During Visit, President Bush Should Discuss Lack of Democracy with Middle Eastern Leaders
Washington, D.C.January 7, 2008
While visiting the Middle East later this week, President Bush should call on leaders in the region to reform their media policies and release jailed journalists, Freedom House wrote today in a letter to the president.
The organization also encouraged the president to meet with human rights advocates while in the region, and to speak out in favor of increased religious freedom and women’s rights.
“This is the first time you will have visited most of these countries, and your presence there can have an enormous influence,” wrote Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor in the letter. “At a time when freedom is under attack worldwide, we hope that during your trip, you will continue speak for those who are striving for democracy in the Middle East.”
The text of the letter is below.
January 7, 2008
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Bush:
In light of your upcoming trip to the Middle East, I am writing to request that you use this important opportunity to address some vital concerns about the state of human rights and democracy in the region.
Your passionate commitments to brave activists struggling to expand freedom in their countries have given heart to reformers around the globe. At a time when freedom is under attack worldwide, we hope that during your trip, you will continue speak for those who are striving for democracy in the Middle East. As the world’s least democratic region, its leaders have favored short-term security gains over genuine investments in democratic systems. The result has been a serious stagnation of the growth of freedom in the region.