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The Importance And Challenge Of Human Rights


Susan Rice (file)

The promotion of human rights around the world is central to U.S. foreign policy.

In a major policy address in Washington, National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the promotion of human rights around the world is central to U.S. foreign policy: “We know that our core interests are inseparable from our core values, that our commitment to democracy and human rights roundly reinforces our national security.” Ms. Rice noted that the greatest threats to the United States’ security “often emerge from countries with the worst human rights records. Witness Iran and North Korea, which has stoked tensions with the world in part to prolong their repressive rule at home.”


Ms. Rice said that while there is a need for the United States to strike a difficult balance between our short-and long-term imperatives, advancing democracy and respect for human rights around the world is a critical component of U.S. foreign policy. ”Our interests and our values “almost invariably converge with time,” she said.

“The United States remains firmly committed to promoting freedom, opportunity and prosperity everywhere. We stand proudly for the rights of women, the LGBT community and minorities,” Ms. Rice said. “We defend the freedom of all people to worship as they choose, and we champion open government and civil society, freedom of assembly and a free press. We support these rights and freedoms with a wide range of tools because history shows that nations that respect the rights of all their citizens are more just, more prosperous and more secure.”

Those tools, said Ms. Rice, include applying financial pressure, including sanctions, on countries that violate human rights; leveraging military aid and other forms of bilateral support to encourage countries to live up to their international commitments; allocating significant resources to assistance programs that foster universal human rights standards, the rule of law and good governance; and calling “to account, the world’s worst human rights abusers, from Iran to Syria, from Eritrea to Zimbabwe, from North Korea to Sudan.”

“The United States,” said National Security Adviser Rice, “will keep working every day to uphold the rights and freedoms that belong to all the people of this earth.”
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