Know Your Rights campaign

12 July 2013

Haqquna (Our Right) is a civil movement that focuses “on the importance of spreading awareness and educating people about their rights through nonviolent means, such as the distribution of leaflets, pictures and written materials.” On April 24, members of the Haqquna movement launched a two-week campaign called Know Your Rights, in which they shared some terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as their goals as a group.

A member activist said to Syria Untold, “We were shocked by the situations we encountered during our Documenting Destruction campaign. We found that many people are oblivious to their simplest, most basic rights.” He also commented on the reason behind this. “Unfortunately, all of us had been living under tyranny for more than 40 years, which made us forget that we have a right to a good education, freedom, equality and citizenship. That’s where we came up for the idea of the Know Your Rights campaign - to educate others and remind them of their rights.”

Activists distributed leaflets in the streets of Raqqa with a message such as, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are blessed with reason and conscience, and should interact with one another in the spirit of brotherhood.”

In a city witnessing daily shelling by the regime, a deteriorating economy, and residents who want not much more than to earn a living, some people viewed the Know Your Rights campaign as being useless. An activist who participated in the campaign recalled an incident in which a resident of Raqqa ripped up the leaflet and shouted, “Will this (information about human rights) provide us with income or food?”

Not only do some residents belittle the activists’ work, but many armed battalions accuse the movement of rejecting Islamists and being radically secular. But Haqquna activists said they did not directly face those who accused them of anti-Islamic sentiments. “We confronted them by continuing to distribute the publications. Silence is the most powerful weapon when dealing with ignorant people, and we truly hope they will understand that the aim of these civil resistance campaigns is not to fight them.”

Despite the obstacles these activists encountered, they said most people had a positive response to their publications. Haqquna considers this campaign to be the most important one they’ve launched so far, since it gave the activists the opportunity to interact with the people, and listen to feedback and criticism regarding their work. It also gave them the chance to address ideals such as democracy, equality, and justice, terms Syrians had not had the chance to ponder for decades.


This work is under a Creative Commons license. Attribution: Non commercial - ShareAlike 4.0. International license

Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad