By the President of the United States of America
Each July 4, we Americans celebrate our Nation's Independence with a profound sense of gratitude for the blessings of liberty. Yet, as we rejoice in our freedom, we also remember our solemn obligation to speak out in behalf of those peoples who suffer under tyranny and oppression. Thus, this month we also observe Captive Nations Week.
Established at a time when Marxist-Leninist regimes had enslaved many nations of the world and overshadowed others with the very real threat of expansionism, our annual observance of Captive Nations Week has underscored our determination to defend the ideals of national sovereignty and individual liberty. It has also underscored our belief in the inevitable triumph of freedom and democratic ideals. Now, after more than three decades, we can see that our faith has been well founded; our vigilance and resolve have borne fruit.
The world has entered a promising new era. Communism has failed throughout Eastern Europe. The Soviet Union has taken important steps toward democracy and openness. More and more regimes that once ruled by terror and force have fallen, swept away by courageous peoples who are eager to take their rightful place in the community of free nations -- a community that is marked by respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Tragically, however, despite these welcome changes, there remain captive peoples whose sufferings cannot be overlooked. The United States is determined to keep faith with all oppressed peoples and to assist peaceful efforts to promote democracy and freedom. Indeed, until freedom and independence have been achieved for every captive nation, we shall continue to call on all governments and states to uphold both the letter and the spirit of international human rights agreements, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the more recent Charter of Paris.
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 14, 1991, 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 commitment to upholding the God-given right of all peoples to liberty, justice, and self-determination.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.