Human Rights First Expresses Concern on Trump Administration’s Strike Against Soleimani

WASHINGTON – In the wake of a strike killing Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian general responsible for killing civilians and numerous other crimes, Human Rights First expressed serious concerns regarding several aspects of the strike and the Trump Administration’s actions in its aftermath.

“The Trump Administration has so far failed to be transparent about the factual and legal underpinnings for the strike against Soleimani,” said Human Rights First’s Rita Siemion. “Given the significance of this strike and the potential for serious human rights consequences with further escalation, the Trump Administration should provide an unclassified report on its factual and legal foundation.”

At a minimum, the administration owes the American people an explanation of the legal and factual basis for this military action, and indeed such an explanation may be legally required under a statutory provision championed by Human Rights First. The president has also caused alarm in the aftermath of the strike by repeatedly threatening unlawful acts. Specifically, President Trump has twice threatened to strike cultural sites in Iran, and he has also threatened to conduct strikes against Iran “in a disproportionate manner.”

“These acts are not only violations of law—they also are morally bankrupt,” Siemion said. “Threatening such unlawful acts undercuts the credibility of the United States to hold war criminals around the world accountable and undermines the security of the United States by further inflaming violence.”

Over January 4 and 5, there were reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection had held for interrogation at U.S. border entry points U.S. citizens and residents of Iranian origin as they were returning home to the United States. U.S. citizens, residents, and travelers of Middle Eastern origin have for years been subject to invasive interrogation and detention at U.S. borders and airports based on their national origin or actual or perceived religion. It is critical that such abuses, which are counterproductive to legitimate government efforts to ensure security, cease, and that these latest developments in the Middle East not lead to scapegoating of particular groups based solely on their national origin.


Published on January 7, 2020


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