Proclamation 5589 -- Human Rights Day, Bill of Rights Day, and Human Rights Week, 1986
the President of the
As we look around the world, however, we see a very different history. Some nations, to be sure, have followed a course similar to our own and today enjoy the liberty that we Americans have long cherished. But others have never known genuine liberty, while still others, especially in our own century, have lost the liberty they once enjoyed.
years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United
Nations General Assembly. Yet many of the governments that voted for that
Declaration are flagrantly ignoring the principles they affirmed on that
momentous occasion. The
no continent has been spared the pain of human rights violations. In
Yet despite this reign of repression, there is reason for hope. In our own hemisphere in this decade the movement has been toward freedom, not toward repression, as country after country has brought into being the institutions of democracy.
The defense of human rights is a humanitarian concern, and a practical one as well. Peace and respect for human rights are inseparable. History demonstrates that there can be no genuine peace without respect for human rights, that governments that do not respect the rights of their own citizens are a threat to their neighbors as well.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 10, 1986, as Human Rights Day and December 15, 1986, as Bill of Rights Day, and I call upon all Americans to observe the week beginning December 8, 1986, as Human Rights Week.
Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of December, in the
year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-six, and of the
with the Office of the Federal Register, ,