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Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, issued the following response to President Trump’s State of the Union address:

“President Trump is calling on American taxpayers to pay for a wall that will not only slam the door on traumatized children and families seeking humanitarian protection in the U.S., but will also recklessly cut through Indigenous People’s lands. The wall would have a devastating impact on human rights on both sides of the border.

“Millions of people around the world find themselves having to flee their homelands because of persecution and violence that in some cases can be traced back to U.S. actions. President Trump’s dramatic slashing of refugee levels and humanitarian aid is irresponsible and cruel. He is the first president to cut off desperately needed funds for Palestinian refugees, and his policies like the Muslim ban are rooted in baseless discrimination and leave vulnerable people in peril.

“Instead of vowing to end a longstanding national disgrace once and for all, the president instead signed an order that will keep prisoners detained without charge or trial in Guantanamo Bay.

This year’s speech was notable not just for what the president said, but what he did not say.  Instead of pledging to defend human rights everywhere, President Trump continued to abandon the commitments of the United States to the international community by scorning longstanding agreements.

“While the president did not speak to the importance of human rights in his speech tonight, we know that there are powerful movements around the world of peaceful activists who have shown that they are ready and able to stand up for human rights worldwide.

“We know that Americans of all political leanings believe that the US should stand up for human rights. We will continue to hold the president accountable whenever human rights are under attack.”