Department of State: Diplomacy in Action
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Promoting freedom and democracy and protecting human rights around the world are central to U.S. foreign policy. The values captured in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in other global and regional commitments are consistent with the values upon which the United States was founded centuries ago. The United States supports those persons who long to live in freedom and under democratic governments that protect universally accepted human rights. The United States uses a wide range of tools to advance a freedom agenda, including bilateral diplomacy, multilateral engagement, foreign assistance, reporting and public outreach, and economic sanctions. The United States is committed to working with democratic partners, international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, and engaged citizens to support those seeking freedom.
The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) in the Department of State is headed by Assistant Secretary Michael H. Posner. DRL leads the U.S. efforts to promote democracy, protect human rights and international religious freedom, and advance labor rights globally. DRL works directly with governments, international organizations, civil society, nongovernmental organizations, and others to compile information about international human rights violations, and publishes the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the International Religious Freedom Report. To report an international human rights violation, please contact the U.S. Embassy in the country in which the human rights violation occurred or DRL.
The mission of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) is to provide protection, ease suffering, and resolve the plight of persecuted and uprooted people around the world on behalf of the American people by providing life-sustaining assistance, working through multilateral systems to build global partnerships, promoting best practices in humanitarian response, and ensuring that humanitarian principles are thoroughly integrated into U.S. foreign and national security policy. Refugees with questions about PRM programs should write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Those at non-governmental organizations interested in grants should contact the PRM NGO Coordinator at PRMNGOCoordinator@state.gov.
The Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Person (TIP), directed by Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, leads the United States’ global engagement against human trafficking, an umbrella term used to describe the activities involved when someone obtains or holds a person in compelled service. At the heart of this phenomenon are the myriad forms of enslavement as outlined in the United States’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Major forms of human trafficking include: forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, child soldiers, and child sex trafficking. The Office has responsibility for bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, targeted foreign assistance, and public engagement on this issue of modern slavery and partners with foreign governments and civil society to develop and implement effective counter-trafficking strategies. 20 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking.
Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson leads the Bureau of African Affairs (AF), the division of the Department of State that advises the Secretary about sub-Saharan Africa. The Bureau’s priority is conflict resolution with U.S. support. The U.S. has provided much of the humanitarian assistance and logistical support and training for African peacekeepers in Darfur and Somalia. At the same time, the U.S. has led by example to confront Africa’s worst diseases. The U.S. Government’s fight against AIDS (PEPFAR) is the largest foreign assistance program since the Marshall Plan. The U.S. Government is also confronting malaria and a host of other tropical diseases. In the long term, Africans have established priorities to consolidate democratic gains and sustain broad-based economic growth.
The Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR), headed by Assistant Secretary Philip H. Gordon, implements U.S. foreign policy in Europe and Eurasia. The Bureau promotes U.S. interests in the region on issues such as national security, NATO enlargement, coordination with the European Union and other regional organizations, support for democracy, human rights, civil society, economic prosperity, the war on terrorism, and nonproliferation.
The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), headed by Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman, deals with U.S. foreign policy and U.S. diplomatic relations with Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Regional policy issues that NEA handles include Iraq, Middle East peace, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and political and economic reform. Check out NEA’s Clickable Map.
Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) deals with U.S. foreign policy and U.S. relations with the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
The Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) is headed by Assistant Secretary of State Arturo A. Valenzuela, who is responsible for managing and promoting U.S. interests in the region by supporting democracy, trade, and sustainable economic development, and fostering cooperation on issues such as citizen safety, strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law, economic and social inclusion, energy, and climate change.
The Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) is the U.S. government’s primary interlocutor with the United Nations and a host of international agencies and organizations. As such, the Bureau is charged with advancing the President’s vision of robust multilateral engagement as a crucial tool in advancing U.S. national interests. U.S. multilateral engagement spans the full range of important global issues, including peace and security, nuclear nonproliferation, human rights, economic development, climate change, global health, and much more.
IO and its diplomatic missions in New York, Geneva, Vienna, Rome, Paris,Montreal, and Nairobi, actively promote those interests, in part by advocating for more effective, transparent, accountable, and efficient international organizations.