As the first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s administration come to a close, Amnesty International has compiled a list of 100 ways the Trump administration has threatened human rights in the U.S. and around the world – sometimes succeeding, and sometimes being blocked by a powerful and growing resistance movement.
Closing Borders and Shutting the Door to Refugees
- Trump has stopped refugees from entering the U.S., trapping some in the violence they are attempting to flee: Trump’s travel ban also suspends refugee admissions for 120 days. Refugees who have waited years and gone through the vetting process will have their background checks expire, forcing them to redo the entire process, prolonging their time spent in danger and separated from their families. For the most vulnerable, that could be a death sentence.
- The ban also demonizes refugees as criminals and supporters of terror: The ban is based on false premises about the insecurity of the refugee system. Refugees don’t get to choose where they are resettled. The U.S. handpicks refugees for resettlement here. Refugees undergo 18-24 months of vetting by multiple law enforcement and intelligence agencies such as the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and National Counterterrorism Center. If the U.S. government does not know who a refugee is, they are not admitted. It’s as simple as that.
- And leaves 47,000 acutely vulnerable refugees stranded: If and when the refugee admissions program resumes, the executive order slashes the number of refugee admissions for fiscal year 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000. Already this year, the U.S. has resettled more than 36,000 refugees. That leaves only 14,000 more refugees to be admitted this fiscal year, when – and if – the program resumes operation. But there are more than 61,000 refugees already undergoing the rigorous vetting to be admitted before the end of September 2017. The cost in human lives is stark: 47,000 acutely vulnerable refugees will be stranded. This drastic cut in admissions will cost people’s lives.
- While causing a potential domino effect on refugee admissions around the world: The U.S. is the largest re-settler of refugees in the world. Last year, the U.S. resettled 85,000 refugees and was on course to resettle 110,000 refugees this year. There are only 28 re-settler countries in the world. Slamming the door on refugees will embolden other countries to close their borders.
- Children fleeing horrific violence in Central America will be at risk: The lives of thousands of young Central Americans are in danger after the suspension of the Central American Minors (CAM) program, which allows children to apply for refugee protection in their home country and ensure that unaccompanied children aren’t put in more danger by fleeing alone to the U.S. for asylum.
- And women fleeing some of the world’s worst conflicts and highest levels of violence will bear a huge brunt: Women and girls who are refugees and asylum seekers are at high risk for gender-based violence, and many asylum seekers themselves are explicitly fleeing gender-based violence. The harassment and exploitation refugee women and girls face on their journey to safety is made worse by the fact that they have nowhere to turn for help, protection, or justice.
- As Iraqi interpreters are left stranded, too: Although the second executive order removes Iraq from the list of banned countries, Iraqis who have applied for refugee status will be barred because they fall under the 120-day suspension of refugees. This includes many Iraqis who worked with the U.S. military on the ground in Iraq.
- The U.S. is flouting its international commitments to protect refugees’ human rights: The ban puts the U.S. in violation of its obligation to offer access to asylum under the 1967 Protocol to the Refugee Convention, which was made into U.S. law through the Refugee Act of 1980. It also puts the U.S. in violation of non-refoulement under the Convention Against Torture, which was codified into US law in 1998 to prevent people from being sent back to a country where they face danger or persecution.
- And the Trump administration is slashing emergency funds for refugees: The budget request for 2018 eliminates the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Account (ERMA). This is a safety-valve fund for unanticipated and urgent humanitarian crises and has been used for Syria, Sudan, and Mali.
- And refugees in the U.S. who thought they had found safety are now – again – living in fear: People like Amal Eltaib, a Whole Foods worker and refugee who shared her story with Amnesty International, say that the refugee ban has sent shockwaves through refugee communities in the US. “We thought now we’ve reached our dream,” she said, recounting how she found a home in the U.S. “For our kids, we had no more fear, just hope. Now, we all fear.”
