I am honored to participate in the launch of this important initiative and to stand today with the international community against the use of arbitrary detention in state-to-state relations. I congratulate Canada on having led the way, especially for obtaining the endorsement of so many countries.

Arbitrary detentions are prohibited under international human rights conventions. When they are used, as too many nations do, to try to obtain leverage in state-to-state relations, they are a heinous act against the human rights of the individuals in question, and are an affront to international diplomatic norms. The broad coalition of governments endorsing this declaration sends a clear message that history remains on the side of human rights and the rule of law – not the cynical use of law as a political tool. Human beings are not bargaining chips. The United States wholeheartedly endorses this declaration and calls on all like-minded countries to work together to pressure the nations that engage in such detentions to put an end to this practice, to release those detained under such conditions, and to respect the rule of law and human rights.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future