Next week, the United States will join the Member States of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) at the fifth World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF) in Geneva. The U.S. comes to Geneva expecting a consensus outcome to the discussions there but also to renew our commitment to understanding the needs and challenges some countries have with respect to the Internet. MORE
About the Author: Gene A. Cretz serves as U.S. Ambassador to Ghana.
A new year means new challenges and new opportunities. In my corner of West Africa, both were on display this week. On Monday, January 7, as I drove through the red, yellow, and green clad streets of Accra towards Independence Square, I reflected on how privileged I was to witness history in the making as Ghana’s fourth president of the Fourth Republic was on his way to the Square to be sworn in, after successfully concluding a hard-fought political campaign. Unfortunately, my previous diplomatic postings did not afford me an opportunity to see a peaceful assumption of power after a democratic election.
Witnessing the on-time arrival of dignitaries and convening of the new Parliament alongside a stage full of political leaders from across Africa and notably, Ghana’s former presidents John Kuffour, Jerry Rawlings and former Secretary General Kofi Annan was an unforgettable… more »
Acting Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
December 25, 2012
This past weekend, the draft Egyptian constitution passed a public referendum. We have stood with Egyptians as they have engaged in the difficult work of democratic transition. We have consistently supported the principle that democracy requires much more than simple majority rule. It requires protecting the rights and building the institutions that make democracy meaningful and durable.
The future of Egypt’s democracy depends on forging a broader consensus behind its new democratic rules and institutions. Many Egyptians have voiced deep concerns about the substance of the constitution and the constitutional process. President Morsi, as the democratically elected leader of Egypt, has a special responsibility to move forward in a way that recognizes the urgent need to bridge divisions, build trust, and broaden support for the political process. We have called for genuine consultation and compromise across Egypt’s political divides. We hope those Egyptians disappointed by the result will seek more and deeper engagement. We look to those who welcome the result to engage in good faith. And we hope all sides will re-commit themselves to condemn and prevent violence. MORE.
Sixty-four years ago today, on December 10, 1948, the world came together to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). In the UDHR, the United States and governments from around the globe recognized that human beings are, by virtue of their birth, endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that these serve as “the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.” Today, we affirm this commitment and look to the Universal Declaration not just as a reminder of values, but as a guide for action.
Last Thursday in Dublin, Secretary Clinton emphasized the important role that human rights has played and will continue to play in our foreign policy. As she said,… more »
Secretary of State
The United States is pleased to have been elected by the United Nations General Assembly to a second term on the Human Rights Council. We thank the countries that voted for us in what was a highly competitive race among several qualified Western candidates that are all strong champions of human rights. We pledge to continue to work closely with the international community to address urgent and serious human rights concerns worldwide and to strengthen the Council. While much hard work remains to be done, especially ending the Council’s disproportionate and biased focus on Israel, we look forward to cooperating with other Council members to continue to address human rights concerns and to ensure that the Council fully realizes its promise. MORE.
About the Author: Richard Buangan serves as the the Director of Digital Engagement in the Bureau of Public Affairs.
To us Americans, Election Day is that day in November when we head to the polls to exercise our right to vote. Most of us walk into voting booths as part of our routine — unassuming, low-key, and often without fanfare. But around the world, our embassies and consulates were hosting foreign guests to view the election returns and talk about American politics, amid excitement and nail-biting euphoria.
For U.S. diplomats overseas, Election night presents a public diplomacy opportunity to illustrate to foreign audiences our core values of democracy and civic responsibility — values that define the American experience.
Last night into the wee hours of Wednesday morning, journalists, civil society leaders, and students gathered to not only watch the results on a big screen TV and talk about the election process with US officials, but to also witness firsthand… more »
About the Author: Jessica Levy Kania serves as U.S. Vice Consul in Mumbai, India.
Right in the middle of election season, I moved from Virginia to Mumbai, India, where I work at the U.S. Consulate. Even though, as an absentee voter without access to cable TV, I can watch the debates and read U.S. news online, I sometimes catch myself feeling more like an outside observer than an active participant in the political process — and I believe that many other U.S. citizens living overseas feel the same way.
That is one reason why I was so pleased to bring some U.S. campaign excitement to India by helping to stage a voting party for U.S. citizens. Mumbai’s American Citizen Services Unit transformed our consular waiting hall into a small piece of the United States abroad, with American classics playing on the speakers, popcorn from a theatre-style machine, and a red-white-and-blue balloon arch. Attendees dropped their absentee ballots in a giant, star-spangled… more »
About the Author: Emily Makely serves as Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda.
From late-September through mid-October, U.S. embassies and consulates around the world hosted voting events to help U.S. citizens overseas participate in the 2012 U.S. elections. On September 28, 2012, U.S. Embassy Kigali hosted an “Absentee Voting Week Celebration.” More than 250 U.S. citizens visited the embassy compound to vote, pose for photos next to the ballot box, and hear the Kigali International Community School (KICS) band perform “Grand Old Flag,” “America the Beautiful,” and other American classics.
Students played another important role at the event by training designated official voting assistance volunteers at fvap.gov prior to the event and using their new-found knowledge to volunteer… more »
About the Author: Tomicah Tillemann serves as the Secretary of State’s Senior Advisor for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies.
Today, I’ve come together with more than 500 activists, academics, and policymakers to participate in the World Movement for Democracy’s Seventh Assembly in Lima, Peru. The Assembly is a key gathering for civil society leaders from dozens of countries, and participants at the meeting are working to develop new strategies for advancing democracy, dignity, and opportunity worldwide.
This year’s Assembly is taking place from October 14 to 17, and it’s built around the theme of “Democracy for All: Ensuring Political, Social and Economic Inclusion.” Peru, like many Latin American countries, has made significant political and economic progress over the last decade. But… more »
In five countries around the world, consensual sex between same-gender partners is considered a crime punishable by death. In 76 countries, it is a crime with a prison sentence if convicted. And for millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, verbal abuse and physical violence — ranging from psychological torture to beatings and murder — are the status quo and often go unprosecuted by local and national authorities in many countries. These continued human rights abuses are unacceptable, and the Obama Administration is committed to combating them, but we also need your help.
Last December, the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton launched the Global Equality Fund — a new initiative to defend the human rights of LGBT persons in communities around the… more »