UN Watch's Tribute for Human Rights Day

Dec. 10, 2011
GENEVA, Dec. 10 – Sixty-three years ago today, at a special session in Paris, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Men and women around the world who are denied their basic human rights often seek to mark today's anniversary by calling for freedom. Too often, their efforts are stymied.

Cuba is a prime example. To prevent a pro-democracy rally today, 200 people were temporarily detained by the Communist-led island's security services. In a related development yesterday, hundreds of government devotees blocked the opposition group Ladies in White from marching in central Havana. Despite talk of reform, the reality is that Cuba remains a police state.

On this day, we pay tribute to Cuban dissidents Fidel Suarez Cruz and Bertha Antunez—along with other courageous champions of human rights fighting repressive governments in Iran, China, Syria, Burma, Sudan, Pakistan, Vietnam, Uganda and Zimbabwe—by featuring their voices below.

They and other activists gathered recently at the United Nations in New York to testify at the "We Have A Dream" human rights summit, organized by UN Watch together with an international coalition of 20 NGOs, held in parallel with Durban III and the opening of the General Assembly.

Our summit of dissidents concluded with a powerful declaration that rejected dictators' "specious arguments to justify policies and practices of abuse and repression in the name of claimed exceptions to the universality of basic human rights."

"Belonging to diverse faiths and cultures, and originating from all regions of the world, we, the authors of this Declaration, unequivocally reject such dishonest apologetics, which suit the interests of the despots, and not the interests, or ideas, of their peoples."

"We assert that the writ of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights continues to run through all societies, and for all times. The talk of tyrants is refuted by the cries of prisoners—who, from the dungeons of Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Tibet, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere—demand justice and freedom on the basis of these universal laws and eternal truths..."

Journalist and AuthorAHMAD BATEBI
Iranian dissidentJOHN DAU
Genocide Survivor and Human Rights ActivistTHUY TRAN
Vietnamese activist and writerJIANLI YANG
Chinese DissidentBERTHE KAYITESI
Director of KUSH & former MinisterREBIYA KADEER
Uyghur Activist and Former PrisonerADEEB YOUSIF
Darfuri ActivistTHAUNG HTUN
Burmese ActivistIRWIN COTLER
Zimbabwean Dissident and JournalistJOEL BRINKLEY
Pulitzer Prize Winning JournalistBERTHA ANTUNEZ
Cuban Women Rights activistFIDEL SUAREZ CRUZ
Tibetan activistMARINA NEMAT
Iranian Author and former prisonerPHILIPPE ROBINET
Publisher, cofounder of Oh! EditionsJUDITHE REGISTRE
Women for Women InternationalBANAFSHEH ZAND-BONAZZI
Iranian ActivistRAMI NAKHLEH
Syrian DissidentDAVID KEYES
co-founder of Cyber DissidentsMARAN TURNER
Director of Freedom NowNASSER WEDDADY
Civil Rights Outreach Director, AIC


UN Watch is an independent human rights group founded in 1993 in Geneva, Switzerland,
receiving no financial support from any organization or government. We rely on the
generosity of charitable donations. Thank you for your support.

tel: (41-22) 734-1472 • fax: (41-22) 734-1613

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