Strategic Goal 7: Democracy and Human Rights - Public Benefit, Selected Performance Trends, and Strategic Context

FY 2003 Performance and Accountability Report
Bureau of Resource Management
December 2003

I. Public Benefit

Photo showing attendees of an Afghan Literacy Class.

Afghan Literacy Class — Many of these are held outdoors without proper books or materials.
Department of State Photo

Extending and defending democracy has long been a centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy. The United States recognizes that a world composed of democracies will better protect America's long-term national security than a world of authoritarian or chaotic regimes. The rule of law, open markets, more prosperous economies, and better-educated citizens are all benefits of a democratic form of government. Democratic governance ensures a more peaceful, predictable world - a great and lasting benefit to the United States.

Protecting human rights and advocating democracy is an integral part of a U.S. foreign policy that seeks to end oppression, combat terrorism, and advocate American ideals and freedoms worldwide. We utilize the full range of diplomatic and programmatic tools to advance democratic reforms in individual countries. Multilaterally, we engage in fora such as the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), the Community of Democracies, and regional organizations, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organization of American States (OAS), to advance these democratic ideals. The Department of State's annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices serves not only to inform Congress, but also to raise awareness on human rights across the globe. While the United States continues to play a leading role in promoting democracy and human rights, we recognize that they are not uniquely American concepts. By advancing these universal values, we build a stronger, safer, more prosperous world.

Over the past two decades, there has been unprecedented expansion of the number of democracies in the world. Nonetheless, we are well aware that many countries remain that routinely ignore international human rights or selectively uphold them, and we seek opportunities to cooperate with human rights advocates and policy makers to engender positive change. Advancing women's human rights, for example, generates benefits through the role women play in strengthening democracies, building economic security, increasing governments' respect for human rights and enhancing religious tolerance. As democratization must ultimately be a process driven by a society's citizenry, we work to make sure reforms reflect a representative political process.

II. Selected Performance Trends

Number of Countries Whose Citizens Gained Right to Change Government (Cumulative, Based on 2002 DoS Country Reports)
  Result Target
2001 2002 2003 2003
Countries 120 126 Not Yet Available Net Gain


Gains and Declines in Freedom (Number of Countries, Based on Freedom House, Freedom in the World Survey)
  2001 2002 2003 Totals
Gains  25  16  28 +69 
Declines -18 -17 -11 (46)
Net (Target: Net Gain) +23 


III. Strategic Context

The Democracy and Human Rights strategic goal is supported by two performance goals. Shown below are the major initiatives/programs, resources, bureaus and partners that contribute to accomplishment of the strategic goal.

(Components that Contribute to Goal Accomplishment)
Performance Goal
(Short Title)
Initiative/Program Lead Bureau(s) External Partners
Democratic System and Practices Engagement to Advance Democracy Democracy, Human Rights and Labor USAID, DOJ NGOs, UN,
other int'l orgs.

Universal Human Rights Standards

Bilateral and Multilateral Diplomacy Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, International Organizations UN, other int'l orgs, NGOs
Apply Human Rights Standards Democracy, Human Rights and Labor USAID, DOC, DOJ, IFIs, UN,
other int'l orgs.
Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Democracy, Human Rights and Labor USAID, DOL, USCIRF,
Congress, NGOs
Promote International Religious Freedom Democracy, Human Rights and Labor DOJ, DOD, DHS, USCIRF,
Congress, UN, other int'l orgs.
Labor, Diplomacy and Advocacy for Worker's Rights

Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Economic and Business Affairs

DOL, DOC, USTR, OPIC, NGOs, IFIs, ILO, other int'l orgs.