Blog Posts

Foreign Affairs Hearing: Human Rights Double Standard?

June 14, 2007

The Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight is currently holding a hearing, “Is There a Human Rights Double Standard? U.S. Policy Toward Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Uzbekistan.” Subcommittee Chairman Bill Delahunt will preside over the hearing, and witnesses will include Amr Hamzawy and Martha Brill Olcott of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, as well as Thomas Malinowski of Human Rights Watch and Thomas W. Lippman of the Middle East Institute.

Watch the hearing live >>

Subcommittee Chairman Bill Delahunt gives opening remarks:

Subcommittee Chairman Bill Delahunt:
“The pollsters tell us that foreigners do not hate us because our freedom and our values, but because they think often times we fail to live up to our values. They’re disappointed when we call for democracy and human rights while at the same time providing support to cooperative but non-Democratic governments who abuse human rights.”

Rep. Donald Payne questions witnesses on the shortfalls of Bush Administration foreign policy and rhetoric:

Thomas Malinowski:
“The one thing that they [Iranian dissidents] don’t want is for the United States to be saying that we are sending money inside Iran to help the dissidents, to help political activists, support human rights and democracy. Because that puts a target on their back. The truth is we’re not sending it in, and yet we say we are.”

Extended transcript of Malinowski’s statement:

“The one thing that they [Iranian dissidents] don’t want is for the United States to be saying that we are sending money inside Iran to help the dissidents, to help political activists, support human rights and democracy. Because that puts a target on their back. The truth is we’re not sending it in, and yet we say we are. The State Department put out a fact sheet just about a week or 10 days ago in which it described how we’re spending this money, and there’s a line in there, you know, some of this money supports people inside Iran who are fighting for democracy and human rights. What they mean by that is well, the broadcasting does that indirectly, they run some seminars outside Iran that Iranians go to so indirectly it does that, and they’re trying to exaggerate the impact of these programs by saying ‘we’re helping people inside.’ But the effect that has on Iranians inside is very, very negative, and they’ve been begging the Administration to stop advertising that, to stop saying ‘we’re sending money inside.’ So I think when you all consider the money and the appropriations, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be appropriating money for things like broadcasting, I think you should be. But I think you should be absolutely clear in what you say and urge the Administration to be clear that this is not meant to be pumping money inside Iran to be helping these groups because it isn’t and because that hurts them.”