Obama visit a chance to promote human rights

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NEW YORK - US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should put human rights at the heart of their discussions when they meet in New Delhi, Human Rights Watch has said.

The world’s largest democracies should make a commitment and encourage each other to protect human rights in their domestic and security policies and agree to engage in diplomacy that will promote human rights globally, Human Rights Watch said late Wednesday.

Obama will visit Mumbai and New Delhi Nov 6-9.

“As the world’s biggest democracies, the US and India should promote common values that are too often ignored in the name of security or trade,” the group said. “Both countries should send the world a message that respect for rights goes hand-in-hand with other national concerns.”

States have a responsibility to protect their citizens from terrorist attacks, but both India and the US have compromised on their human rights obligations while combating such threats, eroding standards for others around the world, it said.

New Delhi’s and Washington’s own records of abuses, particularly those committed in the name of countering terrorism, have made it more difficult for them to press other countries effectively to uphold human rights.

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