Wednesday 19 January 2011

Tunisia, Haiti, Ivory Coast - dictators beware!

These coming weeks will see if the human rights agenda will finally take centre stage in the development of nations. When President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted in Tunisia last week, it was very unclear which way the country would go. The ruling party were desperate to keep control, but their hardline tactics seem to be failing, with even their attempts at forming a brief 'unity' transitional government falling apart.

The people do not want dictatorship anymore. Free and fair elections may well be on the way, together with a renewed passion for greater equality. The people of Tunisia our in our hopes and prayers.

In Haiti, Baby Doc Duvalier returned - perhaps expecting to make some gain out of the confusion and chaos in the country. I was so relieved when justice was finally done, and he was arrested for some of the horrendous crimes done to the people of Haiti during his rule. Torture and repression cannot be so easily be swept under the carpet.

Perhaps it is a time in history that human rights are finally taken seriously by the world and by nations. This has not come about by the persuasion of powerful nations in the West. They have often talked of human rights, but in the background supported repressive regimes that are beneficial to trade or regional power. It is happening because people, armed with information, are demanding their rights.

Beware you dictators - beware the leader of Ivory Coast! Those who hold on to power by force and illegitimacy will pay a price one day (though sadly, first they will probably steal lots of money from the people and go and live in luxury in Saudi Arabia or the United States!)

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