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December 10th marks the sixty-first observance of Human Rights Day. The date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly's adoption and proclamation, in 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was the first global enunciation of human rights. This year's observance focuses on eliminating discrimination world-wide.
The theme this year is "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." It is a reflection of the sentiment expressed in the second article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion."
"Our main objective is to help promote discrimination-free societies and a world of equal treatment for all," says Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. "Discrimination lies at the root of many of the world’s most pressing human rights problems. No country is immune from this scourge. Eliminating discrimination is a duty of the highest order."
The United States joins the United Nations in calling for an end to all discrimination. This ideal "was reflected in President Obama’s Inaugural Address when he reminded us that every generation must carry forward the belief that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
"Human progress depends on the human spirit, and this inescapable truth has never been more apparent than it is today. The challenges of this new century require us to summon the full range of human talents to move our nation and the world forward. Guaranteeing the right of every man, woman and child to participate fully in society and to live up to his or her God-given potential is an ideal that has animated our nation since its founding."
The U.S. believes this ideal to be the undisputed birthright of every man, woman and child, everywhere.