Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, July 8, 2003

horizontal rule


Human Rights, Democracy and U.S. Policy

Hearing examines U.S. goals, strategies, and programs to promote democracy, human rights worldwide

BACKGROUND: U.S. foreign assistance programs are intended to further U.S. policy abroad, including promotion of human rights and democracy in countries ruled by repressive regimes. While the effectiveness of U.S. assistance programs continues to be debated, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act enacted last year requires the Administration to produce an annual report detailing all U.S. Government human rights and democracy efforts, including programs originating in the Department of State, USAID, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Defense. The first of these reports, Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2002-2003, was recently completed by the State Department. The new report is a companion to the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, and many in Congress and in the human rights community have long sought this kind of information linking human rights practices with U.S. policy responses.

WHAT: Oversight hearing, A Survey and Analysis of Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2002 - 2003

WHEN: 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, July 9, 2003

WHERE: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES: Panel I: Lorne Craner, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State; Roger Winter, Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, USAID; Panel II: Dr. Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and current International Republican Institute board member; Harold H. Koh, professor, Yale University School of Law; Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy; Tom Malinowski, Washington Advocacy Director of Human Rights Watch; Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director, Freedom House; and Kenneth Wollack, President, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.

Questions to be raised during the hearing:

bulletThe report presents a broad catalog of U.S. government efforts to promote human rights and democracy but lacks assessments of the effectiveness and efficiency of such programs. Please pinpoint a few programs that were particularly effective. Any outright failures? What did you learn from the failures? Have you sought any feedback?
bulletWhat are the current Administration’s goals in human rights and democracy?
bulletDo past U.S. program successes and failures suggest possible approaches for promoting human rights and democracy in Iraq? Please explain.
bulletThe U.S. government has increased its programs promoting democracy and human rights, including women’s rights in countries with significant Muslim populations. How well have such programs been received in host countries?
bulletWhat is the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in democracy promotion and human rights activities? How does the U.S. government interact with NGOs in various activities intended to improve freedoms of people around the world?
bulletDo you have any suggestions for ways of measuring or assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of U.S. programs?

Back to Press Page      Home