Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, the White House

US Election and Human Rights

Clinton, Trump and the White House

The 2016 US presidential election has generated a great deal of debate on human rights issues—from torture to paid family leave, immigration to policing—on which Human Rights Watch has been working for years. Our experts examine some of the key issues being debated, as well as others that should be top priorities for President-elect Donald Trump.

The US’s Faltering Leadership on Encryption

One year ago today, more than 100,000 people signed a petition asking the Obama administration to publicly support strong encryption and encourage governments around the world to follow suit.

With just weeks left in his term in office, President Obama has failed  to act, leaving a dangerous vacuum in leadership on encryption globally, which the next president must fill.

An Apple iPhone 6 is seen on display at the Apple store on 5th Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York City, July 21, 2015. © 2015 Reuters

Human rights defenders, journalists, and hundreds of millions of ordinary Internet users rely on encryption to shield them from surveillance and cybercriminals. To protect users, companies like Apple and WhatsApp have begun to roll out encryption on their services so that even the companies cannot access our data.

For two years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has demonized these companies, arguing that the encryption protections have made it more difficult to investigate terrorism and other serious crimes. The FBI wants access to all encrypted messages, even if that means forcing tech firms to build so-called “back doors” into encryption that weaken cybersecurity for all users. While the Obama administration announced in 2015 it would not call for legislation requiring what the FBI sought, the issue erupted again when a US judge ordered Apple to hack an encrypted iPhone in February 2016.

Though the FBI was eventually able to access the phone’s data without Apple’s help, the case was followed closely worldwide. France, Germany, China, Russia, Brazil, and India are among the many states who are considering their approach to encryption, and the US’s position will set an important global precedent.

Both presidential candidates have raised the issue of encryption, but the details of their positions – and their implications for both privacy and security – are far from clear. Donald Trump criticized Apple for refusing the FBI’s demand and called for a boycott of their products. He has also stated that the US should “clos[e] parts of the Internet” used by ISIS, and “penetrate the Internet” to gather intelligence about the group. Trump has not explained how he would accomplish these goals.

Hillary Clinton rejects a false choice between privacy interests and keeping Americans safe,” and supports creating a “national commission on digital security and encryption.” She previously stated that she wouldn’t legally compel companies to build back doors, but called for a “Manhattan-like project” with the tech sector to find a solution. She has also proposed an “intelligence surge” to bolster counterterrorism efforts, and wants Internet companies to cooperate in monitoring social media. 

The next president should not ignore the near-unanimous agreement among digital security experts that encryption back doors weaken cybersecurity while failing to keep encryption out of the hands of determined criminals. Instead, he or she should bolster the US’s leadership on digital rights and promote strong encryption worldwide.

美国加密领导地位动摇

一年前的今天,超过十万人联署请愿,要求欧巴马政府公开支持高级数据加密,并鼓励世界各国政府跟进。

如今欧巴马总统的任期只剩几个月,仍迟未采取行动,导致全球数据加密的领导地位出现危险的真空状态,下任总统必须加以填补。

人权护卫者、记者和亿万网民全都仰赖数据加密,保护自己免于监控和网络犯罪。苹果和WhatsApp等网络业者也为保护用户而提供加密服务,连业者本身也无法读取我们的数据。

近两年来,联邦调查局(FBI)不断妖魔化这些公司,声称加密保护阻碍调查恐怖主义和其他重大犯罪。FBI企图获取所有加密信息,不惜强迫科技业者在其加密技术中保留“后门”,使所有用户的网络安全大打折扣。尽管欧巴马政府已于2015年宣布不会基于FBI的要求寻求立法,但2016年2月苹果公司遭一名美国法官下命强行破解一支加密iPhone,导致争议再起。

虽然FBI最后不靠苹果公司协助即自行破解该手机数据,该案仍广受全球密切关注。

法国、德国中国俄罗斯巴西印度等国正在检讨其加密政策,美国的立场将为全球树立重要先例。

两大党总统候选人都提到加密问题,但他们政见的细节──及其对隐私与安全的意涵──仍混沌不明。唐诺・特朗普批评苹果拒绝FBI要求,呼吁抵制苹果商品。他还说,美国应“局部关闭互联网”以免被ISIS利用,并应“渗透网络”收集该组织情报。特朗普并未说明他打算如何办到。

希拉里・克林顿拒绝“错误地在隐私利益和保护美国安全之间择一”,支持成立“全国数字安全与加密委员会”。她先前表示,她不会立法强迫业者装置后门,但将呼吁打造网络科技版的“类曼哈顿计划”以寻求解决方案。她还提议以“情报强蒐”(intelligence surge)强化反恐工作,并期待网络业者合作监视社交媒体。

下任总统不应忽视几乎获得数字安全专家一致同意的观点,即加密后门将削弱网络安全,却无法阻止执意犯罪者利用加密技术。他或她应当强化美国在数字人权方面的领导作用,在全世界促进高级加密技术。

Farmworker Children and Nicotine Exposure: Time for a Ban

Every year in the United States, children face danger working on tobacco farms, including nicotine poisoning, pesticide exposure, heat illness, and injuries. But you wouldn’t know that from the current presidential contest, where the long-standing need to address the issue of hazardous child labor has barely registered with the candidates.

