Amnesty International slammed President Donald Trump for “hate-filled” rhetoric that it says is fueling the deterioration of human rights around the world.
The group’s annual report on human rights lists Trump among autocratic leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and China’s Xi Jinping, and said they are “callously undermining the rights of millions.”
“The specters of hatred and fear now loom large in world affairs, and we have few governments standing up for human rights in these disturbing times,” Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary general, said in a statement.
Trump’s move to restrict travel into the U.S. from six Muslim countries was “transparently hateful,” and “set a dangerous precedent” for other governments, said the report, “State of the World Human Rights 2017/18.”
“President Trump wasted little time in putting his anti-rights rhetoric of discrimination and xenophobia into action, threatening a major rollback on justice and freedoms ― including by signing a series of repressive executive orders that threatened the human rights of millions, at home and abroad,” said the report. It also pointed to new restrictions on women’s access to reproductive health services, cutbacks on health care, repeal of protections for LGBTQ workers, and Trump’s equivocation on white supremacy.
In a pointed dig at Trump, the report also criticized world leaders who cry “fake news” in attacking the media. It criticized the “weak and inconsistent” response of social media companies to abuse against women and minorities.
The 409-page report examined human rights in 159 countries. Among the most egregious violations were abuses in the civil war in Syria and the suffering of more than 655,000 Rohingya who have fled persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Other hard-hit nations included Yemen, Turkey and Venezuela.
The report criticized China’s intolerance and punishment of critics, and blasted Putin’s continued crackdown on free speech, and persecution of critics and the LGBTQ community.
France, meanwhile, cracked down on protests, and Poland threatened the independence of the judiciary. Hungry detained asylum seekers, contravening EU law.
The developments show what happens when the “politics of demonization become mainstream,” the report said.
People are rising up to demand better treatment, the report noted. It hailed the Women’s March in the U.S. and the growing #MeToo movement that has brought new urgency to addressing the issues of sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
Shetty, at a news conference Wednesday before the report was released, pointed to the new activism in the wake of the Florida mass shooting that killed 17 people last week.
“There’s no better example of that than what we’ve seen with the kids in this country standing up against gun violence in the last few days,” Shetty said.
Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said that regardless of the positions taken by Trump, “defenders of human rights around the world can look to the people of the United States to stand with them, even where the U.S. government has failed.”