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Statement From U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns on International Human Rights Day 2023
December 11, 2023

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, enshrines the principle recognized by all members of the UN General Assembly that human rights and fundamental freedoms are inherent to all people, and states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, no matter where they live or who they are.   On the seventy-fifth anniversary of its adoption, the United States remains deeply concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s failure to live up to its responsibility and commitment to protect human rights.

The United States stands with countries and people around the world against the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.  We condemn the PRC’s human rights abuses against Tibetans and its brutal campaign to eliminate Tibet’s unique cultural, linguistic, and ethnic identity.   In Hong Kong, we remain deeply concerned about the deterioration of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the unjust detention of those who speak out peacefully.  The United States supports the right of peaceful assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and the rule of law.  We stand by those who defend the rights of others, including Chinese lawyers, journalists, and members of civil society, all of whom often face harassment, intimidation, and imprisonment for standing up for peace, security, and human dignity.   We call on the PRC to examine its human rights practices and uphold its international human rights obligations and the commitments it has made to its own people.