Melissa Hooper to Testify on Rising Authoritarianism Among NATO Allies

WASHINGTON – Melissa Hooper, Director of Foreign Policy Advocacy at Human Rights First, will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy and the Environment on Wednesday, November 13 at 2 p.m. ET, on the topic of “Democracy and the NATO Alliance: Upholding our Shared Democratic Values.”

In her testimony, Hooper will focus on human rights backsliding and erosion of democratic values in Turkey, Hungary and Poland. Her testimony will include the following, as prepared:

Advances in democracy and civil and political rights have begun to reverse globally. Increasingly, assertive authoritarian powers are crushing dissent at home while using the very openness of democratic societies to contest freedom abroad. At the same time, democratically elected leaders in a growing number of countries are using the power of their offices to erode human rights protections and the rule of law. The result is a period of uncertainty, anxiety, and potential danger.

“The North Atlantic Treaty, which has underpinned the transatlantic relationship for 70 years, was understood from its inception as a means not only to confront external military threats, but also to advance principles of democratic governance. Today the countries presenting the greatest challenges to the unity and functioning of the alliance are Turkey, Hungary and Poland. These governments have taken calculated steps over the past several years to destroy foundational democratic institutions.

“The U.S. response has been anemic at best, and at worst facilitates the problems. There have been few statements of concern from the Trump administration regarding the authoritarian creep and security risks presented by Hungarian and Polish actions and policies. Recently, it is Congress that has begun to take bipartisan action, and we hope this will continue. These governments must hear from their allies that they have crossed the line and be warned that if they continue to undermine allied security, there will be consequences.”



Published on November 12, 2019


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