Statement From USAID Administrator Mark Green On International Human Rights Day

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email:

To commemorate International Human Rights Day, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) reaffirms our commitment to promote and protect the basic rights of all individuals in the countries in which we work as we help them build towards self-reliance and citizen-responsive governance.

Seventy years ago, in the wake of a devastating world war, leaders from around the globe came together to agree upon a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That effort sought to establish shared norms that, if followed, could prevent the type of conditions that enabled fascism and led to immense human suffering. Americans can be proud that the individual freedoms and liberties forged and strengthened by our nation's experience and example largely inspired the international norms enshrined in the Declaration.

On November 8, 2019, while I was in Germany for the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I gave remarks to students at the European Democracy Youth Conference. I highlighted the courage and struggle of human-rights defenders throughout the world, from the former Soviet bloc to current crises such as Venezuela and Hong Kong. I also emphasized that democracy is not inevitable, but is the result of grassroots efforts by brave advocates who understand the importance of freedom. USAID remains dedicated to responding to the increased global demand for democracy and individual liberties.

Across the world, USAID's Missions advance freedom and individual rights through a wide range of innovative programs to promote and preserve human rights. In the Republic of Burkina Faso, USAID funds the National Human Rights Commission to build a network of advocates and civil society to address abuses. In the Republic of Sudan, in response to the historic democratic transition that is unfolding, USAID-financed civil-society activists to document and report on gross violations of human rights committed by security forces during the peaceful protests of this Summer. In the Dominican Republic, USAID is tackling long-standing cultural and institutional challenges to addressing gender-based violence by working through the national police and providing assistance to well-placed civil-society actors. In Burma, we continue to call for justice and accountability for the Rohingya, many of whom are still living in camps where they are deprived of many basic rights and freedoms. And in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we are deeply troubled by reports of atrocities being committed against civilians in Eastern Congo and call for the protection of communities who already are suffering from the effects of Ebola.

As USAID advances freedom, liberty, and self-reliance across the globe, I urge our staff and partners to consider that being missionaries for freedom means helping free peoples and freedom-loving leaders succeed. It means helping them on their Journey to Self-Reliance and to move from aid recipients to partners to fellow donors, ready to help others rise.

Last updated: June 25, 2020

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