Washington, DC - Secretary of State John Kerry: "The Sri Lankan people deserve great credit on the successful conclusion of their elections. They turned out in great numbers to exercise their democratic rights and every vote was a victory for Sri Lanka.

Washington, DC - We are greatly concerned by reports that human rights activist Raif Badawi will start facing the inhumane punishment of a 1,000 lashes, in addition to serving a 10-year sentence in prison for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and religion.

Amman, Jordan - A major snowstorm has hit the Middle East, posing a serious threat to refugee families living in tents, huts and half-built buildings. There are currently more than 3 million Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq, as well as hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis and Palestinians in Gaza.

Washington, DC - The United States welcomes the start of the UN Electoral Observation Mission to Burundi (MENUB) on January 1. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as it once again becomes a stand-alone entity within the UN system.

Paris, France - This morning’s deadly attack by gunmen on the Paris office of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo is a chilling assault on freedom of expression, Amnesty International said.

Washington, DC - The United States condemns today’s attack on the Police Academy of Sana’a and the senseless murder and injury of Yemeni citizens, many of whom sought to undertake public service and protect the Yemeni people. We express our sincere condolences to the victims and their families.