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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Principal Officers of the Department and U.S. Chiefs of Mission > Principal Officers

Assistant Secretaries of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Title: Coordinator for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs
Name: James W. Wilson, Jr.
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Nov 17, 1976
Entry on Duty: Nov 29, 1976
Termination of Appointment: Apr 28, 1977

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs
Name: Patricia M. Derian
State of Residency: Mississippi
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Aug 17, 1977
Entry on Duty: Aug 17, 1977
Termination of Appointment: Jan 19, 1981
Note: Originally commissioned as Coordinator for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. Title changed to Assistant Secretary of State on Aug 17, 1977.

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs
Name: Ernest W. Lefever
State of Residency: Maryland
Non-career appointee
Note: Not commissioned; nomination withdrawn before the Senate acted upon it.

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs
Name: Elliott Abrams
State of Residency: District of Columbia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Nov 23, 1981
Entry on Duty: Dec 12, 1981
Termination of Appointment: Jul 17, 1985

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs
Name: Richard Schifter
State of Residency: Maryland
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Oct 28, 1985
Entry on Duty: Oct 31, 1985
Termination of Appointment: Apr 3, 1992

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs
Name: Patricia Diaz Dennis
State of Residency: Virginia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Aug 13, 1992
Entry on Duty: Aug 24, 1992
Termination of Appointment: Jan 20, 1993

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Name: John Howard Francis Shattuck
State of Residency: Massachusetts
Non-career appointee
Appointment: May 28, 1993
Entry on Duty: Jun 2, 1993
Termination of Appointment: Nov 13, 1998

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Name: Harold Hongju Koh
State of Residency: Connecticut
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Oct 22, 1998
Entry on Duty: Nov 13, 1998
Termination of Appointment: Jan 20, 2001

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Name: Lorne W. Craner
State of Residency: Virginia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: May 31, 2001
Entry on Duty: Jun 4, 2001
Termination of Appointment:  Jul 31, 2004

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Name: Barry F. Lowenkron 
State of Residency: Virginia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Oct 12, 2005
Entry on Duty: Oct 14, 2005
Termination of Appointment: 


Creation of Position: On Apr 21, 1975, in response to growing Congressional interest in human rights issues in foreign policy, the Department of State established the position of Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs. The International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976 (Jun 30, 1976; P.L. 94-329; 90 Stat. 748) made the Coordinator a Presidential appointee, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, and changed the title to Coordinator for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. The Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1978 (Aug 17, 1977; P.L. 95-105; 91 Stat. 847) changed the Coordinator's title to Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. The Department of State, by administrative action, established the Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs on Oct 27, 1977. Section 162 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995 (P.L. 103-236; 108 Stat. 403), authorized the appointment of an Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor May 12, 1994.


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