For Immediate Release: June 10, 2010
Washington, DC In testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino today urged Congress to strengthen the statutory framework for foreign aid to better advance human rights around the world. Massimino urged members of the committee to ensure that U.S. aid does not undermine respect for human rights or democratic governance, and to base human rights assistance on a clear strategy implemented through a “whole of government” approach.
“In his National Security Strategy released last month, President Obama set out the gap between ‘The World as it Is’ and ‘The World We Seek.’ Foreign aid is a critical vehicle for getting from Point A to Point B,” Massimino testified. “It is vital that we seize this moment of opportunity, when our national interests and values are so closely aligned, to develop a framework and strategy for foreign assistance that reflects this alignment.”
As Congress overhauls the statutory framework for foreign aid for the first time in almost 50 years, Massimino praised the Committee for tackling the effectiveness of foreign aid head-on and its recognition that advancing human rights and promoting democracy must be key objectives of U.S. foreign assistance policy.
To realize those goals, Massimino recommended:
- “Do No Harm” In seeking to advance human rights, U.S. foreign assistance should take a cue from the Hippocratic Oath. The Committee should ensure that U.S. aid