Human Rights Watch gives a scathing assessment of Donald Trump

Human Rights Watch has skewered Trump for his human rights record both at home and abroad

By Matthew Rozsa
Published January 18, 2018 2:28PM (EST)
Donald Trump speaks at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (Getty/Spencer Platt)
Donald Trump speaks at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (Getty/Spencer Platt)

President Donald Trump was prominently featured in Human Rights Watch's 2018 World Report — and not in a good way.

The report, which meticulously documents human rights abuses from all over the world, singled out a number of Trump's domestic and foreign policies for harsh criticism. Characterizing his election as the product of "surge of authoritarian populists," the authors proceeded to describe how Trump's presidency has eroded the foundations of American democracy.

"The strong civil society and democratic institutions of the United States were tested in the first year of the administration of President Donald Trump," the report explained. "Across a range of issues in 2017, the U.S. moved backward on human rights at home and abroad. Trump has targeted refugees and immigrants, calling them criminals and security threats; emboldened racist politics by equivocating on white nationalism; and consistently championed anti-Muslim ideas and policies."

"His administration has embraced policies that will roll back access to reproductive health care for women; championed health insurance changes that would leave many more Americans without access to affordable health care; and undermined police accountability for abuse," Human Rights Watch said. The report also condemned Trump's "expressed disdain for independent media and federal courts," his discriminatory attitudes toward groups from Mexicans and Muslims to the transgender community and his doubling down of policies involving criminal justice, immigration and national security that" continued to violate internationally recognized human rights."

The report paid particular attention to Trump's habit of embracing dictators throughout the world, such as his admiration for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The report also criticized Trump's attempt to reimpose sanctions on Iran, his exacerbation of America's already-tense relationship with North Korea and his expansion of United States military operations in Afghanistan.

This is the second report in a week from a human rights organization that has condemned Trump. Freedom House, an organization that focuses on the promotion of democracy throughout the world, expressed concern that Trump's political movement had "targeted traditional notions of collective global security and mutually beneficial trade" and promoted "hostility and skepticism toward binding international agreements on the environment, arms control, and other topics."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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