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* The connection between women's human rights, gender equality, socioeconomic development and peace is increasingly apparent.
-- Mahnaz Afkhami

Women's empowerment is intertwined with respect for human rights.
-- Mahnaz Afkhami

* In the future, human rights will be increasingly a universal criterion for designing ethical systems.
-- Mahnaz Afkhami

* "Human rights education is much more than a lesson in schools or a theme for a day; it is a process to equip people with the tools they need to live lives of security and dignity. On this International Human Rights Day, let us continue to work together to develop and nurture in future generations a culture of human rights, to promote freedom, security and peace in all nations."
-- Kofi Annan

The right to development is the measure of the respect of all other human rights.That should be our aim: a situation in which all individuals are enabled to maximize their potential, and to contribute to the evolution of society as a whole. 
-- Kofi Annan

It was never the people who complained of the universality of human rights, nor did the people consider human rights as a Western or Northern imposition. It was often their leaders who did so. -- Kofi Annan

* The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be either good or evil.
-- Hannah Arendt

* Silence never won rights.  They are not handed down from above; they are forced by pressures from below. 
-- Roger Nash Baldwin

So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we'll be called a democracy.
-- Roger Nash Baldwin

* "Through electing officials that will protect the Constitution and commit themselves to the rights of the people and the health of the nation, we will be able to ensure that no group of ideologues and no private sector institution can coopt our rights, take us into senseless wars and steal the nation from its people."
-- Harry Belafonte

* "A century that began with children having virtually no rights is ending with children having the most powerful legal instrument that not only recognizes but protects their human rights."
-- Carol Bellamy

"The Convention is not only a visionary document. We are reminded daily that it is an agreement that works – and its utility can be seen in the everyday use to which I have seen it increasingly being put by country after country, in policy, in practice and in law." -- Carol Bellamy, UNICEF Executive Director, Statement to the UNICEF Executive Board, September 1998

* "Those who today still feel a sense of impotence can do something: they can support Amnesty International. They can help it to stand up for freedom and justice."
-- Peter Benenson

"Torture is banned but in two-thirds of the world's countries it is still being committed in secret. Too many governments still allow wrongful imprisonment, murder or "disappearance" to be carried out by their officials with impunity."
-- Peter Benenson

"It's the publicity function of Amnesty that I think has made its name so widely known, not only to readers in the world, but to governments - and that's what matters."
-- Peter Benenson

"Open your newspaper - any day of the week - and you will find a report from somewhere in the world of someone being imprisoned, tortured or executed because his opinions or religion are unacceptable to his government."
-- Peter Benenson

"The candle burns not for us, but for all those whom we failed to rescue from prison, who were shot on the way to prison, who were tortured, who were kidnapped, who "disappeared". That's what the candle is for."
-- Peter Benenson

"Once the concentration camps and the hell-holes of the world were in darkness. Now they are lit by the light of the Amnesty candle; the candle in barbed wire. When I first lit the Amnesty candle, I had in mind the old Chinese proverb: 'Better light a candle than curse the darkness.'"
-- Peter Benenson

* "You can imprison a man, but not an idea. You can exile a man, but not an idea. You can kill a man, but not an idea."
-- Benazir Bhutto

* "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."
-- Stephen Biko

"I feel morally and intellectually obliged to simply conceded that the death penalty experiment has failed....  From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death."
-- Harry A. Blackmun, Former US Supreme Court Justice

* It has long been recognized that an essential element in protecting human rights was a widespread knowledge among the population of what their rights are and how they can be defended. 
-- Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Sixth UN Secretary-General, 1992-1996

The human rights we are to discuss here at Vienna are...the quintessential values through which we affirm together that we are a single human community. 
-- Boutros Boutros-Ghali, at the World Conferenceon Human Rights, 14 June 1993


The Framers of the Bill of Rights did not purport to "create" rights.  Rather, they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our Government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be preexisting. 
-- Justice William J. Brennan

* “We are asking people to understand that slavery still exists today; in fact, according to a recent New York Times article, if you count the number of women and children in bonded labor, domestic slavery or sexual slavery today, there are more slaves in the world than at any other time in history.”
Charlotte Bunch

Democracy is not the law of the majority but the protection of the minority.
-- Albert Camus

* "Everyone has a right to peaceful coexistence, the basic personal freedoms, the alleviation of suffering, and the opportunity to lead a productive life..."
-- Jimmy Carter

America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense, it is the other way around. Human rights invented America.
-- Jimmy Carter

A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you.
-- Ramsey Clark

If nations are allowed to commit genocide with impunity, to hide their guilt in a camouflage of lies and denials, there is a real danger that other brutal regimes will be encouraged to attempt genocides.
--Caroline, Baroness Cox, House of Lords

We discovered that peace at any price is no peace at all. We discovered that life at any price has no value whatever; that life is nothing without the privileges, the prides, the rights, the joys which make it worth living, and also worth giving. And we also discovered that there is something more hideous, more atrocious than war or than death; and that is to live in fear. 
-- Eve Curie, French author

* "Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free."
-- 14th Dalai Lama

* Human Beings, indeed all sentient beings, have the right to pursue happiness and live in peace and freedom.-- 14th Dalai Lama

"All human beings, whatever their cultural or historical background, suffer when they are intimidated, imprisoned or tortured . . . We must, therefore, insist on a global consensus, not only on the need to respect human rights worldwide, but also on the definition of these rights . . . for it is the inherent nature of all human beings to yearn for freedom, equality and dignity, and they have an equal right to achieve that."
14th Dalai Lama

* Together we can prevent genocide from happening again. Together we can make a better future for our children. -- Dith Pran

* "Human Rights for everyone is the necessary foundation upon which all of us may build a world where everybody may live in peace and serenity and plenty."
-- Michael Douglas

* The idea of cultural relativism is nothing but an excuse to violate human rights.
-- Shirin Ebadi

* ‘Without peace, there is little hope for human rights’
-- Martin Ennals

"..I think there is less cynicism about human rights than there was. The work we are doing is part of the overall pattern of human development, whatever the political system, whatever the country, whatever the cultural background, whatever the religion."
-- Martin Ennals

"...In a world riven by inequity, medicine could be viewed as social justice work." -- Paul Farmer

“If access to health care is considered a human right, who is considered human enough to have that right?” -- Paul Farmer

* "Clean water and health care and school and food and tin roofs and cement floor, all of these things should constitute a set of basics that people must have as birthrights." -- Paul Farmer

* "The UN Declaration of Human Rights laid down what any person might reasonably expect, yet there are remarkably few people who enjoy these rights. With cameras in the hands of activists and meaningful distribution of those images, we will witness what really goes on in this world and hopefully want to change it." -- Peter Gabriel


Human Rights Quotes

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Human Rights Day - December 10



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