News / Europe

Clinton Criticizes Russia on Europe Policy, Human Rights

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) conference opening session in Dublin, December 6, 2012.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) conference opening session in Dublin, December 6, 2012.
Al Pessin
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sharply criticized Russia Thursday, saying it is trying to “re-Sovietize” Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Clinton spoke in Dublin at an event with civil society activists from the area, and at a meeting of the 57-member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Meeting with the human rights activists, Secretary Clinton criticized Russian efforts to create a Eurasian Union, saying it is really an effort to re-assert Soviet-era controls on the region. She said the United States is working “to slow down or prevent it.”

She also took aim at new limits on human rights in several former-Soviet states. She singled out Russia for criminalizing foreign involvement in domestic human rights organizations, and said the United States is looking for new ways to support such groups.

Later, in her formal remarks at the OSCE meeting, she criticized Russian-backed efforts to limit the organization’s deliberations, slow its response to crises, and suspend existing agreements. She also cited efforts to block resolutions on digital age freedom, media freedom, freedom of assembly and association, and a measure on military transparency.

“These are not the way to progress in the 21st century," she said. "The United States remains committed to the goal of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace, and to the OSCE, whose principles are sound. We welcome any and all efforts to strengthen this organization, but that means empowering the organizations we already have to function free from interference - not curtailing them; and it means implementing the commitments we have made to one another and to our citizens, not undermining them.”

Speaking to the assembled delegates, including the Russian foreign minister and senior officials from other former Soviet states, Secretary Clinton also accused the Belarus government of systematically repressing human rights, and called October’s election in Ukraine “a step backwards for democracy.”

The secretary accused Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan of restricting freedom of expression and religion. And in the Caucasus, she cited attacks on journalists, limits to judicial independence, and unfair elections.

She said anti-Semitism and discrimination against immigrants, Roma and homosexuals persist in Eastern Europe, and cited what she called “democratic backsliding” in Hungary and “challenges to constitutional processes” in Romania.

In the meeting with the activists, Secretary Clinton called it “distressing” that 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, “so many of the hoped-for indicators of progress are retreating.” She said the opportunities for human rights groups to operate are shrinking, and “governments are becoming much more aggressive in trying to stifle dissent, [and] prevent the free expression and exchange of views.”

Among the 11 activists at the meeting were representatives of groups from Russia, Turkmenistan, Belarus and Ukraine, which she called “one of our biggest disappointments.”

Although its official focus is European security, the OSCE has played a key role in promoting human rights since its founding during the Cold War in the 1970s, including the adoption of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975.  Secretary Clinton said she sees “a growing concern for the future” of the organization, and what she called “the values it has always championed."

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid