13 April 2016 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Secretary Kerry submitted the 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices(commonly known as the Human Rights Reports) to the U.S. Congress. The reports, now in their 40th year, document the status of human rights conditions in 199 countries and territories around the world.
The 2015 Reports highlight the intensified global crackdown by an increasing number of states on members of civil society. Government efforts to stifle civil society were achieved through overt or direct means including through harassment, intimidation, detention, and restrictions on their ability to operate; through the implementation of overly broad counterterrorism or national security laws to control the freedom to assemble and to suppress dissent; and through more nuanced yet burdensome bureaucratic procedures such as the passage of NGO legislation that restricts the operating space for human rights organizations. The collective result of these measures has led to the silencing of independent voices, a growing impoverishment of political discourse, and diminishing avenues for peaceful expression and change.
- The 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices are available at State.gov/humanrightsreports
- Preface to 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
- 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: France
- Kerry on Release of the 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
- Briefing on the 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
The annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices are the State Department’s most-read publication by far. Over 1 million readers access them online every year.
And, says Michael Kozak, a senior adviser in the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, those readers can sort the accompanying online database by country or by issue, like the human rights of women or minority groups, or freedom of expression, or prison conditions.
The annual reports are not about passing judgment on other countries. Instead, Kozak asserts, they’re “to inform ourselves so that when we are making decisions, we are doing it with our eyes wide open about who we’re dealing with.”