We Will Not Be Silenced

Yesterday’s news was dire: Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, friend and human rights defender from Bahrain, had been sentenced to life in prison along with other protesters accused of plotting agains the government. A “mocking portrayal of justice,” wrote the Irish Examiner. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the government in Bahrain to respect its international human rights obligations and allow those prosecuted to appeal their sentences. Even Barack Obama, known to tread delicately – wait, let me say feebly – on the subject of human rights in a country that hosts the US Fifth Fleet, said a few weeks ago, “mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain’s citizens.”

Where politicians fear to tread, it’s reassuring to know that human rights defenders will move forward with purpose and with determination to fight for what’s right. Dozens of human rights defenders here in Montreal for an annual human rights training program hosted by Equitas decided, of their own initiative, to demonstrate at lunchtime today to voice their condemnation at Abdulhadi’s life sentence at the hands of a military court. Abdulhadi, a former program participant, was instrumental in assisting Equitas to develop a human rights education program in the Middle East and North Africa.

The voices of these participants expressing their condemnation today are no different than the voices heard in Bahrain over this injustice; they are no different from the voices of human rights defenders and average citizens from around the world angered at the government of Bahrain’s oppression. The message is clear, our collective voices are strong, and we will not be silenced until justice takes precedence: Free Abdulhadi.

Related posts:
Demonstration by human rights defenders for Abdulhadi’s release

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