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Gordon On Human Rights Strategy In Russia

Demonstrators in Moscow.
Demonstrators in Moscow.

“The United States will continue to be forthright in our firm support for universal human rights."

“[The United States’] Russia human rights strategy ... relies on simultaneous engagement with both governmental and non-governmental actors to advance democratic development and human rights promotion,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon said recently when he reviewed the Administration’s seven-step strategy in his testimony to the U.S. Congress.

First, there is strong government-to-government engagement. Administration officials have made more than 100 public declarations in the last 36 months on a wide range of concerns. These statements are compiled for public access on the State Department’s website.

Second, the United States uses the full range of legal measures to impose consequences on those individuals involved in serious human rights abuses in Russia. This includes ensuring that these individuals do not gain entry to the U.S.

Third, the United States provides financial support to Russian civil society. Since 2009, the U.S. Government has given approximately $160 million in assistance to support programs on human rights, rule of law, anti-corruption, civil society, independent media, good governance, and democratic political processes.

Fourth, American officials engage regularly with Russian non-governmental leaders involved in strengthening democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

Fifth, the U.S. supports Russian civil society organizations’ adoption and use of new technologies to increase their effectiveness.

Sixth, the United States supports a range of Russian government efforts to fight corruption, provide more transparency about government activities, and improve the rule of law.

Seventh, the United States supports a credible dialogue about democracy and human rights that involves direct communication between American and Russian NGOs and policy experts.

“The United States will continue to be forthright in our firm support for universal human rights, as well as our conviction that democratic institutions and the rule of law are the keys to unlocking Russia’s enormous human potential,” Assistant Secretary Gordon concluded. “We do not seek to impose our system on anyone else, and change within Russia must be internally driven. Nevertheless ... we believe, as President [Barack] Obama said in his speech to the New Economic School in Moscow in July 2009, that “the arc of history shows that governments which serve their own people survive and thrive ... governments which serve only their own power do not.”