Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s address to the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, Michael Payne, interim advocacy director at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), offered the following statement:
“President Trump derided asylum seekers and human rights advocates today in a hostile and xenophobic address to world leaders at the United Nations.
“By smearing human rights advocates as ‘cruel and evil’ and ‘undermining human rights and dignity,’ President Trump aptly describes his own administration’s inhumane, dangerous, and unlawful asylum and immigration policies and practices. That the same man who promotes the separation of children from their parents, and the indefinite detention of asylum seekers, can go on to preach about ‘family values’ and protecting dignity demonstrates a paramount hypocrisy.
“President Trump speaks of the need to ‘enforce our laws,’ yet his administration is shredding decades of U.S. legal precedent and international agreements on the right to seek asylum. His dehumanizing rhetoric lays bare a deep antipathy toward immigrants and communities of color.”
The following statement is attributable to Donna McKay, executive director at Physicians for Human Rights:
“When the president of the United States attacks civil society organizations and degrades human rights advocates on the world stage, he perpetrates harm at home and gives cover to repressive regimes around the globe. President Trump has made attacks on vulnerable communities and those who defend their rights his personal brand.
“Physicians for Human Rights research has documented the extreme violence and persecution that many asylum seekers are fleeing in their countries of origin. As we have mobilized the PHR Asylum Network to respond to the crisis at the border, our findings make clear that the Trump administration must end all policies that lead to the detention of children and separation of families, disregard the legal right to seek asylum, or otherwise harm asylum seekers.
“At PHR, we will continue to stand up for the rights of asylum seekers in the face of this administration or any other that tramples on the human rights, health, and well-being of disenfranchised people.”
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.