More than a year after Egyptian authorities raided the offices of the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, and Freedom House, their Egyptian and international staff are still on trial (above). What will you do to encourage Egyptian authorities to resolve this issue?
This is one of a series of questions compiled by Freedom House, the rights and democracy watchdog, for Senator John Kerry, the Obama administration’s nominee as the next U.S. secretary of state.
In his second inaugural address, President Obama declared, “We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom.” How will you carry out the president’s mandate to support democracy abroad?
Authoritarian governments around the world have become far more aggressive and sophisticated in severely restricting space for civil society. They are also collaborating with one another to crush dissent. What will you do to respond to such crackdowns and help those who are struggling to exercise their fundamental rights?
Systematic and severe human rights abuses routinely take place in China, particularly in ethnic minority regions such as Tibet and Xinjiang…. These abuses are instigated or condoned by Communist Party officials and security agents at various levels. As secretary of state, what would you do to identify such officials and ensure that they are not welcomed into the United States for visits with U.S. counterparts and participation in judicial or law enforcement exchanges?
In the past year, the government of Russia has enacted several repressive measures targeting nongovernmental organizations and restricting the ability of citizens to interact freely with foreign nationals. In October, USAID was abruptly expelled from the country. These steps clearly call into question the premise of the “reset”—that bilateral cooperation with Russia could be strengthened by delinking human rights issues from other interests. Will you continue the reset? If so, why? If not, what policy will replace it?
The administration of President Mohamed Morsi has prosecuted several journalists who criticized the government and introduced a new constitution that limits freedom of expression and minority rights and exempts the military from parliamentary oversight. U.S. support for democracy in Egypt has decreased substantially, while aid to the Egyptian military has continued at the same level as under former president Hosni Mubarak. How do you intend to change U.S. policy toward Egypt so that it better reflects current realities in the country?
Venezuela is facing mounting uncertainty, and a potential governance crisis, as Hugo Chávez reportedly remains in a delicate medical state in Havana. His inauguration for a new presidential term has been postponed indefinitely, with flagrant disregard for the constitution. In the event that Chávez leaves power, what policy would you pursue to encourage a democratic transition in the country?
The Cuban regime has pursued significant economic reforms while tightening its grip on power by repressing civil society. How do you intend to both address the ongoing repression in Cuba and encourage greater economic openings?
The National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute are core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.