Remember the people who make rights meaningful.
July 1, 2014 10:23 PM   Subscribe

"Human rights are not embodied and protected by declarations, conventions or pieces of legislation; they are embodied and protected by people." Hina Jilani is a lawyer and human rights activist based in Pakistan.

In 1980, Jilani founded the Women’s Action Forum, a pressure group within Pakistan that is supportive of all aspects of women's rights and related issues, irrespective of political affiliations, belief system, or ethnicity. “Pakistanis who were hitherto unaware of the issues addressed by these women were awakened, and the unquestioned authority of fundamentalists on religion became doubtful.” (PDF)

Jilani is also a member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders originally brought together in 2007 by Nelson Mandela. Their goal is to “represent an independent voice, not bound by the interests of any nation, government or institution”. They advocate to bring attention to neglected issues using their collective influence on the world stage to generate media coverage and political attention. Their work has included supporting local initiatives working for reconciliation and peace to heal the division between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

“If we do not do what we do, there is absolutely no other force that will draw people's attention, and therefore there will be no collective effort at the public level to stop what is going wrong.” Recently, Jilani visited Australia and partook in an interview with the ABC Law Report in which she discussed the challenges she has faced over her long and varied career and her drive to continue what she has been doing.

Jilani was awarded the Millennium Peace Prize for Women in 2001 (the first year it was ever awarded) and continues to practice law in Pakistan and advocate strongly for women’s rights around the world. “Activism is not a drug. It is a choice that is consciously made.”
posted by liquorice (4 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- frimble

Great post. Thank you for putting these links together.
posted by Rumple at 10:37 PM on July 1, 2014

I think this also belongs here in this context and just saw it tonight. Homosexuality has been illegal in Uganda for decades , but people mostly "kept cool" relatively speaking (compared to today) and there wasn't much enforcement of the law; it took incitement (from Evangelical Americans no less) to get things riled up to a fever pitch. And it takes people like Pepe to be willing to be beaten or worse for their beliefs -- no, for being who they are because they refuse to give up on their home, and prefer to stand in the face of inhumanity to claim what is theirs. Human rights die in much the same way trademarks do...foregone conclusions are before long gone through collusion, you must work and fight to maintain what is important, and not forget the struggle when things feel comfortable.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Pepe Julian Onziema Interview
posted by aydeejones at 11:00 PM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Pepe is a trans* man BTW; Uganda treats the whole LGBTI spectrum as equally wicked and I omitted that.

Unfortunately, people often tend to treat lumped-together-demographics equally when it comes to splitting them off from the rest and attacking them, rather than the good kind of treating people equally, where you do it to everyone and there's no attacking.
posted by aydeejones at 11:08 PM on July 1, 2014

What a cool person she is, and a nice post too. Thanks for sharing!
posted by tchemgrrl at 4:15 AM on July 2, 2014

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