BY CLARE HANUSZ AND MELISSA VINCENTY – December 10, 2010 marks the 60 anniversary of International Human Rights Day. On this day, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed, a declaration which sets down the basic principles at the very heart of the human rights movement. It has enabled remarkable progress in human rights, inspiring international human rights standards, laws and institutions that have improved the lives of many around the world. See more here: UDHR
December 10 also marks the date when the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded annually. This year’s recipient, Liu Xiaobo, has struggled for more than 20 years for the application of fundamental human rights in China. He took part in the Tienanmen protests in 1989; he was a leading author behind Charter 08, the manifesto of such rights in China which was published on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 10th of December 2008. The following year, Liu was sentenced to eleven years in prison and two years’ deprivation of political rights for “inciting subversion of state power”. Liu has consistently maintained that the sentence violates both China’s own constitution and fundamental human rights.
The Chinese government is preventing Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia, from accepting his award in person.
At the Honolulu Human Rights Day Vigil, members of Amnesty International and other will read from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and sign cards sending aloha and solidarity to Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia. Residents and visitors, young and old, are welcome to bring candles and share their visions of a more peaceful world.
Clare Hunusz and Melissa Vincenty are civil rights and immigrations attorneys based on Oahu.