For Immediate Release: September 18, 2013
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First urges members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to ask Ambassador Anne Patterson challenging questions about U.S. policy in the Middle East during her confirmation hearing tomorrow, September 19. Ambassador Patterson’s nomination hearing for the position of Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs presents committee members with the opportunity to delve deeper into the challenges facing the Obama Administration as it redefines its approach to the region, as well as the chance to question Amb. Patterson about how she plans to place human rights at the center of these issues.
“It is extremely important to assess where U.S. policy can be improved to advance the complex set of objectives of U.S. national security,” said Human Rights First’s Robyn Lieberman. “If the United States is to play a leading role in promoting democratic transitions in the Middle East, it is essential that Ambassador Patterson be asked how she intends to help the country stand firmly and visibly on the side of human rights and democracy. This isn’t a matter just of whether to cut off aid to Egypt or launch a missile strike against Syria. It’s about pursuing a strategy and a credible plan of action toward where the U.S. wants to be in the region in three to five to ten years from now. The only answer to that can be in partnership with peaceful and stable representative governments that respond to the legitimate needs of their people .”
Ambassador Patterson should be asked how U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East should be recalibrated to match rhetoric – in which human rights is a constant talking point of U.S. officials – with action, when we have seen grave human rights abuses occur in the region, with Egypt and Bahrain being notable examples of where rhetoric has not matched policy. She should also be questioned on ways in which the United States will prioritize diverse political participation and encourage civil society engagement, and how embassies in the region can better engage civil society groups.
Lieberman noted, “The United States has more leverage than it is using. Ambassador Patterson is a seasoned diplomat and her insights into how the United States can better achieve its goals is a ripe discussion for tomorrow.”