tv Human Rights Report CSPAN February 28, 2018 3:38am-4:39am EST
but the astonishing statistic we have to deal is there's almost 500,000 individuals that have felonies in the state that can't find employment. as we progress in this capital, i hope that we can get legislation passed to deal with the criminal justice reforms that so need it in this state. >> i think right now, education funding and how that looks, and the equality in the funding measures that our legislature chooses to enact in, and also infrastructure, and ensuring we are able to bring businesses and allow people to travel throughout our state. in an infrastructure that's not crumbling. for everyone involved whether they are mississippians or not. >> voices from the states, on c-span. the group amnesty international released its annual human rights report and was critical of president
trump's immigration policies. the 2017 report, which looks at 159 countries, claims that egypt, the philippines, venezuela, china, russia and the u.s. have been undermining human rights by using divisive rhetoric. good morning. welcome, thank you all for being here. my name is margaret huong. i'm the executive director of amnesty international usa, and we are very honored today to welcome our colleagues from across the globe, and particularly our secretary general, for the for first time we are launching amnesty international's human rights report here in the united states. each year, amnesty's international team of experts
and researchers puts together this report to document state by state the situation of human rights around the world. with more than -- with 159 countries in this year's report, we've been able to identify some very common themes that we're seeing across the globe. one of these is the worrying rise in state-sponsored discrimination and hate, which we have seen here in the united states as well. but a more promising theme is that we're also seeing rising levels of activism, which is exactly what amnesty international is all about. i'm very pleased today to be able to introduce my three colleagues from the global human rights movement who are already ready to talk about the report and the important work that amnesty international is doing. first, our secretary general will give an overview of the
report and the key themes that amnesty is highlighting this year. next, my colleague erica who is the americas direc to r for amnesty will speak to some of the human rights themes in our hemisphere, including the united states. and then our third speaker is the director of our crisis work, and she'll be able to speak to amnesty's work on the rohinga in bangladesh and myanmar. i'd like to remind each of you that this launch today is actually part of an embargoed effort. the report will not released until 12:01 tonight eastern time. so we ask that you do not live stream, you do not tweet or post online to social media. and that you hold your stories until 12:01 tonight. thank you again for being here and i'll hand over to saleel.
>> thank you all for joining us this morning. so one year ago, millions of people, not just in the united states, but across the world, were watching anxiously to see what a trump presidency would yield after an election campaign of hateful and company phobic and sexist rhetoric. they were also looking at france and netherlands, austria and je germany were showcasing similar rhetoric. combined with harsh crackdowns and violence in many countries, it was a bleak outlook. a year later we take stock.
and what we find in 2017 to a very alarming extent, sadly the hateful rhetoric crossed into hateful reality. in the usa we saw the reinstatement of the global gag rule, depriving millions of women and girls worldwide of vital health care. the travel bans aimed at mainly muslim countries, the dramatic cutback on refugee resettlement you remember ins, leaving thousands more in limbo. and a new climate of permissiveness for xenophobia and hatred, and president trump's failure to condemn it when he saw it. ultimately leads only in one direction. when leaders foster -- turn a blind eye, the end game is
horrific and literally fatal. in 2017 we saw no clearer example than the myanmar's military's campaign of ethnic cleansing against the rohinga population. and it drove more than 6,000 women, men and children to flee in terror. it was arguably the biggest human rights story of 2017. but a story with its roots in years of hatred, and systematic discrimination against the rohinga. the rising rhetoric of hate translated into horrific, real world consequences. that is the bad news from 2017. but there's also a lot of encouraging news. 2017 showed us what happens when people amass in great numbers to say they will not accept the injustices they face. rather than capitulate to narratives of fear, ordinary people clamored for justice,
breathing new life into long standing struggles, and igniting a new era of social activism. there's no better example of that than what we've seen with the kids in this country standing up against gun violence in the last few days. they refuse, the children we're talking about, refuse to accept what is unconscionable should be the status quo, from the huge women's marches, especially here in washington, d.c., to the widespread protests which started over corruption in iran, and for the mass mobilizations of traditional freedoms in poland, to the thousands braving tear gas and bullets, and campaigning against food and medical shortage in venezuela, people's determination to seek justice burned brightly across the world. as margaret mentioned, this is the first time am necessarily international is launching our
report on the state of the world of human rights in the united states of america. the reason is simple, in 2017, the usa figured prominently on both sides of the ledger, significant and serious new threats to human rights met huge and energetic resistance. what happens here in the u.s. has great resonance around the rest of the world. now, it's very important for us to remember that we can't view what happened in 2017 and what's happening in the world today as a simple equation of unprincipled leaders versus people power. across the world, the values of human dignity, equality and human rights are hardly contested in our public squares -- hotly contested. and on the internet, which is the modern public scare. we saw the women's march here in d.c. but we also saw charlottesville. we saw the staunch defense of the judiciary in poland, but we also saw a huge nationalist
