DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
From Forum 2000: Democracy and Freedom in a Multipolar World
Formation of the Coalition of “Eternal Vigilance”
13 October 2009,
Having assembled at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance and Democracy on April 19, 2009 on the eve of the Durban Review Conference it was decided by representatives of Zimbabwe, China, Cuba, Iran, Burma, Belarus, Sudan, Venezuela and Egypt to create a forum and platform for “Eternal Vigilance” that is open to all NGOs, human rights defenders, human rights protection institutions, former and present victims of discrimination on the basis of opinion, political persecution, prisoners and prisoners of conscience, to fulfill the objectives listed below.
The Eternal Vigilance Declaration calls for the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience as defined by Amnesty International, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, and regional human rights organizations, and commit to work to resolve the critical human rights situations in their respective countries.
Today assembled together at Forum 2000: Democracy and Freedom in a Multipolar World
Recognizing that antidemocratic governments are coordinating efforts to undermine universal human rights standards undermining and attacking regional and international human rights bodies and creating a hostile environment for independent civil society locally.
Recognizing that totalitarians and authoritarian governments, movements, and activists are working in networks both formal and informal to advance their model of government throughout the world by whatever means at their disposal.
Recognizing that there is as Gandhi observed an “inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree” and that Maritain is correct “that applying intrinsically evil means to attain an intrinsically good end is simply nonsense and a blunder.”
We call on democratic governments to emphasize efforts to work in networks and better coordinate the defense and improvement of human rights.
We members of the Eternal Vigilance Coalition commit to identify countries where there is a critical human rights situation, focus on the plight of human rights defenders and defend the integrity of international and regional human rights organizations.
We commit to raising awareness on the plight of all political prisoners in the world currently serving unjust prison sentences for defending human rights in some manner.
Identify political prisoners and document circumstances around their case and where applicable which international human rights organizations recognize them. Prepare a list by country of political prisoners with the aim of creating a global map with prisoners’ locations.
We will hold accountable countries on or applying to the UN Human Rights Council with the worse human rights records and prepare shadow reports on human rights conditions there. Encouraging both democratic governments and civil society to question members and candidates thoroughly we will also highlight those democracies that consistently vote to empower systematic human rights violators.
We invite all who wish to join to make this their struggle and cause for freedom. We ask for support for all those struggling for human rights and freedom around the world. We call on political, religious and student leaders, intellectuals, artists, and everyone, to struggle for the life and liberty of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. Our aim is a world without prisoners of conscience that is a world without political prisoners.
All for one and one for all
Eternal Vigilance seeks to disseminate information, mobilize support and share roles and responsibilities which will provide more leverage at the policy table. This necessitates a coalition structure however Eternal Vigilance will maintain its character as an informal coalition.
All are welcome to join this coalition be they individuals or non governmental organizations who share the principles and values enunciated in the Eternal Vigilance Declaration and this document.
Coalition members will assist in carrying out the goals outlined in the document above and issuing calls to action for urgent situations that require the attention of the entire coalition. Coalition members will elect one of their members to act as a secretariat of the coalition.
The secretariat will handle official communications, organize activities, maintain an internet presence for the coalition, and handle any and all coalition concerns. The secretariat will be subject to annual election by members of the coalition.Signatories
Dr. Aliaksandr Milinkevich,
Movement for Freedom in
Sabe A. Soe,
Burma Center Prague
José Gabriel Ramón Castillo
Proyecto Ciudadano Cubano
Presidente de Nueva Conciencia Nacional A.C.
Directora de la Fundación Damas de Blanco de Venezuela
Human Rights Director
Cuban Democratic Directorate