Massimo Evaluates the Obama Administration’s Human Rights Record on WBEZ’s Worldview

This week Elisa Massimino, Human Rights First’s President and CEO, spoke with Jerome McDonnell, host of Chicago radio show, WBEZ Worldview. On the program, Massimino evaluates President Obama’s record on human rights, looking at both the “peaks and the valleys” of his presidency.

Massimino emphasized the importance of strong leadership on human rights from American leaders, quoting President Carter who said, “America didn’t invent human rights, human rights invented America,” adding, “Human rights are the central cornerstone of security and prosperity.”

On security, Massimino pointed out that Obama entered office with great intentions, some of which panned out. For example, the president banned torture through executive order on his second day in office. This action laid the groundwork for the McCain-Feinstein Amendment, which closes the loophole that allowed Bush Administration lawyers to approve torture techniques. However, Massimino noted that the administration has so far failed to follow through on its promise to close detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay.

Massimino was in Chicago to speak at the Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force conference. During the WBEZ Worldview interview, she highlighted proposed regulations from the Obama Administration that would eradicate forced labor from the supply chain of the United States’ federal government, one of the world’s largest employers. These regulations would be a “huge breakthrough” in combating human trafficking, a $150 billion criminal enterprise for which the United States is both a source and destination country for forced sex and labor.

To hear more from Massimino about President Obama’s human rights score card, including LGBT issues and violent extremism, listen to the full interview:


Published on August 11, 2015


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