In the long run, the best way to defeat the extremists is to defeat their dark ideology with a more hopeful vision – the vision of liberty that founded this body. The United States salutes the nations that have recently taken strides toward liberty – including Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan [KEYRgeez-stan], Mauritania [moor-EH-tain-ee-a], Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Morocco. In the Palestinian Territories, moderate leaders are working to build free institutions that fight terror, enforce the law, and respond to the needs of the people. The international community must support them, so that we can advance toward the vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security. Brave citizens In Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq have also made the choice for democracy – and the extremists have responded by targeting them for murder. This is not a show of strength It Is evidence of fear. The extremists are doing everything in their power to bring down these young democracies. The people of Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq have asked for our help. And every civilized nation has a responsibility to stand with them.
Every civilized nation also has a responsibility to stand up for the people suffering under dictatorship. In Belarus, North Korea, Syria, and Iran, brutal regimes deny their people the fundamental rights enshrined In the Universal Declaration. Americans are also outraged by the situation in Burma, where a military junta has imposed a 19-year reign of fear. Basic freedoms of speech, assembly, and worship are severely restricted. Ethnic minorities are persecuted. Forced child labor, human trafficking, and rape are common. And the regime is holding more than 1,000 political prisoners – including Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party was elected overwhelmingly by the Burmese people in 1990.
The ruling junta remains unyielding, yet the people's desire for freedom Is unmistakable. So this morning, I am announcing a series of steps to help bring peaceful change to Burma. The United States will tighten economic sanctions on the leaders of the regime and their financial backers. We will impose an expanded visa ban on those responsible for the most egregious violations of human rights – as well as their family members. We will continue to support the efforts of humanitarian groups working to alleviate suffering in Burma. And I urge the United Nations and all nations to use their diplomatic and economic leverage to help the Burmese people reclaim their freedom.
In Cuba, the long rule of a cruel dictator is nearing its end. The Cuban people are ready for their freedom. And as that nation enters a period of transition, the United Nations must insist on free speech ... free assembly ... and – ultimately -- free and competitive elections.
In Zimbabwe, ordinary citizens also suffer under a tyrannical regime.
The government has cracked down on peaceful calls for reform, and forced millions to flee their homeland. The behavior of the Mugabe [moo-GAHbee] regime is an assault on its people – and an affront to the principles of the Universal Declaration. The United Nations must insist on change In Harare [hah-RAR-ray] – and freedom for the people of Zimbabwe.
In Sudan, innocent civilians are also suffering repression – and In the Darfur region, many are losing their lives to genocide. America has responded with tough sanctions against those responsible for the violence.