News / USA

    Clinton: 'Every day is Human Rights Day'

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted civil society's role in promoting human rights during multiple events at the State Department Friday in honor of Human Rights Day.  

    Secretary Clinton said that for the people who strive to promote human rights around the world: "Every day is Human Rights Day."

    Sixty-two years after former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt presented the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the United Nations General Assembly, the world remains a challenging place for human rights defenders.  

    "We have seen increased efforts by governments to restrict civic space, whether in Cuba or China's efforts to somehow divert the world's attention from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony today.  We really know that we have our work cut out for us," she said.

    Clinton said the U.S. plans to make engagement with civil society a defining feature of diplomacy efforts, and she said embassies have been asked to develop strategies that would help support and protect civil society.

    Clinton highlighted the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and the end of Apartheid as achievements that everyday people struggled to make reality.

    Clinton said many people continue to put themselves at personal risk in their attempts to bring about positive change.

    "In Cuba, the determined women of Damas de Blanco have endured harassment, beatings and arrest as they march every week, as they once again did yesterday, in support of their husbands and sons who are longtime political prisoners. In Zimbabwe, activists have been arrested, abducted or beaten after calling attention to human rights abuses and the plight of the poor.  And, unfortunately, I could go on and on."  

    She praised activists for their bravery. "We remember them every single day, and among them is the Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo, who has now been awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize. Liu was not there, as you know, to accept the prize, and nor was his wife nor anyone related or connected to him, because he is serving an 11-year prison sentence on charges related to his peaceful advocacy for human rights and democracy," she said.

    Clinton repeated the call for his release. Then she turned her attentions to American human rights promoters who were present at the State Department to receive the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for their work.

    Among the recipients was Sarah Cleto Rial, the program director of a Boston-based NGO called 'My Sister's Keeper,' which works to advance political, social and economic justice for women and girls in Sudan.  

    The southern Sudan native, who came to the U.S. 11 years ago as a refugee, was cheered on by family and colleagues.  She said the award was a tribute to Sudanese women everywhere. "We have endured hardships and contributed much to our country, but we have always been relegated to the shadow.  This award allows us to come out and tell you and tell the world that Sudanese women have been and are here to ensure that there is lasting peace in our homeland," she said.

    Three other award recipients - Louis Henkin, Alice Hartman Henkin and Wade Henderson - were honored for their work to promote human rights in the U.S. and abroad and their efforts to shape human rights law and policy.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora