Opinion: Trump Stands Up Against Human Rights Abuses
President Donald Trump has proven that he is not afraid to stand up for what’s right.
On Jan. 12, his administration announced sanctions against 14 Iranian entities and individuals.
Under the sanctions, some of Iran’s worst perpetrators of human rights abuses were targeted.
One such person is Gholamreza Ziaei, director of the notorious Rajaee Shahr prison west of Tehran, known for jailing political opponents.
Thousands of protesters who have taken to the streets since late December, calling for a change to the Islamic regime that has ruled since 1979, have been jailed.
At the Rajaee Shahr prison, protesters have been sexually abused, tortured, and—in some cases—unlawfully executed. In one horrific scenario at the prison, a protester had his eye gouged out by prison officials.
The sanctions go all the way to the top of the Iranian regime by targeting Sadegh Amoli Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary, whose brother is the head of Iran’s parliament.
The swift action, in response to the popular uprising in Iran in more than 100 cities, shows that the Trump administration is serious about standing up to rights abusers.
For many years, U.S. administrations countered human rights mostly in name only, without concrete action against the wrongdoers.
In China, millions of practitioners of the spiritual discipline, Falun Gong, have been subjected to extreme forms of persecution, including torture and murder, and even the forcible removal of their organs.
Estimates hold that since 1999, the year China’s communist party began persecuting this peaceful group, millions have been illegally imprisoned and thousands have been killed through torture and abuse.
Last December, Trump sent his strongest message yet that the United States will no longer allow such abuses to continue.
In an executive order signed on Dec. 21, Trump declared a national emergency over “severe human rights abuses and corruption” taking place around the world.
The executive order, which relies in part on the authority given by the Global Magnitsky Act, can result in the perpetrators of such abuses being banned from the United States and having their assets frozen.
Among the first targeted under the executive order was Gao Yan, the director of the Beijing Public Security Bureau Chaoyang Branch, over the death of a human rights activist in detention in March 2014.
In the coming months, we will see how this powerful tool against rights abusers around the world will be used by the Trump administration.