The U.S. State Department has released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The reports examine the status of human rights in 2006 in one-hundred-ninety-six countries and entities and describe the performance of governments in putting into practice their international commitments on human rights. Here is U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:
"With the release of this year's reports, we are recommitting ourselves to help new democracies deliver on their people's aspirations for a better life. We are recommitting ourselves to stand with those courageous men and women who struggle for their freedom and their rights. And we are recommitting ourselves to call every government to account that still treats the basic rights of its citizens as options rather than, in President Bush's words, the non-negotiable demands of human dignity."
Secretary of State Rice says the reports "speak to America's continued support for those fundamental freedoms embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights":
"Our country was born in the belief that all people, regardless of race, creed, or culture are free by nature and equal in dignity; that when given a truly unfettered choice, human beings will choose liberty over oppression, the natural right to life over the constant fear of death, the right to own property over random search and seizure, and that they will choose to be ruled by the consent of the governed, not by the coercion of the state."
Secretary of State Rice said the human rights reports are not issued because, in her words, "we think ourselves perfect, but rather because we know ourselves to be deeply imperfect, like all human beings and the endeavors that they make":
"Our democratic system of governance is accountable, but it is not infallible. We are nonetheless guided by enduring ideals: the inalienable rights of humankind and the principles of democracy toward which all people and all governments must continue striving. And that includes us here in America."
"We hope", said Secretary of State Rice, "that these reports will be a source of information for governments and societies everywhere and a source of inspiration for all who are still working for peaceful democratic change around the globe."