Today is a shameful day for China, which refused to allow imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo to receive his award in Oslo, Norway. The ceremony went on, but with Liu's absence marked by an empty chair, on which was set his Nobel Peace Prize diploma and medal, as seen in the photo above.
Liu Xiaobo, this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, helped author Charter '08 calling for peaceful political reform in China and lost his freedom for the cause. On this Human Rights Day, I reiterate our call for his immediate release.
Clinton also hailed the world's "citizen heroes," from Cuba to Zimbabwe, and said "their courage to persist is a testament to all that is good in the human spirit." Click below to read Clinton's complete statement.
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Secretary Clinton welcomed the release of Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi Saturday, after the Nobel Peace Prize laureate spent most of the past two decades under house arrest. Clinton also urged Burmese leaders to start an "inclusive dialogue" with Aung San Suu Kyi as part of the process of creating a more thriving and democratic Burma. Importantly, she also called on the Burmese regime to "immediately and unconditionally" free all 2,100 political prisoners in the country. Below is Clinton's complete statement:
Today I join with billions of people around the world to welcome the long-overdue release of Burmese democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.
Aung San Suu Kyi has endured enormous personal sacrifice in her peaceful struggle to bring democracy and human rights to Burma, including unjustified detention for most of the past twenty years. The Burmese regime has repeatedly rejected her offers to engage in dialogue and work together, trying instead to silence and isolate her. Through it all, Aung San Suu Kyi's commitment to the Burmese people has not wavered.
The United States calls on Burma's leaders to ensure that Aung San Suu Kyi's release is unconditional so that she may travel, associate with her fellow citizens, express her views, and participate in political activities without restriction. They should also immediately and unconditionally release all of Burma's 2,100 political prisoners.
We urge Burma's leaders to break from their repressive policies and begin an inclusive dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratic and ethnic leaders towards national reconciliation and a more peaceful, prosperous, and democratic future.
In the photo above, Aung San Suu Kyi smiles at the gate of her home soon after her release from house arrest.
Applauding the selection of Liu Xiaobo as the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, Secretary Clinton urged China "to uphold its international human rights obligations and to respect the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all Chinese citizens." She also demanded "Liu Xiaobo's immediate release from prison."
Clinton's statement today is refreshing after remarks she made in February 2009 that seemed to place human rights in China as a back-burner priority. At the time she said, "[O]ur pressing on those [human rights] issues can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis."
Below is Clinton's complete statement, issued today:
I applaud the Nobel Committee's decision to award this year's Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. Throughout its history, the Peace Prize has often been used to recognize the heroism of those who have, through persistent and peaceful efforts, sought to build a world that is more fair and free.
Mr. Liu has been a consistent advocate for fundamental freedoms and human rights for his fellow citizens and for peaceful political reform. Mr. Liu's work, including his role in the drafting of Charter '08, and his receipt of this honor highlight the fact that while China has made tremendous economic progress in the last three decades, political reform has lagged behind. As I said in Krakow this summer, governments should recognize the constructive role that citizens such as Liu Xiaobo play. We urge China to uphold its international human rights obligations and to respect the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all Chinese citizens. We reiterate our call for Liu Xiaobo's immediate release from prison.
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Secretary Clinton announced yesterday that for the first time ever, the United States is imposing sanctions against Iran based on human rights abuses. She said that President Obama signed an executive order on Sept. 28 that sanctions eight Iranian officials who have been involved in "serious and sustained" human rights violations since June 2009's disputed presidential election. Under these officials' watch, Iranians have been "arbitrarily arrested, beaten, tortured, raped, blackmailed, and killed," Clinton said.
These sanctioned officials include Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Sadeq Mahsouli, who was responsible for forces that attacked students at Tehran University dormitories on June 15, 2009. Also among the eight are officials with responsibility over the infamous Evin Prison and Kahrizak Detention Center. Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations told the New York Times that these officials are "first-class thugs."
The sanctions were imposed under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, which allows the U.S. government to target individual Iranians and make them subject to financial sanctions and U.S. visa denials. Alluding to criticisms that broad-based sanctions can hurt everyday people, Clinton mentioned that those against the eight officials will not adversely affect ordinary Iranian citizens:
We now have at our disposal a new tool that allows us to designate individual Iranians, officials responsible for or complicit in serious human rights violations, and do so in a way that does not in any way impact on the well-being of the Iranian people themselves.
