Sixty years ago this month, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the Universal Declaration "transcends political and ethnic differences and national boundaries, even as it embraces humanity in all of its diversity":
"Indeed, the Declaration speaks directly to the desire inherent in every human heart for freedom."
Ms. Rice says that in the last 60 years, there have been remarkable gains for the rights the Declaration enumerates, including the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association:
"Yet we are sobered by the fact that hundreds of millions of people are still denied fundamental freedoms by their governments."
One of those governments is Iran, which ratified the Universal Declaration in 1948. Recently the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, published a report criticizing the Iranian government for a broad range of human rights abuses, including the repression of peaceful women's rights defenders, journalists, labor leaders, and ethnic minority right advocates. Iranian human rights groups have urged the United Nations to send a delegation to Iran to evaluate the dismal human rights situation there.
The UN General Assembly's Third Committee has also passed a resolution condemning Iran's human rights violations. The resolution calls on Iran to end discrimination against women and religious minorities, uphold Iranians' legal rights, and end harassment of activists.
On the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United States stands with the international community in calling for Iran to stand by its international commitments and respect the human rights of its people.