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Foreign Minister: Sakharov’s Life Work Protecting Human Rights Has Not Lost Its Relevance

14.10.2010

No. 312 - E

When opening the exhibit that introduces the life work and human rights legacy of Andrei Sakharov at the Estonian National Library today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasised that working to protect human rights and freedoms remains a necessary task in today’s world. “In Estonia we can be proud that for the last two decades we have been able to freely express ourselves,” said Paet. “However, when coming into contact with various groups and people, we must bear in mind their right to have and express their opinion. We may not always like their opinions, but hatred poses a great danger to society—therefore listen and try to understand,” the foreign minister said, emphasising the importance of the exhibit.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the exhibit “Alarm and Hope”, which came to Estonia from Brussels, is part of the efforts led by Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg to remind us of Sakharov’s peaceful and progressive vision of society based on human rights. “The topics of Sakharov’s life work have not lost their relevance. Armed conflicts, dictatorship, starvation, poverty and inequality are still present in the world,” Paet noted.

The foreign minister said that the Council of Europe’s activities to protect and promote human rights are valuable. “Soon 60 years will have passed since the approval of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Human Rights. This is an important milestone in the history of protecting human rights and freedoms,” said Paet. “Standing up for human rights and freedoms must continue, and it must be done through constructive dialogue with all groups of society both domestically and in the international arena,” he added.

This year the European Parliament is giving out the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for the 22nd time this year. “Andrei Sakharov himself and all of the winners of the Sakharov Prize have shown boundless courage in their defence of human rights and free speech,” said Paet.

The exhibit “Alarm and Hope”, which introduces the life work and human rights legacy of Andrei Sakharov, will be in the main exhibit hall of the Estonian National Library from 13-30 October. The exhibit was organised in co-operation by the Foreign Ministry and the National Library.

Additional information on the exhibit can be found on the webpage of the Council of Europe human right commissioner:
http://www.coe.int/t/commissioner/activities/sakharov_EN.asp
About the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/public/staticDisplay.do?languag...

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