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She added that 19 individuals and 15 entities in Iran were sanctioned by Clinton’s State Department for their role in human rights violations.

“From North Korea to Syria, and across the globe, Secretary Clinton spoke up and stood up for the universal rights the United States stands up for everywhere: the freedom for people to have a say in their future, to make their voices heard, and to live their lives free from fear,” Harf said.

North Korean and Syrian activists in Geneva were less taken with Clinton’s performance.

Ahn Myong-Chol, a North Korean (DPRK) dissident whose descriptions of the country’s prison camps played a major role in this month’s harrowing UN report on the regime’s human rights abuses, said he “really preferred John Kerry compared to Hillary Clinton” at the State Department.

While Ahn said he believed Clinton would get “a lot of people’s votes [if she runs for president in 2016] because she could be the very first female president of the United States,” he added that he disliked “Hillary Clinton’s passive actions when it comes to the DPRK.”

Clinton’s early efforts at outreach with North Korea were rebuffed by the authoritarian regime and the State Department made no progress on dismantling the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program under Clinton’s leadership.

Moayad Iskafe, a Syrian journalist and opposition activist who helped smuggle reporters into the country after civil war broke out in 2011, said he was initially optimistic about Clinton’s position on Syria.

“She said Bashar Assad [should] go,” Iskafe said. “But after that I did not hear [her] voice. After that, she said we can’t do anything for Syria … she said we will not take our army to Syria … we will do nothing.”

Ahn and Iskafe acknowledged that their concerns about Clinton were related to a larger criticism of the Obama administration’s policies she was carrying out.

“For the Bush administration, they used to send strong messages with strong gestures,” Ahn said through a translator. “The Obama administration only puts verbal pressure.”

The North Korean dissident, a former prison camp guard, criticized the administration for its response to North Korea’s imprisonment of American missionary Kenneth Bae.

“The way the U.S. reacts to this incident looks very passive,” Ahn said.

Harf said Clinton’s State Department sponsored and lobbied for resolutions condemning North Korea’s human rights abuses at the United Nations, and said Clinton played a major role in deploying Bill Clinton to North Korea to obtain the release of imprisoned U.S. journalists in 2009.

While Iskafe said he was disappointed the Obama administration has not done more to help the Syrian opposition, he said he had little faith that any other U.S. president would have acted differently under the current circumstances.

“If George Bush [were] the president now, maybe he’d do nothing,” Iskafe said. “There is government—they know what they do, they know what they want to do. It’s not personal.”

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