By the President of the United States of America
The end of communist domination in Eastern Europe and progress toward democratization and greater openness in the Soviet Union are signs of a new era. Ideals we Americans have long cherished and defended -- ideals of individual liberty and self-government -- are triumphing in nations that once bore the heavy yoke of totalitarianism. Human rights that were once brutally suppressed are gaining increasing respect, and political pluralism is replacing the tired dogmas of one-party rule -- dogmas that have been thoroughly discredited time and again.
With vigilance and unfailing moral resolve, we have made great strides in our efforts to promote freedom and human rights around the world. Tragically, however, there remain countries where repressive ruling regimes continue to cling to ideologies that are inimical to the ideals of national sovereignty and individual liberty. In violation of international human rights agreements and fundamental standards of morality, these regimes continue to deny innocent men and women their inalienable rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of movement and assembly, freedom of the press, and the right to practice their religious beliefs without fear of persecution.
Each July, as we celebrate our Nation's Independence and give thanks for the blessings of liberty and self-government, we also recall our obligation to speak out for captive peoples around the world. During Captive Nations Week, we reaffirm our support for peaceful efforts to secure their right to liberty and self-determination.
As more and more government leaders around the world now acknowledge, the God-given rights of individuals must be recognized in law and respected in practice. Protecting the rights and freedom to which all men are heirs is not only the duty of any legitimate government, but also the key to real and lasting peace among nations. That is one reason why, during this Captive Nations Week, we do well to recall the timeless words written by Thomas Jefferson shortly before his death in 1826 on the 50th anniversary of our Nation's Independence: All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them. . . .
The Congress, by Joint Resolution approved July 17, 1959 (73 Stat. 212), has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating the third week in July of each year as "Captive Nations Week."
Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week beginning July 15, 1s990, as Captive Nations Week. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities, and I urge them to reaffirm their devotion to the aspirations of all peoples for liberty, justice, and self-determination.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fifteenth.