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Archive for June, 2011

I do not post the Secretary’s greetings for every national day, but this one is special.  This post is dedicated to Jessica, and Hillary and I are singing our hearts out.  ♪♫♪♪  Oh Canada!  ♪♫♪♪!!!!!   (Discourse has the cotton balls for your ears.)

Canada Day

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 30, 2011

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Canada as you celebrate the 144th Anniversary of your Confederation this July 1.

Canada and the United States share an enduring history of friendship and alliance in times of peace as well as war. We have come together to trade, exchange perspectives, and to solve problems throughout our hemisphere and the world. We share thousands of miles of geography and hundreds of years of history, and together we have created a culture of friendship and family between our peoples.

As Americans, we cherish our close relationship with Canada. In these days of challenge and opportunity, we will continue to work closely together to address our common challenges of the 21st century. From Cape Spear to the Queen Charlotte Islands to the farthest reaches of the North, wherever you gather to sing “O Canada,” I wish all Canadians a safe and happy Canada Day celebration.

I could not end this without a tiny treat. Mme. Secretary, in red for Canada, on the Rainbow Bridge at the conclusion of the celebration of the Boundary Waters Treaty in 2009.

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The image is not from this event If relevant images come in, or better yet, a video, I will replace this.

Remarks On Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Radisson Hotel Lietuva
Vilnius, Lithuania
June 30, 2011

 


Thank you very much, Minister Azubalis, and thank you for Lithuania’s leadership with the Community of Democracies and with the OSCE. It’s a real privilege for me to be with all of you this evening for this Civil Society Strategic Dialogue. I know that around this table and in this audience are men and women of extraordinary courage and commitment. And as the minister said, we thought it was important to expand our dialogues beyond governments, and in fact to engage in an ongoing discussion with civil society at the same level that we do with governments around the world.

The foreign minister joined me in Washington for this launch of a Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society in February. And I want to introduce the team of people who have helped to lead this effort with me: our Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Michael Posner; Tomicah Tillemann, our Special Advisor on Civil Society and Emerging Democracies; and others from our State Department in Washington, because what we hope is that this is an ongoing networking and discussion that can assist those of you who are on the front lines, doing the hard work of creating space for freedom, democracy, and opportunity.

In Krakow last July, when we met with the Community of Democracies, I spoke then about the critical importance of civil society and the many challenges facing civil society, but I don’t think – I’ll speak for myself; I certainly did not foresee all of the changes that would occur in just half a year. We saw in Tunisia the beginning of a great movement for freedom, and we saw one of the most efficient authoritarian regimes give way to citizens demanding their basic rights. In Egypt, we saw a peaceful movement based on simple ideas of dignity and democracy, and a call for transformative change. And yet, at the same time, we have seen governments unleash brutal waves of repression against civil society around the world. We’ve seen staggering violence directed against activists in Syria and other parts of the Middle East. From Belarus to Bahrain to Burma, we’ve seen crackdowns and arrests. And there have been numerous efforts to enact regulations and legislation to restrict and even eliminate your work.

I know that some of you are here at great personal risk, and I know you have left behind family, friends, and colleagues who continue that work at great personal risk. We come together today with our own causes and interests but as part of a community of shared values and a common commitment to human rights and freedoms. Because you are on the front lines, you understand better than any of us what is facing you, what you need from us, what tools could help you do the work that lies ahead. So for the next hour, I want to hear from you.

In Krakow last year, we made specific commitments to strengthen civil society and we’ve made some progress. Together, we have refocused the UN Human Rights Council on Defending Civil Society by seeing the passage of a historic resolution creating the first special rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association. We’ve convinced regional organizations like the Organization of American States to take up this cause. We’ve made strides in marshalling diplomatic pressure around the world to stand against civil society being put under threat. Canada has led a working group in the Community of Democracies, and five times we’ve come together when draft legislation anywhere threatened civil society, and five times the laws were not enacted.

Because technology both empowers and endangers your work, we are giving activists new tools to try to circumvent the many obstacles that governments are putting in your way. The United States has invested $50 million in supporting internet freedom and we’ve trained more than 5,000 activists worldwide. Right next door, there’s another one of our so-called tech camps, where we are training several dozen activists from around the world to be able to use technology and avoid being shut down by governments using technology against them. We are also increasing our funding to the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law so that when countries propose repressive laws, civil society has access to world class legal expertise. And finally, together with a consortium of NGOs, led by Freedom House and involving a dozen other countries, we created a fund called Lifeline. This fund will provide legal representation, cover medical bills arising from abuse, facilitate visits to activists in jail, and help replace equipment that is damaged or confiscated as a result of harassment.

So those are some of the promises we made and the promises we’ve kept, but we know there’s so much more to be done. You are changing your countries from within, and our priority is to do all we can to support you. So I look forward to hearing about what’s working and what’s not working, what we can do better, what we should stop doing, what we should do more of. And I thank you all for being with us as we take this time to take stock of where civil society is across the world.

And let me now turn it over to Assistant Secretary Posner.

 

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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at TechCamp Vilnius, Thursday, June 30, 2011, in Vilnius, Lithuania. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

 

Remarks on TechCamp Vilnius

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Alec Ross
Senior Advisor for Innovation
Radisson Hotel Lietuva
Vilnius, Lithuania
June 30, 2011

 


SECRETARY CLINTON: I want to thank Alec and Katie and everybody from the State Department team who are here as part of this tech camp. Alec Ross has been my right hand on all that we’re doing on internet freedom, and then the actual, practical day-to-day work that you’re talking about here. And I have to just thank you for being part of this tech camp. How many tech camps have we run now, Alec?

MR. ROSS: This is the third.

SECRETARY CLINTON: This is the third. And what we are finding as we do these around the world – because we had – didn’t we have a tech camp in Indonesia?

MR. ROSS: We did.

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s almost miraculous, the way people come together to meet each other, to truly network in person as well as electronically. And then not so long after, there were these terrible mudslides and awful catastrophes in Indonesia, and the people who’d been at the tech camp put together a network to be able to bring relief supplies and help families get connected up with one another. So whether it’s Indonesia or it’s Haiti or it’s Lithuania, we believe that creating these opportunities to empower all of you with whatever information and ideas we can put on the table is a very important part of how we support civil society.

I think any society needs three strong legs, if you think about a society as a stool. You need open, responsive, accountable, effective government. You need open, free, dynamic markets. And you need creative, innovative, persistent civil society. And one of those missing means you’re not going to have what you need. If you have a government that doesn’t work, or you have a market that doesn’t empower people, or you have a civil society that is oppressed, you won’t get the maximum benefit that every society should be able to provide to individuals so that each individual can live up to his or her own God-given potential.

So I don’t want to interrupt the work you’re doing because that’s what you’re here for. And it’s not only to look at charts like that – (laughter) – but to look at each other, and to meet each other, and to bring solidarity with each other in order to maximize your impact and those with whom you work as we keep moving toward a world where we have more freedom, more democracy, more opportunity and equality.

So with that, I’m going to ask Alec to come back here. He’s the guy who’s actually leading our efforts. And one of the things that we’re doing is not only these tech camps but also coming up with new apps, new technology, new ways of empowering you. And we know very well that for every advance in technology that you can make as individuals, there are forces that will also try to undermine that and will try to use the very same tools as a means of subverting and repressing. So we have to add to our numbers and we have to be willing to keep coming up with new ways of getting over, under, around, and through the walls and other techniques that are used to prevent people from freely communicating.

Those of you who know something about our country and our Constitution know that we enshrined in our First Amendment freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly. I don’t think George Washington or Thomas Jefferson, as smart as they were, could have imagined the internet, but the basic value and principle remains the same. Just as meeting in a physical place should be available, so should meeting on the internet be made available, and that’s why I made internet freedom one of the highest priorities of my time as Secretary of State.

So thank you all for being part of what is truly a movement, a global movement. And I’ll turn it back to Alec and to his team from the State Department, and I’ll look forward to hearing some stories about what came out of this tech camp the way I heard about it from the other tech camps that we’ve had. Thank you all very much.

 

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At this milestone event we see Mme. Secretary with the President of Lithuania, the host country, Dalia Grybauskaite, Tarja Halonen,  President of Finland, and Atifete Jahjaga, President of Kosovo.  You cannot blame me if I feel a slight pang for not being able to call HRC “Mme. President” among these women leaders.  It is obvious that they consider her a respected colleague.

