By Mary Elizabeth Margolis



Emmanuel Macron won a decisive victory in yesterday’s French presidential elections, securing over 65 percent of the vote. He defeated far-right politician Marine Le Pen, whose National Front party grew to prominence with an antisemitic and xenophobic platform. Human Rights First notes that Macron will face a formidable challenge in uniting France as he takes office. Last week Human Rights First released a brief, “Issues Facing the Next President of France: Will Disruption Further Divide?” that analyzed pressing topics facing Macron, such as antisemitism and anti-Muslim bigotry, as well as the damaging effects of the continuing state of emergency on French society. Human Rights First urges the U.S. government to work with Macron to place human rights, the rule of law, and rebuilding an inclusive democracy at the core of his agenda.


Last week Human Rights First released a major new report documenting more than one hundred instances in which U.S. border agents illegally turned away asylum seekers from the U.S. southern border. The report came just days before Secretary of Homeland Security Kelly, in defending the deportation of a mother and child to Honduras, wrongly implied that the vast majority of asylum seekers assert false claims of fear of return to their home country. Human Rights First’s report, “Crossing the Line,” follows trips made by Human Rights First researchers to Mexico and seven ports of entry in California, Arizona, and Texas, and includes recommendations for the U.S. government.


“America didn’t invent human rights. Those rights are common to all people: nations, cultures and religions cannot choose to simply opt out of them….

We are a country with a conscience. We have long believed moral concerns must be an essential part of our foreign policy, not a departure from it. We are the chief architect and defender of an international order governed by rules derived from our political and economic values. We have grown vastly wealthier and more powerful under those rules. More of humanity than ever before lives in freedom and out of poverty because of those rules.

Our values are our strength and greatest treasure.”

-Senator John McCain, “Why We Must Support Human Rights” (The New York Times).


Human Rights First’s Rob Berschinski, former deputy assistant secretary of state for human rights for the Obama Administration, speaks with WNYC’s The Takeaway about Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s human rights agenda as he settles into his new position.


Human Rights First’s new report on U.S. border agents illegally turning away asylum seekers was featured in The New York Times, on NBC News, and The Huffington Post.

A Hungarian priest has allowed refugees to take shelter in a Catholic church, as Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley writes for Religion News Service.

The Washington Post reports on President Trump’s penchant for inviting international strongmen to the White House.


Monday, May 8, 2017

The Anti-Defamation League will hold their Annual Shana Amy Glass National Leadership Summit. The Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.

The Atlantic Council will hold an event entitled, “Russia’s Dissident Press: Stories from Exile.” The event will feature Ms. Galina Timchenko, CEO of; Mr. Ivan Kolpakov, Editor-in-Chief of 4:00 PM, Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington, D.C.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Wilson Center Latin American Program will hold an event entitled, “Returning Home: The Challenges and Opportunities Faced by Returned Migrants in the Northern Triangle of Central America.” The event will feature Jorge Peraza-Breedy, Chief of Mission for the Northern Triangle of Central America with IOM; David Morales, Information Management and Research Office at IOM; Natalia Zepeda, National Project Coordinator at IOM; Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director at the US Immigration Policy Program. 9:00 AM, Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, 6th Floor, Washington, D.C.

The Wilson Center Kennan Institute will hold an event entitled, “Portrait of the Russian Youth.” The event will feature Nina Rozhanovskaya, Coordinator and Academic Liaison in Russia. 10:00 AM, Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, 6th Floor, Washington, D.C.

Johns Hopkins’ SAIS will hold an event entitled, “The Future of Liberalism in Europe: Taking Stock after the French Elections.” The event will feature Antony Blinken, Johns Hopkins SAIS Distinguished Scholar; Catherine Fieschi, Senior Contributor at Macro Advisory Partners; Daniel Fried, Former Senior Career Diplomat at the US Department of State; Constanze Stelzenmuller, Robert Bosch Senior Fellow at Brookings; James Traub, Senior Fellow at the Center on International Cooperation. 4:30 PM, Kenney Herter Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of The Honorable John J. Sullivan to be Deputy Secretary of State. 10:30 AM, Dirksen Senate Office Building 419.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Steven A. Engel to be an Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel. 10:00 AM, Dirksen Senate Office Building 226.