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Chair Cardin Statement on Concerns, Progress Marked in 2023 Human Rights Country Reports

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement on the findings of the State Department’s 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices:
“75 years after the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices reveal that much work remains to uphold commitments made by the international community. The reports reveal an alarming increase in transnational repression, with governments like Russia, Iran, Rwanda, and the People’s Republic of China extending their reach across borders in efforts to silence dissent, and that the proliferation of foreign commercial spyware is enabling authorities to surveil, censor, and intimidate critics both at home and abroad. Autocratic and illiberal leaders continue to violate human rights by imprisoning democracy activists and political opposition figures, particularly in regimes such as Ethiopia, Belarus, and Nicaragua.
“Tragically, armed conflicts have led to horrific human rights abuses. In Sudan, the report outlines the war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing taking place as the conflict rages on. In Ukraine, the second year of Putin’s full-scale invasion brought continued human rights violations and abuses against innocent civilians.
“Yet, amidst the darkness, there are reasons to be hopeful. Despite the proliferation of anti-LGBTQIA+ laws in parts of the world, countries such as Estonia, Kenya, Japan, and Mauritius made significant progress in advancing LGBTQIA+ rights. In Mexico, workers overcame obstacles to organizing and started to improve working conditions through labor reforms. And in every part of the world, human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society leaders continued their daily work to advance human rights and freedom. It is essential that we continue to support and amplify these positive developments alongside our efforts to confront human rights abuses worldwide.”

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