Global Justice Center Blog

Global Justice Center on Inauguration Day

Holding onto democracy and justice on Trump’s first day as president.

Today is the inauguration of the United States of America’s 45th president, Donald Trump. This marks a significant change in US politics. It is still unclear exactly how this will affect the global rule of law, but there are several alarming indications.

Today, the Global Justice Center published a document detailing Trump’s proposals that would violate international law if enacted. This includes proposals to fight ISIS that involve war crimes and crimes against humanity such as torture and the targeted killing of civilians. This would have devastating consequences and would set a precedent for a system of justice based on force.

Trump has also made proposals that would violate international laws of discrimination, including racial and religious discrimination as well as discrimination against women. This does not merely harm those subjected to the discrimination, it also impacts American democracy. The US is defined by democracy, equality, and freedom. In times like these, where such values are challenged and threatened by terrorism, it is more important than ever to protect them.

Another looming threat to women’s rights is the likely reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy or the Global Gag Rule. This rule forbids foreign organizations receiving US family planning funding from performing or promoting abortion as a method of family planning. The Gag Rule has repeatedly been rescinded under Democratic presidencies, most recently by Obama in 2009, and reinstated under Republican presidencies. It is predicted that Trump will reinstate the Gag Rule in the near future. If this happens, it will produce a “chilling effect” on abortion service providers around the world and will deny war rape victims their right to abortion. Forcing a woman to give birth to the child of her rapist can severely affect her mental health and constitutes inhuman treatment.

The US is legally accountable for following these laws that are made to protect society from such violations. We must all stand together to protect democracy and the international rule of law. The US must come together with the international community, and the international community must hold the Trump administration responsible for the US’ obligations to protect human rights.

Photo: Andrew Seaman


GJC Statement on the Inauguration of Donald Trump


[NEW YORK] – Today, as Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, it is important to remember that no one—and no country—is above the law. Over the course of his presidential campaign, Mr. Trump has expressed his attitude on a range of issues, from abortion to immigration to torture, that are antithetical to the notion of human rights. Many of his proposed policies, if enacted, would put him or the US in violation of international law.

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How Trump's Statements Would Violate International Law

On the campaign trail and over the course of his life Donald Trump has championed viewpoints and proposed policies, which, if taken by the US government, would violate the US’s obligations under international law. The document below is a non-exhaustive list of statements Donald Trump has made and what international legal obligations they would violate if enacted.

Read here


Trump proposals would violate international laws of discrimination at the expense of democracy

The inauguration of president-elect Donald Trump is one week away, and with it comes enormous potential for violations of international law. President-elect Trump has proposed plans for laws and policies that discriminate based on religion, race and gender. If enacted, these policies would have a shattering effect on America’s democracy, and must be prevented by all means.

Many of Trump’s statements over the course of the campaign trail involved religious and racial discrimination. For example, when talking with ABC News in November 2015, he proposed setting up a database just of refugees; “I want a database for the refugees that — if they come into the country. We have no idea who these people are. When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country, we don't know if they're ISIS, we don't know if it's a Trojan horse.” Such proposals are not just morally wrong, but can also lead to negative consequences for the country.

Racial discrimination causes harm on an individual level by dehumanizing the one who is subject to racism. On a societal level, it demoralizes a society that should be based on equality and democracy.

Religious freedom, or the right to have your own beliefs, is a foundational doctrine of the US. The idea that the state should not interfere with citizen’s beliefs is at the core of American values. Therefore, this proposal would have devastating consequences for American ideals and the global rule of law if fulfilled.

Trump has also issued many statements that constitute gender discrimination. In an interview with ABC News in 1994 he said, “Putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing,” and in an interview with NBC in 2004 he said, "[Pregnancy is] a wonderful thing for the woman, it's a wonderful thing for the husband, it's certainly an inconvenience for a business. And whether people want to say that or not, the fact is it is an inconvenience for a person that is running a business."

This perception of women being unequal to men, and not involving women in the labor market, is wrong because it, as with racial discrimination, leads to an unequal and unjust society. To achieve gender equality, women must be in power equally with men so that there can be a true representative democracy.

International laws are created to protect civil society from threats and ensure progress. These promises of discrimination violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stating that everyone is “born free and equal in dignity and rights.” They also violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that obliges States Parties to ensure equal rights and circumvent discrimination. The US holds obligations to prevent discrimination as a member state of these conventions.

The US has been defined by democracy, equality, and freedom throughout history up until today. This is what makes America great. That is the reason why America must hold onto these values, and why the international community must hold America responsible if it breaks them.

Photo: Gage Skidmore