It’s a straightforward issue President Barack Obama has failed to address, and one that the next US president should make a priority.

Many voters would be surprised to learn that US labor law allows children as young as 12, and sometimes even younger, to work long hours as hired farm laborers.

My colleagues and I have documented the hazards these children face – pesticide exposure, heat stroke, and injuries from using sharp tools and dangerous machinery or lifting heavy loads. Children working on tobacco farms face the added risk of nicotine exposure. When child workers handle tobacco plants, they absorb nicotine through their skin. Many children suffer nausea, vomiting, headaches, and dizziness while they work – symptoms consistent with acute nicotine poisoning. The long-term effects of the poisoning have not been studied, but research on smoking suggests nicotine exposure in childhood and adolescence may have lasting impacts on brain development.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for prohibiting children under 18 from work on tobacco farms because of the risk of nicotine exposure.

The Obama administration had the chance to fix this problem. In 2011, the US Department of Labor introduced new regulations that would have banned work on tobacco farms. But the administration withdrew the regulations after backlash from agricultural lobbying groups, in what the Washington Post editorial board called a “pathetic retreat.”

Earlier this week, 47 members of Congress, led by Representative David Cicilline (D-RI), wrote a letter to President Obama urging the administration to ban child labor in tobacco fields before the end of his term. Representative Cicilline and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced legislation in 2015 calling for a ban.

There is clear evidence and positive momentum in Washington to protect child workers from nicotine exposure. Our next president should act swiftly to end child labor in tobacco farming.

 

Affirming and Expanding LGBT Rights

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBT) have made notable gains in the United States in recent years, including the removal of discriminatory restrictions on military service, establishment of non-discrimination protections for federal workers and contractors, and the recognition of a constitutional right to marry. During the current election campaign, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have pledged to be advocates for LGBT people if elected president. However, neither candidate has been quizzed on LGBT rights during the debates, and they should be – important issues are at stake.

The next administration will have the power to extend or reverse the Obama Administration’s executive actions on LGBT rights, including non-discrimination protections for federal workers and contractors and a host of regulations protecting transgender people in employment, housing, healthcare, and public accommodations. As Human Rights Watch has documented, federal protections are important to safeguard the rights of transgender youth in US schools and to end abuses against transgender women in US immigration detention.

The next president can also play a role in securing passage of key legislative proposals pending in Congress, including the Equality Act that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, education, housing, public accommodations, credit, and jury selection; bills to halt bullying and discrimination against LGBT youth; and legislation to support LGBT-inclusive comprehensive sexuality education.

The presidency provides a powerful platform to discuss issues that affect LGBT communities in the US and abroad. Candidates should indicate whether and how they plan to tackle the high rates of homelessness among LGBT youth, take steps to end so-called “conversion therapy,” advance legal gender recognition procedures for transgender people, address high rates of violence against transgender women of color, make HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care accessible and affordable for all, and better integrate LGBT human rights into US foreign policy.

A great deal remains to be done on LGBT rights, and candidates should be asked to explain how they will ensure that progress continues.

Addressing the Pervasiveness of Sexual Assault

The issue of sexual assault has suddenly been pushed to the center of the US election – but the discussion has still been light on how to deal with the scourge of sexual assault in the US.

President Barack Obama signs a presidential memorandum establishing a White House Task Force on Protecting Students from Sexual Assault during an event for the Council on Women and Girls, the White House, Washington, D.C., January 22, 2014. © 2014 Reuters


The scope of the issue is immense. Someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes in the US. Most female survivors of sexual assault experience short- or long-term symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The White House has taken some steps, particularly with regard to campus sexual assault and the large number of untested rape kits across the country.

But the next president will still have a lot to tackle. Tens of thousands of rape kits remain untested; more than ten years after the passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act, at least 80,000 inmates are sexually assaulted each year; thousands of service members are raped in the military every year and are often retaliated against for reporting their assaults; at least one in five women are sexually assaulted in college; and the vast majority of assailants never face consequences.

Our research has shown that many survivors are not listened to, their credibility is challenged, and they are often re-traumatized by dealings with police. So, it’s not surprising most survivors decide not to go to police – nearly two thirds of rapes are not reported. Law enforcement and other first responders should take steps to encourage and support survivors so sexual assault will no longer be the most underreported violent crime in the country.

Change is possible. In 2011, Los Angeles eliminated its rape kit backlog two years after Human Rights Watch drew attention to what was then the largest known rape kit backlog in the county; in 2014, the DC Council passed legislation to improve how the city’s police department handles sexual assault cases and treats survivors.

It would be helpful to hear from both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump about plans to lower rates of sexual assault in the US and improve government and law enforcement responses to survivors.

The next administration should support measures that require proper documentation of assault cases; aim to change the culture of police departments, the military, and college campuses; and treat survivors with sensitivity, compassion, and respect. This should be a high priority for the next president; too many survivors have already been shamed, silenced, or ignored.

