Human rights activist and co-founder of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Omar Barghouti believes global human rights conferences are important in cementing the resistance against oppression. Barghouti was speaking on VOC’s Drivetime following his address at the War Resisters’ International Conference on Friday.
According to Barghouti, human rights issues around the world were connected and it was important to form a coordinated resistance against such atrocities. He said it was “empowering and inspiring” to meet hundreds of activists from all walks of life, all coming together for the common platform of human rights.
“I think it is extremely important because there is a lot of hopelessness. Many young people are becoming apathetic and losing hope that we can change. It is important that we forge our networks and alliances together, and make sure that we can in fact bring about change,” he said.
Discussing the current crisis in Palestine, Barghouti said he was confident the Palestinian people could achieve freedom and justice, in the same manner South Africans did, when the oppressive Apartheid regime was defeated just over 20 years ago.
“We have not lost hope, and we have no reason to lose hope that we can affect change and have our rights recognised. We believe we can have self determination, freedom, justice, and equality for Palestinians, but we have to do it with other oppressed communities around the world,” he said.
Barghouti said that in the BDS movement, the Palestinian people had a unified voice – one that brought together Palestinians from across the political spectrum, regardless of their differences. He said they would continue their pursuit for an end to the occupation and Israeli Apartheid and for the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
Highlighting the success of the movement, Barghouti said the Israeli government now viewed BDS as a “strategic threat to its regime of Apartheid”.
“This kind of human rights, and non-violent platform, unifies and empowers Palestinians. Today BDS is a global movement that is affecting some of the largest funds and corporations, and even governments around the world,” he said.
The War Resisters International Conference is currently underway at the Cape Town City Hall, and will run until July the 8th. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)