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“It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls.

It is a violation of human rights when women and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution. It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small.

It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war.

It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide among women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes.

It is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation.

It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.

If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women's rights - and women's rights are human rights once and for all...And among those rights are the right to speak freely - and the right to be heard."                                                     
Hillary Rodham Clinton
______________________________

"One of the basic causes for all the trouble in the world today is that people talk too much and think too little. They act too impulsively without thinking. I am not advocating in the slightest that we become mutes with our voices stilled because of fear of criticism of what we might say. That is moral cowardice. And moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character. The importance of individual thinking to the preservation of our democracy and our freedom cannot be overemphasized. The broader sense of the concept of your role in the defense of democracy is that of the citizen doing his most for the preservation of democracy and peace by independent thinking, making that thinking articulate by translating it into action at the ballot boxes, in the forums, and in everyday life, and being constructive and positive in that thinking and articulation. The most precious thing that democracy gives to us is freedom. You and I cannot escape the fact that the ultimate responsibility for freedom is personal. Our freedoms today are not so much in danger because people are consciously trying to take them away from us as they are in danger because we forget to use them. Freedom unexercised may be freedom forfeited. The preservation of freedom is in the hands of the people themselves — not of the government."

Senator Margaret Chase Smith





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