Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Sudanese human rights demonstrators in Edinburgh, Scotland on June 4, 2019. (Photo: Ken Jack/Getty Images)

Sudanese demonstrators outside the Scottish Parliament call on the Scottish and UK governments to take action on the situation in Sudan, where many people have been killed during political unrest and factional fighting, on June 4, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ken Jack/Getty Images)

Report Details How Trump Downplays, Ignores Grave Human Rights Violations Around the World

One expert accused the administration of "using all the tools at its disposal to undermine our asylum system."

Brett Wilkins

The Trump administration whitewashes grave human rights violations perpetrated by favored nations, according to a new report published Wednesday.

The Aslyum Research Centre (ARC) released "A Comparative Analysis of U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices," which details "serious omissions of human rights issues and inadequately substantiated reports of improvements in the U.S. State Department's country reports." 

"We are concerned that these omissions have the effect of denying the existence of rights or abuses and may result in certain types of asylum claims being dismissed."
—Liz Williams, ARC

ARC compared the State Department's assessment of the human rights situation in five countries—Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Sudan—in 2016, the last year of the Obama administration, with the reports published during the first three years of President Donald Trump's administration.

The ARC report provides insight into the Trump administration's flagrant disregard for human rights around the world. However, it also lacks broader context in terms of U.S. foreign policy. 

First, the report fails to take into account the fact that under every presidential administration the U.S. has perpetrated, supported, and ignored serious human rights violations around the world, including genocide, terrorism, apartheid, drug trafficking, and severe repression

Second, in comparing the Trump and Obama administrations, the report fails to note that the latter also supported or ignored slavery, brutal dictatorships, state repression, ethnic cleansing, and even the conscription of child soldiers in two of the five countries listed in the report—a dubious precedent continued under Trump.

Still, the ARC report offers an incisive look at the specific types of human rights abuses the Trump administration—which has also rolled back civil, political, and human rights for women, minorities, refugees, LGBTQ people, and others in the United States—is willing to ignore. 

Critics say that by downplaying these abuses abroad, the administration is laying the groundwork to deny victims aslyum in the U.S. 

"We are concerned that these omissions have the effect of denying the existence of rights or abuses and may result in certain types of asylum claims being dismissed if the U.S. Department of State reports are relied upon in isolation," said ARC co-director Liz Williams in an introduction to the report.

Kate Jastram, director of policy and advocacy at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, said in the report's introduction that it "documents what we unfortunately know to be true—that the Trump administration is using all the tools at its disposal to undermine our asylum system."

"Asylum officers and immigration judges rely on these reports to make life-and-death decisions," added Jastram. "ARC's careful analysis demonstrates how the reports have been distorted, particularly downplaying women's rights and LGBTQ rights. It's another shocking example of how cynical the administration has been in undermining due process and basic fairness in asylum adjudication." 

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

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'This Cannot Happen': Biden DHS Seeks Contractor for Migrant Detention Center at Guantánamo Bay

The solicitation for bids—which requires some guards who speak Spanish and Haitian Creole—comes as the administration is under fire for mass deportations of migrants, including thousands of Haitians.

Jessica Corbett ·

Global Vaccine Goals 'Fall Terribly Short' Due to Big Pharma and Rich Nations' Greed: Experts

"Wealthy nations are using up the world's vaccine supply, and developing nations are suffering and losing thousands of people every day."

Brett Wilkins ·

11 Senators Support House Progressives' Push to Pass Full Biden Agenda

"We voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill with the clear commitment that the two pieces of the package would move together along a dual track."

Jessica Corbett ·

Ex-Prisoners Recall US Torture at 'Afghanistan's Abu Ghraib'

"It is psychologically hard for me to recall all that was happening," said one former Bagram Air Base inmate. "The torture was mostly done by Afghans, sometimes the Americans. But the orders came from the U.S."

Brett Wilkins ·

Rapid Shift to Electric Vehicles Could Create Over 150,000 Jobs in US by 2030

A new report says "smart" pro-labor policies by lawmakers would transform the "inevitable" shift to EVs "into a new beginning for U.S. producers and the rebuilding of a foundation for good jobs."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo