Today On February 27, 2014, U.S. Secretary Kerry submitted the 2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (commonly known as the Human Rights Reports) to the United States Congress. The reports, now in their 38th year, are available on State.gov and HumanRights.gov.
Mandated by Congress, the Human Rights Reports help inform U.S. government policy and foreign assistance.
They are also a reference for other governments, international institutions, non-governmental organizations, legal professionals, scholars, interested citizens, and journalists.
Governments in every region of the world continued to stifle civil society and restrict citizens’ universal right to freedoms of assembly and association. Authorities increasingly used legislation to silence political dissidence and used excessive force to crack down on civil society and protest.
Governments around the world also continued to restrict freedom of expression and press freedom as a means of tightly controlling or eliminating political criticism and opposition.
This included hampering the ability of journalists to report on issues deemed politically sensitive by placing onerous restrictions on members of the press, such as requiring government approval prior to meeting with international organizations or representatives, and limiting visas for foreign journalists.
Governments also used harassment and physical intimidation of journalists to create a climate of fear and self-censorship, both online and offline. Authorities further censored the media by closing independent newspaper outlets and television stations.
The U.S. Department of State works to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges that support the development of peaceful relations. Through its diplomacy efforts, the Department has launched the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
We are also involved in this, both online and offline. Freedom on the Internet is a priority throughout the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs – in foreign policy, development policy and trade policy. The digital revolution have helped both consumers and businesses most of all it fulfill free speech and the spread of democracy along the way.
Freedom and security on the Internet is the new frontline in the fight for freedom in the world. The role of the internet freedom online and offline. A decision that also clearly recognises that the Internet is a key channel for traditional as well as new forms of journalism – often carried out by human rights defenders or bloggers – and that the same rights apply online as offline. This core principle was affirmed – by consensus and with 87 co-sponsors – by the UN Human Rights Council in Resolution 20/8.