Watching over Human Rights with a New Subcommittee

This is the first time in Senate history that there has been a subcommittee focused on human rights. And the timing is right. At this moment in our history, it is vitally important to our national interest to promote greater respect for human rights around the world.

When our leaders speak of our inherent desire for freedom and our communal need for democracy, they are acknowledging the fundamentals of human rights.  And those who ignore and violate these fundamentals do more than challenge some idealistic goal. I hope that this subcommittee will give the Senate an opportunity to work together to maintain America’s leadership in protecting and promoting fundamental human rights.

When Chairman Leahy asked me to chair this subcommittee, I knew that our first hearing had to be on the subject of genocide and the rule of law.

The legal prohibition against genocide is obviously an unfulfilled promise.  We see this most clearly today in Darfur in western Sudan.  In this region of six million people, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and over two million people have been driven from their homes.  For them, the commitment of “never again