U.S. supports vaccinations in hard-to-reach communities

By Michael Laff The United States and international partners are ensuring COVID-19 vaccines reach people in remote and traditionally underserved communities around the world. The United States is providing  more than 600 million safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses  — with no political strings attached — to developing countries and economies. Most donations are through  COVAX, an international partnership designed to equitably distribute vaccine doses  to protect people who are most at-risk. COVAX recently delivered 151,200 U.S.-donated …

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Commemorating the International Day of Democracy 

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE On this International Day of Democracy, we underscore our support for democracy as we strive toward a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable world. The United States places democracy and human rights at the center of our foreign policy; they are essential elements in achieving and sustaining peace and stability the world …

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The United States Announces Additional Humanitarian Assistance for the People of Afghanistan

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE As part of our commitment to the people of Afghanistan, the United States is providing nearly $64 million in new humanitarian assistance to the people affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.  This brings total U.S. humanitarian aid in Afghanistan and for Afghan refugees in the region to nearly …

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Joint Statement on Afghanistan Evacuation Travel Assurances

The text of the following statement was released initially by the Governments of the United States of America, Albania, Australia, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Canada, Central African Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Eswatini, Federated States …

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On International Day Commemorating Survivors of Religious Persecution

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE On the International Day Commemorating Survivors of Religious Persecution, we recognize that individuals around the world are harassed, threatened, beaten, imprisoned, and killed for exercising their beliefs.  In some cases, governments have used COVID-19 as a pretext to target members of religious groups, members of civil society, opposition voices, and marginalized communities.  This day serves as …

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International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism

Today we mark International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism. Acts of fear-based oppression and violence affect thousands of innocent individuals each year. Victims of terrorism continue in the struggle to have their voices heard, their needs met, and their rights protected. Victims can often feel overlooked, and many have trouble …

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Statement by Secretary Antony Blinken On the Occasion of World Humanitarian Day

On World Humanitarian Day, we recognize and honor all of the humanitarian aid workers who have sacrificed so much – including, for too many of them, their lives — to answer the call to protect and support the world’s most vulnerable populations. We commend the bravery and compassion of humanitarian aid workers who put the …

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Joint Statement from the Department of State and Department of Defense: Update on Afghanistan

OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON The following is the text of a joint statement released by the Department of State and Department of Defense on Afghanistan. Begin text: At present we are completing a series of steps to secure the Hamid Karzai International Airport to enable the safe departure of U.S. and allied personnel from Afghanistan via civilian and military …

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Joint Statement on Afghanistan

OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON The following is the text of a joint statement on Afghanistan initially released by the following: Albania, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federated States of …

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U.S. vaccine donations top 110 million doses

The United States has donated more than 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to dozens of countries and is committed to vaccinating the world, President Biden said. Biden announced August 3 that U.S. shipments of vaccines surpassed 110 million and said millions more doses will ship worldwide in the coming months. Vaccinating everyone is critical …

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How Russia’s ‘foreign agents’ law silences dissent

Harassment and censorship of independent media and government critics is common in the Russian Federation. A so-called “foreign agents” law, passed in 2012 and repeatedly expanded, allows the Justice Ministry to label groups or individuals “foreign agents,” exposing them to fines and harassment that stymie their work. In July, Russian authorities prosecuted  human rights advocate Semyon Simonov , who exposed …

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Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on Belarus

One year ago today, the people of Belarus sought to make their voices heard and shape their own future through that most basic expression of democracy—an election. Rather than respect the clear will of the Belarusian people, the Lukashenka regime perpetrated election fraud, followed by a brutal campaign of repression to stifle dissent. From detaining …

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Holding the Lukashenka Regime to Account on the Anniversary of the Fraudulent Presidential Belarusian Election

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE On the one-year anniversary of Belarus’s fraudulent presidential election, the United States government has taken decisive action against forty-four individuals and entities in order to hold Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his regime to account for its continued, violent repression of Belarusians inside and outside the country.  These steps are a further consequence …

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U.S. Embassy Statement on the 13th Anniversary of the August War

Thirteen years ago, Russia invaded the sovereign nation of Georgia. Since that time, thousands of residents have been displaced, persecuted, and impoverished. Many have lost their lives. Russia’s aggressive actions, including “borderization” and detention of Georgian citizens, have caused untold hardships. The human costs of the occupation have been particularly grave during the global COVID-19 …

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23rd Commemoration of the August 7th U.S. Embassy Bombings

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE Today we somberly remember the terror attacks that took place on August 7, 1998, in Kenya and Tanzania.  Nearly simultaneously, terrorists detonated bombs next to the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.  Their attacks killed 224 men, women, and children, and injured over 4,500 others.  In an …

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Hizballah Rocket Attacks into Israel

NED PRICE, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON The United States condemns in the strongest terms Hizballah’s rocket attacks into Israel. This violence puts Israelis and Lebanese at risk and jeopardizes Lebanon’s stability and sovereignty.  The United States remains engaged with Israeli and Lebanese officials, as well as the Lebanese Armed Forces. We call upon the Lebanese government urgently to prevent such …

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Harassment of Foreign Journalists in the People’s Republic of China

NED PRICE, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON The United States is deeply concerned with the increasingly harsh surveillance, harassment, and intimidation of U.S. and other foreign journalists in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including foreign journalists covering the devastation and loss of life caused by recent floods in Henan. The U.S. government reiterates the condolences of the …

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Imposing Sanctions in Defense of Human Rights in Syria

PRESS STATEMENT ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE The United States is taking action to promote accountability for entities and individuals that have perpetuated the suffering of the Syrian people.  The United States is sanctioning eight Syrian prisons, five Assad regime officials in the institutions that run those facilities, two militia groups, and two militia …

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Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Refugee Convention

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE Today we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention.  At this time of historic global forced displacement, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have exacerbated the challenges refugees face, making the international commitments in the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol more vital than ever.  We are committed to …

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Protests in Iran

NED PRICE, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON Protests in Iran that began with a water shortage — owing to drought and governmental mismanagement and neglect — in the Khuzestan province have now spread across various cities including Tehran, Karaj and Tabriz. The Iranian people are now putting a spotlight not only on their unmet needs, but also their …

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Escalation of Violence along International Border between Armenia and Azerbaijan

NED PRICE, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON The United States condemns the recent escalation of violence along the international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  We call on Armenia and Azerbaijan to uphold their ceasefire commitments by taking immediate steps to de-escalate the situation. Continued tensions along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border underscore the fact that only a comprehensive resolution that …

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U.S. supports Uyghurs in ‘Voices of Xinjiang’

Adalet Sabit’s daughter has never met her father. The government of the People’s Republic of China confiscated her husband’s passport and refused to let him leave Xinjiang, where Uyghurs live in a state of constant surveillance. Sabit says her video calls to her husband are denied and she doesn’t know if the pictures she sends …

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Department Press Briefing

2:11 p.m. EDT MR PRICE: Good afternoon. QUESTION: Good afternoon. MR PRICE: All right. Happy Tuesday, everyone. Just a couple things here at the top. I wanted to start with developments in our own hemisphere. As you know, President Biden and Secretary Blinken have made human rights central to our foreign policy, and I would like to address …

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U.S. Leadership on Human Rights and Ending Systemic Racism

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE This Administration is deeply dedicated to addressing racial injustice and inequities at home and abroad. On the global stage, the United States is leading by example. Last month, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report on racism and police brutality against Africans and people of African …

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Message on the 26th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide

NED PRICE, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON Today marks 26 years since the genocide in Srebrenica.  The American people join the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina in solemn remembrance of the over 8,000 victims who were murdered. We stand with the families of those who lost their loved ones and with those who tirelessly seek justice in their …

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Fight for a world without human trafficking

In 2020, as governments focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, human traffickers found new ways to perpetrate their crimes, a new State Department report says. Traffickers targeted vulnerable families with fraudulent offers that led to exploitation. And more time online left some more vulnerable to trafficking. Meanwhile, lockdowns and social distancing requirements limited victims’ access to …

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Joint Statement on violence in Tbilisi

Joint Statement of the Embassies of Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, the European Union Monitoring Mission, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, UN system in Georgia, the United States, and the EU Delegation to Georgia concerning violence in Tbilisi We condemn today’s violent attacks on the civic activists, …

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Ambassador Degnan meets with human rights advocates

The United States continues to support the Government of Georgia and members of civil society in upholding their commitment to protecting the human rights of all citizens. Georgia’s Constitution and laws guarantee every citizen the right to equality and dignity and to freely develop their personality, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Ambassador …

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Secretary Antony J. Blinken At the 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report Launch Ceremony

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE BEN FRANKLIN ROOM WASHINGTON, D.C. MS JOHNSTONE: Good afternoon, and welcome. My name is Kari Johnstone. I am the acting director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Thank you all for joining us virtually to mark the release of the 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report, or …

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Release of the 2021 Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Report

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE Women are a powerful force for peace and essential partners in advancing international security.  The United States has long championed the safe, meaningful participation of women in our diplomatic, development, and defense efforts.  As underscored by the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Act of 2017 and our support of …

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U.S. Support for the People of Syria

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE Yesterday, I was honored to co-host with Italy a productive meeting on Syria, during which I reiterated the imperative of ensuring that vital humanitarian assistance reaches all Syrians in need.  I underscored the importance of reauthorizing and expanding the ability of the United Nations to provide this life-saving assistance to the Syrian people across borders — a …

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International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE On the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we recognize the bravery and humanity of victims and survivors of torture around the world.  The absolute prohibition of torture is a human right enshrined in international law.  Since its inception in 1987, 171 countries—including the United States—have become …

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U.S.-EU-Canada: Joint Statement on Venezuela

The following statement was released by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, and Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau. Begin text: We remain deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in Venezuela and its regional and global impact. The peaceful solution to that …

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Biden: U.S. will donate 500 million vaccine doses for global COVID-19 fight

The United States is purchasing a half a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to donate to nearly 100 developing countries around the world through COVAX. President Biden announced the “monumental commitment by the American people” on June 10, saying the donation lays the foundation for democratic nations’ sustained efforts to rid the world of COVID-19. “We’re …

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Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on World Refugee Day

Today, I join people around the globe in commemorating World Refugee Day, a day when we recognize the courage and humanity of the millions forced to flee violence, persecution, and war. It is also a moment to honor the generosity of communities welcoming refugees and the bravery and dedication of humanitarian workers who provide life-saving …

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Commemorating World Refugee Day 2021

