“The world changed immeasurably over the course of 2011. Across the Middle East, North Africa, and far beyond, citizens stood up to demand respect for human dignity, more promising economic opportunities, greater political liberties, and a say in their own future. Often they faced tremendous odds and endured violent responses from their governments. The resulting upheavals are still unfolding today in places like Syria, where the regime has brutalized its own people. In Burma, after years of repression, the government has taken preliminary steps to allow reforms to begin.” – U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Citizen uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa (in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria), saw citizens stand up for their rights and fight against oppressive regimes. In Egypt, the revolution was spurred on by social media as citizens extensively used Twitter to communicate, yet the government quickly caught on and tracked protesters down. Libyan pro-democracy protesters were viciously attacked but overthrew Moammar Qadhafi.
As the Annual Human Rights Report highlights, while some countries witnessed hopeful movements towards democratic freedoms, others lagged in human rights conditions – targeting women & children, LGBT community members and disable people, and oppressing journalists. For more detailed information, view the reports: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm#wrapper
Do we overlook our personal freedoms (speech, religion, right to a fair trial, etc.)? How can citizens fight oppression? What civil liberties do you value most? How about the role of social media in cultivating cultural awareness?