News / USA

Clinton: 2011 a 'Tumultuous' Year for Human Rights

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a news conference at the State Department, Washington, May 24, 2012.Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a news conference at the State Department, Washington, May 24, 2012.
x
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a news conference at the State Department, Washington, May 24, 2012.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a news conference at the State Department, Washington, May 24, 2012.
STATE DEPARTMENT - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says elections in Egypt and political reforms in Burma show the power of human rights in changing people's lives. 

Secretary Clinton says 2011 was an especially tumultuous and momentous year for human rights. "Many of the events that have dominated recent headlines, from the revolutions in the Middle East to reforms in Burma, began with human rights, with the clear call of men and women demanding their universal rights," she stated.

Today in Egypt, Secretary Clinton says those demands are making a difference as voters go to the polls to choose their leaders for the first time.

"Whatever the outcome of the election, the Egyptian people will keep striving to achieve their aspirations.  And as they do, we will continue to support them," said Clinton. "We will support people everywhere who seek the same, men and women who want to speak, worship, associate, love the way they choose."

Launching the State Department's annual human-rights report, Secretary Clinton said 21st Century human rights means having the same rights on-line as off. They are not only a question of civil and political liberties, she says, but the fundamental question of whether people everywhere have the chance to make the most of their potential.

"There is a lot of work that remains to be done. In too many places, governments continue to stifle their own people's aspirations. And in some places, like Syria, it is not just an assault on freedom of expression or freedom of association, but an assault on the very lives of citizens," noted Clinton. "The Assad regime's brutality against its own people must and will end because Syrians know they deserve a better future.

Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael Posner says there were many encouraging developments in 2011; in Zambia and Tunisia there were free elections, in Colombia where he says the government continues to work toward improving justice in human-rights cases, and in Burma.

"Much more needs to be done including releasing all remaining political prisoners, working to end violence against ethnic minorities," said Posner. "But we will continue to encourage that government to keep making progress on those issues in the coming year."

In China, Posner says U.S. officials are closely monitoring what is happening to family members and friends who helped dissident Chen Guangcheng escape house arrest. "In the last several years, there has been a closing of space for human rights lawyers and activists in China.  Those are things of concern," he said.

The human-rights report says freedoms of expression, assembly, and association in China have deteriorated with authorities in Beijing resorting to extralegal measures to silence political activists.

Globally, the report says there has been an increase in anti-Semitism and continued persecution of other religious minorities including Ahmadis, Baha’is, Tibetan Buddhists, Christians, and Jews as well as abuse, discrimination, and violence against members of racial and ethnic minorities; people with disabilities; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

New Yellow Fever Research May Lead to Improved Treatment

Researchers identify features of disease that may lead to more effective treatment More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid