For Immediate Release: April 19, 2013
Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. State Department released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practice. In response to the 2012 Human Rights Reports, Human Rights First’s Robyn Lieberman has released the following statement:
“We applaud Secretary of State John Kerry’s release of the Country Reports and are encouraged by the administration’s human rights priorities. He made the case that human rights are central to U.S. national security, and the consistency of the reports are a key tool to help advance it. He also pledged to continue to engage with civil society in his travels, which is a key element if the United States is to craft policies and relationships that advance not just human rights, but all of American interests.
In his presentation, Secretary Kerry was right to point out that the Arab Spring will not be successful if human rights and democracy are not the basis for change. We also welcome his focus on the protection of religious miniorities through countering blasphemy laws, and we very much appreciate his first public statements on U.S. leadership on the fight for LGBT equality. Human Rights First is reviewing the individual reports and will continue to rely on them as a tool to align us policy with its universal values.
Today’s reports also provides useful, detailed assessment of the human rights violations that have occurred in Bahrain since the country’s protests began in 2011.”