Call on President Obama to keep his earlier human rights promises

‘President Obama has been given a second chance to keep his promises on human rights. Don’t blow it’ - Suzanne Nossel

Responding to the re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America, Amnesty International USA executive director Suzanne Nossel said:

“When President Obama was first elected in 2008, many human rights activists rejoiced. It had been eight long years where the United States tortured, detained hundreds without charge and trial, and tried to justify the horrors of Abu Ghraib.

“President Obama’s first campaign for the White House offered the promise of an administration that would recapture the United States’ credibility on human rights issues, bringing detention practices in line with international law, repudiating secrecy and ensuring that human rights weren’t traded away in the name of national security.

“More simply, President Obama promised a new dawn of American leadership, one in which human rights would be given more than lip-service.

“Unfortunately the first Obama administration broke many of its promises when human rights were pitted against national security interests. When it comes to countering terrorism, President Obama has hidden behind national security imperatives to shield administration policy in secrecy and pursue programmes such as expanded drone use.

“President Obama’s second term will determine whether the post-9/11 stains on the United States’ human rights record are an anomaly or the new normal. It was Mitt Romney who said of the challenges of counter-terrorism that ‘we can't kill our way out of this mess’, but too many of President Obama’s policies are an attempt to do just that.

“Unlawful killings and other human rights violations sanctioned by the US government undermine the rule of law globally, creating a climate in which other countries can point to a double-standard to justify their own human rights abuses with the refrain, ‘if the US government does that, why shouldn’t we.’

“The United States’ power and influence should derive from its commitment to the rule of law and to advancing human rights and dignity. President Obama should not trade that away at any price.

“President Obama has been given a second chance to keep his promises on human rights. Don’t blow it.”
 

View latest press releases