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Open embassy doors for right activists today: Hillary

December 10, 2010 10:52 IST

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has asked American embassies across the globe to open their doors to civil society activists and to listen to their concerns.

"The US is committed to promoting and defending civil society around the world. And we will continue to remind leaders of their responsibilities to their citizens under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," Clinton said in a statement issued on the occasion of Human Rights Day on Friday.

"To support this, I have asked our embassies to open their doors to civil society activists today to listen to their concerns and demonstrate our support," Clinton said.

"Today, and every day, the United States stands with those committed to making the vision enshrined in the Declaration a reality for all people. We call on every nation to join us in working to fulfill the Declaration's promise, at home and abroad," she said.

"I witness small and large acts of courage every day in every part of the world. Liu Xiaobo, this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, helped author Charter '08 calling for peaceful political reform in China and lost his freedom for the cause," she said.

"On this Human Rights Day, I reiterate our call for his immediate release. Elsewhere, the group Damas de Blanco has faced harassment and intimidation while advocating for the release of political prisoners, focusing international attention on Cuba's poor human rights record," Clinton said.

"Magodonga Mahlangu and her organisation, Women of Zimbabwe Arise, suffer arrests and abuse as they continue working to empower women to mobilise and take non-violent action against injustice," she added.

"Citizen heroes from all walks of life draw strength and hope from the promise that every country in the world has made in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The work of these activists to "reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person," and their courage to persist is a testament to all that is good in the human spirit," Clinton said.

"Sixty-two years after Eleanor Roosevelt laid out those clear, inviolate principles, we again stand upon a threshold as the need to support and defend civil society has taken on renewed urgency," she said.

"A vibrant civil society is an essential component of free nations, yet many governments continue to employ intimidation, questionable legal practises, restrictions, detention, and wilful ignorance to silence the voices of those who defend human rights. The United States is committed to promoting and defending civil society around the world."

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