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE World Refugee Day presents an opportunity to recognize the courage and resilience of the millions of refugees who have been forced to flee their homes, the generosity of the communities that host them, and the united global response of humanitarian partners that help them.  We mark today with news …

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In Commemoration of Juneteenth

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE Juneteenth, or June 19, is a reflective day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to abolish slavery. Yet it wasn’t until two and a half years later, on June 19, 1865, that his notice of …

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International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE The United States has long been committed to the prevention of, and accountability for, conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) as well as efforts to support and protect survivors. On this International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, the United States proudly stands with the global community in …

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Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s Remarks to Media at Solidarity Walk Dedicated to World Refugee Day

Q-n about the event Ambassador Kelly Degnan: It is a real honor to be here today to join with this community in recognizing World Refugee Day. The United States is the largest single provider of humanitarian assistance in the world to refugees, displaced persons, persons affected by conflict and related categories. Just here in Georgia, …

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Remarks by President Biden at Signing of the Juneteenth National Independence Day

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, thank you, thank you.   Well, thank you, Madam Vice President.   One hundred and fifty-six years ago — one hundred and fifty-six years — June 19th, 1865 — John, thanks for being here — a major general of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation …

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10th Anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE Today marks the tenth anniversary of the unanimous endorsement by the UN Human Rights Council of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). These principles recognize a three-pronged approach to protecting human rights in the context of business activity: States have the duty to protect human …

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Juneteenth: A day to celebrate Black communities’ strength

Juneteenth — or June 19 — is an annual holiday to commemorate the contributions made by Black Americans, their resilience despite their history of enslavement, and the continued fight against systemic racism. In the words of historian Henry Louis Gates Jr., “Juneteenth offers a chance for reflection on the past and consideration for the future. …

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How the U.S. uses trade to deter forced labor

By Leigh Hartman The United States works to stop forced labor around the world. That’s why it won’t import seafood from a fishing fleet based out of the People’s Republic of China. A yearlong U.S. Customs and Border Protection investigation found evidence that PRC-based Dalian Ocean Fishing Company demonstrated all 11 of the  International Labour Organization’s indicators of forced labor  (PDF, 4.2MB). On May …

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USAID and vaccines: Helping save 9.3 million children in the last 10 years

The U.S. Agency for International Development is committed to immunizing people everywhere. Immunization is cost-effective,  slows or halts preventable disease  and gives children a healthy start in life. Most importantly, it saves an estimated 2 million to 3 million lives each year, cutting child deaths globally by at least half. During the last decade, USAID’s child health programs have helped …

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World Day Against Child Labor

NED PRICE, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON Child labor harms the physical and mental development of children, depriving them of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity. For their future and for the world’s future, we must do more to combat child labor and protect children from this scourge. June 12 is the World Day Against Child Labor, …

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The United States and UAE partner against ISIS propaganda

The editorial below, written by Omar Ghobash, assistant minister for culture and public diplomacy at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Christopher Hodges, deputy assistant secretary of state for press and public diplomacy and assistance coordination in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, describes …

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On the 32nd Anniversary of Tiananmen Square

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.  Named after the nearby Gate of Heavenly Peace, the square is instead synonymous with the brutal actions by the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1989 to silence tens of thousands of individuals advocating to have a …

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Statement by President Joe Biden on Diversion of Ryanair Flight and Arrest of Journalist in Belarus

Belarus’s forced diversion of a commercial Ryanair flight, traveling between two member states of the European Union, and subsequent removal and arrest of Raman Pratasevich, a Belarusian journalist traveling abroad, are a direct affront to international norms. The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms both the diversion of the plane and the subsequent …

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U.S. defends religious freedom, a universal right

The United States is committed to defending religious freedom around the world, U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said. “Religious freedom, like every human right, is universal,” Blinken said May 12, announcing the release of the State Department’s  2020 Report on International Religious Freedom . “All people, everywhere, are entitled to it no matter where they live, what they believe, …

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Ambassador Degnan’s visit to Kakheti Domestic Violence shelter

Ambassador Degnan visited Kakheti Domestic Violence shelter, a small, family-equipped facility, which was fully renovated through U.S. Government funding from the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues and the Bureau of International Law Enforcement and Narcotics. Prior to its opening in 2016 there was no such institution in Kakheti.  Ambassador Degnan and Deputy …

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On the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE This year’s May 17 marks 16 years since the first International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB). In the intervening period, the United States has endeavored to reaffirm the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex persons. To be …

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Secretary Antony J. Blinken on Release of the 2020 International Religious Freedom Report

MR PRICE:  Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today.  I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to introduce Secretary Blinken, who will speak to the Department’s  International Religious Freedom Report .  We will then hear from Office of International Religious Freedom senior official Dan Nadel, who will be happy to take your questions on this year’s report. …

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On the Occasion of Eid al-Fitr

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE I extend my warmest wishes to all Muslims in the United States and around the world celebrating Eid al-Fitr. On this Eid al-Fitr, we reflect on the values of charity, community, cooperation, and compassion, and, in the face of a global pandemic, we honor the Muslims worldwide who came …

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Uyghur educators face prison, death in China

For Uyghurs, using their native language can mean a death sentence. People’s Republic of China authorities are sentencing Uyghur Muslim educators who publish textbooks in their native language to life in prison and even death. A PRC court on April 6 announced the  death sentence against Sattar Sawut , former director general of the education department in Xinjiang, for publishing …

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Statement by President Joe Biden on Armenian Remembrance Day

Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring. Beginning on April 24, 1915, with the arrest of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople by Ottoman authorities, one and a half million Armenians …

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U.S. calls on the Kremlin to end crackdown on press freedom

By  Leigh Hartman Russian authorities raided student magazine Doxa on April 14, arresting four editors and ransacking their homes. The students’ alleged crime? Reporting on university administrators’ attempts to intimidate students protesting in support of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny. The students’ arrest is the latest in the Kremlin’s ongoing crackdown on free and independent media …

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Additional Civilian Assistance to Afghanistan

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE President Biden was clear that while the United States will withdraw military forces from Afghanistan, our support for the country will continue.  As part of our commitment to invest in and support the Afghan people, we are working with Congress to provide nearly $300 million in additional civilian assistance for Afghanistan in 2021 from …

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Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with Human Rights Defenders

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:‎ Advancing the Administration’s commitment to put human rights at the heart of U.S. foreign policy, Secretary Blinken met today with eight human rights defenders who work around the globe.  The Secretary reaffirmed the United States’ support for their efforts to build free, equitable, and democratic societies where …

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Russia’s Intention To Restrict Navigation in Parts of the Black Sea

The United States expresses its deep concern over Russia’s plans to block foreign naval ships and state vessels in parts of the Black Sea, including near occupied Crimea and the Kerch Strait. Russia has a history of taking aggressive actions against Ukrainian vessels and impeding access to Ukraine’s ports in the Sea of Azov, impacting …

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Nations support U.S. holding Russia to account

The United States is imposing consequences on the Russian government for cyber intrusions, attempted election interference and other “reckless” conduct against the United States and its allies. More than 20 countries issued statements expressing solidarity with or support for the United States. President Biden in an April 15  executive order  strengthening sanctions authority called Russia’s behavior — …

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Women tackle firefighting’s risks and rewards

Women are making major contributions to fire departments across the United States, achieving new milestones in a field traditionally dominated by men. In February, three women with the  Washington Township Fire Department in Ohio  became the department’s first all-female crew to answer a fire call. In September 2020, five women with the  Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue Department  achieved a similar milestone, working an all-woman shift for …

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U.S. and international partners target Beijing’s Uyghur oppression

The United States and international partners are imposing sanctions against senior People’s Republic of China officials for serious human rights abuses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang. On March 22, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the Global Magnitsky sanctions issued in concert with Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union against top officials with two …

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U.S. and partners seek to deter human rights violations

The United States is working with international partners to defend human rights worldwide as authoritarian regimes step up repression amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Standing for people’s freedom and dignity honors America’s most sacred values,” Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said March 30, announcing the release of the  2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices . “At our best, we stand for …

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2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Georgia

Executive Summary ANNOUNCEMENT: The Department of State will release an addendum to this report in mid 2021 that expands the subsection on Women in Section 6 to include a broader range of issues related to reproductive rights.​ Georgia’s constitution provides for an executive branch that reports to the prime minister, a unicameral parliament, and a separate …

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Trans-Atlantic Webinar Features Educators on the Holocaust 

Teachers and community educators from 32 countries gathered virtually March 18 for the U.S. Department of State’s second in a series of international webinars on Holocaust education. The session, entitled “Trans-Atlantic Dialogues II: Teaching the Holocaust in Challenging Times,” was hosted by U.S. Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Cherrie Daniels in cooperation with the United …

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Secretary Antony J. Blinken On Release of the 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE PRESS BRIEFING ROOM WASHINGTON, D.C. MR PRICE:  Good afternoon.  Today I have the privilege of welcoming back to the press briefing room Secretary Blinken.  It’s especially a privilege today because the Secretary, as you know, is here to unveil the  2020 Human Rights Report . Secretary Blinken will have a statement; he’ll take …

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Barbara Watson paved the way for women and Black diplomats

By Noelani Kirschner Diplomat Barbara Watson achieved historic firsts during her time at the State Department. But firsts were familiar in her family. Watson was the child of New York’s first elected Black judge, James S. Watson, and Violet Lopez Watson, a founder of the National Council of Negro Women. Watson’s cousin Colin L. Powell …

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Secretary Antony J. Blinken at the UN Security Council Briefing and Consultations on the Humanitarian Situation in Syria

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE SECRETARY BLINKEN:  (In progress) and thank you, Dr. Ballour, both for the lifesaving service you performed for your fellow Syrians amidst the most harrowing circumstances, and for your powerful, determined efforts to bring the experiences of the Syrian people to the world – and to push for their rights …

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Secretary Blinken To Release the 2020 Human Rights Report

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will deliver on-camera remarks on the release of the 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in the Press Briefing Room at the U.S. Department of State. Acting Assistant Secretary Lisa Peterson of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor will take …

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Briefing with Acting Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS John Godfrey On U.S. Participation in the Upcoming D-ISIS Ministerial

MR PRICE:  Good afternoon, everyone.  I apologize we’re running a couple minutes late here but thank you for joining us as we discuss tomorrow’s virtual meeting of the foreign ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Small Group.  The meeting, as you know, will be co-hosted by Secretary Blinken and his Belgian counterpart, Deputy …

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Black women who changed our world

