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Daniel Calingaert, Freedom House: Next US President Urged to Focus on Human Rights

August 6, 2012

Human rights groups say the next U.S. president faces several critical challenges in advancing human rights.

Those challenges include preventing genocide and atrocities, protecting human rights at home and abroad, fair treatment of immigrants and refugees, and ending gender-based violence.

“U.S. leadership is critical to address human rights issues effectively, whether in dealing with countries that commit serious abuses or in setting a good example at home,” said Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president at Freedom House. “By vigorously protecting human rights, the United States advances both its core values and its strategic interests.”

The Freedom House, the Connect US Fund, Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Working Group sent a policy paper listing the challenges to the election campaign staffs of President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney. A total of 22 human-rights organizations and leading rights activists signed the policy paper.

The groups said Wednesday U.S. leadership is critical if the world is to make progress on these challenges. They said that human rights must have a prominent role in U.S. foreign policy.

They said that no matter who wins the U.S. presidential election in November, the next administration should set out clear priorities and policies on human rights.

The paper says that, "Human rights affect almost every aspect of U.S. engagement abroad. Governments that abuse human rights make unstable and unreliable partners across the range of U.S. interests, from business to arms control to counter-terrorism."

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