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us at unga re burma
Ambassador Richardson's UNGA remarks on human rights
> at the General Assembly's third committee
> 14 November 1997
> (Human rights apply to all peoples, Richarson says) (1740)
> United Nations -- The United Nations must insure that the standards of
> freedom and tolerance embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
> "are a reality for future generations," U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson
> said November 12.
> In a wide-ranging speech on human rights to the General Assembly's Third
> Committee, Richardson said that "in the past few years human rights abuses
> from Bosnia to Rwanda captured the world's attention and showed us once
> again that the struggle for the recognition and acceptance of universal
> human rights is a constant process."
> "We must remain resolute against those voices that suggest the Universal
> Declaration represents the values of only a portion of humanity," the
> ambassador said.
> Human rights, he said, "know no geographic or ethnic boundaries."
> The United Nations begins a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary
> of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December.
> Citing "heartening examples" as well as continuing violations, Richardson
> also said that:
> -- Guatemala has today become a model for human rights reform;
> -- the U.S. hopes the U.N. human rights mission to the Congo will help give
> the country the opportunity to play a constructive role in the region;
> -- Cuba remains the only country in the Western Hemisphere that does not
> embrace democracy;
> -- the human rights situation in Sudan remains deplorable;
> -- Tibet suffers disproportionately from China's harsh repression;
> -- widespread human rights violations continue in Burma; and
> -- the U.S. insists on respect for human rights in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
> Croatia and Yugoslavia.
> =46ollowing is the text of the ambassador's remarks:
> Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Since its earliest days, the cause of
> international human rights has defined the United Nations. As the world
> emerged from six years of bloody conflict, after witnessing the most brutal
> and heinous atrocities ever committed by man, the desire for a new era of
> peace, where the most basic human rights would be respected and upheld,
> informed and inspired the creators of this organization.
> This year as we begin to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Universal
> Declaration of Human Rights, we are reminded that one of the U.N.'s
> greatest contributions to humankind is ensuring understanding that human
> rights are universal and part of the basic social compact across the globe.
> The commemorations planned throughout the world reaffirming and celebrating
> the Universal Declaration give us another opportunity to bring to the
> attention of all humanity the fundamental rights that are the birthright of
> every human being.
> Of course, in the past few years human rights abuses from Bosnia to Rwanda
> captured the world's attention and showed us once again that the struggle
> for the recognition and acceptance of universal human rights is a constant
> process. So long as women are denied educational and economic opportunity,
> so long as discrimination based on religion, ethnicity or skin color
> continues, and so long as war criminals can elude justice, we must remain
> In addition, we must remain resolute against those voices that suggest the
> Universal Declaration represents the values of only a portion of humanity.
> The United States, which is made up of many cultures and peoples,
> vigorously rejects this notion. Human rights, as set forth in the Universal
> Declaration, know no geographic or ethnic boundaries. These rights are
> inseparable from humanity; indeed, they apply universally -- to all
> peoples, whatever their economic, social, ethnic or cultural origins.
> In the United States, as elsewhere in the world, human rights are a work in
> progress. The United States values the opportunity to reflect on our own
> human rights record in the light of international standards, and we welcome
> the perspectives of others on that record when they are offered in a
> constructive spirit.
> Our world has undergone massive political, economic and social change over
> the past decade. The spread of democracy from South Africa to the former
> Soviet Union is bringing new-found rights and opportunities to millions. In
> fact, it is difficult to recollect a time in human history when so many
> people -- across the globe -- have enjoyed the fruits of democracy and
> freedom. Let me cite some especially heartening examples.....
> Widespread human rights violations also continue in Burma, where hundreds
> of political prisoners remain detained. Torture and other mistreatment are
> commonplace. The May 1990 elections clearly demonstrate the will of the
> Burmese people to return to parliamentary democracy. Regrettably, the
> military leadership still refuses to hand over power to a
> democratically-elected civilian government. We call for dialogue with the
> NLD, and look forward to the day when Aung San Suu Kyi is free to pursue
> her political future.
> In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
> (Serbia and Montenegro) the United States insists upon the implementation
> of the Peace Agreement, particularly its human rights aspects. We address
> this situation in full, in our draft resolution, on this subject.
> China has taken some steps which may help improve the human rights
> situation over the long term. China signed the International Covenant on
> Economic, Social and Cultural rights, agreed to preparatory talks
> establishing a forum for Chinese and U.S. NGOs and officials, hosted the
> October visit of the U.N. Arbitrary Detention Working Group, resumed
> limited cooperation with businessman and human rights activist John Kamm on
> prisoner accounting, and invited a distinguished delegation of U.S.
> religious leaders to observe Chinese religious practice. Nevertheless, in
> China widespread and well-documented human rights abuses, including severe
> restrictions on freedom of speech, the press, assembly, association,
> religion, privacy and worker rights, continue unabated. Tibet, in
> particular, continues to suffer disproportionately from China's harsh
> repression. President Clinton and Secretary Albright...