Re: What is the human rights movement?

Question: To whom do you look for inspiration?

Transcript:Well just thinking about Patricia and David, because I just returned from Mexico. I mean here’s a woman whose daughter left school one day two years ago and has never been seen since. She was asked to identify her clothing. So she knows that, in fact, you know her daughter is dead; and yet day after day she commits and recommits herself to ensuring that there won’t be another death; that there won’t be another needless execution of a woman in _______ or _______. Or take David who after three years of incarceration, after being tortured into confessing to the rape and murder of his cousin simply because according to the police he appeared nervous, i.e., was crying when he heard about her death . . . And to be able to, you know . . . to be able to set that aside and focus his energy on making a difference for . . . you know, not just for his cousin to find the real perpetrators, but for all of the other women in similar circumstances is really inspirational.

Recorded on: 8/13/07

Without human rights, we have nothing.

Transcript:Well I mean first and foremost because without our human rights we have nothing. In fact it’s interesting to imagine – almost impossible to imagine – that the human rights treaties and conventions that we talk about are just over 50 years old right now. I mean they were really born in 1948 in the wake of World War II in response to the horrors of that war. And it is remarkable to imagine that in fact prior to that, we had no single framework at a universal global level through which to articulate the right to freedom of speech, the right . . . All of the rights we’re talking about – civil, political, social, economic and cultural – have only recently been codified. And yet they have their origins really hundreds of years ago in various traditions. And you can see them even in many of the religious texts that have emerged over time. So I think when I say without human rights we have nothing, what I mean is that they are so fundamental to our ability to be productive, and healthy, and happy, and cooperative as human beings on this planet. And there’s never been a time when we’re more in need of that kind of cooperation, and collaboration, and productivity.

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