- Black History Month & Rosa Parks
- Human Rights Practices, see, Key Reports
- Religious Freedom 2011, see, Key Reports
- Milestones in U.S. Women's History
- Office of International Religious Freedom Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights
- Trafficking in Persons (TIP) see, Key Reports
Human Rights News
20 May 2013 Religious Freedom Is Moral, Strategic Concern for U.S. Attacks on religious freedom are both a moral and a strategic
national security concern for the United States, says U.S. Secretary of
State John Kerry. Enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, freedom of religion is “a core
American value,” Secretary Kerry said, but it “is not an American invention.”
Freedom of religion, he said, is “a universal value.”
• From the 2012 International Religious Freedom Report : United Kingdom
• State Dept. International Religious Freedom Report website
• Ambassador-at-Large Cook on the 2012 International Religious Freedom Report (HumanRights.gov)
• Secretary Kerry on the Release of the International Religious Freedom Report
17 May 201 U.S. Agencies Cite Progress Against Human Trafficking Better coordination among U.S. federal government agencies is showing results in the struggle to end human trafficking, U.S. officials say. It is estimated that human trafficking has enslaved 26 million people worldwide and that this crime generates some $32 billion in revenue for traffickers. Human trafficking is “a moral obscenity” that tears apart families and communities, said Secretary of State John Kerry, who chaired the 2013 annual meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
17 May 2013 International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is celebrated every 17 May because on that day in 1990, homosexuality was removed from the international classification of diseases of the World Health Organization.
16 May 2013 U.S. Envoy at OSCE on International Day Against Homophobia "The United States recognizes the broader responsibility we share to promote human rights for all people, especially those who are marginalized, and we take this opportunity to rededicate ourselves to the fight against discrimination and intolerance in all their forms."
16 May 2013 U.S. Policy Spotlights the Human Right of Religious Freedom Among U.S. values, religious freedom is prominent, and it is a human right the United States vigilantly protects at home and spotlights in its foreign policy. Religious liberty is not just an American right protected under the U.S. Constitution, President Obama said early in 2013, “it is a universal human right to be protected here at home and across the globe. This freedom is an essential part of human dignity, and without it our world cannot know lasting peace.”
02 May 2013 Ambassador Kelly at OSCE on World Press Freedom Day Ambassador Ian Kelly, U.S. permanent representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, marks the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day
02 May 2013 Advice to Citizen Journalists: Tell the Truth, Be Yourself Social media users, sometimes called citizen journalists, bring fresh new voices to the daily commentary on world events. But a question is circulating in journalistic circles on World Press Freedom Day 2013, May 3: Do citizen journalists report with integrity and standards that serve their audiences?
30 April 2013 USAID, Partners Launch New Alliance for Gender Equality The U.S. Agency for International Development is partnering with the Ford Foundation, Show of Force and Games for Change on an initiative to promote gender equality through a combination of traditional and social media.
25 April 201 Information Technology Becomes Tool to Stop Human Trafficking Human traffickers have been exploiting the innocent for millennia and continue to do so today, even while global moral and legal standards condemn the newest methods of enslavement. Many nations have revised laws to better crack down on trafficking, prevent prosecution of victims and rescue the victims over the last decade.
19 April 2013 Secretary Kerry on Release of 2012 Human Rights Report "And yet promoting human rights isn’t a foreign policy – and it’s not
a foreign policy priority simply because it’s the right thing to do.
It’s tied to our own security. It’s tied to the possibilities of
prosperity and of nations living by rule of law and of nations living in
peace. Countries where strong human rights prevail are countries where
people do better, economies thrive, rule of law is stronger, governments
are more effective and more responsive, and they are countries that
lead on the world stage and project stability across their regions.
Strong respect for human rights isn’t merely an indicator that a country
is likely doing well. It actually unleashes a country’s potential, and
it helps to advance growth and progress."
• State Department Briefing on 2012 Human Rights Report
• State Dept. Fact Sheet on 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights
The full text of 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices is available on the State Department website
• From the 2012 Human Rights Country Reports: United Kingdom
09 April 2013 Remarks by Secretay Kerry at White House Forum to Combat Human Trafficking (State.gov) Remarks by Seceretary Kerry via video link.
06 April 2013 U.N. Envoy Rice at Women in the World Summit Ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, at the Women in the World Summit on North Korea, China, Egypt and the role of women in the administration.
04 April 2013 Women Must Be Empowered for Prosperity in Mideast, North Africa If the nations of the Middle East and North Africa are to enjoy economic prosperity and political stability, they need to fully include women, says Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine. Speaking at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based policy research organization, Sonenshine said, “Study after study has confirmed that any country or region that ignores half of its population will undercut its chance of success politically, economically and democratically.”
25 March 2013 U.S. Amb. DiCarlo on Day of Remembrance of Slave Trade Victims "The Emancipation Proclamation was an act of justice extraordinary for its time and legacy. Its promises were not fulfilled on a single occasion. Americans struggled to fulfill the principles of our founders stated clearly in our Constitution: that all women and men would be granted the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
17 March 2013 U.S. Envoy Rice on Actions by U.N. Panel on Status of Women Amb. Rice: "I enthusiastically welcome the adoption of strong Agreed Conclusions at the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. This year’s Commission focused on the global scourge of violence against women and girls, and the Agreed Conclusions represent vital international recognition that women and girls everywhere have a right to live free from violence, exploitation, and abuse."
12 March 2013 More Resources Going to Support Women, USAID Official Says Worldwide, more resources than ever are being devoted to empowering and protecting women and girls, says a top official of the U.S. Agency for International Development. “There is no longer any question that the advancement of women, attention to gender issues and an inclusive approach is not only vital to protecting fundamental human rights, but also to meeting our overall development goals … and for building greater peace and security worldwide,” said Nancy Lindborg, assistant USAID administrator for democracy, conflict and humanitarian assistance.
11 March 2013 U.S. Anti-Violence Law Aims to End Child Marriage Worldwide U.S. legislation signed into law renews and strengthens an almost 20-year-old law designed to prevent and respond to violence against women, but the 2013 version reaches beyond the U.S. population to the world at large in an attempt to prevent marriage of children under 18.
07 March 2013 Secretary Kerry on International Women’s Day
01 March 2013 U.S. Laws Targeting Gender-Based Violence Empower Women One important aspect in the achievement of gender quality is the prevention of violence against women and the prosecution of those who commit abuses. The Obama administration is working to protect women inside and outside the United States and improve their ability to seek justice and empower themselves in their societies.
