Response to State Department's Release of 2011 Human Rights Country Reports

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May 24, 2012

Response to State Department's Release of 2011 Human Rights Country Reports

Secretary Clinton Echoes Human Rights Organization's Message to "Speak out and Speak up for Those Unable to Use Their Own Voices"

Contact: Sharon Singh, ssingh@aiusa.org, 202-675-8579, @spksingh

(Washington) –Frank Jannuzi, head of Amnesty International’s Washington office,issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011 by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Michael Posner.

"Stark reports only create real change when they translate into action, not just written and put away for the next year. Otherwise, these reports are seen as a minor slap on the wrist and business as usual continues."

“Amnesty International commends Secretary Clinton for stating that the U.S. government will support and defend the rights of citizens around the world who have been demanding their rights. Guarding those rights means the United States cannot selectively champion freedom and human rights when convenient. It must fully commit to ensuring that human rights are not an afterthought, but integral to its foreign relations and economic negotiations."

In its annual state of human rights report just released yesterday evening, Amnesty International stated that the courage shown by protesters around the world, including the Middle East and North Africa, in the past 12 months has been undermined by a collapse in international leadership. At the United Nations, the Security Council seems ineffective, out of step and increasingly unable to fulfill its mandate.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.