Suzanne Nossel / Amnesty International USA – 2012-11-13 23:02:39
No More Broken Promises
Suzanne Nossel / Amnesty International
(November 9, 2012) — “Don’t blow it.” That’s what I want to say to President Obama.â€¨â€¨
This is the moment that will define the future of the United States’ commitment on human rights. 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.” â€¨
When he was first elected in 2008, President Obama promised a new dawn of American leadership. As a new president, he acknowledged that the protection of human rights cannot rest on exhortation alone. â€¨â€¨
He offered the promise of an administration that would respect human rights — closing the GuantÃ¡namo prison, 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.â€¨â€¨
It really isn’t a choice for the President to make. Under international law, the US government is obligated to respect, protect and fulfill human rights, and ensure accountability for violations of those rights.â€¨â€¨
The prison at GuantÃ¡namo, indefinite detention, unfair trials, unlawful killings with drones and other human rights violations committed by the U.S government undermine the rule of law in the US and around the world. These abuses also create 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?’â€¨â€¨
By taking bold steps to restore respect for human rights President Obama can help ensure justice, security and accountability here in the US and around the world. That’s why he must take three bold actions immediately:
* Close the prison at Guantanamo
*Stop unlawful killing with drones
* Ensure the UN adopts a strong Arms Trade Treaty
President Obama has been given a second chance to keep his promises on human rights. Please stand with us today and call on the president to live up to those promises.â€¨â€¨
Thank you for everything you do to protect and advance human rights.â€¨â€¨
Suzanne Nossel is Executive Director of Amnesty International USA.
I urge you to lead the United States in meeting its international human rights obligations, including keeping your promise to close the detention facility at GuantÃ¡namo, ending unlawful killings with drones and ensuring a global Arms Trade Treaty that is robust in its human rights parameters and is comprehensive in its scope.
* GuantÃ¡namo: Close the detention facility at GuantÃ¡namo and end indefinite detention and military commissions. Detainees must either be charged with recognizably criminal offenses in federal court without recourse to the death penalty, or be released to countries that will respect their human rights.
* Drones: Take immediate steps to end unlawful killing with drones, and bring US policies and practices on the use of lethal force in counter-terrorism operations in line with the USA’s international human rights obligations.
Disclose further legal and factual details about current US policy and practice; ensure independent and impartial investigations in all cases of alleged extrajudicial executions or other unlawful killings; and ensure effective redress and remedy where killings are found to have been unlawful.
* Arms Trade Treaty: The irresponsible transfers of conventional arms across the world contribute to the destruction of millions of lives and livelihoods.
During March 18th – 28th, 2013, world leaders will have a final conference to decide whether they will establish the world’s first arms treaty.
You have an opportunity to make history by advocating for a robust Arms Trade Treaty that will help prevent weapons from ending up in the hands of human rights abusers and child soldiers.
You promised a new dawn of American leadership — one in which human rights would be given more than lip-service. Continuing US practices and policies that violate human rights are doing exactly the opposite. It is well past time for real change.