democracy

Tunisia : Land of Hope in the Arab World

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©A. LE GALL/DEMOTIX/CORBIS

By Flavio Baroffio

Tunisia is considered to be the cradle of the Arab Spring which has changed drastically the political landscape of the Middle East. It all started in December 2010 when mass protestations broke out in Tunisia because the people were discontent with the economic, political situation and the all-occurring corruption. Shortly after, in January 2011 the former ruler of Tunisia, Ben-Ali, had to step down[1]. Three years later, in 2014, democratic parliamentary elections were held and a new Constitution was adopted. The uprising in Tunisia inspired many other democratic movements in the Arab world, but Tunisia remains the only country where democracy took root. Read the rest of this entry »

Is the world turning back to authoritarianism ?

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By Cristina Valdés Argüelles

The 23rd of February 2016, the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy took place in Geneva, assembling hundreds of activists, human rights promoters, former political prisoners from China, Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, among other countries, international human rights NGOs and interested listeners. This ceremony is held every year to lay the cards on the table ; to examine the international current situation ; to address actual human rights violations ; to listen to testimonies of true human rights heroes; to promote democracy and freedom ; to join forces so as to find solutions and, most important, to make the world a better place to live.

During the conference, an interesting discussion came up: Over the past decade, totalitarian authorities have raised and gained more power internationally, repressing the growth of democracy and undermining the population’s rights and values. It might be assumable that humanity, after more than three million years of evolution since the Australopithecus apheresis Lucy, has reached a great level of evolution and promotion of the values of human rights. However, the reality of the global arena seems to point into the opposite direction. Is the world coming back to authoritarianism? Read the rest of this entry »

Flogged for Blogging

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Photo source : RFI

By Flavio Baroffio

When writing my articles for the “UNO, You Know?!” Blog I don’t have to fear to be thrown into jail or being tortured for expressing my opinions. Unfortunately that could happen to me if I lived in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi blogger Raif Badawi is now in jail for already three years because he was doing exactly the same thing I did : expressing his opinion in a blog. His wife Ensaf Haidar, now living in exile in Canada with their three children, was a guest at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. She was interviewed by the journalist Tom Gross. In the following article I would like to share with you the story of Raif Badawi based on the interview given by his wife. Read the rest of this entry »

HUMAN RIGHTS IN PEACEFUL PROTEST

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By Euan O’Neill

Photo by Felipe Kup Barbieri de Matos

On the second of December 2013, after a weekend in which the Ukrainian protests had been cemented in the public consciousness, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights held a seminar at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on effective measures and best practices to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests. The Seminar comprised a panel of international legal and human rights experts, representing states, academia and human rights organisations and its findings were reported to the Human Rights Council. Read the rest of this entry »