Activists Urge US to Be Consistent on Human Rights

Double Standards 'Difficult to Understand'

A two-day seminar by Human Rights First has heard repeated complaints from myriad activists about US foreign policy, urging the US to take a real, consistent stance with respect to human rights.

UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly Maina Kiai was among the speakers, saying it was “very difficult to understand” US policy when it cheerfully backs human rights violation in Ethiopia while railing against Zimbabwe, or its stances on the Egypt and Bahrain crackdowns.

Kiai complained that the US seems to want to “pick and choose” where it supports human rights, while other activists were particularly critical of the continued US armament of Egypt’s junta, and its funding for Ethiopia even as their government has virtually outlawed human rights NGOs.

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies’ Nadine Wahab saw the problem as originating in the US “counter-terrorism narrative,” saying that the administration is confusing military aid for stability.

That might be overly generous to US policy, as in many cases the administration has bragged about its willingness to ignore US law to keep the aid flowing to rights violators like Egypt’s junta.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of