Item 3 General Debate
Statement of the United States of America
As Delivered by Ambassador Michèle Taylor
United Nations Human Rights Council 51st Session
Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Everyone is entitled to those rights, without distinction of any kind; we have a responsibility here at the HRC to aid in the protection of those rights.
Unfortunately, there are still far too many places on earth where respect for human rights is lacking. In some, individuals are arbitrarily detained merely for exercising their faith, seeking to preserve their culture, or speaking their mother tongue.
Some people are forced to work against their will, away from their families, or for little or no compensation.
And in some places we see citizens threatened, injured, or murdered by paramilitaries or other armed groups controlled by foreign powers, which are operating outside the law.
In far too many places, people lack access to an adequate standard of living. Others must struggle or pay bribes to find safe drinking water and sanitation, which are essential to human health, to educate their children, and to support their families.
The wide range of global challenges demonstrates the need to redouble our efforts to defend and respect all human rights. As we have since the UDHR was drafted, we will continue to lead the world in offering a helping hand to lift people up, including those from marginalized communities, while working tirelessly to protect the rights and dignity to which everyone is entitled.
I thank you.