Human Rights Week
Statement by Secretary Colin L. Powell
December 8, 2004
This year the government of the United States joins the global community in commemorating the 56th Anniversary of the
signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Wrought from the horrors of the Second World War, the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly to enshrine the principles of equality and justice in
In honor of this important event President George W. Bush has officially declared the week of December 10 17, 2004, to
be Human Rights Week and December 10, 2004, to be Human Rights Day. In commemorating this week, we reaffirm our
commitment to the principles which have come to characterize our nation.
The United States values the sanctity of the individual and is committed to preventing human rights abuses. Our country
is one in which all citizens regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, religious faith or other characteristics, are
entitled to enjoy equal opportunities and mutual peace.
Today, millions of people across the globe are denied basic human rights, and so on every continent we make important
immediate and long-term investments in democracy and human rights. We are working with other countries to establish
governments that are chosen by their own people through democratic processes. We are currently working hand-in-hand with
the Afghan and Iraqi governments so that human rights and democratic freedoms will be fully restored to people who have
suffered years of oppression. Additionally, I will be in Morocco for the first ever "Forum for the Future," which is an
extraordinary gathering of nations offering us the opportunity to promote democracy and freedom to the Broader Middle
East and North Africa.
Our fight for human rights will continue so long as tyrannical regimes infringe upon the freedom of citizens. Though
this challenge remains formidable in the 21st century, we are committed to upholding the principle and practice of
democracy. Meeting this challenge will require an unprecedented amount of cooperation among nations, and we stand united
with those countries that respect human dignity. We hold our allies in the war on terror and ourselves to these
standards. The struggle for freedom requires scrupulous adherence to human rights, not a relaxation of standards.
Please join the United States Department of State in celebrating Human Rights Week by learning more about international
human rights from the website of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/.
Together, we can pave the road towards equality and freedom for all persons around the world. 2004/1335 [End]
Released on December 8, 2004