John F. Kennedy photo

Proclamation 3442—Human Rights Week, 1961

December 09, 1961

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Whereas December 15, 1961, marks the one hundred and seventieth anniversary of the adoption of the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States, which are known as the Bill of Rights; and

Whereas December 10, 1961, marks the thirteenth anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all nations and all peoples; and

Whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights gives fresh voice to the equal dignity and worth of every human being proclaimed in our own Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution of the United States; and

Whereas the strongest guarantee of liberty is the cooperation of independent nations in defense of peace and justice, each in support of its own freedom and the rights of its own citizens:

Now, Therefore, I, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the period of December 10 to December 17, 1961, as Human Rights Week, and I call upon the citizens of the United States to honor our heritage by study of these great documents and thereby gain new strength for the long struggle against the forces of terror that threaten the freedoms which give meaning to human existence-the right to speak without fear and to seek the truth regardless of frontiers; the right to worship in accord with conscience and to share the strength and glory of religion with our children; the right to determine our own institutions of government and to vote in secret for the candidate of our choice; the right to justice under law and to protection against arbitrary arrest; the right to labor and to join in efforts to improve conditions of work; the right to unite with our fellows, without distinction as to race, creed, or color, in tearing down the walls of prejudice, ignorance, and poverty wherever they may be, and to build ever firmer the foundations of liberty and equality for all.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this ninth day of December in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-sixth.

Signature of John F. Kennedy


By the President:


Secretary of State.

John F. Kennedy, Proclamation 3442—Human Rights Week, 1961 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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