial stress on human rights around the world. The US must pay greater attention to communist countries such as China, North Korea, Cuba, European countries such as Romania, Russia, and France, and all Islamic countries, which are notorious for their human rights record.
It is indeed an irony that Hindus, having established Dharma in the world, constitute the largest number of victims of human rights abuse. When the human rights of Hindus are violated, the United States can no longer close its eyes. Hindus demand that elected officials acknowledge the plight of Hindus in Kashmir who have been driven out of their ancestral land merely because of their religion. The US must provide moral and political support to those who have been victims of this ethnic cleansing. We also wish to draw the attention of the government to the atrocities being perpetrated by the governments of Bangladesh and Pakistan on Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians. The minorities in these two countries are living under constant fear. Their lives and property are under threat from fundamentalist and militant Islamic groups with the active support of their respective governments. A Time magazine investigation in 2004 had even revealed startling truths about the rise of radical Islam and cautioned the prospect of Bangladesh becoming another Afghanistan.
The US must ensure that the governments in Trinidad, Guyana, and Fiji protect the rights of its minorities. Hindus constitute a significant percentage of the population in these countries where human rights violations are rampant. We urge the State Department to pay adequate attention to these countries in monitoring rights violations.
In addition, we seek the attention of law makers to the plight of Romas (mislabeled by the world as “Gypsies”). For more than 1,300 years, these nomadic Hindus from India were mistreated by Islamic countries and European Countries – especially by Nazi Germany. Hitler killed more than half a million Romas along with 6 million Jews. The Soviet Union and other communist countries also mistreated them, and even the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe has not brought full freedom for the 13 million Romas. In fact, it is a shame that even today Romas are burnt alive in Romania. Hindus demand special recognition of their by the US government and aggressive monitoring of rights violations.