The Role of Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy

General view at the opening day of the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on February 25, 2013 in Geneva. The Council kicks off with widespread abuses in North Korea and Mali the top items on the agenda, along with the crisis in Syria. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

General view at the opening day of the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on February 25, 2013 in Geneva. The Council kicks off with widespread abuses in North Korea and Mali the top items on the agenda, along with the crisis in Syria. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

Human rights have played a role in U.S. foreign policy throughout American history because the country was founded on a constitution and bill of rights that proclaimed freedom and individual liberties. But only when the U.S. became one of the world’s superpowers after World War II was our government expected to define what it stood for on the international stage. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke of the four freedoms and John F. Kennedy mentioned human rights in his inaugural address, but it took until the 1970s for human rights to formally play a major part in U.S. foreign policy formulation.

In 1979 President Jimmy Carter declared human rights to be a “central concern” of foreign policy.  However, the idea for this human rights policy did not originate with President Carter. It originated with Congress, prodded by public organizations like human rights groups, lawyers associations, church groups, labor unions, academics and others.  A subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued a report in 1974 entitled “Human Rights in the World Community: A Call for U.S. Leadership” that recommended the Department of State raise the priority of human rights in foreign policy.

Congress then enacted legislation that required the Department of State to produce human rights reports on every country receiving U.S. assistance, and prohibited military and economic assistance to governments consistently violating human rights unless national security or humanitarian aid considerations warranted the assistance.  The list of countries was later expanded to include all 193 member states of the United Nations, as well as territories and other political entities.  That was the birth of the annual Human Rights Reports.

Today, the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices are an important part of our effort to achieve this goal, and they are also the Department of State’s most-read publication, with over 1 million online visitors every year! Readers can sort the information not just by country, but also by issues such as the human rights of women or minority groups, freedom of expression, labor or prison conditions. The annual Human Rights Report, which is derived from input and reporting from multiple independent sources, is a reflection of our global advocacy and of how seriously we regard the promotion of and advocacy for human and civil rights, and democratic governance in Ethiopia and other countries around the world.

Guided by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent human rights treaties, the country reports do not draw legal conclusions, rate countries or declare whether they failed to meet standards. Rather, they demonstrate that the United States understands that the existence of human rights helps secure peace, deter aggression, promote the rule of law, combat crime and corruption, strengthen democracies, and prevent humanitarian crises. By working with other governments, civil society, the media and individuals, the United States welcomes a dialogue on how best to advance these goals.

በአሜሪካ የውጭ ጉዳይ ፖሊሲ የሰብዓዊ መብቶች አያያዝ የሚጫወተው ሚና

የሰብዓዊ መብቶች ጉዳይ በአሜሪካ የውጭ ጉዳይ ፖሊሲና በአጠቃላይ የሀገሪቱ ታሪክ የሚጫወተው ሚና ከፍተኛ ነው፡፡ ይህም የሆነበት ዋንኛው ምክንያት፣ የአሜሪካ ሕገ መንግሥት እና በኋላም ስለግለሰቦች ነፃነት ተጨማሪ መብቶችን ለዜጎች ያጎናፀፈው ተጨማሪ ክፍል የሀገሪቱን መሠረት የጣሉ መሆናቸው ነው፡፡ ነገር ግን አሜሪካ ከሁለተኛው የዓለም ጦርነት በኋላ ልዕለ ኃያል ሆና በመውጣቷ፤ መንግሥታችን በዓለም አቀፉ መድረክ የቆመለትን ዓላማ ግልፅ አድርጓል፡፡ ፕሬዚዳንት ፍራንክሊን ዴላኖ ሩዝቨልት ስለ አራቱ የነፃነት ዓይነቶች ብዙ ተናግረዋል፤ፕሬዚዳንት ጆን ኤፍ. ኬኔዲም መንበረ ሥልጣኑን ሲረከቡ ባደረጉት ንግግር የሰብዓዊ መብቶችን አስፈላጊነት ጠቅሰዋል፡፡ ነገር ግን እስከ 1970ዎቹ መጨረሻ ድረስ የሰብዓዊ መብቶች ጉዳይ የአሜሪካ የውጭ ጉዳይ ፖሊሲ መደበኛ አካል አልነበረም፡፡

