About the Author: Michael H. Posner serves as Assistant Secretary of State forDemocracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
Since 1977, the State Department has produced the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Congress mandated these reports to establish the facts to inform their decisions on foreign military and economic aid. Today, governments, intergovernmental organizations, scholars, journalists, activists, and others rely on these reports as an essential update on human rights conditions around the world.
The 2011 reports describe the citizen uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, in which people stood up and demanded their universal rights, dignity, greater economic opportunity, and participation in their countries’ political future. In this turmoil, thousands were killed across Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria and many others were abused by security forces. The images of demonstrators who had seemingly lost all fear, risking their lives… more »