For nearly five decades, the United States has issued the National reports on human rights practices, which strive to provide a factual and objective assessment of the human rights situation around the world – in 2021, covering 198 countries and territories. The information contained in these reports could not be more vital or urgent given the ongoing human rights abuses and violations in many countries, the continued democratic backsliding on several continents and the creeping authoritarianism that threatens to both human rights and democracy – most notably, at the present time, with Russia. unprovoked attack on Ukraine.
The Biden administration has placed human rights at the center of US domestic and foreign policy. We also recognized that our nation has not always succeeded in protecting the dignity and rights of all Americans, despite the proclamations of freedom, equality, and justice in our founding documents. It is through America’s continued commitment to advancing human rights, both domestically and internationally, that we best honor generations of Americans who are black, brown, or other people of color, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, LGBTQI+ people, immigrants, women and girls, and other historically marginalized groups whose advocacy for their rights and others has pushed America toward a “union more perfect”.
President Biden has called the defense of democracy and human rights the defining challenge of our time. By convening the first Democracy Summit in December 2021 – bringing together representatives of 100 governments as well as civil society and the private sector – he generated global attention and vigor for democratic renewal and respect for human rights. the man. Participating governments made significant commitments to revitalize democracy at home and abroad at the first Summit on which we expect significant progress in the current Year of Action and before the time of a second Summit. .
The reports paint a clear picture of where human rights and democracy are under threat. They highlight places where governments have unjustly imprisoned, tortured or even killed political opponents, activists, human rights defenders or journalists, including in Russia, the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in Nicaragua and Syria. They document the abuses of peaceful protesters demanding democracy and fundamental freedoms in countries like Burma, Belarus, Cuba, Hong Kong and Sudan. They highlight disturbing cases of transnational repression – where governments cross borders to harass, intimidate or murder dissidents and their relatives – as evidenced by Belarus’s dangerous forced hijacking of an international commercial flight for the sole purpose of arrest a critical freelance journalist.
But they also contain signs of progress and glimmers of hope, for the indomitable will to live freely will never be extinguished. In Iraq, people voted to shape the future of their country in parliamentary elections that were more credible and transparent than in 2018. In Botswana, a court advanced the human rights of LGBTQI+ people by upholding the decriminalization of same-sex relationships . In Turkmenistan, all imprisoned Jehovah’s Witnesses conscientious objectors to military service have been pardoned, a victory for freedom of religion or belief. The stability, security and health of any country depends on the ability of its people to freely exercise their human rights – to feel safe and included in their communities while expressing their opinions or gender, loving who they love, organizing with their colleagues, peacefully coming together, living their conscience and using their voices and independent media reports to hold governments to account. There is a lot of progress to be made, here in the United States and around the world. But I know that by working together on the Year of Action and using resources like the National reports on human rights practiceswe can come closer to building a world where respect for human rights is truly universal.
Link to report