The International Human Rights Day, which we celebrate today, marks the important progress we have achieved in the struggle for universal human rights worldwide. It is also a day for reflection, as we pause to consider the many difficulties that still remain on the path to achieving social justice and equality for all.
Message from the President:
Honouring International Human Rights Day, Hans van Baalen MEP, President of Liberal International, said: “In Liberal International we celebrate every day as Human Rights Day because human rights are the core of our philosophy and policies.
As we mark the International Human Rights Day, let us reflect on the only standing Committee within Liberal International: the Human Rights Committee. This Committee brings together government members, parliamentarians, Opposition leaders and activists under one umbrella to fight human rights violations and for freedom across the world. Under the Committee’s leadership, Liberal International has proven time and time again that it can be a leader in the fight against injustice and inequity by bridging the gap between human rights practitioners and politicians.”
DR Congo, Africa Liberal Network and ARC: “There is no life more apt to honour on International Human Rights Day than that of Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest champions of human rights of our time. As the world celebrates his life, along with South Africa, at his memorial today, his memory should inspire us to intensify the work he started in South Africa until all people of the world are truly free and liberated.” - Olivier Kamitatu Etsu, President of the Africa Liberal Network
Guinea, Union des Forces Démocratiques du Guinée: “The culture of impunity is the cause of persisting Human Rights violations in Guinea” - Cellou Dalein Diallo, President of the UFDG Party, Leader of the Official Opposition in Guinea
South Africa, Democratic Alliance: “Ahead of us still lies a long walk to freedom that each South African can use to improve their lives. Freedom you can use is freedom fulfilled. Today millions of South Africans have formal freedoms but still cannot use them to improve their lives because they lack the education, the security, the health and the means to do so. Our work is to ensure that many more South Africans are able to use the freedoms that Madiba (Nelson Mandela) bequeathed them. And that they appreciate the discipline and diligence required to be free. Otherwise we betray his legacy.” - Helen Zille, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, South Africa
Taiwan, Democratic Progressive Party: "Taiwan's achievement in human rights originated from the contributions made by our predecessors, all of whom were democracy activists who dedicated their lives through great sacrifices. The Democratic Progressive Party will strive to maintain Taiwan as Asia's model for human rights, freedom and democracy, and to continue pushing for them to never regress but to keep moving ahead." - Su Tseng-Chang, Chair of the Democratic Progressive Party, Taiwan
Andorra, Partit Liberal: "Andorra prouds itself to purposely mention the International Human Rights Declaration in its Constitution, being one of the few in the world to do so. All present and future Andorran policies should be based on the underlying principles established in the International Human Rights Declaration, in order to ensure a better future for any country willing to progress." - Jordi Gallardo, President of the Liberal Party of Andorra
Bulgaria, Movement for Rights and Freedoms: "International protection of human rights is both our biggest achievement and most serious failure as people. Today we celebrate the Universal Declaration of Human rights and yet, every day in every corner of the world there are violations of our fundamental rights. It is our duty as humans to continue our relentless fight for the recognition and respect for the universality of human rights.” - Dr. Dzhevdet Chakarov, Member of Parliament and LI Vice-President on the Bureau (Movement for Rights and Freedom, Bulgaria)
Catalonia, Catalan Group of LI: "With regards to ideology I've never fooled anyone. I'm sure no one in this room and militants have no doubts of my nationalism. (...) But from day one I have manifested myself as a liberal. A liberal underground, in Spain and abroad, in the times of Franco. A liberal without hesitation in the immediate period after the general's death, when Marxism was fashionable. A liberal when the liberal idea of progress, justice and freedom of individuals and people is now more accepted. "
Given that the antiquated tax collection system located in the centre of the country, it happens that the periphery has the problems but not the money. Peripheral powers of a decentralized system constitute a guarantee for citizens and a way of strengthening the democratic system. "
Political and economic liberalism must be combined with social justice, equal opportunities and respect for the individual. These are to be the basis of a democratic policy” - Ramon Trias Fargas, Founder of the Fundació Llibertat i Democràcia, Catalonia (Spain)
Iceland, Progressive Party: "Today, on International Human Rights Day, people all around the world remember a man whose life became a symbol for the struggle for human rights. Today we remember Nelson Mandela. Let his memory be a beacon of hope for those who still suffer under tyranny and inequality in the world, and an inspiration to all of us to never give up the fight so all members of the human family will enjoy equal and inalienable rights, freedom and justice.” - Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Prime Minister of Iceland (Progressive Party, Iceland)
Luxembourg, Demokratesch Partei: "The viable places in the global village? Those areas where human rights are respected." - Charles Goerens, Member of the European Parliament (Demokratesch Partei, Luxembourg)
