Seventy years ago, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 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 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 for prosperity, stability, and peace. On this International Human Rights Day, the United States underscores its commitment to promoting human freedom at home and around the world.