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tv   Activists Discuss Promoting Democracy  CSPAN  December 7, 2021 5:20am-6:47am EST

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elevating the voices and activists of countries not invited to the summit. even as we rightly focus on the urgent need to address democratic backsliding in fragile and established democracies, including our own, we cannot lose sight of the places where democracy has yet to be achieved. while the center for democracy process works to build strong are coalitions among democratic countries, it should also be working to expand the number of countries included in its ranks, including one day the countries represented at today's event. today, we will have an opportunity to hear from pro-democracy and human rights activists on the front lines of this difficult work, who are grinding it out every day, trying to make progress against what may seem like impossible odds. it almost goes without saying that these activists work to promote human rights, democracy under an credit lead difficult and often dangerous circumstances -- under incredibly difficult and often dangerous circumstances.
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-- as a result of they were doing and thousands more were subject to arrest, detention, physical attacks, online and off-line harassment and smear campaigns and expensive lawsuits designed to stop them from doing their work. inevitably, the speakers we have with us today are present only a fraction of the activists from dozens of countries around the world, working on these issues. i hope they can give us a glimpse to the challenges they and their peers face. in particular, the ways the united states and like-minded countries as well as the center for democracy itself can support them. the u.s. government deploys many tools and resources from ongoing technical support to public and private advocacy and financial support in times of crisis. i'm sure we'll hear about some of those strategies and their effectiveness over the course of today's discussion. i was glad to see the state department updated guidance on
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how to best support the work of human rights defenders around the world. on capitol hill, support for this work has already gender -- has always generated bipartisan support. we are honored that we will have two numbers of congress to address today's event. later we will hear from a senate -- later we will hear from a congressman burr from delaware but we will kick off today's calm -- conversation with a congressman from texas who worked as the making member of the house foreign affairs committee and a longtime supporter and advocate for pro-democracy and human rights advocates around the world. we appreciate him taking the time for us today. >> thank you for allowing me to speak at this important event with the center for strategic and international studies. next thursday and friday, the biden administration is hosting the summit for democracy. this is supposed to be a launching point for the united states and our allies and
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partners to actively work to promote and defend democracy and human rights around the world. this summit will be an opportunity for the biden administration to bring our allies and partners together to counter the greatest threats to freedom that we face today, the chinese commonest party. right now, the ccp poses its greatest geopolitical, economic and military threat to the united states and our allies, whether through the belt and road initiative for their brutal oppression of hong kong, or the looming threat they pose to taiwan or the genocide they are committing against the ethnic and religious minorities. the ccp is successfully spreading maligned influence around the world and they are using technology, technology they have often stolen from the united states to expand their power. this is especially true with emerging technologies like 5g and artificial intelligence.
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these emerging technologies will continue to have increasingly profound consequences on geopolitics and military kit abilities, -- military capabilities. we already know the ccp is using 5g to infiltrate networks of other countries. we have proof they are using ai to assist in their genocide. that is why i sent a letter to president biden this week along with 18 other house republicans urging him to prioritize cooperation with our democratic allies on these critical emerging technologies. also why i am urging the biden administration to use this democracy summit to establish frameworks for the development of ai and other emerging technologies in a manner that is adequate -- ethical and consistent with our democratic and moral values. to establish credit ability with our allies, use our shared influence in international standard-setting bodies like the
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international telecommute occasion -- telecommunication union. we want them to assist our democratic allies in establishing their own bodies like the committee on foreign investment that we have here, to review foreign transactions and prevent the transfer of technologies to authoritarian states, and to coordinate with allies and partners on a data framework to protect sensitive data of u.s. citizens, such as to netiquette information. -- such as genetic information. leverage emerging technologies -- we must work with our allies to offer a better alternative. i hope the by demonstration does not squander this opportunity. we need to see real progress, with concrete actions and not just rhetoric. thank you again for hosting this important event, and for having me and allowing me to participate. i want to thank csis for all of
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their great work. it is one of the best pieces we have written on cybersecurity, and it was a pleasure working with csis. i appreciate the great work you do. thank you. >> i want to thank congressman the call for his remark -- congressman mccaul, and specifically the spotlight he put on the role of technology and adopting practices to prevent the misuse of technology for the abuse of human rights and the attack of human rights activists. thank you so much. i want to turn to isabel coleman, the deputy amid a straight or of the u.s. agency for international development of foreign policy and programming. she guides the u.s. crisis response, countering the influence of russia and china and supports efforts to address
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the root causes of regular migration. she has over 25 years of experience working in government, the private sector and nonprofits and we are delighted she is here to help open this important session. >> good morning. thank you for the opportunity to join you today. i would like to start by thanking the democracy activists who are with us, and the countless others around the world for their courageous commitment to democratic governance and human rights. thanks to csis for hosting this important summit and for its long-standing commitment to democracy and human rights. i would like to thank representative mccaul and senator kunz for their work both at home and abroad. -- on the front lines in the battle for democracy around the world. amid rising authoritarianism, entrepreneurs, independent journalism, legal advocates are pushing back against efforts to
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manipulate the judicial system, undermine elections. these are the voices of accountability and reform. those working for democratic change in closed countries often do so under pressure, facing trial, prison, physical and doodle abuse and attacks against them and their family. despite the rising number of ngo laws designed to make democracy work -- civil societies persist. 21 countries have enacted restrictions on democracy programs since 2002, targeting support to civil society in particular. civil society organizations often rely on international donor assistance to do democracy work. -- undermining national security. meanwhile, many advocates forced from their country continue their efforts in exile. the courage of these actors and the importance of their work demands worldwide attention.
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usa has a long history of supporting civil society advocacy. in the cuban republic, u.s. aid provides -- to combat misinformation as well as monitoring publications that require special attention from groups such as lawyers, fact checkers and -- globally, usaid's greater internet project provided -- to 25 civil society organizations in the first year to help respond cybersecurity incidents across multiple regions. just last month, -- announced the launch of a global defamation defense fund to protect into independent journalists. through decades of programming, usaid has learned that long-term approach, long-term support to
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local civil society actors coupled with appropriate diplomatic and multilateral pressure can be effective in strengthening civil society organizations to advocate for democratic change. the early identification and quick action before the passage of repressive laws can help scale back such efforts. we know empowering local voices and strengthening domestic philanthropy are building blocks for expanding civil space. we also know the world has changed dramatically. the ripple effects of the covid-19 pandemic has in many cases allowed autocrats to clamp down further, and the plague of myths and disinformation eventuated by increasingly sophisticated authoritarian regimes is a growing challenge. as we take stock of democracy this week, it is easy to lament an authoritarian -- limit authoritarian encroachment over the years. this problem is real but not the whole story. citizens are fighting for democratic rights all over the world, more than ever, even in
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the most repressive environments. it was reported just this month that in 2021, protests have continued an 82% of countries despite the pandemic. during the year of action, the next year leading up to the second, countries will have the opportunity to engage in a process with domestic and international civil societies to bolster commitments war democratic renewal. here at usaid, we will continue working to build networks with civil society activists by supporting following events and ad hoc support to help eliminate worst labor, promote migrant rights, free political prisoners, work with individuals in exile and help with survival strategies. one of usaid's some announcer bowls is powered by the people, an initiative focused on forging connections so that they can share vital knowledge and practices with each other without direct involvement by the u.s. government.
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through initiatives like powered by the people, usaid will continue working to build networks of peaceful movements, raise awareness in countries with specific situations, share best practices and track progress on human rights work. we always need to learn from critics to rinse and we welcome any advice from fellow defenders of democracy working in the many closed or closing countries that are not presented here today. i thank you for your time, and i look forward to the presentation of our colleagues. >> thank you so much, for being with us today, and for all the work usaid does in this space. thank you for helping us frame our discussion both as a question of what is working and what has worked in the past, as well as helping us looking forward to what we could be doing during this year of action and going forward. i want to thank our introductory speakers. i will now turn the discussion over to our senior vice president, it was going to moderate the conversation with
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our panelists -- who is going to moderate the conversation with our panelists. >> let me start with my ferret book on this topic -- my favorite book on this topic. i met the author, one of the great heroes of our time. there is a myth that that we love freedom, others don't, that our freedom and democracy and human rights and the rule of law are american values or western values. ours are not western values. they are universal values of the human spirit. anywhere, anytime, ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same. freedom, not tyranny. democracy, not dictatorship. the rule of law, not the rule of secret police. this was quoted in the book, and also from former prime minister tony blair. it is not the property of any political camp. proponents cannot be neatly divided into left or right, democrat or republican or even
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american or european or others. it's detractors are equally diverse, coming from all sides of the political spectrum. democracy can ultimately win out. the folks who are here are witnesses to hope, that we need to support folks in these enclosed spaces. aid does incredible work in these enclosed spaces. we are happy to help aid and the network of folks they work with around the world, including the activists here. there are several questions i want to get at with this group. one is we are going to have this democracy summit. what is the homework assignment? there is this so-called year of action. give us specific homework assignments for the united states, for the west, for all entropy. that is one of the great organizing questions for us to have this discussion. we have a number of incredible
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people who are going to speak. i would like to first hear from the executive director of the cambodian center for human rights. the organization in cambodia was recognized by president obama in 2014. let me start with her please. >> thank you so much. greetings to everyone. it is my pleasure to join you today. looking at democracy in cambodia , it has become a word on paper rather than a reality on the ground.
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-- democracy in cambodia. however, -- has been noted in these 10 years and cambodia has experienced -- to be accomplished -- while this represents a glimmer of hope for human rights and democracy in cambodia, -- a number of activists have been arrested, convicted, there has been a massive crackdown on civil society actors in recent years. physical attacks and monitoring activities have become too common in cambodia.
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a new crackdown, so that the recommendation by the civil society actors organizations have fallen on deaf ears and we believe that stronger action is needed to promote democracy in cambodia. we hope that with the coming democracy summit, hosted by the united states, will include adoption of the -- that comes with a concrete way to address human rights and democracy not just in cambodia but in
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countries where democracy is of concern. it is important for the united states to respect human rights back home as well so that it sets an example for others and have a powerful way to convey that in the region but also globally. -- we call on the u.s. and -- the authority and it is necessary to see this
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improvement in the cambodian landscape and i will count on your support. thank you so much. >> thank you. you inspire me. thank you for all you are doing. it is difficult work under difficult circumstances. i would love to hear from a researcher in law at the university of kent and the former chief of staff to the prime minister of zimbabwe. i would be so grateful, if i could hear from you in providing an african perspective on this. >> thank you very much. i hope you can hear me. it is important to understand that a country like zimbabwe like many other countries around the world, countries which are
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suffering from an increasingly authoritarian system of government, the use of repressive laws, it is important for countries such as the u.s. and other countries that are promoters of democracy to really take up the challenge to try and support organizations and individuals that are living in these countries. what you often find is that in these countries, the ruling parties are very powerful, not only because they control the levers of power but also they have huge access to resources, financial resources and another effect of that that should be taken into account is the influence of countries like china, which are coming up with
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a very different model of government, coming up and providing support to authoritarian regimes, and in the process, civil society organizations, civil society opposition, political parties and activists, they find themselves sandwiched between the authoritarian regime at home and authoritarian regimes abroad. the problem that you have is that pro-democracy movements in countries that have previously been supported of democratic movements in these countries have really been either lukewarm or relaxed in recent years and that has given more power for these organizations which are authoritarian to become even more repressive. the example i was getting from cambodia and i have been listening to conversations with colleagues from other countries is very much the same that you would find in some bob way -- in
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zimbabwe, uganda, sudan, the increasing militarization of the state and of politics and that becomes very difficult. the other factor is the issue of institutional decay. institutions which are supposed to be political referees, i am very happy that you referenced the book that you cited in the beginning. one of my own greatest inspirations in recent years is a book by --, both political scientists i'm sure many people here -- they wrote a book, how democracy dies, about three years ago and i found it fascinating in the way that it describes, the way things are going in the u.s. and what needed to be done in order to
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rescue the u.s., and ethic it is important because it is very important for the rest of the world. it is an example to many people who are watching, when things decay in one of the biggest democracies, then it becomes very difficult and even our own dictators, they celebrate and they say look at what you aspire to, and i found it fascinating because it also give a lesson on what needed to be done in order to promote democracy not just in america but also around the world, and i think a lot of people, those of us fighting for democracy can learn a lot from that. we do face a serious challenge. the state is very powerful. it is backed by the military. they use both legal means and nonlegal means.
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they consume you until you are broke. they've been using legal instruments to basically disempower the opposition political party and when you ask them, they will tell you it is all legal. you go to court and try to challenge it and the court says it is all legal because the courts have been compromised. a lot of democracy advocates have nowhere to run. they are in their country trying to fight but they are fighting a system which is so thoroughly encapsulated, so taken up either regime, that there is not much space. right now if you look at zimbabwe, they are planning a number of laws for private organizations, designed to give government more intrusive powers into civil society organizations. they are planning what they call a bill which is supposed to make -- because it is something that
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can be legislated and they also have a law to try and control social media activities, for reasons -- socialist -- social media has given a lot of space to democracy activists. you realize that the state is trying to control social media in order to stifle voices of democracy activists. we need a lot of help here, countries like the u.s., technology companies which are powerful and i know you have a question about technology. i would like to say a little bit more about what i think technology companies can do when that moment comes, thank you. >> let me take advantage and give you a minute. give us one homework assignment that you want coming out of this democracy summit. >> i would like to see the u.s.
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government doing more to try and stop authoritarianism. both within the authoritarian regimes and also in the western countries. my good example is the role of pr firms and lobbying firms. these firms are basically wandering the reputations of authoritarian regimes. they need to be stopped and i think it is a waste of money, a waste of taxpayer money in authoritarian countries but also a waste of taxpayer money in the u.s. because the u.s. funds a lot of these countries to try and promote health, education and the money that should be used in these countries is being used to pay these pr firms, these lobbying firms which are run by people who are already wealthy anyway and i think we need to see something being done. i would like to see more being done to promote the role of
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technology companies in promoting democracy but like i said, i will elaborate more when that time comes. >> i would love to hear now from the senior director at the human rights center in moscow. she's been fighting for human rights in russia since 2007, working with the international human rights movement. thank you for being here. i will turn the floor over to you. >> thank you organizers of the summit. i am very honored to be here. i was asked to present what it is like to be an activist in today's russia and i will try to do this. i am currently executive director for the human rights center.
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it is one of the legal entities for the very broad human rights and civil side t -- civil society movement in russia since 1988, and currently the two largest legal entities in service of this movement are facing the threat of liquidation, due to violent foreign agents in russia. we are seen -- this will be a very important gesture for civil society in the country and for us, it means that we won't be able to continue our work as we used to do. most probably, the liquidation will come by the end of the year or in the beginning of the next year unless a miracle happens. these foreign agent legislation in russia as being very -- to put a very particular threat on the civil society, media and
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human rights organizations and journalists and also used to send a clear signal the rest of the society that whatever you want to do, you will be in danger and in order to save yourself from this danger, you should either leave the country or just shut up. it is not just the foreign agents legislation. we also have legislation for so-called undesirable organizations. also a bunch of other legislative -- which very vaguely used to repress particular opposition leaders. -- randomly targeted. we have a list of political
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prisoners which involves more than 400 people and unfortunately the list continues to grow. after we are liquidated, it is a large question of who will be able to run such campaigns for recognizing political prisoners and the institution should be trustworthy. it is important to remember that in russia, it is quite dangerous to be an ngo activist or independent journalist, but also over the years, it became more and more dangerous to be working with the government to do business and be involved in a huge share of political parties. we see the growing trend of members of elites being harassed, put behind bars and subjected to other kinds of repression and it is a very worrying trend, especially because you never know what can
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change the situation in countries like russia. political analysts say regimes like the one we have now in russia usually die when elite members understand it becomes dangerous for them so we are already at that moment right now. i would say that the recent years came even more challenging because of the covid situation and it happened not only in russia but everywhere. this is something for us to talk about later on. what can be done? what can be your work assignment? i think that you should keep all the parties involved and the promotion of democracy, you should make sure that human rights and democracy in countries like russia are being kept the basis of all the business and political negotiations, that there can't be any decisions made without --
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we also have a closed border with belarus and -- were guarding the situation in belarus also included with human rights defenders. we will see what society actors -- the situation in russia only gets worse and worse and at the same time, people in russia do not feel desperate as far as i can see and a lot of them look at the countries as some kind of example and i think especially now, it is important to give those people some example and to keep those connections that already exist between russia and european countries and between the states and other foreign powers because it is important to illustrate the the situation can be different and there is so much that can be learned from
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other democrat states and i agree with alex that if you are a good example, it makes it easier to all of us to see what are the plots of democracy and what we are all fighting for. whenever we raise the question of the foreign agents legislation in russia, immediately everyone says take a look at the united states. they have the foreign agent registration act and we try to explain this is something completely different, not aimed to suppress independent voices but rather to name political lobbies and stuff like that, so probably if something could be done in the united states, renaming it or readjusting the concept to a modern reality, that would be helpful, not just for civil society in russia but all the other countries where similar initiatives are taking place, because whenever this concept is introduced in the country, it became so successful that people actually buying it.
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technology is a large question but i would say it is not at the moment a huge challenge to russia. ethic it is rather the challenge to china, that we are afraid of but also the challenge that we all face all over the world, that social media companies and other companies are getting so much power that there is no one to negotiate with them on a particular issue and maybe there should be some kind of binding document or institution within those companies dealing with human rights and with the expression of minorities and similar issues which are the basis of democracy, that they can somehow be addressed because we can say facebook is currently more powerful than certain states but they don't have any human rights document to obey to. i will stop here but i am happy to answer any questions.
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thank you. >> thank you. let me push a little bit more. i heard you say encourage ongoing ties and connectivity. you would be open to and supportive of more russians coming to study in the united states, right? >> yes, this is one example. i am a fellow of a fellowship included and i think that is what makes -- the regime in russia is currently going into -- phase which can be as long as possible but we all have to make sure that there will be someone to lead the country when anything finishes. there is a similar program in ukraine with emerging leaders, so i think study programs, political exchanges, also for party leaders and all kinds of academia exchange would be
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really helpful, but please make sure that you also involve those people who are currently working for the government or who are somehow related to official projects because this will make them include it because they are the ones who need to get the message and they need to be educated as well. >> that is really interesting. thank you. that is helpful feedback. next is a political and indigenous rights activist from hong kong and a student of law at the university of hamburg. she is the digital rights research fellow at the hong kong democracy council. she was previous of the spokesperson of the nongovernment organization, keyboard frontline. would love to hear from you. -- we would love to hear from you. >> thank you very much. i am a pro-democracy advocate from hong kong living now in exile in germany.
