Decency is a Virtue
Updated: Jan 13
EMDHR for the last two years has been working with partner organisations in addressing the plight of Eritrean refugees especially in Ethiopia. The Tigray conflict over the last two years has been fractious for the Eritrean opposition as various organisations and individuals took sides in the conflict.
This created division amongst the Eritrean opposition and provided a platform for more extremist elements or those with malign intentions to flourish. The challenges that we and our partner organisations have faced are immense but against all odds we have continued advocating and working with agencies to provide protection for our people.
We have over the past few years worked with media outlets to ensure that Eritreans have access to impartial information and thereby are empowered. Ensuring that we have free, impartial and objective reporting is important in advancing democracy and social cohesion.
However, we have also seen over the past two years information that is misogynist, islamophobic, racist, sexist and divisive to the social cohesion of the Eritrean people circulating unabated. Whilst people are entitled to their views, it is important to realise and understand that freedom of expression is not the right to abuse others. Freedom of expression comes with social responsibility towards protecting the human rights of other people and adhering to standards of civilised behavour.
If we are fighting the Eritrean regime to ensure it adheres to international standards of behaviour and respects the human rights of the Eritrean people, we ourselves need to adhere to those principles. We can agree to disagree. 'My way or the highway' is not the way. Let's not resort into blackmailing, character assassination or name calling anyone who does not agree with us. We cannot justify our actions by resorting to the same methods of the regime that we are trying to change.
We have to accept our differences and disagreements. Someone disagreeing with us doesn't necessarily mean they despise or disrespect us. Let's not switch into retaliatory mode when we disagree. Let's remember that we are different and think differently.
Before our political, social or cultural differences we all are humans. Let's then be humane!
EMDHR’s core value of non-violent resistance is relevant today more than ever. We can only build a sustainable democratic country if we build tolerance, understanding and respect the rights of other people especially those whose views and ideologies are different to that of ours.