Letter Urges the Administration to Reassert U.S. Moral Leadership in Protecting Freedom of Expression


Washington (October 12, 2018) –  Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Ranking Member of its East Asia Subcommittee, led a letter yesterday with 22 Senate colleagues highlighting concern over growing authoritarian and anti-democratic actions around the world. The senators urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to evaluate how best the United States can use its full foreign policy toolkit, voice, and resources to forcefully oppose efforts to silence critics and curtail free speech.


“We write deeply troubled by the numerous, alarming instances of state-sponsored incarceration and murder of journalists and dissidents by foreign governments,” the senators said. “Recent cases show that some foreign governments increasingly believe that silencing critics through violence and coercion is an acceptable practice for curbing dissent. These governments, however, should recognize that the United States disagrees with their strong-arm tactics and will continue to be the loudest global voice advocating for the rights of those speaking out against corruption and repression. No one should get a free pass.”


A copy of the letter can be found HERE.


The letter was also signed by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bernard Sanders (D-Vt.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Jeffrey Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).