Russian Federation, Yabloko: "These days when the world is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 20 years since the World Conference on Human Rights adopted the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, we in Russia are celebrating one more anniversary: 20 years since the adoption of Russia’s Constitution. Our Constitution proclaims that Russia is a law-governed state and that a man and his rights and liberties are the top value, and that protection of human rights and freedoms is the obligation of the state. And our goal, the goal of Russian liberals is turning Russia into such a country: a country where human life and dignity in everyday living will be recognized as the prime value by both the citizens and the state. We know that a way towards this goal is long and difficult. But we will pursue it.” - Dr. Grigory Yavlinsky, Founder of the YABLOKO Party (Russia), Leader of the YABLOKO faction in St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly and LI Prize for Freedom Laureate
Ukraine, Ukraine of the Future: “Ukrainians today have finally got our own national idea - it is freedom and human dignity, value and protection of each and single life. But this competition is the result of hard struggle for their rights and freedoms, for the fate of our country in the future. The struggle and the defence of their rights and freedoms - the key to lasting democracy for the Ukraine of the Future!” - Andrii Ziuz, First Deputy Chairman of the Ukraine of the Future Party
United Kingdom, Liberal Democrats: "The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales will be a wonderful step forward for equality. Love is the same, gay or straight, so it’s only right that the civil institution should be the same.” - Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat Leader.
Middle East and North Africa:
Islamic Republic of Iran: “Iran’s current leadership thrives on “nuclear nationalism.” It equates national interests with the absolute power of a small, self-appointed religious-military ruling class rather than with the equal rights of its citizens. Even reformist President Hassan Rouhani’s proposed “civil rights charter” is limited to members of “heavenly” religions. In the theocratic ideology of the Islamic Republic, human rights are conditioned on whether the state approves of a citizen’s beliefs. This is nothing less than religious apartheid. It breeds fanaticism and violence. If there is no end to such abuses, how can the Islamic Republic be trusted? The interim nuclear deal and diplomatic engagement with Iran are a welcome opportunity for change. But the world should ensure that human rights are not sacrificed at the altar of political expedience.”- Shirin Ebadi, LI Prize for Freedom Laureate
Israel, Israeli Group of LI: “Every human being has its own story. It begins in the past and deals with its history, culture, heritage and experiences. Therefore, it should be given the opportunity to express itself and make us familiar with its background. It should be enabled to express itself vocally or through any form of art such as music, sculpture, painting or any other means of its choice.” Naomi Blumenthal, Secretary General of the Israeli Liberal Group
Lebanon, Future Movement: “On the 10th of December every year, the United Nations and the whole world celebrate the Human Rights Day. This occasion is an opportunity to remember the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to renew our commitment to the respect, promotion, and protection of the rights and freedoms of all people. The promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental rights should be the first priority and responsibility of all governments.
On this occasion, we ask governments and the international community to renew their commitment and obligations to the universal declaration of human rights and to other similar international treaties and to make more efforts to promote peace, security and economic and social development as well as to eradicate poverty and end all forms of discrimination and violence.
We cannot commemorate the International Human Rights Day without remembering the Syrian people who have been demanding freedom and democracy for the past 3 years. The Syrian people witnessed massacres, forced displacements and exposure to chemical weapons. Today there are more than 125,000 casualties in Syria and more than 2,000,000 refugees. Governments and people everywhere have an obligation to end the war on the Syrian people and protect their life and dignity.” - Ahmad Hariri, Secretary-General of the Future Movement, Lebanon
Canada, Liberal Party of Canada: “Today, we commemorate the 65th anniversary of the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the Magna Carta of human rights, born out of the ashes of the Holocaust - and reflect on the indispensable rights guaranteed to every child, woman, and man across the globe. As I attend Nelson Mandela’s memorial service today in South Africa, I am reminded of his life’s underlying message: that we have a responsibility to continue supporting and advancing human rights and equality for all. We must remain wholly devoted to realising these human rights and the ideals espoused in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in every corner of the world.” - Dr. Irwin Cotler, Member of Parliament and Member of LI Human Rights Committee (Liberal Party of Canada)
Cuba, Union Liberal Cubana: “The idea that people have natural rights is the essence of liberal democracy. Without that certainty we are exposed to the tyranny of the majority or the benevolent dictators”- Carlos Alberto Montaner, Honorary President of Union Liberal Cubana
The original publication http://liberal-international.org/site/Liberals_around_the_world_mark_International_Human_Rights_Day.html
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