28 February 2013 Presidential Proclamation on Women's History Month 2013
19 February 2013 Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict Remains Huge Challenge Ending the sexual violence inflicted on women during and after armed conflicts remains a huge challenge, according to Donald Steinberg, deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
15 February 2013 Changing Mindsets Is Needed to End Sexual Violence Sexual violence against women and girls will not end until widespread attitudes toward women are changed and laws against violence are implemented and enforced, says Melanne Verveer, who until recently served as the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues.
24 January 2013 USAID Instills Gender Equality in All Its Operations The U.S. Agency for International Development has instilled gender equality into all parts of its operations, the agency’s deputy administrator said. The action is in line with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s support for women’s empowerment and reducing gender gaps, Donald Steinberg said at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington research institute named for the 28th U.S. president.
16 January 2013 Democracy Needs “Messy Interchange of Ideas,” U.S. Official Says Democracy is “a messy business” and it needs the “messy interchange of ideas” to thrive, says Thomas Perez, the U.S. Department of Justice's assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division.
31 December 2012 Proclamation on 150th Anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation As the weariness of an old year gave way to the promise of a new one, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation -- courageously declaring that on January 1, 1863, "all persons held as slaves" in rebellious areas "shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free."
10 December 2012 Vigilance, Commitment from U.S. on Human Rights Day The United States joined the international community in recognition of International Human Rights Day December 10. “The Universal Declaration is not just a catalog of rights and
government obligations,” Clinton said in a prepared statement released
in Washington. “It is a time-tested blueprint for successful societies.”
• Proclamation on Human Rights Day
06 December 2012 Human Rights Linked to Economic Growth and Security, Clinton Says Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said religious freedom, the
right to free use of the Internet, the ability to participate in civil
society groups and the need to respect and protect the rights of women
and girls are four “frontlines” in the modern struggle to expand human rights around the world.
• Secretary Clinton: Frontlines and Frontiers: Making Human Rights a Human Reality
06 December 2012 Secretary Clinton's Remarks: Intervention at the OSCE Ministerial Council First Plenary Session "The United States remains committed to the goal of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace and to the OSCE whose principles are sound. We welcome any and all efforts to strengthen this organization, but that means empowering the institutions we already have to function free from interference, not curtailing them."
28 November 2012 Amb. Rice on Iran, North Korea and Syria Human Rights Resolutions "The United States is pleased to co-sponsor three important resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly's Third Committee condemning human rights abuses in Iran, North Korea and Syria. Today's votes show the international community deplores these continued violations of fundamental human rights."
26 November 2012 State Dept. Fact Sheet on Gender-Based Violence in Haiti Gender-based violence is a chronic problem in Haiti. The risk of violence and sexual exploitation against women and girls, exacerbated by political instability and the economic crises, likely increased following the earthquake. Promoting women’s empowerment and reducing GBV are critical to Haiti’s development; and combating GBV is a priority for the U.S. Government.
25 November 2012 Vice President Biden on International Day for Ending Violence Against Women "On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we reaffirm our commitment to women and girls who suffer from violence. We believe that no country can move forward unless women and girls have the opportunity to achieve their full potential, and we pledge to stand together in building a world where everyone can pursue their dreams without living in fear."
21 November 2012 Stopping Gender Violence Is U.S. Goal November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Every year since 2000, the international community has marked the date to reaffirm its commitment to the principle that violence against women is a violation of human rights.
19 November 2012 USAID Partnership Brings Mobile Games to Girls, Women The U.S. Agency for International Development has joined the nonprofit Games for Change to bring to women and girls in East Africa and India three mobile phone games that communicate messages about women’s health, equality and empowerment.
12 November 2012 U.S. Accomplishments During Its First Term on the UN Human Rights Council The United States is pleased and proud of its reelection to the UN Human Rights Council earlier today. Since joining the Council in 2009, the United States has ardently worked to help the Council realize its full potential. Our efforts to reform the Council from within have resulted in historic and concrete actions against human rights violators around the world.
25 October 2012 Secretary Clinton on Sakharov Prize Winners The United States congratulates Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and filmmaker Jafar Panahi for receiving the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
25 October 2012 MAMA Health Information Program Wins Innovation Award The Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) recently won recognition for its unique focus on improving the lives of millions of new and expectant mothers in developing countries. MAMA, a public-private partnership to help provide health information to new and expectant mothers through mobile phones, won the 2012 Fast Company Innovation by Design Award in the "Service Design" category, said the U.S. Agency for International Development in a press release.
10 October 2012 Clinton on International Day of the Girl
10 October 2012 U.S. Joins Global Campaign to Stop Child Marriage Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced October 10 that the United States will join a campaign to stop child marriage by the year 2030.
10 October 2012 International Day of the Girl Child In December 2011, the United Nations' General Assembly adopted a resolution to declare this the International Day of the Girl Child, establishing a day to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world and to galvanize global commitments to end gender stereotypes, discrimination, violence, and economic disparities that disproportionately affect girls.
03 October 2012 State Dept. on Accomplishments at U.N. Human Rights Council
25 September 2012 Obama Vows to Intensify Fight Against Human Trafficking Speaking at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, the president said that more than 20 million people have been ensnared in what he called “modern slavery,” which distorts markets, endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime.
24 September 2012 U.S., Global Partners Launch Effort to Empower Women The United States is joining with 12 international partners to launch
a new effort aimed at expanding women’s political and economic
participation around the world.
• U.S. Commitment to Women's Political, Economic Participation
18 September 2012 Clinton Honors Aung San Suu Kyi's "Courage and Moral Leadership" Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton welcomed Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to Washington and affirmed that the United States is committed to standing with the Burmese government and the Burmese people to support the progress they have made toward greater freedom.
20 August 2012 Remembering the Abolition of the Slave Trade When the slaves rebelled on the Caribbean island of Hispañola in 1791, they set in motion a movement to abolish slavery.
19 August 2012 International Humanitarian Day "2012 has been designated by the UN as the year to say, ‘I was here’ … From Syria to the Sahel, people of goodwill are finding ways to exemplify what it means to be a humanitarian.
16 August 2012 State Department Promotes Women as Global Peacemakers "Whether it's ending conflict, managing a transition or rebuilding a country, the world cannot afford to continue ignoring half the population," Clinton said.
13 August 2012 U.S. Strategy Seeks End to Violence Against Women, Girls Violence against women and girls is a widespread global problem that produces grave societal consequences. The United States wants to change that.
30 July 2012 Clinton Calls on Global Community to Promote Religious Tolerance Protecting religious freedom in countries around the world promotes
peace, stability and security for the international community and
remains a fundamental concern of the United States, Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton said at the rollout of the State Department’s
14th annual International Religious Freedom Report.
• Clinton on 2011 International Religious Freedom Report
• Amb. Johnson Cook on 2011 Religious Freedom Report
The 2011 International Religious Freedom report is available from the Department of State International Religious Freedom Report site.
• From the 2011 International Religious Freedom Report : United Kingdom
20 July 2012 U.S. Envoy Kelly at OSCE on LGBT Rights in Russian Federation "We note our continued concern about new laws in Russia that restrict the freedoms of expression and assembly for all Russians, but which are especially distressing to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. ... We call on Russia to meet its obligations to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to fulfill its OSCE commitments. "
19 July 2012 Better Data Will Help Women Worldwide, Clinton Says The world may be awash in data - thanks to modern technology - but still more needs to be collected to effectively meet the needs of women and promote gender equality, says Secretary of State Clinton.
19 July 2012 Key Facts on Clinton's Vision of "Closing the Gender Data Gap" Secretary of State Clinton delivered remarks at Evidence and Impact: Closing the Gender Data Gap a conference hosted by the Department of State and Gallup, Inc. in Washington, D.C.
18 July 2012 Aviation Pioneer Worked to Advance Women's Rights A photo show of the life of Amelia Earhart, an aviation pioneer who disappeared in 1937 during a trans-Pacific flight, is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington.
12 July 2012 State's Schriefer on Achievements of U.N. Human Rights Council Remarks by Paula Schriefer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs, at the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC.
05 July 20120 Clinton on Resolution on Promotion of Human Rights on Internet Today, the UN Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a resolution with the message that there can be no division or double standard regarding human rights online. The landmark resolution makes clear that all individuals are entitled to the same human rights and fundamental freedoms online as they are offline, and all governments must protect those rights regardless of the medium.
• U.N. Human Rights Council on Human Rights and the Internet
• U.S. Envoy Donahoe on Protection of Human Rights on Internet
05 July 2012 The Right to a Nationality: Women and Children Human Rights Council: 20th Session The resolution focused on the issues of protecting both a woman’s and a child’s right to a nationality, with the goal of reducing statelessness.
21 June 2012 Secretary Clinton’s Remarks: International Efforts To Empower Women and Girls Through Sports
• Fact Sheet: State Department's Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports
• Fact Sheet: State Department and ESPNW Global Sports Mentoring Program
19 June 2012 Release of the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report Remarks by Secretary of State Clinton, Under Secretary Maria Otero and Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca.
• Amb. CdeBaca’s Letter on Trafficking in Persons Report 2012
TIP 2012: The report is available in HTML format (see this index page) and in PDF format. Due to its large size, the PDF has been separated into sections for easier download: Introduction; A-C, D-I, J-M, N-S, T-Z/Special Cases; Relevant International Conventions and Closing Material.
United Kingdom - The United Kingdom report is located in the Country Narratives T-Z page 357 and may be found by searching for UNITED KINGDOM (Tier 1).
07 June 2012 State's Posner on Diamond Trade and Human Rights
24 May 2012 2011 U.S. Human Rights Reports Chronicle "Momentous Year" The year 2011 was “an especially tumultuous and momentous year for everyone involved in the cause of human rights,” according to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. In an effort to make the reports even more
accessible to a broader spectrum of readers, the State Department has
made them shorter and more concise and easier to search, and each
country report now has an executive summary.
• Briefing on the Release of the 2011 Human Rights Reports by Assistant Secretary Posner
24 May 2012 State Dept Releases Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011 Preface by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
14 May 2012 USAID Welcomes Guidelines on Land Governance, Property Rights The U.S. Agency for International Development welcomed a U.N. panel’s endorsement of voluntary guidelines and practices that can help countries establish laws and policies that better govern land, fisheries and forests tenure rights.
02 May 2012 State Dept. on Human Rights Abuses in North Korea Taken question at State Department daily press brief.
24 April 2012 Clinton: Promoting Human Rights Is Challenging but Essential Speaking at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Clinton said she sometimes feels that U.S. officials are criticized for “not being as vocal or strident as some in the advocacy community would like on some of these issues.” But in her diplomatic work, she said, “I’m trying to save lives and I’m trying to change attitudes,” and “trying to do that simultaneously is sometimes quite challenging.”
24 April 2012 U.S. Government Targets Computer-Using Abusers in Iran, Syria President Obama issued an executive order that targets
people in Iran and Syria using information technology to commit human
rights abuses. The order places sanctions on people involved in computer or network
disruption or who are engaged in monitoring that enables human rights
abuses by the government of Iran or Syria, the U.S. Treasury Department
said in an April 23 press release. The sanctions block any assets they
may have in the United States and prohibit U.S. people from engaging in
any transactions with them.
• White House: Sanctions Against Those Complicit in Grave Human Rights Abuses Via IT in Syria and Iran
23 April 2012 Obama Says National Sovereignty Is No Excuse for Atrocities
President Obama said what ultimately led to deaths camps in Treblinka
and Auschwitz actually began inside the “hearts of ordinary men and
• Remarks by the President at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
19 April 2012 Holocaust Remembrance Day The United States Congress established the Days of Remembrance as our
nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust and created the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a permanent living memorial to the victims.
• United Nations Sets Annual Holocaust Remembrance
• United Nations Condemns Denial of the Holocaust
15 April 2012 U.S. Justice Dept. Official on Fight Against Human Trafficking U.S. Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General James Cole speaks at the Yale Law School Human Trafficking Symposium.
20 March 2012 Earhart Broke Social and Aviation Barriers, Clinton Says Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honored pioneering aviator and women’s rights advocate Amelia Earhart as a heroine who dared her peers to dream higher and bolder, and to have the courage to break limits in pursuit of their dreams.
15 March 2012 U.S. Making New Investments to Prevent Violence on Women The U.S. State Department is devoting new resources to support organizations trying to prevent gender-based violence, with a goal of reducing the vulnerability of women and girls to HIV infection.
