Each year on 10 December, the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is marked by celebrating International Human Rights Day. This year marks immense changes that swept over the Arab region. Many found their voices using the internet and instant messaging to inform, inspire and mobilise supporters to seek their basic human rights. Through the transforming power of social media, ordinary people have themselves become human rights defenders.
Three young, active and mobilized Lebanese bloggers and activists in various fields and lobbying for different causes, have shared with us their thoughts on the Human Rights Day and how the social media played a role.
‘The international day for human rights is an opportunity for us Lebanese bloggers and activists to renew our commitment to stand for the weakest elements in our society and continue to spread awareness of their plights. Foreign domestic workers, LGBT groups, the handicapped and the poor, like the rest of us, deserve a full life of empowerment, pride and dignity.’
Short Bio: Mustapha Hamoui is a Lebanese businessman, designer and writer who lives and works in Ghana. He blogs at ‘http://beirutspring.com‘
In my personal blog, I do share information about discrimination, women’s right, environmental crimes happening here and there; My aim is to use a simple tool a free blog to express my opinion freely and share it with others that might come through the pages of my blog; The posts covering the need to implement a State of Law in Lebanon are numerous; In a funny or cynical way, in my way, I try to describe my daily life and the challenges we need to overcome in Lebanon: mainly the gender component, the gender violence issue in Lebanon, the patriarchal system, the confessional (sects) system, the need to have a unified civic personal status law , and lately the nationality issue.
Short bio: Rita Chemaly is a social-political researcher and author of “Spring 2005 in Lebanon, Between Myths and Realities”. She won The Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press in 2007 and blogs at www.ritachemaly.wordpress.com.
“On International Human Rights day, I stand for a moment of silence on the situation of online freedom that is gradually getting worse in the Arab region. Governments are trying their best to limit freedom of speech: in Lebanon, bloggers will have to register their blogs with the government soon. In Syria, iPhones are banned from entering the country. Saudi Arabia applies strict filtering and denunciations to the online content. Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia employ surveillance (spying) on their populations’ internet usage. Bloggers are being detained and harassed left and right. It is a sad day indeed for the online community.”
Short Bio: Mohammad Hijazi is a student at the American University of Beirut majoring in Biology and Business Marketing. He currently works as social media consultant for various organizations. He has been blogging on Mind Soup for three years and was one of the early Lebanese who embarked on utilizing social media as a daily tool for communication. Mohammad currently heads Online Collaborative, a student organization that aims to promote proper digital citizenship to the Lebanese community. He blogs at moudz.blogspot.com