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A Message from President Bush on Human Rights Day
"December Tenth is Human Rights Day. By marking the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we let those who struggle for their freedom know that we stand with them. Freedom is a universal human desire…it’s a force for peace and prosperity in the world. In recent years, we have seen great progress in the march of freedom. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, democracy spread to formerly Communist countries. We’ve also seen the progress of freedom in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Today in Burma, there are encouraging signs. Aung San Suu Kyi, once blocked from taking office and confined to house arrest, is now a member of her nation’s legislature. She and others are working for a brighter future for her people. Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia are all building new democracies, and all have hard work ahead them. We must support them in this work, and help them from sliding back into tyranny. Inside Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and other nations, millions of people yearn to be free. They do not know when freedom will come, but they should know they are not alone. During my Presidency, Laura and I met with democratic activists, defenders of religious freedom, and families of political prisoners. Now, we are pursuing that passion through the Bush Institute. This year, we launched the Freedom Collection at freedomcollection.org. The collection tells the stories of men and women who are fighting for democracy, political freedom, and individual rights. So, on Human Rights Day, I urge you to pray for those who live in tyranny…watch those who tell their stories on the Freedom Collection…and extend this message to all who stand for freedom around the world: “We hear you, and we support your cause.”
Amanda Schnetzer is Director of Global Initiatives at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas. In this role, she is responsible for developing innovative research, programmatic, and policy efforts to advance societies rooted in political and economic freedom and to empower women to lead in their communities and countries. Previously she served as the Bush Institute’s founding director of the Human Freedom Initiative.
Amanda has twenty years of experience in the international arena and a background in public policy research and analysis, public affairs, and management of diverse, high-level stakeholders. As senior fellow and director of studies at Freedom House in New York, Amanda guided research for the organization’s definitive studies of freedom. She began her career at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, supporting research on U.S. foreign policy and international politics. Amanda is a published writer and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She holds degrees from Georgetown University and Southern Methodist University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
Chinese Prisoner’s Death Holds a Message for Americans and China
Liu Xiaobo, China’s most prominent dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner died this week. His death holds a message for Americans and for China.
Release of Chinese Political Prisoner a Timely Reminder to Support Freedom Advocates Abroad
More than half the world’s population still lives in countries where basic political rights and civil liberties are only partly respected, if at all.
Bringing Freedom to the Forefront of 21st Century Politics
Is the global liberal democratic order in danger? Purposefully constructed in the aftermath of World War II, this order -- and the American leadership that is central to its success --has contributed to securing peace and expanding prosperity in the United States and around the world. Today, that order appears to be dissolving. This crisis is not new or sudden; it has been mounting for several years. Global challenges like authoritarian capitalism, violent extremism, demographic pressures, and displaced populations have placed global freedom in decline. Fraying traditional alliances united by core values of freedom are increasingly weak to respond. It is alarming that the downdraft in democratic resilience over the past decade or more includes countries that have long been part of the consolidated democratic West. This is democratic deconsolidation. In much of the Western world, we see a rise in demagogic populism, illiberalism, nationalism, protectionism, and waning conf
The Importance of Speaking Truth to Tyrants
What the president of the United States says matters. Even during the realpolitik policies of détente under Richard Nixon, it was still clear that American policy was based on a set of core values. Nixon’s practical goals of reaching deals with America’s adversaries was never based on the “great chemistry” with himself or praising the Soviet or Communist Chinese leadership doing a “fantastic job.” When the president aligns himself with the autocrats and dictators, he aligns America with their oppression. He sends a message that corruption and brutality are not our concern. Contrast that with how Ronald Reagan defied much of world opinion in calling out the brutality of the Soviet system. Natan Sharansky, then a refusenik imprisoned in a Soviet gulag, later wrote for the Weekly Standard of his thoughts on Reagan’s pronouncement that the USSR was an evil empire: “It was the great, brilliant moment whe