U.S. Selected Government Reports
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor publishes this report in tumultuous times that underscore the importance of freedom of religion to peaceful political and economic development, democratic institutions, and flourishing societies. Religious freedom is the right of all human beings, a fundamental tenet of the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and protected under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Guaranteeing religious freedom requires governments to enact and enforce strong laws and promote respect for religious diversity.
The Sultanate of Oman is ruled by a hereditary monarchy. Sultan Qaboos al-Said has ruled since 1970. The sultan has sole authority to enact laws through royal decree, although ministries draft laws and citizens provide input through the bicameral Majlis Oman (Oman Council). The Majlis is composed of the Majlis al-Dawla (State Council), whose 83 members are appointed by the sultan, and the elected, 84-member Majlis al-Shura (Consultative Council). The last elections took place on December 22 when citizens chose among 1,600 candidates to elect 192 citizens to seats in 11 municipal councils. The 29-member Council of Ministers, selected by the sultan, advises him on government decisions. In 2011 a new law granted the Oman Council powers that expanded its policy review function to include approving, rejecting, and amending legislation and convoking ministers of agencies that provide direct citizen services.
Secretary Kerry: "We each have a responsibility to make this horrific and all-too-common crime a lot less common. And our work with victims is the key that will open the door to real change—not just on behalf of the more than 44,000 survivors who have been identified in the past year, but also for the more than 20 million victims of trafficking who have not."
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