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Opinion

U.S. human rights report still an international benchmark

By David Jones      

The report stands as a basic benchmark for global treatment of human rights. It covers almost 200 entities in 2.3 million words of analysis and assessment. A number of countries employ it as one element for determining refugee claims validity.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, pictured. In contrast to practice by previous secretaries, Kerry devoted significant time to addressing human rights abuses when releasing the human rights report. He avoided the traditional 'naming and shaming' of a laundry list of abusers. Although urging action to resolve the ongoing conflict in Syria, he specifically praised human rights progress in Tunisia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Burma, Vietnam, and Azerbaijan. Photograph courtesy of the U.S. Department of State
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WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of State’s annual human rights report (HRR), officially labelled Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, is one of the few residues of the Jimmy Carter administration. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry quietly noted its 40th anniversary during release on April 13. The human rights report was touted as State’s flagship publication for decades; however, in many respects, it has been overtaken by events. Continuing catastrophe in Syria/Iraq; North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs; Ukraine;

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