Skip to main content

McCain Institute Statement on the 73rd Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

We must never cease to believe in the moral superiority of our own values: that we stand for truth against falsehood, freedom against tyranny, right against injustice, hope against despair — and that even though we will inevitably take losses and suffer setbacks, through it all, as long as people of goodwill and courage refuse to lose faith in the West, it will endure
Senator John McCain

The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University is dedicated to advancing the legacy of Senator McCain, especially in the arena of human rights and democracy. Today, we invite you to join the McCain Institute in marking the seventy-third anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Right (UDHR) by committing to the full realization of the rights and dignity of all and ensuring those rights are afforded for generations to come.

Seventy-three years ago, on December 10, 1948, history was changed when 48 world leaders signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – a collective aspiration to establish a world order based on human dignity. Since, this document has transitioned from being an aspirational treatise into a set of standards that has permeated virtually every area of international law. Its lasting strength is a testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice, and human dignity.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, human rights are increasingly under attack from authoritarian regimes across the globe. It is essential that human rights are “front and center” of the global COVID-19 response in order to achieve a better future for people everywhere. The pandemic has undermined human rights by providing a pretext for heavy-handed security responses and repressive measures that curtail civic space and media freedom. This has further exacerbated global poverty, inequality, discrimination, the destruction of our natural environment and other human rights failures.

The world stands at an inflection point in history and the choices we make today will determine the kind of world we leave to future generations. Defending human rights is crucial in affirming the power of democratic governance as the most powerful tool we have to meet global challenges and unleash our full human potential.

Publish Date
December 10, 2021