በ1987 ዓ.ም. ፕሬዚዳንት ጂሚ ካርተር የሰብዓዊ መብቶች አያያዝ ጉዳይ የአሜሪካ ውጭ ጉዳይ ፖሊሲ ዋንኛ የትኩረት አቅጣጫ እንዲሆን ወሰኑ፡፡ ይሁን እንጂ ፕሬዚዳንት ካርተር የሰብዓዊ መብቶች ፖሊሲ ዋና አፍላቂ ናቸው ማለት አይደለም፡፡ የአሜሪካ ኮንግረስ ፖሊሲውን ካረቀቀው በኋላ፣ የተለያዩ በጉዳዩ ዙሪያ የሚንቀሳቀሱ እንደ ሂዩማን ራይትስ ዋች ያሉ የመብት ተከራካሪ ድርጅቶች፣የጠበቆች ማኅበራት፣የሠራተኛ ማኅበራት፣ምሁራንና ሌሎችም የበኩላቸውን ግፊት አሳድረዋል፡፡ በ1982 ዓ.ም. የውጭ ጉዳይ ምክር ቤት ኮሚቴ ንዑስ ኮሚቴ “የዓለም አቀፉ ማህበረሰብ የሰብዓዊ መብቶች ሁኔታ፡-አሜሪካ በጉዳዩ ዙሪያ የመሪነት ሚና እንድትጫወት የቀረበ ጥሪ” የሚል ሪፖርት አቅርበው የውጭ ጉዳይ መሥሪያ ቤት  በውጭ ጉዳይ ፖሊሲ ደረጃ ለጉዳዩ ቅድሚያ ሰጥቶ እንዲሠራ ሐሳብ አቀረበ፡፡

ይህንን ተከትሎ የአሜሪካ የውጭ ጉዳይ መሥሪያ ቤት እያንዳንዱ ከአሜሪካ በማንኛውም መልኩ ድጋፍ በሚደረግለት ሀገር  የሰብዓዊ መብቶች አያያዝ ላይ ሪፖርት እንዲያቀርብና አስገዳጅ በሆኑ የብሔራዊ ደህንነት ጉዳዮች አልያም የሰብዓዊ ረድኤት አስፈላጊነት ሁኔታዎች ካልተቀየሩ በስተቀር፤ በተደጋጋሚ የሰብዓዊ መብት ጥሰት ለሚያደርሱ መንግሥታት በውትድርናም ሆነ በኢኮኖሚው መስክ ምንም ዓይነት ድጋፍ እንዳይደረግ የሚያዝ ሕግ ኮንግረሱ አፀደቀ፡፡ በኋላም የሀገራቱ ዝርዝር የተባበሩት መንግሥታት ድርጅት አባል የሆኑትን 193ቱን ሀገራትና ሌሎች የዓለማችን ክፍላት፣ እንዲሁም ፖለቲካዊ ዕውቅና ያላቸው አካላት እንዲካተቱ ተደረገ፡፡ በዚህም መልኩ በየዓመቱ የሚወጣው የሰብዓዊ መብቶች አያያዝ ሪፖርት ውልደት ሆነ ማለት ነው፡፡

