The War on Human Rights Larry Cox Executive Director, Amnesty International USA
December 10, 2006, Human Rights Day, marks the 58th anniversary of the United Nations' adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The foundation of the global movement for human rights, this document contributes to the protection and liberation of millions of people around the world. Yet instead of merely celebrating this document, many feel it is now necessary to defend it because its core idea--every human being without exception must be treated with dignity and respect by all governments--has come under attack, not just from governments and groups which have long expressed contempt for human rights but also from a government which has been its champion, the United States.
Many claim that the war on terror has increasingly become a war on human rights, providing cover and sanction for repressive governments around the world, undermining human rights defenders and harming our security. Larry Cox will speak about how we got to this point and, more importantly, what can be done to put the United States back on the road toward human rights.
Larry Cox joined Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) in January 2006 after serving 11 years as senior program officer for the Ford Foundation's Human Rights unit. While at the Ford Foundation, Cox co-edited and co-wrote the introduction to the report "Close to Home: Case Studies of Human Rights Work in the US," which examines the traditional human rights tools organizations use to reduce poverty, promote workers' rights and environmental justice, abolish the death penalty and end discrimination.
In 1976, Cox joined AIUSA as its first press officer and later became its first communications director and deputy executive director. He then spent five years as deputy secretary general at Amnesty International's world headquarters in London. In 1990, Cox became the executive director of the Rainforest Foundation, an international organization that works with indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon to protect their