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The U.S. government missed a chance to tell the dictators of the truth

<address class=”article-magazine article-header-magazine-top”>The Washington Post, USA</address>

Власти США упустили шанс сказать диктаторам правдуthe <small>© 2016 AFP, Jim Watson</small>




Last week some of the world’s dictators first appeared in the United States, arriving at the nuclear security summit. These are the people that throw their critics in jail and violate the foundations of civil society. The Obama administration has treated them with all courtesy, although they deserve a more guarded attitude.

Take, for example, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who regularly puts in jail those who criticize it. On the eve of the summit it some of them released — probably, thinking that will ease the tension and smooth out the impression. Although without any reason remains behind bars for performing an independent investigative journalist Khadija Ismailova and the human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus are prohibited from leaving the country. When U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry appeared before the press together with Mr. Aliyev at the White house in the war room, he highly praised his guest as the leader of the country in a complicated region, acting “wisely and judiciously”. Kerry and Aliyev talked about the pipeline, about the conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan’s role in Afghanistan. But on democracy and human rights, they said nothing.

Власти США упустили шанс сказать диктаторам правду
With the Azerbaijani President met Vice President Biden and, according to the statement, “noted with satisfaction the release from prison of human rights defenders and civil society activists, and was supported by further progress, emphasizing the importance of civil society and the rule of law”. It looks kindly and inspiring. But in fact, Mr. Aliyev does not respect neither civil society nor the rule of law. How hard it was to speak out in support of Khadija Ismailova?

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also trying to silence its critics — including the suppression of press freedom, conducting criminal persecution of journalists Cana Dundara (Can Dundar) and Erdem Gul (Gul Erdem). Prior to that, Biden has opposed harsh measures against the press, but in a statement the White house after meeting with Erdogan at the St. Regis Hotel about how this was not mentioned. Not to mention repressive measures and in the report about the meeting of President Obama with Erdogan on Tuesday in the White house. On Friday after the summit, Barack Obama said warned Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on “suppression of the freedom of information and curtailing democratic debates”.

As can be seen from statements issued by the White house after meeting President Obama with Chinese leader XI Jinping, they discussed the issues of climate change, combating cyber-crime and nuclear security. Mr. Obama “reiterated that the United States strongly supports compliance with China’s human rights and fundamental freedoms”, the statement said. Mr. C does not share these values, he leads the party and the state, which respects neither rights nor freedoms. Barack Obama could name some names — for example, a name such as himself, the Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo (Liu Xiaobo), which gloat in prison because he fought for freedom of speech and respect for human rights. Such a direct conversation, perhaps, would offend Mr. XI, but he would raise the spirit of fearless dissidents around the world, which their jailers constantly say that the world community forgot about them.

Freedom is under threat — from China, Russia to the Middle East. Now more than ever the United States must act to protect people who continue to fight for freedom. Private conversations are important, but it is important to speak openly, for all to see. Even at the risk of being impolite during the summit, it is important to recall the tyrants — and the world — what the human spirit to win.


Original publishing: The administration missed a chance last week to speak truth to autocrats

Published 04/04/2016

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