Human Rights First Praises Clinton’s Commitment to U.S. Human Rights Leadership

Following Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, Human Rights First’s Elisa Massimino issued the following statement:

“In her remarks today, Secretary Clinton rightly rejected the false choice between human rights and national security, and she reaffirmed her belief that America’s record on promoting human rights should be judged not on rhetoric, but on results. She outlined an impressive framework for confronting a range of global problems through greater international cooperation, including development of relationships with strategic partners and local advocates engaged in solving their own problems. Such an approach, deployed in the service of specific human rights objectives that match this framework in scope and ambition, would generate real change.

“Unfortunately, while Secretary Clinton’s speech set out a vigorous and strategic approach to other global problems – such as Iranian nuclear ambitions, economic development, and progress on peace in the Middle East – it failed to outline specific policies or initiatives that the Obama Administration plans to advance human rights in the coming months. While the administration’s commitment—underscored in Secretary Clinton’s speech—to raise human rights issues in its relationships with nations such as Egypt, China and Russia is welcome, U.S. engagement has resulted in few tangible improvements on the ground in these countries. In Iran, where the United States has purposely avoided direct interference in protests following elections earlier this year, more should be done to strengthen U.S. engagement at the regional and international levels to confront Iranian human rights abuses.

“U.S. leadership is essential to protecting human rights around the world, but part of that leadership requires setting clear objectives and a plan of action that draws its strength from the global architecture Secretary Clinton outlined today.  That is what will make the vision Secretary Clinton put forward a reality in people’s lives.  Without a clear, results-oriented plan, it will be hard for this administration to make the case that its policies are contributing to positive human rights change.”

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