Many of the modern conveniences we rely on each day come from the accomplishments of African American women. Black women inventors helped shaped the way we watch movies, conduct online meetings, and even heat and secure our homes. They succeeded in developing new technologies despite obstacles, such as resistance to developing their products and other …

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Statement by President Biden on Turkey’s Withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention

Turkey’s sudden and unwarranted withdrawal from the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, is deeply disappointing. Around the world, we are seeing increases in the number of domestic violence incidents, including reports of rising femicide in Turkey, the first nation to …

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Fact Sheet: U.S. Efforts to Combat Systemic Racism

“The prevalence, and pervasiveness, of racial discrimination might make the situation look hopeless, but we remain hopeful. Let us expose the racism and racial discrimination endemic to every society, around the globe. Let us press forward, to root out that discrimination and remove the rot from our foundations. And on this day dedicated to ending …

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Statement by President Biden on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

One of the core values and beliefs that should bring us together as Americans is standing against hate and racism, even as we acknowledge that systemic racism and white supremacy are ugly poisons that have long plagued the United States. We must change the laws that enable discrimination in our country, and we must change …

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Report: Governments target critics during COVID-19

After criticizing the Venezuelan government’s response to COVID-19 in April, human rights lawyer Iván Virgüez was arrested and tortured by the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro. Chinese reporter Zhang Zhan traveled to Wuhan, China, in February 2020 to report on the city’s coronavirus outbreak and was later sentenced to four years in prison. The journalist’s …

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China targets Uyghurs with sham trials, long sentences

The People’s Republic of China is stepping up baseless prosecutions of Uyghur and other Muslim minorities, sentencing innocent people to years in prison, a new report says. In a February 24 report, Human Rights Watch says that the PRC’s judicial system in Xinjiang has sentenced 250,000 Uyghur and other ethnic minorities to prison, and that …

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U.S. Embassy Statement on the Events at TV Pirveli

We are watching closely developments at TV Pirveli, in particular the interactions between law enforcement and members of the media. The balanced, impartial application of the rule of law and the right of journalists to safeguard their sources – a fundamental principle of media freedom — must remain priorities as this investigation is conducted. Both …

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Designation of Iranian Officials Due to Involvement in Gross Violations of Human Rights

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE Today at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, we made clear our concerns about the abuses the Iranian government continues to perpetrate against its citizens, including the unjust detention of far too many in deplorable conditions.  The United States is committed to promoting accountability for those responsible for such actions.  Therefore, I am announcing the designation of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) interrogators Ali Hemmatian and …

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United States Embassy Statement on the Release of the OSCE/ODIHR Limited Election Observation Mission Final Report

The United States welcomes the release of the OSCE/ODIHR Limited Election Observation Mission Final Report. The report underscores the continued need for important reforms, particularly in the areas of campaign finance, electoral administration compositions, and dispute resolution. The United States shares these concerns, and urges Parliament to continue a deliberative and inclusive reform process that …

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Meet 6 women pioneers of American diplomacy

The United States has been sending diplomats around the world since the 18th century. For the last 100 years women diplomats have been among them. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has emphasized that diversity and inclusion is a priority of the Biden administration. “Diversity and inclusion make us stronger, smarter, more creative and more …

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Six remarkable women honored posthumously

By  Lenore T. Adkins The National Women’s Hall of Fame has inducted six trailblazing Black women into its unique sisterhood, recognizing their contributions at the Seneca Falls, New York, birthplace of the American women’s rights movement. Its new Virtual Induction Series  celebrates underrepresented women of achievement. It does this by posthumously recognizing marginalized women who were overlooked during their lifetimes or died before …

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Religious Freedom Concerns in Russia

NED PRICE, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON We are disturbed by reports that a Russian court sentenced Valentina Baranovskaya and her son, Roman Baranovsky, to terms of two and six years in a Russian penal colony, respectively, simply for being practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The sentencing of Valentina, a 69-year-old stroke victim, is particularly cruel.  It also marks the first …

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Black Americans elevated education, fought racism

Ted DeLaney arrived at Washington and Lee University as a janitor. By the time he left, he’d been chairman of its history department. DeLaney’s story is extraordinary, but his path is one shared by millions of Black Americans: Overcome prejudice, seize new opportunities, and contribute to your community and your nation. DeLaney was born and …

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Putting Human Rights at the Center of U.S. Foreign Policy

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE The United States is committed to a world in which human rights are protected, their defenders are celebrated, and those who commit human rights abuses are held accountable. Promoting respect for human rights is not something we can do alone, but is best accomplished working with our allies and …

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National Museum of African American Music debuts in Nashville

By Noelani KirschnerSherry L. Brukbacher The history of Black American music in the United States spans four centuries, and now there’s a museum to honor that legacy. The  National Museum of African American Music  (NMAAM), which opened January 30 in Nashville,  Tennessee , calls itself “the only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced and inspired by African Americans.” Divided …

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Arrest of Opposition Members in Georgia

NED PRICE, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON The United States is deeply troubled by the arrest of opposition leader Nika Melia and other members of the opposition in Georgia. Polarizing rhetoric, force and aggression are not the solution to Georgia’s political differences. We call on all sides to avoid actions that could further escalate tensions and to engage …

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Political Developments in Georgia

NED PRICE, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON The United States is deeply concerned by recent political developments in Georgia. We call on all parties to exercise restraint and avoid any actions or rhetoric that could escalate tensions or result in violence. We urge the Georgian government to act in line with its Euro-Atlantic aspirations and to reinforce its commitment to the principles of …

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African American trailblazers in diplomacy

African Americans’ contributions to U.S. diplomacy began in the late 19th century, when abolitionists Ebenezer Bassett and, later, Frederick Douglass were appointed as chiefs of mission to  Haiti  and the Dominican Republic. Since then,  African American diplomats  have served with distinction all over the world. Ralph Bunche was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 for negotiating an Arab-Israeli …

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Why freedom of the press is important [video]

Freedom of the press is an essential right in the United States and a core principle of democracy. Protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,  a free press helps maintain the balance of power in government . Numerous journalists worldwide have been killed while working to fulfill their essential role in free and open societies. Watch this video to learn more about how other …

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How Maduro has destroyed life inside Venezuela

By Noelani Kirschner The misrule, oppression and corruption of the illegitimate regime headed by Nicolás Maduro has caused widespread economic suffering and societal collapse in Venezuela. The 2019–2020 National Survey of Living Conditions (ENCOVI, for Encuesta Nacional de Condiciones de Vida) — published by researchers at Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas — details how basic infrastructure, …

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U.S. sanctions on Venezuela explained

By Noelani Kirschner Since 2017, the U.S. has sanctioned people, businesses, and oil entities associated with the former Maduro regime, both inside and outside of Venezuela. Why are sanctions necessary and who actually feels their impact? U.S. sanctions are designed to ensure that Maduro and his cronies don’t profit from  illegal gold mining , state-operated oil operations, or other business …

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Advancing America’s long tradition of welcoming refugees

President Biden is ensuring the United States remains a safe haven for  refugees  and that those who apply to immigrate to the country under humanitarian programs are treated with dignity and respect. In a  February 4 executive order , Biden took steps to strengthen the  U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) , a collaboration between government and community groups that reflects America’s core value of taking …

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U.S. Decision to Reengage with the UN Human Rights Council

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE The Biden administration has recommitted the United States to a foreign policy centered on democracy, human rights, and equality. Effective use of multilateral tools is an important element of that vision, and in that regard the President has instructed the Department of State to reengage immediately and robustly with …

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Observance of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

NED PRICE, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON The United States in recent years has joined the international community on February 6 in observing the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). The United States remains committed to ending this egregious human rights abuse and supporting survivors of FGM/C, both at home and around the world. According to the United …

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U.S. Holocaust Museum teaches the warning signs of genocide

Ever since the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum opened its doors in 1993, its scholars have been educating visitors about the horrors of Nazi Germany’s genocide of European Jews (and other targeted victims) leading up to and during World War II. But the Washington-based museum also has another important mission: helping the general public — as …

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The Sentencing of Russian Opposition Figure Aleksey Navalny

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE The United States is deeply concerned by Russian authorities’ decision to sentence opposition figure Aleksey Navalny to two years and eight months imprisonment, replacing his suspended sentence with jail time. Like every Russian citizen, Mr. Navalny is entitled to the rights provided in the Russian constitution, and Russia has international obligations to respect equality before the …

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U.S. memorials honor civil rights hero Rosa Parks

The U.S. Air Force on December 1, 2020, the 65th anniversary of Parks’ 1955 protest, unveiled a sculpture of her at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, adding to an array of memorials that honor the civil rights icon, who died in 2005 at the age of 92. This year ShareAmerica is highlighting some of …

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Statement by President Joe Biden On Black History Month

This February, during Black History Month, I call on the American people to honor the history and achievements of Black Americans and to reflect on the centuries of struggle that have brought us to this time of reckoning, redemption, and hope. We have never fully lived up to the founding principles of this nation that …

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National Freedom Day: Deepening Our Resolve to Fight Human Trafficking

ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE Today marks National Freedom Day, a day that commemorates President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the joint resolution that established the Constitution’s 13th Amendment abolishing slavery in the United States.  It is a day when, thanks to the decades-long push of Richard R. Wright and his fellow civil rights advocates, we commemorate our dedication to the …

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International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today we pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and reaffirm our commitment to oppose antisemitism, racism, and any other form of intolerance. January 27 marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Concentration Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945 by Soviet troops. It commemorates the genocide committed by the Nazi regime and its …

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G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement on Arrest and Detention of Alexey Navalny

OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON The text of the following statement was released by the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union. Begin Text: We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United …

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U.S. Embassy Statement on Judgement of the European Court of Human Rights

In the state-to-state case of Georgia v. Russia on the 2008 Russia-Georgia War, the Court ruled clearly in favor of Georgia and found Russia responsible for violating multiple articles of the European Convention of Human Rights, including by detaining and torturing individuals, and denying Georgian citizens the right to return to their homes. The court …

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The United States Takes Further Action Against Enablers of Venezuelan Oil Transactions, Including Sanctions Evasion Network

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE The United States has sanctioned three individuals and 11 entities for their ties to a network helping Nicolas Maduro and his illegitimate regime evade U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector.  This action builds on previous sanctions targeting individuals and entities involved in a sanctions-evasion scheme benefitting the illegitimate Maduro …

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Update on Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment

On January 13, the U.S. Department of State released the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative Annual Report for 2020.  The report outlined how W-GDP, the first-ever whole-of-government approach to women’s economic empowerment, has reached more than 24 million women around the world in its first two years.  These beneficiaries were directly impacted by U.S. …

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Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.

