“It may be largely absent from the presidential campaign, but the promotion of human rights is central to American foreign policy — and has been for decades in both Democratic and Republican administrations.” – Elisa Massimino, President & CEO, Human Rights First
The next U.S. president will face human rights challenges from day one. Here are four human rights issues that we would like to see addressed at the third and final presidential debate, which will focus on foreign policy.
In the wake of that operation that found Osama bin Laden, some claimed that torture led U.S. forces to al-Qaeda’s former leader. National security experts refuted that claim. If elected president, will the candidates uphold the ban on torture?
- Torture is Counterproductive
- Retired Military Leaders: Torture is Counterproductive, Unreliable, Immoral and Illegal
The Middle East
Both candidates have pledged support for the democratic transitions in the Middle East.
Question 1: Will you keep aid flowing to Egypt as the country continues to move toward democracy?
Question 2: How will you press Bahrain, our ally and home of the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, to stop brutalizing protestors?
Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression
Last month, an offensive video caused protests across the Middle East. The video led a number of nations to renew calls to limit freedom of expression and implement tougher blasphemy laws. Blasphemy laws, as we’ve documented, promote intolerance and are often used to target religious minorities and dissenting voices—often leading to mob violence and murders.
What would your administration do to protect freedom of expression around the world and how would you address the security concerns that may stem for those actions?
- Blasphemy, right to freedom of expression and our most sacred beliefs
- Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The Consequences of Criminalizing “Defamation of Religions”
Human rights defenders continue to look to the United States for support. The story of the blind “barefoot lawyer” Chen Guangcheng is a great example. Chen escaped his house arrest and sought protection at the U.S. embassy in Beijing earlier this year. Now that Chen is safely in the United States, how would the candidates strengthen human rights protections – including for lawyers and dissidents in China?