International Policy

Q57: Will your administration’s foreign policy prioritize defending civic freedoms and civil rights for minority or marginalized groups overseas, including in countries that the U.S. considers allies?

Biden: Yes. Human rights are at the core of the very idea of America, and the United States is safer when fundamental rights are protected worldwide. As President, I will take immediate steps to demonstrate that the United States is prepared to lead the world again, and to defend and advance human rights and the other democratic values that we hold dear. We will revitalize our commitment to building a world based on fairness and opportunity for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender identity, nationality, or sexual orientation.

During my first year in office, I will convene a summit of the world’s democracies, to renew the shared purpose of our allies and partners to protect democracy and human rights at home and abroad, and to support civil society organizations from around the globe who stand on the front lines of the growing threats to human rights. As president, I will rebuild American diplomatic capacity to support and defend human rights around the globe, including by rejoining the UN Human Rights Council and once again stepping up to lead international institutions and ensure they live up to their values. We will stand up for the rights of women and girls, LGBTQ communities, persecuted ethnic and religious minorities, those living with disabilities, and members of other marginalized groups, and ensure that the foreign aid we provide reflects our values. We will push for accountability for those who commit atrocity crimes and other human rights violations, in the spirit of the Nuremberg legacy, 75 years ago this year. And we will end Trump’s “Muslim ban,” “African ban,” and other discriminatory policies that deny the basic rights and that scar America’s image across the globe.

Bloomberg: Mike will ensure that human rights and the protection of minorities are key elements of every bilateral diplomatic relationship the U.S. has around the world. His administration will consistently uphold America’s values and mobilize international action to punish governments and individuals who commit mass atrocities and crimes against humanity.

Buttigeig: Yes. Civil rights and civic freedoms are not just theoretical concepts or bumper-sticker slogans to me. These are the terms we use to talk about the way we treat each other. As President, I will speak out against the rising tide of hate groups in the United States and across the world. I will speak out against any nation that abuses the civil and human rights of its people. We will hold other nations accountable for respecting the rights of minority and marginalized groups. That includes the rights of Uyghur Muslims in China, the rights of women in Saudi Arabia, the rights of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, and the rights of LGBT people in Russia and around the world. My administration will also empower American diplomats and development professionals to take smart risks to support activists and human rights defenders committed to advancing basic rights and fundamental freedoms overseas. The rise of hate groups at home and abroad is a threat to us all. These groups communicate online and spread fear and hate across international borders. As President I will work with our allies, partners, and friends to address this growing and urgent threat.

De La Fuente: Yes.

Klobuchar: Yes. As President, Senator Klobuchar will reassert American values and put those values at the heart of our foreign policy. That means standing up for freedom, democracy and human rights around the world and it means reasserting American values here at home.

Sanders: Yes. Bernie believes that the United States, along with our peers in the international community, must firmly condemn and hold abusive governments accountable, which are persecuting, imprisoning, and in some cases killing their citizens for their religious beliefs or ethnicities. And we must ensure our trade agreements protect the human rights of those in our country as well as civilians abroad.

Over the years, we have seen that the struggle for democracy is bound up with the struggle against authorianism, kleptocracy, and corruption. That is true here in the United States as well as abroad.

Bernie has long fought for the protection of human rights and the right of people to mobilize.

When he is in the White House, rather than openly supporting the overthrow of a foreign government, the United States will:

  • Work diplomatically with others in the region, who share a vision of shared prosperity, security and dignity for all people, to de-escalate the situation
  • Support the rule of law, fair elections and self-determination of natives
  • Provide humanitarian aid and economic reconstruction
  • Ensure human rights oversight by protecting international and local organizations

Steyer: Yes. The United States does best when we do right. Our country must provide global leadership and offer moral clarity when engaging in a complex world. We must shine a light on human rights abuses, reinvigorate our own commitment to justice, and leverage our economic, political, and diplomatic strength to ensure greater freedoms for all. Our country is safer when more countries have free and fair elections; when countries respect the rights of women and minorities; when citizens are allowed to freely express themselves, question their leaders, and protest; and when they follow the rule of law. Greater democratic rules lead to greater economic growth and greater stability around the world. Our foreign policy should reflect our value​s.

Warren: Yes. I believe the United States has an obligation to stand in support of marginalized communities, democratic values and democratic movements — at home, throughout our hemisphere, and around the world. I have repeatedly spoken out for human rights and freedoms. I urged the Government of India to respect the rights of the people of Kashmir. I supported accountability and reconciliation in Burma in response to the atrocities committed against the Rohingya. I fought to end U.S. complicity in Yemen’s humanitarian disaster, as a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates engaged in a proxy war to counter the Iran-supported Houthi militias. I called out the Chinese government’s cruel, bigoted treatment of Muslims and ethnic minorities for what it is: a horrifying violation of human rights and international law. I also condemned our Saudi allies after the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi for daring to criticize the regime, and called on our ally Brazil to stop its attacks on a free and open press and release the journalist Glenn Greenwald. I have a plan to combat dark money, which is used to bankroll repressive and hostile regimes, and fund illicit networks that foster corruption, inequality, trafficking, and kleptocracy around the world. And under my trade plan, we will use our status as the world’s most attractive market as leverage to raise wages and living standards worldwide. I’ll establish preconditions for any country seeking to enter a trade agreement with the United States, including: recognizing and enforcing the core labor rights of the International Labour Organization, like collective bargaining and the elimination of child labor; upholding internationally recognized human rights, recognizing and enforcing religious freedom, and complying with minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act; and joining the Paris Climate accord and eliminating domestic fossil fuel subsidies. I believe we must have a people-first foreign policy focused on preventing or ending conflicts and atrocities and uplifting all communities, including by reaffirming an international order that protects and values human rights around the world.

Q58: Will your administration work to combat rising inequality in the U.S. and worldwide, including through addressing the disparate impacts of trade on Black
women because of factors like discrimination, gender-based violence and harassment at work, occupational segregation, and the gender pay gap?

Biden: Yes. My trade agenda will put labor and other progressive stakeholders at the center of America’s negotiating strategy and planning, and require forceful protection of workers’ rights and the environment at the heart of any future agreements. I will ensure tough, aggressive, and consistent enforcement of worker and environmental protections and impose costs on trading partners who may violate them. And, we need to recognize that the economic dislocations associated with some trade policies fall first and disproportionately on workers of color, and as is too often the case, black women suffer the most from the amplified effects of structural inequalities in our society. That’s why I’m proposing a 360-degree approach to tackle disparities throughout our society.

I will increase the federal minimum wage to $15; ensure federal dollars do not flow to employers engaging in union-busting activities or wage theft; stop employers from denying overtime pay; and eliminate non-compete clauses and no-poaching agreements that hinder employees’ ability to seek higher wages by changing jobs. I will provide a federal guarantee for public sector employees to bargain for better pay, benefits, and working conditions. I will support legislation, like the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, that expands federal protections to domestic workers, ensuring they have the right to basic workplace protections.

I will support the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment—as I have for over 45 years—and I will build on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first bill the Obama-Biden Administration signed into law, with the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Homeownership is how many families save and build wealth. I will end redlining and other discriminatory and unfair practices in the housing market by protecting homeowners and renters from abusive lenders and landlords, eliminate local and state housing regulations that perpetuate discrimination, hold financial institutions accountable for discriminatory practices, restore the federal government’s power to enforce settlements against discriminatory lenders, and tackle racial bias that leads homes in communities of color being assessed by appraisers below their fair value.

