• Press Release

Russia and USA must use Putin-Trump summit to take responsibility for human rights

July 13, 2018

US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
“While both Trump and Putin have drawn justified criticism for their respective human rights records, their meeting presents a chance for both to make a profound difference on several global fronts, if they can rise to the opportunity,” said Daniel Balson, Amnesty International USA’s Advocacy Director for Europe and Central Asia ahead of the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Helsinki, Finland.

“Both leaders have a choice: they can help end bloodshed in Syria and relieve the dire humanitarian crisis in Yemen or they can choose to look away from the human suffering their policies helped cause.”

In Syria, Amnesty International called on both leaders to end the use of tactics which maim and kill civilians, maintain the safety of established de-escalation zones, impose targeted sanctions on those responsible for war crimes, and impose an arms embargo on the Syrian government.

The organization also called on both leaders to use their seats on the UN Security Council to exert influence on the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen to allow lifesaving supplies to reach civilians caught in the conflict.

Amnesty International also called attention to those imprisoned for freedom of expression, including Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence following a trial based on politically-motivated charges.

“Freedom of expression is a non-negotiable right and Sentsov should be home with his family, not behind bars in a Siberian prison,” said Balson. “As Trump and Putin face scrutiny in the media in their respective countries, both leaders must embrace freedom of the press and realize that journalists holding governments to account are integral to a free society.”