 

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Remarks at Women Enhancing Democracy Event

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Presidential Palace
Vilnius, Lithuania
June 30, 2011

(In progress) and thank you for your patience. I appreciate greatly being here for this important conference as part of the Community of Democracies beginning its second decade. And I want to acknowledge those who are on the podium with me. Thank you, Wendy, for that introduction; and Margot Wallstrom, thank you for the work you’re doing; and my friend, the president from Finland who has been a great leader in so many of these issues for so long; and my friend and our host and our ally in this important conference, Dalia, thank you so much for everything that you have done.

It is such a pleasure for the United States to be co-chairing the Community of Democracies Working Group on Gender Equality and the Promotion of the Rights of Women with a trailblazer when it comes to women in politics. And I am delighted to see in the audience so many distinguished leaders from across the world. In addition to the presidents of Finland and Lithuania, we have also Mongolia, Kosovo; I know Cathy Ashton will also be part of this important conference. And I’m also told by our global ambassador for women’s issues, Melanne Verveer, that the conversation has already been very productive.

I think this is an important time for us all to pause and take stock of where we are as democracies and whether we are fulfilling the promise and potential that we so believed in over the last decades. When the Soviet Union collapsed here in Europe, we knew that there was a lot of work to be done to build democratic institutions, to ensure the rule of law, accountability, transparency, protection of minorities, a free press, an independent judiciary, and so much else. But we also knew that if democracy did not deliver in tangible ways, in improving the lives of people, there would be great disappointment. And it was essential that women, half the population, needed to be given the opportunity to fully experience the benefits of freedom.

I’m not sure we could have foreseen even 10 or 11 years ago how much progress has been made. Just look at Lithuania today. Not only has it conducted a very successful chairmanship of the Community of Democracies, but it is setting a high standard for the rest of us – a female president, a female speaker of parliament, a female finance minister, and a female defense minister. Why, pretty soon, they’re going to start comparing Lithuania to Finland. (Laughter.) (Applause.) And what Central and Eastern Europe have proven is that democracy without the full rights and responsibilities guaranteed and the full participation welcomed of women is a contradiction. And so we can look at this region and see an enormous amount of progress. But let’s be very honest with ourselves – there is still a long way to travel.

According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, 20 percent of seats in parliaments worldwide are now held by women. I would add that’s a higher percentage than in my own country. And with one-half the population, there is simply no reason women should only be represented at one-fifth of the seats at the table. In too many places, still today, and in too many discussions affecting the futures of entire societies, women’s voices, their vital voices are underrepresented or absent altogether.

But as we look at new democracies taking hold, from Latin America to Africa and the Middle East and Asia, I think there are so many lessons that can be learned and applied from what happened here in Europe.

Think about the Polish women who ran a shipyard’s newspaper that helped bring about a revolution that truly did change the world. Think about a woman like Nasta Palazhanka of Belarus, who joined a youth protest movement at age 14 and continues to devote her life to bringing freedom and human rights to her country. Or think about a woman like Zane Olina, who returned home from a Fulbright Scholarship in America and created a corps of volunteer teachers to serve in poor Latvian communities, and she calls her program Mission Possible. And of course, we see it in the President of Lithuania, who as an economist and now as president, has helped to put and keep Lithuania on the path to prosperity.

So if we are looking for examples of individual leadership, of results, we have many we can share from Europe. Today, it is North Africa and the Middle East experiencing its own season of change, and we especially have to work together to ensure that all people – women, as well as men – are part of that change.

Across the region, we have seen on our own television screens how women have stood on the frontlines of the struggle for freedom and human rights. They have more than earned their place as equals in the democratic societies they have struggled to create, but we know that transitions to democracy are difficult. And we know that they come from the soil of preexisting cultures, and so we have to be sure that democratic change doesn’t leave women behind. We need to, for example, ensure that the new democratic Tunisia embraces and reaffirms its commitment to women’s equality.

The United States was disappointed to see only two Tunisian women appointed to the Transitional Government, but there is also some good news. In April, the commission responsible for drafting Tunisia’s new electoral code ruled that there must be full gender parity on election candidate lists and not just at the bottom of the lists, but from the top down. And for our part, we are supporting on-the-ground efforts to increase women’s participation in the political process.

In Egypt, we have seen steps both forwards and backwards. Women played an absolutely critical role in carrying out Egypt’s revolution, and yet Egypt’s constitutional committee does not have a single female member. When women marched to celebrate International Women’s Day, they were harassed and abused. As one woman put it, “The men were keen for me to be here when we were demanding that Mubarak should go. But now that he has gone, they want me to go home.” So the United States supports efforts like the Charter of Egyptian Women. Nearly 500,000 women and men and 500 NGOs signed on to a set of demands for the political, social, and economic rights of women in Egypt. And we will be funding a wide variety of programs to help Egyptian women as they exercise their roles as community leaders, business owners, and citizens.

And today, we are pleased to welcome women from across the Arab world, including Hoda Badran of the Alliance for Arab Women. It’s a sign of how important the relationships are between old, young, and new democracies that they have taken the time, as their countries undergo dramatic change, to be here with us today.

We also need an active effort to ensure that women are safe from violence in the political process, on the streets, in their homes. And we were very troubled by reports of sexual violence used by governments to intimidate and punish protesters seeking democratic reforms in some Middle Eastern and North African countries. We urge all governments to conduct immediate, transparent investigations to hold those responsible accountable.

Just this past week, the United States and the United Nations came together, as we often have, to once again stand up against violence that affects women and girls. We are particularly concerned about the Democratic Republic of Congo. We have committed more than $30 million to combat sexual and gender-based violence there. And we salute the Lithuanian parliament for making it clear that there is absolutely no safe space, in public or in private, for violence against women. This is not a private a concern. It is a matter of public interest and human rights.

I think we also have to remember, as we meet in this beautiful hall, talking about women and democracy, how many tens of millions, hundreds of millions, of women and girls in the world today don’t yet even have the basic necessities of life – deprived of education, deprived of health care, deprived of an opportunity to live up to their own God-given potential. And we will campaign for their rights, and we will work for the changes that are necessary.

But I also want to remind us to keep our eye on what happens every day in their lives, and look for ways we can make a difference. For example, the World Health Organization considers smoke from dirty cooking stoves to be one of the five most serious health risks affecting people in poor and developing countries. And who’s mostly hunched over those stoves, breathing that dirty air, harming their health, shortening their lives? Who mostly is wandering for hours looking for fuel, either trees and twigs or dung? Who is it that really bears the brunt of the work that is done day to day in most places in the world? Well, it is women and girls. And in an effort to try to provide clean cookstoves in 100 million homes by 2020, the United States, along with many other countries, led by the United Nations Foundation, is part of the Clean Cookstoves Global Alliance.

Because we think changing the conditions of women and girls must go hand-in-hand; their economic, political, and social empowerment must be addressed simultaneously.

This January, as a commitment to the Community of Democracies, the United States brought together more than 120 women from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus who own or wish to start small to medium-sized businesses to kick off the Invest for the Future Initiative. We want to help women across the world to train, network, and connect so that they too can start businesses to support themselves and their families, and eventually, employ their neighbors. And we will be expanding this program into Central Asia, the Balkans, Moldova, Belarus, and Ukraine.

We are especially appreciative of the work that has been done by so many of the European leaders represented here. We thank all of you for that support. I particularly want to thank the Scandinavian countries for the work you do to integrate refugees into your societies by giving women access to work and education, and by protecting women from the scourge of human trafficking. I want to acknowledge the programs that The Netherlands are running to train civil society leaders and business women in Afghanistan. And I want to thank Lithuania again for your support for women entrepreneurs in Georgia, Afghanistan, Belarus, and Ukraine.

We want to do more to figure out what it is women themselves want, because we don’t want to be in a position of imposing or trying to sell ideas that may or may not be responsive to the needs that women themselves have. Through the Gender Equality Working Group, we partnered with The Netherlands to put together dialogues with female civil society leaders. The first meeting was in Tunisia in May; it brought together women from Tunisia, Morocco, Yemen, Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon.

So our work is to help empower and enable, to convene and then to support. Our struggle is not just about the choices people make in the voting booth, it’s about all the choices that should be available to women today – to study, to take out a loan, to inherit money, to win custody of children, to start a business, to drive.

Sometimes dignity means nothing more profound than to walk safely to fetch water or visit a friend without fear that you’ll be beaten, harassed, or kidnapped. But for too many women in too many places, even these most basic rights remain a distant dream. Whether you are a woman in downtown Cairo or a mother in a small Indian village or a girl growing up right here in Vilnius or in New York City, we have to send a clear, unmistakable message that young women, just like young men, have the right to their dreams and their dignity in the 21st century.

When you look back at the last 300 years of history, you can see a pattern. You can see that the 19th century, the great human rights struggle was against organized slavery; the 20th century, the great struggle was against totalitarianism; the great struggle of the 21st century is to ensure that women are fully given the rights they have as human beings – in their families, in their societies, and in the world.

So let us work together, day by day, to make sure that when we meet again 10 years from now, we will be able to look back on progress, not only continuing progress in my country, which someday, perhaps, will match Finland and Lithuania with having a woman president – (laughter) – but in every country everywhere – (applause). And particularly, let those of us who enjoy the benefits of freedom, for whom legal restrictions and barriers have been broken down, and what remains are more internal, more psychological – let us be sure that we keep opening doors for those elsewhere. We cannot take any solace in our own freedoms when women elsewhere are denied those same rights.

So this is a great opportunity for us to come together and acknowledge that women’s progress is essential for global progress, and the United States stands with all of you as we make that progress together. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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Video Remarks to “Women Leaders as Agents of Change” Colloquium


Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 30, 2011

Hello and welcome to this colloquium dedicated to empowering women as agents of change. I want to thank the Prime Minister for hosting this important forum. As Trinidad and Tobago’s first female prime minister, she is a role model for women not only in her own country, but throughout the region.In the United States this month we are celebrating the unique contributions by Americans of Caribbean descent. Caribbean-American women have added in ways large and small to the story of America. We have seen them act as agents of change in our own country.

Throughout the Caribbean, we must ensure women are able to realize their potential. They must be allowed to contribute in every capacity – as political leaders, entrepreneurs, social activists, and more. When women prosper, it doesn’t just benefit them, it lifts up their families, their communities and their countries.

As you come together to share experiences and challenges and chart a course for achieving greater gender equality in the region, know that the United States stands with you. Because no society can prosper if half its citizens are left behind.

I can’t wait to hear about your ideas and suggestions to empower more women in the Caribbean community.

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Remarks With Budapest Embassy Staff and Families

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Budapest, Hungary
June 30, 2011

 


MODERATOR: How about this? Here’s a woman who needs absolutely no introduction. (Laughter.) Everyone please welcome Secretary of State, our boss, Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am delighted to see all of you here. And I am also pleased to see the Ambassador and her family. We’ve been friends for a long time. And I am uniquely qualified to tell you something you probably already know because you’re in very good hands.

But it’s a treat to be here. I want to thank DCM Tim Betts, who is famously calm in a crisis, and Paul O’Friel, who has been instrumental in putting this trip together, and to each and every one of you, Americans and Hungarians alike. Thank you for working so hard on behalf of this very important relationship.

I want to just name a few specifics because this last year you helped (inaudible) a bilateral tax treaty that we hope will encourage U.S. business investment. You just completed negotiations for an air marshal agreement that will enhance security for passengers traveling between our two countries. We’re working hard with the Hungarian Government to expand our operation at Embassy Budapest and bring everyone under one roof, which I know you’re anticipating. And I’m so grateful because these are just some examples of what you do every single day.

Today, the prime minister and I had, as we say in diplo-speak, a very open, frank conversation, productive and comprehensive, and we engaged in all the sensitive issues that you work on every day – Roma inclusion, the importance of an independent media, the rule of law, on an independent judiciary, constitutional reform. We think that’s all very important, and I thank you for your efforts.

In the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Report, which is the QDDR, which we issued last year, we highlighted the work done in Debrecen as an example of an innovative way to boost our engagement not just with a government but with the people of the country. By co-hosting a high school trivia contest about the United States, an anti-tolerance – or pro-tolerance campaign, English language instruction, American holiday celebrations, you really helped to convey American culture and values. And we need more creative ideas like that.

I also want to thank you for the work that you’ve done on this trip, and right before the 4th of July and right in the middle of congressional delegations, so I know you’ve had a really busy time. This is going to be a golden week for all of you. (Laughter.) And I know, too, that there’s one person in particular that I have been asked to thank because this person went above and beyond, and that’s Riley Lynch, who wore a lot of different hats – acting management counselor, human resources officer, supervisory general services officer, and logistics control for two CODELs as well as for me. He will be the happiest man in Hungary – (laughter) – when we all get out of your hair and our various planes take off.

In addition to thanking all of our American colleagues, I especially want to thank your local staff because, very honestly, secretaries come and go and ambassadors come and go and even political counselors and econ officers come and go, but the local staff stay and provide continuity and sort of a historical memory and insight. And one person who has done this longer than anyone else is the political section’s Tamas Zemplin. And where is Tamas? (Applause.) Tamas will end his tenure after 40 years with the Embassy. And you’ve seen a lot in the last four decades, my friend. (Laughter.) We thank you for being part of this American-Hungarian team that has seen the move from communism, the incredible freedom that came to your country, and so much else.

So let me thank you all. On behalf of myself and on the entire team in Washington, I really appreciate you, whether you’re State, USAID, Justice, Commerce, DOD, or wherever else you’re from in the United States Government, because you’ve done us all proud. And this relationship is one that we’re deeply invested in and will continue to broaden and deepen and strengthen in every way possible. So thank you all very much.

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US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gives a speech during the inauguration ceremony for the Tom Lantos Institute in the Upper Chamber Hall of the parliament building in Budapest, on June 30, 2011. Late US congressman Tom Lantos (in Picture frame) was a Hungarian-born human rights activist and Holocaust survivor. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK (Photo credit should read ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images)

Participates in the Inauguration of the Lantos Institute

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Parliament Building
Budapest, Hungary
June 30, 2011

(Applause.) Thank you all. Thank you all so much. It is indeed a personal pleasure and honor to be in this historic hall for this extraordinary occasion. And I am delighted to join such a distinguished group of speakers and visitors and friends in support of the great effort to establish the Tom Lantos Institute, and with the hope that it will fulfill its promise.

I want to thank Katrina, my friend, for that introduction and for her leadership on behalf of human rights and internet freedom through the Lantos Foundation, which you and your mother and sister have established. And I want to thank all of the speakers that we have heard from. And thank you, Prime Minister. I am looking forward to our meeting later. We will be discussing many of the issues that have been alluded to, and that were so crucial to Tom’s life and work.

And I want to thank the foreign minister for that very important address talking about the transatlantic alliance, democracy, and freedom, values that we hold so dear, and especially to acknowledge the new director of the institute, Rita Izsak, and my predecessor, Dr. Rice, who has worked so hard for democracy and freedom around the world, and joined with then-Chairman Lantos at the State Department five years ago to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution.

Dr. Rice is here today to attend various events, along with members of the Reagan Presidential Foundation, upon the centennial anniversary of President Reagan’s birth. I know that Hungarians will never forget President Reagan’s commitment to a free and democratic Europe.

Well, that was a dream of Tom’s, as well. And he has not only lived it, but he has been the embodiment for many of us of what it would mean. Those of us who knew, loved, and admired Tom saw in him the physical moral embodiment of the values that we share, and the commitment to freedom that means so much to the American and Hungarian people. Tom believed with all his heart that a free, democratic Europe depended on a strong transatlantic alliance, and that through institutions like the European Union and NATO, Europe could create a foundation for prosperity, human rights, and democratic, open and pluralistic societies.

We agree. We know we are bound by shared values, and by that common commitment to protect and advance those values. Tom also believed in working across party lines, something that Katrina alluded to. So I am delighted to thank the Government of Hungary, and indeed, the prior government and all of the political representation here in support of this institute.

And I also want to acknowledge the members of the United States House of Representatives, both Democratic and Republican, represented so ably by Congresswoman Bass, who are with us. And yesterday, by unanimous consent, the United States Senate passed a resolution commemorating today’s opening of the Lantos Institute, and reflecting once again the admiration that his colleagues had for Tom. (Applause.)

