Windhoek – December 10 is Human Rights Day. On this day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a powerful document that strengthens and affirms core values that the United States and Namibia share. Human rights – and working for and protecting them – is a foundation of the very system of democracy that citizens in our two countries hold dear.
One of the most important reminders of Human Rights Day is that we must never take human rights for granted. Every day, from gentle tending to dangerous struggle, we who believe in Human Rights need to take actions to protect them. But we must also remember on this day that we must advocate for the rights of others, just as we labor for our own because lack of rights and a failure to be treated with dignity can be one of life’s greatest inequalities. Everyone deserves them, but not everyone has them. On Human Rights Day this year, let everyone who believes in and struggles for their own rights and dignity continue that determined march for the rights and dignity of every individual.
Just as every individual who believes in human rights must work for them, so must every government. Governments, like individuals, are vulnerable to abuses which can weaken them. Human trafficking penetrates borders. Corruption undermines economic growth and justice. Authoritarian leaders reach across borders to challenge human rights and democracy itself. Democracies deliver better for their citizens than any other form of government, but our democracies, from the United States to Namibia, must have the determination and commitment to face and defeat these threats and continue to work to advance human rights in our own countries and around the world.
On Human Rights Day, I want to voice my encouragement for every person who advocates, labors, and fights for the rights of all people and for the democracies that we love.
Audio Recording of Statement by Chargé d’Affaires Jess Long: