The United States supports just and democratic governance for three distinct but related reasons: as a matter of principle; as a contribution to U.S. national security; and as a cornerstone of our broader development agenda. First, the U.S. political system and national identity are grounded in the belief that all people share fundamental rights that are best exercised and guaranteed by capable and democratic governance. Second, as outlined in the President's Freedom Agenda and the National Security Strategy, good governance and democracy promotion are central to U.S. national security and the global war on terror. Failed and authoritarian states that do not respond to the needs of their people or respect international human rights and democratic norms pose a long-term threat to the security of the United States and other democracies. Finally, U.S. support for anti-corruption, good governance, and democratization reinforces our development and transformational diplomacy goals of working with partners to help them build their own sustainable institutions of democratic governance. The U.S. Government goal is to promote and strengthen effective democracies and move them along a continuum toward democratic consolidation.
Strategies and programs that support the Strategic Goal of "Governing Justly and Democratically" take into account the challenges and opportunities presented by each country category as outlined in Appendix I. In restrictive countries, the emphasis will be on building political parties and supporting civil society to challenge closed regimes, sustaining the work of human rights defenders, and supporting independent media. In rebuilding countries, the emphasis will be on promoting government that is effective and legitimate, while protecting human rights and supporting civil society. In developing countries, we seek to strengthen the rule of law and good governance, advance anti-corruption measures, build the capacity of political parties, and expand the growth of civil society. In transforming countries, the focus will be on institutionalizing democracy and good governance, while sustaining a healthy civil society. The need for this assistance in sustaining partner countries varies according to the level of democratization in each country, and our efforts here could range from supporting nascent civil society organizations to training civil servants in key institutions.
Rule of Law and Human Rights: As President Bush said in his January 2002 State of the Union Address, "America will always stand firm for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law; limits on the power of the state; respect for women; private property; free speech; equal justice; and religious tolerance." Our objectives in this area are to advance and protect human and individual rights as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international conventions to which states are signatory, and to promote societies in which the state and its citizens are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced, and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international norms and standards. To accomplish this, we will speak out forthrightly through public statements and instruments such as the Human Rights Practices, Trafficking in Persons, and International Religious Freedom reports. We will speak out against states that wield the law as a political weapon or instrument of repression, and that manipulate laws and the judicial system in order to maintain power. We will speak in defense of human rights defenders who are silenced by their governments in order to draw international attention to their plight. We will actively promote the recognition of freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right, and denounce regimes that persecute their citizens or others on the basis of religious belief. We will promote and monitor universal recognition and implementation of labor rights and the abolition of abusive child labor practices, and will encourage responsible corporate social behavior. We will protect the rights of women and other underserved populations, including trafficking victims. We will work with members of the UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council and other multilateral mechanisms to call countries to account on their performance. We will complement our diplomatic activity by using our foreign assistance to:
Good Governance: Our objective in this area is to promote democratic institutions that are effective, responsive, sustainable, and accountable to the people. Constitutional order, legal frameworks, and judicial independence constitute the foundation for a well-functioning society, but they remain hollow unless the government has the capacity to apply these tools appropriately. The fight against corruption cuts across all of these efforts and works to prevent abuses of power. To accomplish this, we will use diplomatic engagement and foreign assistance to:
Political Competition and Consensus-Building: Our objective in this area is to encourage the development of transparent and inclusive electoral and political processes, and democratic, responsive, and effective political parties. Political parties are indispensable vehicles for like-minded citizens to organize and compete through electoral processes for the right to govern. Parties also serve as vehicles to aggregate and articulate the interests of their members and constituents. Consensus-building processes are critical where fundamental issues about the democratization process have not yet been settled. We seek to promote consensus-building among government, political parties, and civil society to advance a common democratic agenda. To accomplish this, we will use diplomatic and foreign assistance tools to:
Civil Society: Our objective in this area is to empower individuals to exercise peacefully their rights of expression, association, and assembly, including through their establishing and participating in NGOs, unions, and other civil society organizations. We will actively protect and promote the right of individuals and civil society organizations to advocate their views and communicate with their own members, with their own and other governments, international bodies, and other elements of civil society inside or outside the countries in which they are based. We will seek to protect and promote access to objective information, including through free, open, and independent media, and through new technologies, including the Internet. We will spotlight abuses of civil society freedoms, denounce crackdowns on civil society and independent media, and publicly demonstrate our solidarity with NGOs, labor unions, and journalists under threat. We will complement this diplomatic activity with foreign assistance to:
U.S. Government Partners and Cross-cutting Programs: The following are key U.S. Government partners with whom we will coordinate to achieve this goal:
The following are key factors, external to the Department and USAID, which could significantly affect the achievement of the goal: