Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
September 23, 2020
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for joining us today to celebrate the enduring promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recommit to its goals.
We do so with the memory of great human rights champions in mind. Champions such as Eleanor Roosevelt, who played a central role in the creation of the Declaration, and who once said:
“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works.”
The United States has been a global champion for universal human rights since well before the Declaration was adopted in 1948 and every day since.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has dedicated much of his tenure at the State Department to reenergizing the global commitment to human rights and giving voice to those around the world who are denied their human dignity.
In May of last year, the Department of State announced the creation of the Commission on Unalienable Rights designed to provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary on international human rights matters.
In its deliberations and final report, the Commission necessarily focused considerable attention on the Universal Declaration, and noted that the political ideals and traditions of the United States were central to its development.
The decision to focus on the Universal Declaration during this year’s high-level week reflects the Trump Administration’s deep commitment to human rights around the world, a focus on the fundamental nature of those rights, as well as a recognition that the United Nations has not always proven a successful defender of them.
As we all know, the UN is a reflection of its membership, and on human rights matters, far too many member states fall short of their commitments to the Universal Declaration.
And so, it has never been more important for the responsible nations of the world to return to their commitments made through the Universal Declaration, and give renewed emphasis to human rights in everything the UN does.
I want to thank Secretary Pompeo for his leadership on these issues, and for his moral clarity that he brings to his work every day.
With that, Mr. Secretary, the floor is yours.