rally, which included calls for a muslim holocaust, so the hatred and fear in our public sphere has not gone away, faced with a permissive climate for hatred, and leaders who are ready to throw away people's rights, those who are willing to stand up are a critical line of defense. they often pay a heavy price, none more so than the 120 people killed in protests in venezuela, the 312 or more human rights defenders who have been killed in 2017. or the countless more facing intimidation. but above all, 2017 brings into sharp focus the urgency of principle and ethical leadership in the world. the great abraham lincoln famously said, and i'm sure we can apply the same to women, and i quote, nearly all men can stand adversity. but if you want to test a man's
character, give him power. the lesson from 2017 is that fear and hatred is a recipe for nothing but violence. 2018 needs leaders prepared to tackle the big challenges, from refugees to protecting human rights defenders, to the precarious nature of many people's access to basic services, instead of simply deflecting responsibility through blame. we need leaders who are unafraid to stand for and defend the values of human rights, dignity and equality. as people have shown up by rising up again and again in 2017, we cannot afford for these values simply to be thrown away. the cost of humanity is far too high and we can and must do better than this. thank you very much. and i'll invite erica to come here now, please.
thank you, everyone, good morning. my name is erica gavararosas. i'm talking about the u.s. policy impact in the caribbean. the world is experiencing one of the worst regression climates in the last decades. we are the region with the highest rates of homicide around the world. we are the most unequal region of the world, but also this is a cons kwe consequence, in many ways, of the u.s. policies that affecting the ability of the people around the continent to exercise human rights. the alarming concern for human rights that greeted the election in the inauguration of donald trump has proved to be founded. president trump anti-white rhetoric and sepp phobia into action by signing a bunch of executive orders that are
affecting millions at home and abroad and some of the impact of the u.s. policies in relation to latin america and the caribbean have included the immigration and refugee policies and practices, such as the many presidential orders that happen been suspended in the country's refugee settlement program for a few days but also reducing the annual refugee admission cap to 44,000 amid a global refugee crisis with increasing numbers of people from central america, mexico and other countries in the region seeking protection due to the generalized violence and the failures of the states to protect them. the executive order on border security and immigration and improvements and a series of other measures are allowing also the forcible return of people to life-threatening situations in the region as well as the increase of the unlawful mandatory detention of asylum seekers and the separation of families that are affects thousands in central americans and mexicans that are trying to
cross the border in seek of protection. but also what is going to have a serious implication in the geopolitics of the immigration and refugee policies in the region is the end of the humanitarian programs known as the temporary protected status which allows thousands of salvadorans, haitians and nicaraguans to live and work legally in the country for many years. as one of the latest reversals of years of immigration policies intended to provide protection to people fleeing manmade and natural disasters in many regions. these thousands of people are among the nearly 1 million immigrants who lives in the united states whose lives in the united states have been upended and set to a deadline under president trump. the largest group, nearly 700,000 immigrants who were protected under the deferred
action shock known as daca are said to be losing temporary work permits in march in a few weeks and 12 of the 15 top countries of origin for daca beneficiaries are in the latin american and caribbean region. but if the threat to build a wall between the u.s. and mexico border was not enough to create a sense of division and hostility towards the southern neighboring countries, president trump had rhetoric with venezuela and cuba are providing excuse for government leaders to justify grave violations of human rights and nationalist approaches to control people's freedoms n.venezuela in particular, where people are facing the worst human rights crisis in the country's recent history, the rhetoric of trump against venezuela's ruling government has not just infuriated president maduro but also providing him with the
perfect excuse to justify serious human rights violations such as detentions, torture and attacks on civilians, but also women and girls are experiencing already the very fine consequences as regression on rights with rhetoric to reality. trump's restrictions on women and girls actions to sexual and reproductive services have had a notorious impact on the life of millions in the region and elsewhere in the world. he reinstated and restricted almost $8 billion in u.s. foreign and funding aid for international programs that provide or even mention abortion in their work. he de-funded a united nations population fund as the leading global maternal health organization that provides contraception and pregnancy care to low-income women in 150
countries, and in latin america alone where experts estimate that almost 800,000 women are treated annually for complications of unsafe abortion, president trump's stands are putting not just many lives at risk and are also creating a regression context in which countries are now proposing new restrictions to law and practices to ensure that women and girls are not accessing sexual reproductive rights that are needed in their lives. so, of course, yet even crisis after crisis shook us to the ground, they also inspired many to raise in the region against some of these policies, so we've seen the women's march in many countries in latin america opposing to some of these policies and oppose how the governments are justifying this new u.s. foreign policy towards latin america, precisely to commit some of the worst atrocities against our populations, so i'm going to pass the mike to my colleague tirana hassan who will speak
about some of the crises are that enduring to people in other parts of the world. thank you. >> thank you, erica. so before we launch into talking about 2017, i wanted to just share with you a comment that was sent to us from eastern ghouta. as you know, eastern ghouta is an enclave outside of damascus in syria and it's being bombarded relentlessly over the last few days. it's been described probably as one of the worst sieges that syria has seen in the world. the pediatrician that our team spoke to said the situation in eastern ghouta is worse than words can say. we have been lacking the basics for five years, but today it's even worse. why do i start talking about what's happening today when we're reflecting on 2017?
