During the annual world report of a leading human rights group known as the Human Rights Watch released on Thursday pointed to “the rise of leaders who, claiming to speak for ‘the people’ amid rising public discontent over the status quo, reject rights as an impediment to their perception of the majority will” and warns about the worldwide threat posed by the rise of populist leaders like U.S President-elect Donald Trump.
Keneth Roth, executive director of the Human Rights group particular stated that “the rise of populism poses a profound threst to human rights and that Trump and various politicians in Europe seek power through appeals to racism, Xenophobia, misogyny, and nativism. They all claim that the public accepts violations of human rights as supposedly necessary to secure jobs, avoid cultural change, or prevent terrorist attacks. In fact, disregard for human rights offer the likeliest route to tyranny.”
The report summarizes human rights issues from late 2015 to Nov. 2016 in more than 90 countries and Trump features prominently in the report alongside other political tyrants like Bashar Assad (Syria), President Vladamir Putin (Rushian President) and Rodrigo Duterte (Philipines).
Roth further stated in an essay with the report “certain politicians are flourishing and even gaining power by portraying rights as protecting only the terrorist suspect or the asylum seeker at the expense of the safety, economic welfare, and cultural preferences of the presumed majority they scapegoat refugees, immigrant communities, and minorities. Truth is a frequent casualty”
The Deputy United Nations director at Human Rights Watch Akshaya Kumar, said majority of these populist leaders boast about their abuses as a strategy to discredit detractors. He further stated that “The shameless do not seek to hide their abuses or the policies that underpin them, but instead flaunt them as electoral or recruitment tools,”
She pointed to a statement last year by the Philippines’ Duterte, who said he “didn’t care about human rights” when questioned about a government policy to shoot drug dealers.
Roth said the past year foreshadowed a “dangerous trend [that] threatens to reverse the accomplishments of the modern human rights movement.” He called for a “vigorous reaffirmation and defense of the basic values underpinning” these rights, and pointed to the need to stamp out so-called fake news.
“Lies do not become truth just because propagated by an army of internet trolls or a legion of partisans,” Roth wrote. “Echo chambers of falsehoods are not inevitable. Facts remain powerful, which is why autocrats go to such lengths to censor those who report inconvenient truths, especially about human rights abuse.”