Activists at Amnesty International have catalogued 100 ways Donald Trump’s administration has threatened human rights at home and abroad during the first 100 days of his presidency. Assembling the list, according to the group’s U.S. head, “didn’t take long.”
Amnesty USA executive director Margaret Huang said the new list of Trump threats highlights a “level of abuse and fear” that’s unprecedented in the grassroots organization’s 55-year history. It stands in stark contrast to a White House tally of claimed accomplishments since Trump’s inauguration in January.
“Unlike his predecessors, who have at least rhetorically talked about the importance of human rights as a U.S. national interest, this president has been dismissive of human rights, dismissive of communities who’ve been subjected to some of the worst violations, and has rejected efforts to hold other governments or his own appointments accountable for protecting human rights,” Huang told HuffPost on Thursday.
It took Amnesty staffers just “a few days” in “a really easy effort” to assemble 100 human rights threats by the Trump administration, Huang said. In fact, “we had to pare it down,” she added.
Trump has armed, emboldened and repeatedly failed to condemn human rights abusers. He has downplayed hate crimes and proposes potentially devastating funding cuts to foreign aid. He also has issued direct threats to some demographics, including those within the U.S.
Here are some of the groups whose rights have been threatened under Trump, according to Amnesty:
Trump picked Jeff Sessions as attorney general, despite damning allegations against the former Alabama senator of racism toward black people. A Senate committee had previously denied Sessions a federal judgeship after multiple reports of racist remarks, including using a racial slur and joking about the Ku Klux Klan. Sessions has dismissed the accusations as false.
Since taking office, Sessions has moved to roll back Justice Department oversight of local police forces that was meant to curb such abuses as racial profiling and brutality.
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Immigrants And Refugees
Little more than a week after taking office, Trump signed an executive order banning residents of seven Arab nations from entering the U.S.
International panic ensued as family members were separated, and foreign governments scrambled to respond. The ban was delayed by a federal court amid concerns that it was unconstitutional. The Trump administration modified and reissued the ban, but that version, too, was blocked by courts.
Under the latest Trump policy, refugees are temporarily blocked from resettling in the U.S. The number of annual refugee admissions has been slashed from 110,000 to 50,000.
Trump during his campaign regularly demonized Syrian refugees, and vowed to deport Syrians who had already resettled in the U.S.: “I’m putting people on notice,” he threatened. “If I win, they’re going back!”
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Trump also has taken aim at Mexican immigrants, especially those who are undocumented. Despite international condemnation, Trump’s administration is moving forward with plans to construct a multi-billion-dollar wall along the southern border.
Trump infamously said during the campaign that when Mexico “sends its people … they’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Trump has given broader powers to deport people to Immigration and Customs Enforcement without adequate oversight, Amnesty notes. The rights group asserts that increased patrols along the U.S.-Mexico border have done little to prevent asylum-seekers from crossing into the country illegally.
“Cartels and gangs prey upon immigrants waiting to enter the U.S., leaving them vulnerable to kidnapping and sexual assault,” Amnesty’s report says. “Instead of deterring people from making a dangerous journey, the administration is placing them in greater jeopardy.”
Follow HuffPost’s Latino Voices coverage for more.
Trump’s proposed border wall threatens to separate indigenous communities along the U.S.-Mexico border from their religious and cultural sites.
Moreover, his administration granted permission for the Dakota Access Pipeline to drill under the Missouri River north of Standing Rock to complete the petroleum pipeline. Opponents say the project poses a risk to the water source for the Standing Rock Sioux and other downriver tribes.
According to Amnesty, this could “destroy Native America cultural sites,” and it “totally [ignores] the rights of Indigenous Peoples to consent to such projects.”
See HuffPost’s Standing Rock coverage for more.
The Trump administration was slow to condemn a string of anti-Semitic hate crimes against Jewish Community Centers throughout America, inaction that was “contributing to a climate of impunity for hate-based violence,” according to Amnesty.
Trump’s team also failed to mention Jews during a statement about this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. More astonishing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer falsely said Adolf Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons during WWII, suggesting Hitler wasn’t as cruel as Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. In fact, Hitler’s Nazis gassed millions of Jews.
Follow HuffPost’s continued JCC coverage for more.
Journalists And Activists
The president has unleashed a barrage of insults and threats against members of the press, even dismissing some major news outlets as “fake news” and “the enemy of the American people.”
He vowed to “open up” libel laws, warning those who offend him, “We’re gonna have people sue you like you never got sued before.”
His administration has revoked press credentials for certain news organizations that have produced unflattering coverage, and has threatened to punish others.
Trump’s actions have provoked protests across the nation, but he seems to believe his rights are more important than citizens’.
As Amnesty points out, Trump’s lawyers argued that his First Amendment rights were infringed by protestors who interrupted a campaign stop in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2016.
This sets “an ominous precedent for how the president interprets free expression,” Amnesty warns.
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Trump reversed federal protection for transgender students that allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. For transgender children, “this revocation puts them at increased risk for violence and harassment,” Amnesty said.
Trump also rescinded protections implemented under his predecessor, Barack Obama, that helped ensure federal contractors could not discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Follow HuffPost’s Queer Voices coverage for more.
Trump’s travel ban was widely characterized as a Muslim ban, because it directly targeted residents of Muslim-majority countries. He also issued a laptop ban affecting passengers on flights between the U.S. and several North African and Middle Eastern countries.
Amnesty says this is largely because Trump’s ban and rhetoric “appear to have emboldened anti-Muslim behavior and attitudes.”
When asked about increased reports of Islamophobia and other hate crimes during an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Trump said simply: “Stop it.”
See HuffPost’s Islamophobia tracker for more.
Scientists And Environmentalists
Any threat to the environment is a threat to human rights.
Trump’s “America First” budget blueprint proposes massive funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, sparking intense backlash. The agency’s new head, Scott Pruitt, has already started to roll back environmental regulations.
To the alarm of scientists, Pruitt ― America’s top environmental official ― said human activity is not “a primary contributor” to global warming.
The Trump administration also has been accused of muzzling the government’s environmental scientists and attempting to limit their communication with the public.
Follow HuffPost Green’s coverage for more.
Students, Youth And Children
Trump’s secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, has no personal experience with public education. The billionaire’s lack of experience and understanding of issues surrounding education in America were put on clear display during her confirmation hearing in January, when she struggled to answer question after question.
Devos has backed Trump’s proposed $9 billion budget cuts to the Department of Education, which would curb after-school programs for low-income children that provide additional instruction and food aid.
“Such cuts could have far-reaching impact on the human rights to education and freedom from hunger enshrined in international law,” notes Amnesty.
Follow HuffPost Education’s coverage for more.
Women And Girls
On his third day as president, Trump swiftly reinstated the Global Gag Rule, which restricts U.S. foreign aid for groups that offer abortion services, including education on safe abortions. He also signed a bill enabling states to withhold government money from organizations that offer abortion services, like Planned Parenthood.
As a result, Amnesty says, “thousands of people — particularly low income women and girls — will not be able to access basic health care, including cancer screenings, pregnancy health, birth control, and safe abortion services.”
Trump also revoked the previous administration’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order, which had been implemented to eliminate wage disparity between men and women, and ensured protection for parental leave as well as fair processes surrounding workplace sexual harassment.
Follow HuffPost Women’s coverage for more.
Huang said the resistance to Trump’s anti-human rights words and actions has been “incredible.”
“From the Women’s March the day after his inauguration, to the spontaneous protests at airports after the refugee ban, to the ongoing protests that are happening across the country ― it’s a reflection of a recognition that the only way to stand up to this sort of rhetoric and bad policy is for people to take action,” she said.
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Source: HuffPost Black Voices