Defending Human Rights: The Havel Example

January 16, 2012

Aurel Braun and David Matas recently wrote an article for OpEdNews that puts strongly the case for seeing Havel foremost as a HRD. The article starts with a well-worded call to support HRDs abroad: “One reason we should stand up in Canada for human rights abroad is that we are safe in doing this.  Human rights defenders in repressive states are not.In spite of those risks, there are people of extraordinary courage and unrelenting commitment even in the most repressive states who at great personal risk to themselves and their families, respect human rights, call for others to do so and decry violations.  These human rights defenders give us yet another reason to raise our voices.   If they can risk so much, we who have nothing to lose should do our part.” ………”Havel was one of the co -‘writers of Charter 77, which in 1977 challenged the totalitarian Czechoslovak government to abide by the 1975 Helsinki Accords that had stipulated the protection of human rights. Fewer than 300 people signed the Charter, and the reaction of the Prague regime was to imprison many of the signatories, including Havel. He never retracted, he never stopped advocating, and repeated imprisonment never deterred him.”

Though very ill towards the end of his life, Vaclav Havel continued to fight for principles and wrote to HRDs in Belarus “I will continue to use every opportunity in the future, with my friends, to draw the international community’s attention to the violations of human rights in Belarus“.

Havel, who lived to see freedom and democracy come to Eastern Europe despite all the might of the Soviet superpower, and who played such a central role in that historic victory for human rights, proved that principles can and do prevail over power.

for the full article see: OpEdNews – Article: Defending Human Rights: The Havel Example.

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