15 March 2012 U.S. Agencies Combine Efforts to Fight Human Trafficking Efforts to end human trafficking are getting a big boost, thanks to increased cooperation among U.S. government agencies. Clinton met at the White House March 15 with top officials from
the departments of Justice, Labor, Health and Human Services,
Homeland Security, Defense, Transportation, and Education as well as
several other agencies for the annual meeting of the President’s
Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
• President Obama on Trafficking in Persons
08 March 2012 Honoring Women in an Age of Participation Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large, Global Women's Issues: "Women are a cornerstone of America's foreign policy because the simple fact is that no country can hope to move ahead if it is leaving half of its people behind."
05 March 2012 Gender-Based Violence a Global Challenge, U.S. Says The extent of violence against women and girls makes it one of the world’s greatest challenges, says the top U.S. official for women’s rights. Gender-based violence “cuts across ethnicity, race, class, religion, educational level, international borders,” Melanne Verveer said at the conclusion of the 2nd World Conference of Women’s Shelters.
29 February 2012 USAID Launches New Center to Promote Democracy, Human Rights The Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance is part of the agency’s reforms and will help ensure that USAID’s investments are coordinated with U.S. diplomatic and defense efforts, USAID said in a statement.
06 February 2012 Clinton on Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Cutting Every government has an obligation to protect its citizens from such abuse. As we commemorate International Day of Zero Tolerance and remember those who have been harmed, we reaffirm our commitment to overturning deeply entrenched social norms and abolishing this practice. All women and girls, no matter where they are born or what culture they are raised in, deserve the opportunity to realize their potential.
02 February 2012 Amb. Kelly’s Response to Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights Response to Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Thomas Hammarberg.
31 January 2012 Why Global Economy Needs Investment in Women This was an important theme at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, which hosted a plenary session entitled “Women as the Way Forward” on the potential impact of women on the global economy.
30 January 2012 Secretary Clinton on International Holocaust Remembrance Day Denying the truth of the Holocaust is an insult to history. We urge governments, civil society leaders, clerics, human rights groups and all people of conscience in all nations to speak out against this kind of hatred. The United States will work with all of those who are committed to a world free of anti-Semitism and all other forms of ethnic or religious intolerance.
27 January 2012 Human Rights Remain a U.S. Priority in Central Asia As the United States engages with the countries of Central Asia, encouraging greater regional economic integration, it is not facing a choice between advancing its security relationships and promoting issues like human rights, says the top U.S. diplomat to the region.
17 January 2012 Internet Was Tool for Expression and Repression in 2011 The United States and its international partners “made a great deal of progress” in 2011 in adopting measures that can “turn our commitment to Internet freedom into reality,” according to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael H. Posner. Speaking at a Washington conference January 17, Posner said the use of the Internet as a tool for human rights and as the nemesis of dictatorial regimes were two narratives that unfolded in 2011.
17 January 2012 Ambassador Rice at U.N. on Sudan, Syria and Russia
05 January 2011 Establishment of the Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Under Secretary Otero: "The QDDR recognized the need to elevate civilian power, namely to strengthen institutions that address today’s transnational threats, promote stability, and advance American national security."
30 December 2011 Proclamation on Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month Nearly a century and a half ago, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation -- a document that reaffirmed the noble goals of equality and freedom for all that lie at the heart of what it means to live in America. In the years since, we have tirelessly pursued the realization and protection of these essential principles.
13 December 2011 Internet Freedom and U.S. Foreign Policy Webchat transcript with Daniel Baer, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Rights, and Labor.
06 December 2011 Culture, Religion Cannot Excuse Anti-Gay Discrimination "It is because the human experience is universal that human rights are universal and cut across all religions and cultures," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says.
06 December 2011 Working to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Persons Globally (White House factsheet)
06 December 2011 Clinton’s Address in Geneva on International Human Rights Day
02 December 2011 Secretary Clinton on Human Rights Council’s Special Session on Syria The United States strongly supports the Commission’s efforts to expose the abuses by the Asad Regime and help bring the human rights violators to account.
25 November 2011 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women "Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we are reminded of the horrific acts of violence against women that take place every day around the world and pledge to recommit ourselves to changing attitudes and ending all forms of violence against women and girls."
22 November 2011 Violence Against Women Has Broad Social Consequences, Experts Say Long a subject locked in the home behind a curtain of silence, violence against women will be pushed into an international spotlight in the days and weeks ahead in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The occasion is marked on November 25, but Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer said advocates of the cause will be recognizing this international problem with events scheduled through the end of the month and up to December 10, Human Rights Day.
17 November 2011 U.S. Response on Journalists’ Arrests at “Occupy” Demonstrations Amb. Kelly: "As we have said on previous occasions, the Government of the United States neither believes nor pretends that it is beyond reproach on any issue—or that we cannot do a better job of implementing our OSCE commitments — including on media freedom. We certainly can, and we see self-assessment on our performance in the defense of fundamental freedoms as a sign of strength."
09 November 2011 Civilians in Armed Conflict Remarks by Ambassador Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Meeting on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.
05 November 2011 Clinton Remarks to Forum on Stopping Violence Against Women Remarks For The "Highlighting Solutions To Stop Violence" Against Women Policy Dialogue.
26 October 2011 U.S. Works for Reform of Nationality Laws That Hurt Women The United States is working for reform of nationality laws that hurt women, says Maria Otero, the State Department’s under secretary for democracy and global affairs. “In many cases, nationality laws permit only the father to transmit citizenship to his child,” Otero said. “And in still other cases, nationality laws strip women of their citizenship upon marriage to a foreign spouse, or prohibit women’s foreign spouses from naturalization.” The result is that hundreds of thousands of women are left without legal protection or a social safety net, she said.
25 October 2011 Activists Use Info Tech to Dodge Oppressors, Official Says Democracy activists in some repressive countries are protecting
themselves from harassment with technology training they received from
the U.S. Department of State. The U.S. assistant secretary of state for
democracy, human rights and labor, Michael Posner, offered a few insights into the
• Assistant Secretary Posner on Free Speech in the Digital Age
18 October 2011 Interim Report of the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran "We welcome the first interim report by the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, and take note of his assessment regarding the Iranian government’s “pattern of systemic violation” of its citizens’ rights. The UN Secretary General’s report on Iran’s human rights situation also described an “intensified” campaign of abuses."
