A proclamation on the occasion of World Freedom Day, 2021
08 NOVEMBER 2021
For nearly three decades, the Berlin Wall was the physical symbol of the Cold War, separating democratic West Berlin from communist East Berlin. Today we remember the East Germans who fled and those who died trying to access a life of freedom. We recognize the unstoppable human spirit that no wall could contain, which has fueled the civil resistance, the sacrifice and the courageous challenge of the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe. We remember the euphoria and hope of East and West Berliners gathered in front of the wall on November 9, 1989 chanting “Tor auf! – “Open the door!”
It was the aspirations for freedom of the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe that ultimately brought down the Berlin Wall and overcame the Soviet Union‘s attempts to keep Europe divided by force. On World Freedom Day, we commemorate this historic event and honor all who rose up peacefully and claimed their freedom and all who carry on their legacy by working peacefully to end tyranny and violence. oppression in our world today.
Since the demolition of the Berlin Wall in 1989, we have seen great progress in the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as in the construction and consolidation of democratic institutions in the former communist countries of Europe. central and eastern and around the world. However, democracy is still fragile and, in too many places, it remains under threat. Authoritarians elevate their own power over the rights of their citizens, and around the world we see budding autocrats trampling the rule of law, attacking press freedom, and undermining an independent judiciary.
In the face of the resurgence of authoritarianism and attacks on human rights around the world, the United States strives to support democratic renewal and resilience at home and abroad. It remains more important than ever to address the range of threats to democracy – and ultimately peace and stability – including transnational repression, corruption, cyber attacks, disinformation, digital authoritarianism, inequality and injustice, voter suppression and economic coercion.
World Freedom Day also reminds us of the hopeful future that people still seek for themselves in the world. In recent years, courageous women and youth in Sudan have resisted violence and oppression to oust a genocidal dictator from power and today continue to defend their democratic progress. Proud Moldovans contributed to the victory of the forces of democracy. Zambian citizens, especially young people, have turned out in historic numbers to elect their new president. Ukraine continues to make progress in the fight against corruption, safeguarding human rights and strengthening its democratic institutions while opposing Russian aggression. Courageous anti-corruption activists, human rights defenders, journalists and peace protesters in Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Hong Kong, Syria, Venezuela and elsewhere continue to demand respect for their rights human beings and a democratic future. To all those who continue to face repression under authoritarian regimes, know that the people of the United States are on your side.
Today we reaffirm our commitment to the ideal that democracy – government of the people, by the people and for the people – is the best way to protect the rights, freedoms and dignity that belong to every person. Along with other free nations, the United States remains committed to the vital work of strengthening our democratic institutions, defending civil society, promoting human rights, and holding accountable those who commit abuses and encourage justice. corruption. To demonstrate this, on December 9 and 10, 2021, I will organize a Virtual Summit for Democracy to help define an agenda for democratic renewal across the world.
THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, proclaim November 9, 2021 as World Freedom Day. I call on the people of the United States of America to recall the hope symbolized by the fall of the Berlin Wall and to reaffirm our commitment to freedom and democracy.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have signed this
the eighth of November of the year of grace two thousand and twenty-one, and of independence of the United States of America on the two hundred and forty-six.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.