Today, on the 61st anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we renew our call to protect and uphold the principles and ideals upon which America was founded.
The world needs American leadership. In Darfur, human rights violations and genocide continues without resolution. In Burma, democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi still languishes in detention. In China and Tibet, people are imprisoned for only expressing their ideas and political views. And for many people in the developing world, extreme poverty and the spread of infectious diseases continue to fuel a 'fury of despair' that devastates communities and creates instability.
Today also marks the one-year anniversary of the publication of Charter 08, an online petition signed by Chinese citizens calling for new policies to promote human rights and democracy in China. Liu Xiaobo, one of the authors, has been arrested and other signers have been harassed and detained by authorities. The courageous actions of the signers of the charter are to be commended, and the Chinese government should cease its efforts to suppress the Charter 08 movement including the immediate and unconditional release of Liu Xiaobo.
In memory of former Congressman Tom Lantos, a champion of human rights, Congress created the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission that has helped continue his work of shining a bright light in the dark corners of the world where oppression occurs. Today, we rededicate ourselves to the cause of protecting and promoting human rights around the world.