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    Peace Vigils Around the U.S.

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  • Human Rights Day Speech Given by Oregon Green

    Posted by Green Party Peace Network on December 16, 2007

    This speech was delivered by Joanne Cvar, Pacific Green Party of Oregon, on Human Rights Day (December 10, 2007) , in recognition of  the work in the community of Centro de Ayuda  in celebration of the 59th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 (Newport, OR)

    “Today marks the 59th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration of Human Rights on
    December 10, 1948. Respect for human rights was one of the four founding principles of
    the United Nations Charter, agreed upon after the devastation and brutality of the Second
    World War brought the realization that without justice, there would be no peace. Our
    first use of the Atom Bomb had made wars a threat to the future of humanity.

    In 1945 Eleanor Roosevelt was named to head a Commission on Human Rights, charged with
    crafting a document that could be agreed upon by all peoples, and for all time. It took
    three years of difficult negotiation and input from all nations and cultures to come to
    such a far-reaching universal agreement.

    The principles set forth in this hard-won agreement state that:

    “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration,
    without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political
    or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. . . .
    Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional
    or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it
    be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”
    Article 2

    Additionally, “All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in
    violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.” Article
    7

    And “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” Article 9

    “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his
    country.” Article 13

    “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of
    himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary
    social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness,
    disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his
    control.” Article 25.1

    These are some of the 30 Articles of the Declaration relevant to our current situation,
    in which discrimination, hate-talk, and racial violence are escalating in societies
    across the planet, as immigration is driven by poverty, hunger and fear in the wake of
    continued wars, resource depletion, economic globalization, and natural catastrophes.

    So many years ago, now, Eleanor Roosevelt asked: “Where, after all, do human rights
    begin?” and answered, “In small places close to home. . . . Without concerned citizens’
    actions to uphold them so close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger
    world.”

    Here in our corner of the world, concerned citizens are organizing to take the debate on
    immigration issues back from talk-show pundits, a debate which will become increasingly
    virulent when exploited as a political tool.

    The staff and volunteers of Centro de Ayuda are working valiantly to create a friendlier
    attitude toward our newest residents, to inform them of the rules in a culture very
    different from their own, and to inform all the residents of our community of our
    constitutionally guaranteed rights.

    Their services to the immigrant community include translation and tutoring in English as
    a Second Language, helping to find employment, affordable housing and health care,
    mediating on their behalf with public officials, and helping the community to solve its
    own problems.

    Centro de Ayuda is also helping to educate the larger community on the root causes of
    increased immigration and the possible solutions that will help bring us together in the
    face of this polarizing situation.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Human Rights Day: Group recognizes Centro de Ayuda’s work in the community
    By Elizabeth Chapman Of the News-Times

    From left, Centro de Ayuda medical translator Joaquin Varo, office manager Sofia Bonilla and volunteers Lola and Cristina Tamayo watch as Rural Organizing Project member Ray Ferris presents Centro de Ayuda Director Jorge Hernandez with an award on Monday. (Photo by Elizabeth Chapman)

    Centro de Ayuda was recognized for their work in the community on Monday, Dec. 10 by the Rural Organizing Project (ROP) in celebration of the 59th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

    The ceremony’s speech was read by ROP member Ray Ferris, who stated, “The staff and volunteers of Centro de Ayuda are working valiantly to create a friendlier attitude toward our newest residents, to inform them of the rules in a culture very different from their own, and to inform all the residents of our community of our constitutionally guaranteed rights.

    “Their services to the immigrant community include translation and tutoring in English as a Second Language, helping to find employment, affordable housing and health care, mediating on their behalf with public officials, and helping the community to solve its own problems.

    “Centro de Ayuda is also helping to educate the larger community on the root causes of increased immigration and the possible solutions that will help bring us together in the face of this polarizing situation.”

    ROP is a statewide organization of locally-based groups that work to create communities accountable to a standard of human dignity: the belief in the equal worth of all people, the need for equal access to justice, and the right to self-determination.

    Jorge Hernandez, Director of Centro de Ayuda thanked ROP for the recognition, and noted, “Sometimes it is very difficult to separate ourselves emotionally so this small recognition helps – we need this. It’s something that makes us continue the work we’re doing, and do it better.

    “Thank you. This means so much to us. It gives us a lot of strength.”

    Centro de Ayuda is located at 410 SW 9th St., Newport. They are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. For more information on interpreting, referrals, and general translation for medical or legal appointments call 265-6216 or e-mail at centrodeayuda@newportnet.com.

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