published: 23.10.2012, 19:18 | updated: 23.10.2012 20:29:40
Prague - Participants in and organisers of the 16th Forum 2000 conference stressed their "commitment to furthering the legacy" of former Czech president Vaclav Havel and they praised his life-long work in the final declaration they adopted at the end of their three-day discussions today.
Havel, then Czechoslovakia´s first post-communist and the first Czech president (1989-2003) was a co-founder of Forum 2000. He died last December, aged 75.
It was considered then whether to continue holding the conferences after his death. The Forum 2000 Foundation eventually decided in favour of the continuation.
The name of Havel, a playwright, essayist, dissident, critic of the Communist regime, politician and human rights activist, was often heard during the debates in the past three days.
"We believe in genuine and open dialogue," the participants said in the declaration, adding they prefer this to "pretending we have ready-made answers to the problems we face."
"We believe that vibrant and engaged civil societies form the bedrock on which respect for human rights, functioning democracy, social justice and sustainable economic prosperity are based," the declaration says.
"These civil societies are equally vital for posing the key questions of public life, and often help find practical solutions," the Forum 2000 participants wrote.
The conference was participated in among others by former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albritht, Prime Minister of the Tibetan government in exile Lobsang Sangay, Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister for the EU Suzana Grubjesic, former Slovak prime minister Iveta Radicova, U.S. singer Joan Baez, Belarusian opposition activists, experts and journalists from China and other countries, Czech presidential candidate Jan Fischer and Mayor of Prague Bohuslav Svoboda.
This year´s debates focused on media and democracy.
The aim of the Forum 2000 conferences is to provide space for discussions on various issues of the current world.
The organisers also used the opportunity to underline the need to observe human rights and to support opposition activists where human rights are not observed, such as Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba and Ukraine.
Members of the International Advisory Board of Forum 2000 Foundation are three Nobel Peace Prize winners, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Tibetan Dalai Lama and former South African president Frederik de Klerk.
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