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i am also studying law but i have been increasingly skeptical about my choice to focus on law because the national security law has trended to the judicial and court system and has been part of the regime of oppression since its adoption and since its induction, the situation in hong kong has shifted from a relatively free space where people hope to retain their way of life to an authoritarian police state and hong kong is now silent because they have no rights to freedom of expression and earlier this year, 47 pro-democracy politicians and activists were arrested and charged over the per dissipation in the litter state of counsel primaries and the majority of them were not allowed to extend their bail which constitutes arbitrary detention on political opponents and i witnessed my friends arrested in prison. beijing has recognized the --
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police and government are joined in unity under the law and any action could be interpreted to endangering national security. hong kong is still managing to demonstrate our desire for freedom. we are not giving up this fight because we want hong kong to become a place where we can all be free. in the context of these -- of this panel, there are a lot of things the government can do but i will only focus on one thing, and that is to be not directly or indirectly involved in human rights violations in hong kong. for example, the government's want to hold tech companies accountable. are they practicing content moderation in a pub medic style that will hinder freedom of speech in hong kong? other turning over hong kong activists or data under the national security to government agencies because google has been recently found to breach their own policies and turnover data to the governments and other
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purchaser pitting in blocking access to certain technologies like apple is doing in china? they are blocking access to encrypted mitigation's -- to encrypted communications. hong kong really put into a black situation where information cannot come in or go out and is the government trying to avoid being indirectly or directly involved in human rights violations? for example, are they still importing goods from the region of china that has been increasingly involved in forced labor because according to statistics, the u.s. has imported increasingly -- the import percentage has increased by 151% since last year. we are pushing for more renewable energy but are we aware the fact that -- 45% of the -- came from this region
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which is forced labor. on the context of technology, are we ready to do enough on data protection? that is prohibiting data transfer from a place like the u.s. or the eu to places where insufficient protection is offered because under current judgment issued by the european union, data transfer can take place between the eu and china under a standard contractual clause. which means my data as an activist which is being tracked by the government can be traced without -- can be transferred without me being able to stop it and it will be nearly impossible to prevent the data from being sent outside to engage in different services. in general, i hope that western democracies will not take what they are enjoying for granted and always remain vigilant of the freedoms because all of these things can be taken away from us very quickly and hong kong is a lesson to learn from.
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it is a lesson that should never be repeated. >> so what is the homework assignment you want to come out of this democracy summit? >> it is to come up with concrete regulations and projects that will hinder big tech companies from involving themselves in human rights violations. hold them accountable if they are complying with authoritarian regimes, especially the situation in common -- in hong kong. if they facilitate a state of hindering access to certain technologies, they have to be held accountable because this is not a value that we should promote at all. we should always promote democratic values. this is my expectation for the summit. >> thanks for all you are doing. luciano garcia is the president of an ngo working to promote a return to democracy in
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nicaragua. he has been living in exile in costa rica since 20 and continues to be a leader in the opposition to the regime. [speaking spanish] >> [speaking spanish]
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>> i'm going to ask you these questions in english. i know we have a translator. i wrote a piece saying that the united states should reject as a farce the elections from last month in nicaragua, and they did
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that, and there were several things that i suggested. one was that we ought to kick nicaragua out of the central american free trade agreement and another was to cut off funding for the institutes -- i would be curious what are some steps that the net it states should be taking to respond to the terrible situation in nicaragua? it is outrageous. at least six or seven presidential candidates were arrested. all of the things you listed were outrageous. it is disgusting. i turn the floor back over to you. . >> [speaking spanish]
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>> thank you. i heard several things from the various speakers. the united states ought to be a good or better example. one is that there was a conversation we had about technology. another is that in small countries, whether it is belarus or nicaragua or small places like hong kong or cambodia, these places better, they are not just important in and of themselves but they -- but other countries are watching, russia is wanting what is happening in belarus. china is afraid of what'll happen in hong kong. the venezuelan and cuban regime are watching what happens in nicaragua, and sees if they can get away with things. these things matter. also, there has been a negative role of russia and china that
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has been referenced in several of the russian regimes, the chinese communist party and vladimir putin's regime. those forces have been very negative and have contributed to backstopping authoritarians. let me move to the question of technology. 20 years ago, there was great hope. let me repeat this book. the case for democracy. it is the most important book in the democracy space. i want to hear from each of the panels very briefly on technology. 20 years ago there was hope that technology was going to be only an enabler of freedom. it has turned out in the last 15 years to not necessarily be the case but in some cases it has. some of you have talked about
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technology being a force for good. could you talk up a bit about how you are using technology as a force for good and how we can potentially mitigate technology being a force for bad in the democracy space? let me go back to miss sopheap, please. >> it is very important, especially with the covid pandemic. we can see how useful technology has been with our panel across the globe. of course technology -- more investment in technology and know-how is important. i think activists and organizations, we start to
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benefit from the tools. unfortunately, compared it the business sector, we are quite far behind, so i think more support is necessary. at the same time, i think technology -- when it comes to the technology, security is also important and therefore, it requires different stakeholders to take part, especially both for the private sectors and with many platforms -- developers mainly in the u.s. and big block countries have to bear in mind that they have to
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allow their technology to be part of the democracy movement. -- like call out -- there has been a case when it comes to -- a lot of accusations or convictions against activists and the government trying to follow suit so it is important for a company like facebook or others to understand that security and protection of the activists are core values. not through corporate endowments. -- on the ability of the
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activists. this is one example and i think some technology allows the government to surveilled ngo operations -- surveil ngo operations and therefore, the u.s. government and other like-minded countries can work with the private sector to ensure that they would not apply the technology-- that is the role to play. and enhance our capacity. we rely on the like-minded
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countries in this challenging time as well. >> thank you. alex, over to you. >> thank you so much. technology has been a very useful tool for many democratic activists in my country and many of the african countries too. they tightly control the state. everything is controlled by big brother. what social media has done is allow people to express themselves in ways that they were not able to do before. there is nobody who is censoring the messages or comments you are making. we are beginning to see more evidence of violence and atrocities.
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everything was controlled by the state. but now, people can record. stick -- can record stay operators committing violence. and share on social media, providing evidence of what is going on. that is very important. we have seen in elections, at times, it is good to have election officials who have will stick capture conduct of what is going on. so that they are able to provide evidence of what is really happening in those polling stations. this worked well for zimbabwe in 2008. because of lack of financial resources and technology, we have not been able to replicate that system. it would be really useful to do so. i used to, for example,
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extensively. i use facebook. i use my blog in order to respond instantly to any misinformation, to any issues that may arise. i think it is very helpful. however, they are beginning to catch up on this. whenever there is a protest that is organized on social media, they are to shut down -- quick to shut down social media and that affects the protest movement. we have seen them deploy bots. they employ people who are paid in order to come and attack pro-democracy movements. another point i mentioned earlier is that they tend to verify to people.
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it is interesting because these are the people who rely very heavily on suppressing other people's speech. they are keen to get authentication from social media companies in order to promote their views. i think there is more that can be done. employ more people living in communities who have good knowledge of those committees in which they operate so that they are able to pick up the nuances, where there is hate speech. where there is violence being promoted, i think it will be good for them to do so. thank you. >> thank you. how should we think about technology? >> technology enabled the 2019 movement we saw on media and on
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television, it came to be leaderless. participants of the movement were able to organize among themselves without having a decision-making body, which made it difficult for the government to crack down on the movement while it was practicing on the streets. there were no specific bodies or specific people to go after. there was no one telling participants what to do. people were enabled by technology and social media to arrange among themselves. it is much more difficult to completely destroy the movement and organization in that way. the more we rely on technology and the more tools we use, the more footprints we lack. we are more vulnerable in a way. we don't have sufficient knowledge and know-how to protect ourselves. we have to engage in certain conditional practices, which not all of the people at the time
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were familiar or equipped to do that. there has been funding and training being put into that, to improve that. when it comes back to the context of the summit, i think that it is proven that technology will open china up. china just managed to implement a great file ward to have access to technology so it can stabilize. china cannot do it without the help of companies from the u.s. it bans apps for dating for homosexuals. it banned the new york times and washington post. it banned the access to vpns.
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so, the task of the western world is now how do you hold these accomplices of the chinese government accountable? apple should not be seen as indirectly involved. how do we hold them accountable? are they going to be requesting information, why they are doing it? apple has given up their encryption of the icon drive in china. the data center has the keys of the chinese government. how could a u.s. company let that happen? by law, they cannot be sharing this sensitive data with the chinese government. these things all come back to the theme of the summit. these are the actions the world and the government should take to prevent these things from happening so that companies will not be directly involved.
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and also, they know so much about it. i am pretty sure google knows more about myself that i know about myself in a way. what if google turned over its whole data to the hong kong government. i am doomed in that sense. they have so much data to use about me and know so much about me. that is harmful to anyone who loves democracy. i hope this would be an issue that someone would address. >> an hour, please. -- anna, please. >> i completely agree. china is the country. i would like to support everything she said, regarding
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russia and neighboring countries, we use it because it is a beautiful tool to use. all the challenges have -- that have been mentioned, we face them. international security, online protection and everything. let's do something. >> on the issue of technology, how does it play out in the nicaraguan context? >> [speaking spanish]
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[speaking spanish]
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[speaking spanish] >> thank you. i would ask luciano, glacier and
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anna, follow alex's example, one specific thing you want out of the year of action, put it in the chat while the others are talking. i have a final question and then i want to turn it. here is a conundrum the west has come of the united states and europe has. the bad guys have gotten better at being bad. they have spent a lot of time comparing notes with each other, authoritarians have a network of being at her at being authoritarians. one of the problems has been that in the last 10 years, many countries, zimbabwe for example, in the last couple of years, i wrote an article saying we should delay giving a grant from the world bank to zimbabwe, until they have met some democratic promises. they said that's fine, we will look east. alex, you will remember this. in luciano's case, in nicaragua, aragua recognizes taiwan. i love taiwan.
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at the same time, nicaragua gets a lot of help from russia. the ortega regime gets support from russia. in the case of cambodia, in the current cambodian regime, they get lots of support from china. the democracy space, the human freedom space has become held hostage somewhat to great power competition where regimes can hide behind the financial support or the military support or the global support of the regime or the chinese communist party. i would welcome if each of you talk about how should we handle or grapple with this? let me start with you, alex. how should people in the west respond to those, if i can call them, threats? >> i think it is a big problem.
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i don't know what it is like in other parts of the world. the people in zimbabwe and many others in africa, they seem to be caught up. it is most like the old cold war situation. only that in this instance, the other party, china has become very powerful. a high cost, which many people are seeing, especially the ordinary people. my view is i think it is important to -- for west end democritus -- democracies to up their game. with the pandemic, we have been watching it with great fascination because china has come up and it is almost using
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the vaccine to try and warm its way in -- worm its way in. we have a problem. i think western countries could do more to try and give out more and help more. they seem to be willing to support the people in these different countries. that is one point. the second point, in my opinion, i think it is very important to try and promote. anna was talking about people to people contact. coming from russia to the u.s., similarly coming from african countries as well. it would be good to have the cross education system between the two. it is important. i know when i came, i found it very useful because it helped me
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to see things that i probably would not have been able to see from my end of the world. that was very important. i think more of that can be done to promote. >> i would love to hear from all of the other panels but i am conscious of the time. can i ask the panel to put additional thoughts in the chat? i need to pick -- pivot to senator cruz. -- koons. i am so happy to have senator chris coons. he is the u.s. senator from the great state of delaware. i think you know that president biden is from the great state of delaware. he is also the chairman of the senate relations subcommittee on african affairs.
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senator kunz has been a long time of africa. we are pleased he would take time out of his schedule to be with us. over to you, sir. maybe we are having a tech issue. >> thank you. can you hear me and can you see me? >> yes, i see you now. thank you to your panel. i have been listening to your deliberations and discussions over the last dozen minutes. i was trying to figure out how to tell you, don't interrupt everybody. i'm happy to keep listening. you have more wisdom assembled here, more personal investment and engagement in the fight for democracy than you will hear from me. thank you for the opportunity to join you. daniel, let me thank csis, the
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center for strategic international studies, for hosting this, today. i am grateful to mccall, who i have traveled with and worked to advance democracy. we have differences in terms of our view of american political policy issues. we are standing together, in terms of the importance of continuing to invest in our work to help support and advance exactly the kind of difficult work in offensive democracy that the four panelists who are with us have been talking about and others have discussed this morning. [indiscernible] in terms of your support, in laying the groundwork for this conversation, for the upcoming biden administration hosting senate for democracy, this is
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one of the many important conversations that is happening before 110 countries convened, virtually. the summit, the idea that we are delivering on this promise from the campaign of my friend and predecessor in the senate and my fellow delaware member, that is the delaware flag over my shoulder. president biden. i will join you in stating this cannot just be a one off event. convening heads of state and convening folks from different levels of government from more than 100 countries for two days to discuss democracy and the ways in which authoritarians in the -- authoritarianism is on the march around the world. i see it as important. it has to begin a year of action. it has to begin a global mobilization in which we are calling for action. my hope is it will conclude, god willing, depending on the trajectory of this pandemic, with an in person global summit
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for democracy, near the end of 2022. in my view, countries like the united states, which is principally acting, have to do so with humility and transparency. obviously, the incident of january 6, in which an angry mob stormed the u.s. capitol of the united states, attempting to overturn the results of a free and fair election, was a gravy -- gravely concerning moment for most of us in the unite and for most of us around the world who have thought of the united states as a democracy of some sustained promise. we also have to be transparent and humble about the ways in which our own system has fallen short. we have, as we all know, ongoing , grave inequalities in the racialized history of slavery and oppression in this country that have been manifested in a number of tragic events, involving police action in black
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and brown communities. more broadly, in terms of access to education and the credit an opportunity and education. the united states has hard work left to do. i look forward, over this coming year, hopefully, to being able to report on real progress in democracy in the unite states. the agenda items that i hope we will focus on in this coming year are how do we defend against authoritarianism as you were discussing a moment ago. folks are trying to develop an deploy sharpened tools of authoritarianism, tools to access the data and movements and activities of those who are advocates for democracy. they are getting better at it. we need to figure out how to get better at defending those who are risking their lives.
