Straight Talk On Human Rights Groups

Natan Sharansky

“The hypocrisy and double standards of the international human rights organizations reflect the disappearance of clear moral criteria that alone can guard human rights.  A refusal to see the difference between free and totalitarian societies, between a state at peace and a state at war against terrorist regimes, undermines the universal values on which a claim to human rights is based.

“A commitment to human rights is above all a commitment to democracy and freedom and to the right to defend them. To equate all cultures, to refuse to distinguish between those that are democratic and those that are not, is the profoundest betrayal of human rights. Only a combination of a robust defense of democratic life and a rigorous denunciation of abuses can uphold and defend human rights.  It is acceptable to hold democracies up to a higher standard as long as you recognize that democracies, by definition, are already maintaining higher standards.

“In its refusal to distinguish democratic from nondemocratic regimes, the human rights movement undercuts its own commitment to democratic freedoms and itself becomes a tool of undemocratic powers.  The principle of human rights has not succeeded in its role as the guardian of Western democracy because, in the end, this guard and guarantor of Western values is blind:  It can no longer recognize the critical moral distinction between democracy and totalitarianism.”

—Natan Sharansky, “Defending Identity”

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