In a surprising move President Biden tagged the extermination of Armenians by Turkey as genocide. Needles to say that he is right. What happened was a genocide and the Turks have managed to escape justice as their judiciary has never been independent and the international community did not seem to be ready to set a line of conduct to Turkey.
Should the US decision signal a stand against impunity to human rights violators is will indeed be a game changer in a world where democracy seems to be shrinking while authoritarian governments flourish.
Ceasing impunity however demands extraordinary efforts in such world. Take the Philippines for instance. Mr Duterte the president has engaged in extra judiciary executions of drug traffickers and political rivals for the better part of his tenure. In Myanmar the military is blood bathing a country that cries out loud for democracy. In China the regime executes an annihilation policy towards the Uighurs .In Syria Mr Assad is exterminating anything that looks like opposition and smells like democracy. In our hemisphere the eighties were greeted as the decade when democracy took the grand stand in the Americas. Only one dictatorship remained: Cuba. Today we have dictatorships in Cuba in Nicaragua, in Venezuela and in Bolivia. Mexico has all but freeze its slow but sure march towards democratization that began in the late 90s to install a regime as corrupt as its predecessors and far more dictatorial. Human rights violations by these nations truly are astounding.
Should the stand taken by the Biden Administration on the 1915 massacre of the Armenians become standard to treat violators of human rights, the policy could be conducive to the strengthening of the international system. This however would demand the establishment of a coalition to effectively address the challenge. Indeed, Reinforcing democracy through human rights observance is in a world populated by nations that are institutionally feeble; most share a violent recent past, and have not transition out of rent seeking economic systems into wealth creating systems. As a result the world neighborhood is full of bullies that terrorize the population while hindering democracy and development. These thugs are holding a significant proportion of the world at ransom and many are connected to organized crime. Thus while praise wordy, the gesture towards the Armenians will not suffice to promote the strengthening of human rights in the world. Action is needed.