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Prague Conference Urges Global Support For Dissidents

Signatories Jose Maria Aznar (left) and Natan Sharansky were greeted by U.S. President George W. Bush after his speech June 5 (official site) June 6, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A gathering of activists and international leaders, past and present, has called for a major global effort to support democratic dissidents in authoritarian regimes.

"The Prague Document" was issued today at a two-day conference in the Czech capital, to which U.S. President George W. Bush delivered an address on June 5.

The 10-point text was signed by former Czech President Vaclav Havel and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, and by former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky of Israel.

It urges, among other things, the immediate release of nonviolent political prisoners worldwide and calls on democratic governments to exert diplomatic, economic, and political pressure on authoritarian regimes to respect human rights and implement democratic reforms.

In his speech to the conference, Bush said he "strongly supported" the document and its statement that the protection of human rights "is critical to international peace and security."

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