“The function of freedom is to free someone else.” ~ Toni Morrison.
The world lost the Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel laureate this year, but her words ring especially true as we look back on the human rights issues that captivated the world on Twitter in 2019.
People fought for their freedom and that of their neighbors in communities around the globe this year. Despite strong pushback from rights-abusing regimes, personal accounts of courage and perseverance provided inspiration.
Teenager Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun escaped Saudi Arabia, and after a tense stand-off at the Bangkok airport, finally won asylum in Canada. Footballer Hakeem al-Araibi won his freedom from Thailand and successfully resisted Bahrain’s extradition request, with the assistance of global pressure from athletes, sports federations, and rights groups. And the captain of the rescue ship Sea Watch 3, Carola Rackete, lived Morrison’s words and sacrificed her own freedom to rescue over 50 people at sea.
Here are these stories and more, told through the year’s trending human rights tweets.