Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Norway's solidarity with Cuba's persecuted human rights defenders

Received a response to the December 15th post on Norwegian solidarity with Chinese dissidents that claimed that Norway "refused support to [Cuba's] persecuted human rights defenders." Jan Tore Sanner, currently the Minister of Local Government in the Conservative government of Norway is a long time supporter of Cuban freedom. Jan Tore visited the offices of the Cuban Democratic Directorate in 2008 and at the time explained the purpose of his visit "“I’m here to show my solidarity with the people of Cuba, and those who are imprisoned for their beliefs. I am also here to have a dialogue with the people who care about Cuba, and the people of Cuba." On January 22, 2010 in Oslo, Norway over 25 members of the Norwegian Parliament from five major political parties organized a committee to support Cuban prisoner of conscience Normando Hernández González and demand his freedom. On May 24, 2010 when the daughter of a Cuban exile was bitten by a Cuban diplomat Norwegians were outraged and denounced it. On May 3, 2013 which also happens to be World Press Freedom Day, in Norway, the party of Norwegian Conservatives (Høyre) awarded Yoani Sanchez a prize for human rights and democracy named after one of the founding fathers of Høyre

Norwegian members of parliament nominated Oswaldo Payá for Nobel Peace Prize

 Below is the text from 2011 when 7 Norwegian members of parliament nominated Oswaldo Payá for the Nobel Peace Prize.( Václav Havel had also twice nominated Oswaldo Payá ).

Norwegian MPs nominate Oswaldo Payá for the Nobel Peace Prize

A group of 7 Norwegian Members of Parliament has nominated the Cuban Oswaldo Payá for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. – The Nobel Prize to Cuba’s most important oppositional leader would be an important contribution to peace and democracy for a people who have been denied their fundamental human rights for far too long, the MPs write in their nomination letter.

Through nearly two decades Oswaldo Payá has been the leading figure in a peaceful struggle for basic human rights in Cuba. Oswaldo Payá represents all Cubans who want a peaceful change based on reconciliation and dialogue.

– We believe the Nobel Peace Prize would send a strong signal to the Cuban government that it is time for change, says Dagrun Eriksen, MP, deputy leader of the Christian Democratic Party and one of the signatories.

Oswaldo Payá has built his work on the conviction that all human beings have inviolable rights. He believes that the right to freedom of speech is the basis on which to solve all other problems in society. Only when the people themselves can express their concerns, Cuba will be able to find its own way out of the country’s challenges.

- Oswaldo Payá recognizes that freedom of speech and respect for fundamental human rights is a precondition for a peaceful development, says Jan Tore Sanner, MP, deputy leader of the Conservative Party and one of the other signatories.

Oswaldo Payá has consistently tried to work within the frames of Cuban law, through petitions calling for the respect for basic human rights. When the Varela project succeeded in collecting enough signatures to set of a referendum in 2002, the Cuban regime’s response, however, was to arrest 75 oppositional leaders, in what became known as the Black Spring.

Last spring, Mr Sanner and Mrs Eriksen took the initiative to form a support group for Cuban political prisoners in the Norwegian Parliament, including MPs from all the Norwegian parties. Following the release of more than 40 prisoners into forced exile last summer, 19 of them wrote a letter to the group, proposing that they nominate Oswaldo Payá for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

- The support from the former prisoners of conscience shows how Oswaldo Payá has succeeded in gathering different groups of dissidents in dialogue and peaceful resistance, says Dagrun Eriksen.

Jan Tore Sanner was one of the nominators behind last year’s winner Liu Xiabo.

- Oswaldo Payá represents the same peaceful struggle for human rights as Liu Xiabo, says Mr Sanner.

Payá has continued to call for unity and dialogue between all Cubans, in and outside the country. His National Dialogue program and All Cubans Forum, have involved thousands of Cubans in discussions on proposals for a peaceful change towards democracy. Payá is now again calling for a referendum on basic human rights.

- Oswaldo Payá would be a worthy winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, say Dagrun Eriksen and Jan Tore Sanner.

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