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February 20, 2013

Kerry Speech Offers Clear Roadmap for American Leadership

Washington, DC – Human Rights First praised Secretary of State John Kerry for his University of Virginia remarks making the case that the United States must invest in promoting universal values around the world through its foreign policy. In his first major policy speech since his confirmation earlier this month, Secretary Kerry stressed that a small portion of the U.S. national budget is spent on foreign policy, including diplomacy and foreign assistance, and the that this investment provides a remarkable rate of return.

“Human Rights First shares Secretary Kerry’s belief that ‘America’s national interest in leading strongly in the world endures’,” said Human Rights First’s Neil Hicks. “ We look forward to working with Secretary Kerry to translate his commitment to promoting universal rights into polices that will both have a positive impact on the lives of people around the world and secure America’s national interest.”

This weekend, Secretary Kerry leaves for his first foreign trip as Secretary of State, which will include visits with leaders in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

“This trip offers Secretary of Kerry the opportunity to put today’s words into action. As Secretary Kerry visits Egypt, he should relay the message that the United States stands ready to provide Egypt with the support it needs to transition from authoritarianism towards a democratic government. In doing so, Secretary Kerry should make clear to Egypt’s leaders and citizens that American support and the successful outcome of Egypt’s transition are inextricably tied to advancing respect for basic freedoms, upholding and strengthening the rule of law, advancing women’s rights and protecting the rights of religious minorities. These are not conditions set by the United States. They are the essential basis of a way forward for a country dangerously adrift in polarization and political uncertainty,” noted Hicks.

For more information, read Human Rights First’s recently released blueprintHow to Make Change in Egypt a Human Rights Success Story. To speak with Hicks, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at bowsersoderb@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3323.