Defending Human Rights is a global issue

IMG_5785Brazilian journalist Ávany França. Credits: Ávany França’s personal file

Journalist, photographer and blogger, Ávany França also holds a master’s degree in Intercultural Relations and is currently working at the NGO Alianza Por Solidaridad, in the volunteering department dealing with themes such as migration. The international organization has a strong work in the Middle East when it comes to defend human and women rights in this conflictive areas, giving civilians support, aid and support in the struggle for a dignity life during war times.

The Middle East has been worldwide news due to civil wars and revolutions. The Arab Spring combined with Western invasions in Arab countries have created violent extremist groups in the region. These extremist groups constantly bomb civilian areas killing people every day, and the local governments seem not to be strong enough to lead with them. As a result of these conflicts, a lot of people end up leaving their home countries in order to find safety somewhere else. “The most common routes are Western Balkan, Eastern Mediterranean route and Central Mediterranean route. Those routes have been used for refugees for many and many years,” said Ávany, who also explained how the refugees leave their countries. “The sea is the mainly mean used. It is unsafe and the number of people that dies trying to cross the ocean is also high.” A Syrian boy who was found dead in Turkey cost because his boat had drowned on the way to Europe has shocked the world recently.

As a Brazilian citizen, she also said that even though Brazil is open to receive refugees, it doesn’t provide them a social integration, only assistencialism. A problem that refugees not only find in Brazil, but also in other countries that receive them. According to her, “there is very little effort to integrate the refugees in the sense of being part of the new society.” She also explains the consequences of not fully integrate the refugees: “As a result, the society does not accept them fully, the refugees do not find a place in the new country and discrimination, and separation become a reality. With no real integration practice, the possibilities for those people feel as part of the new society and raise their voices is very limited.”

Although the refugee movement is getting more and more space on the media, still a lot of people have some sort of prejudice about them. Ávany explained that this prejudice is not only an issue in Europe but global, and it comes from the fear of the unknown. She adds: “Who are those people, what are their values, how kind of attitude can we expect from them? Those questions normally are not clarified and from the citizen’s point of view can be seen as a threat.” Ávany says that people’s reactions to the unknown are usually negative so that’s why migration policies programs should work in order to inform and to educate not only the local population, but also the refugees.

In conflictive areas the ones who suffer the most are the children. Ávany says that unfortunately education cannot be provided to them during war times since the priorities are others such as providing them food, security and dignity. She also adds: “What we need as a society, and I am saying that in a global sense, is to work very hard to avoid calamities like that keep happening in the world. Ávany says that it’s our responsibility “to fight for less social differences, for human rights and so on.”

When it comes to defend women’s rights, the NGO Alianza Por La Soridaridad have had a strong impact in the Middle East. The NGO works along with local partners in order to rise up women’s voices through creation of protocols, improvement of the care of victims, promotion of networking and support of women’s organizations. In this region, “women essential needs have been neglected wisely”, said Ávany who also explained that many women in the Middle East have been facing extreme difficulties and no rights respect due to the fact that they have no economic power or autonomy. She also complements: “Many women suffer social abuses, such as not to be able to decide on their sexual relationships, marriage, motherhood, and number of children.”

Although feminism movement as women fight for economic, social and political equality of sexes is getting bigger every day, this reality is significantly slower in the Middle East since women from this region also face religious and traditional barriers. Ávany explains that equality is an issue that will be sorted out in 118 years-time and also adds: “Unfortunately, we as a society are very far away to promote equality [of gender]. However, the positive point is that people in general can get more and more information about this gender issue and about how important this is everywhere.” She even uses Africans communities as an example of women’s struggles, “where women have suffered the powerful of tradition over their rights as human beings to the salary inequality between male and female professionals in developing countries.”

Written by Maria Beatriz Esperidião


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