It’s Human Rights Day and Americans Want the Country to Lead on Human Rights Issues

This year’s annual Human Rights Day celebration on December 10 marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a landmark document proclaiming the inherent and inalienable rights of every human being — regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Americans voters from across the political spectrum seem to desire stronger American leadership on key human rights issues, according to our 2015 survey for Human Rights First. Most Americans say eliminating hate crimes (59%) and human trafficking (56%) worldwide are among the most important issues. The poll found that more than three in four Americans believe that the U.S. should lead the world in promoting human rights.

But it’s not just political leadership that Americans want, they are turning to corporations to champion human rights and practice their values in their business processes. The Human Rights First study also found that 82% of Americans want companies to be held accountable for slavery and human trafficking when it occurs in their supply chains. And our recent survey with Out & Equal Workplace Associates revealed that more than 80% of Americans say businesses should not be able to deny service based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or disability.

The UDHR is a foundational document of international human rights law and was referred to as humanity’s Magna Carta by Eleanor Roosevelt, who chaired the UN’s Commission on Human Rights that was responsible for the drafting of the document.