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Clinton decries human-rights record in Syria

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chastised the Syrian government Thursday in remarks coinciding with the release of the U.S. State Department's annual human-rights report.

"In too many places, governments continue to stifle their own people’s aspirations. And in some places like Syria, it is not just an assault on freedom of expression or freedom of association, but an assault on the very lives of citizens," said Clinton.

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"The Assad regime’s brutality against its own people must and will end, because Syrians know they deserve a better future."

The Secretary of State offered praise to places like Egypt and Burma for humans-rights advances and government reforms, calling the year "tumultuous and momentous" for everyone involved in the cause of human rights.

"Many of the events that have dominated recent headlines from the revolutions in the Middle East to reforms in Burma began with human rights, with the clear call of men and women demanding their universal rights," she said.

Egypt, which captivated the United States and the world when massive protests led to the fall of the decades-long president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, held its second day of voting in its historic presidential race Thursday.

The State Department report takes stock of the Arab Spring that swept from Tunisia to the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya, as well as highlighting technological changes and the discrimination faced by the LGBT community in numerous countries around the world.

The annual report, which was made available this morning and chronicles all countries receiving assistance and all United Nations member states, can be viewed in full here.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International released its 50th global human-rights report late Wednesday. The report takes particular aim at the United Nations Security Council, which AI says is being undermined by obstruction from China and Russia in particular as world powers vie for influence in the changing Middle East.

— Julian Pecquet contributed.