It is a good day for intolerant rulers like Hugo Chavez and Nursultan Nazarbayev, as seven countries with particularly appalling human rights records were elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council: Ethiopia, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.
Thor Halvorssen | All Articles
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Thor Halvorssen is a human rights advocate and film producer. Described by The New York Times as “a champion of the underdog and the powerless," he founded the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, which is devoted to liberating political prisoners and promoting civil and political rights around the world. Since its founding, HRF has secured the release of seven prisoners of conscience, provided evidence to Truth Commissions, submitted amicus briefs in major international human rights cases, and published two books on individual rights and responsibilities of the state. Mr. Halvorssen is founder and CEO of the Oslo Freedom Forum, an annual global gathering described by The Economist as a “spectacular human-rights festival ... on its way to becoming a human-rights equivalent of the Davos economic forum.” He is the Patron of the Prague-based Children’s Peace Movement, On Own Feet.
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Last week, I was on the schedule to deliver testimony at the United Nations Human Rights Council. I was invited to be part of UN Watch's campaign to stop Hugo Chavez's bid to elect Venezuela to a seat on the council this November.
Dear Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong,
During World War II, German cleric Dietrich Bonhoeffer actively conspired against Hitler to resist the persecution of Europe's Jews. Bonhoeffer spent years subverting Nazi policy at the highest level and was even involved in the plot to kill Hitler. When Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor, was caught by Nazi officials, he was first held in military detention, then in a Gestapo prison, then at Buchenwald concentration camp, and finally at Flossenbürg concentration camp. As Allied forces approached Flossenbürg in 1945, the SS received orders to hang Bonhoeffer. Before he died, he explained his resistance to the Nazi regime: "If I see a madman driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders, then I can't, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe and then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try and wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver." In Bonhoeffer's mind those in a position to act have a responsibility to protect.
BERGEN, NORWAY — General Yoweri Museveni has ruled Uganda for more than 25 years. Since taking power in a 1986 military coup, he has stacked this Central African country’s voting commission with his henchmen and stolen its elections. Having abolished presidential term limits in 2005 in a sham referendum, he plans to rule for life, and is grooming his son for succession.