DECEMBER 11, 1956
NEW YORK—December 10 has come to be celebrated in many countries throughout the world as Human Rights Day. On that day, at United Nations headquarters, there is always a celebration, and in the U.S., where we pride ourselves on our consideration for human rights and freedom, the President issued a statement marking U.N. Human Rights Day.
I think it was a significant statement, for it reminded us that the acceptance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly of the U.N. eight years ago was "an important milestone along the road that leads to worldwide recognition of the inherent dignity of man."
The President then noted the violations of human rights that have occurred this year in Hungary. I think those that occurred in Egypt should also be noted, because our interest is equally centered at the present time on the Near East and on Europe.
In both places the dignity of man as man, not as belonging to any one race or religion, must eventually gain recognition if we are to have a peaceful world.
The President noted in his statement that in Hungary practically every one of the articles of the Declaration of Human Rights had been violated. I think the same could be said for the Egyptians' treatment of the Jews.
The President ended his statement with a plea that each one of us, on Human Rights Day in our country, which was made free by our courageous forefathers and has been kept free by the recognition of our citizens that they must be watchful, should recognize anew that we are "brothers in our father's house and each is truly his brother's keeper."
"We cannot shed that responsibility," he said, "nor do we want to do so. Let us resolve on this day that the world shall never forget what tyranny has done to our fellow man in Hungary."
To this I would add "what tyranny has done anywhere in the world where tyranny exists," for it exists even in areas which pride themselves on being free to a great extent.
Actually, until we do away with hunger and unnecessary disease and dire poverty throughout the world, real freedom will not exist. That is why each one of us in our own country should be working to continue the fight for the rights of man on every level—spiritual and social as well as economic.
All kinds of rights are tied together. If we fail to grant any one of them, we will find ourselves failing to achieve the full measure of human rights and freedoms, the goal we desire to attain.
To the countries that talk about human rights and constantly violate them, the rest of us have an obligation. We should set an example, but we also should keep pointing out the shortcomings which prevent the development of full freedom in these countries.