肯定并扩展LGBT权利

女同性恋、男同性恋、双性恋和跨性别人群(LGBT)近年在美国大有斩获,包括废除从事军职的歧视性限制,为联邦政府劳工及合同工建立不歧视保障,以及承认宪法上的结婚权。在目前竞选活动中,克林顿特朗普言当选后将为LGBT人群执言。然而,两位候选人在电视辩论时都没有被问到LGBT权利,但他们应该受到质问──毕竟它是个关系重大的议题。

下任政府将有权展延或撤销欧巴马政府有关LGBT权利的行政命令,包括联邦政府劳工及合同工的不歧视保障,以及跨性别人士在就业、住房、医疗与公共设施方面的一整套保障规定。据人权观察记录,对于保护美国学校中的跨性别青少年,以及消除美国移民居留所虐待跨性别女性,这些联邦保障措施十分重要。

下任总统也可以发挥作用,确保国会通过关键法案,包括:禁止在就业、教育、住房、公共设施、信用与陪审团选择方面基于性倾向和性别认同歧视的《平等法》(Equality Act);遏止霸凌歧视LGBT青少年的法案;以及支持包容LGBT的全面性教育的立法。

总统职位可以为影响美国国内外LGBT社群的各种问题提供有力的讨论平台。候选人应说明他们是否及如何有计划解决LGBT青少年无家可归比率偏高问题,禁止所谓的“转化治疗”,改良对跨性别人士的法定性别认定程序,解决有色人种跨性别妇女遭暴力对待比率偏高问题,使人人都能取得和负担艾滋病毒/艾滋病的预防、治疗和照顾,以及加强美国外交政策与LGBT人权的整合。

关于LGBT权利还有非常大的改善空间,我们应该要求各候选人说明他们将如何持续推动这方面的进步。

Who Can’t Vote on November Eighth

There are millions of adult Americans who will not have the right to cast a ballot in the upcoming US election.

Those who cannot vote due to a criminal conviction: 6.1 million adults have had their voting rights revoked due to a criminal conviction. In the US, most people who have been convicted of a crime and completed their sentence don’t get have their rights fully restored. They keep being punished, what some deem a form of “civil death,” which includes being denied the right to vote – in some states for life. One in three of those 6.1 million people are Black Americans. One in five Black Americans in Kentucky, Maine, and Virginia have been disenfranchised. In Kentucky (as in Florida and Iowa), that disenfranchisement is for life.

Those who cannot vote due to restrictive voting laws: In the aftermath of a US Supreme Court decision that weakened the US Voting Rights Act, 14 states have made it more difficult to register to vote, including passing voter identification laws and limiting early voting – restrictions that some courts have identified as purposefully suppressing the vote of Black Americans.

In addition, more than two million unauthorized immigrants have lived in the US for 20 years or more, but still have virtually no way to legalize their status, become citizens, and vote. More than 728,000 unauthorized immigrants who came to the US as children and have lived in the US for at least five years are eligible under a program established by President Barack Obama to stay and work legally in the country – but without a path to citizenship, and no right to vote.

These groups all have one thing in common. Those who cannot vote in November, for one reason or another, are disproportionately Black or Latino. Whoever takes the reins of US government in November should work to end unreasonable restrictions on voting rights. 

Finishing the Unfinished Business of Guantanamo

On his first full day in office in 2009, US President Barack Obama signed an executive order to close the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay within one year. But, eight years later, with less than four months till the end of Obama’s second term, the prison is still open and 61 detainees remain, the vast majority held without charge.

The front gate of Camp Delta is shown at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay. © 2007 Reuters

Guantanamo has been a blight on the US reputation for years and stands as a global symbol of injustice. Despite that, the two major party presidential candidates have scarcely mentioned it during the campaign, nor have they or their running mates been asked about it during the debates.

Obama submitted a plan for closing the Guantanamo detention facility to Congress in February. The plan calls for the prosecution of some detainees in federal court rather than before military commissions, while allowing for the transfer of some to US soil for continued detention. Human Rights Watch supports transferring detainees to the US for trial in federal courts because the military commission system at Guantanamo does not meet international fair trial standards – but we oppose the continued detention of prisoners without trial.

The incarceration of those without charge at Guantanamo violates international legal prohibitions on prolonged, indefinite detention. The next president has the obligation to end this practice, whether at Guantanamo or in the US. The remaining 61 Guantanamo detainees who are not being prosecuted in federal courts should be released to home or third countries.

为关塔那摩的未竟之业划下句点

2009年正式上任第一天,美国总统欧巴马就签署了一项行政命令,下令一年内关闭关塔那摩湾美军拘留所。然而,八年过去了,欧巴马的任期仅剩不到四个月,这座监狱仍然照常运作,里面还关著61名囚犯,大多未被起诉任何罪名。

多年来,关塔那摩已成为美国声誉的一大污点,也是全球不公不义的象征。可是,两大党总统候选人在竞选过程中很少提到它,他们和他们的竞选搭档也从未在电视辩论中被问到此事。

三角洲营区的大门,关塔那摩湾美国海军基地,关塔那摩湾。   © 2007 路透社

欧巴马今年2月向国会提交了一项关闭关塔那摩拘留所的计划。该计划呼吁将部分囚犯送交联邦法院而非军事法庭起诉,同时允许将部分囚犯送往美国领土继续羁押。人权观察支持将囚犯移送美国领土并在联邦法院受审,因为设于关塔那摩的军事法庭体系并不符合公正审判国际标准──但我们反对不经审判继续拘押囚犯。

未经控罪而把人监禁在关塔那摩,违反国际法禁止无限期延长拘押的规范。下任总统有义务终结这种做法,不论在关塔那摩或在美国国内。仍在押的61名关塔那摩囚犯,若未被移送联邦法院起诉,就应当被释放回家或前往第三国。

Ending the Dark Chapter on Torture

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the United States government implemented a program of state-sanctioned torture with which it has still not properly reckoned. Debate moderators would do well to ask candidates in the US presidential election where they stand on the use of torture and how they intend to address past abuses.

