Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

21 December 2011

Vaclav Havel’s human rights legacy an inspiration

Vaclav Havel’s human rights legacy an inspiration
Havel was a key leader the ‘Velvet Revolution’ of November and December 1989

Havel was a key leader the ‘Velvet Revolution’ of November and December 1989

© Lubomir Koteka/AFP/Getty


See video
Those that say that individuals are not capable of changing anything are only looking for excuses.
Source: 
Vaclav Havel

Amnesty International paid tribute today to the inspiring legacy of Vaclav Havel, human rights defender, last President of Czechoslovakia, and the first Czech President, ahead of his funeral on Friday.

Havel passed away on 18 December at the age of 75.  Originally a playwright, he led the former Czechoslovakia’s dissident human rights movement Charter 77, was repeatedly jailed by the Communist government, and adopted by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience.
 
He was a key leader in the country’s anti-government ‘Velvet Revolution’ of November and December 1989, and became Czechoslovakia’s democratically elected president soon after.

“Havel leaves behind an outstanding moral and intellectual legacy. He has been one of the most emblematic figures of the 20th century and his work as advocate for human rights, democracy and freedom is an inspiration for all of us”,  said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

“The world will miss him terribly and he cannot and will not be forgotten.”

Havel was a member of the first Amnesty International group set up in Prague, and was a strong supporter of the organisation.  On Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary this year, he said:

“It's up to all of us to try - and those that say that individuals are not capable of changing anything are only looking for excuses.”

Amnesty International named Vaclav Havel its inaugural Ambassador of Conscience in 2003. He continued to play an important role in speaking up for human rights around the world up until his death.

Read More

'How did Vaclav Havel inspire me?' (Join the Facebook page and leave a message of condolence)

Issue

Activists 
Prisoners Of Conscience 

Country

Czech Republic 
Slovak Republic 

Region

Europe And Central Asia 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

21 August 2014

Children accused of being members of armed groups in the conflict in Mali are languishing in adult jails while human rights abuses continue.

Read more »
15 August 2014

The number of killings perpetrated by the police is on the rise again in the Dominican Republic whilst legislation intended to fix the problem stalls and stagnates in Congress... Read more »

29 August 2014

The execution of two men in Japan on Friday flies in the face of growing calls in the country to halt the use of capital punishment, said Amnesty International.

Read more »
29 August 2014

Russia’s official branding of a civil society organization as a “foreign agent”, an expression akin to “spying”, for speaking out on Ukraine is a sign of the country’s... Read more »

31 August 2014

Egypt is tightening its chokehold on civil society as the country’s independent NGOs face the risk of being shut down if they fail to comply with a compulsory requirement to... Read more »