"Respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is, as President Bush has said, 'the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.' Today, on every continent, men and women are working, often against great odds and at great risk, to secure the basic rights to live in dignity, to follow their conscience and speak their minds without fear, to choose those who would govern them and hold their leaders accountable, and to obtain equal justice under the law. Increasingly, democracy is seen as the form of government capable of securing those rights and fundamental freedoms. No form of government is without flaws. Democracy is a system of government of, by, and for the people, based on the principle that human beings have the inherent right to shape their own future, but that they are flawed creatures and that therefore there must be built-in correctives. Our citizens claim a proud history of striving in every generation since our nation's founding to bring our democratic practices closer to our cherished principles, even as we are seeking to confront the injustices and challenges of each new age. As we publish these reports, the Department of State remains mindful of both international and domestic criticism of the United States' human rights record. The U.S. government will continue to hear and reply forthrightly to concerns about our own practices, including the actions we have taken to defend our nation from the global threat of terrorism. Our laws, policies, and practices have evolved considerably in recent years, and we continue to strive to protect innocent civilians from attack while honoring our longstanding commitment to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms. As part of this effort, the United States submits reports to international bodies in accordance with its obligations under various human rights treaties to which it is a party."
U.S. Department of State: http://www.state.gov/