On human rights, the United States must be a beacon. America is strongest when our policies and actions match our values.More
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Our Asylum Representation Program, which recruits and trains lawyers to represent refugees on a pro bono basis, is one of the largest and most successful programs of its kind in the country. Its impact could hardly be more profound: liberty instead of oppression, and sometimes life instead of death, for thousands of people. And beginning with the Refugee Act of 1980, which we helped draft, we’ve been at the forefront of all major reforms to the asylum system. Photo: AP.

Many countries have instituted blasphemy laws in the name of protecting religious freedom. But these laws are often used to persecute religious minorities and suppress freedom of expression. We press the U.S. government to vigorously oppose them, and why we led a successful effort at the U.N. to oppose a “defamations of religious” measure—a global blasphemy code. Photo: Corbis.

To provide military leaders a vehicle to advocate counterterrorism policies that respect human rights, we’ve assembled a coalition of more than 50 retired admirals and generals. Because of its pivotal role in altering the national debate over torture, President Obama invited the coalition to stand with him as he signed the executive order banning the practice. We continue to work with the coalition to champion security policies that uphold the rule of law.

We partner with LGBT and other civil society activists in Russia who are fighting for their rights. Taking our cue from these activists, we urge the U.S. government to emphasize human rights in its diplomacy with Russia, all the more important now that the Putin government has launched a far-ranging clampdown on dissent. Photo: AP.

Applying our patented enabler strategy to the conflict in Syria, we’re pressing the U.S. government to lead a comprehensive effort to cut off the flow of weapons, supplies, and services to the Assad regime. This low-risk, non-violent approach could degrade the Assad regime enough to curb its ability to wage war and perhaps compel a political resolution. Photo: AP.

So-called “targeted killing” has become central to U.S. counterterrorism efforts. However, there is ample evidence that the program does not comport with respect for human rights and international law. So we’re pressing the U.S. government to make the program more transparent and to bring it onto firm legal footing. Photo: AP.

We champion a free, open, and single internet, free from government interference. Particularly in repressive societies, the internet is a key tool for communication and political organization, and despite the efforts of repressive regimes to hijack it for their ends, it remains essential to human rights activists. Photo: AP.

After 9-11, the U.S government embraced the use of torture, renouncing its global leadership role on this issue. Thanks in part to the work we did in partnership with the military coalition, President Obama signed an executive order banning torture. Yet the severe damage to the country’s rule of law and global standing remains. We’re pushing for release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture so that a much-needed national reckoning can begin.

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