Idealists who dare to challenge the authority of powerful nations are paying a heavy price.
In China human rights lawyers speaking out in the cause of freedom have been imprisoned for life and denied access to visitors. In Saudi Arabia journalists and bloggers asking for democratic reforms have been flogged and executed.
Many online campaigns regularly ask for support, but do little more than gather names. Governments don’t want to jeopardise their trade and diplomatic links and rarely speak up for the the rights of foreigners. Amnesty International has a good reputation for the effectiveness of their campaigns on behalf of those suffering human rights abuses (imprisonment without trial, torture etc.), but the abuses continue worldwide.
Even those nations guilty of the most serious abuses can be appointed to the UN Human Rights Council, making a mockery of that organisation’s integrity.
We need a better way to protect the lives of those branded criminals for daring to spread freedom’s message. Sanctions often raise awareness and may be the catalyst for change, but those of us freely able to elect the government of our choice should require them to do more for universal human rights.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” quotation attributed to Edmund Burke.