On the third Monday of January, Americans honor the life and achievements of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., (1929–1968), the 1964 Nobel Peace laureate, and the individual most associated with the triumphs of the African-American civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s. As a political organizer, a supremely skilled orator, and advocate of …

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Arrest of Aleksey Navalny

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE The United States strongly condemns Russia’s decision to arrest Aleksey Navalny. We note with grave concern that his detention is the latest in a series of attempts to silence Navalny and other opposition figures and independent voices who are critical of Russian authorities. Confident political leaders do not fear …

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Khamenei deprives Iranian people of COVID-19 vaccines

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is banning highly effective coronavirus vaccines from Iran because they are made in the United States and other Western countries. “I really do not trust” them, Khamenei said January 8, announcing the ban on two widely used vaccines produced in the United States and the United Kingdom,  the Associated Press reports . “Sometimes …

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At these schools, every day is Martin Luther King Day

By Lenore T. Adkins Americans will honor Martin Luther King Jr. this year on January 18, the date of the federal holiday commemorating the civil rights hero. But students from the Martin Luther King Jr. Academy for Boys in Toledo, Ohio, stand each and every day to pledge allegiance of the flag and to recite the school’s creed …

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Celebrating 20 years of refugee assistance [video]

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the State Department’s Julia Taft Fund for refugee protection and assistance. Over the past two decades, the U.S. government has awarded grants to nearly 800 local partners to help  refugees , returnees and host communities. Learn more about the Taft Fund in this video.

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How the Amistad helped America live up to its ideals

By Lenore T. Adkins In 1839, the Amistad cargo schooner sailed from Havana to Puerto Principe, Cuba, with 53 Africans bound for a life of slavery on the island. But while aboard the schooner, the Africans fought for their freedom. Their battle gained them a reprieve. And soon, American abolitionists would take up their fight in U.S. courts. The Africans …

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The United States Continues To Recognize Interim President Guaidó and the Last Democratically Elected National Assembly in Venezuela

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE On December 6, 2020, the illegitimate Maduro regime staged fraudulent legislative elections in Venezuela. Sixty countries around the world either came together to issue joint statements, including those released by the European Union, the Organization of American States, the Lima Group, and the International Contact Group or issued their …

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Division for Counter Threat Finance and Sanctions Iran

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using big data and surveillance to target Uyghurs for detention based on behaviors that are allowed under the laws of the People’s Republic of China, such as studying the Quran or calling family abroad. Human Rights Watch says in a new report that the CCP uses its  Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP)  to scan …

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Violations of religious freedom persist worldwide

The United States is calling out “egregious violations” of religious freedom worldwide, as many regimes continue to criminalize expressions of religious faith. On December 7, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo designated the governments of Iran, China, North Korea and a half dozen other nations as “countries of particular concern” for engaging in or …

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Diversity is an essential component of the U.S. diplomatic corps

By Noelani Kirschner American diplomats represent U.S. values abroad and embody a core tenet of American life: diversity. In the United States, anyone — regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or socioeconomic background — can become a diplomat and represent America abroad as a member of the U.S. Foreign Service. One of the many ways the …

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Six remarkable women honored posthumously

By Lenore T. Adkins The National Women’s Hall of Fame has inducted six trailblazing Black women into its unique sisterhood, recognizing their contributions at the Seneca Falls, New York, birthplace of the American women’s rights movement. Its new Virtual Induction Series  celebrates underrepresented women of achievement. It does this by posthumously recognizing marginalized women who were overlooked during their lifetimes or died before …

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Millions of Venezuelans vote for democracy

Venezuelans at home and abroad stood up for democracy, rejecting efforts by the illegitimate Maduro regime to exert authoritarian control over the National Assembly elections. The United States congratulated the Venezuelan opposition party — led by legitimate interim President Juan Guaidó — for successfully holding the consulta popular — or “ the people’s referendum ” — from December …

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What does January 1 signify in Lincoln’s legacy?

By   Lauren Monsen The  Emancipation Proclamation  is arguably one of the most important documents in the history of the United States. Abraham Lincoln himself stated that he considered it to be his greatest legacy. “I never in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right than I do in signing this paper,” he said. “If my name …

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On the Silencing and Prosecution of PRC Citizen Journalist Zhang Zhan

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE The United States strongly condemns the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) sham prosecution and conviction of citizen journalist Zhang Zhan on December 28. We call on the PRC government to release her immediately and unconditionally. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has shown once again it will do whatever it …

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China’s leaders expand use of forced labor

The People’s Republic of China is expanding its use of forced labor, increasing the risk that countries may unknowingly import products made by people forced or otherwise coerced to work. Upwards of 100,000 Uyghurs and members of other ethnic minority groups may be working in forced conditions in China, according to the U.S. Department of …

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U.S. sanctions Iranian regime officials involved in kidnapping

The United States has imposed sanctions on two senior Iranian intelligence officers involved in the kidnapping and detention of Robert Levinson, the longest-held hostage in U.S. history. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin on December 14 announced  sanctions against Mohammad Baseri and Ahmad Khazai , senior officials in Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, who were involved in Levinson’s abduction, detention and …

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Additions of Cuban Military-Owned Companies to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added three Cuban military-owned companies to its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List).  All property and interests in property of these entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of …

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Additional Restrictions on the Issuance of Visas for People’s Republic of China Officials Engaged in Human Rights Abuses

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE China’s authoritarian rulers impose draconian restrictions on the Chinese people’s freedoms of expression, religion or belief, association, and the right to peaceful assembly.  The United States has been clear that perpetrators of human rights abuses like these are not welcome in our country. Today, I am announcing the imposition …

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The Free World’s Leadership Will Defeat COVID-19

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE It has now been a year since China first identified a patient in Wuhan stricken with an unknown pneumonia, now known as COVID-19. Since then, the United States and other free nations, such as Germany and the United Kingdom, have led a remarkable and unprecedented vaccine development effort that …

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This Week in Iran Policy

“I think we have demonstrated the right foreign policy with respect to Iran, and I am hopeful that the world will continue the policies that we have, and that one day Iran will rejoin the community of nations” – Secretary Pompeo, Interview with Ben Shapiro, December 15, 2020 Sanctioning Supporters of Iran’s Petroleum and Petrochemical …

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Expanded Clean Network initiative safeguards data

By Leigh Hartman The U.S. government’s expanded Clean Network initiative protects citizens’ privacy and companies’ sensitive information on 5G mobile networks and  secures data  across the full range of telecommunications and technology. The Clean Network initiative builds on and expands the  Clean Path , which is designed to  protect 5G networks from untrusted vendors . Since U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announced the Clean Network, …

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Maduro’s sham election: ‘Those who don’t vote, won’t eat’

By Noelani Kirschner In the runup to its fraudulent December 6 National Assembly elections, the illegitimate Maduro regime showed how little it cares about ordinary Venezuelans, insinuating it might revoke their social benefits if they did not vote. Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed reservations about the Maduro regime threatening to take away …

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Sanctioning Supporters of Iran’s Petroleum and Petrochemical Sectors

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE Petroleum and petrochemicals are major sources of revenue for the Iranian regime, revenue it employs to oppress the Iranian people and to advance its malign foreign agenda. Today, the Department of State is imposing sanctions on Vietnam Gas and Chemicals Transportation Corporation, a vessel manager, pursuant to Executive Order …

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The United States Supports the Voices of the Venezuelan People

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE We congratulate the Venezuelan people on the success of the Consulta Popular or “People’s Referendum.”  Millions of Venezuelans came together to raise their voice and demand a democratic future for their country.  In every city and small town in Venezuela, as well as hundreds of sites serving the Venezuelan diaspora abroad, …

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Pompeo urges U.S. colleges to defend academic freedom

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo is urging American universities to defend against the Chinese Communist Party’s research theft and other threats to academic freedom. Speaking at Georgia Tech in Atlanta on December 9, Pompeo warned that the CCP’s theft of research to boost its military poses  risks for both universities and U.S. national security . He asked administrators, faculty and students …

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The Iranian regime’s 40-year campaign of assassinations

Iran’s regime has conducted assassinations and sponsored terrorism throughout its 40-year history, targeting Iranian dissidents and foreign officials worldwide. The violence dates back to 1979, soon after the regime seized power. Iranian students attacked the U.S. Embassy in Tehran,  taking American diplomats and embassy employees hostage  in a gross violation of international norms. Fifty-two hostages were held for 444 days. Since then, …

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Public Designations of Current and Former Government Officials Under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State

Public Designations of Current and Former Government Officials Under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act Due to Involvement in Gross Violations of Human Rights MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE Promoting and advancing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms continues to be a top priority for …

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International Human Rights Day

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE On International Human Rights Day, the United States celebrates the rights and freedoms enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This day has a special resonance for Americans, as the United States was the first nation founded on the belief that all individuals are created equal and endowed …

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On the Occasion of International Anticorruption Day and International Human Rights Day

OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON On the occasion of International Anticorruption Day and International Human Rights Day, the Department of State and the Department of the Treasury announced sanctions designations and visa restrictions on perpetrators of corruption and serious human rights abuse.  Below is a summary of  these actions taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818 and Section 7031(c) of …

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Nations speak out against Maduro’s fraudulent elections

Countries around the world are calling the illegitimate Maduro regime’s recent attempt to undermine democracy in Venezuela a sham. On December 6, the Nicolás Maduro regime unconstitutionally staged National Assembly elections with the intention of overthrowing the democratically elected politicians who stand against Maduro and his cronies. The result was an undemocratic and illegal farce. …

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Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela strike out against free speech

Free speech for Cubans, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans is under attack by their respective governments. “Freedom of expression is a human right,” Secretary of State  Michael R. Pompeo said on Twitter  on November 24. “The United States stands with Cuba’s people.” In  Cuba , the Castro regime arrested musician Denis Solís González on November 9 and sentenced him to eight months in prison …

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Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel D. Brownback Briefing on Rollout of U.S. Actions Against Religious Freedom Violators

SAMUEL D. BROWNBACK, U.S. AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE FOR INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM VIA TELECONFERENCE MR BROWN:  Thank you, Moderator, and thanks to everyone who’s joined the call.  This is an on-the-record briefing on the rollout of U.S. designations against religious freedom violators, including Country of Particular Concern, Special Watch List, and Entity of Particular Concern designations.  Sam Brownback, …