it's because this is a direct consequence of the paralysis that has plagued the international community in 2017 when it comes to conflict, cries and mass atrocities. we have seen zero moral or legal leadership coming from the international community. 2017 was the year 690,000 rohingya, pretty much the population of washington, d.c., fled their homes, when the army went in, the myanmar military went in, guns a-blazing and setting their homes on fire and killing their relatives and raping women. they fled into bangladesh where they are now living in squalid conditions, in terms that are like small cities. 2017 was the year that 470,000 people were living, not living, but surviving under siege in
syria and 90% of those people are in eastern ghouta. 2017 was the year that hospitals, markets, civilian homes were bombed in yemen without consequence. and in 2017 was the year that the international community could have done it differently. mass atrocities played out in realtime. we could have done something about it, but they didn't. the messages that we've heard when we have taken the evidence from syria, from yemen, from myanmar to the security -- to the security council at the united nations, to the human rights council, has been that the capitals are telling us to keep our heads down or this might not be the right time to engage on the rohingya issue with myanmar. it seems abhorrent, but the
international community when they look back at 2017 and they look at how they could have prevented mass apros tis, how they could have responded to crimes against humanity, they will not look back and draw any lessons from this. they will look back and they will see that they were part of the drafting of some of the darkest chapters in modern history. i was on the border with myanmar in bangladesh in the first weeks of when the rohingya were fleeing. they were coming across, and it was -- in droves. it was scenes of people fleeing of biblical proportion, and amongst the sea of people that came out one day was a woman called shafika who arrived holding just what she could carry. she had three of her children. two of her children were still
missing, and she never wanted to leave myanmar and the first thing she said was and i want to go back. she wanted to go back when she was safe. she wanted to go back when she would be recognized as a citizen of myanmar and as a rohingya. she wanted to go back when she could send her children to school and live safely and with dignity. none of those things are unreasonable and none of those things are not doable and none of those things justify the paralysis that we are seeing amongst the international community when we are responding to the current rohingya crisis. there are solutions, and it is clear that without ordinary people in capitals, in countries, in communities who will push their world leaders to take action on the international stage, then we're going to
continue to see people suffer because of this paralysis. we live in a time when crimes against humanity are being beamed into our homes in realtime, and this demands real action. there must be a comprehensive arms embargo imposed on militaries that continue to kill civilians and bomb hospitals, and it needs to happen now, and it needs to happen against the militaries and the countries who are serial offenders of these crimes. 2017 taught us that without consequences and accountability, war crimes will go unabated and civilians, including women and children, the elderly and people with disabilities will not only suffer, they will die. 2017 told us one other thing, and that is that outrage and condemnation is not enough.
without concrete action from world leaders the message that they are sending is no longer never again. it is again and again, and this is unacceptable. thank you. >> so with -- we're going do two things now. one, i just want to give a quick recap of the main messages, particularly for the cameras and also to do what we traditionally do which is to officially launch the report with holding up the report, and you're woman to join me, tirana and all of you, please, come this way so we get -- so do hold up the reports, please, yeah, for the cameras.
