News / Middle East

Arab Spring Gets Mixed Results in Advancing Human Rights

Protesters stand in front of riot police during a demonstration outside the parliamentary building in Tunis November 22, 2011.
Protesters stand in front of riot police during a demonstration outside the parliamentary building in Tunis November 22, 2011.
Nico Colombant

While the so-called Arab Spring, which continues to this day, has had mixed results in advancing human rights, activists around the world say they have been inspired by the movement to fight for change in their own countries. Some are taking notice as the world prepares to celebrate Human Rights Day on December 10.

Newly elected lawmakers in a post-dictatorial Tunisia, and voters in Egypt, finally taking part in free and fair elections, are some of the tangibles of the Arab Spring movement.

The protests started about a year ago and have rattled autocratic governments across the Middle East and North Africa.

Street clashes have continued, even in countries where long-standing rulers were toppled, such as Egypt. In Syria, there has been little change and lots of violence.

Other countries, such as Bahrain, have had repeated pro-democracy protests, followed by government promises but little action. Bahrain’s ruling monarchy recently said it would study new recommendations by a government panel to broaden free speech and freedom of assembly.

But a researcher with Amnesty International in Bahrain, Said Boumedouha, remains reticent to celebrate any human rights victory in his own country.

“There have been so many cases or instances where I mean, international organizations or local organizations have made recommendations, but they have not been implemented. And that is why people are skeptical about the whole thing about whether this government is going to implement those recommendations,” said Boumedouha.

More than 10,000 kilometers away in Washington, Jessica Mazour is taking part in her first protests. She is trying to bring together so-called Occupy protesters from across the United States to her state, Iowa, where in January, the nomination selection for 2012 U.S. presidential candidates will begin.

Mazour said protesters in the Middle East inspired her to be relentless in seeking changes from her own government.

“Every time they try to shut us up, we are just going to get louder, and if we get louder it is going to finally hit their minds that this is important to people,” she said.

The Occupy movement has no specific platform, but many protesters here in the United States say they want more employment opportunities, more equal distribution of income, as well as reducing the influence of wealth in politics, which are similar demands than in the Middle East.

Zaid Jelani has been closely following the uprisings around the world as an activist blogger for the Washington-based organization Think Progress.

“The best thing you can say about 2011 is that it has really been a global democratic uprising. It is a matter of people everywhere across the world saying that their leadership is not really working for them, their society is not working for them, that their lives are falling apart, because the economy is poor. People are saying that the way we get this done is by going out in the streets, by actually having an outpouring of grassroots democracy, of citizen action, civil and political disobedience and sort of using that and going beyond the ballot box to get those needs addressed,” said Jelani.

Protesters say even if outdoor camps are being shut down and they face repeated security crackdowns, their current social-media fueled struggle for enhancing human rights is long, and that it will extend beyond this year.



You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid