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Cablegate: Invitation to Prisoners of Conscience

VZCZCXYZ0027
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #4681 1931750
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O P 111740Z JUL 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHPG/AMEMBASSY PRAGUE IMMEDIATE 8522
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2460

UNCLAS STATE 074681

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL OPDC PHUM EZ
SUBJECT: INVITATION TO PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE
EVENT TO VACLAV HAVEL

REF: OTALLAH-DODMAN JULY 1 E-MAIL EXCHANGE

1.(U) This is an immediate action request. Post is requested
to transmit the letter of invitation in paragraph 3 below to
former President Vaclav Havel. No signed original will follow.

2. (U) BACKGROUND: The United States and 63 other co-sponsor
countries, including all 27 European Union members, circulated
a Declaration on Prisoners of Conscience as a UN document on
June 17. The text of the Declaration can be found at
http://www.un.org/ga. The point of the Declaration, which
does not mention specific states, was to address thematically
the issue of political prisoners in countries such as Cuba,
Burma, and Belarus. We are now organizing a follow-up public
affairs event at the UN on July 24 from 1:00-2:30 p.m., which
we hope will include a high-profile keynote speaker such as
Vaclav Havel and a panel of former prisoners or family members
of current prisoners from such countries as Cuba, Burma,
Belarus, Eritrea, Uzbekistan, and Syria.

3. (U) Begin text:

Dear President Havel:

The United States is working with other United Nations
delegations to organize a public event at the United Nations
headquarters in New York on July 24 (1:00 to 2:30 p.m.)
to build awareness of the plight of prisoners of conscience
in countries around the world. It would be deeply gratifying
to human rights advocates and defenders -- as well as to current
prisoners of conscience and their families -- if you would
participate as the keynote speaker either in person or via digital
video conference.

Your unwavering commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms
in your country and internationally has been an inspiration to
people around the world who have stood up for the right to freedom
of expression, belief, and assembly and have been imprisoned for
doing so. Your life story is a testament to the courage and
conscience with which you have led peaceful change.

Sixty-four countries recently joined together in making a Declaration
at the United Nations on Prisoners of Conscience. The Declaration
calls on all nations to work for the freedom of prisoners of
conscience throughout the world in accordance with the principles
set forth sixty years ago in the Universal Declaration on Human
Rights. It commits co-sponsor nations to work for the freedom
of all those who have been imprisoned for peacefully exercising
their fundamental rights to gather in public and to speak and
publish opinions, including opinions that are critical of
governments.

Thank you very much for your kind consideration of this
invitation.

Sincerely,

Condoleezza Rice

End text.
RICE

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