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Beijing’s military aggression [video]

The U.S. is working to build a free and open Indo-Pacific region, but Beijing is putting the world at risk and raising the threat of violent conflict through its military aggression. The Chinese Communist Party engages in  dangerous and threatening behavior  across the Indo-Pacific and threatens its neighbors. From military bases in the South China Sea to lethal fighting …

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Promoting human rights is essential to U.S. policy

In the 80 years since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his  Four Freedoms speech  — citing freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear — the United States has made these democratic principles central to its foreign policy. Today, the United States continues to champion human rights as a critical component of U.S. …

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On the EU’s Adoption of a Human Rights Sanctions Framework

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE The United States welcomes the European Union’s adoption of its global human rights sanctions framework. Today, on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, we note that this groundbreaking accomplishment will further protect human rights worldwide. The EU’s new measures give its member states a powerful tool to promote …

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United States Takes Action Against Violators of Religious Freedom

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE Religious freedom is an unalienable right, and the bedrock upon which free societies are built and flourish. Today, the United States – a nation founded by those fleeing religious persecution, as the recent Commission on Unalienable Rights report noted – once again took action to defend those who simply …

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U.S. Imposes Sanctions on People’s Republic of China Officials Engaged in Coercive Influence Activities

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has long sought to spread Marxist-Leninist ideology and exert its influence all over the world. The CCP’s United Front Work Department funds and supports overseas organizations to spread propaganda and coerces and bullies those who would oppose Beijing’s policies. The United Front frequently intimidates …

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a fitting occasion for the United States to reaffirm its commitment to, and support for, the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in daily life of the community. We point with pride to robust public and private enforcement of …

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Rights groups call for independent investigation of Iran’s atrocities

Human rights advocates continue to expose the Iranian regime’s violent response to nationwide protests in November 2019 despite the regime’s attempts to cover up the details. More than a year later, the United States and human rights organizations are still calling for an independent investigation into the brutal crackdown. Justice for Iran, a human rights …

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Democracies condemn Beijing’s continued crackdown in Hong Kong

By Leigh Hartman Democratic nations are faulting the Chinese Communist Party’s disqualification of four democratically elected legislators in Hong Kong. The governments of the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom call the CCP’s November 11 disqualification of the lawmakers a “clear breach” of the regime’s international obligations and commitment to uphold Hong Kong’s …

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The truth behind China’s forced confessions

By Leigh Hartman The Chinese Communist Party forces critics and activists to publicly confess to crimes before trial, violating Chinese and international law, rights groups say. In a  recent report to the United Nations  (PDF, 1MB), groups including Safeguard Defenders and Human Rights Watch say the CCP forces critics into confessions that are then aired on state-run television, making a mockery of due …

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INL-Tbilisi delivered donated clothes, food, and toiletries to the Tbilisi domestic violence intake center

On December 2, as part of The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (reftel 20 STATE 113288), INL-Tbilisi delivered donated clothes, food, and toiletries to the Tbilisi domestic violence intake center. This center is the first point of entry for victims of domestic …

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On World AIDS Day, looking to finish the fight

On World AIDS Day, December 1, Americans will mobilize behind a plan to  eradicate HIV from the U.S.  by 2030 and recommit to efforts to end it around the world. The U.S. plan — called Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America — uses scientific advances in HIV prevention, diagnoses, treatment and outbreak response by coordinating the resources of …

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The two choices for Venezuela’s future

By Noelani Kirschner As the fraudulent December 6 elections raise questions about the future of Venezuela, one thing remains clear: Venezuelans cannot have democracy while an illegitimate authoritarian regime is in power, says the U.S. Department of State. “Many of Venezuela’s most popular politicians are not permitted to run in the election, opposition political parties have been …

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China’s manipulation of international organizations

As the coronavirus spread beyond its borders, China’s leaders successfully lobbied the World Health Organization (WHO) not to declare a public health emergency of international concern. Soon after this disastrous January decision, the Chinese Communist Party blocked a WHO team from investigating the pandemic’s source and China’s response. “China has extracted concessions from the health …

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New Sanctions Under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA)

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE On Wednesday, November 25, 2020, the United States sanctioned four entities located in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Russia for supporting Iran’s missile program, under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA). We imposed sanctions against Chengdu Best New Materials Co., Ltd. and Zibo Elim …

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The United States Condemns the Conviction of the Citgo 6

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE The United States unequivocally condemns the wrongful convictions of the Citgo 6, in a proceeding that should be described as a kangaroo court.  After canceling their initial appearance before a judge dozens of times over the last three years, the illegitimate Venezuelan legal system suddenly convicted and sentenced these …

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Observance of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE Around the world, violence against women harms not only millions of women and girls every year, but also their communities and families.  Violence against women, whether in the workforce, the home, a school environment, or as a result of conflict or crisis, is never acceptable.  The United States recognizes …

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The Cuban Regime’s Cruel Crackdown on Peaceful Protesters

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE The U.S. government strongly condemns the Cuban regime’s harassment of activists peacefully protesting the imprisonment of human rights defender Denis Solís González. We urge the Cuban government to dismiss this unjust sentence and release him without condition. The regime has repeatedly targeted Mr. Solís González, a musician and member …

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U.S. Reinforces Commitment to Secure, Stable, Democratic, and Self-Reliant Afghanistan at 2020 Conference

The United States participated in the 2020 Afghanistan Conference on November 23-24, the sixth quadrennial gathering to coordinate international development support for Afghanistan. The conference was hosted virtually by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. At the conference, the United States …

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As fraudulent election nears, Maduro cracks down on journalists

Ahead of the unconstitutional and fraudulent  December 6 parliamentary elections  in Venezuela, the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro is cracking down on journalists. The Venezuelan constitution protects freedom of expression, forbids censorship and guarantees access to information. However, Venezuela has fallen 31 places since 2014 in the  World Press Freedom Index  — ranking 147 out of 180 countries — thanks to Maduro’s attacks …

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China’s air pollution harms its citizens and the world

The People’s Republic of China is the world’s leading annual emitter of greenhouse gases and mercury. This noxious air pollution threatens China’s people, as well as global health and the world’s economy. An estimated 1.24 million people died from exposure to air pollution in the PRC in 2017, according to a recent study in the …

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Ending violence against women: A human rights imperative

The world recognizes the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, a day to heighten awareness about the physical, psychological and emotional harm women face worldwide. The U.S. Department of State sees tackling violence against women as a human rights imperative. Violence threatens women’s and girls’ safety, and it sets …

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Pompeo urges nations to speak up for the persecuted

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo is rallying world leaders to stand strong against religious persecution wherever it occurs. From November 16 to 17, the government of Poland hosted the third Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief. In  Pompeo’s opening remarks  for the event, held virtually this year, the secretary urged the representatives of more …

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This Week in Iran Policy

“The Maximum Pressure campaign against the Iranian regime continues to be effective. It deprives the regime of funds to carry out its malign activities. Reducing that pressure is a dangerous choice, bound to weaken new regional partnerships for peace and strengthen the regime.” – Secretary Pompeo, Tweet of November 18, 2020 Commemoration of the Massacre …

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U.S. targets the stash houses of human smugglers

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency is cracking down on human smuggling by focusing its efforts on rescuing migrants from stash houses. Stash houses are where human smugglers put migrants until they can relocate them either within countries or across borders. “The criminal activity associated with stash houses creates a danger and a health …

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Russia and the Assad Regime’s Superficial Support for Syrian Refugees

CALE BROWN, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON The refugee conference hosted November 11-12 in Damascus by the Assad regime and Russia was not a credible attempt to create the conditions necessary for voluntary and safe refugee returns to Syria. The lack of support for this conference beyond the regime’s narrow group of allies demonstrates that the world recognizes …

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Designation of Iranian Procurement Networks

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE On November 10, 2020 the Department of the Treasury designated an international network of six companies and four individuals for facilitating the procurement of sensitive goods, including U.S.-origin electronic components, for Iran Communications Industries (ICI).  ICI is a sanctioned Iranian military firm and a subsidiary of Iran Electronics Industries, …

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U.S. urges partners to counter China’s foreign meddling

The Chinese Communist Party is challenging the free and open nature of democratic societies, a senior U.S. official says. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell warned October 30 that the CCP is conducting “covert, coercive, and corrupting” political influence activities worldwide, even as it denies foreign meddling and promises countries …

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A trans-Atlantic awakening to the China challenge

U.S. and European Union officials are increasingly recognizing and working closely to counter threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party. U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell on October 23 launched the new U.S.-EU Dialogue on China. Their aim is to address risks posed …

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U.S. provides training to prevent atrocities

The United States is highlighting its commitment to prevent, mitigate and respond to atrocities globally. “When we say ‘Never again,’ it must mean more than words,” said Denise Natali, assistant secretary of state for Conflict and Stabilization Operations at a September 16 event hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace. “It must mean taking clear …

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Iran’s war on diplomats

When radical Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran 41 years ago and held dozens of American diplomats and embassy employees hostage, they violated international diplomatic norms and precipitated U.S. economic sanctions against Iran. While the students released 14 hostages after a short time, they did not free 52 other Americans for well over …

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International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists

A free press is essential to an informed citizenry.  A vigorous press can, for instance, expose corruption, shine a light on human rights abuses, and provide the public essential information during crises.  In many places, journalists fulfilling this necessary role risk attacks by authoritarian regimes and criminal organizations seeking to clamp down on press freedom and freedom of expression.  More than 1,500 journalists have been killed worldwide since the turn of the century, and in more than 85 percent of cases, the killers …

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This Week in Iran Policy

“Instead of using its natural resource wealth to improve living conditions for the Iranian people, the Iranian regime prefers to pawn its oil to fund the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and support its terror proxies as they sow chaos and destruction around the Middle East. We will not let that happen.” – Secretary …

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U.S. campaign songs stir the public imagination [video]

Music and politics have been closely linked throughout U.S. history, with songs that promote candidates (or attack their rivals) dating back more than 200 years. Those songs have often reflected the bruising nature of  U.S. campaigns , which Stuart Eizenstat — a U.S. diplomat and former White House domestic affairs director for President Jimmy Carter — once …

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Nations urge China to end human rights abuses

The Chinese Communist Party’s human rights violations are drawing international outcry. Dozens of countries demand the CCP end its mass internment of Uyghurs and other abuses. In an  October 6 joint statement to the United Nations , 39 countries fault the CCP’s increasing number of “gross human rights violations” against ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang province and the regime’s authoritarian behavior in …

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OAS: Elections in Venezuela will not be free and fair

The Organization of American States General Assembly passed a resolution October 21 declaring the illegitimate Maduro regime’s December 6 elections in Venezuela will be fraudulent. “We all know there is more work to do to uphold our hemisphere as a hemisphere of freedom,” Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo said October 21 during his virtual …

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Nobel Prize shines light on U.N. work to end hunger

The United Nations’  World Food Programme (WFP) has won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its work fighting hunger, preventing the use of hunger as a weapon during war and paving the way for peace in conflict areas. WFP’s Executive Director David Beasley said the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s October 9 selection of the WFP for the coveted …

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Strict U.S. Army rules allow for religious freedom

As the U.S. military becomes more diverse, its rules and regulations are expanding to reflect the United States’ commitment to religious freedom. Kanwar Singh, a devout Sikh, sought to enlist in the U.S. Army in 2014. In keeping with his religious faith, he wanted to maintain a beard and wear a turban. At the time, …

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U.S. launches new center to fight human trafficking

The U.S. government is committed to ending human trafficking and is launching a new center dedicated to combating this horrific crime. “Human trafficking is modern-day slavery,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf on October 20 at the launch of the Center for Countering Human Trafficking. “There is no other way to say it.” …

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Venezuelans protest for teachers and basic services

Venezuelans continue protesting the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro, demanding the restoration of basic services and better treatment for teachers. In one week, from the end of September to the beginning of October 2020, 233 protests swept the country, from rural towns to cities such as Caracas. There were an additional 113 protests across 24 …

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Memorandum of Understanding on Anti-Semitism

On October 22, 2020, Dr. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa of the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence and Elan S. Carr, the U.S. Department of State Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism, signed a memorandum of understanding on anti-Semitism in Washington, D.C.  The document outlines goals to eradicate anti-Semitism and promote respect and peaceful coexistence between Arab …

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International Religious Freedom Day

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE Twenty-two years ago today, the United States enacted the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, reaffirming our commitment to promote and defend the fundamental right to religious freedom for all people everywhere.  Born of the vision of America’s founders, our government understood that an individual, irrespective of their religion or …

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U.S. Ambassador Sam Brownback on religious freedom

To mark International Religious Freedom Day, ShareAmerica spoke with the U.S. State Department’s Sam Brownback, ambassador at large for international religious freedom. Here are his answers, slightly edited for length, to our questions: Q: Why is defending freedom of religion an objective of U.S. diplomacy? A: With more than 80 percent of the world’s population living …

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China’s development projects export environmental devastation

The People’s Republic of China’s state-owned companies are destroying the environment in countries around the world, one corrupt infrastructure project at a time. The PRC is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases and mercury pollution and the leading consumer of illegal wildlife and timber products. And the PRC’s state-owned companies are exporting the Chinese …

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Why is the Chinese Communist Party afraid of ghosts?

Who doesn’t like a good scary movie? Or a tale of adventure that spans the dimensions of time and space? The Chinese Communist Party routinely censors movies, newspapers, television and social media within China that criticize its repression in Tibet, its crackdown in Tiananmen Square and, of course, its censorship. But why would the CCP …

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Iran’s regime must stop persecuting the Baháʼí [video]

The Iranian regime has persecuted the Baháʼí religious community since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Members of the Baháʼí faith are arrested on false charges, such as “engaging in espionage.” Baháʼí students are prohibited from attending universities. The regime’s constitution  does not recognize the Baháʼí faith , even though the Baháʼí community is one of the largest religious minority groups in Iran. …

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U.S. Embassy donates walking aids for disabled people in Mtskheta-Mtianeti

As the United States marks Disability Awareness Month, the U.S. government remains committed to the social inclusion of people with disabilities at home and abroad. To contribute to social inclusion in Georgia, today, the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC), through its Humanitarian Assistance Program, handed over walking aids for use by disabled people …

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Global humanitarian aid has never been more important [video]

The United States is the world’s largest single donor of humanitarian assistance. When more than 168 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection, every country has a responsibility to help. COVID-19 has created the need for even more help and made that help harder to deliver. Watch this video to learn more.

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Venezuela’s crisis threatens nearby democracies

Democracy must be restored in Venezuela because undermining a democracy anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere, experts say. “This is a country where Maduro has not only taken over most of the bigger opposition parties and tried to replace their leadership with his puppets,” the State Department’s Michael G. Kozak said on September 1, “he’s taken …

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United States Co-Sponsors an Event to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Founding of the United Nations and the 20th Anniversary of the UN Traffi

Today, the Missions to the United Nations of the United States, Peru, and Sierra Leone co-sponsored an event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and the 20th anniversary of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.  The Protocol – a legally binding international instrument …

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Deputy Secretary Biegun’s Remarks on the 20th Anniversary of the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol

STEPHEN BIEGUN, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE Thank you, Ambassador Richmond, for the introduction. Good morning or evening to everyone participating from around the world, especially our distinguished speakers. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the landmark Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons in Palermo, Italy. The Protocol stands …

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U.S. universities move to protect students from China’s authoritarian reach

An assistant professor at Princeton University lets students use code names to shield their identities when discussing topics deemed controversial by the Chinese Communist Party. He’s not alone, says the Wall Street Journal. Why is this happening? Code names are one step U.S. universities are taking to protect foreign students from the authoritarian reach of the …

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Maduro targets journalists and doctors, new report says

The illegitimate Maduro regime has used the COVID-19 pandemic to crack down on anyone who doesn’t comply with Maduro, a Human Rights Watch report says. Since mid-March, “Venezuelan authorities have arbitrarily detained and prosecuted dozens of journalists, health care workers, human rights lawyers and political opponents who criticize the government of Nicolás Maduro,”  according to HRW . The organization …

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U.S. sanctions supporters of Assad’s brutal regime

The United States is imposing additional sanctions against Syrian business and military officials who enable the Bashar al-Assad regime’s brutal crimes, including killings in countless Syrian communities. U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announced the new sanctions September 30, following the three-year anniversary of the killing of at least 34 Syrians in the town …

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In Rome, Pompeo salutes defenders of religious freedom

Father Bernhard Lichtenberg endured imprisonment in Berlin during World War II rather than stop publicly supporting Jews and other victims of Nazi brutality. Condemned to a concentration camp, Lichtenberg died during his transfer from prison to Dachau rather than give up his fight for religious freedom. In September 30 remarks at a symposium organized by …

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Joint Statement Calling for a Ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh

OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of France on October 5, 2020. Begin text:  The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Secretary of …

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Condemning the Attempt on the Life of International Woman of Courage Mayor Zarifa Ghafari

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE The United States unreservedly condemns the latest attempted assassination of the mayor of Maidan Shar, in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, Mayor Zarifa Ghafari. She is a recipient of the 2020 International Women of Courage award, and this is the sixth assassination attempt she has survived. As I have said before, …

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U.N. rebukes Maduro for torture, executions, disappearances

Egregious human rights abuses continue to escalate in Venezuela at the hands of the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro, according to the United Nations. During an oral update on human rights in Venezuela on September 25, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights  Michelle Bachelet  said that since July 2, “we observed restrictions on freedom of expression, including …

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The United States and the Holy See: Promoting Religious Freedom and Defending Human Dignity

“On the issues of human dignity and religious freedom, these issues that transcend everyday politics, on the enduring struggle of the individual’s right to believe and worship, we must – and I know we will – march together.”  – U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, October 2, 2019 Secretary Pompeo will visit Vatican City …

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Moral Witness and Religious Freedom

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE SECRETARY POMPEO:  Good morning, everyone. Thank you, Ambassador Gingrich, for that incredibly kind introduction.  You’ve done wonderful work with this important symposium.  I’m glad to be here for the second time. To Your Eminence Cardinal Parolin, thank you for being here. It’s great to see you again too, Archbishop …

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U.S. targets Iranian regime’s global cyberattacks

The U.S. is disrupting the Iranian regime’s state-sponsored hacking campaign that has targeted dozens of countries worldwide as well as human rights activists and others within Iran. The  U.S. Department of the Treasury has sanctioned more than 40 people  and the Rana Intelligence Computing Company, a front company, assisting Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security in hacking hundreds of people and entities in more than 30 …

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Afghanistan faces historic opportunity for peace

Peace talks underway between Afghanistan’s political leaders and the Taliban represent a historic opportunity for peace after 40 years of war, a senior U.S. official says. U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation told the U.S. Institute of Peace September 24 that the peace negotiations that began September 12 in Doha, Qatar, “require true, courageous and …

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This Week in Iran Policy

“The world needs to unite around the central idea that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the greatest threat, and when that regime changes its behavior, we have the chance to create true global stability in the region. It’s what President  @realDonaldTrump  asked us to do.” – Secretary Pompeo Tweet, September 21, 2020  Major New Human …

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Feed the Future Initiative 10 Year Anniversary

This week we are highlighting the U.S. Government’s initiative Feed the Future which was launched 10 years ago to help partner countries create sustainable, long-term change to end chronic hunger and poverty. Since 2010 Feed the Future has provided over $3.5 billion in agricultural financing, helped farmers generate more than $13.7 billion in agricultural sales, …

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China’s Environmental Abuses

Beijing is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases; the largest source of marine debris; the worst perpetrators of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; and the world’s largest consumer of trafficked wildlife and timber products.  While the Chinese people have suffered the worst environmental impacts of its actions, Beijing also threatens the global economy …

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How Maduro has destroyed life inside Venezuela

The misrule, oppression and corruption of the illegitimate regime headed by Nicolás Maduro has caused widespread economic suffering and societal collapse in Venezuela. The 2019–2020 National Survey of Living Conditions (ENCOVI, for Encuesta Nacional de Condiciones de Vida) — published by researchers at Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas — details how basic infrastructure, the …

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Pompeo: ‘The international human rights project is in crisis’

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo is urging world leaders to recommit to protecting the human rights of all people. Pompeo called for nations to rededicate themselves to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights at a September 23 panel discussion on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting. “We must …

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Core U.S. values echo in Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The  Universal Declaration of Human Rights  (UDHR), ratified in 1948, for the first time articulated the rights and freedoms to which every person is entitled. Influenced by the core values at the heart of the U.S. Constitution, the UDHR affirmed “the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace …

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New U.S. sanctions seek to block Iranian regime’s weapons programs

The United States is imposing sanctions to block the Iranian regime’s nuclear, ballistic missile and conventional arms programs and to curb the spread of violence by Iran in the Middle East and beyond. President Trump issued an executive order September 21 supporting the indefinite extension of the U.N. arms embargo on Iran. Virtually all U.N. …

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Venezuela: A Democratic Crisis

INTRODUCTION The United States is working with a global coalition of countries in support of the Venezuelan people as they fight to restore democracy and rebuild the economy in their country, which currently suffers under the repressive and corrupt misrule of the dictator Nicolas Maduro and his illegitimate regime. We recognize and support interim President Juan Guaido and the National Assembly, which is the sole remaining legitimate …

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The United States Sanctions Additional Individuals Involved in the Illegitimate Maduro Regime’s Attempts to Corrupt Democratic Elections in Venezuela

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE Today, the United States is sanctioning, José Bernabé Gutiérrez Parra, Miguel Antonio José Ponente Parra, Guillermo Antonio Luces Osorio, Chaim José Bucaran Paraguan, and Williams José Benavides Rondón for their complicity in enabling Maduro’s efforts to rob the people of Venezuela of their right to choose their leaders in …

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China’s pattern of human rights abuse continues

Zhang Jialong, a former journalist and anti-censorship activist, faced trial in China in May after criticizing the Chinese government on Twitter. Chinese authorities reportedly charged Zhang with “ picking quarrels  and provoking trouble.” He is just the latest victim of the Chinese Communist Party’s continued detention of reporters, lawyers and human rights activists as part of the …

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Iran nuclear deal fueled regime’s violence

It was hoped that the Iran nuclear deal would “moderate” the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, but that didn’t happen. Instead, in the two years and 10 months before President Trump pulled the United States from the agreement on May 8, 2018, Iran’s leaders used revenues from the deal to  increase the regime’s military spending and terrorist financing . “During this nuclear deal …

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Report: Iran’s regime answers protests with ‘torture epidemic’

Iran’s regime arbitrarily arrested thousands of protesters following nationwide demonstrations in November 2019, torturing dozens and sentencing several to death, a new report says. Amnesty International, in a  report issued September 2 , says the Iranian regime prosecuted more than 500 protesters on sham charges and describes a “torture epidemic,” including flogging, electric shocks and mock executions.  “The Iranian authorities …

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The United States Announces Additional Assistance to Respond to the Venezuela Crisis

PRESS STATEMENT MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE The United States remains the largest single donor of humanitarian and development assistance around the world, including for Venezuelans in need, because doing our part to respond to global crisis situations is a national security priority. The United States is demonstrating our continued commitment to the Venezuelan …

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Joint Statement on Internet Shutdowns in Belarus

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine. Begin Text: We, the …

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Who gets to use messaging apps in Iran?

Iranian lawmakers have proposed banning all foreign-owned social messaging apps and replacing them with domestic versions run by the regime. Dozens of lawmakers have signed the August 24 proposal to create a committee to license and monitor domestic social networking sites and impose punishments of up to two years in prison for violating the new …

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Maduro calls Venezuelans with COVID-19 ‘bioterrorists’

The illegitimate Maduro regime wants Venezuelans to denounce their neighbors who are sick with COVID-19, calling them “bioterrorists.” Nicolás Maduro’s National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela  encouraged citizens  to look for sick Venezuelans, saying a returning migrant “is a bioterrorist who puts everyone’s health at risk.” They also provided an email address and asked anyone with information …

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The spirited history of presidential debates

American debates have changed much since the days when an Illinois lawyer held the nation spellbound with his moral arguments against slavery. That was 1858, and the arguments of Abraham Lincoln, who was debating Stephen Douglas, didn’t lead to Lincoln’s winning the Senate seat he sought. Nevertheless, transcripts were distributed throughout the country and became …

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China’s construction companies sow chaos worldwide

Construction firms owned by the People’s Republic of China are harming the environment and threatening the economies and sovereignty of nations worldwide. China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) is advancing the PRC’s military expansion into the South China Sea through large-scale dredging, construction and militarization of artificial islands and disputed outposts. Further, CCCC drives Beijing’s “One …

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U.S. opposes forced labor in Xinjiang

The U.S. government is taking steps to address forced labor camps in China’s Xinjiang region. The Chinese Communist Party is repressing millions of Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities there, using “re-education” camps, forced sterilization, and destruction of religious sites. The U.S. is blocking the import of goods made with forced labor, sanctioning Chinese …

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U.S. helps refugees, migrants during COVID-19 crisis

The U.S. Department of State has provided $350 million in migration and refugee assistance (MRA) funding for the international COVID-19 response in countries around the world since the onset of the pandemic. U.S. funding provides protection and addresses increased vulnerability created by the pandemic for refugees, migrants and host communities through international organization partners, including …

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Database offers transparency on U.S. foreign aid

After a 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, the U.S. government gave the country $1 billion in aid, with the U.S. Department of Defense sending the most money, according to the  Foreign Aid Explorer  database. The U.S. Agency for International Development’s database can tell you which U.S. government agency spent the most on foreign aid in a given …

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U.S. seeks to deter Iranian regime’s religious persecution

The United States has imposed sanctions on senior Iranian officials responsible for continuing the regime’s long-standing persecution of religious minorities. Iran’s constitution states that it protects the equal rights of “all people of Iran.” Yet since 1979 the regime has systematically harassed, arrested and executed members of religious minorities, the U.S. Commission on International Religious …

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Abduction of Opposition Leaders in Belarus

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE The United States is deeply concerned by the reported abduction September 7 in Belarus of Coordination Council member Mariya Kalesnikava, Spokesman Anton Rodnenkou, and Executive Secretary Ivan Krautsou, and the attempted forced expulsion over the border to Ukraine September 8. We commend the courage of Ms. Kalesnikava and of the Belarusian people in peacefully asserting …

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Labor Day 2020

Today the United States celebrates Labor Day. This holiday is a time for workers, employers, and governments to re-commit to workers and labor rights, including their safety and health in the workplace. The U.S. labor movement created our annual Labor Day holiday, which is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Oregon …

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5 ways the U.S. supports literacy around the world

The late Barbara Bush, wife of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush,  once said , “If we don’t give everyone the ability to simply read and write, then we aren’t giving everyone an equal chance to succeed.” The American people, U.S. businesses and organizations share Mrs. Bush’s sentiment and work in myriad ways to help the 750 …

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Recent Developments in Venezuela

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE The Maduro regime’s announcement of conditional dismissal of criminal charges against roughly one-third of the political prisoners it holds does not solve, nor even address, Venezuela’s underlying political crisis.  Hundreds of political prisoners remain, and like those now offered house arrest or an end (for the moment) to their criminal cases, none of these Venezuelans …

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Cuba’s ‘outrageous’ bid to join the U.N. Human Rights Council

In spite of its dismal record on human rights, Cuba’s government is seeking a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2021–2023 term. “It’s outrageous that the Human Rights Council would offer to seat Cuba, a brutal dictatorship that  traffics its own doctors  under the guise of humanitarian missions,” Secretary of State Michael R.  Pompeo said  on August …

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U.S. Mission OSCE: Call for Belarus to Uphold its OSCE Election-Related Commitments and Respect Human Rights

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for calling this important meeting today. And it is an honor to be here with all of you. Earlier this week, I had the privilege of meeting in Vilnius with Belarusian opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. I was inspired by her courage and resolve to advocate for the Belarusian people in their …

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Confucius Institutes advance Chinese propaganda on campuses

The People’s Republic of China must now reveal more about its role in supporting Confucius Institutes’ activities on U.S. college campuses, which include propaganda and censorship. The U.S. Department of State on August 13 designated the Washington-based headquarters of the Confucius Institute network a foreign mission of the PRC. Under the designation , the Confucius Institute U.S. Center …

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Regimes target the faithful in Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela

Freedom of religion is under attack in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, due to authoritarian regimes determined to control expressions of faith. Dictators in the countries, or their proxies, have burned churches and harassed or teargassed worshipers, U.S. Agency for International Development Acting Administrator John Barsa told an August 20 discussion on religious freedom in the …

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Proclamation on Women’s Equality Day, 2020

Recently, our Nation celebrated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to our Constitution.  On the commemoration of this historic day, I was proud to issue a Proclamation honoring the women’s suffrage movement and sign a full pardon for one of its greatest leaders, Susan B. Anthony, who was unjustly convicted for voting on …

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Designations of Iranian Human Rights Violators

On August 21, the U.S. Department of State announced visa restrictions on 14 Iranian individuals for their involvement in gross violations of human rights on behalf of the Iranian regime, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.  This action was taken pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations …

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Designations for Iranian Human Rights Offenders

MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE Friday, August 21 marks the annual Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism. To both remember and honor these victims, today the U.S. Department of State is announcing visa restrictions on 14 Iranian individuals for their involvement in gross violations of human rights on behalf of the Iranian regime, the world’s leading …

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UPDATE: The United States Continues to Lead the Global Response to COVID-19

The United States is leading the global response to COVID-19 with foreign assistance funding. The U.S. Government (USG) has allocated $20.5 billion for the development of vaccines and therapeutics, preparedness efforts, and other foreign assistance. Our global efforts build upon decades of U.S. investment in life-saving health and humanitarian assistance, and we continue to ensure …

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Maduro’s election plan: No participation, no choice

The illegitimate Maduro regime has been promoting its unconstitutional reshaping of the election of Venezuela’s National Assembly members with the social media tag #ParticipaYElige — “participate and choose.” Nicolás Maduro’s attempt to undermine the election process of National Assembly members is further evidence of the regime’s deepening corruption, said Elliott Abrams, the U.S. Department of …

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Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun at the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Virtual Event

AMBASSADOR CURRIE:  Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you joining us here at the State Department.  I am Kelley Currie, the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues here, and it’s my pleasure to welcome you here to the department today as we recognize and celebrate the progress and partnerships achieved through the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity …

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Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun to Host Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Virtual Event

Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 11, at 2:00 p.m., Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun will host the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Virtual Event at the U.S. Department of State to celebrate the launch of the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative Pillar Three Action Plans and USAID Fund.  The event will include official …

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A huge step forward for women voters turns 100 [video]

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the  19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution , which granted American women — in effect, white women — the right to vote. While it took several more decades — and the civil rights movement — for all U.S. women to be legally allowed to vote, the 19th Amendment was a big …

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U.S. sanctions architect of Uyghur internment (July 27)

By Leigh Hartman  – Jul 27, 2020 The U.S. has imposed sanctions against senior Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials responsible for “horrific and systematic abuses” against members of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang. The July 9 sanctions , issued by the U.S. departments of Treasury and State, target Chen Quanguo, the party’s secretary in Xinjiang, who oversees  internment camps  where more than 1 …

