In a White House ceremony commemorating the 51st anniversary of the universal Declaration of Human Rights, the President and First Lady condemned the Taliban and voiced great concern for the plight of Afghan women and girls living under the gender apartheid policies of the Taliban militia. The President proclaimed, “The real genius of the Declaration of Human Rights is that it affirmed that basic human rights are not cultural, but universal.” The President announced that the United States will spend $2 million to improve education and health for Afghan women and children and an additional $1.5 million for emergency aid for internally displaced by the recent Taliban offensives. He also committed to expanding the resettlement program for women and children.
A young Afghan woman who recently fled the Taliban’s injustice, testified to the brutality of the Taliban’s rule, recounting the sight of a woman who died at the entrance of a hospital. Despite her suffering and the pleas of her husband, the young woman was not allowed into the medical facility simply because she was a woman.
Recipients of the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights included Delores Huerta, secretary/treasurer and co-founder of United Farm Workers and a board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “She worked the boardrooms and the statehouses, negotiating contracts and fighting for laws that lifted the lives of thousands and thousands of Americans,” noted President Clinton. Charlotte Bunch, founder of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University, was also given the Presidential Award.