Dr Aaron RhodesThe European Union is often criticized by people like me for a wide range of alleged policy and administrative failures regarding human rights.  Today, however, I would like to use this opportunity to attest to the importance of Europe’s role in promoting and protecting human rights, which I can do on the basis of my own experience and reflection.

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Dr Yong Cheon SongDistinguished guests, Ambassadors for Peace, Ladies & Gentlemen! As Chair of Universal Peace Federation in Europe, it is truly an honour and a privilege to be able to extend a warm welcome to you all to the European Economic and Social Committee here in Brussels and to our European Leadership Conference on the theme “What more can Europe do to improve Human Rights?”

I am deeply grateful to you all for taking time out of your busy schedules to be with us here this morning and to the E.E.S.C. for acting as co-hosts of this conference and for welcoming us here to their magnificent building!

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Rabbi AbittanMankind is not reduced to citizenship. A superior power prevails over men’s power. Human rights are untouchable and more important to singular identities In front of a unique God that mankind can be one, and greater than each man in his family. Mankind remains forever under God’s supervision, even if some people forget it. This idea, which is above man, is a permanent refuge for people in sorrow. The unique God looks upon each man in his singularity. The universal mankind cannot be changed into an oppressive machine for people, nor be monopolized by a totalitarian power.

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Carolyn HandschinMrs. Carolyn Handschin, who started by citing the courage of the Mirabal sisters, four Dominican political dissidents who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. On November 25, 1960, three of the sisters were assassinated. In 1999, the sisters received recognition by the United Nations General Assembly, who designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in their honour.

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Jura NanukMr. Jura Nanuk, founder and president of the Central-European Religious Freedom Institute (CERFI) based in Budapest, Hungary, spoke on the topic of “Religious Freedom in Hungary and the New Law on Minority Faiths”. Mr. Nanuk said he was inspired to start his institute by an anonymous quote, “Sometimes I want to ask Godwhy He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world, but I’m afraid He may ask me the same question.”

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