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Liu Xiaobo Far More Deserving Of Nobel Prize Than Me: Obama

PTI 10 Dec 2010, 20:18:18 IST
Washington, Dec 10 (PTI) Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is far more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than him, US President Barack Obama said today after the former was awarded the coveted peace prize in absentia.

Obama, who received the Nobel Peace Prize 2009, regretted that Liu and his wife were denied the opportunity to attend the ceremony in Oslo today and called on China to release him.

"One year ago, I was humbled to receive the Nobel Peace Prize - an award that speaks to our highest aspirations, and that has been claimed by giants of history and courageous advocates who have sacrificed for freedom and justice. Liu

Xiaobo is far more deserving of this award than I was," Obama said in a statement.

"All of us have a responsibility to build a just peace that recognizes the inherent rights and dignity of human beings - a truth upheld within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In our own lives, our own countries, and in the world, the pursuit of a just peace remains incomplete, even as we strive for progress," he said.

Obama said US respects China's extraordinary accomplishment in lifting millions out of poverty, and believe that human rights include the dignity that comes with freedom from want.

"But Liu reminds us that human dignity also depends upon the advance of democracy, open society, and the rule of law," Obama said.

"The values he espouses are universal, his struggle is peaceful, and he should be released as soon as possible. I regret that Liu and his wife were denied the opportunity to attend the ceremony that Michelle and I attended last year," Obama said.

This past year saw the release of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, even as the Burmese people continue to be denied the democracy that they deserve, Obama said, adding that Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos Horta has continued his tireless work to build a free and prosperous East Timor, having made thetransition from dissident to President.

"This past year saw the retirement of Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, whose own career demonstrates the universal power of freedom and justice to overcome extraordinary obstacles," he added.

The rights of human beings are universal - they do not belong to one nation, region or faith.

America respects the unique culture and traditions of different countries, Obama asserted. PTI