FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Today, I join President Obama in commemorating the 62nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We reaffirm the wisdom of its drafters, who gave eloquent voice to the cause of human rights and human dignity in the wake of World War II. And we honor those who risk persecution in the service of its brave ideals.
The United States has long worked to live up to the promise of our own founding documents, with their credo of liberty and equal rights under law. Our willingness to measure our deeds against our words and acknowledge our shortcomings has continually renewed the promise of America and given us strength. The spirit of our founding promise inspired one great American, Eleanor Roosevelt, to chair the UN commission that wrote the Universal Declaration. That spirit animated heroic American movements for the rights of women, African-Americans and other minorities. And that spirit still places America squarely on the side of any girl who is barred from school, any boy who is sold into slavery, any individual who is assaulted because of his or her sexual orientation. We will always stand for the student who longs to be taught, for the voter who demands to be heard, for the oppressed who longs to be free.
We continue to see the world as it is, but we continue to work for the world as it can be. As President Obama said at the UN General Assembly in September, “Tyranny is still with us.” In November, the UN General Assembly voted – by the largest margin in history – to condemn blatant human rights abuses by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. And it condemned repression and abuses by the regimes in Burma and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
On Human Rights Day, the United States celebrates deep truths we hold to be self-evident and honors a stirring Declaration signed by 58 nations—a universal affirmation that human beings have equal worth, equal dignity, equal consequence, and equal rights. And we continue to work for the day when no one will endure discrimination or suffer persecution.
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