WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee that oversees democracy and human rights, released the following joint statement commemorating Human Rights Day.
“Today, on Human Rights Day, which marks the adoption of the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights, we celebrate the fundamental rights of all people that no government or individual has the authority to take away. Tragically, millions of people around the world are denied their most basic freedoms and dignity daily.
“As authoritarianism is on the rise in many corners of the world, the legitimate demands for freedom have increased. We have witnessed citizens take to the streets to exercise their right to protest and demand accountability and change from corrupt regimes. We have also heard the stories of horrific human rights abuses taking place across the globe. The Chinese Communist Party is rounding up Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities and committing unspeakable crimes, which potentially amount to genocide, repressing the rights of Tibetans, crushing freedom in Hong Kong, and attempting to silence dissent inside of and increasingly outside of China. In Burma, a campaign of violence unleashed against the Rohingya by military forces continues. In Venezuela, the Maduro regime has pressed on with sham legislative elections that were neither free nor fair and has continued its deadly crackdowns. Cuba’s attacks against peaceful protestors and members of the press persists. The terror-sponsoring regime in Iran this year executed an Olympic wrestler, Navid Afkari, solely for exercising his fundamental right to expression. In Russia, critics of Putin are poisoned or arbitrarily detained. The Belarusian people have faced repression, detentions, and violent crackdowns for simply calling for legitimate and free elections. Women remain locked up in Saudi Arabia for advocating the rights of all Saudi women. The list sadly goes on.
“The United States must continue to champion the rights of all people regardless of where they live and be a voice for the voiceless. We cannot look the other way. As Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee that oversees human rights, we reiterate our strong, bipartisan commitment to working together to call out brutal regimes and use tools like the Global Magnitsky Act to hold individuals accountable for their violations of human rights and corrupt practices. We must stand in solidarity with those living under oppression. We also come together today to honor those individuals who risk their lives daily for the right to speak their minds, to worship without fear, to choose their leaders, and to be protected from arbitrary arrest and detention.
“The promotion and protection of human rights is not a partisan cause. It is not limited to one people or one nation. It is a human cause, which requires all of us to stand up and take action. The time is now.”