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THE NEW TRIBALISM: Defending Human Rights in an Age of Ethnic Conflict : HUMAN RIGHTS HEROES : SOME STARS

June 08, 1993

JIMMY CARTER, United States.

The former president has devoted his post-White House years to safeguarding human rights and fighting poverty and disease around the world. The Carter Center in Atlanta houses a global public-policy think tank and two foundations devoted to international issues. Carter turned his attention closer to home in 1991, creating the Atlanta Project to fight poverty in the United States.

"We might know our maids, but we don't go into our maids' homes. . .We want to break those barriers down."

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VACLAV HAVEL, Czech Republic.

Now his nation's president, Havel is also a prize-winning playwright and a founder of Charter 77, the Czechoslovak human rights movement. He was imprisoned several times for "subversive" activities. His plays championing individual liberty were banned for 20 years. He led the revolution against the Communists in 1989 and became Czechoslovakia's first democratically elected president. He resigned in 1992 as Czechoslovakia began its breakup into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and later was elected Czech president.

"(The) concept of human rights paved the way for the enormous changes in Eastern Europe that we have recently witnessed."

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FANG LIZHI, China.

Fang, an astrophysicist, has spoken out about the importance of freedom since his days as a student. By 1987, his speeches demanding democratic reforms had inspired a new generation of students. After Beijing's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tian An Men Square in 1989, Fang and his wife, Li Shuxian, took refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. After a year of negotiations with the George Bush Administration, China allowed them to leave for the United States.

"As long as there exists anywhere in our small global village a government that can be proud of the Tian An Men massacre, it will remain difficult to imagine the possibility of world understanding."

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