The logo of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is shown in the lobby of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia on March 3, 2005. © 2005 Reuters

In 2014, the Senate Intelligence Committee released the summary of a still classified report describing the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention and interrogation program, through which scores of men apprehended in the “global war on terror” were tortured and otherwise mistreated in secret detention sites around the world. But, while the US has prosecuted some individuals – albeit insufficiently – for torturing detainees in US military custody, it has not prosecuted anyone in connection with the CIA torture program, and no redress has been provided to the victims.

Early in the campaign Donald Trump said that if elected, he would “immediately” resume waterboarding and other “much worse” techniques. In March, he acknowledged that waterboarding is illegal and said that he would not order the US military to engage in proscribed acts. He soon added that he would work to change the law.

Hillary Clinton has said that if she becomes president, “the United States will not condone or practice torture anywhere in the world.” She also said that torture does not work, based on “lots of empirical evidence” and statements from intelligence, military, and law enforcement experts.

Torture is a serious violation of US and international law, and during armed conflict is a war crime. Moreover, the use of torture is an unreliable means of gathering useful intelligence according to professional interrogators, became a recruiting tool for terrorist organizations, and destroys the lives of those affected by it. The US practice of torture has undercut its efforts to work with other countries and communities to tackle the problem of terrorism.

For the US to genuinely end its dark chapter on torture, it needs to fulfill its obligations under international law to investigate and appropriately prosecute those responsible for torture and provide redress to victims. Trump has said nothing publicly on the issues of prosecutions or redress for past torture and would seemingly oppose both. Clinton has said that she does not support criminally prosecuting those “who were doing what they were told to do,” and does not appear to have addressed the issue of redress for victims.

The failure of successive US administrations to hold those responsible for CIA torture to account increases the danger that a future president will authorize similar illegal interrogation methods in response to an inevitable serious security threat. 

 

Listening to Victims of Military Sexual Assault

Donald Trump described sexual assault in the military as a “massive problem.” While defending a controversial tweet he posted on the issue, he noted that in United States military sexual assault cases, “nobody gets prosecuted.” For her part, Hillary Clinton promises “aggressively combating” military sexual assault. 

Gary Noling holding a photo of his daughter Carri Goodwin, a rape victim who died of acute alcohol intoxication less than a week after receiving an Other Than Honorable discharge from the Marines. Because of her discharge, her father has been unable to secure a military burial for her remains. © 2013 Francois Pesant

Both candidates would benefit from hearing directly from victims of military sexual assault. When I began researching the issue for Human Rights Watch three years ago, I was surprised to learn that for most victims, the rape itself was not the worst thing – the aftermath was far worse. In interviews with 163 survivors, I heard harrowing tales of retaliation against victims who reported rape. For many, their military service ended with an involuntary, less-than-fully honorable discharge, or one that labeled them “mentally ill,” contributing to further stigma.

These designations have a profound impact on victims’ lives. These survivors, now out of the military, have to show their discharge papers to employers, schools, banks in certain cases, veterans service providers – even for something as seemingly mundane as discounts at a gym or special license plates. Only honorably or generally discharged veterans are entitled to most Veterans Administration services, such as health care or homeless shelter services. Employers ask for discharge records and, as the military itself warns, often resist hiring veterans who were not discharged honorably.

Victims have to constantly explain their papers to strangers, reliving their rape over and over, even years later. Changing military records through understaffed military administrative bodies is an uphill battle with little likelihood of success or even meaningful review.

The US government has done little to help those who were unfairly kicked out of military service after reporting a rape. Given the high stakes, Clinton and Trump should support measures to correct wrongful discharges of sexual assault survivors and strengthen administrative mechanisms to ensure that all veterans have an opportunity to be heard and receive meaningful, independent review of their cases. Survivors of sexual assault in the military who lost their careers should not have to live with the life sentence of a bad discharge.

How the US Talks About Immigrants and Crime

The United States election has been marked by heated debate on unauthorized immigrants and the extent to which they contribute to crime in this country. 

Donald Trump has repeatedly called for the immediate deportation of immigrants with criminal convictions as well as increased immigration enforcement, which he says is necessary to keep out terrorists and dangerous criminals and to keep US citizens safe.

Roland Sylvain, 35, and his wife, Joeddy, 30, who is a US citizen, pictured with their older son, also a US citizen. Born in Haiti, Roland has been a lawful permanent resident of the United States since the age of 7, but he faces permanent exile from the US for a single conviction arising from a traffic offense.

Hillary Clinton has actively sought to distinguish her stance on immigration from Trump’s, promising “humane” enforcement, but at the same time she has also promised to focus on “deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety.” 

