December 10, 2020

Castro, Raskin Statement on Commemorating International Human Rights Day

Washington — Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Vice Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) and Chairman of its Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, and Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, released the following statement to commemorate Human Rights Day:

“As we mark International Human Rights Day, we must reaffirm the importance of our commitment to human rights for all people.  We have worked together and with our colleagues to promote human rights worldwide.

“Over the last four years, we have witnessed the Trump administration undermine our global system, questioning the very essence and nature of human rights. Using the dangerous Commission on Unalienable Rights, they have cherry picked and defined a narrow hierarchy of rights with a deliberately limited and ultimately indefensible definition of religious freedom at the top — denying women, girls, and LGBTQI+ individuals their fundamental human rights protections. The Trump administration has also falsely claimed that documents such as the so-called Geneva Consensus Declaration, an anti-woman and anti-LGBTQI+ manifesto developed outside of United Nations processes with little support from the global community, is an alternative framework for human rights.

“These actions have been disastrous not only for U.S. global leadership, but also for human rights defenders across the world. As members of Congress, we denounce the Trump administration’s attacks on human rights and reject the findings of the Commission on Unalienable Rights’ report, the Geneva Consensus Declaration, and other actions that have depreciated fundamental human rights protections.

“As we look toward the incoming Biden administration, we welcome the opportunity to rebuild U.S. global leadership on human rights.  We will work with the Biden administration to ensure that all people and all rights — including those of refugees, the rights of women around the world, the rights of LGBTQI+ individuals, the rights of the Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendant populations — are centered and protected in our country and in our foreign policy.”


Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10th — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR is a milestone document that proclaims the inalienable rights which everyone is entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.