Dear Mrs Caspari,
dear leaders, members and friends
of the Romanian Section of the International Society of Human Rights,
In December 1989 a dispute over religious freedom which arose in Timisoara, the city where I teach regularly at the University of the West, became the starting point of the Romanian Revolution. The Communist government wanted to get rid of a pastor, because he often criticized the government, but his church members and then a steadily growing number of all kind of citizens protected the pastor, including some from Romanian, Hungarian and German backgrounds alike. The harsh and brutal reaction of the government became a signal for protests all over Romania, the beginning of the end of a rule against human rights. We very much regret those people that died, yet it was the Romanian people who fought for freedom and human rights against a dictatorship.
The history of the brave Romanians involved with the IGFM/ISHR started well before this, but it was a proud and obvious sign of a new area, that they gathered quickly and founded our Romanian Section in 1990 at a time, when no one knew what would be coming. But they wanted to assure that the new Romania would be built around the idea of human rights.
Thus the fact, that the Romanians elected a President from Sibiu, with his fight against corruption and being from German descent, proves that Romania has learned to go beyond racism, government control, government corruption, and to give human rights a fair chance. The Romanian ISHR played a vital role in this.
On behalf of the International Council of the ISHR, I congratulate you to the 25th birthday of your section and thank you for all your work done in the last 25 years. On behalf of the worldwide ISHR family, I am proud that we have so many experienced human right fighters in our midst. I hope that your history will someday be written so that others may learn from your good example.
Yours, Thomas Schirrmacher
President of the International Council of the ISHR