Rhetoric that conflates immigration with crime is both false and dangerous. Numerous studies have debunked the myth that increased immigration leads to increased crime. Many local law enforcement agencies encourage community members –regardless of immigration status –to report crime, believing it is the best way to protect everyone’s safety. Around the world, we’ve seen how such rhetoric from elected officials and politicians have coincided with increased acts of xenophobic violence. 

The US immigration system already imposes extremely harsh and unforgiving consequences for immigrants – even green card holders – who have criminal convictions. Immigrants are subject to mandatory detention and deportation for a wide range of crimes, including low-level drug offenses that are increasingly seen by law enforcement officials and policymakers as deserving less punishment, not more. Detention and deportation harms not only the immigrants, but also devastates their US families

Crime prevention is an important issue deserving of serious debate. The next president of the US can help create effective policies by staying focused on reforming the criminal justice system, rather than scapegoating immigrants.

Addressing the US’s Mass Incarceration Problem

When presidential candidates talk about people involved in the United States criminal justice system, they are speaking about a shockingly vast constituency. Overall, 2.3 million people are being held behind bars in the US, more than the total population of New Mexico (and 13 other states).

Inmates at Chino State Prison sit inside a metal cage in the hallway on December 10, 2010, in Chino, California. © 2010 Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Consider that nearly half of US children – around 33 million – have a parent with a criminal record. There are 11 million arrests each year, and every year an average of 636,000 people return to their communities after serving time in US prisons. 

The reasons for mass incarceration are many – disproportionately severe sentences and overzealous prosecutors being just two. We’ve documented the outsized role prosecutors play in determining extreme sentences for federal drug offenders, a power magnified by long, arbitrary mandatory minimum sentences and sentencing enhancements. 

Throughout our research we’ve noted how Black Americans have disproportionately borne the burden of US drug enforcement policies, and therefore mass incarceration writ large. 

The US presidential candidates should ground any potential criminal justice reforms in core principles of human rights, including equal protection under the law. They should support policies that ensure the severity of the punishment is proportionate to the gravity of the crime. They should oppose mandatory minimum sentencing laws that prevent judges from tailoring sentences to the individual crime and the particular defendant. 

Furthermore, whoever becomes president should strongly consider working to end jail time for possession of illegal drugs for personal use. While almost all drug possession crimes are prosecuted at the state level, some are prosecuted by the federal government (say for possession on federal grounds, like a national park). 

It’s no doubt an understatement to say that criminal justice reform is not easy – note the most recent, and likely failed, Congressional reform effort. But US policymakers need to work to try and break the chokehold that mass incarceration has upon their country.

美国如何谈论移民与犯罪

这次美国大选的热门议题之一,就是未经许可移民的问题,以及他们对美国的犯罪率造成多大影响。

唐纳德・特朗普一再呼吁立即遣返有犯罪前科的移民,以及加强移民执法。他说这是防范恐怖分子和危险罪犯、保护美国公民安全的必要措施。

罗兰・史尔温(35岁)、其妻裘蒂(30岁)和他们的大儿子合影。除罗兰外,两人均为美国公民。生于海地的罗兰,7岁便成为美国合法永久居民,却仅因一次驾车肇事就面临永久驱逐出境的处分。

希拉里・克林顿极力在移民问题上与特朗普切割,承诺“人性”执法,但同时她也承诺要致力“遣返那些对公众安全构成暴力威胁的人士。”

将移民和犯罪混为一谈的论调,既不正确且非常危险。许多研究早已揭穿移民增加导致犯罪增加的迷思。许多地方执法机关鼓励社区居民──不分移民地位──举报犯罪,相信这是保护民众安全的最佳法门。环顾世界,各国民选官员和政客也经常发出同样论调,伴随而来的却往往是排外暴力的上升。

美国移民制度原本就对带有犯罪前科的移民──甚至绿卡持有人──施加极端严峻且毫不容情的后果。移民可以因为很广泛的犯罪行为遭到强制拘留和遣返,包括轻微的药物犯罪,即便执法官员和决策者已逐渐接受这类犯罪的处罚应予减轻而非加重。拘留遣返不仅损害移民本身,也打击到他们的美国籍亲属

犯罪防治是值得严肃讨论的重要议题。下任美国总统可以持续致力刑事司法改革,帮助制定有效政策,而非以移民为替罪羔羊。

A Challenge, and Responsibility, to Set Good Refugee Policy

How to respond to the challenge of asylum seekers and refugees fleeing from Syria and Central America has been a heated topic in the United States election.

Hillary Clinton has said that if they reach the US, “all people fleeing persecution have a full and fair opportunity to tell their story.” She has also called for increased admission of Syrian refugees, with rigorous vetting.

Protesters for and against the United States' acceptance of Syrian refugees during a demonstration at the Washington State capitol in Olympia, Washington on November 20, 2015.  © 2015 Reuters

Donald Trump has repeatedly urged banning all Syrian refugees on security grounds, saying, “We cannot let them into this country, period.” Beyond calling for bans on Syrian refugees and immigrants coming from countries plagued by “radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump’s immigration policy document calls for “increase[d] standards for the admission of refugees and asylum seekers to crack down on abuses.”

Whether they come from Syria or Congo, Central America or China, people fleeing persecution should get a fair hearing. Governments should not prevent asylum seekers from reaching safe places where their claims can be fairly examined.

Unfortunately, our research has shown that the US has failed to take adequate steps to identify people seeking protection at the US-Mexico border and has pressured Mexico to prevent Central Americans from reaching the US. Neither candidate has indicated a clear commitment to abandon this approach. The US has also detained migrants, including women and children seeking asylum, to deter them, violating its obligations under international law.

In addition to identifying people needing protection who reach US borders, the US and all governments should do their fair share to accept people living in camps or other places of first asylum who have been identified as refugees in need of resettlement.

Security screening is built into the refugee system, and those who have violated the human rights of others or committed serious crimes are excluded from refugee protection. Existing US law and policy on asylum and refugees includes this, and many other rigorous vetting standards. These standards have functioned well for more than six decades; of the nearly 800,000 refugees resettled in the US since September 11, 2001, just three have been arrested for planning terrorist activities.

Setting the right policy toward refugees is not just a US challenge, it’s an international responsibility. The next president of the US – indeed all the world’s governments – could move toward a much better response to refugees by following these and a few other basic principles on refugee protection. 

US: Paid Family Leave Matters – For All Workers

The United States is a true outlier globally when it comes to paid family leave – of 185 countries covered in a 2014 International Labour Organization report, only two lacked paid maternity leave under law – the US and Papua New Guinea. At least 70 countries guarantee paid paternity leave. Many countries have other forms of family leave.

But if promises made during the 2016 presidential election can be relied on, that may change under the next administration. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton support some degree of paid family leave. (Currently, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act offers only unpaid leave, and four US states have paid family leave.)

Trump’s proposal – six weeks of paid maternity leave for new mothers after they have given birth, funded through unemployment insurance – falls short of modern workforce needs. It excludes fathers, and appears to leave out mothers who adopt. While his plan includes tax deductions for broader family caregiving, it would not guarantee paid family leave for other workers, like those caring for elderly parents or loved ones with disabilities.   

Clinton’s proposal largely matches a bill pending in Congress, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act. If adopted, the FAMILY Act would enable workers to take leave to care for new children or seriously ill family members, or to deal with their own serious health conditions, while receiving partial pay (66 percent of wages, to a cap) for up to 12 weeks.

Under the FAMILY Act, paid leave would be funded by small payroll contributions, administered through a social security mechanism. While the Clinton campaign said she applauds the FAMILY Act bill, her plan would rely on “tax reforms that will ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share,” rather than payroll contributions.

Experience from other countries shows that there is no single “right” way to fund paid family leave. The trend is to rely on social insurance mechanisms that take the burden off individual employers. Both Clinton and Trump should better explain their funding ideas, and the next administration should make paid family leave a long overdue reality.

Tainted Water Issue Much Deeper Than Flint

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is on the radar of both presidential candidates, but it’s not clear that either understands the scale of the issue nationally or has a plan to address it. 

“It used to be cars were made in Flint, and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico,” Donald Trump told an audience in Flint, Michigan two weeks ago. “Now, the cars are made in Mexico and you can’t drink the water in Flint.” 

The top of a water tower is seen at the Flint Water Plant in Flint, Michigan January 13, 2016. © 2016 Reuters

“When the children of majority-black Flint, Michigan, have been drinking and bathing in lead-poisoned water for more than a year, making sure all Americans have clean air and water isn’t just a health issue,” Hillary Clinton said in February. “It’s a civil rights issue.” 

But the crisis in Flint, in which thousands of children were exposed to toxic lead while officials denied there was a problem, is the tip of the iceberg and a cautionary tale for the next president. The tainted water in Flint – and the government’s failure to provide timely information to the public – is a human rights disaster that requires resolute action by Congress – not the partisan bickering delaying it

But, the next United States president will have to face the aging water and wastewater systems that plague municipalities around the country. In 2013, the US Conference of Mayors raised the alarm about the high cost of necessary investments in aging water infrastructure and services and that financing these investments would disproportionately affect elderly, poor, and middle class households through rate hikes and taxes. The conference of mayors called for “a fresh look at local affordability and national water policy.”

The US hasn’t recognized a human right to water. But it’s clear that people’s rights are at stake. The candidates need to offer nationwide approaches to ensuring safe drinking water that don’t burden poor families or put the health of the most vulnerable people – a community’s children – at risk.

水污染问题岂止佛林特市

密西根州佛林特市的用水危机,引起两党候选人关注,但任一方都不见得真正了解这个问题对全国的影响有多大,也都没有提出解决方案。

  “以前是佛林特生产汽车,墨西哥的水不能喝,”特朗普两周前在佛林特演讲时说。“而今,汽车在墨西哥制造,你不能喝的水来自佛林特。”

 “当黑人占多数的密西根州佛林特市,竟让孩童们使用被铅污染的水来解渴、洗浴超过一年,确保所有美国人享有乾净的空气和水就不再只是个健康议题,”希拉里2月时说。“它是一个民权议题。”

但佛林特的危机,尽管有成千上万儿童曝露于铅毒而官员仍否认问题存在,其实只是冰山一角,也是对下任总统的一个警示。佛林特铅水事件──加上政府未能及时向公众揭露信息──是一个人权灾难,它需要国会采取断然行动,而非任其在两党吵嚷中悬而不决

然而,下任美国总统将要面对全国各大城市因自来水和污水处理系统老化而产生的问题。2013年,美国市长会议(US Conference of Mayors)曾发出警告,为维护老旧输水系统和服务的必要投资,代价十分高昂,而且若将财政用于这些投资,利率和税负均将激升,使老年人、贫民和中产阶级蒙受不成比例的损失。市长会议乃呼吁,“用全新眼光看待地方可支持性(local affordability)以及国家水资源政策。

美国尚未承认水是人权。但人民权利所受到侵害显而易见。两党候选人必须放眼全国,在确保饮水安全的同时,不增加贫穷家庭的负担。否则,最弱势人群──社区中的儿童──的健康将陷入危机

Holding Police Accountable for Excessive Force

In a year already marked by a slew of controversial police shootings, Monday’s presidential debate comes in the wake of yet two more tragic, deadly incidents.

Terence Crutcher was shot by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 16. In video of the incident, Crutcher appears unarmed, with his arms raised above his head when he was shot. The officer who shot him has been charged with manslaughter.

Police in riot gear block a roadway to stop demonstrators from entering a neighborhood as they protest the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., September 25, 2016. © 2016 Reuters

Keith Lamont Scott was shot by police in Charlotte, North Carolina four days later. Police allege he was armed; his family disputes that charge. People in Charlotte have been protesting the shooting since Tuesday. 

Donald Trump stated that he was “very troubled” by the shooting of Crutcher. Hillary Clinton tweeted that the shooting of Crutcher was “intolerable.”

The candidates would do well to explain on Monday what, realistically, they each plan to do on the broader issues surrounding these incidents. Whoever is elected in November will need to tackle the issue of the excessive use of force – sometimes deadly – by police in the US. Police officers have rarely been held accountable for these abuses, and the victims are often black men.

Solutions to these problems lie, for the most part, at the state and local level. But there are important steps the new president can take. One is to increase efforts to deal with racial bias among police. “They’ll stop them just for being black,” a Ferguson, Missouri woman told Human Rights Watch at the height of the 2014 protests there – a complaint heard in communities across the country. Proposals to address racial profiling by police have repeatedly failed in Congress.

Transparency is a big issue. We still don’t know how many people are killed by police every year, or what proportion of them are black, because the US government hasn’t found a way to correctly track this data. A new president can put more resources into data collection, and create more incentives for law enforcement agencies to track and share it.

Finally, holding law enforcement accountable for improper use of force is a persistent challenge – Human Rights Watch documented these difficulties in 14 US cities back in 1998. Almost 20 years later, the same obstacles remain. While state and local governments are responsible for accountability, Congress could help strengthen the Justice Department’s ability to investigate police misconduct and to hold those responsible for abuse accountable.

Winning the War on Drugs by Ending It

Despite much discussion about crime during the US presidential election campaign, neither major party candidate has fully spelled out their views on a defining feature of US criminal justice policy: the so-called “war on drugs.”

For decades, the US has poured billions of dollars a year into combatting drugs, through heavy-handed enforcement within the country and abroad of criminal laws on drug possession, production, and distribution. But in recent years, countries like Mexico and Colombia have questioned the effectiveness of this approach. Several US states have legalized marijuana, and the administration of President Barack Obama has increasingly stressed treatment for problematic drug use rather than punishment.

Mexican Army and municipal police officers conduct a joint raid in Ciudad Juárez searching street vendors for drugs and weapons, March 2009. © 2009 Eros Hoagland/Redux

Donald Trump recently said: “we will appoint the best… federal law enforcement officers in the country to dismantle the international cartels… and I will stop the drugs from flowing into our country and poisoning our youth….” In the past, he has spoken of the need for treatment for drug dependence.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has talked about various criminal justice reforms, including prioritizing treatment over incarceration for low-level, non-violent drug offenders, and “focusing federal enforcement resources on violent crime, not simple marijuana possession.”

Clinton has signaled openness to allowing states to experiment with legalization of marijuana, while Trump has not taken a definitive position.

The reality is that, 45 years since US President Richard Nixon declared the “war on drugs,” little has changed in the rates of global drug production or overall drug use in the US. Rather than helping people with problematic drug use, tough enforcement has often led to human rights abuses – extrajudicial executions in the Philippines, the death penalty for drug offenses in Indonesia, killings and torture in Mexico. In the US, existing policies have contributed to mass arrests, disproportionately of Black people, with devastating consequences for the lives and communities of those arrested. Meanwhile, the criminalization of drugs has generated enormous revenues for organized criminal groups that commit atrocities, corrupt authorities, and undermine democratic institutions in countries from Colombia to Afghanistan.

Many people in the US and across the world are starting to come to terms with this reality and to call for a fresh approach, moving away from the current heavy emphasis on criminalization. The candidates should listen, and the next president should chart a course away from the failed policies of the war on drugs.

