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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 10, 1993

Statement by the Press Secretary

The President today issued a proclamation to commemorate Human Rights Day, which this year celebrates the 45th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration sets out the basic standards for protection of human rights and democracy and has served to spur international efforts to promote human dignity and the rule of law.

In a White House ceremony attended by representatives of several major U.S. human rights groups, the President also proclaimed December 15 as "Bill of Rights Day," as that date marks the 202nd anniversary of the ratification of the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

In the Proclamation, the President said, "The Bill of Rights and Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrine this timeless truth for all people and all nations: respect for human rights is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace."

The signing ceremony was attended by Ronald E. Hampton of Amnesty International-USA; Robert Bernstein of Human Rights Watch; and Bette Bao Lord of Freedom House. Also participating in the ceremony was Monique Mujawamariya, Executive Director of the Rwandan Association for the Defense of Human Rights and Public Liberties. Ms. Mujawamariya is one of the many international human rights monitors visiting the United States as guests of U.S. groups to commemorate Human Rights Day.

The White House also today hosted a meeting between National Security Advisor Anthony Lake and some 20 non-governmental organizations involved in promoting human rights.

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