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Human Rights Offenders

The U.S. State Department's recently released report "Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2005-2006," reaffirms the idea that promoting democracy is the most effective way of ensuring international security.

Barry Lowenkron, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, says that the U.S. has committed some one-and-a-half billion dollars in recent years to promoting women's literacy and strong civil societies, legislative and judicial reform, voter education and political party development, and other democracy building programs around the world:

"At the same time, we continue to bring economic sanctions to bear on systematic human rights violators like the Burmese and Cuban regimes." Mr. Lowenkron says some democratically elected governments adopted undemocratic methods:

"In the context of Venezuela, we have a democratic government but we do have pressure on the judiciary, we have harassment of the media, we have extraordinary harassment of one of the main NGO's [nongovernmental organizations], Sumate, in Venezuela."

In the Middle East, the human rights and democracy report highlights how U.S. assistance programs throughout the region worked to address injustice and past abuses, strengthen democratic civil society organizations, support women’s empowerment, and bolster the efforts of reformists within regional governments.

President George W. Bush says, the U.S. "will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead," he says "is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.