Protect Our Values
Our values of inclusion and tolerance inspire hope around the world and make us safer at home. The world will be more secure, stable, and peaceful when all people are able to reach their God-given potential and live in freedom and dignity. We strive to ensure that the values upon which our country was built, including our belief that all people are created equal, are reflected in everything our nation does. That is why we will promote peacebuilding, protect democracy, and champion human rights defenders. And we will seek to safeguard vulnerable minorities, including LGBT people and people with disabilities.
We believe the United States must continue to be a strong advocate for the rights and opportunities of women and girls around the world. Elevating their status is not just the right thing to do—it is also a strategic imperative that advances American interests in prosperity and stability. When women and girls are healthy, educated, and able to participate economically, their families and communities prosper, poverty decreases, and economies grow. And when women participate in conflict resolution and post-conflict processes, it improves the likelihood of securing sustainable peace. Democrats are committed to advancing the rights and opportunities of women and girls as a central focus of American diplomacy, development, and defense efforts and will continue to support the United States National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. We will work to end the epidemic of gender-based violence around the world. We will urge ratification of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
We will support sexual and reproductive health and rights around the globe. In addition to expanding the availability of affordable family planning information and contraceptive supplies, we believe that safe abortion must be part of comprehensive maternal and women’s health care and included as part of America’s global health programming. Therefore, we support the repeal of harmful restrictions that obstruct women’s access to health care information and services, including the “global gag rule” and the Helms Amendment that bars American assistance to provide safe, legal abortion throughout the developing world.
Democrats believe that LGBT rights are human rights and that American foreign policy should advance the ability of all persons to live with dignity, security, and respect, regardless of who they are or who they love. We applaud President Obama’s historic Presidential Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons, which combats criminalization, protects refugees, and provides foreign assistance. We will continue to stand with LGBT people around the world, including fighting efforts by any nation to infringe on LGBT rights or ignore abuse.
We will stop the scourge of human trafficking and modern slavery of men, women, boys, and girls. We will use the full force of the law against those who engage in modern-day forms of slavery, including the commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor of men, women, and children. Building on the accomplishments of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, we call for increased diplomatic efforts with foreign governments to root out complicit public officials who facilitate or perpetrate this evil. We will also work to increase the provision of services and protections for trafficking survivors.
The majority of the developing world is under the age of 30. These countries will be more prosperous and stable if young people have access to education and employment opportunities. Democrats will promote the rights of young people and nurture young leaders. We will work with people around the world who seek greater opportunities, including by promoting job creation, expanding education and health care, and fostering partnerships between peoples.
We are horrified by ISIS’ genocide and sexual enslavement of Christians and Yezidis and crimes against humanity against Muslims and others in the Middle East. We will do everything we can to protect religious minorities and the fundamental right of freedom of religion.
The world is experiencing a major refugee crisis with more than 60 million people displaced as a result of conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe. We support President Obama’s call for an international summit to address this crisis so that every country assumes its responsibility to meet this humanitarian challenge. While Donald Trump proposes banning Muslim refugees, we will look for ways to help innocent people who are fleeing persecution while ensuring rigorous screening and vetting.
Democrats support progress toward more accountable governance and universal rights. As autocrats and strongmen around the world crack down on civil society and imprison those who speak out to demand greater freedom, we will continue to bolster groups and individuals who fight for fundamental human rights, democracy, and rule of law. We will support strong legislatures, independent judiciaries, free press, vibrant civil society, honest police forces, religious freedom, and equality for women and minorities. We will bolster the development of civil society and representative institutions that can protect fundamental human rights and improve the quality of life for all citizens, including independent and democratic unions. In non-democratic countries, we will work with international partners to assist the efforts of those struggling to promote peaceful political reforms.
Democrats will protect Americans citizens abroad. We condemn the practice of unlawful detentions or imprisonment, especially of journalists and civil rights activists.
Democrats believe that we need to end corruption worldwide and increase transparency. We will fight corruption, promote good governance, and support the rule of law. We will also seek to close offshore tax havens, which corrupt rulers, individuals, and corporations exploit to shelter ill-gotten gains or avoid paying taxes at home.
We will always seek to uphold our values at home and abroad, not just when it is easy, but when it is hard. That is why President Obama banned torture without exception in his first week in office and why Democrats condemn Donald Trump’s statements that he would engage in torture and other war crimes. We agree with military and national security experts who acknowledge that torture is not an effective interrogation technique.
The Democratic Party remains committed to closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay and ending indefinite detention without trial or conviction. Keeping the facility open is a blemish on our record, serves as a recruiting tool for extremists, and undermines our standing in the world.
We believe that development assistance is an essential instrument of American power. It can prevent threats, enhance stability, and reduce the need for military force. With less than one percent of the federal budget, our development assistance has helped cut extreme poverty in half, drastically decreased maternal and child mortality, reduced global hunger, provided food security, countered deadly pandemics, promoted education, and put an AIDS-free generation within reach. This investment reflects the best of America and makes us safer. We need to continue this work and make more progress on important global goals like ending extreme poverty and hunger.
We will support local development efforts, recognizing the self-determination of the peoples and countries we assist to direct their own futures. We will also learn from recent conflicts to improve civilian capacity for conflict prevention and stabilization.