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U.S. Supports Staging of Play Against Child Abuse

In an effort to kindle an artistic and learning expression that seeks to educate people on respect for the human rights of children of all ages, a children’s play entitled Pataplín Rataplán, All against Child Abuse, opened Thursday May 27 at 8:00 a.m., at the Jorge Eliecer Gaitan theatre in Bogotá. Over 2,000 schoolchildren from different schools in Bogotá attended this opening. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided technical and financial resources for $25,000 dollars to the La Baranda Theatre Foundation, in charge of setting this stage representation.

This grand adventure, with characters such as the evil Maltra Tor and Perver Sa, and General Pataplin as the children’s champion, tells a tale that seeks to introduce the audience to the rights of children and youth. The skit shows how grown-ups sometimes can do and say things that may lead to violence, and shows how to avoid child abuse.

In addition to the Foundation’s creative support, other organizations contributed to setting up the play: the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), the Sisma Mujer Corporation, the Children and Youth Police, the District’s Education Secretariat and its Health to School Program, the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as teachers and students from various schools around Bogota.

Bogota, D.C., May 28, 2010

 
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World Press Freedom Day

The United States is proud to join the international community in celebrating World Press Freedom Day and the contributions that journalists make to advancing human dignity, liberty, and prosperity.

We live in a world where the free flow of information and ideas is a powerful force for progress. Independent print, broadcast, and online media outlets are more than sources of news and opinion. They also expose abuses of power, fight corruption, challenge assumptions, and provide constructive outlets for new ideas and dissent.

Freedom of the press is protected by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is a hallmark of every free society. Wherever media freedom is in jeopardy, all other human rights are also under threat. A free media is essential to democracy and it fosters transparency and accountability, both of which are prerequisites for sustained economic development.

Those who seek to abuse power and spread corruption view media freedom as a threat. Instead of supporting an open press, they attempt to control or silence independent voices. The methods they use against news organizations and journalists range from restrictive laws and regulations to censorship, violence, imprisonment, and even murder. Such tactics are not new, and cannot go unanswered.

We are especially concerned about the citizens from our own country currently under detention abroad: individuals such as Roxana Saberi in Iran, and Euna Lee and Laura Ling in North Korea.

On behalf of President Obama, I want to affirm the United States’ strong commitment to media freedom worldwide. We will champion this cause through our diplomatic efforts and through our exchange and assistance programs. We will work in partnership with non-governmental organizations and directly with members of the media. And we will stand with those courageous men and women who face persecution for exercising and defending the right of media freedom.

 


U.S. to Run for Election to the UN Human Rights Council

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice announce that the United States will seek a seat this year on the United Nations Human Rights Council with the goal of working to make it a more effective body to promote and protect human rights.

The decision is in keeping with the Obama Administration’s “new era of engagement” with other nations to advance American security interests and meet the global challenges of the 21st century.

“Human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy” said Secretary Clinton. “With others, we will engage in the work of improving the UN human rights system to advance the vision of the UN Declaration on Human Rights. The United States helped to found the United Nations and retains a vital stake in advancing that organization’s genuine commitment to the human rights values that we share with other member nations. We believe every nation must live by and help shape global rules that ensure people enjoy the right to live freely and participate fully in their societies.”

“Those who suffer from abuse and oppression around the world, as well as those who dedicate their lives to advancing human rights, need the Council to be balanced and credible,” said Ambassador Rice. “The U.S. is seeking election to the Council because we believe that working from within, we can make the council a more effective forum to promote and protect human rights. We hope to work in partnership with many countries to achieve a more effective Council.”

The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the UN system made up of 47 elected members whose mission is to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights globally. The next round of elections to the Council will be held on May 15th in the UN General Assembly in New York. Members will be elected to a three-year term. The Council was created in March 2006, and is scheduled to undergo a formal review of its structure and procedures in 2011, which will offer a significant opportunity for Council reform.

 
 

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