so let me just restate for the purpose of those of you who have heard a lot of different messages, let me just recap very quickly, so the main message from our report of 2017 is that the world suffered the terrifying consequences as hate and divisive rhetoric moved into policies and actions, and these consequences have been direct and hugely negative on women, refugees, minorities, those without a voice, but at the same time while governments' mainstream and hateful and divisive politics and attacks on
vulnerable people got normalized, the good news is people across the world, ordinary people, particularly youth, stood up to fight for their own freedoms and for the freedoms of others, and we have a huge number of examples to both talk about how governments have been so brazen in their attack on human rights and human values but equally of people standing up across the world. so thank you very much for listening to us. we're open to taking some questions from you, and i will answer some of them myself, but also my very able colleagues who will help in answering so please go ahead. raise your hand and introduce yourself and keep your questions short and precise, please. good. all clear. no questions. please, go ahead. >> thank you. rafa jabouri. so this is the first time that you chose america is as the venue to launch the report.
are there any direct results that you will be expecting of that or just a showcase for your cause? >> well, i think the direct results are already being seen by actions which the united states people are taking up themselves, and i -- and i hope that this will only intensify and the government will understand the policies and action and rhetoric that we're hearing from president trump and others will be diverse. i think margaret will say more. don't forget that we have a government which just last month had an executive order which was reversing the previous government's policies on something as, you know, something which has been across the world condemned as serious violation of international human rights which is keeping guantanamo bay prison open. we're not talking about abstracting. this is happening as we speak. we have a president who actually
said that in his very first months endorse the use of torture, and you can imagine what this means for governments across the world who are extensively using torture, including in the part of the world which you come, from so i think our message is loud and clear and let me ask margaret if she wants to add anything on this point. >> thank you. just two points. i think the impact here in the united states is that people will feel inspired and continue to be motivated to stand up because amnesty is doing human rights work in the united states. we don't just do human rights work in other parts of the world and we do it right here and we call out abuses wherever we see them. the other way it's going to have an impact is our colleagues around the world are inspired that we do call our human rights abuses in the u.s. it's not enough that we can criticize other governments that may not have as much influence, but mere in the u.s. we're also calling out those abuses. thank you.
>> i just want to add one more point, you know, that as much as -- most countries who are violating human rights, they always take the cover of national sovereignty and domestic laws, but we have to understand that when it comes to international crimes and international law, you don't really have that, because it doesn't matter where you are and what your national laws say, you are obligated under international law to follow those laws, and it doesn't matter whether you're the smallest poorest country or the richest most powerful country in the world. international human rights law is consistent and applied the same way across all countries so i hope that answers your question. >> yes, you with the microphone. go ahead. we'll bring it back. >> thank you. two questions. i wanted to know -- >> you want to introduce
yourself. >> from argentina. which countries do you think are trying to compensate all the leaders in your view that are undermining human rights and, number two, how do you feel about the work of multi-lateral organizations such as the united nations or the organization for american states that are supposed to step in and prevent this retreat or like enforcing human rights situations that you described? >> so i'm not sure if i exactly understood your question. as you know, amnesty doesn't compare across countries because it's hopeless for us to do, but i can give you one example of probably what you're talking about which is we saw a very strong attack against the international criminal court from several african countries, most visibly brian daubach which pulled out from their own statute, but also supported by south africa actively. now, what we saw consequent to
that was that several african countries, senegal, niger yeah, many. african countries, botswana, they pushed back and said we do not accept, you know, this position taken by some african countries and what looked like the icc was really at risk if a number of african companies pulled out has now reversed. i'm not saying that the threat is completely gone. we do have countries that will stand up for human rights including leaders in some of these countries, but, yeah, maybe since it's a question that's a bit linked to argentina you might want to come in here. >> just i may add that the backlash against human rights is also creating a context in which global and regional human rights institutions have been attacked by governments and the states. in the specific case of the americas, the american human rights system has endured what it has called a financial crisis but in our opinion is more of a
political crisis of the states trying to reduce the use of the human rights commission in particular who is representing many of the victims of human rights violations, and this is something very alarming as well because we have gained a lot in having these regional human rights bodies that are providing in some instances a last option for victims of human rights violations that didn't find justice in their own countries, but also some of these intergovernmental bodies such as the organization of americans, they have been used by states to undermine the influence of certain governments in the region where they don't necessarily -- the leaders who they are propose for declarations or for the announcing of the governors which is the case of venezuela. unfortunately, we don't have leaders that have the ethical and moral to call anybody out so what happened last year at the general assembly of the organization of american states