- People fleeing violence are refused entry to the U.S.: While President Obama was also aggressive on immigration enforcement, President Trump has empowered Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to be even more negligent about the rights of hundreds of thousands of people who cross the U.S.-Mexico border seeking safety from violence in their home countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. People following U.S. law and presenting themselves at a port of entry to ask for asylum are being turned back.
- And it’s now even more dangerous to cross the U.S.-Mexico border: People seeking asylum are being turned away and forced to wait for an opportunity to ask for entry again or find another way to cross the border, often with the help of smugglers. Cartels and gangs prey upon immigrants waiting to enter the U.S., leaving them vulnerable to kidnapping and sexual assault. Instead of deterring people from making a dangerous journey, the administration is placing them in greater jeopardy.
- People seeking asylum are being treated like criminals Those who make it in are being detained. Often, they are denied bond or parole, and face months in detention simply for asking for protection.
- And it’s becoming even harder to even get the chance to ask for asylum: Expedited removal – a form of summary deportation – could be used anywhere throughout the country for up to two years after an unauthorized immigrant arrives. People are supposed to be given the chance to ask for asylum under expedited removal, but the problems with the system are rife, well-documented, and longstanding. Its expanded use will lead to human rights abuses, including racial profiling.
- While asylum remains difficult to obtain even for those who get to make their case: People asking for asylum in expedited removal must show they have a “credible fear” or “reasonable fear” of persecution or torture to be able to go to immigration court and argue their case. Trump’s new restrictive policy on how expedited removal is applied makes it harder to move on to the next step in the asylum process. The administration’s revisions are inconsistent with U.S. law and put people in danger of return to deadly harm.
- Now smugglers are taking advantage of people’s desperation: Smugglers have hiked their rates dramatically since Trump was elected. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly recently announced that since November 2016 the rate charged by people smugglers in some areas along the US southwest border has risen from US$3,500 to US$8,000. By not acknowledging the refugee crisis in Central America, Trump’s border control measures are putting more power in the hands of criminal groups and exposing acutely vulnerable people to more harm.
- Trump has stripped non-citizens of Privacy Act protections, with profound implications for asylum-seekers: These protections have been provided for decades, and the changed policy means, perversely, that it may be harder for asylum-seekers to access their own files and request corrections necessary to win their claim. It also makes it easier for the government to access information held by various federal agencies, and attempt to publicly release that information – potentially to vilify immigrant communities.
- Trump’s policies could trap 80,000 people—including families fleeing violence—in immigration detention: Trump’s immigration orders and budget proposals for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 lay the groundwork for an explosion of immigration detention – including for those seeking asylum. One order calls for the mandatory detention of anyone crossing the border without authorization and ramps up the number of Customs and Border Patrol agents. All of this requires much more detention space. Current budget proposals would fund more than 45,700 beds a day, with the threat of increasing to 80,000 beds.
- The Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly threatened to separate families at the border: Secretary Kelly was forced to walk back a proposal to separate families at the border by taking children from their parents, putting the children in shelters and putting the parents in detention centers. He said this was to deter them from taking a dangerous journey. He later pledged not to separate them, following pressure from groups including Amnesty International.
- The administration is declaring war on unaccompanied kids: The administration wants to strip protections in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act for unaccompanied children. This means they can be deported within a few days of arrival if they don’t say the right words at the time to CBP.
- And their parents: The administration is also threatening to charge parents as criminal smugglers if they pay someone to bring their unaccompanied child to the U.S. Parents could be arrested for smuggling when they pick up their children from government-run facilities.
- Which could conceivably lead to refugee camps at the southern border: Anyone who asks for asylum at the border will be forced to wait in Mexico while their claim is adjudicated in a U.S. immigration court. This could lead to refugee camps on the Mexico side of the southern border. These people would subject to abuse, and exploitation from criminal groups and local authorities.
- Trump’s proposed border wall will undermine the rights of indigenous communities and harm the environment: Indigenous Peoples whose communities straddle the U.S.-Mexico border, such as members of the Tohono O’odham Nation, will be permanently cut off from their religious and cultural sites as well as other community members on the Mexico side of the border. This may violate Article 36 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The wall may also negatively impact the environment – which varies from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona – and violate treaty agreements with Mexico.
