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Condoleezza Rice - 2005 Human Rights Reports

Briefing on The State Department's 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
March 8, 2006

(11:00 a.m. EST)

SECRETARY RICE: Good morning. I'm pleased today to join Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky and Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Barry Lowenkron in announcing the publication of The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005. These congressionally mandated annual reports attest to America's continuing commitment to the advancement of what President Bush calls "the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity."

Our promotion of human rights and democracy is in keeping with America's most cherished principles and it helps to lay the foundation for lasting peace in the world. How a country treats its own people is a strong indication of how it will behave toward its neighbors. The growing demand for democratic governance reflects a recognition that the best guarantor of human rights is a thriving democracy with transparent, accountable institutions of government, equal rights under the rule of law, a robust civil society, political pluralism and independent media.

Today, there is a worldwide discussion of democratic ideas and the universal principles that democratic governance protects. This discussion is taking place from the halls of government in newly democratic Iraq to internet cafes around the globe, in numerous public squares and across countless kitchen tables. Indeed, the promotion of human rights and democracy is a truly global phenomenon.

The duty to defend human rights and to help spread democracies' blessings is especially great for the United States and other free nations. That is why we are working with other democracies to develop the institutions that will ensure human rights are respected over the long term. We must help struggling democracies deliver on the high hopes of their citizens for a better life. We must call countries to account when they retreat from their human rights commitments and we must always stand in solidarity with the courageous men and women across the globe who live in fear, yet dream of freedom.

All men and women desire and deserve to live in dignity and liberty. Fulfilling the promise of the United Nations universal declaration of human rights and building vibrant democracies worldwide is the work of generations, but it is urgent work that cannot be delayed. As President Bush has said, "the advance of freedom is the great story of our time." These reports chronicle that great story. We hope that the reports will encourage governments, organizations, the media and publics to address human rights problems. We also hope that the reports will be a source of information and inspiration to the noble men and women across the globe who are working for peaceful democratic change.

And now I will turn the podium over to Under Secretary Dobriansky, who will begin to take your questions. Thank you very much. 2006/257

Released on March 8, 2006


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