Karl Raimund Popper(Austria, 1902-1994)... founded Critical Rationalism. With his concept of Open Society he critized totalitarian thinking and defended democracy.
Olympe de Gouges (France, 1748-1793)... was an advocate for improving the condition of slaves in the French colonies and wrote the Declaration of Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen. As the French revolution progressed, the Jacobins executed her for seditious behaviour and attempting to reinstate the monarchy.
Guivanni Falcone (Italy, 1939-1992)... faced the Sicilian mafia Cosa Nostra and gave his life trying to overthrow corruption and criminal structures in Italy.
Nelson Mandela(South Africa, 1918-2013)... led the South-African Anti-Apartheid Movement, serving 27 years long in prison for his conviction. As South Africa's first black chief executive and as the first elected in a fully representative election, he intended to dismantling the legacy of apartheid and to fostering racial reconciliation.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali(Somalia, * 1969)... is a significant womens rights activist, writer, and politician concerning islamic countries. Particularly, she opposes genital mutilation of girls and violence in the name of Islam.
Anna Stepanovka Politkovskaja(Russia, 1956 - 2006)... was killed before her flat on 7 October, 2006, known for her opposition to the second Chechen War and to Russian government. Her murderers have been sentenced, but the backers of the murder are unclear.
Martin Luther King (USA, 1929-1968)... led the peoples rights movement in the United States, facing strong resistance by white supremists. He was shot by a racist on April 4, 1968.
Otto Wels (Germany, 1873-1939)... was the only member of the German Reichstag to speak against Hitler’s enabling act. Despite the incipient persecution of leftiest and opposition politicians, he made a courageous speech.
Andrei Dmitrijewitsch Sakharov(Russia, 1921-1989)... was an advocate of civil liberties and civil reforms in the Soviet Union. Between 1980 and 1986, he was kept under tight Soviet police surveillance, living in internal exile in the city of Gorky.
Edward Snowden (USA, * 1983)... has promoted liberty and individual autonomy while risking his own freedoms.
Emmeline Pankhurst(England, 1858-1928)... helped women win the right to vote. Although she was widely criticised for her militant tactics, and historians disagree about their effectiveness, her work is recognised as a crucial element in achieving women's suffrage in Britain and worldwide.
Immanuel Kant (Germany, 1724-1804)...set constitutional footings of enlightenment. Although opposing direct rule of the people, he can be considered to be a father of modern state and democracy by invoking rational morality and republican law.
Kleisthenes (Greek, 5th Century b.C.)... was credited with reforming the constitution of ancient Athens and setting it on a democratic footing. Historians refer to him as the father of Athenian democracy.
Great PersonalitiesDo you know them?
Leyla Yunus (Azerbaijan, *1955) ...is an Azerbaijani human rights activist, known for her work helping citizens affected by forced evictions in Baku. In July 2014, the Azerbaijani authorities have jailed Yunus under charges that are widely regarded as dubious.
Hans(1918-1943) and Sophie Scholl(Germany 1921-1943) ... sisters, were active in White Rose, a student group in Munich, that tried to non-violently resist the totalitarian Nazi regime. They have become symbols of the humanist resistance in Nazi Germany.
Ahmed Lutfi el-Sayed(1872 – 1963)... was an Egyptian intellectual and anti-colonial activist who believed in equality and rights for all people. His contributions to Egypt in intellectual ideas and movements redefined Egyptian history. During his presidency as director of Cairo University, the first women enrolled to graduate with university degree.
Aung San Suu Kyi Burma/Myanmar, *1945)... is an opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Myanmar. Placed under house arrest by the ruling military regime for almost 15 years between 1989 and November 2010, she became one of the world's most prominent political prisoners. In 2015 election, she is going to run for president in Myanmar.
Mahatma Gandhi (India, 1869-1948)... was the preeminent leader of Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.
Matteo Renzi (Italy, *1975)... is Prime Minister of Italy since February 2014, President of the Council of the European Union since July 2014. He ousted the anti-democratic spook of an ever undead Silvio Berlusconi, by the way the youngest person to become Prime Minister of Italy ever.
Vaclav Havel (Czech Repl. 1936 – 2011)... was a playright, essayist, philosopher, dissident, and the first president of Czech Republic. He participated Prague Spring, founded dissident initiatives, such as Charta 77, and spent multiple stints in prison under communist regime. His political philosophy was one of humanitariasm, environmentalism, civil activism and direct democracy.
Xu Zhiyong (China, *1973)...is the main founder and icon of the New Citizens' Movement in China. Acting as a rights lawyer who helped those underprivileged, he was sentenced to four years in prison for "gathering crowds to disrupt public order" in January 2014.
Walid Abu al Cher und Samar Badawi (Saudi Arabia, * 1979, *1988?)Samar was in prison for disobedience under the Saudi Arabian male guardianship system. Walid, a reputated lawyer and the head of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia organization, successfully defended her in court, supported by the Free Samar Campain on Twitter, Facebook and blogs.
Abraham Gutmann (Israel) and Dania Darwish (Syria)...were class mates in an U.S. university when they initiated the very dynamic social media campaign #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies(Campaign image of other persons)
Martin Schulz (Germany, *1955)... has successfully fought for a stronger role of European Parliament in the European Union. He has been a member of the European Parliament since 1994, and is its president since 2012, reelected in 2014.
William Cooper (Australia 1860 - 1941)... was an Aboriginal political activist and community leader. His long campaign for Aboriginal rights, specially land rights,led to the Australian Aborigines League. He shamed white Australia, seeing the failure of using democratic means. His major success was the establishment of a National Aborigines Day, first celebrated in 1940.
Joshua Wong(Hong Kong, * 1996)...student activist, stands for the Hong Kong protests 2014. The protests oscillate between forms of active resistence against the loss of free election rights and retreat in order to avoid violence, learning from the Tiananmen Square Massacre 1989.
Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan, *1997)... having stood up for kid’s rights and education, she was shot by the Taliban in 2012. A very capable media person, proclaiming to work for becoming Pakistans prime minister in the future. The youngest ever Nobel Prize recipient together with the Indian teacher Kailash Satyarthi who organized the Global March against Child Labour in 1998.
Khadija Ryadi(Marocco *1960)... is a well-known Moroccan Human Rights activist, president of the Morocco Association for Human Rights (AMDH). Her credo is: Laicite and defense of liberties. In December 2013, she won the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights.
Biram Dah Abeid(Mauritania * )... is a politician and leading advocate for the abolition of slavery. Because of demonstrative burning legal texts of a school of Islamic law that encourages slavery, together with 10 other activists, he was imprisoned and accused of undermining state security in May 2012. The group was released in September 2012.
Rodrigo Lara Bonilla(Columbia, 1946 - 1984)...was a lawyer and politician who served as Minister of Justice. He was assassinated because he prosecuted cocaine traffickers mainly belonging to the Medellín Cartel. After his death, the Betancur government immediately approved the extradition law, and began a war against the Mafia.
Apirana Ngata(New Zealand, 1874 - 1950)... was a politician and lawyer with Maori background who promoted and protected Maori culture and language. Appointed in Cabinet, he assisted in the drafting of the Native Land Act.