She also said that with these sanctions, the United States is acting as a voice for the voiceless in Iran:
In [announcing sanctions] today, we declare our solidarity with [the] victims and with all Iranians who wish for a government that respects their human rights and their dignity and their freedom. By doing so, we convey our strong support for the rule of law, and we speak out for those unable to speak for themselves because they are jailed or frightened or fear retribution against themselves or their families.
Of course, how much impact will sanctions against eight people have on the Iranian government's behavior? Clinton said the sanctions are both practical and symbolic: The sanctions announcement "is a both a practical announcement in that there are financial and travel restrictions that will be imposed, but it is a statement of our values." She also said in her briefing, "We're not naive. We know that thus far, this government has been impervious to our pleas and the pleas of many others. But we think it's essential that we continue to make the case, and today we are adding in very specific terms with specific names to that case."
Also at the briefing was Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (seen in the photo above), who explained that the logic of targeting Iranian individuals involves turning them into international pariahs:
We have found that when we single out individuals and expose their conduct, banks, businesses, and governments around the world respond by cutting off their economic and financial dealings with these individuals, these institutions, these businesses.
And this strategy can be very effective. We've seen a growing number of companies and financial institutions in countries around the world cut or substantially curtail their financial ties with Iran. They … have assessed the risks of continuing to do business with these entities, and they have decided that those risks are too great. And we already have indications that Iran's leadership is concerned about the implications, about the impact of this trend.
Clinton, Geithner, and Obama are turning up the heat!
Video of the briefing:
Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images
An Iranian woman who received a stoning sentence could be executed -- possibly in a week's time after Ramadan ends -- but will Secretary Clinton do anything to save her?
France's foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said Sept. 6 that the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has become his "personal cause" and declared, "I'm ready to do anything to save her. If I must go to Tehran to save her, I'll go to Tehran."
Today, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called the stoning sentence "barbaric beyond words." In late July, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva offered Ashtiani asylum, though he was rebuffed by Iran. The Vatican is considering using behind-the-scenes diplomacy to save the woman's life. People worldwide have held demonstrations, such as the Aug. 5 one in Berlin, as seen above.
Clinton's only public effort on Ashtiani's behalf has basically amounted to an Aug. 10 statement in which she said, "We remain troubled by the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani" "Troubled" is putting it mildly; horrified is more like it.
Of course, the United States does not have official relations with Iran, and Clinton must consider how anything she does on Ashtiani's behalf would affect other Iran-related issues, such as the country's nuclear program and support for Hezbollah.
Still, being a defender of persecuted women is right up Clinton's alley; it's something she's deeply passionate about. So, it's disheartening that one of the world's most powerful women isn't doing or can't do more.
Ashtiani's stoning sentence for adultery was stayed in July after international outcry, and Iran has said she could be hanged instead. Her fate is unclear. Her son told a Paris news conference by phone on Sept. 6 that he fears his mother could be executed after Ramadan ends late this week.
(If you wish to send a message to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei about this case, you can do so through Amnesty International's website by clicking here.)
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Message to Secretary Clinton: Please fix the United States' "incoherent, contradictory and apparently failing" Sudan policy, as the New York Times Nicholas Kristof described it on Aug. 29.
In a column on the Obama administration's "failure in Sudan," Kristof has this frightening warning:
"[I]n a place like Sudan, American diplomatic malpractice could lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths."
The country has a referendum coming up next year in which the oil-rich south will vote on whether to secede. The north doesn't want to lose all that oil, so if the south votes to secede (which it most likely will), that could spark a huge bloody war with mass killing. (The last north-south war killed 2 million people over 20 years.)
The United States needs an effective Sudan policy in place, one that will prevent mass death. Too bad, then, that there apparently isn't agreement at the State Department about what that policy should be. The U.S. envoy for Sudan, Maj. Gen. Scott Gration (seen in the photo above), favors a policy of engagement that focuses more on carrots than sticks. As reported on FP's The Cable, his plan "deemphasizes the ongoing crisis in Darfur" and "is devoid of any additional pressures on the government in Khartoum." Clinton supports this plan.
On the other hand, Susan Rice (seen in the photo above), the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and someone with more experience on Sudan, favors a stronger, tougher plan and was "furious" when Gration proposed his policy at a meeting earlier this month.
Kristof says that the United States needs to be more involved on the issue of Sudan and suggests supporting U.N. peacekeepers; coordinating with Britain, Egypt, and China to prevent war; and making Vice President Joe Biden the point person for Sudan for the following six months.
