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

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states 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.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid