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News Archives






Honduran Election

We commend the Honduran people for peacefully exercising their democratic right to select their leaders in an electoral process that began over a year ago, well before the June 28 coup d’etat. Turnout appears to have exceeded that of the last presidential election. This shows that given the opportunity to express themselves, the Honduran people have viewed the election as an important part of the solution to the political crisis in their country.

We look forward to continuing to work with all Hondurans and encourage others in the Americas to follow the lead of the Honduran people in helping advance national reconciliation and the implementation of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord. Significant work remains to be done to restore democratic and constitutional order in Honduras, but today the Honduran people took a necessary and important step forward.

 


Zimbabwe Dialogue – The Copenhagen Statement

The following statement was agreed upon by the countries attending a meeting of the Friends of Zimbabwe held in Copenhagen on December 10, 2010.

Participants: U.S., Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, European Commission (EC), EU Council Secretariat, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, African Development Bank (AFDB), United Nations

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At a moment when Zimbabwe has to make critical decisions on the way forward, we, friends of Zimbabwe, met in Copenhagen and re-emphasized our commitment to the Zimbabwean people through support for reform and recovery.

We welcomed the progress achieved since the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the formation of the Inclusive Government, including the restoration of basic services, the constitutional process, launching of Human Rights, Media and Electoral Commissions and a significant improvement in macroeconomic management.

However, serious concerns remain relating to the protection of fundamental rights, the rule of law, governance and respect for agreements.

Credible and legitimate elections in line with Southern African Development Community (SADC) guidelines, that are free of violence and that accept the will of the people, are central to democratic transformation in Zimbabwe. To reach this point, the Zimbabwean government needs to create the enabling environment, and agree on and implement significant reforms as stipulated in the GPA. Zimbabweans should not face violence and intimidation to cast their votes.

We welcomed ongoing regional efforts to support democratization in Zimbabwe and we actively encourage regional actors, and SADC and South Africa in particular, to further assist Zimbabwe in ensuring the conditions for credible, legitimate and peaceful elections. We are ready in response to review and adjust, as appropriate, the full range of our efforts and policies.

We commended the significant gains in macroeconomic stabilization and encourage the continuation of efforts aimed at strengthening economic recovery, the promotion of enhanced transparency and the implementation of structural and legal reforms, including the protection of property rights that will help attract foreign investment. We look to international financial institutions to deepen their engagement, including, inter alia, through an IMF Staff-Monitored-Program when all requirements have been met.

The increasing state revenue and strengthening the public finance system provide an opportunity to improve living conditions of ordinary Zimbabweans. It is critical in this regard that the development of natural resources is pursued in a transparent manner that empowers and benefits the people. A critical example of this is Zimbabwe’s compliance with its commitments under the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for rough diamonds.

Collectively, we are intensifying our efforts to support democratic reform, enhance the livelihoods of the poor, and restore basic services. Programs benefit Zimbabweans regardless of political persuasion. For example, through the now operational ZimFund, support is provided for the rehabilitation of water and power delivery systems. In 2010, every child in primary school has been provided with new text books, and 600,000 households have received agricultural inputs. In 2011, we expect our collective programs to total more than $500 million. We intend to continue to provide our assistance taking into consideration the priorities of the inclusive government as reflected in the budget and in government sector policies.

The coming months will determine Zimbabwe’s prospects for the years to come. We remain committed to helping achieve the goal of a prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe.

 


UN General Assembly Resolution on Iran’s Human Rights Violations

The United States welcomes the UN General Assembly resolution calling on the Government of Iran to fully respect its human rights obligations. This resolution also reiterates the need for Iran to permit credible and independent investigations of all allegations of human rights violations.

The international community is deeply concerned about ongoing human rights abuses in Iran and the plight of Iranian citizens facing persecution at the hands of their government. Yesterday’s UN resolution recognizes the severity of this troubling situation, particularly the continued harassment, persecution, and violent repression of political opponents, human rights defenders, and a wide variety of civil society representatives. It reflects our concern that an increasing number of Iranian political prisoners have had to undertake life-threatening hunger strikes in order to invoke their minimal due process protections. These rights are enumerated in Iran’s own constitution and called for under Iran’s international treaty obligations.

To all those Iranians struggling to lift your voices and speak up for fundamental freedoms and human rights, you are not alone. The United States and the international community stand with you.

 


Statement by NSC Spokesman Mike Hammer on the Detention of Article 31 Rally Participants

The United States is concerned by the detention on July 31 of Russian citizens who were participating in rallies throughout Russia to demonstrate their support for Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which guarantees to Russian citizens the right of assembly. 

The United States reiterates the importance of embracing and protecting universal values, including freedoms of expression and assembly, enshrined in the Russian Constitution as well as in international agreements which Russia has signed.   Freedom of assembly and freedom of expression are also characteristics of a modern political system that supports economic modernization.    The infringement of Russian citizens’ rights to exercise these freedoms runs counter to our shared commitments to international norms and common interests in fostering modernization.

The United States remains committed to supporting those in Russia and around the world who are working to protect and advance the human rights and democratic values of their fellow citizens.

 
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Statement by National Security Council Spokesman Mike Hammer on Detention of Peaceful Protestors in Russia

The United States regrets the detention of peaceful protestors in Moscow and Saint Petersburg expressing their support for the thirty-first article of the Russian Constitution guaranteeing freedom of assembly. The reports of beatings by people associated with law enforcement, the rough handling of those detained, and deplorable conditions of detention do not correspond to universal norms assuring citizens freedoms of expression and assembly.

 
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