USA: Obama Meets ARTICLE 19
23 Feb 2010
ARTICLE 19’s executive director Agnès Callamard met with US President Barak Obama and senior members of his administration on 18 February to discuss the role of the US in countering the global deterioration of human rights.
ARTICLE 19 was taking part in the 2010 Human Rights Summit in Washington DC organised by Freedom House and Human Rights First when a group of some 20 activists were chosen to meet the president.
In the meeting, human rights defenders described the increasing repression around the world and encouraged the president to lead by example in defending the fundamental freedoms of association, assembly and expression.
Agnès Callamard says: “President Obama agreed that there is an urgent need to apply human rights standards and international law to all counter-terrorism efforts, including Guantanamo Bay. He recognised that whilst a difficult task for his administration, it is a top priority. He also admitted that despite his encouraging Cairo speech promising a new beginning, there has been global disappointment in the lack of action. President Obama was careful not to make promises and admitted that his agenda will take longer than anticipated due to the reality of pushing through change. He explained that it would take longer than human rights defenders were ready to give.”
“President Obama appears committed to defending human rights. He spent 30 minutes listening to our concerns – a generous time for the President of the USA – and reflected the political importance of human rights for his administration.”
ARTICLE 19 welcomes President Obama’s commitment to human rights and his willingness to engage with the human rights community. ARTICLE 19 urges him and his administration to see through on his commitments – too often repression and censorship are justified on the basis of US policies.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- ARTICLE 19 at the 2010 Human Rights Summit can be seen at: http://www.humanrightssummit.org/live_blog?page=9
- See the full text at: http://www.article19.org/pdfs/press/usa-obama-meets-human-rights-defenders-including-article-19-in-human-rights-.pdf
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