U.S., Europeans Accused of Putting Trade Over Rights

From Associated Press

The United States and other democracies lowered their defense of human rights to a whisper during the past year to concentrate on expanding trade, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

“President Clinton rarely showed the moral leadership needed to build public support for tough human rights positions, allowing pursuit of trade and investment to dominate foreign policy,” the U.S.-based independent monitoring organization charged in its 1994 report.

“Key members of the European Union shared in this retreat,” along with other major economic powers, it said, naming Germany, France, Japan, Australia and Canada.


“With the (U.S.) Administration trumpeting trade and whispering about rights, victims worldwide were regularly abandoned” to torture, genocide and other horrors, the report said. “Governments shrank from the year’s most urgent challenges--stopping genocide in Rwanda and Bosnia.”

There was no comment from the White House and State Department.

Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth said he hopes the new Republican-controlled Congress will take the initiative to defend human rights.