JERUSALEM – NGO Monitor today released the following statement on the death of Russian human rights activist Yelena Bonner, widow of Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov:

Yelena Bonner was a tireless leader of the international human rights movement and played a pivotal role in ending the oppressive policies of the Soviet Union. Along with her late husband, Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov, Ms. Bonner demonstrated that personal sacrifice and relentless courage can spur monumental change in closed societies.

Quoting Sakharov, Ms. Bonner reminded the 2009 Oslo Forum audience, “All wars that Israel has waged have been just, forced upon it by the irresponsibility of Arab leaders.” She expressed her “alarm because of the anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiment growing throughout Europe.” Ms. Bonner also pleaded for the human rights movement to remember the plight of Gilad Shalit, asking her human rights colleagues why his fate did not “trouble you in the same way as does the fate of the Guantanamo prisoners?…”

NGO Monitor today pays tribute to Ms. Bonner’s commitment to universal morality and her defense of human rights.