(Washington, DC) –Frank Jannuzi, Amnesty International USA deputy executive director, issued the following statement as President Barack Obama prepared to be sworn for his second term as the United States' president on Sunday, January 20, 2013:
"President Obama's first term record on human rights merits an 'incomplete.' He now has another four years to live up to his own rhetoric and high aspirations and complete the course.
"The president can enhance security without trampling on rights, implement a foreign policy that hold friends and foes accountable for crackdowns on freedom of expression and other violations and ensure equal rights for all in the United States.
"While President Obama made the bold move of issuing an executive order to close Guantánamo on his second day in office, he has yet to fulfill that promise. The U.S. government's reliance on lethal drone strikes is growing steadily, but the Obama administration has provided no clear legal justification for the program. Congress has abrogated its responsibility to exercise meaningful oversight of this mostubiquitous element of the 'global war on terror,' a paradigm which is in and of itself problematic.
"Although President Obama has on occasion stood up for human rights defenders abroad – in China, Iran, Russia, and Libya – his administration has often muted criticism when it comes to U.S. allies, in the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
"And even on the home front, President Obama's legacy is far from assured, with women's rights, immigrants' rights and tackling discrimination all stacked in the 'unfinished' pile.
"Mr. President, it is time to put human rights at the center of the United States' domestic and international agendas. It's not just about your legacy. It's about the United States' reputation at home and abroad."
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.