For Immediate Release: March 15, 2011
Washington, DC – As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to Egypt and Tunisia this week, Human Rights First is urging her to make clear that the United States is committed to ensuring a peaceful transition to democracy in both countries and that the success of these transitions is a high priority for U.S. policy despite other problems in the region and around the world.
“A peaceful and democratic transition of power in Egypt and Tunisia is far from a foregone conclusion. Secretary Clinton must demonstrate that America plans to remain engaged in these developments despite other events throughout the Middle East and that it is invested in working with the people of Egypt and Tunisia toward a successful transition,” said Human Rights First’s Neil Hicks. “During this visit, she should pledge America’s willingness to provide economic and diplomatic support toward that end. She should also reach out to independent civil society activists to indicate the United States’ support for their vital role in producing governments that will govern to serve the best interests of the people.”
Among Human Rights First’s specific recommendations for Secretary Clinton during her visits to Egypt and Tunisia are the following:
- Reiterate the strong support of the United States government for peaceful, democratic change in both countries and praise the progress that has been made towards that end.
- Commit to providing short term economic assistance to compensate for the losses suffered during the uprisings.
- Meet with interim authorities, as well as a broad range of opposition political forces. During these meetings, deliver a consistent message to all that the United States will respect the outcome of a peaceful, transparent democratic process and work with any elected government committed to upholding the rule of law, respecting the human rights of all and responding to the needs of the people.
- Meet with independent civil society organizations, especially human rights and democracy promotion organizations, and encourage their role in monitoring the performance of state institutions. Pledge enhanced U.S. support for their work.
- Commit to developing a substantial package of favorable trade agreements, debt forgiveness and other long term economic support to be negotiated with responsible government officials and private sector representatives.
- Pledge assistance in tracing and repatriating funds unlawfully expropriated by former leaders.
- Urge that transformation takes place in an atmosphere of peace, transparency and respect for the rule of law.
- Support efforts to hold to account those responsible for serious violations of human rights under previous regimes or during the transitional period; recent reports of the involvement of military personnel in detaining peaceful protesters and beating and abusing detainees should be investigated, and those responsible held to account.