Restore Commitment and Integrity for Human Rights Day

Amnesty International Challenges U.S. Government to Reverse Course on Human Rights – Restore Commitment and Integrity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 /U.S. Newswire/ — In advance of Human Rights Day 2006, Amnesty International USA charged that United States’ current actions, particularly in the war on terror, amount to the most significant abdication of the nation’s commitment to human rights since the establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948.

Larry Cox, the organization’s new executive director, called the U.S. government’s conduct “disappointing to Americans who expect their country to lead by example and devastating to the millions who are suffering in Gaza, Sudan, North Korea, the Balkans and elsewhere while U.S. influence wanes as a result of its bad behavior.”

Amnesty International USA members will commemorate Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, by hosting UDHR birthday parties, participating in vigils and raising their voices for the United States government to return to the rule of law.

The United States was integral in creating the UDHR, the first global proclamation defining basic human rights, under Eleanor Roosevelt’s leadership. The nation then played a major role in advancing human rights for the next 50 years.

Today the Bush administration has practically abandoned the notion of universal human rights and the rule of law. Under the war on terror, the president has approved holding people in secret prisons without access to lawyers or their family, keeping detainees in indefinite detention without charge or trial and providing retroactive immunity for those who may be responsible for creating policies or participating in abuse and other acts believed to be torture.

Amnesty International USA, under Cox, is leading the charge to return the United States back to a leader on human rights through the new “America I Believe In” campaign under which tens of thousands of activists have already taken action

“Secret prisons, indefinite detention and torture send chills up the spines of Americans — not terrorists,” said Cox. “Americans want national security efforts that are consistent with the nation’s traditional values of justice and the rule of law. It’s time to reverse course and return this country to the America we believe in.”

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