violations of international humanitarian law, such as the UN Human Rights Commission and the international war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. We strongly support wide ratification of the ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. We also aim to implement fully those international human rights treaties to which we are a party.
It is our aim to ensure temporary protection for persons fleeing situations of armed conflict or generalized human rights abuses by encouraging governments to not return refugees to countries where they face persecution or torture. We also seek to focus additional attention on the more vulnerable or traditionally oppressed people by spearheading new international initiatives to combat the sexual exploitation of minors, child labor, homelessness among children, and the use of child soldiers.
Violence against and trafficking in women and children are international problems with national implications. We have seen cases of trafficking in the United States for purposes of forced prostitution, sweatshop labor and domestic servitude. Our efforts have expanded to combat this problem, both nationally and internationally, by increasing awareness, focusing on prevention, providing victim assistance and protection, and enhancing law enforcement. The President continues to call 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.
Promotion of religious freedom is one of the highest concerns in our foreign policy. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion is a bedrock issue for the American people. To that end, the President signed the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which provides the flexibility needed to advance religious freedom and to counter religious persecution. In September 1999, we completed the first phase outlined in the Act with publication of the first annual report on the status of religious freedom worldwide, and in October, we designated the most severe violators of religious freedom. The United States is active throughout the world assisting those who are persecuted because of their religion and promoting freedom of religious belief and practice. We will continue to work with individual nations and with international institutions to combat religious persecution and promote religious freedom.
The United States will continue to speak out against human rights abuses and carry on human rights dialogues with countries willing to engage with 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. We do not provide training to police or military units implicated in human rights abuses. When appropriate, we are prepared to take strong measures against human rights violators. These include economic sanctions, 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, address resource and economic crises that could have global implications, pursue appropriate strategies for economic development, and support and promote democratic regimes that respect human rights and the rule of law.
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.
Private firms and non-governmental organizations are natural allies in activities and efforts intended to address humanitarian crises and bolster democracy and 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 nongovernmental 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 institutions and international non-governmental movements committed to human rights and democratization.
III. Integrated Regional Approaches
Our policies toward different regions reflect our overall strategy tailored to their 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 — a realization of the vision 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 consolidate this region’s historic transition in favor of democracy and free markets; to support peace efforts in troubled regions; to tackle global threats such as environmental and health problems, terrorism, drug trafficking, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and other potentially dangerous technologies; and to build a more open world economy without barriers to transatlantic trade and investment.
NATO remains the anchor of American engagement in Europe and the linchpin of transatlantic security. As the leading 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 new challenges. We will maintain approximately 100,000 military personnel in Europe to fulfill our commitments to NATO, provide a visible deterrent against aggression and coercion, contribute to regional stability, respond to crises, sustain our vital transatlantic ties and preserve U.S. leadership in NATO.
NATO is pursuing several initiatives to enhance its ability to respond to the new challenges it will face in the twenty-first century. At NATO’s Fiftieth Anniversary Summit in April 1999, Alliance leaders adopted an expansive agenda to adapt and prepare NATO for current and future challenges. This included an updated Strategic Concept, which envisions a larger, more capable