We will also continue to work—bilaterally and with multilateral institutions—to ensure that international human rights principles protect the most vulnerable or traditionally oppressed groups in the world—women, children, workers, refugees and persons persecuted on the basis of their religious beliefs or ethnic descent. To this end, we will seek to strength-en and improve the UN Human Rights Commission and other international mechanisms that promote human rights and address violations of international humanitarian law, such as the international war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
To focus additional attention on the more vulnerable or traditionally oppressed people, we seek to spearhead new international initiatives to combat the sexual exploitation of minors, child labor, homelessness among children, violence against women and children, and female genital mutilation. We will continue to work with individual nations, such as Russia and China, and with international institutions to combat religious persecution. We are encouraging governments to not return people to countries where they face persecution. We ask that they provide asylum or offer temporary protection to persons fleeing situations of conflict or generalized human rights abuses. We seek to ensure that such persons are not returned without due consideration of their need for permanent protection.
Violence against women and trafficking in women and girls is are international problem with national implications. We have seen cases of trafficking in the United States for purposes of forced prostitution, sweatshop labor and domestic servitude. The United States is committed to combating trafficking in women and girls with a focus on the areas of prevention, victim assistance and protection, and enforcement. On March 11, 1998, President Clinton directed a wide range of expanded efforts to combat violence against women in the United States and around the world, including efforts to increase national and international awareness of trafficking in women and girls. The President called for continued efforts to fully implement the 1994 Violence Against Women Act and restore its protection for immigrant victims of domestic violence in the United States so that they will not be forced to choose between deportation and abuse. He also called upon the Senate to give its advice and consent to ratification to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which will enhance our efforts to combat violence against women, reform unfair inheritance and property rights, and strengthen women’s access to fair employment and economic opportunity.
The United States will continue to speak out against human rights abuses and carry on human rights dialogues with countries willing to engage us constructively. Because police and internal security services can be a source of human rights violations, we use training and contacts between U.S. law enforcement and their foreign counterparts to help address these problems. Federal law enforcement agents can serve as role models for investigators in countries where the police have been instruments of oppression and at the same time reduce international crime and terrorism that affects U.S. interests. In appropriate circumstances, we must be prepared to take strong measures against human rights violators. These include economic sanctions, as have been maintained against Nigeria, Iraq, Burma, North Korea and Cuba, visa restrictions and restricting sales of arms and police equipment that may be used to commit human rights abuses.
Our efforts to promote democracy and human rights are complemented by our humanitarian programs, which are designed to alleviate human suffering, help establish democratic regimes that respect human rights and pursue appropriate strategies for economic development. These efforts also enable the United States to help prevent humanitarian disasters with far more significant resource implications.
We also must seek to promote reconciliation in states experiencing civil conflict and to address migration and refugee crises. To this end, the United States will provide appropriate financial support and work with other nations and international bodies, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. We also will assist efforts to protect the rights of refugees and displaced persons and to address the economic and social root causes of internal displacement and international flight. Finally, we will cooperate with other states to curb illegal immigration into this country.
Private firms and associations are natural allies in activities and efforts intended to bolster market economies. We have natural partners in labor unions, human rights groups, environmental advocates, chambers of commerce and election monitors in promoting democracy and respect for human rights and in providing international humanitarian assistance; thus, we should promote democratization efforts through private and non-governmental groups as well as foreign governments.
Supporting the global movement toward democracy requires a pragmatic, long-term effort focused on both values and institutions. Our goal is a broadening of the community of free-market democracies and stronger international non-governmental movements committed to human rights and democratization.
lII. Integrated Regional Approaches
Our policies toward different regions reflect our overall strategy tailored to unique challenges and opportunities.
Europe and Eurasia
European stability is vital to our own security. The United States has two strategic goals in Europe. The first is to build a Europe that is truly integrated, democratic, prosperous and at peace. This would complete the mission the United States launched 50 years ago with the Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Our second goal is to work with our allies and partners across the Atlantic to meet the global challenges no nation can meet alone. This means working together to support peace efforts in troubled regions, to counter global threats such as the spread of weapons of mass destruction and dual-use technology, and to build a more open world economy and without barriers to transatlantic trade and investment. We will continue to strengthen the OSCE’s role in conflict prevention and crisis management and seek closer cooperation with our European partners in dealing with non-military security threats through our New Transatlantic Agenda with the European Union (EU).
NATO remains the anchor of American engagement in Europe and the linchpin of transatlantic security. As a guarantor of European security and a force for European stability, NATO must play a leading role in promoting a more integrated and secure Europe, prepared to respond to