Growing demands for freedom and justice across the Middle East and North Africa and the rise of social media offer an unprecedented opportunity for human rights change – but this change stands on a knife-edge, said Amnesty International as it launched its global human rights report on the eve of its 50th anniversary.
“Fifty years since the Amnesty candle began to shine a light on repression, the human rights revolution now stands on the threshold of historic change,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General.
“People are rejecting fear. Courageous people, led largely by youth, are standing up and speaking out in the face of bullets, beatings, tear gas and tanks. This bravery – combined with new technology that is helping activists to outflank and expose government suppression of free speech and peaceful protest – is sending a signal to repressive governments that their days are numbered.
“But there is a serious fight-back from the forces of repression. The international community must seize the opportunity for change and ensure that 2011 is not a false dawn for human rights.”