ዛሬ እነዚህ የየሀገራቱ የሰብዓዊ መብቶች አያያዝ ሪፖርቶች የያዝነውን ግብ ከማሳካት አኳያ የምናደርገው ጥረት ዋንኛ አካል ከመሆናቸውም በላይ፤ ከውጭ ጉዳይ ጉዳይ መሥሪያ ቤት የኅትመት ውጤቶች በተነባቢነት ረገድ የመሪነቱን ሥፍራ ይይዛሉ፡፡ በዓመት በድረገፅ ከ1 ሚሊዮን በላይ ሰዎች ያነቡታል! ዝርዝር ሪፖርቱን ሰዎች በሚፈልጉት ሁኔታ የየሀገራቱን ገልጠው ማየት ብቻ ሳይሆን፤ በርዕሰ ጉዳይ ደረጃም እንደየፍላጎታቸው ሊያነቡት በሚችሉት መልኩ ተቀምጠዋል፡፡ ለምሳሌ፡-የሴቶችና የአናሳ ቡድኖች መብቶች፣ሐሳብን በነፃነት የመግለጽ፣ከሥራና ከእስር ሁኔታ ጋር የተያያዙ ጉዳዮችን ነጥለው ማንበብ እንዲችሉ ተደርጓል፡፡ ስለዚህም ዓመታዊው የሰብዓዊ መብቶች አያያዝ ሪፖርት የያዛቸው መረጃዎች ከተለያዩ ምንጮች የተገኙና በኢትዮጵያም ሆነ በሌሎች ሀገራት ሰብዓዊ መብቶችና የዲሞክራሲያዊ አስተዳደርን ለማስረጽ ያለንን ቀርጠኝነት የሚያሳይ ነው፡፡

በተባበሩት መንግሥታት ድርጅት ዓለም አቀፍ የሰብዓዊ መብቶች አዋጅና በኋላም በተደረሱ የተለያዩ ስምምነቶች ላይ የተመሠረተው ይህ ሪፖርት ትኩረቱ የሕግ ድምዳሜ ላይ መድረስ፣ሀገራትን ደረጃ በደረጃ መመደብ፣ አልያም የሚጠበቅባቸውን ደረጃ አላሟሉም ብሎ መፈረጅ አይደለም፡፡ ይልቁንም አሜሪካ ሰላምን ለማስፈን፣ወረራን ለመግታት፣የሕግ የበላይነትን ለማስጠበቅ፣ሙስናና ወንጀልን ለመከላከል፣ዲሞክራሲን ለማጠናከርና ሰብዓዊ ቀውሶች እንዳይከሰቱ ለማድረግ የሰብዓዊ መብቶች መከበር አስፈላጊ መሆኑን እንደምትረዳ የሚያመለክቱ ናቸው፡፡ ስለሆነም አሜሪካ ከሌሎች መንግሥታት፣ሲቪክ ማኅበረሰቦች፣መገናኛ ብዙሃን እና ግለሰቦች ጋር ተቀራርቦ በመሥራትና በመነጋገር ይህንን ዓላማ እንዴት በሚገባ ማሳካት እንደሚቻል ሁሉንም ባለድርሻ አካላት የሚያቀርቡትን ሐሳብ ለመቀበል ዝግጁ መሆኗን በዚህ አጋጣሚ ትገልጻለች፡፡

3 thoughts on “The Role of Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy

  1. you have been issuing many reports regarding human rights violations and abuses, measures taken against politicians and journalists since the regime in Addis has come to power.However, inspite of these reports you have been keeping your financial assistance, I think including for military. Is this not in contradiction to your claim? In addition, the regime always reacts in a very defiant manner following your reports as if the US is dependent on the regime? what is the value of the report while year after year the regime’s behavior is worsening?

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  2. And what is the role of human rights violation in US foreign relations with the rest of the world and on its development aid provision and allocation to aid recipient countries? What would the US government do when there is wide spread violation of human rights in general and political and civil rights in particular in its ODA recipient nations like Ethiopia?

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  3. I have a bit reservation to say American forin policy is respectfull especally after the end of colledware. I think now a days you have duble standard for human right policy especally if you have an interest in any country like Ethiopia even you are not that match interesred the respect of human right for the nation. I have a loot of evidence to challeng you the reality is totaly diffrent than what you are saying. I should have to be honest to tell you that you have a duble standared for human right through Ethiopian contecst.

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