Alexender Gladstein is the Vice-president of strategy for the Oslo Freedom forum and he has been with the Oslo Freedom Forum since its inception in 2009. During a brief interview with The Oslo Times, explained that, no government is ever going to be ultimately be a true friend of human rights, it’s impossible.
In the parts of the Interview he explains about human rights issue in Russia, Arab worlds, Arab spring and Arab dictators which raised from Arab revolutions.
Recently there has been much talk about the violations of human rights by the Putin administration and governments in central Asia. Do you think the United States government is any better, have they not violated human rights?
Of course every government violates Human Rights. If you had heard our founder’s talks and his remarks at the press conference, he explained that, no government is ever going to be ultimately be a true friend of human rights, it’s impossible — they have different agenda. What I mean is that they are operating on a different framework, they are looking at economy and fuel, energy and keeping the peace and stability. Human Rights is never going to be their overarching goal, we just have to live with that. That’s a fact of history. That’s why civil society is so important, that’s why creating this space is so important. alex quoteInfact dictators get together all the time like at the UN, 25 percent of the UN’s Human Rights Council seats are filled by dictatorial regimes like Saudi Arabia, Cuba, China. The dictatorships sit on the human rights council so we wanted to create an alternative, where people who are not in government could come and talk and share ideas. This is a school, a place where people can teach their experiences to others.
There were people outside the conference venue on the first day of the conference protesting against the Forum. According to them The Oslo Freedom Forum was created by the United States government, what do you have to say about this?
Okay, those protestors don’t believe in individual rights, they have their own agenda. They support dictatorial regimes like Cuba. So they are pro-Castro, so we obviously disagree with them. We would like democracy, balance of power, independent judiciary, a legislature and an executive branch that balance each other out– free expression and rule of law. The people on the street protesting don’t believe in these things. So that’s good I am glad that they disagree with us and they are out there protesting.Alexender Gladstein
How many members do you have in your team?
At the Human Rights Foundation we have 12 full time people. Our team on the ground here is 28 this includes translators and all the event people from all over the world and most of them are from elsewhere, we bring them in from out of Norway.
Do you have representatives from the Muslim community on your team?
Amir Akhmed Nassir, a very famous author from Sudan who wrote a book on Islam, is part of the Human Rights Foundation’s board. However my team is mostly from Latin America.
So don’t you have anyone from Asia?
Well, one of my colleagues Salim is from the Arab world.
What do you have to say about the Arab springs?
I think its devastating, depressing there has been a counter-revolution, we had all been inspired by some of the protests that occurred , but ultimately a lot of them seemed to fail and now there is dictatorship in Egypt again.
Do you believe that Egypt is now under a dictatorial regime?
Of course, it’s a military offensive who could argue otherwise