AJWS’s Current U.S. Advocacy Priorities: Policy and Legislation
United States foreign policy affects countless people around the world—including millions in the 18 countries where AJWS works. The AJWS Advocacy team elevates the voices of our partners by advocating for U.S. foreign policy that promotes and strengthens their work to secure human rights and combat oppression and injustice in their communities.
Today’s Top AJWS Advocacy Priorities
Ensure access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights for all people worldwide by:
- Working towards full legislative repeal of the global gag rule—which prohibits any foreign organization receiving U.S. global health funding from providing legal and safe abortions or referrals for those services — through passage of the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (Global HER) Act.
- Supporting the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act to repeal the harmful Helms Amendment, which limits the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance by blocking access to reproductive healthcare.
- Protecting and supporting the rights of LGBTQI+ people across the globe through passage of the Greater Leadership Overseas for the Benefit of Equality (GLOBE) Act.
- Ensuring that key reproductive health initiatives are sufficiently funded via appropriations requests or the U.S. budget, making sure to include family planning and reproductive health, PEPFAR (Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), and LGBTQI+ rights around the world.
Promote democracy and insist that governments around the world be held accountable for human rights abuses by:
- Supporting the civil and political rights of all people around the world to protest abusive governments, combat rising authoritarianism, their opinions freely, participate fully in the political process, and access information from governments without fear of reprisal or criminalization.
- Utilizing all diplomatic and economic levers necessary to pressure global leaders if they take action to silence, oppress or persecute minority communities, journalists, and human rights defenders
- Continuing and increasing the use of sanctions against those who commit corruption and human rights abuses around the world through the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which enables the U.S. President to impose economic sanctions and deny human rights offenders entry to the U.S.
- Helping to elevate the voices of survivors of human rights abuses in the wake of conflict or mass atrocities in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean by supporting credible domestic and international justice efforts—so that they may secure justice for the crimes committed against them.
Strengthen a robust international response to COVID-19 that supports the most marginalized communities around the world who have been hit hardest by:
- Ensuring that all U.S. legislation for COVID-19 response provides necessary international funding to combat the pandemic and its secondary effects worldwide, and is inclusive of LGBTQI+ people, women and girls, Indigenous communities, and historically disenfranchised communities like sex workers.
- Participating in global efforts to secure an accessible vaccine for all, including marginalized communities, through the World Health Organization and other global bodies.
Prioritize U.S. foreign policy that puts human rights at its center, and rebuild a foundation of human rights-focused policy following last administration.
- Making sure the U.S. safeguards human rights and protects our planet by playing an active role in the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and multilateral climate platforms.
- Rejecting and repudiating the attempts of leaders and governments around the world, including the U.S., to implement policies that further exclude marginalized communities like women, LGBTQI+, and ethnic and religious minorities, including through institutionalizing a narrow definition of religious freedom
- Rebuilding and reinvigorating the U.S. State Department, the United States Agency for International Development, and the National Security Council by filling staff positions with diverse, qualified professionals—and pressing staff to integrate and center human rights principles across all foreign policy.
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