Human Rights, Justice, and Reform


" The destiny of human rights is in the hands of all our citizens in all our communities. "

Eleanor Roosevelt


" Often the oppressor goes along unaware of the evil involved in his oppression so long as the oppressed accepts it. "

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Human rights watch

" Today, the United States and Somalia are the only two countries in the world which haven't ratified [the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child]. And since Somalia is a country with no internationally recognized government, the United States essentiallly stands alone as the last holdout to legally guarantee children the same full range of human rights for survival, protection, development and participation in society agreed to by 191 other sovereign nations."

Catherine Langevin-Falcon


"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court justice from 1916-1939

United Nations

" It doesn't take a genius to pump up the GNP [of a developing country] by burning down rainforests, using slave labor and social repression to keep things in place. "

Hazel Henderson, economist

Human Rights Documents

" Among Latin American elites, a peasant asking for a higher wage or a priest helping organize a peasant cooperative is a communist. And someone going so far as to suggest land reform or a more equitable tax system is a communist fanatic. There is no word or act suggesting the desirability of elite generosity toward the poor, or the need for education, organization or material advance for the majority, that has not been branded communistic in Latin America in recent decades. ... Since communism is the enemy and peasants trying to improve themselves, priests with the slightest humanistic proclivity, and naturally anyone seriously challenging the status quo, are communists, they are also, by definition, enemies."

Edward Herman, economist and media analyst

World Federalism page

" In the United States today, the Declaration of Independence hangs on schoolroom walls, but foreign policy follows Machiavelli."

Howard Zinn, historian and author

Genocide watch

"President Rios Montt [is] a man of great personal integrity and commitment who wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans, and [is] getting a "bum rap" on human rights."

President Ronald Reagan praising Guatemala's military dictator in 1982; during the 17 months of Rios Montt's "Christian" campaign (1982-83), 400 villages were destroyed, 10,000-20,000 Indians were killed, and over 100,000 were forced to flee to Mexico

Justice watch

" The human race has improved everything except the human race."

Adlai Stevenson, 1900-1965, governor of Illinois and candidate for president


" Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world. "

Eleanor Roosevelt

Prison Watch

" One of every three black men in America today is in prison, in jail, on probation or on parole. "

In These Times magazine, November 1999


" In 1995, African-Americans made up 13 percent of the [U.S.] population and 15 percent of all drug users, yet they comprised 33 percent of people arrested, 53 percent of those convicted and 74 percent of those sentenced to prison for drug possession. "

Marc Mauer - book Race to Incarcerate, In These Times magazine, November 1999

Reforming the System

"The world knows nothing of its greatest men."

Henry Taylor


"One of the great attractions of patriotism -- it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what's more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous."

Aldous Huxley, English author, 1894-1963

Jubilee 2000 Campaign

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all."

Thomas Jefferson, drafter of the Declaration of Independence and president of US from 1801-1809

50 Years Is Enough Campaign

" A major part of the problem of [Third World] countries is that we have structured their economies so that their labor and their land are being used to produce cheap products for export rather than producing food for their own people. "

David Korten, economist and internationalist


"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons."

Feodor Dostoevski, Russian novelist, 1821-1881

Third World in United States

"The U.S. can destroy Iraq's highways, but not build its own; create the conditions for epidemic in Iraq, but not offer health care to millions of Americans. It can excoriate Iraqi treatment of the Kurdish minority, but not deal with domestic race relations; create homelessness abroad but not solve it here; keep a half million troops drug free as part of a war, but refuse to fund the treatment of millions of drug addicts at home....
We shall lose the war after we have won it."

Marilyn Young, historian, talking about US government values and priorities


"A small group of people acting in concert for justice and peace throw into motion invisible questions held by a lot of people. They challenge that notion that "we can't make a difference."

Bernadine Dorn, Irish democracy activist


" ... so long as the media are in corporate hands, the task of social change will be vastly more difficult, if not impossible ..."

Robert McChesney, journalist and author


" I have come to the conclusion that the actual state of violence, composed of the malnutrition, ignorance, sickness, and hunger of the vast majority of the Guatemalan population, is the direct result of a capitalist system that makes the defenseless Indian compete against the powerful and well-armed landowner ."

Father Thomas Melville, Guatemala 1968


"There is no reason to accept the doctrines crafted to sustain power and privilege, or to believe that we are constrained by mysterious and unknown social laws. These are simply decisions made within institutions that are subject to human will and that must face the test of legitimacy. And if they do not meet the test, they can be replaced by other institutions that are more free and more just, as has happened often in the past."

Noam Chomsky, American linguist and US media and foreign policy critic

Life & death in Third World

"We who have a voice should speak for the voiceless"

Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador


" Justice too long delayed is justice denied. "

author unknown

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