It’s been sixty years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. President George W. Bush says the standards of that declaration should guide the conduct of nations:
“It stands as a landmark achievement in the history of human liberty. The declaration opens by recognizing ‘the inherent dignity’ and the ‘equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family’ as ‘the foundation of freedom and justice and peace in the world.’”
In December, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution that invoked the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and expressed deep concern over the human rights situation in Iran.
The resolution cited “ongoing, systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms” of the Iranian people. It spoke of “increasing discrimination and other human rights violations against persons belonging to religious, ethnic, linguistic or other minorities.” It noted the “arrests, violent repression, and sentencing of women exercising their right to peaceful assembly.” It cited the “systemic and serious restrictions of freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and freedom of opinion and expression, including those imposed on the media and trade unions.” And it cited “the persecution of political opponents. . . .from all sectors of Iranian society.”
The U.N. resolution deplored “confirmed instances” of torture in Iran “and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment, including flogging and amputations.” And it cited the Iranian government’s “persistent failure to uphold due process of law.”
President Bush has pointed out that when Cyrus the Great led the Iranian people more than two thousand years ago, he delivered one of the world’s first declarations of individual rights. Mr. Bush says that the U.S. looks forward to the day when the people of Iran enjoy “the full fruits of liberty” they deserve.