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Trump UK visit: Theresa May should ‘stand up’ to president on human rights, says Amnesty International

US president ‘on the wrong side of history with almost every major decision he’s taken on human rights’, activists warn

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 05 July 2018 16:05 BST
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The prime minister was criticised for appearing in public holding hands with Donald Trump when they met last year
The prime minister was criticised for appearing in public holding hands with Donald Trump when they met last year (Getty)

Theresa May must “stand up” to Donald Trump and discuss human rights issues when she meets the US president during his visit to the UK, Amnesty International has said.

The prime minister should re-establish the relationship between Britain and the US on a new “intelligently critical footing”, the human rights group added.

Mr Trump has been harshly criticised for his administration’s human rights record, which has recently seen the separation of migrant children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

The former reality TV show star’s presidency has been “a human rights nightmare”, Kate Allen, the director of Amnesty International UK, said.

“In only 18 months, Mr Trump has presided over a nightmarish human rights rollback – from locking up child migrants and withdrawing from global human rights bodies, to imposing a discriminatory travel ban and decimating global funding for women.

“Donald Trump has been on the wrong side of history with almost every major decision he’s taken on human rights.”

Amnesty has written to Ms May requesting she brings up “key human rights issues” when she meets with Mr Trump, including his administration’s policy of detaining child migrants, and reintroducing and expanding a “global gag rule” cutting funding for international women’s health programmes.

Boris Johnson setting out 3 reasons why he 'admires Trump' at Foreign Office Questions in the House of Commons

Ms Allen added: “Theresa May should stand up to Trump, reassert the core values of multilateralism and human rights, and put the Anglo-American diplomatic relationship on a new ‘intelligently critical’ footing.

“We’re not taking Trump’s trashing of human rights lying down. Millions of people around the world – from New Delhi to New York, from Monrovia to Madrid – are appalled at what’s been happening.”

Commenting on Amnesty’s statement, Fabian Hamilton, the Labour MP for Leeds North East, told The Independent: “The fact is that Donald Trump has placed punitive trade tariffs on the UK and its allies, led the provocative embassy move in Jerusalem, and has divided American society in an unprecedented manner.

“His record is abysmal and the contempt with which he treats any notion of a multicultural society is appalling.”

Speaking in parliament earlier this month, Labour’s Gavin Shuker told Theresa May: ”President Trump has locked up 2,000 little children in cages and is refusing to release them unless he is allowed to build a wall.

“He has quit the United Nations Human Rights Council; he has praised [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un’s treatment of his own people; and he has turned away Muslims.

“What does this man have to do to have the invitation that the prime minister has extended revoked?”

When he was invited to visit the UK last year, nearly two million people signed a petition saying he should not be given a state visit.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, told The Independent: “I encourage people to get out there and voice their opposition to the man and his policies, which are busily undermining global peace and security.”

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London who has been involved in several exchanges with the US president over social media, has said Mr Trump was not welcome in the British capital because of his divisive agenda.

He said the US president would face mass peaceful protests.

Amnesty and a host of other rights groups, along with thousands of members of the public, will hold protest marches and rallies on Friday 13 July, when Mr Trump is due to hold talks with Ms May.

In London, Amnesty activists will join Women’s March London’s “Bring The Noise” march dressed as characters from horror films, holding placards with messages such as: “Donald Trump is the American nightmare in London” and “A nightmare on any street”.

Ms Allen said: “Mr Trump may be shielded from the sight of our banners, but we’ll be on the streets making our voices heard.

“Our message is simple: Enough already, Mr Trump!”

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