News

Latest News

ICYMI: Rubio Joins Fox and Friends

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Fox & Friends to discuss the Secret Service’s failure to protect President Donald Trump and Vice President Kamala Harris’s record. See below for highlights and watch the full interview on YouTube and Rumble. On the Secret...

read more

2014 Human Rights Report Paints Grim Picture

Jul 2, 2015 | Blog

Last week, after months of delay, the State Department released its annual congressionally mandated 2014 Human Rights Report. Each year, the U.S. assesses the status of human rights in countries across the world. The report’s findings paint a grim picture of assaults on human dignity from Tehran to Havana, from Beijing to Caracas.
 
The annual report provides an opportunity for the U.S. to highlight countries that have improved their human rights records, while at the same time exposing countries that have failed to uphold their citizens’ most basic rights. While reports such as these do not alone inform U.S. foreign policy, they are a critical window into areas of need around the world. Time and again, I have encouraged this Administration to elevate the promotion and protection of basic human rights and religious freedom as a cornerstone of American foreign policy. Sadly, this has not been a priority for the Obama Administration, and the world is worse off for it.
 
The 2014 Human Rights Report highlighted human rights atrocities committed by terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Boko Haram, now an official affiliate of ISIS. These Islamist terrorist organizations attacked and killed thousands of innocent, men, women and children, specifically targeting minority ethnic and religious groups. In Iraq and Syria, Christians and Yezidis were ruthlessly killed, abducted and expelled from their homes. In Nigeria, Boko Haram’s human rights abuses reached unprecedented levels, including the kidnapping, raping, and trafficking of 273 female students from Chibok, most of whom were Christians.
 
Freedom of expression was limited by governments in China, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia. These governments employed tactics such as imprisonment of journalists, bloggers, and non-violent critics, as well as censorship of media. In fact the report highlighted the role of technology in “combatting as well as carrying out human rights violations.”
 
In China, the government has unabashedly cracked down on civil society, stifled dissent, repressed religious believers and ethnic minorities, and silenced critics. In the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre last year, Chinese authorities further clamped down by detaining, disappearing or questioning more than 150 lawyers, activists, journalists and dissidents.
 
The government of Iran continued to severely restrict its citizens’ civil liberties, arbitrarily detaining at least 895 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, including the following three Americans: journalist Jason Rezaian, Pastor Saeed Abedini, and former Marine Amir Hekmati . Additionally the Iranian government is refusing to provide information on Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who has been missing since 2007.
 
Cuba remains a serious abuser of human rights with an estimated 8,899 uses of short-term detentions in 2014, an increase from 6,424 in 2013. On June 21, during a peaceful protest in Holguin, state police officers allegedly arrested and beat a Lady in White member, Magaly Norvis Otero, who was eight months pregnant at that point and subsequently miscarried.
 
During the press briefing following the release of the report, several enterprising reporters rightly seized on the seeming inconsistency between the findings documented in the report and the Administration’s conciliatory posture toward the regimes in Iran and Cuba.
 
As pointedly as I may disagree with President Obama, I am grateful to live in a country where I am free to do so. As Americans prepare to celebrate the independence of our own Republic, we are reminded of the fundamental truths enshrined in our founding documents—revolutionary notions of self-governance, universal human dignity, and God-given rights. For over two centuries, the world has been a better place because America has worked to defend these fundamental human rights at home and abroad.