By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Former President Jimmy Carter is in Minnesota Friday to make a special appearance at the Augsburg College Nobel Peace Prize Forum. President Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, more than 20 years after he left office.

In retirement, President Carter has visited 142 countries, brokered peace deals and elections, and worked to eradicate disease in 3rd world countries, devoting his entire post-White House Career to unpopular cases in unpopular countries.

And yet, he is still controversial.

In Minneapolis Friday, the former president called the treatment of women and girls the number one human rights violation in the world. The U.S., he says, has 60,000 females in sex trafficking slavery.

“We have more cases of human slavery now than existed in the 19th century and earlier times,” President Carter told the crowd at Augsburg College.

In a wide ranging address, the Nobel laureate criticized sexual mutilation of girls, and honor killings of rape victims.

“Those are the kind of things the world doesn’t know about, but it’s the number one violation of basic human rights on earth,” President Carter said.

The former president also criticized the U.S. government’s recent, widespread use of drone strikes — a stark contrast from another Nobel Peace Prize recipient: President Obama.

Former President Carter says it’s important to wage war on American enemies, but that many innocent people are getting killed as well. He told an audience Friday that waging war from 30,000 feet makes it easier for the country to accept it.

President Carter also has a special connection to Minnesota — he and Former Vice President Walter Mondale re-defined the relationship between President and Vice President, and remain close 36 years later.

Former Vice President Mondale was scheduled to introduce President Carter at today’s event, but couldn’t attend at the last minute. The former president told the audience Mondale is at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed with the flu.

Still provocative at age 90, President Carter says organized religion — including Catholics and Baptists — don’t consider women equal to men, enabling low pay and even physical abuse.

“As long as a top religion says that women are inferior, this gives a freedom of action to a husband who wants to abuse his wife,” President Carter told the crowd at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minneapolis.

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