"...progress is seldom without great challenge and those who press for change often meet with resistance and indeed harsh repression. Whenever NGOs and other human rights defenders are under siege, freedom and democracy are undermined. The world's democracies must push back. We must defend the defenders."
--Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
December 14, 2006
Commemorationof International Human Rights Day
This report documents the many ways the United States worked in 2006 to foster respect for human rights and promote democracy worldwide.
President Bush has committed us to conduct a foreign policy rooted in freedom, and he has identified the advancement of human rights and democracy as an essential element of our national security strategy. As the President stated: "What every terrorist fears most is human freedom
Throughout 2006, in every region of the world, we sought to promote and defend international human rights standards and democratic principles. We helped fellow democracies establish and sustain accountable institutions of government and the rule of law. We fostered free and fair election processes and encouraged the full participation of all citizens, including women and minorities, in the life of their countries. We worked to strengthen civil societies and promote media freedom. Furthermore, where human rights and democratic principles were under siege, we stood in solidarity with those who pressed for peaceful change.
Defending human dignity and supporting the growth of effective democracies across the globe is a long term effort, and it requires strong partnerships with other governments, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector. There will be setbacks, and progress may at times come slowly, but we and our partners will persevere
With these thoughts, I hereby transmit the Department of State's Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2006 to the United States Congress.
Secretary of State