4 December 2020 - State Department - December is Universal Human Rights Month. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes the equality and dignity of every human being. It stipulates that every government has a duty to enable all people to enjoy their inalienable rights and freedoms and it establishes that these rights are universal.
Humankind has achieved much progress since the adoption of the Universal Declaration, including advancing and protecting the rights of women, children and victims of discrimination as well as in holding accountable perpetrators of gross human rights violations and abuses.
However, I call for taking a stock in areas where progress has not been achieved.
In practice, recognition of the inherent dignity and equal rights of human beings is still far from universal. There are still millions around the world that continue to suffer human rights violations and abuses and human rights defenders still face persecution, reprisals are rising and the space for civil society action is shrinking in very many nations.
When anyone’s human rights are denied, everyone’s rights are undermined, so I will stand up. I will raise my voice. I will take action. I will use my rights to stand up for your rights. And although the Universal Declaration did not create human rights, they existed before this. Not on paper - but in people. In fact, human rights are an inherent part of humanity. And they always will be. Even while the rights can be denied, they cannot be taken away – neither by law nor policy or action.
- Kaidence Avery
Secretary of State