that took place in mexico is that mexico government and the argentina government wanted to organize a declaration against venezuela, but then at the same time the mexico government was violating the rights and repressing the families of the 43 students that were subject to enforce disappearance at a time when they were denouncing the human rights situation in venezuela, so that -- that situation is, of course, creating and closing the spaces for estates to hold themselves accountable because all of them have a lot to respond to their citizens in relation to the human rights context in their own countries. >> i think, also, on the global refugee crisis i would be remiss if i don't highlight the important leadership role that was played by angela merkel in germany in the european context and trudeau in the canadian context where they backed -- the
whole -- the trend in europe and, of course, north america has been to essentially ander to fringe voices who have taken a very anti-refugee position, but you -- you found, you know, chancellor merkel standing up and saying, that you know, even if it comes with an electoral cost, she will stand by european values and stick to the principles of, you know, all purp-of-european countries have signed up to the refugee convention, and she said they will abide by it. president trudeau, we were told by harper and the previous regime that canadians don't want refugees. suddenly it seems to be different, and that's the whole issue of ethical leadership, that leaders need to stand up and do the right things. there was one question here. >> good morning. i'm here with the mexican news agency and i have two questions. the first one i remember, i think it was last year, i don't know, it was you or freedom house or one of those organizations, they presented a
report about the rise of anti-immigration sentiment in the united states after the election of donald trump, and there was plenty of, you know, evidence about that, and we -- i mean, we see some of that evidence sometimes in tv. the question is i wonder if you have any reference about that situation in your report? i mean, is that sentiment still alive or the second question is on latin america and recently honduras has held presidential elections and there were calls of fraud and even the division of electoral observation did present a report, a very damning report, raising serious questions about the legality of the process. nevertheless, a lot of countries, including the united states, decide to recognize
those elections and i wonder in cases like that represent a setback to the efforts to defend human rights in the region considering the fact that after the election there was a lot of repression and a lot of people die on those occasions? >> margaret, do you want to say anything about the attitudinal questions or erica, between the two of you. >> i think it's no surprise to anyone that the issues of race and discrimination are still very front and center in our political sphere here in the united states. we are continuing to monitor discrimination. amnesty has been very active in campaigning against the executive orders banning visitors from several muslim countries and reduce and banning the number of refugees allowed to resettle here in the u.s. but we've also been active in fighting against threats to women's reproductive health here in the united states. we've been active in addressing issues of disparity in our
criminal justice system. there's a number of ways in which race plays out and very clear human rights violations here in the u.s. and we continue to see those as a priority for our work. >> well, specifically about the latin american region and increasing political polarization that continues in many countries, especially in the context of elections. in hopped russ in particular almost 40 people were killed in the context of repression, of press. many have been detained arbitrarily and in some cases they stay in solitary confinement so we investigation pressed our serious concern about this situation in a country where the human rights have been violated for many years. one of the countries with the highest rates of homicide and also the highest rates of killing of human right and the case of where it was emblematic of the situation and many others have lost their lives and many
others are not just experimenting different forms of violence but also the criminalization of the state against the activism that they are doing. for us, of course, the political context, it's extremely concerning not just in honduras but in many other countries where elections are going to happen this year such as mexico, costa rica, venezuela and many others because what we're seeing is an increased tendency of the states to create legislation that can control people to take to the streets in demand for accountability. like is the case in mexico with the new law on security, internal security, that one of the concerns that amnesty has is that now the military has the open door to repress protesters in the context of political division in the context of the upcoming elections. >> thank you. maybe one or -- okay. yeah, please, go ahead and then let's give a chance to folks on
this side as well. please go ahead. >> hi. can maybe miss huang elaborate a little bit more on the findings on china for our audience, please. >> what do you mean by findings on china? >> like the striking findings in that region from. [ laughter ] year's report. >> i -- unless you particularly want u.s. perspective on it. so china, as you know, is a country which is a strong focus for amnesty international work. we have the work which china has done out of the hong kong office, so -- and there's a lot that can be said so let mow just stick to one or two key points. i think what we've seen in the last year is that with president xi becoming much more powerful inside the political, you know, machinery of china, we have seen actually a much higher sort of crackdown on human rights defenders inside the country
whether it's lawyers or journalists. a lot of this many other countries is being done under the guise of national security. of course, one of the most tragic incidence wes the liu xiabo, died in prison when he had cancer and they refused to move him out of the country to get better medical care. that was a symbolic example of that, but the controls on the internet have been tight end. several websites have been blocked, and then if you take the specific instances and specific instances of the uygurs or tibetans things have become much, much worse. i want to also just mention that the role of china on the international stage is also i think very different in 2017, and i think we'll see more and more difference. historically china has taken a very sort of, you know, hands
