Foreign Policy

The president says that human rights are at the “center” of his foreign policy. But from Saudi Arabia to Myanmar to Egypt, critics say he’s falling short.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the media on Wednesday at the State Department. | Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP

By NAHAL TOOSI

09/15/2021 01:41 PM EDT

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President Joe Biden has repeatedly promised to prioritize human rights, saying the cause “must be the center of our foreign policy, not the periphery.”

His top aides have echoed such pledges, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying that the Biden administration “will stand against human rights abuses wherever they occur, regardless of whether the perpetrators are adversaries or partners.”

But when it comes to some of the thorniest human rights cases, Biden and his aides have taken middle-of-the-road positions that have upset even some of their staunchest backers.

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