Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Tuesday released its Annual Report 2016/17 [report], a summary of an international human rights survey that discusses the role “rhetoric of fear, blame and hate” have played in rolling back human rights around the world. AI analyzed major political leaders that identify as anti-establishment, such as US President Donald Trump [official profile] and Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan [CNN profile], arguing that their rhetoric has led to dangerous impacts on policy. AI’s conclusion is for individuals to come together and push governments to respect human rights, stating, “we cannot rely on governments to protect our freedoms, and so we have to stand up ourselves.” AI saidthat inspiration should be found in the “civil rights activists in the USA, anti-apartheid activists in South Africa,” or things as recent as the International Women’s March and pro-democracy protests in Gambia. Beyond localized efforts, AI said that “global solidarity is crucial if we are to protect each other from those governments quick to portray dissent as a threat to national security and economic development.”
This report also touched on the focus on the 2015/16 Annual Report [JURIST report], which stated that “short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights.” Looking into similar concerns, JURIST Guest Columnist David Crane [official profile] of the Syracuse University College of Law [official website] earlier this month discussed some alarming similarities [JURIST op-ed] between the early days of the Trump administration and the rise to power of Adolf Hitler. Last month the 2017 World Report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy site] stated that a surge in populist leaders in Europe and the US threatens human rights [JURIST report] while inviting autocratic abuse in other nations. In September UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein unleashed a scathing criticism [JURIST report] of Western “demagogues,” accusing them of spreading populist xenophobia and racism.