Human rights and security are indivisible.
Human rights and security are indivisible, because the state of human rights in one country impacts the security of the entire region around it, said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
And yet, too many leaders who secure human rights for their own people fail to prioritize human rights as part of their foreign policy.
“There are currently four frontlines of human rights, issues over which fierce battles are being fought, where the stakes are high,” said Secretary Clinton.
The first is religious freedom and the rights of religious minorities, said Secretary Clinton:
“Members of faith communities have been under pressure for a long time and they report that the pressure is rising. That threatens not only the religious minorities themselves, but the futures of their societies because a society can and should be judged, in part, by how it protects the rights of its minorities.”
“While religious freedom is a human right unto itself, this issue is about other rights, too – the right of people to think what they want, say what they think, associate with others, and assemble peacefully without the state looking over their shoulders or prohibiting them from doing so.”
Internet freedom is the second frontline, said Secretary Clinton. “A free and open debate about real issues presents governments with opportunities and ideas for reform . . . .[which] in turn, can help reinforce economic and political stability.”
Next is the role of civil society: the activists, organizations, journalists and citizens who work through peaceful means to solve problems and encourage their governments to do better, said Secretary Clinton. “That’s what civil society does. It is the underpinning of a free and functioning country.”
Respecting the human rights of women and girls is the final frontline, said Secretary Clinton. “It is . . . . foolish to try and build a strong economy or a stable democracy while treating half the population as second-class citizens at best, as some other species at worst . . . . [I]f women everywhere were treated as equal to men in rights and dignity, we would see economic and political progress come to places that are now teetering on the edge,” she said.
“Human rights cannot be disconnected from other priorities,” said Secretary Clinton. “They are inextricably linked with all of the goals we strive for . . . . around the world. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not just a catalog of rights and government obligations. It is a time-tested blueprint for successful societies.”