Mervat Rishmawi - Human Rights Consultant: Research, Training and Policy Analysis

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What will the future bring

What will the future bring? 

Most of the news these days is about excitement in parts of Libya about the Libyan elections ... a pessimistic  feeling or cautious attitude by many in Egypt about the results of the Egyptian elections together with a lot of hype in Tunisia about the drafting of the constitution ... 

The results of the elections in the region are very important for us as human rights activists. New debates about universality of human rights are expected to start. Some may challenge the very tools we have used for many years for our struggle and human rights work under the dictatorship regimes. Some of us pushing for more prominent place for international law in our national justice systems, while others will be pushing for exactly the opposite. 

Will human rights activists defending women's rights, freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of belief be the new targets (not that they were not targeted before!) But will the attack intensify? New tactics will be needed, and solidarity and protection of human rights defenders will possibly become more important in the coming period than ever! 

And yet there is Syria, a scar on the forehead of humanity. What can we do as a human rights movement  to move things radically forward will remain a question that will haunt us ... but maybe the answer is simply that the solution is obviously not in our hands. What we can do is to continue to do what we know best: document, name and shame, lobby, and show solidarity with and support brave defenders and activist.

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