Country Reports on Human Rights Practices -2000
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
February 2001

I am pleased to transmit to the United States Congress this 25th edition of the Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

For the past quarter of a century, these reports have grown in breadth and stature every year.  As such they reflect our country's deep and abiding commitment to universal human rights and the unprecedented growth in democracy, freedom, and human rights throughout the world.

The year 2000 saw many improvements in human rights--from the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria and Ghana to the defeat of an entrenched dictator in Serbia and the election of a new president in Mexico.  At the same time, the continued deterioration of conditions in China and Cuba and the abusive policies pursued by the regimes in Iraq and Sudan and a number of other countries offer proof that the battle to promote universal human rights is far from finished.  We who believe in human freedom and the rule of law must not lose sight of the challenges that lie before us.

This year's report covers 195 countries.  No country, our own included, can claim a perfect human rights record; nor should any seek exemption from international scrutiny.  Each nation must be accountable for the way it treats its citizens.  The purpose of these reports, therefore, is to provide to the best of our ability a comprehensive and accurate report on the human rights conditions in every country.

The interest in these annual Country Reports can be seen in the hundreds of thousands of hits our web site at will receive from every part of the world over the next few days, and in the countless discussions, both public and private, that will follow.  The Report for the year 2000 thus takes its place within the context of a new and revolutionary era of global human discourse.  It is my deepest hope, therefore, that these reports can stimulate new dialogue and provide new encouragement for all countries to strengthen their commitments to universal human rights and fundamental freedoms.

I would like to thank all those who had a hand in preparing this year's Country Reports--whether overseas or in the Department of State.  Without their dedication and hard work, a report of this quality and scope would simply be impossible.

Colin L. Powell,
Secretary of State