November 9, 2015

Clinton Faces Challenge To Her Human Rights Record

In an article for The Hill‘s Congress blog today, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth criticized Hillary Clinton for calling Morocco a “model” for the region while she was Secretary of State.

Roth further pointed out that Clinton’s own State Department had criticized Morocco, a Clinton Foundation donor, for violating the human rights of its people:

Although the Constitution prohibits torture, “numerous credible accounts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of prisoners and detainees confirmed [its] existence,” according to the U.S. State Department’s 2012 Morocco Human Rights Report, a document produced during Secretary Clinton’s tenure.

Hillary Clinton has landed in hot water for supporting human rights violators in the past as well. In March , Clinton faced criticism over her Foundation’s acceptance of millions of dollars from known violators of human rights such as Saudi Arabia and Brunei.

The donations from countries with poor records on women’s rights, however, presented a difficult appearance problem for a candidate running in part as the embodiment of women’s aspirations to equality.

In July, the Miami Herald criticized Clinton for advocating for the end of Cuba embargo despite Cuba’s continued human rights violations:

Internally, the regime maintains the same repressive attitude that has allowed it to stay in power for decades. That includes harassment of peaceful groups like the famed Ladies in White for a series of successive Sundays, when they engage in peaceful marches. The daily arrests, acts of repudiation and censorship of any person or group that questions the official line are still in place.

The renewed criticism over Clinton’s support for dictatorial regimes casts a shadow over her human rights record and presents a strong challenge to her claim that she has been a defender of human rights throughout her career.