Whatever policy the United States decides to go with, let's hope Clinton will help steer it away from "diplomatic malpractice" and toward something that prevents another humanitarian tragedy.
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Secretary Clinton must have read the blog post I wrote Tuesday in which I encouraged her to at least make a statement about the more than 179 horrific gang-rapes that occurred in Congo recently. Wednesday she issued a statement in which she strongly condemns the atrocities and states that "my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families."
She also mentioned that only 11 months ago, she presided over a U.N. Security Council session in which members unanimously passed a resolution to end wartime sexual violence. It's an absolute shame then that the United Nations hasn't acted fast enough on this resolution, and it's outrageous that this despicable violence occurred only about 20 miles from a U.N. peacekeeping base, likely with peacekeepers' foreknowledge that rebels were in the area where the rape spree was perpetrated.
The United Nations spends $1 billion annually on this peacekeeping mission, which is tasked with protecting civilians. The international body claims the mission only found out about the rapes after they occurred. When Inner City Press asked why the mission was unaware of a four-day rape spree so nearby, a U.N. spokesman said the area is "densely wooded." You would think that by now the peacekeepers would have figured out how to operate in a thick jungle. Inner City Press offers a great suggestion: Use some of the $1 billion to give civilians flares and satellite phones so they can communicate about danger.
The Security Council will be holding emergency consultations on Thursday, the 26th, at 10 a.m., Inner City Press reports, so at least something appears to be happening. But really, so much more could have been done since the resolution's passage last September.
Clinton says the United States will do all it can to work with the United Nations to "create a safe environment for women, girls, and all civilians" in eastern Congo. Let's hope she and the State Department will continue to press the U.N. on this serious issue.
Clinton's complete statement:
The United States is deeply concerned by reports of the mass rape of
women and children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by the
Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) - an armed,
illegal rebel group that has terrorized eastern Congo for over a decade -
and elements of the Mai Mai, community-based militia groups in eastern
Congo. This horrific attack is yet another example of how sexual
violence undermines efforts to achieve and maintain stability in areas
torn by conflict but striving for peace.
The United States has
repeatedly condemned the epidemic of sexual violence in conflict zones
around the world, and we will continue to speak out on this issue for
those who cannot speak for themselves. Less than a year ago, I presided
over the UN Security Council session where Resolution 1888 (2009) was
unanimously adopted, underscoring the importance of preventing and
responding to sexual violence as a tactic of war against civilians. Now
the international community must build on this action with specific
steps to protect local populations against sexual and gender-based
violence and bring to justice those who commit such atrocities.
violence harms more than its immediate victims. It denies and destroys
our common dignity, it shreds the fabric that weaves us together as
humans, it endangers families and communities, it erodes social and
political stability, and it undermines economic progress. These
travesties, committed with impunity against innocent civilians who play
no role in armed conflict, hold us all back.
When I visited
the DRC last year, I learned an old proverb -- "No matter how long the
night, the day is sure to come." In the depths of this dark night of
suffering and pain, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and
their families. The United States will do everything we can to work with
the UN and the DRC government to hold the perpetrators of these acts
accountable, and to create a safe environment for women, girls, and all
civilians living in the eastern Congo.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
At least 179 women were gang-raped in a weekend orgy of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo last month, the United Nations revealed yesterday. Most women were raped by two to six men at a time, while their children and families watched, an NGO source told the New York Times.
This horrific news comes just roughly a year after Secretary Clinton defied security advice and personally visited Goma, the epicenter of the Congolese region where rape has been used as a weapon of war. As her eyes brimmed with tears, Clinton listened to a woman explain how she was raped while pregnant and lost her baby. Clinton called the sexual violence "evil in its basest form" and announced $17 million in U.S. aid to respond to it.
Clinton has a jumble of issues to address, from Middle East peace to wishing Ukraine a happy Independence Day, but it would be encouraging to see her at least make a statement on this sickening tradegy. Maybe Melanne Verveer, ambassador at large for global women's issues, could do something?
Over at Inner City Press, Matthew Russell Lee has taken the United Nations to task. It spends $1 billion annually on a peacekeeping mission in Congo that is tasked with protecting civilians. Nevertheless, these rapes occurred just 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) from a peacekeeping base. Then today, the day after the announcement about the rapes, the Security Council met, but no one called for the issue to be taken up!
ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton has called on the Iranian government to respect its citizens' most fundamental rights and is deeply concerned about Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani (the woman once sentenced to death by stoning who might now be hanged instead), Ebrahim Hamidi (an 18-year old who faces imminent death for homsexuality), and Iranians who simply engaged in free expression after last year's presidential election. Her statement is below:
The United States is deeply concerned that Iran continues to deny its citizens their civil rights and intimidate and detain those Iranians who seek to hold their government accountable and stand up for the rights of their fellow citizens.
We remain troubled by the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who garnered international attention for her verdict of death by stoning. While the Iranian Government later stated she would not face execution by stoning, her fate is unclear. We are also troubled by reports that Ebrahim Hamidi, an 18-year old charged with homosexuality, faces imminent execution despite the fact that he is currently without legal representation. Neither case has proceeded with the transparency or due process enshrined in Iran's own constitution, and their lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, felt that he had to flee Iran after he was questioned by authorities and his family members were detained.
We are also concerned about the fate of Iranians who are in danger of imminent execution for exercising their right to free expression after the June 2009 elections, including Jafar Kazemi, Mohammad Haj Aghaei, and Javad Lari. The United States urges the Iranian Government to halt these executions in accordance with its obligations to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners and imprisoned human rights defenders.
The United States will continue to stand with people around the world who seek to exercise their universal rights and speak out in defense of human liberties.
In the July 24 photo above, a man from the International Committee Against Stoning protests in London's Trafalgar Square demanding the release of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who received the original stoning sentence on charges of adultery. If Iran doesn't want her, Brazil and its president sure do.
Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images
FP blogger David Rothkopf has written an impassioned post, "Women and Islam: The real test of our values," in which he states that the way women are treated in many Islamic countries is "a disgrace every bit as grand and incomprehensible and awful as the Holocaust -- only it is much bigger, much more ancient, and if possible, much more evil if only due to the extent of its reach and the breadth of our acceptance of what has happened."
Just as I did last week, he mentions that Secretary Clinton "argues we will not forget the women of Afghanistan -- that they are one of the reasons we are there." When it comes to the rights of women and girls, he states, "No one has been more tireless or vocal in pursuit of these goals than Clinton." Which makes me wonder: In what ways would the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan be different if Clinton had been elected president?
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Rowdha Yousef, a Saudi woman, was alarmed when some of her female compatriots started advocating for greater personal freedom, so last August she started a campaign called "My Guardian Knows What's Best for Me" (with "guardian" referring to the male relative who serves as a Saudi woman's guardian and has authority over her when it comes to many legal and personal issues.) Given Yousef's conservative views, as reported in this great New York Times article, it might be surprising to many Westerners that she's an admirer of Secretary Clinton. I wonder what Clinton would think!
Here's the Times description of Yousef, with my bolding:
She is a 39-year-old divorced mother of three (aged 13, 12 and 9) who volunteers as a mediator in domestic abuse cases. A tall, confident woman with a warm, effusive manner and sparkling stiletto-heeled sandals, her conversation, over Starbucks lattes, ranges from racism in the kingdom (Ms. Yousef has Somali heritage and calls herself a black Saudi) to her admiration for Hillary Rodham Clinton to the abuse she says she has suffered at the hands of Saudi liberals.
My hunch is that much of this reaction against calls for greater women's freedom is driven as much by anti-Western sentiment as by a sincere conviction that the conservative status quo is the best. Calls for women's rights can represent Western influence seeping in, meddling, interfering -- and a lot of women don't like that. (Of course, stilettos and Starbucks seem to be acceptable forms of Westernization. Fashion and food can be hard to resist.)
On a related note: As seen in the photo above, Clinton received a rock-star reception when she visited Dar al-Hekma College this February, though it seems that the views of students at an elite Saudi women's college might not be representative of Saudi women as a whole. It's also worth noting that Clinton's reception there was in stark contrast with that of Karen Hughes (George W. Bush's undersecretary of state for public diplomacy) in 2005.
A quick list of all things Hillary Clinton:
•ISRAEL: On Friday, Secretary Clinton made a stern call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the East Jerusalem housing-project* announcement made during Vice President Joe Biden's visit last week. Clinton also told CNN's Jill Dougherty that Israel's announcement was "insulting" to the United States. (See video below.) Clinton also spoke with NBC's Andrea Mitchell about the same topic (with transcript here and video excerpt here).
•RUSSIA/NUKES: Clinton is headed to Russia this week, where she'll meet with President Dmitry Medvedev to discuss negotiations that have been going on for the new START arms-reduction treaty.
•HUMAN RIGHTS: Remember how I mentioned that the United States isn't on the list of country's in the State Department's annual "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices"? Well, it turns out that Clinton announced that the State Department will be preparing a human rights report on the United States itself.
•HAITI: This morning, Clinton (as seen above) hosted an appreciation event for employees, diplomats, and volunteers from the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for their work after January's devastating earthquake. (Right before than, Clinton attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for employee showers at the State Department's Harry S. Truman Building.)
•WOMEN: CNN's Jill Dougherty asks, "How can Clinton help women?"
•MEXICO: Clinton offered her "deepest sympathies" to the family and friends of the three people connected to the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, who were murdered over the weekend.
•PAKISTAN/TERRORISM: Clinton extended her "deepest sympathy" for those affected by the multiple bombings in Lahore, Pakistan, on Friday.
*Update, March 23: The phrase "East Jerusalem housing-project announcement" corrects the original phrase, "settlements announcement."
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
At the United Nations on Friday, Clinton delivered some powerful remarks on women's empowerment, marking the 15th anniversary of the U.N. world conference on women. In the following excerpt, she pointed out how so often women's backbreaking work is simply ignored, not counted:
I have to confess that when we started our Food Security Initiative, I did not know that most food was grown by women. I remember once driving through Africa with a group of distinguished experts. And I saw women working in the fields and I saw women working in the markets and I saw women with wood on their heads and water on their heads and children on their backs. And I remarked that women just seem to be working all the time. And one of the economists said, "But it doesn't count." I said, "How can you say that?" He said, "Well, it's not part of the formal economy." I said, "Well, if every woman who did all that work stopped tomorrow, the formal economy would collapse." [Applause.]
The speech rounded ou a week in which Clinton devoted much attention to women's empowerment, her signature issue. (And for more about women's empowerment worldwide, check out Kathleen Parker's excellent column from yesterday.)
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
Today Secretary Clinton, as seen above, delivered remarks upon the release of the State Department's annual "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices," which has individual reports on the human rights situation in virtually every country of the world (though I don't see an individual report on the United States itself listed.)
In her remarks she said:
So when we work to secure human rights, we are working to protect the experiences that make life meaningful, to preserve each person's ability to fulfill his or her God-given potential -- the potential within every person to learn, discover, and embrace the world around them; the potential to join freely with others to shape their communities and their societies so that every person can find fulfillment and self-sufficiency; the potential to share life's beauties and tragedies, laughter and tears with the people they love."
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Here are a couple of photos from the U.S. State Department's website of Secretary Clinton's meeting with the Dalai Lama last Thursday, Feb. 18. China expressed its disagreement with the meeting, saying it was U.S. interference in the country's internal domestic affairs. At Friday's press briefing, Assistant Secretary Philip Crowley said, "I think on this issue, obviously, we just agree to disagree on this subject."
U.S. State Department
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
A few links to recent Clinton commentary on Foreign Policy:
•In support of multilateral sanctions against Iran, Clinton said on Monday, "Sanctions can work," The Cable reports.
•An interview with Clinton on Pakistan policy is posted over at the AfPak Channel. The interview was conducted by Hassan Abbas of the Asia Society and Harvard Kennedy School.
•Clinton's "unappreciated warnings to Latin America" are discussed on Passport.
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
•Secretary Clinton will be in Germany next month to attend a "freedom party" to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Giant dominoes will tumble to symbolize the fall.
•Clinton met with Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, above, this afternoon in Washington.
•A Washington Post editorial commends Clinton for promoting democracy in Russia.
•Clinton pens an op-ed on world hunger and food security.
•Clinton unveiled the Sudan policy review with Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and Scott Gration, the special envoy for Sudan.
•In London, The Times reports that Clinton was snubbed by Putin when she was in Russia last week to push sanctions against Iran.
•Clinton got a "mixed bag" of diplomatic results in Russia last week, writes FP Shadow Government blogger David J. Kramer.
Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton hasn't been shy about pushing for human rights and openness in Russia. Yesterday she met with human rights activists and opposition journalists in Spaso House, the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Russia. Today, she did an interview on Ekho Moskvy radio (great photos here) in which she continued to press for human rights.
