U.S. Department of State released today its report, Supporting
Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2004-2005.
In her preface to the report, Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice said that elections in Iraq, Afghanistan
and the Palestinian territories, among others, demonstrate
that citizens around the world are working to live in peaceful,
Rice called the participation of Palestinians,
Afghans and Iraqis in elections and the “Orange Revolution”
in Ukraine “examples of the universal aspiration of
all people to make their voices heard and to govern themselves.
“Although individual freedoms and
rights can be repressed for a time by authoritarian and
corrupt regimes,” she said, “history shows us
that progress toward democracy is inevitable and encourages
our support of the inalienable rights of freedom-loving
The congressionally mandated report, issued
annually, is a companion to the State Department's Country
Reports on Human Rights Practices. It reviews U.S.
efforts to promote human rights and democracy in 98 countries
around the world.
Citing President Bush’s January 20
inaugural address and February 2 State of the Union address,
in which he pledged support to countries seeking democratic
reform, Rice said that this report describes U.S. democracy
and human rights programs that seek to strengthen institutions
“that are responsive and accountable to citizens.”
The overall goal of U.S. human rights and
democracy policy, she said, is an end to tyranny.
The full report is available at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/shrd/2004/
Following is the secretary’s preface
to the Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record
Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The
U.S. Record 2004 – 2005
Released March 28, 2005
The past year has seen what we hope represents
a dramatic shift in the world’s landscape. The participation
of Palestinians, Afghans and Iraqis in elections and the
“Orange Revolution” in Ukraine have been examples
of the universal aspiration of all people to make their
voices heard and to govern themselves.
Today, more than fifty million people who
lived under brutal regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq are on
the road to democracy.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is leading
his war-torn nation forward, after 23 years of conflict
Iraq has taken the initial steps to joining
the growing community of democracies in the world. In Iraq
we witnessed citizens - despite the threat of terrorist
violence - voting to ensure their voices were heard for
the first time in decades. Elsewhere, Palestinian voters
replaced an antiquated leadership with one that seeks peace
with its neighbors, and held their first municipal elections
In another region of the world, Ukrainians
proved that they would not stand for an election to be rigged
and stolen. The result ultimately was a presidential election
that truly reflected the will of the people.
What these dramatic events graphically illustrate
is that citizens of nations around the world share the desire
to live in free societies founded on a profound commitment
to the dignity of each individual and respect for human
Although individual freedoms and rights
can be repressed for a time by authoritarian and corrupt
regimes, history shows us that progress toward democracy
is inevitable and encourages our support of the inalienable
rights of freedom-loving people everywhere.
This volume illustrates our strategy to
promote democracy and human rights worldwide in 2004 and
2005, and the policies and programs designed to carry it
out. Democracy and governance programs provide technical
assistance and other support to strengthen governing capacity
and develop democratic states and institutions that are
responsive and accountable to citizens. The President recently
set forth in his second Inaugural and State of the Union
addresses a policy of supporting democratic movements in
every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending
tyranny in our world.
We recognize that each country has a unique
history and traditions that will shape its quest for freedom.
Whatever the path or pace, however, the
United States is prepared to stand with those who seek freedom
for themselves and their fellow citizens.
The defense of human rights is a universal
responsibility. We must all be defenders of human rights.
I take this opportunity to salute all of those who fight
for personal freedom and liberty, wherever you are.
You each play an important role in building
a world that respects the inherent dignity and equal and
inalienable rights of all. Your work is an inspiration to
Secretary of State