Additionally, when it comes to harassment, women need to feel safe no matter what. No matter where they are—at home, at school, at work, and in their communities. I have spent my entire career fighting for women’s safety, starting in 1990, when I wrote the Violence Against Women Act. At the time, domestic violence was considered a private family matter. Because of that landmark legislation, and countless survivors who have spoken out, that is no longer the case today. Women who face violence at home or on campus know that they are not alone—that they have a way forward.

I’m proud of what our nation has done to reduce sexual violence, and as President, I’ll double down on those efforts to make sure that women are safe at work. First, I’ll push Congress to pass the BE HEARD Act. This bill takes a comprehensive approach to workplace harassment. It holds all employers accountable. It funds research so we better understand how to stop harassment in the workplace from the get-go. And, it closes loopholes so that all workers—not just some—are protected. Second, I’ll protect domestic workers from harassment and discrimination by passing the National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, so that these workers, many of whom are women or people of color, are not left behind, and instead are treated with dignity and respect. Third, I’ll end mandatory arbitration clauses imposed by employers on workers so that workers who experience harassment can have their day in court. No one should be forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement that silences them and prevents them from speaking out about harassment or discrimination.

Occupational segregation and the lack of women generally at higher levels is partially a pipeline problem. As President, I will push for policies that will make it easier for women and people of color to pursue management and leadership roles—by expanding access to affordable childcare, guaranteeing workers 12 weeks of paid family leave, supporting flexible work schedules, and—importantly—putting an end to harassment and discrimination. But corporations need to take a hard look at their corporate culture and practices, which is why my administration will push for transparency and also promote best practices for companies to address bias and discrimination.

Just like at home, reducing inequality internationally isn’t just a priority, it’s a necessity. The Biden Administration will invest in women as economic catalysts for growth and development around the world, because we know that when we grow incomes and opportunity for women, entire communities, economies, and countries benefit. I will help countries tackle and eliminate legal and attitudinal barriers to equity and inclusion. For example, in Central America, I will bolster microfinance and financially inclusive banking with a priority on programs that empower women and create mechanisms to help remittance recipients, especially women, invest in and start small businesses. In Africa, we will build on successful initiatives launched during the Obama-Biden Administration, such as the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) to support women’s entrepreneurship and fund programs that focus on increasing women’s participation in the formal economy, where they are severely underrepresented. A Biden Administration will also expand the successful AWEP model to the Caribbean.

But as we work to increase women’s economic participation, we must also recognize and address the range of factors that hold women back, including gender-based violence, inadequate child and maternal health care, and a lack of affordable child and elder care. While the Trump Administration launched women’s economic initiatives, they’ve done so while undermining global health and gender-based violence programs. That approach simply won’t work. Women will only truly be empowered when societies meet their multifaceted needs, and help overcome the range of challenges they face in achieving equality. A Biden Administration will restore comprehensive policies and programs that address the full range of women’s needs. We will pay particular attention to the often unique challenges faced by underrepresented communities around the world, including indigenous women, Afro-Latina women, and women in the LGBTQ community. Our goal will be equality.

Bloomberg: Mike will ensure that human rights and the protection of minorities are key elements of every bilateral diplomatic relationship the U.S. has around the world. His administration will consistently uphold America’s values and mobilize international action to punish governments and individuals who commit mass atrocities and crimes against humanity.

Buttigeig: Yes. As outlined in my women’s policy plan, “Building Power”, I will tackle inequality, gender-based violence, and harassment with urgency by: — Closing the pay and wealth gaps by ensuring equal pay for equal work, ending harassment and other workplace discrimination, making available over $50 billion in capital to grow women-owned business, and eliminating the trade-off between career and family with affordable child care and paid family leave. — Securing women’s power and influence by accelerating ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to recognize women’s equal rights in the Constitution, appointing at least 50% women to the Cabinet and judiciary and promoting gender- and racially-diverse leadership across all sectors. — Building safe, inclusive communities for women and families through accountability and culture change that combat domestic and gender-based violence, particularly against trans women and women of color. For specific policy proposals for each of these areas, please refer to my full plan.

