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US scorn for human rights is dangerous and inhumane

Demonstrators march in New York against the separation of immigrant families in accordance with US president Donald Trump's hardline immigration policy. /EDUARDO MUNOZ/AFP
Demonstrators march in New York against the separation of immigrant families in accordance with US president Donald Trump's hardline immigration policy. /EDUARDO MUNOZ/AFP

Who will whip the US into line when it comes to human rights if the rest of the world, including the UN, are afraid of it?

The US is known for preaching to all and sundry about human rights and has even attacked many states around the world under the pretext of upholding the rights of their citizens.

In the recent past it has bombed Iraq and Libya under that pretext and it forms its basis for sponsoring a regime change war in Syria.

Under the so-called America First doctrine of Donald Trump, which informs his zero-tolerance policy on immigration, we have seen heart-wrenching pictures of babies and children of asylum seekers in cages, separated from their parents. Apparently, many of the children do not stand a chance of ever uniting with their parents.

After loud protests from human rights groups in the US, some 500 or so children were united with their mothers, but roughly another 3000 or so remain separated.

It has been reported that some mothers have been deported back to their countries of origin, leaving their children in the US and not knowing where they are. Now, who does such a thing?

With the connivance of the US, Israel has been bombing and shooting unarmed Palestinians for years without consequence. During the 70th Nakba Day this year, Palestinian children, women and the elderly were shot at with live ammunition by the Israeli army.

Nakba, or Day of Catastrophe, marks the day on which nearly a million Palestinians were driven out of their homes or fled after attacks by Jews. Palestinian lands were given to the Jews while many Palestinians went into exile and others remain landless.

Against international agreements, Trump decided to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. To rub salt into the wound, a function to mark the move was made to coincide with the Palestinian observance of Nakba.

The Americans blamed the peaceful demonstrations for the Israeli army's shooting of the protesters. Since when have peaceful, unarmed protests become crimes punishable by shooting?

Alleging that the UN Human Rights Commission is biased against Israel, the US has announced its withdrawal from the world body.

Whereas in the past the US has pretended to be a champion of human rights par excellence, while violating these where it does not suit its interests, it has now dropped all pretext and tramples on the rights of others willy-nilly.

To drive the point home, Trump has announced his intention to deport asylum seekers from the US without any judicial process. In addition to the fact that it violates all US laws and practices in this matter, it also goes against international treaties and best practice.

To further show how cockeyed the US attitude to human rights is, it is said to be demanding that together with the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, North Korea should commit to an improvement of its human rights regime and culture.

What right does the US have to preach to others when it and its ally, Israel, trample on the human rights of others with impunity?

As Trump intensifies his isolationist policies, including the abandoning of international trade policies and treaties, imposing trade tariffs against other countries, which could provoke a trade war, we should expect the US to become grumpier and less susceptible to influence by the rest of the globe.

To have a military and economic power like the US violating human rights and isolating itself from all others in trade is rather unsettling.

It is to be hoped that it will return to a human rights culture that is less cockeyed than the one we see.

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