Commenting on the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said:
Too often in the past year, we received painful reminders that human rights, though self-evident, are not self-enforcing and that mankind's desire to live in freedom, though universally deserved, is still not universally respected. Liberty and human rights require state institutions that function transparently and accountably, a vibrant civil society, an independent judiciary and legislature, a free media, and security forces that can uphold the rule of law and protect the population from violence and extremism.The overview highlights the following:
Hopeful Trends, Yet Sobering Realities
- First, the advances made in human rights and democracy were hard won and challenging to sustain. While some countries made significant progress, some lagged and others regressed.
- A second sobering reality is that insecurity due to internal and/or cross-border conflict can threaten or thwart advancements in human rights and democratic government.
- Third, despite gains for human rights and democratic principles in every region of the world, much of humanity still lives in fear yet dreams of freedom.
- The fourth sobering reality is that as the worldwide push for greater personal and political freedom grows stronger, it is being met with increasing resistance from those who feel threatened by political and societal change.
- Genocide was the most sobering reality of all.