GENEVA, February 19, 2018 – Chinese dissident and former political prisoner Yang Jianli today addressed the United Nations opening of the 10th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy — see quotes below. For links to other speakers’ quotes, videos, photos, livestream, and more, click here.

On the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

  • “What is best of  humankind, what is most hopeful about ourselves, is beautifully articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sadly, we must ask again and again: how it is that it is so readily ignored by some of its signatory states.”

On human rights heroes at the Geneva Summit:

  • “Today and tomorrow we have heard and will continue to hear our heroes, their testimony to what becomes of mankind when these principles are ignored. It is this whole handful of ‘troublemakers’ who are keeping the boat of the entire humanity afloat.”
  • “We should be grateful to these heroes who remind us that dictators are bound to fail.”

On hope for the future:

  • “As illegitimate holders of power face demands for freedom, most recently evidenced by the protests in Iran and will surely be challenged again and again by people’s struggle in China, Congo, North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zimbabwe… This is the promise of our time.”