Rice Remarks On The Release Of US HR Report
Remarks on the Release of "Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2004 - 2005"
March 28, 2005
(10:00 a.m. EST)
SECRETARY RICE: Good morning.
QUESTION: Good morning. Happy Easter, I hope it was.
SECRETARY RICE: Oh, thank you very much. It was a very nice holiday, thank you.
In his Inaugural Address, President Bush said it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in the world. One of history's clearest lessons is that our nation is safer and the world more secure whenever freedom and democracy prevail.
The charge to the international community is clear: We are on the right side of freedom's divide and we have an obligation to help those who are unlucky enough to have been born on the wrong side of that divide. America's experience as a democracy affirms our conviction that all people can live and prosper in peace. Even in our darkest moments here in the United States, we have been guided by our commitment to freedom and self-government. We have reached this simple conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land is dependent on the growth of liberty in other lands.
Freedom, democracy and human rights are not American principles or Western values. These ideals are shared by all people. They are the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. Today, it is my pleasure to present the State Department's report, Supporting Human Rights and Democracy. This congressionally mandated report details the many ways the United States is working to advance the cause of freedom worldwide. As this year's report describes in detail, we are working tirelessly to support democracy and human rights in every country where these principles are not completely fulfilled.
The past year has seen a dramatic shift in the world's landscape. Elections in Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories and Iraq, and developments in places like Georgia and Ukraine and Lebanon, have brought the dramatic first steps of democracy to populations that have lived under tyranny and oppression for too long.
What these dramatic events have shown us is that societies of free citizens must be founded on a commitment to the dignity of each individual. Some have questioned whether certain countries or societies are ready for freedom or ready to take responsibility in determining their own futures, as if freedom and human rights were prizes to be won. We reject these cynics. History proves their arguments hollow. We know from history that while citizens' desire for individual freedoms and rights can be repressed for a time by authoritarian and /or corrupt regimes, there comes a time when all people have had enough, striking a spark of liberty, and then they rise up to take control of their own futures and their own destinies.
Freedom's work has most assuredly just begun. In all that lies ahead, our nation will continue to clarify for other nations the moral choice between oppression and freedom, and we will make it clear that ultimately success in our relations depends on the treatment of their own people.
America's belief in human dignity and human rights will guide our policy. Working together with our friends and allies in the community of democracies, we can indeed forge a path toward freedom for all persons around the globe.
I'd like now to introduce Acting Assistant Secretary Michael Kozak, who will further present the report.
QUESTION: Will you take a question before you do that?
SECRETARY RICE: Sorry, I've got to run.
QUESTION: Will you take a question?
SECRETARY RICE: I think we should do the report. I'll try to get back to you. We'll do the report. 2005/355
Released on March 28, 2005