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Human Rights In The Democracy Movement Twenty Years Ago – Human Rights Today

An international conference organized by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the OSA Archivum and The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights.

Patrons of the Conference: Árpád Göncz, former President of the Republic of Hungary
and
Yuri Orlov founder of the Moscow Helsinki Group,
Honorary President of the International Helsinki Federation

Venue: OSA Archivum, Goldberger house
1051 Budapest, Arany János str. 32.

20-22 November 2005.

The conference will take place twenty years after the Alternative Cultural Forum in 1985. That year the CSCE organized one of its regular Helsinki follow-up conferences in Budapest called Cultural Forum. Through the Forum governments of the Soviet Block countries wanted to demonstrate, that Communist countries met fully all requirements of the Helsinki Final Act. The American Helsinki Watch and IHF invited writers and human rights activists to Budapest to speak about censorship, oppression of culture, and about writers in prison or in exile. The state prevented that forum from taking place in a conference hall that was booked several months before. The meeting was still held, however, in private flats and it had much wider coverage in the Western press than the official Forum. Among the guests and speakers there were writers such as Susan Sontag, Amos Oz, Danilo Kis, Hans-Magnus Enzensberger, György Konrád and essayists such as Timothy Garton Ash, György Bence and Alain Finkielkraut.

This was the first major event organized by IHF and the Hungarian human rights community.

This coming conference will focus on human rights, and its role in the democracy movement and in international politics during the final phase of the cold war. The conference will also examine what happened with human rights after Communism and the Cold War had ended. It will tackle what is happening to human rights throughout the entire world today as a "new war on terrorism" has started and what is happening to human rights in the former Communist countries where old forms of authoritarian thinking have survived the political changes.

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