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Reform Jewish Leader Commemorates International Human Rights Day
In honor of International Human Rights Day, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement noting, "We must promote actions that will create a sustainable peace and eliminate the circumstances that allow such human rights abuses to occur. We call for prayer and vigilance, and most of all we call for action to achieve a world where all people share in the joys of humanity."

Saperstein: We must promote actions that will create a sustainable peace and eliminate the circumstances that allow such human rights abuses to occur. We call for prayer and vigilance, and most of all we call for action to achieve a world where all people share in the joys of humanity.

Contact: Alexis Rice or Avital Weinberg 202.387.2800

Washington, December 10, 2004 – In honor of International Human Rights Day, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

 

As people of conscience around the world observe International Human Rights Day, we are reminded that our struggle for the comprehensive human rights of all peoples is far from over.  Our nation and our world have made great strides over the decades.  But as we mark this day we remember the millions in Darfur murdered or displaced by the genocidal activity facilitated by the Sudanese government.  We think of the child soldiers – as young as eight years old – around the world exploited and forced to carry weapons.  We recall those who suffer abuses at the hands of corporations who impose sweatshop labor conditions on honest workers desperate for an income.  We wish strength for those who face inhumane torture for exercising their fundamental political and religious rights at the hands of military and police.  We call to mind the millions of women who become victims of sex trafficking.  We remember the victims of terrorism whose lives were ended, bodies maimed, daily existence threatened by fear.  And we stand with all those who suffer from lack of access to education, health, and safe water, or face discrimination based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or political views.

 

According to Jewish tradition, in every generation, we are commanded to view ourselves as if each of us was personally brought forth out of Egypt.  Having ourselves been victims of persecution over the centuries, Jews know what happens when otherwise good people stand silently by in the face of discrimination and oppression.

 

This year, we speak out as the UN members conclude a meeting in Nairobi to discuss the dreadful impact of landmines on hundreds of thousands of civilians around the globe, as communities across the nation mark a day of consciousness on Darfur, and as we remember the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster in India, which has left a community with long-lasting degradation of environment and health.

 

We must continue to strive for a more just world, conscious of the human dignity of all persons. We must promote actions that will create a sustainable peace and eliminate the circumstances that allow such human rights abuses to occur. We call for prayer and vigilance, and most of all we call for action to achieve a world where all people share in the joys of humanity.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.



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