American Convention on Human Rights - Remarks on Signing the Convention
This morning, my wife is in Costa Rica, and yesterday when she arrived at the airport she reported that today, after waiting for many years, the United States would ratify this Convention on Human Rights.
In 1969, when this agreement was reached in this hemisphere, the other nations came forward to commit themselves to a legally binding document which would express the aspirations that have existed among all our countries since the first governments were formed in North and South America.
As far back as the 1820's, Simon Bolivar put forward a concept of human freedom and the responsibility of government to protect the rights of individuals.
In 1948, another agreement was reached in our hemisphere to pursue this noble endeavor of democratic and free governments. In 1969, this covenant was signed by the other nations.
This blank place on the page has been here for a long time, and it's with a great deal of pleasure that I sign on behalf of the United States this Convention on Human Rights which will spell out in clear terms our own belief in the proper relationship between free human beings and governments chosen by them.
I believe that no one nation can shape the attitudes of the world, and that's why it's so important for us to join in with our friends and neighbors in the south to pursue as a unified group this noble commitment and endeavor. And I think that it's accurate to say that among almost all the leaders of the 150 nations of the world this year, there is a preoccupation with and a concern about basic human rights.
Part of it is because of actions like these on behalf of free people. Another, of course, is the upcoming conference in Belgrade on the progress that has been made by the 35 signatories of the Helsinki agreement.
But we are very glad this morning to join in this commitment and to follow the leadership of other countries in this hemisphere who have preceded us in the signing of this agreement.
I'm very grateful to be honored by the presence here of these distinguished representatives of their governments, and I therefore sign now for the United States this agreement.
[At this point, the President signed the convention.]
This is dated the 22d of November 1969. This is the American Convention on Human Rights.
Thank you very much.
Note: The President spoke at 11: 30 a.m. at a ceremony in the office of the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States at the Pan American Union.
Jimmy Carter, American Convention on Human Rights - Remarks on Signing the Convention Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243357