Int'l Community Raises Voice on Human Rights Day

The international community is staging their stance for rights on Human Rights Day today. Reports show hundreds of workers from the Association of Indonesian Workers Unions rallying against working conditions and women trafficking and Australians trying to place human rights issues back on the political agenda on a day when the United Nations declared the universal human rights of every person.

President Bush, in his statement on Friday, highlighted the progress in securing the liberty of people in such countries as Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq had adopted a constitution in October stating the human rights and democracy of its people and nation. The Iraqis will be voting next week for the parliamentary election that will set the country's government for the next four years.

"This year has seen great advances in the spread of democracy and human rights," he said. "We have witnessed good progress this year, and America will continue this historic work to advance the cause of freedom.

"We remain confident in this cause because we have seen the power of freedom to overcome the dark ideologies of tyranny and terror."

During a press conference with the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York, part of the Human Rights Week events, Louise Arbour spoke of the war on terror and the torture that must be brought to an end.

Arbour called for the protection of citizens from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, emphatically stating that the right to be free from such treatment should not be subject to any limitation, anywhere, under any condition.

Suggesting efforts to eliminate the risk of torture, including the development of a genuine system for monitoring all detainees in all places of detention, Arbour called on all governments to reaffirm their commitment to the absolute prohibition of torture.

"Americans believe that freedom is God's gift to every man and woman in the world," said Bush. "Throughout our history, the United States has also worked to extend the promise of liberty to other countries. We are continuing those efforts today."