President Obama’s Legacy on Human Rights

 “When the United States stands up for human rights, by example at home and by effort abroad, we align ourselves with men and women around the world who struggle for the right to speak their minds, to choose their leaders, and to be treated with dignity and respect. We also strengthen our security and well being, because the abuse of human rights can feed many of the global dangers that we confront — from armed conflict and humanitarian crises, to corruption and the spread of ideologies that promote hatred and violence.”

– Barack Obama, Statement on Human Rights Day 2008

Throughout his eight years in the White House, President Obama has repeatedly spoken about the importance of American leadership in advancing global human rights. During his time in office, key advances were made including the ban on the use of torture and greater protection of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people both at home and abroad, while in other areas the president’s rhetoric was not backed up by firm action.

As President Obama prepares to deliver his final address to the nation as President, here’s a look at his human rights record:

Issue Brief

Published on January 11, 2017


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