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U.S. State Department Issues Human Rights Report

Washington, 17 May 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. State Department today released a report on the United States' efforts to promote human rights and democracy across the world that paints mixed results in advancing freedoms.

The release of the Congressionally mandated report was delayed for several days over fears that the document would be overshadowed by the Iraqi prisoners abuse scandal.

The report cites the peaceful change of government in Georgia as a democratic success story.

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told reporters in Washington, "The people of Georgia ultimately prevailed in their peaceful desire for democracy and because of our solid diplomacy, they see America as a friend in that endeavor."

The report says Azerbaijan's flawed presidential election led to violence, as protests were suppressed by the authorities who then used the excesses of some demonstrators as a pretext for a wave of politically motivated arrests.

Elsewhere, the report says, there were elections or constitutional referendums marred by procedural and substantive irregularities that violated democratic norms, including in Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

In Russia, the report says there were significant flaws and misuse of state-controlled media in the run-up to the Duma elections, as well as Chechnya's presidential election.

The U.S. State Department's "Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U. S. Record 2003-2004" report is available on the Internet here:

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