On International Human Rights Day

In the OSCE’s region, some governments advance the falsehood that only by restricting human rights can societies ensure prosperity and security.

Statement on International Human Rights Day

As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Harry R. Kamian
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
December 13, 2018

Seventy years ago, emerging from a world war that shocked humanity with its cruelty, the sovereign nations of the world united to specify those rights that are inherent to all persons, and committed to their promotion and protection henceforth. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to recognize and elevate the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of all individuals.

The Declaration’s fundamental principles remain as relevant today as they were seventy years ago. Still, governments impede the freedoms of religion or belief and expression. Citizens’ rights to participate in free, fair, and genuine elections remain precarious. Authorities continue to subject prisoners to torture and inhumane treatment. Global recognition of the inalienable rights belonging to all individuals must be continually encouraged and reaffirmed.

U.S. foreign policy is rooted in the understanding that governments that respect individual rights and fundamental freedoms remain the best vehicles to deliver prosperity, stability, and peace. In recognition of International Human Rights Day, the United States reaffirms our commitment to upholding universal respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of every human being.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.