off policy and non-interference policy when it comes to international matters, but i think president xi has made it very clear that this is a new china, that's going to be a very assertive foreign policy. we've seen the direct impact of that in myanmar where they push hard for bangladesh and myanmar to agree on a repatriation agreement and we've seen the role they have played it zimbabwe which was interesting, less visible. most of these things happened behind the scenes, but as you know the global power they are asserting through the one belt one road program has very serious human rights implications and we are tracking this very closely. they are also pushing hard for countries like egypt is a good example where there are critics of china who are located outside of china. governments are being pressured to send them back to china. egypt has already done this. we're seeing this in many other places. they are also starting to export
civilians to africa which they have not done in the past in a very substantial way. i must say that, you know, on the upside, i mean, this is -- this is irony of china that -- that if china wants to play a positive role, they can do that, and they are where they need to make some very difficult choices for themselves and if you take the climate change issue, and you could say that's because beijing is choking and they have no choice but the fact is that the chinese government has taken a very positive proactive role on the paris agreement and, you know, all the climate issues do have human rights issues because it affects people living in fragile environmental situations so thank you for that question. there were a few more on this side, and we have said we're going to stop at 11:40. i don't mind taking another five minutes but not much more. >> hi. i'm here with leader nancy pelosi's office. as saudi arabia and iran
continue to engage in the proxy war in yemen, yemen continues to face health issues such as the cholera outbreaks and malnutrition and most recently al jazeera reported on the 18th of february that there have been apparent deaths from bird flu. do you believe that the threat of a serious health crisis like the bird flu that can spill over board erdesz will change the attitude of the international community to the crisis, and if not what do you believe in 2018, the international community should do to change the situation in yemen and push into more hopeful situations? >> i have a lot to say on yemen but i'll let joanne do it. >> we're not on the cusp of a health crisis, we're into a full-blown health crisis in yemen and tens of thousands of people have died. i think that ship has sailed. what we need to be doing now is not talking about what is the
next iteration of this crisis or the next chapter in this nightmarish book, but it's about what can we be doing about it, and one of the biggest issues when it comes to healthcare and why people are dying in yemen besides being bombed relentlessly is the fact that there's a blockade in yemen. there are not supplies going in in the sort of -- the sort of scale that needs to be going in. now there's a siege on the port of hadaida, for example, and we need to see all of these restrictions lifted and we need to see free and unforget fettered humanitarian access throughout the country and that needs to be investigated on both sides, both the huthi and the saudi could ilition and yemeni government need to ensure that there needs to be accountability. if the saudi led coalition continues as it has over the last two years to bomb infrastructure, healthcare,
ports, et cetera, this will have a direct consequence on yemen and on the yemeni people and on the health, well-being and survival of them. the point about will this be the turning point for the international community? i would say that the turning point for the international community to engage on yemen to hold saudi arabia to account, to ensure that there are sound political, political engagement with the saudis in terms of international -- in terms of crimes against high temperature and international breeches of international humanitarian law, that needs to have happened two years ago. >> one point on -- you're right to say that it's a proxy war between saudi arabia and iran, and in this case proportionally i think saudi arabia has a lot to account for, but don't forget that the weapons which the saudi coalition is getting is coming from western countries the, from the uk, from this country, from
brazil, so -- so, you know, what is fueling the war. if you want to take action, there are people in this building who can do a lot more, i think. we don't need to go too far to find the solution, so there was another question here and then probably i'm looking at margaret. we can go one-on-one conversations. >> thank you. this is a question for miss hassan, if possible. i understand you're the crisis response program, and i'm wondering what your greatest challenges are as you're faced with new technology and trying to verify all these violations. what are your greatest challenges as you try and verify these things, and greatest concerns as well? >> so i think the two things actually begin to meld. one is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to operate in a number of locations where we would need to be on the ground to bear witness to create -- to collect the sort of evidence that we need, and so
that is proving to be very challenging, you know, in syria, our access to syria is limited. in relation to the rohingya crisis and myanmar, journalists, humanitarians and human rights investigators, including those which are mandated by the u.n. human rights council have not been granted access to be able to do any sort of proper on-the-ground investigation. instead, what we've been seeing is these flimsy sort of investigations which have been carried out by the perpetrators themselves, the myanmar military and surprise, surprise, they are saying everything is fine, so that is one of our greatest challenges. in terms of the -- in terms of, you know, what is coming out there, how do we decipher what is true and what is not. what do you do with the thousands of hours of live streamed horrors coming out of syria or libya? actually, there are solutions. this is both our greatest
challenge and in our way our greatest opportunity, so at amnesty international we've developed what we call the digital verification call so we've invested quite heavily into ensuring that we have a network, a capacity, a small army of our own, you might say, that actually looks at the sort of footage that is coming out of these places and we conduct thorough investigation -- thorough forensic analysis of these videos, so -- and photographs, so we're able to geolocate. we're able to verify. we're able to see when the -- if these videos existed before. if the context is correct and it's only thens once we've been able to training late the open-source information that is out there that we can actually use it in our investigations. it's proved incredible, and there's been really dramatic changes in this landscape about open source investigations, so as some of you may be aware, there was a case of a commander in libya, the al wafali case.
