Prime Minister Trudeau must press human rights as a central priority in first official visit with President Trump

In an Open Letter released today, Amnesty International is calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to raise critical human rights concerns during his first meeting with United States President Trump. No date has yet been confirmed for the first official meeting, which is expected to take place in the very near future.
“Our message to Prime Minister Trudeau is clear.  It has already become abundantly clear that under President Trump’s leadership the United States has embarked on a deeply troubling course which undermines and violates universal human rights.  That cannot and will not be okay in the relationship between our governments, and would have direct consequences with respect to areas where cooperation between our countries is essential,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch.

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Amnesty International is increasingly concerned as President Trump’s actions and statements suggest he intends to pursue policies, enact laws and adopt positions that stand to both undermine respect for and directly violate international human rights standards. In some areas, the Open Letter calls on the Canadian government to suspend or withdraw from existing agreements with the United States if it fails to adhere to international human rights standards.
“Prime Minister Trudeau cannot equivocate when he sits down for his first face-to-face meeting with President Trump.  He must make it clear that Canada needs and expects the President to advance human rights protection, at home and abroad; not to set it back,” said Béatrice Vaugrante, Director General of Amnesty International Canada’s francophone branch.
Amnesty International has called on Canada to immediately suspend the “Safe Third Country” agreement between the United States and Canada so long as Executive Orders stay in force which suspend the resettlement of refugees, implement a ban on entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries and authorize other violations of the rights of refugees and immigrants in the United States.
Moreover, President Trump has repeatedly expressed strong support for the use of torture.  Amnesty is therefore calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to make it clear that authorization of the use of torture by national security actors in the United States would pose a serious obstacle to the important security and intelligence relationships between the United States and Canada.
The Open Letter further calls on Prime Minister Trudeau to urgently raise concerns related to women’s human rights, the rights of Indigenous peoples, human rights defenders and the right to protest, and – if leaders agree to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement – that the new agreement should include binding human rights safeguards and review mechanisms.
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