Nov 10, 2018 Business & Finance Comments Off on Global activists share stories of closed societies in Taiwan
Taipei, Democracy and human rights activists from repressive countries shared their stories at an international forum in Taipei on Saturday and called on international community to voice support for people in struggle for their fundamental rights.
"I was sentenced to one year in jail just because I read one of my poems expressing my opinion," said Aayat Alqormozi, a Bahraini poet who was arrested and tortured for reading her work during the 2011 Arab Spring protests in Bahrain.
"Today I am here, alive in front of you, because of an international pressure on the government to release me," said Aayat. "They released me after three months and 16 days. Imagine your efforts and your voice is truly powerful and important."
Speaking at the 2018 Oslo Freedom Forum in Taiwan, Aayat talked about how she was arrested after the police attacked her family at the middle of the night to force them to reveal her whereabouts and the horrible ordeal she had suffered in the prison.
After she was released, Aayat said she was expelled from the university, a situation thousands of students in Bahrain were also forced into.
"Because they (the authorities) know the power of education. They know that through eduction, our eyes will be open and we will know our rights," she said.
Aayat called on the international community to pay attention to Bahrain where thousands of students and activists have been imprisoned for participating in the 2011 revolution.
"I am here an example of the international efforts. We really need your support. You might think that one person could do nothing, but you can do a lot," she said.
Mai Khoi, a Vietnamese singer and activist, talked about how she has been using her performance and social media to communicate with people the importance of human rights and democracy in a country where freedom of expression is severely suppressed.
Before the advance of Internet, people in Vietnam had no way to go to express themselves freely because government controls everything, said Mai Khoi.
The emergence of social media has provided a space for people to speak their minds, debate about policies, level criticism against corruption and organize peaceful protests, she said, but social media such as the "Facebook is being abused."
"Dissidents are silenced, posts critical of the government deleted, accounts of journalists blocked, and people put to jail for posting their opinions," she said, urging the international community to support her campaign to "keep Facebook free."
Mariana Dahan, the founder and CEO of the World Identity Network (WIN), talked about how she has started the global initiative to advance the use of distributed ledger technology, or blockchain technology, to fight against human trafficking.
A pilot project is being implemented in Moldova, Dahan's country of birth and a primary source country for victims of human trafficking.
"We are working on top of existing legacy systems to make sure that no child is being taken out of the country with fake identity documents that are produced by smugglers and human traffickers," Dahan said.
The WIN has leveraged the immutability feature of the blockchain to make sure that every transaction tied to human trafficking and attempted exit with a minor is being permanently recorded on the ledger, Dahan said.
With the technology, if a human trafficker is being caught at the border, he cannot get away or bribe his way out, "which is something that is happening and that perpetuates the vicious cycle of trafficking," she said. "Technology is a great enabler of this case."
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel
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