- While also blocking access to asylum: Trump’s proposed wall will obstruct access to asylum, posing yet another obstacle to people seeking protection from deadly violence.
- And creating a symbol that emboldens other countries to close their borders: From Australia to Hungary to Italy, we’ve seen a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment that results in borders fenced off to asylum seekers; governments detaining refugees and asylum seekers at off-shore sites; and returning them to countries where they face danger. Now, despite the European Commission’s attempts to distance itself from Trump’s policies, it’s following the same route by proposing to detain almost all “irregular migrants”—including children – before returning them to their home countries.
- Trump has handed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) more power without adequate oversight: ICE has a long history of detaining and even deporting those with claims for citizenship – in some cases, even U.S. citizens – and their raids often rely on racial profiling. Immigrants caught up in raids might not be given the opportunity to ask for asylum or other forms of protection and be deported to countries where they will be subject to serious human rights abuses.
- CBP’s increased discretion at the border also puts U.S. citizens at risk: Between Trump’s executive orders and his administration’s rhetoric on immigration, CBP agents are more empowered than ever. We’ve already seen turn-backs on the southern border and the chaos at airports after the first Muslim ban. Trump’s immigration executive orders will only increase the likelihood of CBP agents violating the rights of immigrants and citizens with even more impunity.
- And has led to communities along the border being subjected to racially motivated stops and searches: Despite the increased risk of racial profiling along the border, authorities have failed to assess reports or address them.
- And now local police are being encouraged to act like the border patrol: The 287g program that Trump is hoping to ramp up encourages local police to act as federal immigration agents with no proper training and with no guarantee that people will be able to ask for asylum.
- Trump’s travel ban executive orders (both of them) banning people from Muslim-majority countries tried to write bigotry into law: Instead the Muslim ban energized a new movement. Following the protests that occurred across the country after the ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries, the Trump administration was forced to go on the defensive, rescinding the first order and issuing a second that is now mired in courts.
- Though it’s still dangerous to Fly While Muslim: Although courts have blocked the travel ban, we continue to hear reports of people being questioned about their religion and political opinions at airports. That includes citizens like Muhammed Ali Jr.
- And families are being torn apart, despite the courts: The continued legal battle means continued anxiety for thousands. One woman, whose sons fled Yemen but now are stuck in Djibouti, told Amnesty International she is living in “constant fear.” Congress must step in and nullify the ban for good.
- And students are being discouraged from studying in the U.S.: Not only are students from banned countries affected, others are worried about a climate of xenophobia that would make them feel unsafe if they were to study in the U.S.
- And people cannot get the medical care they need: Thousands of people travel to the U.S. every year to get medical care. That includes victims of wars in the countries targeted by the travel ban – kids injured by car bombings and facing serious illness due to depleted uranium – who now can’t get urgent medical treatment.
- As we’ve seen with Iran, the effect within our borders cannot be ignored: Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have fled to the United States over the last few decades. Many are critical of the Iranian government. But since Iran is targeted by the travel ban, some Iranians fear being sent back. “I can never feel safe anymore and it feels terrible,” an Iranian green card holder told The Intercept.
Hate-Based Harassment and Violence
- Fear and uncertainty for American Muslims continues, as the climate of hate persists and reported hate crimes increase: Trump’s Muslim ban, and inflammatory rhetoric, appear to have emboldened anti-Muslim behavior and attitudes. CAIR reports that in the first three months, attacks on mosques have doubled. There are a staggering number of reports, across the country, of harassment and violence against people who either are, or perceived to be Muslim.
- The White House has downplayed reports of hate-based harassment and violence against Muslim, Jewish and other communities. In response to questions about reported hate-based violence and anti-Muslim groups, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has repeatedly hesitated and fumbled. Instead of condemning and pledging to investigate, the Trump administration is contributing to a climate of impunity for hate-based violence. But in a nod to public concern and criticism, Trump condemned hate crimes during his State of the Union.
