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Rights and Democracy: A Call for Dignity and Justice
By Guido Riveros Franck, 4 June 2011
Every year, a prestigious Canadian institution active in the promotion of democracy and the defence of human rights, the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, awards the John Humphrey prize. This prize seeks to honour, encourage and protect the work of people who, in different parts of the world, labour with force and determination to defend lives and to promote democracy. Kimy Pernia Domico was one of these people.
However, today the situation seems different. Rémy Beauregard, a just man who worked for the promotion of human rights and democracy, and whom we can compare to Kimy Pernia, died in January 2010 in Toronto during a meeting of the Board of Directors of this institution. He was at the centre of a series of unfounded accusations, as was proved by an investigation by a Canadian parliamentary commission. The accusations were the result of intolerance and personal interests of his accusers, who defended a vision far removed from the best traditions of international cooperation in the field of human rights and democracy and far removed from Mr. Beauregard's beliefs and practices throughout his life in service of this noble cause. These facts damaged the image of Rights and Democracy.
We all know what the effects of a campaign of harassment and denigration can be; it was too much for the heart of Rémy Beauregard. As long as the responsibilities for the events linked to the death of the ex-director are not clarified and the doubt persists on the role of Rights and Democracy, any institutional declaration has no value. The lives of citizens of the world, be they famous or unknown, are important. No logic can take priority over the human condition. As a result, it is an act of justice, dignity and love of life to honour people like Mr. Pernia and Mr, Beauregard but it is also necessary to re-establish the credibility and moral authority of the institutions that defend these principles.
Guido Riveros Franck
Ex-member of the Board of Directors of Rights and Democracy
La Paz, Bolivia, June 4, 2011
Photo by Alain Rhéaume/Canadian Press