Charter 77

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Václav Havel (b. 1936) Czech dramatist and statesman, President of Czechoslovakia 1989–92 and of the Czech Republic 1993–2003

human rights


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

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A document signed by 243 people, most of whom were intellectuals. Addressed to the Czechoslovak government, it protested against the violations by the state against the basic human rights guaranteed by the UN and the Helsinki Conference, to both of which Czechoslovakia had subscribed. The group of signatories was led by Professor Jan Patocka, Havel, and Jiry Hajek, a former Communist minister. It was delivered to the government in 1977, and had attracted 2,500 signatures within ten years, despite the prosecution and discrimination which public support for the document attracted. The impact of the Charter '77 movement remained in some ways limited, owing to its restricted social base. On the other hand, the articulate oppositional movement became well‐known inside and outside the country, so that many of its leaders were at the forefront of the political discussions surrounding the collapse of the Communist regime in 1989.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Politics.

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