Human Rights Watch questionnaire

1. What steps would your administration take to respond to governments that repress independent organizations and media - either through legislation or otherwise - including in Russia, China, and Ethiopia?  

Our main approach to more effectively respond to repression on the part of foreign countries will be to demonstrate leadership by example through diplomacy and media coverage. To do so, my administration will take steps to regain the moral high ground and increase media transparency.  It is well known how the US gave up its moral authority to lecture (or inspire) foreign governments to do the right thing, including providing freedom of speech, press, association, and religion, etc. to their own citizens, when it utilized a wide range of illegal actions, including torture, drone assassination, indefinite detention, massive spying on innocent people and cyber attacks, including, in some cases, on our own American citizens. We also set bad precedents internationally when our government not only failed to protect its own whistleblowers, but in fact prosecuted and persecuted whistleblowers who revealed government failures, public safety risks and illegal actions, and in some cases, treated journalists and publishers as co-conspirators or as engaging in espionage.   

The worst response is to use instances of internal repression on the part of foreign countries to justify military intervention, “regime change,” or economic and other sanctions.  We should not single out the lack of civic and political rights for more criticism while ignoring how rights to economic security, employment, education, healthcare, culture, etc. are or are not honored.   

2. How will you work to address discrimination that impedes the political participation of women? How will your administration protect the rights of women and girls around the world including from gender-based violence?

We will lead by example, working to pass the Equal Rights Amendment and to catch up to much of the world in joining international treaties and meeting international standards in terms of equal pay, paid leave, free education, a living wage, and free early childhood education. We will provide massive aid both within the United States and to the rest of the world in food, education, and healthcare for a fraction of what we currently spend on war preparations.

3. What should the US do to help address the international crisis in protecting and helping refugees fleeing the Middle East, the Americas, and other regions of the world?

We will start by ending US policies that are fueling these refugee crises. We will end wars that are destabilizing entire regions, and provide aid and reparations to the people whose lives have been affected. We will cut off military aid and arms sales to governments that violate human rights. We will end US support for drug wars, regime changes, corporate trade agreements and other policies of military and economic domination. We will open our doors to refugees and provide them with aid and assistance.

4. What role should promoting good governance, the rule of law, and adherence to human rights play in countering ISIS, al-Qaeda, or affiliated groups, particularly in countries with repressive or autocratic governments?

These principles should play an enormous role in a foreign policy based on international law, diplomacy and human rights, but should not be interpreted as an excuse for grossly violating those standards as a supposed means to an end. That is, the United States will no longer violently overthrow governments, worsening the situation of all involved, on the justification of human rights abuses. In fact, we will strongly urge human rights organizations to cease giving a pass to violations of the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact. Illegal wars cannot uphold the rule of law, either in theory or reality.

5. How would your administration respond to the rising voices of xenophobia, Islamophobia, and racism heard in a growing number of countries?

We would lead in the other direction by example at home and abroad. We would recognize that domestic US racism is linked to racist US foreign policy decisions and racism in other parts of the world, and take action to eliminate all policies that place the privileges of some over the human rights of others. This begins with a national plan of action for racial justice and a welcoming path to citizenship for immigrants, as well as an end to foreign policies of military and economic domination, which are overwhelmingly directed at black and brown people as well as Muslims.

6. How would your administration use the recent diplomatic opening with Cuba to encourage greater protections of human rights and fundamental freedoms there?

First and foremost by closing the illegal prison at Guantanamo and returning Guantanamo to Cuba.  We will open the U.S. to trade with public as well as private Cuban enterprise, and convene a truth and reconciliation commission to examine the past decades of interaction and to strive for a future of mutual respect and friendship.

7. How would your administration respond to any future expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank?

With regard to Israel, the United States has encouraged the worst tendencies of the Israeli government as it pursues policies of occupation, apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, demolitions, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law. Instead of allying with the courageous proponents of peace and human rights within Palestine and Israel, our government has rewarded consistent abusers of human rights.

Therefore, the Stein campaign calls for ending military and economic support for the Israeli government while it is committing war crimes and defying international law.

In addition, the Stein campaign supports actions of nonviolent resistance to the policies of the occupation and of the Israeli apartheid regime, including those of the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which was endorsed by the Green Party of the United States in 2005 and is supported by thousands of civil society peace activists and organizations.

8. What new limits should be placed on warrantless data collection and surveillance practices to ensure that the US government fully respects human rights both within and outside its borders? If none, why not?

Instead of creating new limits on surveillance, we will enforce limits enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.

9. How should the US provide accountability for the torture and ill-treatment of individuals who were detained and interrogated by the CIA and military?

We will prosecute the felonies involved and convene a truth and reconciliation commission to ensure that the United States will never again be guilty of torture.

10. What changes would you make to the US targeted-killing program, particularly the use of drones, in places outside areas of active hostilities?

We will end the targeted-killing program and ban use of drone aircraft for assassination, bombing, and other offensive purposes.

11. Should the federal government adopt measures to improve accountability of police implicated in the unlawful deaths of criminal suspects? If so, what?

We will establish police review boards so that communities control their police, and not the other way around. We will appoint dedicated investigators to investigate every death or serious injury at the hands of police. And we will enact laws to require independent outside legal representatives to investigate and prosecute any killing or brutality by the police rather than prosecutors involved in the local criminal justice system.

12. Do you support a national paid family leave insurance program for all workers? 

Yes, we will establish paid family leave as a human right for all.

 


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