Make Them Hear You! is a weekly feature on KGNU, produced by Chris Mohr, letting listeners know how they can have their voices heard on issues up before Congress. You can hear it Wednesday mornings at 8.20am during the Morning Magazine.
Donald Trump has abandoned the promotion of human rights as a central aim of U.S. foreign policy. Experts say this is emboldening authoritarians and adversaries – especially Vladimir Putin.
Last week alone, Trump was silent about Putin’s crackdown on mass Russian protests, and abandoned US policy of regime change in Syria. U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley said, “Are we going to sit there and focus on getting him out? No” . Trump is pushing through a multibillion-dollar sale of F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain without the human rights conditions imposed under Barack Obama.
Trump welcomed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, his favorite Middle East strongman, to the White House. steering clear of discussing the 50,000+ Egyptian political prisoners. Trump will almost certainly not broach human rights during his summit with the leader of China on Thursday.
Trump minimized Putin’s human rights abuses in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly before the Super Bowl. “We have a lot of killers,” he said. “You think our country is so innocent?”
John McCain replied, “To state that there’s some moral equivalency between an imperfect nation — that’s the United States of America — and [Putin] is appalling.”
Trump has declared that “torture works”; and “When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.”
Congress has a slew of bills dealing with human rights. To name just a few: S.Res. 87: concerns the Syrian humanitarian crisis; S. 409: Military Humanitarian Operations Act; S. 377: Trafficking In Persons Reporting Integrity Act; H.R. 379: Justice for Yazidis Act; H.R. 390: Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act; H.R. 735: USA Values Act of 2017; and H.R. 48: Equal Rights and Access for the Women of South Sudan Act.
For the foreseeable future, Congress and the Courts will be the conscience of our government.
If you’re concerned about Trump’s apathy towards human rights abuses worldwide, you can contact your representative or our Senators and share your thoughts about these and other bills.