Obama Emphasizes Importance of Human Rights Protection to CVE Strategy During UN Leaders’ Summit

New York City – In response to President Obama’s remarks during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism (CVE), Human Rights First’s Neil Hicks issued the following statement:

“President Obama rightly reiterated that a core element to the CVE strategy is to limit human rights violations, which fuels violent extremism, as part of a comprehensive approach to goes beyond military and security responses. The president made this point in Washington in February.

“However, the president failed to propose a comprehensive strategy that would bring an end to the grave human rights abuses and the devastating conflict in Syria which has directly led to the growth of ISIL. Repeating the wish that President Assad should leave office and expressing a willingness to work with others, including Russia and Iran, does not in itself constitute a strategy.

“As long as the Assad regime continues to brutalize the Syrian people and lay waste to the country, ISIL will not be defeated. The United States should lead and energize multilateral efforts through the United Nations to end these devastating conflicts through development of a comprehensive approach that promotes good governance, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. As the president made clear, these elements must coincide with the use of military, intelligence, and security tools in order to effectively counter the growing threat of violent extremism in Syria, in the Middle East and elsewhere.”

Last week, Human Rights First and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) sent a letter to President Obama urging the president to reinforce messages from his remarks during the February 2015 Summit on Countering Violent Extremism at today’s Leaders’ Summit, stressing the obligations of states to protect the human rights and freedoms in order to achieve lasting stability and security. Hicks and CIHRS Director Bahey elfin Hassan are in attendance at today’s Leaders’ Summit as part of the organizations’ joint efforts to ensure that promoting human rights is at the center of CVE policy.

For more information read Human Rights First’s backgrounder, “The Role of Human Rights in Countering Violent Extremism.”


Published on September 29, 2015


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