Congressman Lowenthal Introduces Legislation Honoring 65th Anniversary of Human Rights Day and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 10, 2013
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Alan Lowenthal introduced today a House Resolution that honors the 65th Anniversary of Human Rights Day and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Today, the United States and the world will celebrate the anniversary of this historic day, which traces its roots back to 1948.

"Whether it is negotiating trade agreements between countries, promoting democracy at home and abroad, or combating discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation and gender identity, human rights play a critical role in our everyday lives and the lives of people around the world," Congressman Lowenthal said. "The Congress, and the world, must recognize that those who are denied basic human rights, such as the freedoms of speech and religious or political expression, are therefore denied an opportunity to be treated with respect and with dignity."

"Since taking office in January, I have worked tirelessly to promote human rights around the globe and to ensure we put pressure on many of the worst violators of basic human rights.  Sadly, the government of Vietnam continues to be one of the worst offenders by blatantly refusing to respect the rights its own people are entitled to. I hope that this resolution serves as a signal to countries around the world, including Vietnam, that the United States will continue to stand for the basic rights of all human beings, no matter where they may live."

Congressman Lowenthal is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, whose jurisdiction includes U.S. foreign policy. As declared by the State Department, the promotion of respect for human rights as embodied in the UDHR is a central goal in the leadership the United States plays around the world.

The UDHR, championed by Eleanor Roosevelt, represents the first comprehensive international agreement about the specific rights and freedoms of all human beings. To date, the UDHR holds the Guinness World Record for most translated document, with over 416 different translations, representing the universal sharing of respect for human rights.

"The rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights uphold the same basic principles of liberty and freedom enshrined within the United State Constitution and Bill of Rights. This Resolution, supported by dozens of my colleagues, will shed a much needed light on the importance and protection of human rights in our global society."

This legislation currently has the support of more than forty members of Congress, including  twenty-seven California Representatives: Reps. Karen Bass, Tony Cardenas, Jim Costa, Judy Chu, Susan Davis, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, John Garamendi, Janice Hahn, Mike Honda, Jared Huffman,  Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Doris Matsui, Jerry McNerney, Grace Napolitano, Gloria Negrete McLeod, Scott Peters, Raul Ruiz, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, Brad Sherman, Jackie Speier, Eric Swalwell, Mike Thompson, Juan Vargas, and Henry Waxman.

As a member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, the Congressman's legislation upholds the Commission's mission, which is to promote, defend and advocate internationally recognized human rights norms in a nonpartisan manner, both within and outside of Congress, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.

Congressman Alan Lowenthal represents the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Avalon, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Cypress, Westminster, Garden Grove, Buena Park, and Stanton in California's 47th Congressional District. He can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, or his website.