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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 6, 1999


Human Rights Day 1999 and Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award

President Clinton today commemorates Human Rights Day, which this year will mark the 51st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the U.N. General Assembly declaration affirming fundamental freedoms and human rights for all people. (The actual date of Human Rights Day is December 10.)

The Clinton Administration has worked to promote human rights and democracy the world over because they are integral to American values and because a world in which governments respect the rule of law will be freer, safer, and more prosperous.

From Haiti to the Balkans, Northern Ireland to the Middle East, the U.S. has led international efforts to resolve conflicts that give rise to human rights abuses. We have provided vital support to build democratic and human rights institutions from Nigeria and East Timor to China, where we continue to press vigorously for progress on prisoner releases, political rights, religious freedom and the rule of law.

Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award

Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force behind the adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To honor her commitment to the principles of the Declaration, the President established the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights.

The Secretary of State recommended, and the President approved, five distinguished U.S. citizens for human rights leadership at home and abroad to receive the second annual Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights.

1999 Eleanor Roosevelt Award Citations


Through her work with the Center for Women's Global Leadership and at the U.N. Human Rights Conferences in Vienna and Beijing, Charlotte Bunch has built a worldwide network of activists and raised awareness of discrimination against women, gender violence, gay and lesbian rights, and other critical issues. We honor her for her courageous advocacy and activism.


For more than 30 years, Dolores Huerta has been at the vanguard of the workers' and women's rights movements in the United States. As co-founder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers of America, she has helped farm workers secure their rights to organize and to bargain collectively. We honor her for her achievements in promoting the dignity and welfare of millions of American workers.


As Assistant Attorney General in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, Burke Marshall played a central role in the civil rights struggle and in the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. In the years since, he has inspired new generations to pursue public service. We honor him for his essential contribution to ending segregation and transforming our Nation.


Sister Jean Marshall has helped make real the dreams of thousands of people who have fled persecution and abuse overseas. As founder of St. Rita's Immigrant and Refugee Center in the Bronx, she has helped refugees and asylum-seekers to learn English, find jobs and homes, and receive health and social services. We honor her for her outstanding humanitarian efforts.


Rev. Leon Sullivan has spent a lifetime helping to improve the lives of others. As author of the Sullivan Principles, and as a champion of civil and political rights, he has moved mountains to help end apartheid in South Africa, secure civil rights at home, and promote corporate responsibility and social justice worldwide. We honor him for his tireless crusade to help others find the greatness within themselves.

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