BUSH HONORS BABALU…. And Several Dissident Bloggers Today On Human Rights Day
President Bush Met With Dissident Bloggers And New Media Users To Commemorate Human Rights Day–
Val has a wonderful account of his trip today to Washington to visit with President Bush at Cuban-American blog Babalu.
Also at the meeting with President Bush:
Mr. Alexander Klaskovskiy blogger (Belarus) of Belapan.
Ms. Olga Kozulina, New Media User (Belarus).
Mr. Maung Maung Win aka Maung Yit, Blogger (Burma) MoeMaKa.
Mr. Qiang Xiao, New Media User (China) China Digital Times
Mr. Arash Sigarchi, Blogger (Iran) Sigarchi.
Miguel Octavio (Venezuela) from The Devil’s Excrement via video.
Besides liberating 50 million people from their brutal oppressors in Iraq in Afghanistan President Bush has made advancing human rights and democracy around the world central to his presidency.
The White House reported:
Advancing The Freedom Agenda
President Bush has made advancing human rights around the world central to his presidency. Under President Bush’s Freedom Agenda, the United States has stepped up efforts to implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights worldwide. It is in our interest to continue liberty’s advance – because we know from history that the advance of freedom is necessary for our security and peace. Some of the Administration’s efforts to support this goal include:
Nearly doubling funding for democracy projects since 2001. The President’s FY 2009 Budget requests more than $1.7 billion in funding for Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights – up from less than $700 million in 2001. In addition, the FY 2009 Budget requests $80 million for the National Endowment for Democracy up from $31 million in 2001.
Applied tough sanctions on oppressive regimes. Over the past seven years, the Administration has spoken out and enacted tough measures against human rights abuses by tyrannical regimes like those in Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, and Zimbabwe. The Administration has also spoken candidly about human rights with nations with whom America has good relations, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and China. President Bush has consistently called for the release of all prisoners of conscience worldwide.
Establishing policies and practices to promote freedom worldwide. In July, the President issued National Security Presidential Directive 58: Institutionalizing the Freedom Agenda to offer a guidepost to future Administrations, setting out many of the policies and practices he has put in place to promote freedom worldwide.
Shown solidarity with civil society activists: The President has personally met with more than 180 democratic and human rights activists, and independent journalists and their family from more than 35 countries. In 2007, the President awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet of Cuba, in recognition of Dr. Biscet’s advocacy of non-violent democratic change in Cuba. Starting last year, the Secretary of State began presenting two awards annually to recognize those striving to advance human dignity:
Freedom Defenders Award: This award recognizes a foreign activist or non-governmental organization that has demonstrated courage and an outstanding commitment to advancing liberty in the face of adversity. This year’s recipient is Russian journalist Yulia Latynina.
Diplomacy For Freedom Award: This award honors the U.S. Ambassador who best advances freedom by working to end tyranny and promote democracy using the full array of political, economic, diplomatic, and other tools. This year’s recipient is U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee.
President George W. Bush will truly be missed.