Since President Donald J. Trump took office he’s pushed through a series of executive orders that directly threaten the human rights of millions of people in the United States and abroad. Amnesty International listed seven steps he has already taken.
1. Religious discrimination:
The entry ban from anyone arriving from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. This are seven predominantly Muslim countries, and even if he did not explicitly mention a ban on Muslims his discrimination towards them was clear. Although there are exceptions to the ban like Christians fleeing Muslim countries this further reinforces religious division.
Although the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panels ruled against the Trump administration and upheld a Seattle court ruling that blocked implementation of the ban and travelers form the seven countries, as well as refugees can continue to enter, Trump continues with his rhetoric.
2. Turning his back on refugees:
After one week into his administration he suspended the country’s refugee program for 120 days. He implemented an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees and introduced an annual refugee cap of 50,000. This cap is likely to affect 60,000 people this year alone as former president Obama had pledged to admit 110,000 in the current fiscal year.
“Amid a global emergency in which 21 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to war and persecution, the move by one of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful countries to block off the avenue of resettlement is nothing short of appalling. Trump is blocking men, women and children refugees from fleeing the very terror he purports to be fighting,” says AI.
3. Speedy deportation of those fleeing violence in Central America
His promise to build a “big beautiful” wall along the US border with Mexico as means to keep “criminals” was crucial during his election campaign and was followed by two executive orders just after taking office. Not only he vowed to create a barrier but pledged to hiring 10,000 more immigration officers. It is likely for people fleeing conflict and violence in Central America to be held in temporary detention camps along the border and then ultimately being sent back to the places where their lives are at risk.
4. Targeting safe havens for refugees and migrants
Along with the hiring of more immigration officers this executive order attempted to cut off other pathways for asylum seekers, by revoking federal grant money from so called “sanctuary cities.” Cities like New York, Dallas, Minneapolis, Denver and San Francisco limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement and refuse to deport undocumented migrants. In total there are 39 sanctuary cities across the country.
5. Assault on women’s rights:
The executive order reintroducing the global “gag rule” blocks US funding for overseas funding of non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling or referrals, advocate to decriminalize it or expand abortion services. Even though the US doesn’t fund these services directly Trump’s stance will cost many lives, for example in countries where abortion is legal, access to it is to a large extent dependent on US funding.
6. Restricting access to health services:
The “gag rule” has more far-reaching consequences beyond avoiding abortion. Many of the organizations whose funds are being cut provide HIV/AIDS treatment, emergency contraception and other reproductive health-care services and information, especially in Latin America and Africa.
7. Native American land and livelihoods under attack
The decision to advance on the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline puts the interests of oil companies before the rights of indigenous peoples. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe fear the pipeline would contaminate drinking water and damage sacred burial sites, not to say it bisects indigenous land and is near one of their sacred sites. Not only this directly affects them but the decision was taken without any type of consultation or consent which is a requirement under international human rights and US law.