Emboldening – And Arming – Human Rights Abusers
- Trump and his administration consistently ignore human rights abuses outside U.S. borders (in some cases, praising leaders) which could embolden human rights abusers around the world, like in Turkey: While Trump says he wants a “close” relationship with Turkey, human rights defenders and journalists face threats. Human rights defender Tahir Elçi was murdered; human rights lawyer Eren Keskin has been prosecuted over 100 times for her peaceful work; and 120 journalists are currently held in pre-trial detention. There was no indication that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged justice, protection or release, respectively, during his meeting with President Erdoğan in March.
- And China: Human rights were not on the agenda during Trump’s first meeting with the Chinese president. Amnesty International provided a list of prisoners of conscience to the administration, including women’s rights activist Su Changlan, but there is no indication that Trump urged President Xi Jinping to release those imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs or identity. Meanwhile, human rights defenders in China continue to experience devastating abuses, including human rights lawyers enduring enforced disappearance and incommunicado detention at high risk of torture.
- And Egypt: Trump praised the Egyptian president despite a crackdown on civil society. Egypt’s repressive government has arrested or imprisoned thousands of Egyptians in its crackdown on civil society, and Egyptian police raided and shut down without explanation a crucial organization that supports victims of torture. Yet during a state visit, Trump praised President al-Sisi as doing “a fantastic job.”
- And Russia: Tillerson failed to urge the release of prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders in Russia. More than 1,000 peaceful demonstrators have been arrested in Moscow alone since March, and individual human rights defenders and civil society groups continue to be subjected to raids and other forms of harassment, including prosecution.
- And Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia’s ruthless crackdown on human rights defenders is ignored. Trump continues to pursue a friendly bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia without mentioning imprisoned human rights defenders like Waleed Abu al-Khair, Mohammed al-Qahtani and Abdullah al-Hamid—just three among countless human rights defenders currently imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.
- And the Philippines: Trump’s so-called “tough on crime” rhetoric has emboldened the Philippines’ President to continue his extrajudicial executions of drug users and dealers. According to President Duterte, President Trump told him that his method of systematic extrajudicial execution was “the right way” to be addressing drugs within the country.
- Trump and his cabinet are also abandoning human rights defenders in their conversations with global leaders: S. silence on abuses against human rights defenders within Russia, Egypt, China, Saudi Arabia and other countries is shameful and enables further abuses. Peaceful activists are intimidated, harassed, jailed, tortured and even murdered simply for their non-violent actions to defend human rights—and the new administration has refused to use its influence to help them.
- Like with Mexico: Trump failed to raise concerns about Indigenous human rights defenders in Mexico. Just three weeks before Trump’s meeting with President Peña Nieto, Indigenous leader Juan Ontiveros Ramos was killed. Amnesty International believes that other members of the Raramuri community have been targeted after briefing authorities or making statements about similar concerns, and believes that these community members are currently at risk.
- And Peru: Trump’s meeting with Peruvian president did not include discussion of human rights abuses. Farmer Máxima Acuña has braved violent harassment and intimidation from police for refusing to leave the land on which she lives with her family. President Trump failed to raise her case or the case of other human rights defenders during a meeting the President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
- And Palestine: The rights of Palestinian human rights defenders were ignored during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
- Trump is also arming human rights abusers by selling arms to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia: Both governments are in a military coalition that has repeatedly violated international humanitarian law in its armed conflict with the Huthi armed group in Yemen.
- And Nigeria: The Trump administration has revived a deal to sell the Nigerian government military equipment despite its appalling violations of international law, including the bombing of an internally displaced people’s camp.
Expanding Conflict and Driving Up the Number of Civilian Casualties Globally
- Trump’s campaign call to “bomb the shit out of them” is translating into an expansion in military force: Trump has, in his own words, given the U.S. military “total authorization.” Reports of civilian casualties arising from a skyrocketing number of attacks suggest a profound shift.
