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Date: 12/10/2009 Description: Cuba's government's supporters shout slogans in favor of Cuban leader Fidel Castro during a march organized by dissidents to commemorate the Human Rights Day in Havana, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009. © AP Image Date: 11/12/2009 Description: This Nov. 12, 2009 photo shows a mother holding her two daughters in her village in Batticaloa, about 143 miles north east of Colombo, Sri Lanka. © AP Image Date: 12/08/2009 Description: A coalition of Guineans, human rights activists and supporters rally outside the Guinean Mission to the United Nations in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009. © AP Image

Promoting freedom and democracy and protecting human rights around the world are central to U.S. foreign policy. The values captured in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in other global and regional commitments are consistent with the values upon which the United States was founded centuries ago. The United States supports those persons who long to live in freedom and under democratic governments that protect universally accepted human rights. The United States uses a wide range of tools to advance a freedom agenda, including bilateral diplomacy, multilateral engagement, foreign assistance, reporting and public outreach, and economic sanctions. The United States is committed to working with democratic partners, international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, and engaged citizens to support those seeking freedom.

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor leads the U.S. efforts to promote democracy, protect human rights and international religious freedom, and advance labor rights globally.

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2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

Secretary Kerry (Feb. 27): "This year's report, we think, is especially timely. It comes on the heels of one of the most momentous years in the struggle for greater rights and freedoms in modern history." Full Text» Briefing» Fact Sheet» Reports»


2012 International Religious Freedom Report

Secretary Kerry (May 20): "Freedom of religion is a core American value. It’s one that helped to create our country. It’s been at the center of our national consciousness since the 1600s, when the Pilgrims fled ... religious persecution and landed in my home state of Massachusetts. And many of these folks settled in the city of Salem, which takes its name from the words “salaam” or “shalom,” meaning “peace.” Full Text» Briefing» Fact Sheet» Reports»