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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 25, 2007
Fact Sheet: A Mission of Liberation Around the World
President Bush Calls On Members Of The United Nations General Assembly To Work Toward Standards Of The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights
President Bush Addresses The United Nations General Assembly
Today, President Bush addressed the United Nations General Assembly and called on every UN member to join a mission of liberation from tyranny, hunger, disease, illiteracy, and poverty. Achieving the promise of the UN's commitment to "freedom, justice, and peace" laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights requires both confronting long-term threats and answering the immediate needs of today. The UN must work to free people from tyranny and violence, hunger and disease, illiteracy and ignorance, and poverty and despair.
Liberation From Tyranny And Violence
Terrorists and extremists who kill the innocent are a threat to civilized people everywhere. All civilized nations must work together to stop them by sharing intelligence about their networks, choking off their finances, and capturing or killing their operatives.
- In the long run, the best way to defeat the extremists is to defeat their dark ideology with a more hopeful vision of liberty.
- Citizens in Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq have made the choice for democracy, and every civilized nation has a responsibility to stand with them. The extremists are doing everything in their power to bring down these young democracies, and the people of Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq have asked for our help.
- The United States salutes the many nations that have recently taken strides toward liberty – including Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Morocco.
Every civilized nation has a responsibility to stand up for people suffering under dictatorship. In Belarus, Cuba, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Syria, and Iran, brutal regimes deny their people the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration. Americans are also outraged by the situation in Burma, where a military junta has imposed a 19-year reign of fear.
- Today, President Bush announced a series of steps to help bring peaceful change to Burma. The President urges the United Nations and all nations to use their diplomatic and economic leverage to help the Burmese people reclaim their freedom. The United States will:
- Tighten economic sanctions on the leaders of the regime and their financial backers.
- Impose an expanded visa ban on those responsible for the most egregious violations of human rights, as well as their family members.
- Facilitate the efforts of humanitarian groups working to alleviate suffering in Burma.
- The United Nations must insist on free speech, free assembly, and, ultimately, free and competitive elections in Cuba as the nation transitions from the long dictatorship of Fidel Castro.
- The United Nations must insist on freedom for the people of Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe's government has cracked down violently on peaceful calls for reform, and forced millions to flee their homeland.
- The United Nations must live up to its promise to promptly deploy peacekeeping forces to Darfur. The U.S. has provided more than $2 billion in humanitarian and peacekeeping aid to Darfur since 2005, and has responded to the repression in Sudan and genocide in the Darfur region with tough sanctions against those responsible for the violence. The President looks forward to attending a Security Council meeting on Peace and Security in Africa, chaired by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Liberation From Hunger And Disease
Today, more than half of the world's food assistance comes from America. The President has also proposed using a portion of U.S. emergency food assistance to purchase the crops of local and regional farmers. This would help build up local agriculture and break the cycle of famine in the developing world, and the President urges the United States Congress to support this approach.
The President calls on UN member states to work together to turn the tide against HIV/AIDS and to eliminate malaria.
- In 2003, the United States launched a $15 billion Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – the largest national commitment to combat a single disease in history. This effort has helped bring life-saving treatments to more than a million people in sub-Saharan Africa. The President has announced a plan to double this initial commitment with an additional $30 billion over five years.
- The President's Malaria Initiative is spending $1.2 billion over five years to combat malaria in 15 African countries. This funding is providing bed nets, indoor spraying, and anti-malaria medicine with the goal of reducing mortality by 50 percent in the most vulnerable groups.
- The Global Fund is working with governments and the private sector to fight HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria around the world. The United States is the fund's largest donor at about 30 percent.
Liberation From Illiteracy And Ignorance
The United States is joining with nations around the world to help them provide a better education for their people. In partnership with other nations, America has: helped train more than 600,000 teachers and administrators; distributed tens of millions of textbooks; and helped nations raise standards in their schools.
Last May, the President committed to provide an additional $525 million over the next five years to make our international education programs even more robust.
- On September 24, First Lady Laura Bush announced that the basic education initiative will focus on: Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, Liberia, Mali, and Yemen.
Liberation From Poverty And Despair
In the long run, the best way to lift people out of poverty is through trade and investment. Open markets ignite growth, encourage investment, increase transparency, strengthen the rule of law, and help countries help themselves.
- The United States has both the will and the flexibility to help conclude a successful Doha Round, and the President urges other leaders to direct their negotiators to demonstrate the same spirit. The Doha round of trade talks is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to open up markets, create new trade flows, and help millions escape poverty, and the President is optimistic that we can reach a good agreement.
- The United States will continue to pursue market-opening agreements that increase trade and investment. We recently signed free trade agreements with Peru, Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. These agreements embody the values of open markets, transparent and fair regulation, respect for private property, and resolving disputes under international law rules. They are now moving towards a Congressional vote, and the President urges Congress to approve them as soon as possible.
Through the Millennium Challenge Account, the United States is delivering economic assistance to developing nations in innovative ways. The Millennium Challenge Account increases aid to nations that govern justly, fight corruption, invest in the education and health of their people, and promote economic freedom.
- We have signed Millennium Challenge Compacts with 14 nations, most recently with Morocco. Together, these are worth nearly $4.6 billion, and we have just approved two more compacts with Mongolia and Tanzania.
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