- It’s meant hundreds of civilians were killed by U.S.-led coalition air strikes in Mosul, Iraq in March: Iraqis were killed inside their homes or in places where they sought refuge after following their government’s advice not to leave.
- And, in one of the deadliest strikes in years, on March 17, up to 150 people were reported killed in a coalition airstrike in the Jadida neighborhood of West Mosul, eventually leading the coalition to announce that it is investigating the incident.
- More civilians were reported killed by the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria in March than in any other month: For three months in a row, the reported civilian toll of U.S.-led strikes has been higher than from Russian air strikes, according to Airwars.
- And as many as 10 Yemeni women and children were killed in a U.S. raid that Trump touted as a “success:” They included an 8-year-old girl, the daughter of Anwar al-Awlawki, who was killed in a drone strike in 2011. Amnesty International wrote the Department of Defense calling for a full investigation.
- While he authorizes expanded strikes in Somalia and rolls back civilian casualty protections: In March, Trump granted the U.S. military more authority to go after al-Qaida linked militants in Somalia, reportedly relaxing rules intended to prevent civilian casualties.
- Trump is also threatening cyberwar proliferation: Trump’s incendiary rhetoric on military force extends to cyberwar attacks. In October, as a candidate, Trump urged that the US develop “crippling cyber counter attacks.” The US is already believed to have the most powerful cyberweapons arsenal in the world, and is in fact suffering cyber attacks by numerous countries. But Trump’s rhetoric risks accelerating a kind of cyber arms race that could have devastating consequences for international security.
- And an increased the risk of a nuclear arms race: In January, Trump tweeted that the U.S. should “strengthen and expand its nuclear capability” and the next day escalated his rhetoric, saying, “Let it be an arms race.” Many observers said these remarks from the then-president-elect increased the risk of a nuclear catastrophe.
- Also, the CIA is back in the killing business: Trump has reportedly given the CIA “secret new authority” to conduct drone strikes, changing the Obama administration’s apparently reformed policy. In Pakistan, under the Obama administration, thousands of people were killed in US drone strikes, including in cases that may have amounted to war crimes.
Cutting Funds to a World in Crisis
- The Trump administration is trying to slash U.S. funding to the United Nations: The administration is seeking to dramatically reduce U.S. contributions to the UN, including programs that address humanitarian and refugee crises. Although Trump’s budget request was declared “dead on arrival,” it is part of a larger “American First” agenda that signals a determined retreat from humanitarianism.
- While capping support on UN peacekeeping: The Trump administration is planning to cap U.S. funding of UN peacekeeping missions from around 29 percent to 25 percent. The UN and UN peacekeeping operations need reform and scrutiny but that is different from simply cutting the UNPK budget across the board without analysis of what the outcome would be to the people whose lives depend on the continued presence of UN peacekeepers.
- And gutting diplomacy while increasing military spending: Trump wants to gut the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development and other international programs, by 28 percent, or $10.9 billion, as he seeks to increase military spending by $54 billion next year.
- The president’s proposed budget will leave African countries in the lurch: Two years of drought across much of Africa have affected 38 million people in 17 countries. Trump’s proposal eliminates the S. African Development Foundation which means that dozens of development programs run by its African partners would come to a halt overnight. In South Sudan, where the UN recently declared a famine, that would mean terminating four sustainable agriculture programsthat are worth a combined $670,000.
- His cuts to health funding threaten women’s health care globally: Trump’s cuts will have devastating effects for women and girls by cutting support for United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN agency charged with protecting the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and young people. Millions of women and girls depend on UNFPA for basic health care—including safe birth supplies and contraceptives—and efforts to end female genital cutting/mutilation and child marriage.
- All the while, dismissing international mechanisms and bodies: The Trump administration was a no-show at the March session of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, underscoring a general contempt for human rights in the region and internationally.
