By the President of the United States of America
The year 1968 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations—an historic document of freedom that expresses man's deepest beliefs about the rights that every human being is born with, and that no government is entitled to deny.
The United Nations has designated 1968 as International Human Rights Year. It has invited its members to intensify their domestic efforts to realize the aims of the Declaration.
Every American should remember, with pride and gratitude, that much of the leadership in the drafting and adoption of the Declaration came from a great American, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt. She was our first representative on the UN Commission on Human Rights.
Today, October 11, would have been her 83rd birthday. With the inspiration of her humanitarian concern still before us, I call the attention of our people to the Declaration she helped to author.
To Americans, the rights embodied in the Declaration are familiar, but to many other people, in other lands, they are rights never enjoyed and only recently even aspired to.
The adoption of the Declaration by the United Nations established a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. These principles were incorporated into Human Rights Conventions, to be ratified by the individual nations.
American ratification of these Conventions is long overdue. The principles they embody are part of our own national heritage. The rights and freedoms they proclaim are those which America has defended—and fights to defend—around the world.
It is my continuing hope that the United States Senate will ratify these conventions. This would present the world with another testament to our Nation's abiding belief in the inherent dignity and worth of the individual person. It would speak again of the highest ideals of America.
Now, Therefore, I, Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States of America, in honor of the ratification of the American Bill of Rights, December 15, 1791, and in honor of the adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, December 10, 1948, do hereby proclaim the week of December 10 through 17, 1967, to be Human Rights Week and the year 1968 to be Human Rights Year. In so doing, I call upon all Americans and upon all Government agencies—federal, state and local—to use this occasion to deepen our commitment to the defense of human rights and to strengthen our efforts for their full and effective realization both among our own people and among all the peoples of the United Nations.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred sixty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninety-second.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON