Statement by Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Maria Otero

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 5, 2012

The following is the text of a statement by Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, and United States Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, December 5, 2012, posted at

Begin text:

The United States is deeply concerned and saddened by the continuing violence in Tibetan areas of China and the increasing frequency of self-immolations by Tibetans. Chinese authorities have responded to these tragic incidents with measures that tighten already strict controls on freedoms of religion, expression, assembly and association of Tibetans. Official rhetoric that denigrates the Tibetan language, the Dalai Lama, and those who have self-immolated has further exacerbated tensions.

Senior U.S. officials have directly raised the issue of Tibetan self-immolations with their Chinese government counterparts. The U.S. Government has consistently urged the Chinese government to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions. These policies include increasingly severe government controls on Tibetan Buddhist religious practice and monastic institutions; education practices that undermine the preservation of Tibetan language; intensive surveillance, arbitrary detentions and disappearances of Tibetans, including youth and Tibetan intellectual and cultural leaders; escalating restrictions on news, media and communications; and the use of force against Tibetans seeking peacefully to exercise their universal human rights.

We call on the Chinese Government to permit Tibetans to express their grievances freely, publicly, peacefully, and without fear of retribution. We hope that the tragic acts of self-immolation end. We call on China’s leaders to allow journalists, diplomats and other observers unrestricted access to China’s Tibetan areas. We call on the Chinese Government to engage in dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives without preconditions. 

Under Secretary Maria Otero to Deliver Keynote Address at the Launch of the Youth Livelihoods Alliance: Creating Economic Opportunities for Young People

Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 1, 2012

On Tuesday, October 2, the United States Department of State will host the launch of the “Youth Livelihoods Alliance.” Led by the International Youth Foundation, this multi-stakeholder initiative aims to help address the global youth unemployment crisis. The Department of State is the first government agency to join the Alliance, which brings together leaders in government, business, and civil society to develop practical and innovative solutions to this global challenge.

The Youth Livelihoods Alliance has three core commitments: promoting the goal to hire young people, developing their skills, and creating jobs through entrepreneurship. As a member, the Department will use its convening power to raise awareness of the issue of youth unemployment and to encourage more effective partnerships among the public and private sectors to turn the youth bulge into the youth dividend. Other members include Hilton Worldwide, Microsoft, MasterCard Worldwide, Caterpillar, Manpower, Laureate International Universities, and the Multilateral Investment Fund of the InterAmerican Development Bank.

This event will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. in the Dean Acheson Auditorium. Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Maria Otero, will deliver the keynote address at 9:15. Panelists and speakers will include President and CEO of the International Youth Foundation, William Reese, the Secretary’s Special Adviser on Global Youth Issues, Zeenat Rahman, and representatives from founding member organizations.

For updates on the Youth Livelihoods Alliance, follow Twitter hash tags #jobs4youth and #GlobalYouth. For more information on the Office of Global Youth Issues, please visit or

The event will be open to the press. Pre set for camera crews: 8:15 a.m. from the 23rd Street entrance. Final access time for writers and still photographers: 8:45 a.m. from the 23rd Street entrance. Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) A U.S. Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo identification card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification card (driver’s license, passport).

For further information, please contact Menaka Nayyar at or (202) 647-4107, or the Press Office at (202) 647-2492.

Remarks to the USAID Meeting on “From Policy to Action: Making Progress toward Disability Inclusion”

Maria Otero
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
Washington, DC
May 30, 2012

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you. It’s wonderful to be here today with all of you representing civil society, as well as colleagues from across the U.S. government. I am, as you’ve heard, Maria Otero, and I have the pleasure of representing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today.

For Secretary Clinton, and indeed for the Obama Administration, the word “inclusion” has taken on a new focus in our foreign policy. From women’s rights, to LGBT rights, to the rights of individuals with disabilities, we recognize one vital truth: we cannot fully honor our commitment to human rights so long as any one group is left in the shadows of society. As Secretary Clinton has said, “All people everywhere have the right to live productive lives, free from discrimination and with equal access to opportunities.” MORE

Era of Open: An Opportunity and Imperative

Maria Otero, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, speaks at the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland March 2, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Maria Otero serves as Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. On behalf of the United States, she is the founding co-chair of the Open Government Partnership.

Good governance means more than regular elections. It also means active citizens; a free press; an independent judiciary and legislature; and transparent and responsive institutions that are accountable to all citizens and protect their rights equally and fairly. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) hews closely to these principles. It is, at its core, about the relationship between a government and its citizens — a relationship that is defined by mutual responsibility and facilitated by dialogue.

Undeniably, technology and access are changing the relationship between a government and its people. Communication networks are enabling citizens to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms, participate in the democratic process, and organize social movements that alter the… more »

Walking in the Footsteps of Millions

Under Secretary Otero delivers remarks before the

About the Author: Maria Otero serves as Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.

Water. It is the world’s most essential commodity, and yet most of us take it for granted. We have only to turn on our faucets for clean, plentiful water. Bottled water lines our grocery aisles and water fountains can be found in most any park. But for nearly a billion people worldwide, many of them women and girls, this ubiquitous access to water remains only a dream.

Today, I was joined by nearly 300 people in the State Department’s first ever six-kilometer “Walk for Water.” Why six kilometers? Because this is the typical distance that a woman in the developing world walks every day to collect water. Many walk further.

As nurturers and homemakers, women bear the overwhelming responsibility of finding and collecting water for their families. For many, this means spending more than 15 hours a week carrying heavy loads of water.

But the effects… more »