In Address on Middle East, Obama Should Be Clear on Support for Democratic Change | Freedom House

In Address on Middle East, Obama Should Be Clear on Support for Democratic Change

Washington

Freedom House welcomes President Obama’s upcoming address on the “Arab Spring” and its implications for the future of US policy in the Middle East.  This is an opportunity for the President to lay out a clear, proactive agenda in support of democracy in the region that builds upon the vision he presented in his Cairo speech in June 2009 and that Secretary Clinton elaborated in Doha in January.
 
According to the White House, President Obama will give a major address on Thursday. The speech will reportedly address ways in which the United States can best support positive change in the Middle East while focusing on “core principles: nonviolence, support for human rights and support for political and economic reform.”
 
“This is a watershed moment in the Middle East,” said Charles Dunne, Freedom House senior program manager for the Middle East and North Africa. “The President should unequivocally commit the United States to support democratic political change throughout the region, and to clear up any ambiguity about the Administration's intentions by clearly aligning the United States with those activists and advocates who have been on the front lines of the political upheavals that have taken place. We hope the President will take full advantage of this opportunity.”
 
Specifically, Freedom House calls on the president to:
  • Delineate the principles on which US policy is based, making clear that the advancement of freedom, even in countries where the United States has other substantial interests, is and will remain a top priority.
  • Support guarantees of the rights of women and minorities, including religious minorities, as legal and constitutional changes are enacted.
  • Highlight the importance of successful transitions in Egypt, Tunisia and Iraq, which will be vital catalysts of democracy’s progress.
  • Underscore the need for international political and economic support for countries undergoing democratic transitions.
  • Take an unambiguous stance and increase pressure on those countries that continue to use the tools of repression and violence against their own people, especially Syria.
The MENA region has consistently been rated as one of the world’s least free regions by Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s annual global assessment of political rights and civil liberties.
 
To read Freedom House analysis on the MENA region, click here.
 
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.  
 
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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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