The Human Rights Commissioner of the German Government, Markus Löning, issued the following statement today (9 December 2013):
Human rights activists are my heroes. They stand up for the rights of others, even at their own risk. In authoritarian countries, they are frequently the target of the police, the security services and of public defamation.
As citizens of a free country, we extend our particular solidarity today to those who campaign for human rights and democracy in their countries. These activists count on, and deserve, our support. My thoughts go out today to all those who are taking to the streets for a European-oriented Ukraine.
Fifteen years ago today, on 9 December 1998, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It contains the obligation to protect human rights activists.