Human Rights First Celebrates International Human Rights Day
(New York City, NY December 10, 2009) Human Rights First today marks the 61st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by calling for a recommitment to respecting the rights to which all people are entitled. Reflecting on the progress and challenges of the past year, Elisa Massimino, Human Rights First's President and CEO, issued the following statement:
"Today we celebrate all who have worked to promote human dignity and stem intolerance, tyranny and violence. During the past year, President Obama signed Executive Orders banning torture and calling for the closure of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. In addition, Congress passed legislation to strengthen tools to combat domestic hate crime.
"As we look ahead, we recommit ourselves to the important work of defending human rights. We will continue to work toward final closure of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and in support of bringing accused terrorists to justice in federal courts in the United States. We will continue to assist refugees who come to the United States seeking the promise of our protection. We will work to support multilateral efforts to curb violence and atrocities throughout the world and to end hate crimes against those targeted because of their gender, race, religion, or sexuality. We will also support the efforts of human rights defenders who are increasingly targeted by repressive governments and violent groups and whose work remains the foundation for freedom and the rule of law. As President Obama noted earlier today is Oslo, 'We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. And we honor those ideals by upholding them not just when it is easy, but when it is hard.'"