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Hillary and Human Rights, New Website on Human Rights, War on Women Update

April 19, 2011

Hillary and human rights for the 21st Century

The State Department released its annual report on human rights last week. The report details the status of human rights in 194 countries and marks the 35th year in which the State Department produced its findings.

In a statement about the report, Secretary Clinton said:

"Societies flourish when they address human rights problems instead of suppressing them. Freedom from fear makes economies grow as citizens invest, innovate, and participate. Where human rights matter, children grow up with the precious belief that they matter, too; that they should be able to live in dignity and shape their own destinies."

Human Rights Report Image

Read or watch the full speech here.

The report lists several concerning trends:

A widespread crackdown on civil society activists, including violence and imprisonment; increased efforts to curtail freedoms of expression, assembly and association; and the repression of vulnerable minorities, including racial, ethnic and religious minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality, commended the State Department for publishing the findings. He added that the report demonstrates that serious attention is now being paid to LGBT rights.

"That is due to the secretary's leadership, but also to the many committed human rights officers in the State Department and in U.S. embassies around the world who are now actually meeting and interacting with LGBT human rights activists on a regular basis," Bromley said.

See the report for yourself here.

State Department launches new website

Just launched last week, HumanRights.gov is the official United States government website for international human rights related information.

The site assembles reports, statements and other updates from around the world and will be an easy-to-use, one-stop-shop for global human rights information.

HumanRights.gov website

Check it out here.

A casualty in the war on women

You saw the heated budget battle in Congress, it seemed a government shutdown was imminent, but in the 11th hour Congress came together on a compromise. So who won and who lost?

Once again, women were the biggest losers. You heard the misguided and misinformed attacks on Planned Parenthood, the largest health provider for women in the country. Fortunately, funding for Planned Parenthood was maintained, but funding for D.C. women was cut. The budget was passed with a rider that reinstated a ban on D.C. Medicaid coverage for abortion care, leaving low-income women in D.C. without the safety net that D.C. Medicaid had provided for many years.

Where in the world is Hillary Clinton?

Get out the globe, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been traveling around the world this week, with stops in Berlin, Seoul, and Tokyo, strengthening U.S. leadership and forging common bonds. Before leaving she also spoke at major events in the U.S.

U.S. Islamic Forum

Secretary Clinton spoke last week at the U.S. Islamic Forum, commending the individuals seeking peace in their countries and condemning leaders standing in the way of justice.

"All the signs of progress we have seen in recent months will only be meaningful if more leaders in more places move faster and further to embrace this spirit of reform, if they work with their people to answer the region's most pressing challenges – to diversify their economies, open their political systems, crackdown on corruption, respect the rights of all of their citizens, including women and minorities."

VITAL VOICES

Secretary Clinton spoke at the 10th anniversary of the Global Leadership Awards for Vital Voices. This event recognized seven extraordinary individuals who have dedicated their lives to bringing peace and justice to their countries. Secretary Clinton said:

"At a time when millions of women worldwide are still denied their rights, still excluded from the public debates in their societies, still subjected to violence inside and outside of the family, still barred from schools, courts, markets and public squares, it is even more remarkable that tonight’s honorees have accomplished all that they have."

Read the speech here.

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THE LAST WORD

"Because I believe, and our government believes, that gay rights are human rights, we remain extremely concerned about state-sanctioned homophobia."

- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Human Rights Report Remarks, April 8, 2011.

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