now, this was a libyan commander who videos started to emerge on youtube of an individual who was executing men. he was present at a number of executions. nobody had been on the ground, but those videos were verified and actually an arrest warrant was issued by the international criminal court, so this is a real turning point, so while it's also a challenge it's an incredible opportunity and a step towards justice and accountability. >> so i know there's two more and we have to keep it very short. so please at the back and then come to the front. >> i have one here in the back. i'm here representing a spanish newspaper. in the report you talk about the regression of human rights with mr. trump in the white house. would i like to know if you can give us some concrete examples, of concrete examples of that regression in other countries, india and world stage. >> i think erica talked a little
bit about that in the americas. the obvious one is on the refugee shoe where it's clear cut. the global gag rule and the implications of the global gag rule are international. i think $1.8 billion of cuts in the funding of agent significance that were helping with sexual reproductive healthcare. if the president of the united states legitimizes brazen human rights violations like guantanamo bay or torture, you can imagine the signaling effect of this, so, you know, if you take each one of the things that he's been push pentagon for, it becomes -- even the attacks on the media, for example, and silencing of dissent, you can imagine how much leverage this gives for leaders in egypt or hungary or places where they are simply waiting to crush dissent or crush any kind of freedom of assembly and assembly. we now have today the announcement of the arrest or
other sentencing of five years for nabil rajad in bahrain for tweeting and we can think of those who are using twitter for negative purposes across the world. you can imagine the implications of the actions taken be by this country and elsewhere. i will ask maybe if margaret, you're good, you want to add anything. >> just one other thing. president trump has been highly critical of protest movements here in the united states and to salil's point i think there's no question that his criticism of athletes like colin kaepernick or black lives matter protesters here in the united states have now transferred to other countries, and we're seeing that oppression of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of peaceful protest being questioned in many, many countries around the world including more than 20 in africa, several in the americas and also in asia, and that's an alarming situation for those of us who believe activism is part
of the solution for human rights. thanks. >> thank you. please. be. >> thank you. elissa rose with nhk. this question is also for miss hassan, if you don't mind. you were speaking earlier very strongly on the atrocities committed against the rohingya in mining mar. is aung san suu kyi also responsible for those acrossies, and what are you calling for the u.s. to do on the situation now? >> so aung san suu kyi has a role to play in this, but she doesn't command the myanmar military. as salil alluded to in his comments, the person who is in the command and control, they are military personnel. the person who is the -- the head of the myanmar military is a man called ming on li and we would think his name would be in the newspaper where the
atrocities are being committed. so i think in terms of the accountability, for the burnings and killings and the mass atrocities that amnesty international has dock outed we really do need to be focusing on the commanders commanding those units who are on the ground who are giving those orders and, of course, the commander in chief himself. in terms of aung san suu kyi, she has a role to play this. did not come out of nowhere. the prejudice against the row hinge yeah, the institutionalized the discrimination against the row hinge yeah, you know, these are issues that should have been dealt with by the civilian government, and, you know, this -- the violence is one aspect of this, but there is an institutionalized system which is made up of complex laws and orders and local -- just local sort of bylaws which am neftali international has investigated in 2017, and we have established that it is actually the crime of
apartheid. now, this crime of apartheid and dismantling the laws which discriminate to this degree and make the rohingya other, this very much sits with the civilian government and very much within the preview of aung san suu kyi, and she should be acting on this immediately. i don't know if you have anything to add. >> i can just -- sorry. >> the role of the u.s. >> the role of the u.n. >> u.s., okay. sorry. maybe margaret will want to say something because we've been active at the congress here on the u.s. role in it, but i think, you know, it's an issue on which i've been quite directly involved personally as well, and i think the most striking thing about aung san suu kyi, since you mentioned her specifically. as you know, she was an amnesty prisoner of conscience. we fought for her release for two decades, so, you know, there's a certain moral, ethical position that she was holding in the world and her silence is very problematic, and we've been very open about that, you know,