06 October 2011 Amb. Johnson at OSCE Session on Human Trafficking Ambassador Johnson of the United States Mission to the OSCE at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Warsaw.
05 October 2011 Syrian People “Slapped in the Face” by U.N., Rice Says The Syrian people have been “slapped in the face” by the United
Nations Security Council because of its failure to pass a
resolution condemning the ongoing violence by the Syrian government
against peaceful demonstrators, says U.S. Permanent Representative to
the United Nations Susan Rice. Rice spoke in New York Russia and China vetoed a measure that would have been the first
legally binding condemnation of Bashar al-Assad’s regime since it began
its violent repression of pro-democracy protesters in March.
• Amb. Rice's Statement on U.N. Vote on Situation in Syria
04 October 2011 U.S. Announces Grants to Combat Exploitative Child Labor U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis released three new reports on child labor and forced labor October 3 and announced $32.5 million in grants to combat child labor around the world. “These reports provide an overview of international efforts to protect children from hazardous work and identify critical gaps in policy and enforcement that leave them vulnerable,” Solis said. “Through increased education and awareness, and critical assistance to families and governments, we can help make exploitative child labor a thing of the past.”
01 October 2011 Fact Sheet: Key U.S. Accomplishments at U.N. Human Rights Council The eighteenth session of the Human Rights Council came to an end in Geneva on September 30, 2011. Though much work remains, in particular ending the Council’s disproportionate focus on Israel, U.S. engagement thus far has resulted in significant improvements to the Human Rights Council as a multilateral forum for promoting and protecting human rights.
13 September 2011 Clinton Highlights Religious Freedom, Tolerance as U.S. Values She said the U.S. will continue efforts to support
religious freedom both at home and abroad, as religious tolerance is an
essential element “not only of a sustainable democracy, but also of a
peaceful society that respects the rights and dignity of each
• July-December, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report
• From the International Religious Freedom Report Jul-Dec 2010: United Kingdom
• Secretary Clinton At the Release of the 13th Annual Report on International Religious Freedom
24 August 2011 U.S. Welcomes U.N. Human Rights Vote to Investigate Syria U.S. officials welcomed the U.N. Human Rights Council’s August 23 adoption of a resolution that calls for an international inquiry into possible crimes against humanity by the Syrian government. The resolution condemns the regime led by Bashar al-Assad for repeated and systematic atrocities.
23 August 2011 Adoption of U.N. Human Rights Council’s Resolution on Syria "The Commission of Inquiry established by the resolution will ensure that evidence of atrocities will be uncovered and those responsible will be identified and held accountable."
04 August 2011 Obama Boosts U.S. Efforts to Prevent Genocide President Obama has ordered the creation of an interagency U.S. government board to more effectively coordinate the U.S. response to unfolding human rights atrocities around the world, and has closed loopholes in the U.S. visa system to ban human rights violators from entering the United States.
14 July 2011 International Cyber Diplomacy: Promoting Openness, Security and Prosperity in a Networked World (factsheet)
01 July 2011 eJournal USA: Educating Women and Girls (via IIP Digital) Equal access to education by males and females has been defined as a universal human right by the United Nations. Realizing this right by expanding educational opportunities for women and girls requires the commitment of many sectors of a society. This issue of eJournal USA explores how international organizations, state governments, the private sector and individuals — in many different countries — are tackling this global challenge and improving people’s lives.
27 June 2011 Remarks on the Release of the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report "Every year, we come together to release this report, to take stock of
our progress, to make suggestions, and to refine our methods. Today, we
are releasing a new report that ranks 184 countries, including our own.
One of the innovations when I became Secretary was we were going to also
analyze and rank ourselves, because I don’t think it’s fair for us to
rank others if we don’t look hard at who we are and what we’re doing.
This report is the product of a collaborative process that involves
ambassadors and embassies and NGOs as well as our team here in
• For links to the report see Trafficking in Human Beings 2011, below.
• State Department Calls for New Assault Against Human Traffickers
27 June 2011 Gay Rights Are Human Rights, Clinton Says The rights and dignity of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or sexual identity, must be protected, says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton has made gay rights a focus of the State Department’s human rights agenda.
25 June 2011 Statement on ICTR Conviction of Former Rwandan Official, Others The United States welcomes the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) conviction of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former Rwandan Minister of Women’s Development and her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, both of whom were convicted for genocide and rape as a crime against humanity, among other crimes.
15 June 2011 Press Statement Following the Delivery of a Joint Statement by Human Rights Council Members on the Situation in Syria Press Statement by U.S. Ambassador Eileen Donahoe, Geneva, Switzerland.
08 June 2011 U.N. Expert Calls Internet Freedom Fundamental but Often Violated When the young United Nations adopted a declaration of universal rights in 1948, it included the freedom “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media.” A new U.N. report says that in the 21st century that has to include freedom on the Internet — a freedom it says many countries are increasingly failing to honor.
17 May 2011 Clinton, EU's Ashton Say Iran Must Take Nuclear Talks Seriously The United States and the European Union called on Iran to drop its preconditions and agree to serious talks on its nuclear program and to start addressing the international community’s concerns that its civilian nuclear program is being used as a cover for the development of nuclear weapons.
16 May 2011 U.S. Seeks Global Consensus for Open, Secure Cyberspace The Obama administration has unveiled an international strategy for
cyberspace, outlining how it intends to promote an open and secure
Internet that is available and interoperable around the world.
• Secretary Clinton on U.S. International Strategy for Cyberspace
• International Strategy for Cyberspace (30-page/2.3Mb PDF)
11 May 2011 Human Rights and Democratic Reform in Iran Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs.
03 May 2011 "Defending Press Freedom in the 21st Century" as Part of World Press Freedom Day Remarks by Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Organization Affairs.
03 May 2011 Ensuring Civil Rights and Security (First in a series of three articles)
03 May 2011 Unveiling of the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action Remarks by Secretary Hillary Clinton on harnessing mobile phone technology to improve maternal and child health. The partnership leverages the collective resources of the USAID and Johnson & Johnson, with support from the United Nations Foundation, mHealth Alliance and BabyCenter LLC.
• InfoTech Can Improve Health for Pregnant Moms and Babies
15 April 2011 U.S. Contributes $126.8 Million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees The United States is pleased to announce a contribution of $126.8 million toward the 2011 operations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
11 April 2011 Statement by the U.S. at the UN Commission on Population and Development Remarks by Margaret Pollack, Director for Multilateral Coordination and External Relations and Senior Advisor on Population Issues; Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration; U.S. Department of State in New York, NY.
