Secretary Clinton Should Raise Human Rights Concerns During Her Visit to the Caucasus
Freedom House urges Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to make human rights and democracy shortfalls in the Caucasus region the cornerstone topic in private meetings and in public statements during her upcoming visit to Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. While the trip of a high-ranking U.S. government official strengthens the bilateral relations between the United States and each of the countries, it also offers an opportunity to publicly underscore U.S. support for the advancement of civil society as a crucial building block of a well-functioning democracy.
Clinton is scheduled to visit the three countries from June 4 to 7 and will meet with Presidents Sargisian, Saakashvili and Aliyev, other senior government officials and civil society leaders of each nation, according to the State Department press statement. Additionally, in Georgia the Secretary will open the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission plenary session. In all three countries, she plans to discuss â€œimportant issues of regional security, democracy, economic development and counterterrorism,â€ the statement said.
“Encouraging and supporting democratically accountable systems in the Caucasus region is essential,” said Freedom House president David J. Kramer. “While we realize there are a range of policy interests to be discussed during the trip, Freedom House calls for a particular emphasis on the ongoing concerns about human rights and democracy throughout the region, especially in Azerbaijan and Armenia.”
Freedom House urges Secretary Clinton to address the following human rights issues in bilateral meetings:
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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