and in some cases some of the things that she said was actually more than silent. she was justifying some of the actions in some ways, so i think -- and she holds huge sway. she has huge popular support within the people of myanmar, so she had a responsibility to speak up, and that would change the discourse inside myanmar so i think we've been very vocal in our criticism of aung san suu kyi, but we shouldn't get confused in terms of who can actually really move the needle on this issue inside myanmar, and that is directly with the army, and so we -- that's precisely why we want to target the generals directly, but, of course, there's a lot of blame to be shared. >> and for the last comment on what the u.s. government should be doing, i'm going to ask my colleague joanne lin who heads our advocacy government relations team to talk about the important work that congress is doing address the rohingya situation. joanne. >> thank you, margaret and salil and i really appreciate the
question. i'm so happy to see so many hill staff here gathered with us because the plight of the rohingya is actually one. few but very important issues that amnesty international has been working very closely with the trump administration to address. i think many of you may know that secretary tillerson shortly before thanksgiving visited myanmar, met with aung san suu kyi, met with the military leaders and on the ground spoke at a press conference where he was critical of myanmar authorities, both the military and civilian authorities for their failure to address the mass atrocities and for their failure to halt them. in addition, in december, just a few months ago, the trump administration issued an executive order that targeted 13 individuals who were engaged in human rights violations or other types of government corruption, and these 13 individuals were named and are subject to targeted financial sanctions by the united states. one of the 13 individuals is a
former leader of the western command of the myanmar military, somebody whom amnesty international has documented as being directly involved in overseeing or supervising crimes against humanity. we know that the trump administration at multiple agency levels including the state department, treasury, national security, usaid, joint chiefs, pentagon, are continuing to address the rohingya cries, and there's still so much more to do. now what is and what can congress do? there have been multiple hearings in both chambers. there has been movement on a resolution that the house passed near -- i believe unanimously in november. just two weeks ago the senate foreign relations committee marked up the burma human rights and freedom act which amnesty international strongly supports. that's s-2620. the next stop for that bill is the senate floor. amnesty international's board of directors has sent a letter directly to mitch mcconnell
urging him to bring that legislation to the floor for a vote asap. on monday, february 26th, 320 am neftali international activists from across the united states will be hitting capitol hill and meeting with legislators, both republicans and democrats, urging them to take action on several top priorities, including passage, ultimately, passage of the bicameral and warm legislation on the rohingya, and in addition am neftali activists are going to be urging congress to sustain robust funding for humanitarian aid for refugees and displaced peoples worldwide. the united states notwithstanding some very troubling developments in 2017 from the trump administration, the united states government remains the single largest donor to the international community, and it's absolutely essential that the u.s. government keep funding the world food program,
unicef, u.n. refugee agencies and many others to ensure that refugees in yemen, in syria, in bangladesh, that they are provided for and that lives can be saved. thank you. thank you very much. we want to make sure that if you want to coordinate the individual conversations you want to have with any of us. otherwise it becomes difficult to sort the queueing questions. thanks very much for joining us this morning and i hope that you found it useful and thanks for your support to amnesty's work and for human rights. thank you. earlier this month, the
general services administration recommended that the new fbi headquarters building should be built on the current location in downtown washington, d.c. we'll get an update from the senate, environment and public works committee live at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span 3. you can also follow live coverage on c-span.org and with the free c-span radio app. in the afternoon, a house panel will examine several proposals to address the opioid crisis, looking at addiction and treatment. live coverage from the house energy and commerce subcommittee hearing begins at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> sunday on c-span even "q&a," politico magazine contributing editor joshua seitz talked about his book, building the great society, inside lyndon johnson's white house," about the members of president johnson's staff who
helped create and implement his create society programs. >> exactly how an administration within the space of four and a half years, five years, you know, built all of these programs. after they pass congress and they signed them into the law which is where the story normally ends, how did they build medicare and medicare from the ground up in the first year and create the first programs like head start or food stamps, the anti-cedants of food stamps and nutritional programs of children and how did they do that while desegregating a third of the country, housing and nursing homes and schools and places of public accommodation and fighting wars in vietnam and dissembling about it. >> "q&a," sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span. wednesday morning we're live in santa fe, new mexico for the next stop on the c-span bus 50 capitals tour. former new mexico gov