Thursday, May 15

Blogging For Human Rights: Bloggers Unite


“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.” — Thomas Jefferson

Many people tend to take such words for granted, but no one does in Darfur. The concept of human rights is it as unfamiliar in western Sudan as is to those who are often the most shielded. There, human rights can easily be called non-existent.

For the last five years, millions of people have lost their lives, have been displaced from their communities, and have been stripped of their families, friends, and livelihoods. It happens daily as government forces and proxy militias practice genocide against these African communities.

The latest international relief effort seems minor when compared to the amount of aid needed. Approximately 3,700 troops from 22 EU member states were recently sent to protect refugees, civilians, and aid workers in the east of Chad. And while the United States is contributing millions of dollars for peacekeeping operations, the atrocities in Darfur have continued — enough so to permanently change the way its youngest citizens will ever see the world.

What you can do about it? In the United States, become aware about the problem and take action by contacting your congressmen. Ask them to take action. Others can ask their country to do the same.

“While the words might change from country to country and are sometimes taken for granted, human rights represent one of the universally agreed upon ideas — that all people are born with basic rights and freedoms that include life, liberty, and justice.“ — Bloggers Unite For Human Rights

The Internet can be used as a powerful communication and social awareness tool. And while there are a few people who suggest that writing about human rights or shining a light on places where the abuses against human rights is not enough (as thousands of bloggers are doing today), a few simple words can lead to action.

In fact, it is often this very reason that citizens who write on the Internet and journalists are frequently among the first to be silenced. It is also the reason that the right to freedom of speech and expression are guaranteed under international law, notably under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. People can now read the document in any language, but only as long as those people are free to share ideas as once put forth by U Thant, Third United Nations Secretary-General.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights - This great and inspiring instrument was born of an increased sense of responsibility by the international community for the promotion and protection of man’s basic rights and freedoms. The world has come to a clear realization of the fact that freedom, justice and world peace can only be assured through the international promotion and protection of these rights and freedoms.” — U Thant

Does it really make a difference? We have to start somewhere.

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2 comments:

Dave Donelson on 5/17/08, 12:47 PM said...

Darfur is an indelible stain on the soul of humanity. As the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reminds us, “…recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds

Rich on 5/19/08, 5:20 PM said...

Dave,

I could not agree with you more. It seems like the perfect place to start.

Best,
Rich

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