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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2005 > December
Press Statement
Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 9, 2005


International Human Rights Day

On December 10, International Human Rights Day, the United States salutes those around the world who struggle to defend, protect and promote the fundamental freedoms that are the birthright of all mankind. 57 years ago, The United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today, we commemorate that historic document, the values it enshrines and our ongoing effort worldwide to promote human rights.

In the last 57 years, human rights and freedom have seen an unprecedented expansion around the world. At no point in history have people been freer. Over the past year, the United States has contributed in important ways to advance the march of freedom. The people of Iraq have elected a new government and written a constitution that guarantees the rights of all its citizens. Free and fair elections were held in the Palestinian territories. We saw the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, and voices are calling for reform throughout the Middle East. Liberia recently held its first post-conflict elections, which resulted in Africaís first democratically chosen female President.

Sadly, the struggle for human rights continues in many parts of the globe. Rape and murder continue in Darfur. From Cuba to China, Belarus to Burma, Uzbekistan to Zimbabwe, and Iran to North Korea, courageous human rights activists remain harassed and imprisoned. Many states continue to clamp down on the non-governmental organizations doing freedomís vital work.
The U.S. stands with all who suffer the injustice of brutality and oppression. We will help fragile democracies deliver on the high hopes of their citizens for a better life. We will call to account democracies that are retreating from their commitments. Where democracy is being undermined or where there is no democracy, we will act in word and deed to support the human rights activists and non-governmental organizations advancing freedomís cause.

2005/1153


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