Human Rights Watch Criticises Biden, Others for Weak Defense of Democracy | Top News

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Human Rights Watch on Thursday criticised U.S. President Joe Biden and other Western leaders for a weak defense of democracy and for failing to meet challenges from the climate crisis and COVID-19 pandemic to poverty, inequality and racial injustice.

In contrast to what Human Rights Executive Director Kenneth Roth described as former U.S. President Donald Trump’s “embrace of friendly autocrats”, Biden took office in January 2021 with a pledge to put human rights at the center of his foreign policy.

“Other Western leaders displayed similar weakness in their defense of democracy,” Roth wrote, naming French President Emmanuel Macron and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“The U.S. State Department has issued occasional protests about repression in certain countries, and in extreme cases the Biden administration introduced targeted sanctions on some officials responsible, but the influential voice of the president was often missing,” he wrote.

U.S. officials have defended the Biden administration’s record, saying diplomats have frequently raised human rights concerns with foreign leaders, including in difficult talks with adversaries including China and Russia.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Mary Milliken and Karishma Singh)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.