Theresa May must challenge Donald Trump on human rights, says Amnesty

Theresa May must challenge Donald Trump on human rights, says Amnesty

Amnesty's banner on Vauxhall Bridge

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Amnesty International UK have called on Theresa May to challenge Donald Trump on his human rights record during his visit.

The charity has hung a banner reading ‘Human Rights Nightmare’ from Vauxhall Bridge, near the new US Embassy.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said that she hoped the Prime Minister would start a conversation with Trump when they meet.

'Leaders should be challenged - Trump is no exception'

“We say to our Prime Minister, when these heads of state come visiting, you’ve got to talk about their human rights record, and President Trump is no exception,” she told talkRADIO.

“We really ought to be having our Prime Minister say that these are not the values we in the UK want to live by.”

Read more: Trump protests 'embarrassing', says Republicans Overseas spokesman

“He’s done so much that it’s difficult to know where to begin,” she said. “But I will begin with taking children away from their parents on the Mexican border and putting those children in cages, and now finding it difficult to be able to reunite those families. That is deeply shocking, as is a Muslim ban - there’s so much we could talk about in the way he’s discarded human rights.

“And not just in the US, he’s taken the US out of the UN machinery to oversee human rights globally, so he’s literally just said the US will have nothing to do with that. He’s taken no responsibility for trying to improve the lives of people around the world, whether that’s the Rohingya in Myanmar or whatever the big human rights issues of the day are.
“That’s why we’re highlighting his record during his visit to London.”

Political experts have pointed out that immigrant families were also detained and deported under the Obama administration, although families with children were 'refrained from prosecution'. 

Drew Liquerman, a spokesman for Republicans Overseas, told Julia Hartley-Brewer on the talkRADIO breakfast show that “the protesters are not missing a chance to embarrass themselves on the world stage”.

“Flying ridiculous balloons… the vast majority of the protesters are far-left activists who support Jeremy Corbyn,” he added.

He said that Trump’s visit was about improving the UK and US’s relationship “culturally, economically, in every respect possible”.

'Windrush proves UK opposed to hardline immigration policies'

Last January, Trump sparked mass protests across the US and UK when he announced a travel ban - widely called the ‘Muslim ban’ - on citizens from eight countries, including Libya, Syria, Iran, Yemen and Somalia.

The ban was revised and Chad subsequently removed from the list, on which Venezuela and North Korea also appear.

Read more: Trump visit sees largest police presence since 2011 riots

The US Supreme Court last month upheld the travel ban after Hawaii attempted to defeat it for being unconstitutional.

Ms Allen said the UK’s response to the Windrush scandal proved that hardline immigration policies were not welcome in the UK.

Read more: US Embassy advises Americans to 'keep a low profile' during Trump visit

“I think the response to Windrush here in the UK shows that we don’t want that type of policy at all. We don’t want people put in detention centres when they’ve lived in the UK a long time,” she said.

“I think he’s got us wrong, and he’ll see what when people take to the streets tomorrow… We really ought to be having our Prime Minister say that these are not the values we in the UK want to live by.”

'Trump should have challenged Kim Jong-un'

She mentioned Trump’s visit to North Korea, where he and Kim Jong-un signed an agreement committing to denuclearisation, and added that she would have liked to have seen him challenge the North Korean leader on his own human rights record.

“During all of those discussions with the president of North Korea, there was no conversation about human rights,” she said.

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“This is a regime that runs internment camps, whole families are sent away, if you were deemed to have fallen foul of the regime, you and your family would be sent away to one of those camps. I’ve met some people who’ve escaped from those camps.

“Our position is very clear we’ll take to the streets to make our views known, and we consistently call upon our heads of state to raise these issues. We don’t tell [leaders] not to come, we say ‘come, visit the UK’, but the demand on our government is not to pretend the things they’re doing wrong aren’t happening.”