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America's Freedom Agenda

A principal component of America's freedom agenda is the promotion of human rights around the world. "The role of free nations," said President George Bush, "is to put pressure on the arms of the world's tyrants and strengthen the prisoners who are striving for their liberty."

The United States has spoken out against human rights abuses by tyrannical governments like those in Iran, Sudan, Syria, and Zimbabwe. The U.S. has also spoken out against abuses in countries that it has friendly relations with, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and China. "In keeping with this commitment," said President Bush, "I renew my call for the release of all prisoners of conscience around the world -- including Ayman Nour of Egypt, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, Oscar Biscet of Cuba, and Riad Seif of Syria."

There are other individuals who are suffering in the cause of freedom and should not be forgotten. They include Normando Hernanadez Gonzalez who remains in Cuba's gulag for speaking the truth about the government there. In Belarus, Alexander Kozulin remains in prison for having the courage to run for president against dictator Alexander Lukashenko.

Numerous dissidents have escaped to freedom in America. They include Iranian dissident Manoucherhr Mohammedi. After seven years in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, where he was tortured and endured his brother's death, Mr. Mohammadi escaped from Iran and entered the United States in 2006. Cho Jin Hae witnessed several of her family members starve to death in North Korea. Ms. Cho defected to China and was granted asylum in the United States in March 2008.

President Bush has instructed all senior U.S. officials serving in undemocratic countries to maintain regular contact with political dissidents and democracy activists. It is important, said Mr. Bush, that "America always stands with those seeking freedom and never hesitates to shine the light of conscience on abuses of human rights across the world."