IN ACCORDANCE with the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Trade Act of 1974. the U.S. Department of State, has for the past several years submitted reports on all countries receiving assistance and all United Nations member states to the U.S. Congress.
THE ANNUAL REPORTS on Human Rights Practices cover internationally-recognized individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements.
THE IRONY OF the Act itself presents a rather complicated dilemma for America which for the much of the past century has enjoyed the privileged position as the most powerful nation in the world.
WHEN AMERICA SPEAKS, the world has been known to take notice. When an American president speaks, world leaders have been keen to put themselves in check or risk facing the wrath of US sanctions or reprimand.
JUST ASK FORMER Liberian President Charles Taylor whose uncompromising defiance was tested at the height of the Liberian civil war when former President George H.W. Bush read him the riot act, giving Taylor 48 hours to give up power and leave the country. Said President Bush at the time: "One thing that needs to happen is Mr. Taylor needs to leave. I think most people understand that that's important. I'm convinced he will listen and make the right decision, if he cares about his country."
- TAYLOR’S Departure paved the way for the end of the Liberian civil war.
- TAYLOR’S MISDEEDS, as did those of his kind have dominated the pages of the annual US. Report for years.
IN FACT, in one of his final reports as US. Secretary of State John Kerry in the 2015 edition pointed to a global governance crisis. “In every part of the world, we see an accelerating trend by both state and non-state actors to close the space for civil society, to stifle media and Internet freedom, to marginalize opposition voices, and in the most extreme cases, to kill people or drive them from their homes. Some look at these events and fear democracy is in retreat. In fact, they are a reaction to the advance of democratic ideals – to rising demands of people from every culture and region for governments that answer to them.”
IRONICALLY, the US since the election of President Donald Trump, finds itself on the receiving end of much of the unnerving observations it threw at despots in hotspots around the world.
THE MOST DAMNING has come through the administration’s rigid new measures to enforce immigration laws that could see millions of undocumented illegals arrested and deported |regardless of whether they have committed serious crimes.
ACCORDING TO documents released recently by the Department of Homeland Security, the broad scope of the president’s ambitions: to publicize crimes by undocumented immigrants; strip such immigrants of privacy protections; enlist local police officers as enforcers; erect new detention facilities; discourage asylum seekers; and, ultimately, speed up deportations.
THESE NEW MEASURES follow through on Mr. Trump’s campaign trail promises to redefine the definition of “criminal aliens” thereby disregarding the “rule of law and posing serious threats to people in communities across the United States.
THE MEASURES are of particular concerns for scores of Liberians, Sierra Leoneans and Guineans who have benefited from Temporary Protective Status due to civil crises in their respective countries. That program comes to an end in May this year, putting many of those who have not regularized the status in jeopardy of being deported.
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION is also taking heat after rolling back a major President Barack Obama public school bathroom requirements for transgender students. Attorneys across the US are already gearing up to fight discrimination against transgender people.
ALL THIS MAKES the anticipation high ahead of the release of the US report this year. More importantly, how will the rest of the world view anything the US tackles when it documents its findings. Which world leader would take anything the US says seriously in the wake of what is unfolding in various cities across America.
THE WAVE OF recent measures undertaken by the Trump administration defies convention and is poised to relegated America of its status as the leader world superpower.
THE ACTION NOT only contradicts everything America stands for but also betrays the compassion previous administrations, both democrats and republicans, displayed and won admiration from the rest of the world.
AS FORMER SECRETARY of State Kerry noted in 2015. “The frequently grim examples detailed in this Report strengthen our resolve to promote fundamental freedoms, to support human rights defenders, and to document and promote accountability for violations of human rights. We do so because it is right and because it reinforces our interest in a more peaceful world. People everywhere want to be free and in control of their lives. If they are denied basic rights and dignity, they will ultimately stand up for what they want, as we have seen from Syria to Sri Lanka, from Burma to Nigeria. The choice some governments offer between freedom and stability is thus a false one, for freedom is the foundation for lasting stability.”
AFTER ONLY A FEW WEEKS in office, the Trump administration is rapidly transforming itself from the leading police of world oppression to the laughing stock of the international community.
FOR AMERICA’S sake, one can only hope that Mr. Trump and his team would soon realize the gross errors and misjudgements already wreaking havoc on the world before the unfolding damage becomes too late to be repaired.