Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council
At the Human Rights Council
June 17, 2011
The United States is thrilled to join with our friends from South Africa and Brazil and many others in support of this simple but historic resolution. More than sixty years ago the Commission on Human Rights approved the Universal Declaration on Human Rights – the first internationally approved affirmation that all people have human rights and all people have fundamental rights. Distinctions on account of race, religion, gender, ethnicity or other status were deemed incompatible with human dignity.
Today, we have taken an important step forward in our recognition that human rights are indeed universal. We recognize that violence against a person because of who they are is wrong. The right to choose who we love, and with whom to share our lives – is sacred. Further, we send the unequivocal message that each human being deserves equal protection from violence and discrimination.
Today, we make history in the fight for basic fairness and equality. We are moving forward, aspiring to the best of our nature, and welcome all member states to join this movement in furthering the human rights of all people.
Finally, we thank the South African government for its stunning leadership and consultative approach to this issue, and we look forward to working with Council members as we implement this exceptional step towards equality.