On December 6-7, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Geneva, Switzerland. In Geneva, Secretary Clinton delivered remarks recognizing International Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10 each year and commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. In her Human Rights Day remarks, Secretary Clinton addressed "one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time" -- those faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in their pursuit of equal human rights and protections.
On December 7, Secretary Clinton addressed the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Ministerial on the 60th Anniversary of the Refugee Convention. In her remarks, Secretary Clinton underscored that protecting and assisting refugees is among the U.S. government's highest humanitarian priorities. The Secretary said, "My country is a nation of immigrants, and we are proud to have welcomed so many refugees to our shores. This year alone, we welcomed more than 56,000 refugees from more than 60 countries. And we are equally proud to be UNHCR's largest financial donor. We support this work, we understand its importance, and we honor those who do it."
In Geneva, Secretary Clinton also delivered the U.S. national statement at the Biological and Toxin Weapons (BWC) Review Conference, where the United States hopes to revitalize international efforts against biological threats. Secretary Clinton said:
"I want to start by acknowledging that our countries have accomplished a great deal together under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. One hundred sixty-five states have now committed not to pursue these weapons, and I am delighted to welcome Burundi and Mozambique to the Convention, and I join in urging all states who have not yet done so to join.
"President Obama has made it a top goal of his Administration to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction, because we view the risk of a bioweapons attack as both a serious national security challenge and a foreign policy priority. In an age when people and diseases cross borders with growing ease, bioweapons are a transnational threat, and therefore we must protect against them with transnational action."
You can follow Secretary Clinton's travel to Germany, Lithuania, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands December 4-8 here on www.state.gov.