By the President of the United States of America
From the beginning, the United States has been a shining symbol of hope to the oppressed and the destitute of the world. The lamp held high by the Statue of Liberty still sheds its light into the darkness of tyranny, poverty and war.
In the years since World War II, America has given substance to that symbol time after time. Our country has provided food, clothing, shelter and medicine to millions of people from Greece, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Kampuchea, Bangladesh, Chile, Guatemala and many other places.
Last December, the non-aligned, Moslem nation of Afghanistan was suddenly and brutally invaded by almost a hundred thousand Soviet troops. Because of this act of aggression, which has earned the condemnation of the world, hundreds of thousands of Afghans have been forced to flee their country.
They have fled because their homes have been bombed, their crops and flocks have been destroyed, and their villages have been attacked with rockets, napalm, and other modern weaponry. Facing starvation, shelterless against the bitter cold of the mountain winter, some one million men, women and children have crossed the high passes to seek shelter in Pakistan, or have fled to Iran. Children and the old often die on the way. But despite the hardships, thousands more arrive each week.
The Afghans now constitute one of the largest concentrations of refugees in the world today. Most of them are destitute. They have been able to bring with them only their proud, resilient spirit of independence.
They desperately need shelter. And they need clothing, blankets, fuel and urgent medical care, especially for the women and children.
Americans can help-and Americans must help. I call upon all Americans to help the Afghan refugees through contributions to agencies involved in the relief efforts, both the UN High Commission for Refugees and the dedicated private voluntary agencies.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JIMMY CARTER, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of July 21 through July 27, 1980, as Afghanistan Relief Week and urge my fellow citizens to join with international relief agencies in assisting and helping the Afghan refugees in their struggle for survival.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of June, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fourth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 3:34 p.m., June 19, 1980]