featured graphic for Congressman Alan Lowenthal

Congressmen Lowenthal and Pocan introduce legislation honoring 73th anniversary of Human Rights Day and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Congressmen Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Mark Pocan (WI-02) today joined with 45 of their House colleagues to introduce a House Resolution honoring the 73rd Anniversary of Human Rights Day and the 1948 ratification by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

“Seventy-three years ago, our nation signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), upholding the basic principles of liberty and freedom enshrined within our own Constitution and Bill of Rights,” Congressman Lowenthal said. “Today, more than ever, it is critical that promoting respect for human rights as embodied in the declaration remain a key component of our country’s foreign policy. It is imperative that our nation acknowledge that those around the world who are denied basic human rights, such as the freedoms of speech, religion, and political expression, are also denied basic human respect and dignity. Denying these basic human rights from any person is an attack on our shared humanity. It is our duty and responsibility to continue advocating and fighting for the universal protection of human rights.”

“Over the last 73 years, we’ve seen significant improvements in the protection of human rights, equality, and justice around the globe, however, it is clear there is still significant work to do. The rights of women, LGBTQ individuals, and minority communities are still under threat around the world,” Congressman Pocan said. “I’m proud to co-lead this resolution that reiterates the U.S. commitment to pursuing consistent and principled human rights policies when engaging with all foreign countries.”

Championed by U.S. First Lady and U.N Ambassador Eleanor Roosevelt, and adopted by the United Nations in 1948, the UDHR represents the first comprehensive international agreement about the specific rights and freedoms of all human beings. Today, the UDHR is the world’s most translated document, with over 416 different translations.

Since 1948, the UDHR has been the foundational document for enumerable international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions, and is a key component of the International Bill of Human Rights which went into effect in 1976.

As an executive member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Congressman Lowenthal’s legislation upholds the Commission’s mission, which is to promote, defend and advocate internationally recognized human rights norms in a nonpartisan manner, both within and outside of Congress, as enshrined in the UDHR and other relevant human rights instruments.

The resolution also recognizes the 73rd anniversary of Human Rights Day, first observed in 1948 and celebrated each year to honor the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the UDHR. Today, Human Rights Day is observed around the globe, with this year’s theme chosen to be: EQUALITY – Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights. This year’s theme relates to ‘Equality’ in Article 1 of the UDHR – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Congressmen Lowenthal and Pocan’s legislation currently has the support of 45 other House Members.

To read the full text of the House resolution, please click here.

“We proudly endorse this resolution reaffirming the U.S. commitment to universal rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said Joanne Lin, National Director of Advocacy and Government Relations for Amnesty International USA. “Whether the situation concerns Haitians seeking refuge in Texas or Black Americans being killed by police or Afghans fleeing the Taliban – the fight for human rights is a daily battle that requires a whole-of-government commitment. Amnesty International USA calls on all U.S. lawmakers to commit to making these universal rights a reality for all people.”

“Championed by former UNA-USA board chairwoman Eleanor Roosevelt, the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a landmark moment in the fight for freedom and equality,” said Rachel Bowen Pittman, Executive Director of UNA-USA. “On behalf of the more than 20,000 UNA-USA members across the country, I sincerely thank Rep. Alan Lowenthal for commemorating the UDHR’s 73rd anniversary and reaffirming our nation’s commitment to the vital values that underpin this document.”

This article was released by the Office of Congressmen Alan Lowenthal.