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U.N. report cites atrocities for Venezuelans in mining area (July 27)

By Noelani Kirschner – Jul 27, 2020 The  Orinoco mining arc  in Venezuela is rife with human rights abuses, including sexual exploitation and trafficking, and killings, according to a United Nations report. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet  released a report  on July 15 that collected victim and witness accounts. They detail abuses committed against miners and indigenous people in the arc. …

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U.S. Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s remarks to the Media after the meeting with Public Defender Nino Lomjaria (July 21)

U.S. Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s remarks to the media after the meeting with Public Defender Nino Lomjaria (July 21)   Ambassador Degnan: Gamarjobat! I had a truly inspiring meeting with Public Defender and her team. The work they are doing here, the very important monitoring role that this office provides, is at the very heart of …

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U.S. warns of business risks from China’s abuses (July 20)

U.S. warns of business risks from China’s abuses (July 20)   The PRC's human rights abuses in Xinjiang put businesses at risk of exposing their supply chains to forced labor and other abuses. Businesses must do their due diligence to avoid reputational, economic, and legal risks. Don’t be complicit. — Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 1, 2020 The United …

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Iran’s regime continues persecution of human rights defenders (July 20)

Iran’s regime continues persecution of human rights defenders (July 20)   Protesters, journalists and women who refuse to wear a hijab all risk facing trial in Iran. But many of the lawyers trained to fight for those defendants are already in jail. According to a recent report from the Center for Human Rights in Iran, …

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Public Designation of Russian National Ramzan Kadyrov Due to Involvement in Gross Violations of Human Rights (July 20)

Public Designation of Russian National Ramzan Kadyrov Due to Involvement in Gross Violations of Human Rights (July 20) MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE Today, the Department of State is publicly designating Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020.  This designation …

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U.S. Support for Democracy, Good Governance, and Human Rights in the Global Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic (July 20)

U.S. Support for Democracy, Good Governance, and Human Rights in the Global Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic (July 20)   “Authoritarian regimes are poorly designed to deal with the kind of crisis that this pandemic has engendered.  Democracies, where we are free to critique and comment … these are the kinds of places where scientists and freedom …

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This 1990 disabilities law ushered in a new era (July 20)

This 1990 disabilities law ushered in a new era (July 20)   When President George H.W. Bush signed the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act into law on July 26, 1990, he specifically mentioned Lisa Carl, a young woman with cerebral palsy. Two years before joining the president for that signing ceremony, Carl had gone to …

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From civil rights activist to member of Congress: Remembering John Lewis (July 20)

From civil rights activist to member of Congress: Remembering John Lewis (July 20) Civil rights hero and U.S. Representative John Lewis died July 17 at the age of 80. He had been battling pancreatic cancer since he received the diagnosis in December. The son of Alabama sharecroppers, Lewis was a central figure in the U.S. civil …

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Authoritarian regimes’ unclear laws make anyone a suspect (July 16)

Authoritarian regimes’ unclear laws make anyone a suspect (July 16)   For laws to be just, they must be clear. Citizens must know what is — and is not — against the law. Precise language helps ensure that laws are enforced fairly. But some countries take advantage of their unclear laws. The Chinese government regularly …

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Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s first visit to Adjara Region (July 16)

Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s first visit to Adjara Region (July 16)   On her first visit to the city of Batumi, Ambassador Degnan met with educators, youth, journalists, civil society leaders, and elected officials. Her visit demonstrated the breadth and depth of the strong bond between the United States and Adjara, with ties in education, tourism, …

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U.S. Embassy Tbilisi statement on Parliament’s adoption of legislation on the rights of persons with disabilities (July 14)

U.S. Embassy Tbilisi statement on Parliament’s adoption of legislation on the rights of persons with disabilities (July 14)   The U.S. Embassy congratulates Parliament on adopting Georgia’s Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This law establishes fundamental principles to guide the government’s implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons …

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Maduro steps up corruption, human rights violations (July 13)

Maduro steps up corruption, human rights violations (July 13)   The illegitimate Maduro regime continues to undermine both human rights and democracy in Venezuela. Enforced disappearances of Venezuelan civilians by the regime are on the rise, according to  a report by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights group and Forno Penal , a Venezuelan human rights organization. The regime has kidnapped civilians it suspects of being political dissidents, …

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U.S. Embassy Tbilisi statement on Parliament’s adoption of legislation to protect victims of child abuse, sexual exploitation, and trafficking (July 1

U.S. Embassy Tbilisi statement on Parliament’s adoption of legislation to protect victims of child abuse, sexual exploitation, and trafficking (July 13) The U.S. Embassy commends Parliament and its Human Rights & Civil Integration Committee, under the leadership of Sopo Kiladze, for adopting important legislation aimed at protecting victims of child abuse, sexual exploitation, and trafficking. …

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U.S. Embassy Statement on Shooting/Detention along South Ossetia Administrative Boundary Line (July 12)

U.S. Embassy Statement on Shooting/Detention along South Ossetia Administrative Boundary Line (July 12)   U.S. Embassy Tbilisi is alarmed and deeply troubled by reports that Russian-led security forces shot, wounded, and detained a Georgian citizen on July 11 near the village of Kvemo Chala, along the administrative boundary line of Russian-occupied South Ossetia. We condemn …

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NASA names a building for a pioneering African American (July 8)

NASA names a building for a pioneering African American (July 8)   NASA has renamed its Washington headquarters to honor Mary W. Jackson, the first female African American engineer to work for the agency. Jackson was among four African American women recently awarded  Congressional Gold Medals  for their contributions to early space flight. Jackson and her colleagues were also …

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Five Years of Injustice Following China’s 709 Crackdown (July 8)

Five Years of Injustice Following China’s 709 Crackdown (July 8) MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE On July 9, five years ago the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a nationwide offensive targeting hundreds of defense lawyers and human rights defenders for detention, interrogation, and politically motivated criminal charges. The “709” crackdown, named for the date it began on July 9, 2015, …

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15 achievements of the President’s Malaria Initiative (July 7)

15 achievements of the President’s Malaria Initiative (July 7)   Fifteen years ago, the pediatric ward at the national hospital in Kigali, Rwanda, overflowed with children suffering from malaria, the leading cause of illness and death in the country. Pediatrician Dr. Lisine Tuyisenge remembers anemic babies doubled up in beds and even sick children on …

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Chinese media: Press or propagandists? (July 7)

Chinese media: Press or propagandists? (July 7)   Chinese state-run news organizations would like the world to think that they are independent and trustworthy. They are not. Many of these outlets work to spread  Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda  around the world, and their employees effectively work for the Chinese Communist Party. That was the conclusion of Secretary of State …

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Report: CCP conducts mass sterilization of minority women (July 6)

Report: CCP conducts mass sterilization of minority women (July 6)   The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is conducting a campaign of mass sterilization of women as part of its repression of Uyghur and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, a new report says. Using Chinese government documents and interviews with survivors, the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington …

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Honoring heroes in the fight against human trafficking (June 29)

Honoring heroes in the fight against human trafficking (June 29) While governments are reporting the highest number of convictions for human trafficking and the lowest number of forced labor victims identified during 2019, certain governments are themselves acting as traffickers, a State Department report says. The  2020 Trafficking in Persons Report , released June 25, assesses 188 countries and territories, …

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The Chinese Communist Party’s Ideology and Global Ambitions (June 26)

The Chinese Communist Party’s Ideology and Global Ambitions (June 26) Well, thank you Governor.  That was an extraordinarily kind introduction and for thinking of Kayla and her parents. We had them at the State of the Union. That was a very special occasion for the President and for all of us as Americans. What happened …

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International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (June 26)

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (June 26)   On the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we honor and support victims and survivors throughout the world. We observe this day on the anniversary of the date on which the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment …

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U.S. Department of State Imposes Visa Restrictions on Chinese Communist Party Officials for Undermining Hong Kong’s High Degree of Autonomy and Restri

U.S. Department of State Imposes Visa Restrictions on Chinese Communist Party Officials for Undermining Hong Kong’s High Degree of Autonomy and Restricting Human Rights (June 26) PRESS STATEMENT MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE JUNE 26, 2020 President Trump promised to punish the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials who were responsible for eviscerating Hong Kong’s freedoms.  Today, we are taking action …

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At the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report Launch Ceremony (June 25)

At the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report Launch Ceremony (June 25) MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE TREATY ROOM WASHINGTON, D.C. JUNE 25, 2020 AMBASSADOR RICHMOND: Good afternoon, and welcome to the TIP Report rollout for 2020. My name’s John Richmond, and I have the honor of serving the team at the Trafficking in Persons Office at the Department of State. I’m …

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U.S. museum helps Americans discuss race (June 18)

U.S. museum helps Americans discuss race (June 18)   When were you first made aware of race? And as a child, how did you make sense of human differences? These are among the questions you’ll encounter in  Talking About Race , a newly launched online portal from the  Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture . The website provides tools to help Americans lead constructive …

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Juneteenth: Remembering the end of slavery (June 18)

Juneteenth: Remembering the end of slavery (June 18)   Juneteenth, or June 19th, is an annual holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. On this date in 1865, slavery ended in Texas nearly three years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, issued September 22, 1862. John Buttre’s engraving of Union Major General …

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The Conviction of U.S. Citizen Paul Whelan in Russia (June 15)

The Conviction of U.S. Citizen Paul Whelan in Russia (June 15)   The United States is outraged by the decision of a Russian court today to convict U.S. citizen Paul Whelan after a secret trial, with secret evidence, and without appropriate allowances for defense witnesses. We have serious concerns that Mr. Whelan was deprived of …

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The United States Condemns Maduro’s Latest Step to Rig the Next Venezuelan Election (June 15)

The United States Condemns Maduro’s Latest Step to Rig the Next Venezuelan Election (June 15)   Free elections are the path out of Venezuela’s deep political crisis.  Unfortunately, on June 12, the Maduro regime-controlled Supreme Court continued to manipulate the Venezuelan Constitution by illegally naming a new, regime-aligned National Electoral Council (CNE). Venezuelans deserve an …

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Building the Movement: America’s Youth Celebrate 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage (June 15)

Building the Movement: America’s Youth Celebrate 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage (June 15)   First Lady Melania Trump is excited to announce Building the Movement: America’s Youth Celebrate 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage, an exhibit honoring the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave American women the right to vote. The exhibit will …