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December 07, 2020

Statement of ABA President Patricia Lee Refo Re: Human Rights Day

On Thursday, Dec. 10, the American Bar Association joins the world in celebrating Human Rights Day, which commemorates adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948. Seventy-two years later, as the world works to recover from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, protection of basic human rights is central to rebuilding a more just and equitable society.

The 2020 theme of Human Rights Day — Recover Better: Stand Up for Human Rights — recognizes the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on the poor and vulnerable. Eleanor Roosevelt said that universal human rights begin “in small places, close to home” and recognized that without concerted action to uphold human rights close to home, there would be no progress protecting them in the larger world.

The ABA promotes the ideals of human rights both at home and around the world. At home, we advocate for the vulnerable, including immigrants, victims of racial injustice, survivors of domestic and sexual violence, the homeless and poor, persons with disabilities, and so many others. Around the world, we support human rights defenders, struggling democracies and oppressed populations.

The ABA calls on all members of the legal community to reaffirm their commitment to protect the human rights and dignity of all and work towards a post-pandemic world that is more just and fair.