U.S. Department of State: 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices   [open html - 0B]

"The year just ended was characterized by three trends: a growing worldwide demand for greater personal and political freedom, governmental efforts to push back on those freedoms, and further confirmation that human rights flourish best in participatory democracies with vibrant civil societies. These congressionally mandated reports describe the performance in 2008 of governments across the globe in putting into practice their international commitments on human rights. We hope that they will help focus attention on human rights abuses and bring action to end them. At the same time, we hope that the hard-won advances for human freedom chronicled in the reports will hearten those still pressing for their rights, often against daunting odds. These reports will inform U.S. government policymaking and serve as a reference for other governments, intergovernmental institutions, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), human rights defenders, and journalists. United States foreign policy revolves not only around effective defense, but also robust diplomacy and vigorous support for political and economic development. A vigorous human rights policy reaffirms American values and advances our national interests. As President Obama stated in his inaugural address: 'America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity...', but to 'those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.'"

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