Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's record on human rights came under harsh criticism in Geneva, Switzerland, last week as political dissidents and pro-democracy activists gathered at a conference ahead of the United Nations Human Rights Council's annual session.
Clinton has been praised for her role in negotiating U.S. asylum for Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, and she received the Lantos Foundation Human Rights award for her proclamations on women's rights and her "pioneering work on Internet freedom."
However, activists at the Geneva Summit on Human Rights and Democracy, hosted last week by United Nations watchdog group UN Watch, gave a very different assessment of the former secretary of state, telling the Washington Free Beacon that she was silent and passive on some of the most pressing human rights issues during her tenure at the State Department.
Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of an American Christian pastor who has been imprisoned in Iran since the summer of 2012, said the State Department under Clinton all but ignored her husband's case, and did not take an active role until Secretary of State John Kerry took over last year.
"For Hillary Clinton to have been completely silent, and not have done anything when my husband was taken, and knowing ... it was strictly on a human rights issue, really bothered me because I expected otherwise from my government," Abedini said.
She said she first contacted the State Department in August 2012, days after her husband Saeed Abedini was detained in Tehran. The Christian pastor, who was in Iran to help build an orphanage, was later sentenced to eight years in prison on religion-related charges.