If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights once and for all. [applause] And among those rights are the right to speak freely and the right to be heard.
Women must enjoy the rights to participate fully in the social and political lives of their countries if we want freedom and democracy to thrive and endure. It is indefensible that many women in nongovernmental organizations who wish to participate in this conference have not been able to attend or have been prohibited from fully taking part.
Let me be clear. Freedom means the right of people to assemble, organize, and debate openly. It means respecting the views of those who may disagree with the views of their governments. It means not taking citizens away from their loved ones and jailing them, mistreating them, or denying them their freedom or dignity because of the peaceful expression of their ideas and opinions.