Statement by Ambassador Craft on the Report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights

Ambassador Kelly Craft
Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
July 16, 2020

Statement on the Report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights

Today’s release of the report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights offers the global community a vital opportunity to recall and reinvigorate the principles outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

This landmark report describes the American rights tradition and how we have evolved as a nation based on our founding principle of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It has been a constant struggle, marked by historic breakthroughs, as we work toward achieving our central belief that every person possesses unalienable rights that must not be taken away.

And yet, nearly seventy-five years later, far too many Member States disregard their commitments under the UDHR, hundreds of millions of men and women suffer extreme forms of deprivation under authoritarian regimes, and the UN’s own focal point, the Human Rights Council, has proven politicized and ineffectual. Authoritarian regimes must not whitewash basic human rights by interpreting and manipulating them to justify repressive policies that muzzle individual freedoms.

The ideals reflected in the UDHR endure because they were built on principles that transcend our differences: faith in fundamental freedoms and human rights; the dignity and worth of every person; and equal rights for all. The Commission’s report reminds us that these ideals drew their inspiration from the founding documents of the United States, and invites us all to recommit to those universal, unalienable rights. I encourage my counterparts at the UN and in other international organizations to read this report and embrace its recommendations.