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second, we have to fight corruption. we have to push back on the enablers of authoritarianism. we have to push back on pr firms that help to pre-up the authoritarian regimes. we have to push back on banking and security transactions that help those with ill-gotten gains support themselves, their families and their regimes. we have to find ways to implement global standards. we are about to reauthorize the sanctions which have been an important tool against the corrupt. lastly, we have to respect human rights. we have to fight for an advocate for human rights as a core part of american foreign policy, u.s. foreign policy, forgive me. and as a part of what the united nations have been all about and what all of you are fighting for. that means holding our government accountable for its effective human rights here and abroad. and it means holding the governments of the countries visited here and elsewhere around the world, accountable
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for the ways in which they violate fundamental human rights. i know that we have a panel here of folks who have put their lives on the line and put their own time and effort and energy into this. in the time i have had in the senate, the last decade or more and in my role as the founder and cochair of the human senate rights caucus, i have been struck at how many people around the world continue to believe that democracy is the best alternative, the best path forward for all of us. and, in comedy countries, the fight has gotten tougher in recent years. let me talk about some of the actions i'm taking. today, i am introducing legislation. the democracy in the 21st century act, with lindsey graham. i am the chairman, as you heard a moment ago, of the state foreign operations appropriations subcommittee, which is responsible for $60 billion a year in state department and foreign
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assistance funding. senator graham is my ranking member. he is the most senior republican. this bill, if we can get it signed into law, i am optimistic that we can, it would modernize the united states tools to defend democracy and lift the voices of civil society and abdicate -- advocate for the safety and campaigns of human rights activists around the world. it would increase our investment in promoting democracy, globally, by $3 million. it would provide increased support for journalists, activists, civil society workers and writers. and for those who are at risk. in particular, it would provide support, i know this was discussed a few moments ago, for global internet and technological freedom, that would allow advocates and activists to counter the emerging digital threats that face you. that would include counter surveillance and censorship tools to defeat the efforts of
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authoritarian governments to track and target those whose independent voices threatened them the most. we have to do more to improve the socioeconomic conditions that sustain democracy movements. the united states has a role to continue playing as we try to come out of this pandemic. to be clear, the united states has already donated more doses of vaccines than all other countries combined. but, as china and russia engage in vaccine diplomacy and do a lot of trumpeting of their distribution of vaccines, which, by the way, are less effective and come with strings attacked -- attached, the unite states should do more -- united states should do more so that countries like south africa and plum you might be centers of vaccine production going forward. -- columbia might be centers of vaccine production, going
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forward. and second, to make sure that any answers or developments of vaccines that are required to deal with the omicron variant or others are made available, equitably and globally. a key part of that comes through my subcommittee. it is something i have fought hard to prioritize and reduced the extent to which there are gross inequalities of vaccines around the world. the global fragility act is a piece of legislation i crafted some time ago. it is now law. i am working with ranking member mccall, through the global fragility act, to address the root causes of violence and extremism in countries around the world. countries like mozambique, where there is growing instability, particularly in the far north and where there has to be a better organized, better coordinated regional strategy, both to promote security and transparency and accountability on the part of the government.
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last one of the bills that was signed into law by president trump, which i am proud of, the build act, the dfc. it will allow that united states to engage in the financing of infrastructure projects in the developing world with far greater standards of transparency, human rights and labor rights of man is currently available from one of the world's leading financers of infrastructure in the developing world. i think we have to have competition so that if advocates and countries decide that instead of taking road money, which has gotten little in terms of transparency or accountability and a lot in terms of complicating strings, that they have an alternative. and that sovereign countries can make a decision that is in the better interest of the long-term of their people. it has been my honor to have the opportunity on the ground to
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advocate for democracy in countries like zimbabwe and sudan in recent years. we rely on activists, including those who are on this call. and others around the world, to inform us about what we can and should be doing. the united states does not have all of the answers. in looking with you toward a future that is more open, tolerant, inclusive and just, there is a chance we can reduce -- reverse the authoritarianism around the world and move forward. i am looking forward to what bold and hopefully ambitious commitments dozens and dozens of countries will bring to this week's summit. i look forward to participating in the hard work of sending democracy and advancing human rights. i look forward to continued conversation and engagement with csis and the group that >> you inspire me and you
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inspire others. he went for all you do and thank you for taking the time to be with us today. we will end it here.
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>>. the house is back at noon for general speeches, let's let a business at 2:00. on c-span two, the senate returns at 10:00 a.m. to take up executive nominations, including president biden's choice for chair of the federal communications commission. also they had of u.s. customs and border protection agency. at 10:00 a.m. on c-span3, u.s. capitol police inspector general
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michael bolton testifies on the january 6 attack. in the afternoon, a ring on u.s.-russian relations from the senate foreign relations committee. everything is also available at c-span.org or our free app, c-span now. >> attorney general merrick garland announced the justice department has filed a lawsuit against texas for violating the federal voting rights act over the newly drawn electoral maps. the attorney general said the planes deny black and latino voters and equal opportunity to participate in the voting process. this is about 10 minutes. electoral maps. the attorney general says denies black and latino voters an equal opportunity to participate. this is about 10 minutes.

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