Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, as chair of the UN Human Rights Commission, helped to spearhead the creation of this landmark document, which has been fundamental to seeking to ensure human rights are guaranteed for all. This was true when it was adopted in 1948 and remains true today.
As this Administration has emphasized, promoting respect for human rights is at the center of U.S. foreign policy. As the world confronts genocide and other atrocities, systemic racism and inequity, erosion of freedom of expression, oppression and marginalization because of one’s race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or identity, and often simply for expressing dissenting views, among many other human rights abuses, the UDHR is more important than ever. With these challenges in mind, the United States campaigned passionately for our return to the UN Human Rights Council, which we will rejoin as a member at the start of the new term on January 1, 2022. We aim to see the Council live up to its mandate to promote universal respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all, by, among other things, promoting accountability for attempts to deny the human dignity of individuals, including marginalized groups.
On this day, we honor the tremendous importance and achievement that is the UDHR. We continue to strive to uphold human rights and human dignity across the globe.