by Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger

Dear Readers,

The protection of human rights is the cornerstone of a self-determined life in a pluralistic society that respects and defends the dignity of every human being. Protecting human rights contributes to peace and justice. Based on this understanding, we are experiencing a significant increase in human rights violations worldwide, particularly by autocratic and dictatorial regimes, by terrorist organizations and terrorist groups and by war criminals in armed conflicts. People who defend human rights are under constant pressure and are often monitored and persecuted. Journalists and pro-democracy activists are exposed to the worst dangers, including exile.

Human rights crimes must be fought against at all levels - nationally, in Europe and worldwide.

The Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee's decision to award the Nobel Prize to Nargis Mohammadi for her self-sacrificing fight against the draconian Iranian regime comes at exactly the right time. She is courageously and fearlessly standing up to a regime that not only violates its international obligations, but goes against all human morality by deliberately disregarding and massively violating the fundamental rights of women and religious minorities.

This decision is encouraging, but there must be further steps. Effective sanctions, criminal prosecution by the International Criminal Court and public condemnation of human rights violations by the United Nations, the European Union and, of course, Germany are all part of this. The commitment to our life model of liberal democracy as a place for freedom, peace and justice must be made loudly and forcefully against dictatorships and autocracies.

The international community needs ambassadors for the future. No one can express this better than Maria Ressa, journalist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She has made a meaningful contribution to the Human Rights Defenders publication on journalists and the Foundation's international conference. "Hope comes from action; and if you don't act, you will lose".

Let us stand up against injustice and keep our hopes alive.

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) contributes to improving the situation with more than 60 offices around the world, not only in the fight against impunity, but also in the promotion of women's rights and diversity, among other things. The Foundation supports human rights education for human rights defenders, activists and their partners around the world. This report shows just a sample of the FNF's liberal human rights work in 2023.

I hope you enjoy reading this report.

Yours sincerely,

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger
Deputy Chair of the Board of Directors of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and former German Minister of Justice

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