Brian Dooley: Trumps Presidency Started by Assaulting Human Rights Ask Bahraini Dissidents about That

2017-03-03 - 11:01 p

Bahrain Mirror- Exclusive: Brian Dooley, director of the Human Rights Defenders program in Human Rights First, said in an article he published in the Huffington Post newspaper that President Trump's assaults on the media, attacks on refugee rights, reports that his administration is considering withdrawing from the U.N. Human Rights Council, and his increasing chumminess with dictators are all alarming signs for human rights defenders hoping for support from Washington.

Dooley's words came as comment on the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres' speech in which he said  that "To human rights defenders, I say: thank you for your courage. The United Nations is on your side. And I am on your side."

"For many years I've heard defenders express disappointment that Washington isn't doing enough to protect and support them, but have never heard any complain that Beijing or Moscow have let them down," Dooley said, indicating that "The expectation has been different for the U.S., fueled by the rhetoric of promise from successive administrations."

Dooley indicated that in May 2011 President Obama's speech about the middle eastern uprisings of earlier that year pledged that "we intend to provide assistance to civil society, including those that may not be officially sanctioned, and who speak uncomfortable truths".

He stressed "It didn't always happen - ask the Bahraini dissidents who spoke uncomfortable truths, many of whom are still in jail - but until now Washington has been somewhere defenders have looked to for help."

"There are still powerful pockets of support in the U.S. government for human rights activists to find, including in staff at some American embassies, with members of Congress, and at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, but the outlook for defenders hoping for American protection is now looking bleak," he pointed out.

Dooley concluded saying "Guterres has publicly declared he is on the side of human rights defenders. It looks increasingly clear that President Trump is not."

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: Bahrain Mirror
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