Despite concerns from human rights groups, including Amnesty International USA, about his nomination, former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson was confirmed today as Secretary of State.
"As Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson’s priority must be human rights. However, during his confirmation hearings, he seemed to balk at acknowledging governments that we have long known to turn a blind eye toward human rights," said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. "His previous business deals have shown that he has no qualms about working with regimes with appalling human rights records.”
Tillerson has failed to acknowledge that the governments of countries such as Syria and the Philippines are responsible for rampant human rights abuses. He has been awarded the Russian Order of Friendship by Vladimir Putin and has done business with the governments of Equatorial Guinea and Chad, who have questionable human rights records.
Secretary Tillerson will lead the U.S. response to armed extremist groups, possible genocides in Syria and South Sudan, and the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. The eyes of the world are on him. Should he fall short in his responsibility to protect human rights, Amnesty International members and activists across the country and around the world will be there to demand action.