08 April 2011 Secretary Clinton on Release of State Department’s Human Rights Report "In recent months, we have been particularly inspired by the courage and
determination of the activists in the Middle East and North Africa and
in other repressive societies who have demanded peaceful democratic
change and respect for their universal human rights. The United States
will stand with those who seek to advance the causes of democracy and
human rights wherever they may live, and we will stand with those who
exercise their fundamental freedoms of expression and assembly in a
peaceful way, whether in person, in print, or in pixels on the
internet. This report usually generates a great deal of interest among
journalists, lawmakers, nongovernmental organizations, and of course,
other governments, and I hope it will again this year. "
• Q&A by Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs
• Remarks by Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
The complete text of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2010 is available from the Department of State Human Rights website . It is also availble from the new official United States Government website for international human rights related information at www.humanrights.gov .
From the 2010 Human Rights Country Reports:
• United Kingdom
08 April 2011 Human Rights Report Cites Troubling Trends In releasing an annual report on human rights worldwide , Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that the struggle for basic human rights begins by telling the truth, over and over again. This year’s report examines the legal status of human rights in more than 194 countries and territories around the world. Several troubling trends have been noted, Clinton said. The first is that of repressive governments restricting the ability of members of civil society to organize and operate.
11 March 2010 U.S. Human Rights Report Has Far-Reaching Impact The original purpose for the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices was to provide the U.S. Congress with information on countries to which the United States sends aid. “But it has become much bigger than that,” according to Michael H. Posner. “Today it is the single most comprehensive look at human rights around the world done by anyone,” Posner, assistant secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, told America.gov in a recent interview. The report is “a baseline of information about what’s going on in human rights every year.”
06 April 2011 Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Refugee Convention "We reaffirm America’s commitment to the protection of refugees around the world. Our mission is unchanging. We intend to save lives and restore human dignity".
24 March 2011 U.N. Rights Council Approves Investigator on Iran The U.N. Human Rights Council authorized a special investigator on Iran March 24 to examine reports of excessive use of the death penalty, executions by stoning and inhumane treatment of political opponents.
24 March 2011 The Four Freedoms turn 70 Address by Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, to the American Society of International Law, Washington, DC.
24 March 2011 Obama Administration Takes “Holistic” Approach to Human Rights The Obama administration is taking a “holistic” approach to human rights — viewing human rights, democracy and development as supportive of one another, says Michael Posner, assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor.
12 March 2011 In Libya, Our Aid Matters Op-Ed by Eric P. Schwartz, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, and Nancy Lindborg, Assistant Administrator, USAID Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance.
24 February 2011 Deteriorating Human Rights Situation in Iran
15 February 2011 Internet Freedom Essential to Peace, Prosperity, Clinton Says An open, secure Internet that is accessible to all is crucial to peace and economic prosperity, says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “We are convinced that an open Internet fosters long-term peace, progress and prosperity,” Clinton said in a speech delivered February 15 at George Washington University in Washington. An Internet that can be blocked and censored, she said, “can cut off opportunities for peace and progress and discourage innovation and entrepreneurship.”
08 February 2011 The Fight Against Child Marriage Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Glamour Magazine.
02 February 2011 Clinton Leads Meeting on U.S. Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says human trafficking is an issue of "grave importance" the United States must continue to address. Clinton led the annual President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons meeting, held in Washington February 1.
14 January 2011 Number of Free Countries Is Declining, Study Finds The number of free countries is steadily declining, according to the latest findings by Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization that monitors the state of democracy and human rights around the world. In its recently released report, Freedom in the World 2011, Freedom House found that only 87 — two fewer than 2009 — of the world’s 194 countries could be designated as truly free. Sixty countries were designated as “partly free,” and 47 were considered “not free.”
17 December 2010 Obama Announces Support for U.N. Measure on Indigenous Rights In what the State Department describes as "an important and meaningful change" in U.S. policy, President Obama announced that the United States is lending its support to the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and told a gathering of Native Americans that he hopes "we are seeing a turning point in the relationship between our nations."
16 December 2010 U.S. Urges International Action to Eradicate Child Labor Three reports on international child labor practices just released by the department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs identify areas where governments need to take action as well as goods that have been produced by child or forced labor. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis also called on governments around the world to take urgent and effective steps to eradicate child labor practices in their countries.
09 December 2010 Remarks by Secretary Clinton on Human Rights Day 2010
09 December 2010 Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo "Deserves Our Admiration", U.S. Says The State Department says the U.S. ambassador to Norway will attend the December 10 Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Oslo for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. In Washington, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a resolution honoring Liu for promoting democratic reform in China and calling for his immediate release from prison.
09 December 2010 Response to OSCE Representative on Combating Human Trafficking U.S. Mission to the OSCE Response to Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Giammarinaro.
17 November 2010 Religious Freedom a Core Element of U.S. Foreign Policy Promoting religious freedom is a core element of U.S. diplomacy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the release of the 2010 Annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom.
15 November 2010 A Call to Intensify Fight Against Human Trafficking The international community has gained a better understanding of how to stop the trafficking of people for sex and labor, but should address the crime’s connection with government corruption to make further progress, according to experts at an international conference in Bangkok.
14 November 2010 Aung San Suu Kyi’s Release “Long Overdue,” Obama Says President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton welcomed the release of Burmese pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and urged Burma’s military government to release all the country’s political prisoners and to work with Suu Kyi and other leaders to bring reconciliation, democracy and prosperity to their country.
04 November 2010 Ambassador’s Response to OSCE on Gender Issues As delivered by Ambassador Ian Kelly to the Permanent Council, Vienna, in response to the Chairmanship’s Special Representative for Gender Issues.
08 October 2010 Obama Calls on China to Release Jailed Peace Prize Winner President Obama is calling on the Chinese government to release from prison dissident Liu Xiaobo, who won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his fight for democracy and human rights in China. Obama, whose commitment to nuclear arms control and nonproliferation earned him last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, praised Liu for sacrificing his freedom for his beliefs.
01 October 2010 U.S. Lawmakers, Officials Focus on Human Trafficking Participants in a U.S. House of Representatives committee hearing say progress is being made in the fight against human trafficking, a global problem known as modern-day slavery that affects an estimated 12 million people worldwide.
