December 10, 2015
On December 10 of each year, we celebrate Human Rights Day and promote respect for the universal rights we share as human beings “born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It commemorates the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We at the U.S. Embassy believe that respect for the human rights of all Burundians is essential, and the universal rights for all must be respected and protected by the Government of Burundi.
The International Bill of Human Rights declares that civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights are the birth right of all human beings. This year’s Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted in 1966. The two Covenants, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights, which endows Burundians with the framework in which they can achieve their potential.
The Declaration states, “Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienablerights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” Enshrined in the declaration is the right to social order so every citizen can enjoy all of their rights including freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Burundi has enormous potential, especially in the youth that make up over 60% of the population. Article 26 of the Declaration states, “Everyone has the right to education… Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups.” Empowering youth with education and opportunities will allow Burundi to cash in on the peace dividend it deserves.
On this Human Rights Day, I urge all Burundians to stop the violence that is hindering universal access to human rights and act in a spirit of unity to bring peace back to this nation. I encourage all Burundians, especially the youth, to uphold the universal human rights which will put Burundi back on the path of peace and prosperity.