Amnesty International USA asked Michael Bennet 13 questions about some of the most pressing human rights issues of our time.

Here is his response exactly as provided:


  • How should the U.S. respond to the growing number of asylum-seekers, including families and children, seeking protection at the U.S. southern border?

Michael believes we need to recognize the humanitarian and economic crises in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America. To address the causes of migration, Michael would work with international and regional partners to invest in security, rule of law, and economic stability in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. We should also do all we can to reform the asylum process so that claims are determined safely and efficiently. This includes pursuing alternatives to detention for families with children and low-risk asylum seekers, and funding for advocates and judges to help process claims quickly.

  • What can the U.S. do to address the causes of migration from the Northern Triangle of Central America?

To address the causes of migration, Michael would work with international and regional partners to invest in security, rule of law, and economic stability in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Michael believes we need to recognize the humanitarian and economic challenges in that region.

  • What role should U.S. refugee admissions play in our response to the global refugee crisis?

The number of refugees around the world is at its highest level in recent decades. Michael believes the United States must maintain our leadership in welcoming the world’s most vulnerable fleeing persecution and violence, and reverse the Trump administration’s shameful cuts to the number of refugees who may be resettled in the United States. We must continue to screen refugees thoroughly, in a timely manner, and work with the international community to address the drivers of mass displacement and migration.

  • What kinds of support could the U.S. provide to countries and regions experiencing record levels of internal displacement induced by causes as wide-ranging as climate change and warfare?

Michael firmly believes that we need a strong international affairs budget to address the drivers of mass displacement and migration and to provide support to countries hosting refugee populations. Michael believes we need to approach climate change as a threat multiplier and a source of global instability, and that we must work with global allies and partners to prepare for the political, economic, and security repercussions resulting from climate change. He also supports working with our allies to develop a plan to meet the needs of the millions of individuals already displaced by the effects of climate change.

  • What policies should the U.S. implement to reduce and prevent gun violence?

Michael believes gun violence is a national epidemic that continues to plague communities across the country. He has announced four common-sense priorities that he believes will reduce gun violence and keep guns out of the wrong hands: universal background checks, banning bumpstocks, limiting the size of magazines, and keeping weapons of war off the streets. He strongly supports H.R. 8 and believes we should put pressure on Republicans in the Senate to pass the bill.

  • How should the U.S. address police killings of civilians, including the lack of transparency and accountability?

Michael believes that we must spend time working to build trust and accountability between law enforcement and the communities they are meant to protect. As President of the United States, he will ensure that the Justice Department takes seriously every complaint of racial bias or excessive force, and restores transparency and community policing initiatives started under the Obama Administration.

  • How should the U.S. address human rights abuses suffered by religious and ethnic minorities at the hands of government and non-government actors worldwide?

Michael is committed to the protection of human rights globally. At a time when the rights of too many are stifled by authoritarianism, repression, and persecution, Michael believes the United States needs to reclaim its leadership role in advocating for human rights and freedoms.

  • How should the U.S. protect LGBTI rights at home and abroad?

Michael believes the United States should lead the world by example and use our leadership role to advocate for protecting the rights of the global LGBTI community and that we must work to fight hate and discrimination in all its forms. We must pass the EQUALITY Act to ensure that LGBTI is a protected class under U.S. anti-discrimination laws. Through engaging internationally, we should should leverage our diplomatic apparatus to fight for freedom from discrimination and equal opportunities for members of the LGBTI community around the world.

  • How should the U.S. ensure that our foreign and domestic policies protect sexual and reproductive rights?

Michael will continue to advocate for U.S. foreign policy to protect sexual and reproductive rights. He has supported permanently repealing the Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, to support women’s reproductive rights and international family planning programs.

  • How should the U.S. address the targeting, harassment, and killing of human rights defenders and journalists around the world?

Michael believes the freedom of speech and freedom of the press are essential to human dignity and the rule of law, and he believes the United States must stand up for these fundamental rights. In the case of Jamal Khashoggi, Michael has said President Trump’s unwillingness to hold the Saudi regime accountable in effect legitimizes his brutal murder and coverup and undermines press freedom.

  • How should the U.S. respond to the increasing use of political repression by authoritarian regimes?

The United States must reclaim our global leadership role as a democratic republic that offers both an example and influence. Michael believes any president must be able to stand up to authoritarian leaders and must take steps to strengthen our partnerships and alliances that are based on democratic values.

  • How can the U.S. ensure compliance with and accountability for its international human rights obligations in national security operations?

Michael believes the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques harmed U.S. standing in the world and that future administrations should never return to that dark period in our history. The United States must continue to honor the principles of the Geneva Conventions, prioritize the protection of civilian lives when using force in conflicts, and support adherence to laws of war.

  • What can the U.S. do to ensure U.S. arms are not used to perpetuate human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law?

Michael believes that human rights and international humanitarian law should be taken into consideration when the U.S. sells arms to other nations. Michael has voted against the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia multiple times due, in part, to human rights concerns in the war in Yemen. Michael also voted to limit U.S. military support to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

  • How should the U.S. government hold businesses accountable for human rights abuses?

In an increasingly global economy, Michael believes businesses have a critical leadership role to play in how corporate practices affect human rights. Michael believes the United States must lead in encouraging responsible business practices at home and abroad.

 

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