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2006 Human Rights and Democracy Achievement Award

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
December 14, 2006

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor is pleased to announce that Joshua Morris of Embassy Nouakchott is this year's winner of the Human Rights and Democracy Achievement Award. Nathaniel Jensen of Embassy Hanoi was selected as the runner-up. Mr. Morris will receive the award during the Department's official commemoration of Human Rights Day.

The Human Rights and Democracy Achievement Award recognizes the exceptional achievement of officers of foreign affairs agencies posted abroad. It pays tribute to outstanding reporting on human rights and democratic developments, and to the active advancement of strategies and institutions to deepen respect for human rights and democracy.

Mr. Morris recognized necessary democracy and human rights improvements in Mauritania and made democracy promotion one of his primary responsibilities. He persuaded the Government of Mauritania to re-open voter registration lists to an additional 85,000 citizens, which includes a significant number of Afro-Mauritanian minority individuals. He also organized and managed the largest youth-focused democracy project in Mauritania in 5 years.

In the challenging human rights environment of Vietnam, Mr. Jensen successfully advanced the human rights agenda on several fronts, including organizing the resumption of a bilateral Human Rights Dialogue, pushing for the release of Vietnam's prisoners of concern, and dedicating himself to improving religion freedom in northern Vietnam.

Mr. Morris and Mr. Jensen were chosen from an impressive group of candidates nominated by their Chiefs of Mission. All nominees were remarkable for their demonstrated commitment to advancing human rights and democracy in their host countries and all of them deserve the Department's praise and gratitude. The other nominees include Ms. Bridget Brink and Ms. Deborah Miller (Georgia), Mr. Baron Lobstein (Uzbekistan), Ms. Kari Paetzold (Syria), and Ms. Uyen Tang (Tajikistan).


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