Center for American Progress

RELEASE: United States Must Stand Up for Human Rights and Democracy in Asia, CAP Report Says
Press Release

RELEASE: United States Must Stand Up for Human Rights and Democracy in Asia, CAP Report Says

Washington, D.C. — With mounting human rights challenges in Asia, the United States must craft specific strategies to support democracy and human rights and prevent and respond to human rights violations and democratic backsliding, according to a new issue brief from the Center for American Progress.

From mass protests in Hong Kong, to genocide in Myanmar, to democratic backsliding in the Philippines, to the concentration camps of Uighurs in western China, the situation can appear bleak. However, the United States has plenty of tools to support democracy and human rights in Asia.

“The United States does not control what happens across the region, but it can advance U.S. interests by standing up for human rights and democracy,” said Michael Fuchs, senior fellow at CAP and author of the report. “With the right policies, it can make a difference.”

U.S. leaders can send important signals through public rhetoric and private diplomacy. The United States allocates tens of millions of dollars to support everything from civil society organizations to trainings for government officials. Additionally, sanctions and other punitive measures can deliver the right message when human rights are violated or democracies backslide.

The issue brief outlines how the United States should respond in different circumstances. While each situation requires a tailored response, there are a few principles the United States can follow no matter what the circumstance:

  • Provide financial support to civil organizations supporting democracy and human rights
  • Support human rights regardless of economic concerns
  • Speak out in support of people struggling for freedom
  • Work with allies and partners around the world
  • Boost democracy assistance
  • Improve human rights and democracy at home

Read the issue brief: “How to Support Democracy and Human Rights in Asia” by Michael Fuchs

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at or 202-478-6327.