Today, in honor of International Human Rights Day and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, U.S. Embassies and USAID missions around the world are opening their doors to civil society; to the Russian journalists who bravely report on corruption and abuse in the face of grave danger; to the Egyptian human rights activists who fight every day for justice; to the Kenyan political activists who recently helped shepherd a peaceful vote on a Constitutional referendum.
In 1994, USAID became the world’s first donor agency to establish democracy, human rights, and governance as core development objectives. Since then, USAID has become the leading development agency on these issues. With over 400 experts worldwide, USAID manages and programs the vast majority of the U.S. Government’s total budget—over three billion dollars this year alone—devoted to these issues.
These investments are critical to our national security and to reflect our national character, making the word safer and more equitable. That’s why the Obama Administration has laid out an ambitious democracy, human rights, and governance agenda for USAID. We are engaged in a renewed focus to help our partners deliver for their citizens.
In Colombia, USAID created an early warning system to help prevent human rights violations by illegal armed actors, paramilitaries, leftist guerrillas, and drug mafias.
In Indonesia, USAID worked across 9 provinces with nearly 600 local nongovernmental organizations to increase citizen participation in local governance and social service provision.
Across Asia, USAID helped uphold rights to access for at-risk populations, including transgender communities and men who have sex with men, to HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment, as well as building regional and in-country capacities to respond.
In Egypt, USAID is supporting disability advocates to organize and lead the development of policies and programs targeting the inclusion of people with disabilities, impacting over 15,000 Egyptians with disabilities at both the local and national levels.
And in the Democratic Republic of Congo, USAID and its partners helped provide medical services, fight impunity, and promote community awareness of and response to sexual and gender-based violence for more than 100,000 survivors of rape.
At USAID, we cherish the fundamental liberties contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and we promote democratic institutions to fulfill these rights for every global citizen.
Every day, we are dedicated to making USAID the leader on advancing democracy, human rights, and governance globally. Today on this day, with our friends, with our allies, and especially with human rights activists around the world, we support and honor the global efforts to expand human rights for all.