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    The United States Assumes the Presidency of the Community of Democracies

    On July 22, the 27-member Governing Council of the Community of Democracies (CD) unanimously endorsed the United States to serve as president of the CD for the 2015-2017 term. The United States welcomes the opportunity to lead this important organization, which was co-founded fifteen years ago by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as a vehicle for strengthening democratic norms and institutions around the world.

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    Remarks by President Obama to the People of Africa

    Dignity -- that basic idea that by virtue of our common humanity, no matter where we come from, or what we look like, we are all born equal, touched by the grace of God. (Applause.) Every person has worth. Every person matters. Every person deserves to be treated with decency and respect. Throughout much of history, mankind did not see this. Dignity was seen as a virtue reserved to those of rank and privilege, kings and elders. It took a revolution of the spirit, over many centuries, to open our eyes to the dignity of every person. And around the world, generations have struggled to put this idea into practice in laws and in institutions.

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    Assistant Secretary Malinowski's Remarks at the 8th Ministerial Meeting of the Community of Democracies

    Fifteen years ago this summer, the participating countries of the Community of Democracies signed the Warsaw Declaration, vowing to “respect and uphold core democratic principles and practices.” Only fifteen years ago, and yet a very different moment from our own in the history of democracy. The Berlin Wall had been down for a decade; the Cold War definitively over; many countries in Central and Eastern Europe swiftly democratizing. There was reason to believe that the 21st century really would see the establishment of a new democratic world order.

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    Secretary Kerry's Remarks at the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report Ceremony

    This report is the product of really an entire year-long effort. These folks will leave here today and they begin on next year’s report. And it is a constant process of following up with the employees at our diplomatic posts around the world, gathering facts, information, and helping to lay it out. And this report is important because it really is one of the best means that we have as individuals to speak up for adults and children who lack any effective platform whatsoever through which they are able to speak for themselves. Because of its credibility, this report is also a source of validation and inspiration to activists on every single continent who are striving to end this scourge of modern slavery.

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  • ADA 25

    25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

    On July 26, 1990, the United States committed itself to eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities through the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For the past 25 years, the ADA has helped to remove barriers and ensure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration, and economic self-sufficiency for all persons with disabilities. Throughout the month of July, embassies and consulates around the world will celebrate this milestone and honor this significant civil rights victory.

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Top Stories

Breaking the Bonds of Modern Slavery and Restoring Human Dignity Across the Globe
Jul 30, 2015 | Acting Director of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Kari Johnstone


This week, Secretary of State John F. Kerry released the annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, the State Department’s key diplomatic tool in the fight to end modern slavery, which assesses the anti-trafficking efforts of 188 countries and territories, including the United States. In addition to the country-specific narratives and recommendations that serve as the cornerstone of the Report, this year’s TIP Report also highlights emerging and troubling trends. ...Read More
Empowering African Youth Through People-to-People Exchanges
Jul 30, 2015 | Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Evan Ryan


Africa is experiencing dramatic demographic changes; not only does it have the world’s fastest growing population, it also has the world’s youngest population. This month, President Obama is in Africa reaching out to the approximately 200 million people on the continent between the ages of 15 and 24. The United States is strengthening ties with this dynamic and fast-growing region, embracing what the President has described as “a new era of engagement, based on mutual interests and mutual respect…to advance the common security and prosperity of all people.” ...Read More
Press Release
Special Envoy Perriello on Burundi's Recent Election
Jul 28, 2015 | Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Thomas Perriello


I have just conducted a three-day visit here in Burundi, meeting with the full range of stakeholders from government, military, the opposition and civil society. The U.S. government continues to have grave concerns about the precarious situation in Burundi and the conditions for democracy following elections which are widely viewed as neither free, fair, nor credible. ...Read More
Press Release
Designation under Russia's "Undesirables" Law of the National Endowment for Democracy
Jul 28, 2015 | State Department Deputy Spokesperson, Mark Toner


We are deeply troubled by Russia’s formal designation of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as a so-called "undesirable" organization. This designation only heightens our concern that the so-called “undesirables” law will further restrict the work of civil society in Russia. This action is a further example of the Russian government’s growing crackdown on independent voices and another intentional step to isolate the Russian people from the world. ...Read More
President Obama's Remarks at the 8th Ministerial Meeting of the Community of Democracies
Jul 27, 2015 | President Barack Obama

Fifteen years ago, joined by a shared commitment to strengthen democracy, advance human rights, and promote and protect civil society, the United States and other nations signed the Warsaw Declaration, which led to the founding of the Community of Democracies. ...Read More
Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia in Joint Press Conference
Jul 27, 2015 | President Barack Obama


To the people of Ethiopia, thank you for the warmth and enthusiasm of your welcome and the spirit of friendship that you’ve shown me since I’ve been in Addis. I am proud to be the first U.S. President to visit Ethiopia, and, tomorrow, the first U.S. President to address the African Union. So my visit reflects the importance the United States places on our relationship with Ethiopia and all the nations and peoples of Africa. ...Read More

2014 Human Rights Report

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