Posts Tagged ‘human rights activism’

In praise of whistleblowers as human rights defenders

March 17, 2018

Are whistleblowers “Traitors or Defenders of Human Rights“? I have asked myself this question many times also in this blog [see e.g. https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/09/29/edward-snowden-can-still-not-collect-his-awards/. On 16 writes for the Good Men Project a convincing  piece that they are:

We all know, or are becoming aware, that the ‘global war on terror’ is being pushed by the Western Hemisphere. (Case in point Daniel Ellsberg}…In today’s post modern world, we have Edward Snowden who exposed cover ups of war crimes, controversial mass surveillance, and bulk data collection programs as legal and effective; all while having violated warrant procedures/court orders, due diligence, privacy laws, human rights, liberties, and the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. Every government and former government member has taken an oath to serve and protect the Constitution, and the laws that are supposed to defend and help every single one of us. Unfortunately, rogue policies and states have gotten away, and continued to operate without any accountability, oversight, or responsibility. Torture under the euphemism of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques was exposed by the former CIA case officer turned whistleblower, John KariakouThomas Drake, former Senior CIA and NSA analyst, blew the whistle on the cover ups of 9/11, fraud, waste, and abuse that went all the way up to the highest levels. Bill Binney, former NSA mathematician and cryptanalyst blew the whistle too on 9/11 and mass surveillance programs that are unconstitutional. Documentaries on Netflix such as Silenced, A Good American, and CitizenFour reveal what happened to whistleblowers when tyrannical governments label them as ‘traitors’ and want them to be existent.

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Lessons can be learned from whistleblowers:

StrengthThe courage to speak the truth against lies and crimes against humanity, against the corrupt, greedy, poisoned hearts of men.

GritDetermination through educational and awareness events, peaceful protests, doing interviews, community engagement and media involvement shows perseverance of standing up for one’s beliefs of speaking the truth. Having support systems helps continue one’s sparked resolve to shed light on the dark. There’s no I in Team.

Honesty is best policyCandor delivered right through honesty is the best approach to demonstrating what one wants or needs to say. Honesty is about dignity of self and respect of others to speak the truth.

Human rights are of moral and ethical issue not merely illegal v. legal. Human rights are part of the law. Legal decisions and conclusions aren’t equivalent to morality and ethics. Crimes against humanity were once legal. Policies aren’t the same as having a conscience and exercising moral fiber.

United we rise, divided we fall. Note: Not to say breaking oaths to keep legitimate secrets are to be violated. Leaks can do severe damage to government projects, and the lives of those who work the operations to make a difference. To serve and project justice is serious business. Being a leaker and a whistleblower are two different things. Advocating and exercising truth, morality, ethics are the important take away from this story. Our humanity through liberty makes us, human.

Remember, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke

see also https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/05/27/5-june-stockholm-breakfast-seminar-on-the-importance-of-whistleblowers/

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/traitors-or-defenders-of-human-rights-wcz/

Peter Norman: the missing third man in that famous picture

October 22, 2015

That all human rights defenders are not equally recognized is an unfortunate but well established fact. The case below – which was written by Riccardo Gazzaniga (griotmag.com) – is a remarkable one as we all remember the famous picture from the Summer Olympics in Mexico in 1968. What most of us have not seen is the picture below which shows the statue – erected at the San Jose State University – of only two of the three. Who was the third one and why is he missing? The article below [The White Man In That Photo – 12 October 2015] tells the story of Australian sprinter Peter Norman and quite a story it is

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Have human rights defenders encountered the end of their shaming powers?

May 25, 2014

It is late in the weekend but perhaps you still find time for an interesting long read by Suzanne Nossel, the Executive Director of the PEN American Center. She wrote this for Foreign Policy and it was reprinted in the Pittsburgh Post of 25 May. The article is a good overview with what has gone wrong recently with an increasing number of world leaders showing not to care much about human rights (accusations), an attitude which she dubs “imperviousness”. I am personally not convinced that this is an unstoppable tendency but we seem indeed to be in quite a dip compared to say a decade ago when it comes to the restraining power of the human rights movement. So the depressive conclusion of this relatively long piece is not too unexpected:  “The traditional tools of human rights activism — exposes, media attention and pressure from mostly credible Western governments — are falling short when it comes to some of the major challenges of the day. It is as if an expanding group of leaders has built up antibodies and these leaders can now resist where they previously would have succumbed. While it’s not time to give up on the traditional treatments, human-rights defenders need to get into the lab quickly and develop some new tactics before the virus of imperviousness spreads even further.” It would be interesting to get views from others on this question.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/2014/05/25/Impervious-to-shame/stories/201405250049#ixzz32l7PrPqD

Why so many rulers are impervious to shame – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.