Coalition Letter Urging the Senate to Vote on the Confirmation of Malinowski

Human Rights First along with a broad based group of human rights organizations today urged the Senate to immediately confirm Tomasz Malinowski as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. As the United States engages in the important diplomatic work of promoting the universal values of human rights and strengthening national security, the administration needs leadership from the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. The Senate should immediately move forward to confirm Mr. Malinowski, who enjoys bipartisan support w

March 25, 2014

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate
The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510-7020


The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
United States Senate
The Capitol
Washington, DC  20510-7010


To the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders:

Last December, you received a letter from more than 25 leading organizations working to promote human rights, democracy, and labor rights encouraging you to act swiftly on two key State Department nominations:  Sarah Sewall and Tomasz Malinowski.  We welcomed the Senate’s confirmation in December of Ms. Sewall as Undersecretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights.  We write now to urge the Senate’s immediate—and overdue—action on Tomasz Malinowski to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

At a moment when the United States is facing significant challenges to its global leadership on democracy and human rights, the Secretary of State needs his leadership team in place to advance the important diplomatic work of promoting these universal values that strengthen our national security.  On so many issues—the crisis in Ukraine; the atrocities in Syria, Sudan, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo; the ongoing violence in the Arab world from Egypt to Bahrain to Libya; the crackdown on civil society from Russia to China to Cuba to Vietnam; the hopeful beginnings of a democratic opening in Burma; and trade negotiations with Asia in which workers’ rights will be a key component—the administration needs leadership from the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. We urge you to act quickly to fill this position and strengthen the ability of our government to advance human rights around the world.

We recognize that negotiating floor time for nominations is difficult in the current environment.  But the Senate has found a way to move forward on numerous positions in the State Department’s regional bureaus. The Senate’s failure to take action on the position dedicated to advancing human rights, democracy, and labor rights sends a damaging message that the United States does not prioritize these issues, precisely when many of the global challenges we face as a nation implicate them.

It has been more than 250 days since Mr. Malinowski was nominated.  He enjoys bi-partisan support, and there is no known opposition to his appointment.  Voting on his nomination should be a high priority for the Senate.



Elisa Massimino, President and CEO, Human Rights First

Wade Henderson, President and CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Kerry Kennedy, President, RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights

Kenneth Wollack, President, National Democratic Institute

David J. Kramer, President, Freedom House

Christopher J. Griffin, Executive Director, The Foreign Policy Initiative

Stephen Rickard, Executive Director, Open Society Policy Center

John Prendergast, Co-founder, Enough Project

Ambassador Mark P. Lagon

Steven W. Hawkins, Executive Director, Amnesty International, USA

John Bradshaw, Executive Director, National Security Network

Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director, PEN American Center

Mark Bromley, Council Chair, Council for Global Equality

Gary Haugen, President and CEO, International Justice Mission

Stephen McInerney, Executive Director, Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)

Curt Goering, Executive Director, Center for Victims of Torture

Jennifer Windsor, Board of Trustees, Freedom House

Don Kraus, President & CEO,

Lisa Dougan, Policy Advisor, Invisible Children

Paul Ronan, Project Director, The Resolve

Pamela Merchant, Executive Director, Center for Justice & Accountability

Susan M. Farnsworth, Executive Director, Global Rights

Joy Olson, Executive Director, Washington Office on Latin America

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, President, Lantos Foundation

Matteo Mecacci, President, International Campaign for Tibet

Stacy Burdett, Government and National Affairs Director, Anti-Defamation League

Mark Hetfield, President and CEO, HIAS

Richard L. Trumka, President, AFL-CIO



* Names of organizations are included for identification purposes only

ith no known opposition to his appointment.


Published on March 26, 2014


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