29 September 2010 Iranian Human Rights Abusers Slapped With U.S. Sanctions For the first time, the United States is sanctioning individuals inside Iran for human rights abuses, using a recently enacted law to seize U.S. assets and deny visas to individuals who are responsible for or complicit in serious human rights violations against the Iranian people during or after the country’s disputed June 2009 presidential election.
17 September 2010 Obama U.N. Speech to Address Extreme Poverty President Obama will talk about eradicating extreme global poverty when he address a high-level meeting of world leaders during the opening of the 65th U.N. General Assembly in New York, a senior U.S. diplomat says.
19 July 2010 U.S. Announces U.S.-Pakistan Gender Equity Program Program to expand women’s rights and combat gender-based violence.
16 June 2010 A Long March to Human Rights in Iran Negar says that when she and her friends poured onto the streets of Tehran in June 2009 to protest the official results of the Iranian presidential election, they were sure that they had altered Iran’s future. “Everything changed in one night. Unbelievable,” she said.
15 June 2010 U.N. Rights Body Rebukes Iran on Human Rights The United States joined 55 other nations in rebuking Iran for its lack of progress in providing human rights protections for its citizens after national elections in June 2009. Norway’s representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Ambassador Bente Angell-Hansen, read a statement during the 14th session of the council that expressed concern about the Iranian regime’s treatment of its citizens following disputed national elections a year ago.
15 June 2010 Children Exploited for Cheap Labor Worldwide To lessen exploitive child labor globally, the root causes must be addressed by ensuring access to education for all children and helping families to overcome the poverty that contributes to child labor, President Obama says. “All of us must recommit ourselves to creating a world where our children have a brighter future, free of exploitive labor,” Obama said in observing the World Day Against Child Labor.
03 May 2010 Clinton Outlines Steps to Support Opportunities for Women Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told women entrepreneurs from around the world that they are essential partners in global efforts to increase peace, prosperity, stability and security. “We need each and every one of you to lend your entrepreneurial skill and energy to meeting the global challenges of this new century,” she said.
29 April 2010 Online Journalists Increasingly Risk Censorship, Imprisonment For the first time, the number of online journalists in prison almost surpasses the number of jailed traditional print and broadcast journalists, according to the Center for International Media Assistance, an initiative of the National Endowment for Democracy, a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to strengthening democratic institutions around the world.
15 March 2010 Secretary Clinton's Interview with CNN’s Jill Dougherty Discusses women's rights, Middle East peace process, Afghanistan and Iran.
12 March 2010 For Human Rights Heroine, “No Ordinary Arrest” They came in the middle of the night asking for Jestina Mukoko. She did not even have time to put on her shoes and glasses before they seized and blindfolded her, taking her to an undisclosed location where the world would not know what happened to her for weeks. Ot is a story that is all too familiar for human rights advocates around the world, but Mukoko would not disappear so easily.
12 March 2010 Pakistan, Afghanistan Struggle to Protect Human Rights, U.S. Says In two of the most complex political and security environments in the world, characterized by brutal insurgencies, Pakistan and Afghanistan achieved only modest advances in protecting citizens from violence and human rights abuses in 2009, according to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, issued March 11 by the U.S. Department of State.
11 March 2010 Secretary Clinton's Remarks to the Press on the Release of the
2009 Country Report on Human Rights "The idea of human rights begins with a
fundamental commitment to the dignity that is the birthright of every man, woman
and child. Progress in advancing human rights begins with the facts. And for the
last 34 years, the United States has produced the Country Reports on Human
Rights Practices, providing the most comprehensive record available of the
condition of human rights around the world."
• Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2009
• From the 2009 Human Rights Country Reports: United Kingdom
08 March 20110 VIDEO: Secretary of State Clinton’s International Women's Day Message Secretary Clinton commemorates International Women’s Day, March 8, 2010 with a special message. Read Secretary Clinton's remarks.
04 March 2010 In the Middle East, Modest Progress Made on Women’s Rights A new report on women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa finds some progress but “a long road ahead.” Of all parts of the world, it is this region in which “the gap between the rights of men and those of women has been the most visible and severe,” says the report by Freedom House, an independent, nonprofit organization that studies and advocates for human rights worldwide.
02 March 2010 United States Guided by Principles on U.N. Human Rights Council The United States will support the work that the U.N. Human Rights Council does well, and it will work constructively on aspects that need change, Under Secretary of State Maria Otero says.Otero addressed the opening of the 13th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva. She presented three tenets that she said will guide U.S. participation: a commitment to principled engagement; consistent application of human rights law; and a commitment to the truth. Her remarks came during the opening of the 47-member forum's annual four-week session.
23 February 2010 Official Highlights U.S. Commitment to U.N. Human Rights Council The Obama administration is reasserting a U.S. role and focus on human rights worldwide through its re-engagement and work with the United Nations Human Rights Council, says State Department Legal Adviser Harold Hongju Koh.
22 December 2009 Human Rights: A Commitment to Action U.S. committed to promoting, defending human rights and democracy worldwide.
14 December 2009 Clinton Lays Out Obama Administration Agenda on Human Rights Washington Support for democracy and the fostering of economic development are the cornerstones of the Obama administration’s agenda for promoting human rights around the world, says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, Clinton presented the president’s goals for human rights in the 21st century. She said human rights must be seen in a broad context that recognizes both “negative and positive requirements.”
09 December 2009 Secretary Clinton Honors Champions of Human Rights: Marks International Human Rights Day In commemoration of International Human Rights Day on December 10, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honored two exceptional human rights champions.
02 December 2009 MENA Organizations Work to Abolish Violence Against Women Violence against women, a truly global issue, crosses cultural, economic and political lines. At least one of every three women in the world has suffered some form of violence, from beatings to sexual crimes, according to the United Nations Development Fund for Women. Determined to erase these grim statistics at home and abroad, the Obama administration has committed to combating violence against women. President Obama has appointed special advisers to fight for women’s rights, such as Melanne Verveer, the first U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues.
25 November 2009 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women The UN General Assembly designated November 25th as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designated to raise public awareness of the problem on that day. Secretary Clinton has made this issue a top priority for American foreign policy.
