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Amnesty International Blasts Trump, Putin, Duterte, and Others for Human Rights Abuses

Reflecting on a year of horrifying civil war, devastating refugee crises, and regressive policies designed to persecute immigrants, Amnesty International strongly condemned an array of world leaders, including US President Donald Trump, in its latest State of the World’s Human Rights report.

The annual report, released Thursday, analyzes the human rights violations in 159 countries and condemns abuses in Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the US.

“As we enter the year in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70, it is abundantly clear that none of us can take our human rights for granted,” Amnesty International’s Secretary-General Salil Shetty said in the report. "The spectres of hatred and fear now loom large in world affairs, and we have few governments standing up for human rights in these disturbing times.”

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In the report, Amnesty specifically called out “leaders such as el-Sisi, Duterte, Maduro, Putin, Trump, and Xi” for “callously undermining the rights of millions."

Leslie Vinjamuri, an expert on US policy at the UK-based Chatham House Institute of International Affairs, told Al Jazeera that Trump has violated "core principles of human rights.”

"From his effort during his first weeks in office to implement a Muslim [travel] ban, to his initial response to the violence in Charlottesville, the president's words have been racist and discriminatory," Vinjamuri told Al Jazeera. "Words matter, they send a clear signal that enables certain kinds of activity and inhibits others."

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But human rights’ violations in the US are just the tip of the iceberg, the report states. Humanitarian crises throughout the world make millions of people vulnerable to imprisonment, exploitation, and death.

A complex civil war against an authoritarian regime in Syria has splintered in several deadly conflicts and initiated the world’s largest refugee crisis in generation.

In Yemen, famine and a cholera epidemic brought upon by conflict and a blockade of food and humanitarian relief by the Saudi-led and US-backed coalition has affected at least 1 million people, while a targeted campaign against Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmar government has forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.

In Burundi, a “forgotten” refugee crisis has forced nearly a half million people from their homes.

The catastrophes have forced millions to find security in other countries, but the mass migration has triggered xenophobic responses throughout Europe and the US.

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Yet, the report notes, people around the world have responded to human rights setbacks with powerful demonstrations of unity and action, like the worldwide Women’s Marches, #MeToo movement, and mass protests against violence and authoritarianism.

“2017 also demonstrated the enduring willingness of people to stand up for their rights and for the values they want to see in the world,” the report stated. “New and severe threats gave fresh oxygen to the spirit of protest.”