During the interview (transcript here), she said:
I have no doubt in my mind that democracy is in Russia's best interests, that respecting human rights, an independent judiciary, a free media are in the interests of building a strong, stable political system that provides a platform for broadly shared prosperity. We will continue to say that and we will continue to support those who also stand for those values."
Referring to the killing of journalists in Russia, which she discussed at Spaso House, Clinton said:
I mentioned the killings of journalists, and I said that this is a matter of grave concern not just to the United States, but to the people of Russia, and not just to the activists, but to people who worry that unsolved killings are a very serious challenge to order and to the fair functioning of society, and that we did not believe that enough was being done to make sure that no one had impunity from prosecution who might have been involved in any such criminal acts."
It's great that Clinton spoke up for human rights and didn't let realpolitik get in the way, as some accuse her of doing in China in February.
Photo: Valeriy Yevseyev, U.S. State Deptartment
[W]e are deeply concerned over the reports of deaths and injuries from violence in Western China. We are trying to sort out, as best we can, the facts and circumstances from the region, and we’re calling on all sides to exercise restraint. We know there’s a long history of tension and discontent, but the most immediate matter is to bring the violence to a conclusion."
On Monday, Clinton "dropped by" a meeting between Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, according to State Department spokesman Ian Kelly. When asked during Monday's press briefing whether the riots were dicussed during the meeting, Kelly said, "I understand that it did come up," but said he did not have a "full readout" of what transpired.
Meanwhile, U.S. Reps. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) wrote an open letter to Clinton stating, "The Chinese regime in Beijing should not be allowed to engage in another Tienanmen [sic] Square with impunity."
Photo: PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images
Today's Washington Post has an op-ed written by Secretary Clinton that calls on governments and organizations around the world to partner against human trafficking. She states:
Trafficking weakens legitimate economies, breaks up families, fuels violence, threatens public health and safety, and shreds the social fabric that is necessary for progress. It undermines our long-term efforts to promote peace and prosperity worldwide. And it is an affront to our values and our commitment to human rights.
The criminal networks that enslave millions of people cross borders and span continents. Our response must do the same. The United States is committed to building partnerships with governments and organizations around the world, to finding new and more effective ways to take on the scourge of human trafficking. We want to support our partners in their efforts and find ways to improve our own.
Photo: OLIVER LANG/AFP/Getty Images
This morning, Secretary Clinton released the State Department's ninth annual "Trafficking in Persons Report." The report assesses more than 170 countries on what efforts their governments are taking to stop human trafficking.
To learn more about sex trafficking specifically, I recommend the recent book Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery, by Siddharth Kara. (A portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to Free the Slaves.)
Photo: Robert Giroux/Getty Images
China has expressed "strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition" to Secretary Clinton's statements marking the 20th anniversary of the military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protesters. (In the photo above, the People's Liberation Army guards a street leading to Tiananmen Square on June 6, 1989, two days after the infamous crackdown.)
On June 3, Clinton called on the Chinese government to "provide a public accounting of those killed, detained or missing, both to learn and to heal." She also said China should "give the rule of law, protection of internationally-recognized human rights, and democratic development the same priority as it has given to economic reform."
In response, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman criticized Clinton for "crudely meddling in Chinese domestic affairs." He also said, "We urge the United States to forsake its prejudices, correct its erroneous ways and avoid obstructing and damaging China-U.S. relations."
The Chinese government has never published a count of those who died. A New York Times article yesterday stated that hundreds died.
The bold tone of Clinton's remarks are a contrast to those she made in February, in which she seemed to downplay human rights as a priority.
Photo: MANUEL CENETA/AFP/Getty Images
In a video address to the Madrid meeting, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Washington was "committed" to working with other nations to meet the goal of halving the number of people worldwide living in poverty and hunger by 2015. "Governments and nations are more likely to become unstable when their populations are hungry and underfed," she said. "We are committed to building a new partnership among donor states, developing nations, UN agencies, NGOs, the private sector and others to better coordinate policies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals," she added.Are you starting to sense a theme (and a growing distance with Bush administration policies)? The Obama administration is convinced that trying to make the world a better place will make it also a safer place, whereas the Bush administration was concerned with making us (and sometimes us alone) safer and thus better off. It should be interesting to see who is more right -- though I have some ideas.
Madam Secretary is an obsessive blog about all things Hillary Clinton. From her policies to her pantsuits, Madam Secretary delivers up-to-the-minute news, analysis, and gossip about America's top diplomat.