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17-12-09, 21:49
Clinton: U.S. Human Rights Agenda Based On 'Principled Pragmatism'

http://www.rferl.org/content/Clinton_US_Human_Rights_Agenda_Based_On_Principled _Pragmatism_/1904182.html

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says President Barack Obama will continue to pursue the American goal of universal human rights using what she called "principled pragmatism."

"Our human rights agenda for the 21st century is to make human rights a human reality. And the first step is to see human rights in a broad context," Clinton said.

"Of course, people must be free from the oppression of tyranny, from torture, from discrimination, from the fear of leaders who will imprison or disappear them. But they also must be free from the oppression of want -- want of food, want of health, want of education, and want of equality in law and in fact."

In a speech December 14 at Georgetown University in Washington, Clinton said the Obama philosophy will be most evident in how the United States regards what it sees as human rights problems in China and Russia.

The White House has been criticized by some human rights groups, and even by some of its allies in Congress, for being too lenient toward China.

In particular, critics seized on Obama's decision not to meet with the Dalai Lama before the president attended an important trade meeting in Beijing.

Clinton said the United States has to use a nuanced approach on human rights with China and Russia because both are important partners on nonproliferation issues and in the global economic recovery.

"Principled pragmatism informs our approach on human rights with all countries, but particularly with key countries like China and Russia," she said. "Cooperation with each of those is critical to the health of the global economy and the nonproliferation agenda we seek, also to managing security issues like North Korea and Iran, and addressing global problems like climate change."

'Candid Discussions'

Clinton promised that the United States will continue to engage in what she called "candid discussions" with Beijing and Moscow about their human rights records.

She said Washington will continue to urge China to acknowledge the rights of Tibetan and Uyghurs, and to push for freedom of religion and expression.

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