Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Organization Affairs
December 10, 2009
December 10th marks Human Rights Day, a day that affords us all the opportunity to reflect on human rights conditions in our own countries and across the globe in the context of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That Declaration, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, outlined the equal and inalienable rights of all people, and has since served as the benchmark for the extension and protection of fundamental rights and liberties.
The United States is a leading voice in this continuing effort, and earlier this year amplified that voice by seeking and winning a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council – the body charged with promoting the ideals embodied in the Universal Declaration. Joining the Human Rights Council underscores our determination to engage in a collaborative spirit on these core issues.
The United States does not underestimate the challenge – the world has made great strides in the last six decades, but too many around the world remain subject to human rights abuses and restricted freedoms and liberties. Traveling the remaining distance to a world without such abuses will require us to heed President Obama’s call to action – that all nations should work together to confront the common challenges of the 21st century. As we mark Human Rights Day, the United States is dedicated to that approach, and will aspire with all like-minded nations toward a world in which the Universal Declaration is universally upheld.