But I believe probably what would have given Tom the greatest pride, and made his heart swell with love, was to see all of the Lantoses, Tillemann-Dicks, Swetts, and related family members here today. Tom and Annette created this big, extended, warm, wonderful family. And this is one family that didn’t need a village. It created its own village, and it has been influencing the rest of us ever since. And a special acknowledgement to that eldest grandson, who you just saw on the video, Tomicah, who is not only a pivotal player in the foundation and the institute, but also my senior advisor for civil society and emerging democracies in the State Department, so the work goes on that Tom Lantos started. (Applause.)

And lastly, and most particularly and personally, I want to thank Annette. This day belongs to her more than anybody else. Not only were she and Tom beloved companions for more than 70 years – and as we saw, adorable children – and apart from the terrible war that separated them and cost their families so dearly, they rarely spent a moment apart. Annette worked with Tom every day in his congressional office. She travelled with him around the world. They were soul mates.

But their story has not ended with Tom’s passing. It has evolved. Because through this institute and the foundation, Annette will share with Tom, as she always did, the commitment to a future that is better than even the present that we enjoy today, and far better than the past which they shared. Annette has given us this great opportunity to continue to be champions of human rights, democracy, tolerance, and reconciliation.

When Tom Lantos founded the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in 1983, that was new. And he did it because he saw there was a need. It became an invaluable bipartisan enterprise that, for close to three decades now, has brought Democrats and Republicans together. He made human rights seem right to people who had never thought about them much before, or who may have even had a little bit of antagonism to them. But Tom fought for refuseniks in the Soviet Union; for Tibetans to practice their religion; for Christians in Saudi Arabia and Sudan; for Muslims in China; for ethnic minorities in the Balkans; and for people living with HIV/AIDS around the world. No person was written off by Tom Lantos. He thought he had an obligation to reach out and embrace them all.

Now, when Tom grew up here in this country that he loved so much, the only debate that mattered was the one between freedom and fascism, and then between freedom and communism. Tom believed that in our country there were partisan political differences, of course, between Republicans and Democrats or between a President Reagan and a President Clinton, just to pick one. (Laughter.) But Tom always believed that regardless of our political party, we were fundamentally on the same side. We were for freedom. We were for democracy. And that through debate, sometimes contested, we would keep working toward what our founders set as the goal, a more perfect union.

Now, when Tom saw what happened after the communists seized control of Hungary, he realized that through what was called “salami tactics,” they were slicing away, bit by bit, fundamental freedoms. And that, to him, meant he could not go home. But he did not become embittered. He did not look backwards. He kept thinking about what contribution his life could make to the ongoing struggle for freedom and human dignity. He worked with Secretary Madeleine Albright and Senator Robert Dole to bring Hungary and other Central and Eastern European countries into NATO. He spoke out repeatedly for the protection of minorities, and he paid particular attention to the plight of the Roma, Europe’s largest disenfranchised minority. And I am very pleased that, during the presidency of the European Union, the Hungarian Government has pushed for reforms that would guarantee the Roma people the same rights and opportunities their fellow citizens enjoy. (Applause.)

Tom’s past served him in another way, as a call to conscience, a permanent vigilance against anti-Semitism, discrimination, oppression, and genocide. In the bookmark that appears at each of our seats, there is one of his most memorable quotes: “We must remember that the veneer of civilization is paper thin. We are its guardians, and we can never rest.” Tom not only tried to live by those words, he tried to hold other people’s feet to the fire, when he didn’t think they were. A Washington Post article about his life summed up by saying, “His efforts to inspire – or, if necessary, shame – individuals, companies and governments into honorable behavior were exhaustive and creative.” And that’s why, at age 78, he was arrested for demonstrating against the genocide in Darfur in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington.

Now, one of the aspects of Tom that has not yet been mentioned is that he was a politician. And, as a recovering former politician myself, I think we should pay tribute to that. Because it is one thing to stand on the outside, out of the arena, advocating for the changes that one wants to see in society, and it is entirely different to roll up your sleeves, subject yourself to the votes and the will of your people, and engage in the hard, often frustrating work of political change.

