Prague Security Studies Institute
Pohořelec 6
118 00 Praha 1
Tel./fax: +420 233 355 735


Democracy & Security International Conference, Prague, June 5-6, 2007

The conference agenda is designed to explore the proposition that there exists a direct linkage between the promotion of democracy and the strengthening of security. The policy focus of the conference aims to examine this linkage delineated in recent statements and publications by Natan Sharansky and Jose M. Aznar. The connection between human rights and political relations became a guiding principle for the Helsinki Process and a central theme in the writings of Václav Havel, Natan Sharansky and other freedom fighters. The Helsinki process helped set the stage for the end of the Cold War and has become a subject of intense historic scrutiny and discussion.

The choice of Prague as the venue for the conference underscores the relevance of this process for recent developments in Central and Eastern Europe. This conference will serve as a forum for debate and discussion among prominent and leading dissidents, pro-democracy advocates and political leaders to examine anew the nexus between democracy and international security by analyzing on-going global challenges. Our three public policy organizations are uniquely positioned to facilitate what are sure to be insightful exchanges so necessary amidst the current confusion.

Prague Charter

Whereas we believe that all people have the right to live in free societies, that free societies are anchored in freedom of thought and expression, and that institutions such as a free press, representative legislatures, accountable executives, independent judiciaries and market economies protect this core freedom, as well as many other freedoms;
Whereas we recognize that there is a profound moral difference between free societies and societies ruled by fear and repression where human rights are systematically abused and where there is no recourse to correct those abuses;
Whereas we recognize that the protection of human rights is critical to international peace and security and that countries that do not respect the rights of their people are unlikely to respect the rights of their neighbors;
Whereas we are committed to building and maintaining free societies through non-violent, democratic means;
Whereas we believe that the free world can play a critical role in helping those who are struggling for freedom in non-democratic countries;
We, the undersigned, have gathered together in Prague in the spring of 2007 in order to call upon governments and peoples throughout the free world to help those trying to build free societies elsewhere by doing the following:
1. To demand the immediate unconditional release of all non violent political prisoners in their respective countries.
2. Instructing diplomatic emissaries to non-democratic countries to actively and openly seek out meetings with political prisoners and dissidents committed to building free societies through non-violence.
3. Raising public awareness, through institutions in their own countries and through international bodies, of human rights abuses under non-democratic regimes.
4. Raising the question of human rights in all meetings with officials of non-democratic regimes.
5. Seeking national and international initiatives, in the spirit of the Helsinki Accords, that link bilateral and international relations to the question of human rights.
6. Exerting pressure, through peaceful diplomatic, political and economic means, on governments and groups abusing human rights to discontinue their practices.
7. Providing incentives, through diplomatic, political and economic means, to governments and groups willing to improve the human rights record in their countries and to embark on the road to liberal democracy.
8. Isolating and ostracizing governments and groups that suppress their peaceful domestic opponents by force, violence or intimidation.
9. Holding accountable governments and groups that threaten other countries and peoples with genocide or annihilation.
10. Promoting best human rights and governance practices that have been found effective and beneficial in other countries, in particular in new and recent democracies.
Signed by: Václav Havel, Natan Sharansky, José María Aznar

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To download the Prague Charter adopted by the conference participants please click here.

The conference participants also expressed their support for Burmese dissidnent Daw Aung San Suu Kyi by signing the petition calling for her release from home prison.