24 November 2009 Zimbabwean Activist Receives Kennedy Award for Human Rights In the early 1980s, Zimbabwe’s Magodonga Mahlangu witnessed the massacre of thousands in Matabeleland, including family members, and she decided it was intolerable that the people of Zimbabwe were forbidden to know the truth about what was happening in their country. After she came to lead the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) movement, co-founded by Jenni Williams in 2002, Mahlangu became an example to Zimbabwean women and men alike that the brutal rule by President Robert Mugabe’s regime could be met with peaceful and heroic public defiance. For her inspirational work and willingness to withstand intimidation and physical abuse by the regime, Mahlangu and WOZA were honored by President Obama at the White House with the 2009 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.
19 November 2009 U.N. Condemns Human Rights Violations in Burma, North Korea The U.N. General Assembly has expressed its grave concern about ongoing human rights violations in Burma and North Korea. In a vote the evening of November 19, the assembly adopted resolutions urging both states to end systematic and widespread abuses against their citizens. The separate resolutions were adopted in the General Assembly committee responsible for social, humanitarian and cultural affairs — known as the Third Committee.
26 October 2009 Freedom of Speech and Religion Must Be Balanced, Clinton Says There must be a sensible balance between freedom of religion and freedom of speech, says Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
22 October 2009 Education, Economic Opportunity Help Curb Violence Against Women Education and economic empowerment are among the most important tools to prevent the victimization of millions of women around the world who are suffering from violence, experts told members of the U.S. Congress.
02 October 2009 United States Working to Bridge Gaps in U.N. Human Rights Council The first session of U.S. participation in the United Nations Human Rights Council has been "a terrific learning experience," and although the United States will not always agree with the body’s opinion, "it’s important that we’re in there defending the values we hold dear," says Esther Brimmer, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs.
30 September 2009 Clinton Hails U.N. Resolution to Protect Women Against Violence Says violence against women is criminal, not cultural.
15 September 2009 U.S. Emphasizes Freedom of Expression at Human Rights Council The U.S. will emphasize the importance of freedom of expression as it takes its seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, says Assistant Secretary of State Esther Brimmer.
14 September 2009 U.S. Assumes Seat on the UN Human Rights Council Remarks by Assistant Secretary for Bureau of International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer before the High-Level Session of the Human Rights Council.
25 August 2009 Hillary Clinton Works Toward Banishing Sexual Violence Following her recent trip to Africa Secretary Clinton writes about the scourge of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and outlines U.S. efforts to address the fundamental cause of this violence.
11 August 2009 Obama, Clinton Condemn Sentencing of Burma"s Aung San Suu Kyi The decision by Burma"s ruling military to convict and sentence Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to 18 additional months of house arrest is "unjust" and violates universal human rights principles, said President Obama, who calls for the veteran democracy leader and other Burmese political prisoners to be set free.
10 August 2009 Human Rights Group Embraces Social Media via "The Hub" Human rights activists are finding that easy-to-use technologies such as cell phones, small digital cameras and the Internet expand their ability to document and discuss human rights abuses. Now they have a central platform on which to place their material for the world to see.
20 June 2009 World Refugee Day The United States is committed to supporting refugees and displaced people worldwide.
16 June 2009 Fighting Human Trafficking a Critical Part of U.S. Foreign Policy U.S. hopes to cultivate more public-private partnerships to fight slavery.
13 May 2009 Obama Calls for Halt in Sri Lankan Fighting President Obama called on all sides in the Sri Lankan civil war to cease hostilities and allow the safe evacuation of tens of thousands of civilians trapped in a 2.5-kilometer conflict zone.
• U.S.-UK Joint Statement On the Humanitarian Situation in Sri Lanka
12 May 2009 U.S. Wins Seat on U.N. Human Rights Council The United States has won a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council and is eager to begin working both to improve the council itself and to advance the protection of human rights worldwide, said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.
01 May 2009 Statement by Secretary Clinton on World Press Freedom Day Clinton reaffirms strong U.S. commitment to media freedom worldwide.
20 April 2009 U.S. Applauds U.N. Conference Efforts to Re-focus on Racism While the U.S. is boycotting the Durban Review Conference, it praised the efforts of many countries to re-focus the conference squarely on racism and discrimination.
08 April 2009 U.S. Remembers 1994 Rwandan Genocide President Obama says the 15th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide is a somber occasion to reflect on the deaths of more than 800,000 people killed "simply because of their ethnicity or their political beliefs."
01 April 2009 U.S. to Seek Membership on U.N. Human Rights Council The United States believes that working within the U.N. Human Rights Council is the best way to improve the council's goal of thwarting global human rights abuses, says the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
27 January 2009 U.S. Contributes $125 Million to Support UNHCR Efforts Worldwide Initial contributions to support UNHCR’s Annual and Supplementary Program.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights
"Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights, once and for all." --Secretary Hillary Clinton, June 2010, Washington, D.C.
"People around the globe are working hard to support you and to bring an end to the injustices and dangers you face. That is certainly true for my country. And you have an ally in the United States of America and you have millions of friends among the American people." -- Secretary Hillary Clinton, December 6, 2011, Geneva, Switzerland
The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia
The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is celebrated every 17 May because on that day in 1990, homosexuality was removed from the international classification of diseases of the World Health Organization.
17 May 2012 Ambassador Susman's video message on the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia On the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) Ambassador Susman discusses the U.S. government’s commitment to protect and advance the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals around the world.
• Watch the YouTube video or read the transcript.
06 December 2011 Working to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Persons Globally (White House factsheet)
06 December 2011 State Dept. Engagement on the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People Human rights are inalienable and belong to every person, no matter who that person is or whom that person loves. Since January 2009, Secretary Clinton has championed a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the protection of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
20 September 2011 Statement by the President on the Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell "As of today, patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love. As of today, our armed forces will no longer lose the extraordinary skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members"
27 June 2011 Gay Rights Are Human Rights, Clinton Says The rights and dignity of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or sexual identity, must be protected, says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton has made gay rights a focus of the State Department’s human rights agenda.
An IIP publication: Women Of Influence (PDF, 1.6Mb) This November 2006 collection chronicles how 21 notable American women broke new ground, some by championing equal rights for all and others by their accomplishments in fields such as government, literature, and even in war. Women of Influence was produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.
Quick reference assistance available from the Information Resource Center between 10.00 a.m. and 12 noon, Monday to Friday, on 020-7894-0925.
Further research services are provided to U.K. media, government departments and academics.