Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

President Donald Trump holds up a chart of military hardware sales as he meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office at the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

President Donald Trump holds up a chart of military hardware sales as he meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office at the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Trump Admin to World: Your Human Rights Record Doesn't Matter So Long As We Get Ours

It's "astonishing to see this memorialized in black and white," says Amnesty International USA

Andrea Germanos

President Donald Trump's State Department was remarkably candid in its annual human rights report.

"The policy of this administration is to engage with other governments, regardless of their record, if doing so will further U.S. interests," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo writes in the preface to the report. The document, formally called the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, was released on Wednesday.

The admission caught the eyes of Amnesty International USA, which called it "astonishing to see this memorialized in black and white in the official human rights report issued by the U.S. government, a report that has long been viewed by world leaders as a weighty credible assessment on the records of countries around the world."

"This statement signals to world leaders including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Egypt's President Sisi that the U.S. doesn't care about human rights and will forgive or forget even the most atrocious human rights abuses," the organization said in a statement.

Sisi has been called "the most repressive dictator in modern Egyptian history" and accused of pushing his country "even further towards authoritarianism" with a rule marked by the trampling on human and civil rights, including "a relentless nationwide crackdown against all forms of dissent."

Saudi Arabia—a key U.S. ally—was just rebuked by three dozen nations for its record on human rights. The kingdom's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, sometimes referred to as MbS, is "a leader with an iron hand who despite facade reforms has plunged his country into increased repression and leads a now-three-year war in Yemen rife with war crimes," according to Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch. 

MbS has targeted women's rights activists,  and he has also been linked to the gruesome killing of journalist Jamal Kahsoggi. Yet, as CNN reported,

[The State depart report] notes Saudi Arabia's killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but avoids all mention of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who U.S. intelligence services believe ordered the pre-meditated murder.

Other aspects of the State Department report drew criticism as well.

As it did last year, the department did not address reproductive rights. "This administration is erasing women's rights one bad policy at a time," responded the Center for Reproductive Rights in a tweet.

The report also ignores international view and refers to the West Bank, Gaza, and, in a first the Golan Heights as "Israeli-controlled" rather than Israeli-occupied. 

The United Nations describes the three areas as Israeli-occupied.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'This Is on You!' Beto Interrupts Abbott Press Conference on Texas Massacre

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke accused Texas' GOP leaders of "doing nothing and offering us nothing" in the wake of the massacre at Robb Elementary School.

Jake Johnson ·


'You'll Learn Why': GOP Lawmaker Threatens Biden If Democrats Try to Take Away Guns

"Just another day in Florida with Randy Fine threatening the President of the United States after children and adults were shot and murdered at a school in Texas."

Jon Queally ·


Progressives in Congress Push Google to Stop Collecting Abortion Patients' Location Data

Lawmakers worry the tech giant's practices "will allow it to become a tool for far-right extremists looking to crack down on people seeking reproductive healthcare."

Jessica Corbett ·


Nurse From Liberia Holds 'Clap for Pharma Profits' Protest at Davos

"Me and my frontline colleagues saw pain, misery, death," said George Poe Williams. "Bourla and the other pharma executives here in Davos saw a chance to pump up profits."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Too Little, Too Late,' Campaigners Say as Pfizer Pledges Lower Vaccine Costs for Poor Nations

"We shouldn't hail pandemic profiteers as heroes, even when they make qualified gestures like this," said an adviser at the People's Vaccine Alliance.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo