DANIEL MEKONNEN

MISSION iN LIFE

Daniel is deeply committed to the promotion and protection of human rights, so much so he considers “human rights” the most important phase of his professional life. A primal focus of his professional life is that of contributing modestly to the creation of a world free from human rights violations. He draws inspiration in this regard not merely from his formal training as a human rights lawyer. More than that he gives the credit, first and foremost, to the indelible influence his late grandmother (a well-known elementary school teacher in the Eritrean town of Dekemhare) has left in his person since early childhood: epitomised in a resolute commitment against any form of injustice.

Secondly, he gives the credit to lessons he learned from the life experience of people who have achieved epic feats in their commitment to the establishment of free and open societies. He gleans lessons continuously from the experience of people who overcome adversity, those who are able to see light at the end of a tunnel, those who win in life by swimming against strong tides and by converting challenges to opportunities. Their live stories fascinate him a lot. Their experience teaches him the quintessential lesson that: it is always possible to dream big. Some of these dreams may come true soon; others may take a lifetime commitment. But it is always possible to believe that “the sky is the limit” and strive hard towards achieving one’s own dreams. It is precisely because of this reason that Daniel says often times: his mission in life is to leave a lasting impression to humanity in general, not just to a certain or limited professional area. His experience as a human rights defender in exile has deeply shaped his perspective in life, not least by inculcating in his belief system a strong sense of allegiance to the ideals of “inclusive citizenship.”

Daniel recognises that achieving one’s own dreams, in particular those of a human rights defender, does not come without a price. And indeed, he has already paid heavy sacrifices in this regard. While remaining loyal to the requirements of objective testimony, he believes that the sacrifice he has thus far paid in the fulfilment of his obligations as a human rights defender, activist and lawyer is a living testament to his unwavering commitment to the creation of a world free from human rights violations. His experience in this regard was mostly recently chronicled by a report of Amnesty International from June 2019 (pp. 15-17) and media coverage of Al-Jazeera of the same report.

Source: UNHCR