- Title: Human Rights Watch decries Trump refugee plan, fears "CIA dark sites"
- Date: 25th January 2017
- Summary: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (JANUARY 25, 2017) (REUTERS) HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (HRW) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KEN ROTH, DURING NEWS BRIEFING (SOUNDBITE) (English) HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KEN ROTH, SAYING: "As we understand it, he (U.S. President Donald Trump) is going to stop refugee admissions to the United States, ostensibly on security grounds. And if I were an ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) operator, I would, the last thing I would do would be to come to the United States as a refugee, who are vigorously screened, multiple times. I would enter as a student, as a tourist, as a business person, but why would I wait years to be screened as a refugee? So, there is a cruel, pointless, symbolism to this rather than anything practical." ROTH DURING NEWS BRIEFING JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KEN ROTH, SAYING: "It's as if Trump is indifferent to the extraordinary suffering that many of these refugees have been through. Many of these people are fleeing ISIS, or the ISIS equivalents around the world. But in order to score a political point at home, Trump is closing a door on them. So that is one particularly ugly aspect of what he's doing." JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KEN ROTH, SAYING: "I am very concerned that we will lose the U.S. voice as a defender of human rights around the world. We don't know that yet, it is still too early to say, but it's a big worry, you know, given Trump's expressed admiration for strong men and his appointment of a man as Secretary of State - or his nomination of a man - who has yet to show any interest in human rights. So, the U.S., despite its flaws, despite its inconsistencies, despite its hypocrisy, has been an important voice on civil society, for civic space, in many countries. And I fear that governments are going to use the opportunity of Trump's arrival to crack down on dissent. That's why it is all the more important for other democratic governments to take a leadership position." VARIOUS OF HRW WORLD REPORT 2017 (SOUNDBITE) (English) HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KEN ROTH, SAYING: "Because Guantanamo is now there as an ongoing detention facility, it is an invitation for Trump to start refilling it, which I am afraid Trump is determined to do. And it is worth noting that one thing we expect either today or later in this week is an order from Trump to begin exploring, or considering or some kind of word like that, the resumption of CIA 'dark sites'. Now it's interesting that this is going to be in an executive order because these dark sites are supposedly super-secret, you know, even though we all know about them. But the order that has been reported on has the kind of obligatory caveat that of course we won't use torture. But, you know, what's the point of these black sites other than to use torture? That's why they were created in the first place." HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH WORLD REPORT 2017
- Embargoed: 8th February 2017 15:35
- Keywords: Donald Trump human rights immigration Human Rights Watch refugees
- Location: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- City: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Fundamental Rights/Civil Liberties,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00160KXMIV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A major U.S.-based activist group voiced alarm on Wednesday (January 25) at President Donald Trump's agenda, including "closing the door" on refugees, curbs on women's health rights and possibly using "dark sites" for detainees.
Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, called for the U.S. Congress to exercise oversight over the new administration and to "stand up for the Constitution and international human rights law".
Trump is expected to begin signing executive orders aimed at curbing illegal immigration on Wednesday, starting with a directive to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and another to boost personnel needed to crack down on illegal immigrants, congressional aides told Reuters.
In coming days, he is expected to limit the number of refugees admitted to the United States to 50,000 a year, down from 100,000, and to impose a temporary ban on most refugees.
Trump appears set to "stop refugee admissions to the United States, ostensibly on security grounds," Roth told a news briefing in Geneva.
"It's as if Trump is indifferent to the extraordinary suffering that many of these refugees have been through. Many of these people are fleeing ISIS, or the ISIS equivalents around the world," he added, referring to Islamic State.
"But in order to score a political point at home, Trump is closing the door on them. That is one particularly ugly aspect of what he is doing."
Roth feared that Trump would begin to "start refilling Guantanamo", the U.S. detention facility in Cuba. Some 41 terrorism suspects remain in custody there without trial, after former President Barack Obama failed to make good on a promise to close it.
"One thing we expect either today or later this week is an order from Trump to begin exploring...the resumption of CIA dark sites," Roth said, referring to secret detention abroad during the administration of George W. Bush during which some security inmates were tortured.
Roth said that when they existed, these black sites were in countries like Poland, Latvia, Romania, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Thailand and Afghanistan, and called on such countries to say no to being complicit to any new U.S. torture scheme.
Obama closed black sites and ordered a halt to waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning, which experts say constitutes torture banned under international law. Trump promised during his campaign to bring back waterboarding and "a hell of a lot worse".
"I am very concerned that we will lose the U.S voice as a defender of human rights around the world. We don't know that yet, it is still too early to say, but it's a big worry," Roth said, adding that Trump's arrival could be an opportunity for governments to "crackdown on dissent".
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None