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Events 2009

State Department Releases Human Rights Reports

February 26, 2009
People holding protest signs (AP images)

People in Zimbabwe holding protest signs

More people worldwide are demanding greater personal and political freedom, but many governments are resisting this trend, says this year’s human rights report released February 25 by the U.S. Department of State.

“A disturbing number of countries imposed burdensome, restrictive or repressive laws and regulations against NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] and the media, including the Internet,” the report says. “Many courageous human rights defenders who peacefully pressed for their own rights and those of their fellow countrymen and women were harassed, threatened, arrested and imprisoned, killed or subjected to violent extrajudicial means of reprisal.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in remarks at a press briefing for the release of the report, vowed to work with NGOs, businesses, religious leaders, schools and universities and individual citizens to “create a world where human rights are accepted.”

She cited her many years of work on human rights issues and her determination to focus her energies on human rights in her capacity as secretary of state. “I am looking for results,” Clinton said. “I am looking for changes that actually improve the lives of the greatest numbers of people.” Secretary Clinton's remarks in full

She emphasized that the United States believes it enhances its own security, prosperity and progress when the human rights of people in other countries are protected. “The promotion of human rights is an essential piece of our foreign policy,” she said.

Czech Republic

According to the U.S. Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Czech government generally respected and protected the rights of its citizens; however, reports of abuse by police at times were not adequately followed up, and there were long delays in the court system.

"Corruption persisted among both law‑enforcement and judicial personnel, and high‑level political intervention sometimes resulted in investigations being prematurely closed or reassigned to other jurisdictions. There were also reports of official corruption in the legislative and executive branches of government.

Child abuse and trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation, and of men for forced labor, continued to be problems. Neo‑Nazis, members of the far‑right Workers Party, and skinheads attacked and harassed Roma and other minorities during the year. Societal discrimination against minorities, especially Roma, continued, and a lack of equitable education, housing, and employment opportunities for Roma persisted."

The full text of the country report on Czech Republic is available on the State Department Web site.

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