A Cabinet Full of Human Rights Threats
- With Jeff Sessions as Attorney General: As mentioned, Sessions hasrolled back Obama-era oversight of local police forces and authorized a review of each of the 14 active consent decrees between the federal government and city police departments, underlining fears that the DOJ will pay less attention to human rights concerns. Sessions has also drastically increased the penalties for illegal re-entry to the U.S. and ordered officials to charge undocumented immigrants with higher-penalty crimes.
- And Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State: Tillerson has consistently deprioritized human rights in State visits, sending a message to the global community that human rights considerations are no longer going to be a key factor in foreign policy decisions.
- And Mike Pompeo as CIA Director: While serving in the House of Representatives, Pompeo declared that those who perpetrated the crimes documented in the 2014 Senate “torture report” were “not torturers, they [were] patriots,” and that the acts of torture and cruel treatment “were within the law.” However, after thousands of phone calls and emails by AIUSA activists and others, Pompeo acknowledged that waterboarding and other so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” are illegal, and pledged to follow the law as CIA Director.
- And Scott Pruitt as Environmental Protection Agency Director: The new head of the EPA has begun to staff the agency with climate change skeptics and roll back environmental regulations. A clean and healthy environment is a human right and is essential to many other human rights, including the rights to life, water, food, and health. Furthermore, the impact of climate-change on these and other human rights could be catastrophic for humanity.
- And Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education: DeVos has praised budget cuts that would affect after-school programs that provide low-income children with 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.
Torture, Guantánamo, and Justice for the 9/11 Attacks
- Trump is a president who supports torture: While on the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump expressed support for torture multiple times, pledging to bring back “a hell of a lot worse” than waterboarding. In late January, President declared on national televisionthat torture “absolutely works.”
- And has considered re-starting CIA black sites: Reports indicated early on that the Trump administration was considering an executive order that would pave the way for re-opened CIA “black sites” and large-scale, systemic torture. After massive backlash, including from Amnesty International USA, more recent reports indicate that these provisions have been abandoned.
- As he continues indefinite detention without charge or fair trial for 41 individuals at Guantánamo: The Trump administration has demonstrated no willingness to address the human rights crisis at Guantánamo, where 41 individuals remain locked up without charge or fair trial, potentially until they die.
- While threatening to fill it up with new detainees: Although reports indicate that the Trump administration has dropped plans to introduce an executive order paving the way for a return to torture, there is still evidence that there may be future executive action to expand Guantánamo and add more people to the population for indefinite detention without charge or fair trial. This comes after then-candidate Trump pledged to “load it up with bad dudes” – dangerous rhetoric that is in danger of becoming reality.
- And spreading fear and misinformation: Trump himself has made statements sharing incorrect, irrelevant, and potentially harmful information about who has been detained indefinitely at Guantánamo. Instead of supporting charges and fair trials consistent with human rights standards, this rhetoric damages the public understanding of an already secretive detention camp.
- 9/11 victims’ family members continue to wait for justice, more than 15 years later: Despite lip service of respect and understanding for the victims of 9/11 and their families, the US government under President Trump continues to pursue failed policies that deny real justice to those families. Instead of halting the Guantánamo military commissions and charging the accused in federal court, the Trump administration has allowed the military commissions to go forward, denying justice to the victims and families.
- As failed and unfair trials in military commissions continue: Instead of fair trials in federal courts, defendants continue to face military commissions at Guantánamo, which have consistently proven incapable of bringing justice in accordance with international fair trial standards. The proceedings remain stuck in the pretrial phase with seemingly no end in sight, fifteen years after 9/11.
- And Attorney General Sessions floats the possibility of new military commissions: Sessions has called Guantánamo a “very fine place” and demonstrated support for expanding the failed military commissions. On the campaign trail, Trump expressed a willingness to subject even U.S. citizens to the military commissions. Amnesty International USA has vocally opposed such proposals, and for the moment they have not come to fruition.
