Quotes about Human Rights - Defend and Respect Human Rights

By Tommy Pettersson

Human Rights :: Human Rights Day 10 December 2011

Human Rights Day

Human rights defender is a term used to describe people who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights. Human rights defenders (HRDs) are those men and women who act peacefully for the promotion and protection of those rights.

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
~ Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

We should all defend and the respect the Human Rights and not take it for granted.

Respect the Human Rights

"Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free."
~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama (1935- ) Tibetan Spiritual Leader

"The people of my country want the two freedoms that spell security: freedom from want and freedom from fear."
~ Aung San Suu Kyi (1945- ) Burmese pro-democracy activist

"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."
~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama (1935- ) Tibetan Spiritual Leader

"We are not myths of the past, ruins in the jungle, or zoos. We are people and we want to be respected, not to be victims of intolerance and racism."
~ Rigoberta Menchú Tum (1959- ) Guatemalan indigenous rights activist, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 1992

"Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves."
~ U Thant (1909-1974) Burmese educator, diplomat, 3rd United Nations Secretary-General, 1961-1971

"I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights."
~ Bishop Desmond Tutu, quoted in "You Said a Mouthful" edited by Ronald D. Fuchs

The cost in human lives and suffering is so high that we all have to work to end violence and oppression once and for all. We have to proclaim that every human being is equal, in dignity, in freedom - and, as the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, we have to live 'in a spirit of brotherhood.'"
~ Federico Mayor Zaragosa (1934- ) Former Director-General of UNESCO

"When I gave food to the poor, they called me a saint. When I asked why the poor were hungry, they called me a Communist."
~ Dom Helder Camara, Brazilian Roman Catholic archbishop, author, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee

"Basically we could not have peace, or an atmosphere in which peace could grow, unless we recognized the rights of individual human beings... their importance, their dignity... and agreed that was the basic thing that had to be accepted throughout the world."
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Defend the Human Rights

"Please use your freedom to promote ours."
~ Aung San Suu Kyi (1945- ) Burmese pro-democracy activist

"Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don't give up the fight."
~ Bob Marley (1945-1981) Jamaican reggae legend and social activist

"I have cherished the ideal a democratic and free society... it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
~ Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, who was imprisoned from 1964-1990.

"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 (1906-1975) German-American political philosopher

"First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communist and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionists. Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me."
~ Pastor Niemoeler (victim of the Nazis)

"The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don't agree with."
~ Eleanor Holmes Norton

"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral."
~ Paulo Freire

"Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them."
~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Former US President, Four Freedoms Speech, 6 January 1941

"States are not moral agents, people are, and can impose moral standards on powerful institutions."
~ Noam Chomsky

"Be as beneficent as the sun or the sea, but if your rights as a rational being are trenched on, die on the first inch of your territory."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I shall be honored to go to jail. Under a dictatorship, the detention cell is a place of honor."
~ Miriam Defensor Santiago

"This is the duty of our generation as we enter the twenty-first century -- solidarity with the weak, the persecuted, the lonely, the sick, and those in despair. It is expressed by the desire to give a noble and humanizing meaning to a community in which all members will define themselves not by their own identity but by that of others."
~ Elie Wiesel

"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 (1922- ) Egyptian Diplomat, 6th UN Secretary-General, 1992-1996

"Poverty cannot be accepted as a pretext and justification for the exploitation of children. It does not explain the huge global demand with, in many instances, customers from rich countries circumventing their national laws to exploit children in other countries. Sex tourism has spread its illicit wings wide, and paedophiles search for their victims in all parts of the globe. The problem is compounded by the criminal networks which benefit from the trade in children, and by collusion and corruption in many national settings."
~ Vitit Muntarbhorn, the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography until 1995 www.un.org/rights/dpi1765e.htm

"Now my friends, I am opposed to the system of society in which we live today, not because I lack the natural equipment to do for myself but because I am not satisfied to make myself comfortable knowing that there are thousands of my fellow men who suffer for the barest necessities of life. We were taught under the old ethic that man's business on this earth was to look out for himself. That was the ethic of the jungle; the ethic of the wild beast. Take care of yourself, no matter what may become of your fellow man. Thousands of years ago the question was asked; 'Am I my brother's keeper?' That question has never yet been answered in a way that is satisfactory to civilized society.

Yes, I am my brother's keeper. I am under a moral obligation to him that is inspired, not by any maudlin sentimentality but by the higher duty I owe myself. What would you think me if I were capable of seating myself at a table and gorging myself with food and saw about me the children of my fellow beings starving to death."
~ Eugene V. Debs, 1908 speech



Tommy Pettersson
Article by Tommy Pettersson
Tommy Pettersson is a well known internet developer and the founder of Fair Trade Community. Fair Trade Community is a community where people can get facts and information, meet and discuss how they can help to improve the lives of some of the poorest people in the world. Learn more at Fair Trade Community.

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