International human rights attorneyWith all the focus on the economy this election cycle, I’m disheartened to note that critical international issues have been relegated to the political back burner.

As an advocate for international human rights, I’ve naturally been disappointed with the complete absence of  any meaningful dialogue on the human atrocities taking place in hot spots around the word—particularly in Syria.

I mention this because I was thrilled to see a post, Ten Critical Human Rights Issues for the Next President, authored by Stewart M. Patrick over at the Internationalist blog published on the Council on Foreign Relations website.

The post succintly lays out the world’s most presing human rights issues. The list was compiled by twenty-two human rights organizations around the world.

As the introduction notes:

“U.S. leadership is critical to effectively address international human rights issues. International responses to gross violations and systematic abuses of human rights around the world tend to have the greatest impact when the United States plays a prominent role or is otherwise actively engaged in promoting a rights-based response. Multilateral human rights institutions similarly make the greatest progress in drawing attention to abuses and maintaining human rights standards when the United States exercises leadership.”

As Patrick points out, the list “offers the next president a guide to prioritizing today’s greatest human rights challenges—and learned experience from past efforts to promote fundamental rights around the world.”

Ten Critical Human Rights Issues for the Next President:

1)      Prioritize U.S. leadership on international norms and universality of human rights;

2)      Act to prevent genocide and mass atrocities and ensure accountability;

3)      Pursue policies that protect people from the threat of terrorism while respecting human rights both at home and abroad;

4)      Oppose the coordinated global assault on civil society, including the murder, criminalization, and vilification of human rights defenders;

5)      Proactively address the democracy and human rights opportunities and challenges presented by the Arab Uprisings;

6)      Ensure that corporations avoid contributing to human rights violations in their operations and through their supply chains;

7)      Bolster accountability and access to services and justice for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence;

8)      Review the United States’ relationships and alliances with governments that violate human rights;  

9)      Support international justice and accountability for human rights violators present in the United States; and

10)   Support policies at home and abroad that respect the rights of asylum seekers, refugees, migrants, and immigrants.

For complete analysis of each item on the list, please visit Patrick’s article.