- Trump’s Justice Department is trying to block the truth about torture: The same president who openly praises torture has demonstrated no acknowledgment of U.S. obligations to provide redress and rehabilitation for those who suffered torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment at the hands of the US government. In fact, in the private lawsuit against the two psychologists who designed the CIA torture program, the Trump administration is asserting the state secrets privilege to block release of information about people involved in torture.
- While those who authorized and carried out torture still have not been held accountable, and some are finding new roles in the administration: Not only have those who were responsible for the CIA torture program continued to enjoy impunity under this administration for their crimes, some are finding new positions of power under President Trump. They include Gina Haspel, who reportedly directed a CIA black site in Thailand at a time when detainees held there were subjected to torture and enforced disappearance.
Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
- Trump has trampled on the rights of Native Americans at Standing Rock: The Trump administration granted permission for the Dakota Access Pipeline to drill under the Missouri River north of Standing Rock, threatening the water source for the Standing Rock Sioux and other downriver tribes, threatening to destroy Native America cultural sites, and totally ignoring the rights of Indigenous Peoples’ to consent to such projects. Allowing the pipeline to go forward without sufficient assessment of how it will impact their land, culture, and access to clean water is a violation of their rights and sovereignty over their land.
Hostility Toward LGBT Rights
- Trump repealed protections for transgender students: In February, the president revoked landmark guidance set by Obama that directed public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms that matches their chosen gender identity, rather than the bathrooms that “correspond” with the biological sex assigned to them at birth. For transgender children, who already face violence and harassment, the bathroom is not a safe place, and this revocation puts them at increased risk for violence and harassment.
- And rescinded workplace protections for LGBT people: The president rescinded previous protections implemented under Obama that would have required companies that contract with the federal government to show that, among other things, they do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- The administration sent an anti-LGBT group to UN women’s rights conference: The Trump administration has further signaled its opposition to the human rights of LGBT people in its appointment of an explicitly anti-LGBT group, the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM), as part of the United States’ official delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled C-FAM a hate group for its international anti-LGBT rights work and its violent rhetoric, and its anti-LGBT agenda is being worked into the U.S. government at the highest levels.
- While placing an anti-LGBT Head of Civil Rights Office at Health and Human Services: Roger Severino, who is in an influential position, has a history of opposing protections for LGBT persons.
Criminal Justice, Gun Violence and Policing
- Trump and his attorney general’s dangerous rhetoric on criminal justice could become reality: Trump and Sessions’ rhetoric around “law and order” could result in even more abuses in the criminal justice system than occurred under Obama, including increases in mass incarceration, over-sentencing, the use of prolonged solitary confinement and deeper reluctance to resolve problematic cases like that of Leonard Peltier, jailed over 40 years on the basis of a legal process that did not meet fair trial standards.
- Trump has created new federal penalties for crimes against law enforcement officers: In February, Trump signed an order calling for new legislation that increases federal penalties for crimes against law enforcement. Authorities are already able to vigorously prosecute crimes against law enforcement officers, and there is no history to suggest that officers are not fully protected by current laws. This order will not protect anyone, and instead encourages the creation of additional penalties that could cause people to be significantly over-prosecuted for offenses including resisting arrest.
- While Session’s DOJ is questioning police reform agreements: Jeff Sessions mandated a review of reform agreements that bind police departments across the country, saying that it was necessary that they do not interfere with Trump’s goals of fighting violent crime and promoting officer safety. These agreements often involve close cooperation between local communities and law enforcement for long periods of time, and risk being undone by federal interference.
- Also, Trump threatened to send ‘the Feds’ to Chicago: Just five days after being inaugurated, President Trump vowed to bring in “federal intervention” to solve the gun violence epidemic unless local officials could curb it on their own.
- And signaled he would rescind a previous order against the militarization of law enforcement: In a pre-election questionnaire from the Fraternal Order of the Police, Trump indicated that he would rescind Obama’s executive order restricting the controversial 1033 program through which the Department of Defense gives surplus military gear to police departments.
Attempts to Dismantle Women’s Rights and Reproductive Freedoms
- Trump has revoked workplace protections for women: Trump revoked federal protections implemented under Obama that ensured equal pay for women, fair processes surrounding workplace sexual harassment, and protection of parental leave. Trump’s actions leave thousands who work for these companies much more vulnerable to a host of abuses and undoes protections that were explicitly meant to create a more equitable workplace for women.
- And also reinstated the Global Gag rule: On Trump’s third day in office, two days after millions gathered globally for women’s marches around the world, he issued an executive order reinstating and expanding the Global Gag rule — a rule that prohibits U.S. international aid to groups that so much as educate their communities on safe abortion.
- Trump’s actions will also likely cause an increase maternal death rates around the world: Trump’s actions to defund UNFPA will make women and girls particularly less safe. The UNFPA supports more than 150 countries where women and girls have the least access to birth control and reproductive health. Trump’s withholding of more than $32 million from the body will mean an increase—not decrease—in abortion rates, particularly unsafe abortions. It means a drop in women’s access to birth control and the ability to make decisions about their own lives, and it means a rise in maternal death rates.
- While curtailing reproductive rights in the U.S.: On April 13, President Trump signed a bill allowing states to withhold federal money from organizations that provide abortion services, including Planned Parenthood. Allowing states to cut funding will mean thousands of people—particularly low income women and girls—will not be able to access basic healthcare, including cancer screenings, pregnancy health, birth control, and safe abortion services.
Free Speech and Expression
- Trump has been outright hostile toward those expressing dissent: President Trump has taken an unacceptable stance against dissent, including by implying that his critics should be punished or silenced. Non-violent dissent is a human right that must be respected, protected and fulfilled.
- While labeling the media as “the enemy”: Not only do journalists have the right to carry out their work free from harassment, persecution and punishment, their work is central to a free society, transparency, truth and accountability. Trump’s taunting and intimidating rhetoric towards the press appears dangerously close to violating their rights.
- And believing his free speech rights are more important than protestors’: Trump’s lawyers argued this month that the president’s First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution were infringed upon by protestors who interrupted a campaign stop in Louisville, KY in 2016. The lawyers argued that while protestors also have a First Amendment right to express dissenting views, they do not have that right as part of a campaign rally. The arguments set an ominous precedent for how the president interprets free expression.
Rolling Back Critical Human Rights Protections
- Trump is abandoning steps to address climate changes and its effect on human rights: He has taken steps to end government measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and halted efforts to tackle climate change domestically and overseas. At stake is not only the future of the global environment but also human rights of millions of people in the U.S. Because of the adverse effects of climate change on human rights, States must take all possible steps within their power to reduce carbon emissions from their countries within the shortest possible time-frame.
- President Trump and Congress came too close to passing the American Health Care Act: It would have put in place a healthcare system that was inconsistent with human rights standards and principles of equity, with debilitating and retrogressive impacts on the ability of people to access affordable, timely, and quality health care.
- Trump has repealed rules meant to fight corruption: In February, Trump signed the repeal of a bipartisan provision of the Dodd-Frank bill known as the Cardin-Lugar Amendment. The Amendment required oil and mining companies to publish the payments they make to governments and was hailed as a key component in the fight against corruption.
- And is threatening to ease regulations on use of conflict minerals: The Trump administration is seeking the repeal of a section of the Dodd-Frank bill usually referred to as the “conflict minerals” rule, which requires companies to publicly report whether their products contain certain minerals whose trade helps fuel violence in Central Africa.
This briefing is not exhaustive and the Trump administration’s ongoing threats to human rights remain – but so does the resolve to defeat them. While the Trump’s first 100 days in office show how dangerous his agenda is for human rights in the U.S. and around the world, it is equally clear that activism, grassroots organizing and political opposition can make a difference.
For the past 60 years Amnesty International has been fighting for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all and were not going to stop. Join us in the fight to protect human rights during the next 100 days and beyond.