De La Fuente: Yes. My administration will work to reverse the discriminatory impacts of trade on black women – resulting in gender- bassed violence and harassment at work, occupational segregation, and the gender pay gap.

Klobuchar: Yes. Today, women working full-time in America earn 80 cents for every dollar paid to a man, and the gaps are even larger for women of color. Senator Klobuchar has long championed the Equal Rights Amendment and she is committed to closing the gender pay gap and ensuring equal opportunity for all women, including women of color, LGBTQ women and working mothers. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to pass Senator Patty Murray’s Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure that employers pay employees equally for equal work — including by prohibiting employers from asking about the salary history of prospective employees. At the same time, she supports fair trade agreements that include strong labor standards and as President she will work to make sure that those provisions are enforced.

Sanders: Yes. Bernie has pledged that upon being sworn in as president, he will immediately begin renegotiating bad trade agreements, which allow the exploitation of workers, particularly women and people of color. We will make sure that strong and binding labor, environmental, and human rights standards are written into the core text of all trade agreements. To reverse the damage that disastrous trade deals have done to communities of color, Bernie will ensure re-negotiations are led by input from these communities, not the multinational corporations

Steyer: Yes. It is impossible to discuss inequality without talking about race. Policy comes out of narrative. We need to tell a new narrative so we can come up with new solutions, area by area, to what is an inequality that has race at its very center. The primary roots of wealth inequality is that the richest Americans get to live by a different set of rules than everyone else. Within the first 100 days of my presidency, I will start a formal commission on race relations to address systemic racism and poverty and develop solutions, to best deal with and undo the injustices.

It’s time to push power back to the people who actually do the work. While we’ve made progress on closing the pay gap, there is more to be done-especially for people of color who face a different set of barriers in getting fair pay and advancing in the workplace. Passing the Equality Act, currently stalled on Mitch McConnell’s desk, would extend Federal civil rights protections for “housing, employment, jury service, credit, public accommodations to all, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.”

Warren: Yes. My plans to address discrimination, gender-based harassment, and the gender pay gap at home are discussed in greater detail in the preceding sections. Globally, the United States has entered into trade deals with countries with abysmal records on labor, environmental, and human rights issues for far too long. That will end under my administration. As mentioned above, my trade plan uses our status as the world’s most attractive market as leverage to raise wages and living standards worldwide. I will establish preconditions for any country seeking to enter a trade agreement with the United States, including: recognizing and enforcing the core labor rights of the International Labour Organization, like collective bargaining and the elimination of child labor; and upholding internationally recognized human rights, recognizing and enforcing religious freedom, and complying with minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. My goal is to raise wages and living standards not only for U.S. workers but for working people around the world.

Q59: Do you support ending the Global Gag Rule that has been expanding under the current Administration to affect approximately $8.8 billion in U. S. foreign aid that
harms the health and well-being of millions of people, especially women and girls, across the world—by preventing all U. S. global health funding from going to
foreign non-governmental organizations that offer abortion-related information, referrals, or services?

Biden: Yes. I consistently opposed the Mexico City Policy (also referred to as the global gag rule) throughout my years in the Senate and, just as we did in the Obama-Biden Administration, I will promptly rescind the Mexico City Policy that President Trump reinstated and expanded. This rule currently bars the U.S. federal government from supporting important global health efforts – including for malaria and HIV/AIDS – in developing countries simply because the organizations providing that aid also offer information on abortion services.

Bloomberg: Mike will abolish the Trump administration’s domestic and global gag rules. And he won’t stop there. Mike will oppose states’ bans on private insurance coverage of abortion, which 11 states have passed. He will oppose unnecessarily restrictive and often frivolous regulations on reproductive health clinics and doctors that limit women’s access to safe abortions.

