Under Sec. Otero on Human Rights in the Obama Administration

May 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm Leave a comment

In a recent speech at American University, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero emphasized the importance of gender equality in the Obama Administration’s human rights policy:

“Our support of civil society in its pursuit of human rights also means elevating our commitment to marginalized and disenfranchised groups, including women, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

“For example, despite bearing the brunt of society’s political and economic challenges, women across the Americas’ continue to drive democratic change and social equality. I have met with women leaders in Brazil who are fighting the scourge of human trafficking. Women in Honduras are raising their voices in the name of freedom of speech, and protecting the place of human rights defenders in society. In Colombia, women are defending the rights of the 3 million internally displaced people. And in Cuba, the Damas de Blanco were recently honored for its work fighting for fundamental freedoms. Yet, despite these heroic examples, women remain marginalized by outdated legislation and lackluster law enforcement. Even as we gather here today, women in the Middle East are struggling to make their voices heard in nascent democratic transitions. As countries seek to establish more stable, respected governments, the role of women will be tantamount to their success.”

Read the full speech: http://www.state.gov/g/161910.htm

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