Politics

President Trump, what is your administration’s commitment to human rights?

bannon and trump.jpg

US President Donald Trump (R) sits next to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) while advisors Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner look on at a cabinet meeting in the White House in Washington, DC on March 13, 2017. 

Credit:

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Over President Donald Trump's first 100 days, we're asking him questions that our audience wants answers to. Join the project by tweeting this question to @realDonaldTrump with the hashtag #100Days100Qs

#55. @realDonaldTrump what is your administration's commitment to human rights? #100Days100Qs

There are currently 47 nations that participate in the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. But there may soon be one less voice at the table.

Last week, President Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrote a letter to several human rights organizations in which he said that the US would withdraw from the Human Rights Council unless it undergoes “considerable reform” by the UN.

Although the specific details of those reforms are not entirely clear, it is likely that Tillerson and Trump’s frustration with the council stems from their view that the UN has been too harsh in its criticism of Israel for continuing the construction of settlements in Palestine.

Tillerson’s threat to withdraw the US from the council is just the latest in a string of developments that cast doubt on the Trump administration’s relationship with the United Nations and the role that the US will play in advocating for human rights around the globe during Trump’s tenure in office.

President Trump reportedly wants the State Department — where staff numbers appear to be dwindling — to cut US funding to the United Nations by about $5 billion per year. Meanwhile, human rights experts affiliated with the UN have said that Trump’s executive order on migration discriminates against Muslims and is tantamount to a violation of human rights.    

As for Tillerson himself, during his confirmation hearing, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senate Democrats questioned the would-be secretary of state’s commitment to human rights when he equivocated on human rights violations in Russia and the Phillipines. And when the State Department released its annual report on human rights earlier this month, Tillerson was a no-show even though past secretaries have traditionally launched the report personally and with significantly more fanfare.

So Mr. President, where do you stand in terms of human rights? Click here to tweet the president and ask him yourself.