As we start the New Year, I want to reflect on four events that took place in the last few months of 2012 that illustrate how the Obama Administration’s human rights policies are achieving concrete results.
• In November, President Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Burma. This visit was the culmination of 18 months of active diplomatic efforts between the United States and Burma focused significantly on political and economic reform and the protection of human rights. During the President’s visit, the Burmese government announced a series of important human rights commitments, including access for the International Committee of the Red Cross to prisons and conflict areas, the opening of… 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 »
U.S. Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner delivers remarks at the 17th U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on July 25, 2012. [Go to http://video.state.gov for more video and text transcript]
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner discusses the 2011 Human Rights Report on LiveAtState at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. on June 28, 2012. [Go to http://video.state.gov for more video and text transcript.]
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael Posner release the 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. on May 24, 2012. [Go to http://video.state.gov for more video and text transcript.]
Since 1977, the State Department has produced the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Congress mandated these reports to establish the facts to inform their decisions on foreign military and economic aid. Today, governments, intergovernmental organizations, scholars, journalists, activists, and others rely on these reports as an essential update on human rights conditions around the world.
The 2011 reports describe the citizen uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, in which people stood up and demanded their universal rights, dignity, greater economic opportunity, and participation in their countries’ political future. In this turmoil, thousands were killed across Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria and many others were abused by security forces. The images of demonstrators who had seemingly lost all fear, risking their lives… more »