Buttigeig: Yes. Just as we will work hard to counter anti-abortion laws in the US, we will do the same globally, by repealing restrictive policy riders, and by reversing and prohibiting the implementation of the global gag rule (Mexico City Policy), for example, though the bipartisan Global Health Empowerment and Rights (HER) Act. Censorship related to discussing and providing information on family planning, abortion and post-abortion care is unacceptable, and we will make sure that all of our funded programs ‘tell it like it is’ and are based on scientific evidence.

De La Fuente: Yes. I will support it. A woman has the right to choose.

Klobuchar: Yes. As President, Senator Klobuchar will end the global gag rule.

Sanders: Yes. When Bernie is in the White House, he will immediately repeal the Trump Administration’s gag rule which is a disgraceful assault on women’s rights and an assault on millions of Americans’ ability to get the health care they need.

Steyer: Yes. Ensuring women’s access to health services — including affordable, safe, and legal abortion — is a key priority. Reproductive health and family planning services have been fundamental to the strides women have made in education and the workforce. It is a central part of women’s health, and it affirms women’s independence and agency in the world; my administration will fiercely protect that right, for generations to come. When it comes to foreign policy, we need to reverse the regressive acts that the current administration has done: lift the “Global Gag Rule,” reinstate family planning funding, increase educational efforts to prevent unwanted pregnancies and provide women and girls more opportunities.

Warren: Yes. On day one, I will take immediate action to undo the Trump administration’s unprecedented assault on reproductive health — including by reversing the global gag rule that prohibits NGOs receiving U.S. funding from providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care and education to vulnerable people.

Q60: Will your Administration restore the U. S. contribution to the United Nations Population Fund that works with over 150 countries that supports maternal and child health care, HIV/AIDS treatment, services for survivors of violence in emergencies, family planning and reproductive health care for women and young

Biden: Yes. The Trump Administration has suspended U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for three consecutive years and allegedly propagated false claims about its work. I will restore U.S. funding to UNFPA and support its important work in preventing gender-based violence globally, including efforts to end female genital mutilation and cutting, early and forced marriage, and other practices detrimental to the health of women and girls.

Bloomberg: Mike will restore U.S. leadership on reproductive rights and LGBTQ+ rights at home and abroad by recommitting to the Global Equality Fund, ending the Trump administration’s domestic and global gag rules, and increasing funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Buttigeig: Yes. My administration will make sure that restrictions on PEPFAR related to reproductive and sexual rights are removed and that science-informed information and language about sexual and reproductive health is put back into all multilateral and global agreements, as well as into State Department and United Nations reports and documents. We cannot withdraw from our commitments to vulnerable populations, women and families whether they live in the US, or in other parts of the world–and we must restore our status as a global leader on women’s and reproductive health and rights. Improving access to family planning and reproductive health services can prevent maternal deaths and reduce unintended pregnancies both here and abroad. In addition, when I am President, we will resume and augment investments in family planning, reproductive health, maternal and child health and HIV/AIDS though USAID and other global partners, such as UNFPA (UN Population Fund).

De La Fuente: Yes. Of course. It is unconscionable that we withdrew our support of this.

Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar will restore the U. S. contribution to the United Nations Population Fund and reverse this Administration’s shortsighted approach to diplomacy and U.S. foreign assistance.

Sanders: Yes. As President, Bernie use executive authority to undo all the damage Trump has done to women’s reproductive freedom, including restoring United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) funding.

Steyer: Yes. Since the UN was founded in 1945 in my hometown of San Francisco, we have seen multilateral institutions like the UN help to build peace and broaden prosperity. My administration will increase support for international cooperation and international assistance, including the UN Population Fund, while pursuing ambitious multilateral and bilateral compacts with our allies.

Warren: Yes. The United Nations Population Fund provides voluntary family planning, maternal, and child health care services around the world. The work it does to reduce infant mortality, prevent HIV, and help women deliver babies in emergency situations is critical. The United States must not deprive women and children of the care they need to live healthy lives.