Tom was a great campaigner. I campaigned for him, he campaigned for me. He would come to my office in the Senate and provide both solicited and unsolicited advice. (Laughter.) And it wasn’t just about human rights. It was often about politics, about building coalitions, about winning elections.

So this was, indeed, a renaissance man. He had a full life that we honor and celebrate. But it would be a disservice to him if we did not look forward to what I am sure he expects from us. Democracy is struggling to be born around the world today. The nations of Central and Eastern Europe have so much to share from their own struggles and triumphs. So, the timing of this institute could not be more opportune. On Europe’s doorstep – across the Middle East and Northern Africa – citizens are demanding what so many others have before. From the United States in the 18th century, to Chile and Tunisia, South Korea, East Timor, post-Soviet countries over the past 30 years.

What are they demanding? That their voices be heard. That they have the opportunity to fulfill their own God-given potentials with enough freedom to make responsible choices for themselves, their families, and communities, that government become more effective, more responsive, more transparent, more open.

And what they are asking demands an answer from all of us. Later today, I will travel to Vilnius to join with the Community of Democracies, where we will work with emerging democracies to share the experiences with those fighting for democracy now, to show solidarity with those in the streets, in Belarus, in Libya, around the world. It is important for governments and civil society alike to shine a bright light on why some young democracies flourish while others fail. How can we help navigate the very difficult road they have begun?

At a time when technology transmits news and information instantly, we have all become the global equivalent of neighbors. And what happens in Tunis and Cairo reverberates in Budapest, Jakarta, and Washington. For all democracies around the world, old and new, including my own country and yours, it is vital that we continue building and strengthening our own democratic institutions. It is vital that we understand that the glue which holds together democracies is trust – trust between people as we widen the circle of democratic inclusion, and trust between the people and their governments. It is vital that we not engage in destructive political tactics or the kind of rhetoric that erodes that trust in democracy and one another. We need strong checks and balances across party lines and from one government to the next.

As we struggle to help new democracies emerge, we can’t let any democracy anywhere backslide. The stakes are too high. Other company – other countries are trumpeting national economic growth over freedom and human rights, as though the two are neither compatible nor mutually reinforcing. So that is why this institute is more needed than ever.

Let us work across all sectors of society and all the lines that we too easily believe divide us, to strengthen and support democracy, civil society, and the rule of law, and to protect the rights of minorities, to make sure that when justice is served, it is administered with due process and judicial integrity, not political vengeance or partisan meddling. Those were the principles for which Tom fought so hard.

In one of his last conversations with a close Hungarian friend, Tom expressed his faith in Hungarians and their ability to persevere through any challenge. He believed that Hungarians would always remember the spirit of the 1956 uprising. But watchfulness was crucial for Tom in our country and in his native Hungary. When he was invited to deliver the keynote address before the United Nations at its Holocaust Remembrance Day, he accepted, planning to repeat again his well-known quote about the veneer of civilization, but his health prevented him from going. And in the end, he asked Katrina to deliver the speech for him. So once again, from his daughter, he heard, the world heard the message of vigilance.

And you won’t be surprised that they also heard one of Tom’s famous rabbi stories. Anybody who knew Tom Lantos could not talk to him for more than 20 minutes without hearing a rabbi story, so let me leave you with one of his favorites. It goes like this: A rabbi asks his followers, “How can one know the moment when the night has ended and the dawn has come?” And his students gave various answers. One asked, “Is it when a man walking through the woods can tell whether an approaching animal is a wolf or a dog?” The rabbi shook his head no. Another student asked, “Could it be when a man walking through the village can distinguish the roof of his house from that of his neighbors?” And once again, the rabbi shook his head no. And then the rabbi spoke, “The moment when you know that the night has turned to day is when you see the face of a stranger and recognize him as your brother.” A story with a big message, as all of Tom’s stories had; a message not only for leaders but also for citizens.

So let us celebrate this inauguration of the Tom Lantos Institute, but more than that, let us pledge ourselves to continue his work in the spirit of Hungarian-American cooperation on behalf of the values that he held so dear and work to hasten that hour when night turns to day for everyone.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

Hillary Clinton is intrepid. So brave!

Hillary Clinton calls for democracy in front of Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban

I had not known she had Condi with her until I read this! Somehow, this just fills my part-Hungarian heart!

 

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