Human Rights

Obama Disappoints Human Rights

Human rights activists are worried about President Obama’s commitment to their cause. According to Jennifer Windsor, a former Clinton administration official who is executive director of Freedom House, a group that supports democracy activists, "the instinct of abandoning everything President Bush has stood for has done a disservice." She and other advocates criticize the administration’s suggestions that concerns over China's treatment of Tibetans and dissidents should take a back seat to issues such as climate change and that sanctions against human rights pariahs Burma and Sudan could be eased. According to Omar Ismail, a Darfurian refugee and policy activist who has met several times with Scott Gration, Obama’s special envoy for Sudan, "[Gration] said he wants to build rapport with Khartoum." Meanwhile, according to activist Eric Reeves, "The real situation on the ground is extremely grim, and getting worse in many places. The Obama people must know this, which makes the decision to go the accommodationist route even more bewildering."