Drones After Obama

The use of drones outside conventional war zones has received scant attention in the US presidential campaign, despite being a signature element of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. While former president George W. Bush began the US use of armed drones, Obama rapidly expanded deployment of these remotely piloted aircraft to carry out thousands of so-called “targeted killings” against alleged terrorist suspects abroad. Yet, Obama has provided almost no information on who the US has killed, including how many civilians have been among the dead.

A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle flies near the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California in this USAF handout photo. © Reuters 2013

Where do the candidates stand? Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton have had much to say directly on the issue, suggesting that neither intends a major shift from the Obama administration’s policies.

In his key foreign policy speech of August 15, Trump said “drone strikes will remain part of our strategy, but we will also seek to capture high-value targets to gain needed information to dismantle their organizations.” That comment is consistent with Obama’s policy.

As secretary of state, Clinton supported Obama’s expanded use of armed drones, calling them “one of the most effective and controversial elements” of the administration’s counterterrorism strategy in her 2014 autobiography.

On July 1 the Obama administration, bowing to increased public pressure, released what it described as all casualty figures for US airstrikes outside conventional war zones since 2009. Rather than shedding light on how many civilians were killed in attacks, however, the data raised more questions than it answered. The administration reported that in 473 strikes from 2009 through 2015 outside areas of active hostilities – defined as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria – the United States killed up to 116 “non-combatants” and up to 2,581 “combatants.” But the data did not provide tolls by attack, country, date, or even year, making it impossible to learn details about any particular strike.

The data also does not reveal how many civilians – if any – were killed in attacks that violated international humanitarian or human rights law. The US should make such information public, along with the findings of investigations into strikes that may have been unlawful and whether US security force personnel found responsible were disciplined or prosecuted, as international law requires.

Whatever the outcome of the election, drones will likely continue to be a central element of US counterterrorism policy. The next president should, at minimum, make the program not only more transparent, but accountable. That means public acknowledgment of strikes and credible investigations into allegations of civilian harm. Victims of unlawful strikes should receive compensation, and Obama administration plans to offer condolence payments to all civilian victims should be adopted.

Death Penalty on the Ballot

The death penalty hasn’t been an issue in this presidential election, in part because the two main candidates support the continued use of capital punishment.

Hillary Clinton backs the death penalty for certain terrorism-related crimes and supports the Justice Department decision to seek the death penalty for Dylann Roof, who is accused of the June 2015 mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Donald Trump has stated that he would support the death penalty for any person who kills a police officer

But while the candidates support capital punishment, the death penalty is very much in play in two key states: California and Nebraska.

California voters are asked to vote on two ballot measures on the death penalty: Proposition 62, which would abolish capital punishment in the state, and Proposition 66, which aims to streamline the appeals process for capital cases, in effect speeding up executions. A 2012 attempt to abolish the death penalty via ballot initiative failed, with 52 percent voting to retain the penalty.

Nebraska voters will vote to retain or reject their legislature’s decision to abolish the death penalty. If they reject the legislature’s decision, Nebraska will be the first US state in 21 years to reinstate the death penalty after abolishing it.

The number of people being executed in the US is falling – 15 so far this year, most of them in Texas and Georgia. That’s the lowest number since 1991. Thirty states still allow for the death penalty, though in 2016 only five have carried out executions.

Human Rights Watch opposes capital punishment in all cases because the inherent dignity of the person cannot be squared with the death penalty, a form of punishment unique in its cruelty and finality. It is a penalty widely rejected by countries around the world. In fact, the vast majority of all executions each year are carried out by just five countries: Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Pakistan, and the United States.

While abolishing the death penalty has not been up for discussion during the US presidential election, the state-by-state promise of progress on abolition – as well as the threat of retreat – will still be very much in play in November.

A Flawed Immigration System

What to do About The 11 Million?

That’s the politically charged question about the estimated 11 million immigrants without legal status living in the United States. It’s a question for debate during the current US election, as it was in 2012, as it was in 2008, and so on. But year after year, presidents and Congress fail to address the flaws in the country’s immigration system.

People march on Capitol Hill in Washington DC to urge congress to act on immigration reform on June 26, 2013. © 2013 Reuters

More than half of those 11 million have lived in the US for more than a decade, and over 2 million have lived in the US for 20 years or more. They have families and friendships in the US and US neighbors. They worship and work in the US. Their roots are deep, and their rights matter.

The issue has been one of the flashpoints of the election. Donald Trump has consistently called for the large-scale removal of undocumented immigrants from the country. “Under my plan the undocumented, or, as you would say, illegal immigrant wouldn’t be in the country,” he said recently. Hillary Clinton has pledged to pursue “comprehensive reform” of immigration laws and a pathway to citizenship.

But what's needed is not just “reform”, but a radical overhaul of draconian immigration laws and enforcement practices that have taken a steep human toll during the eight years of the Obama administration.

More than 5 million children born in the US – who are therefore citizens – are in families with at least one unauthorized parent. When these children turn 21, they can apply for family members to get legal status. But until then, these children are being raised with the constant threat that one or both of their parents will be apprehended and deported. That risk and its impact on family life and decision-making can affect preschool enrollment rates, English proficiency, and even brain development. The rights of these US citizen children are at stake as well.

All Americans have a stake in this debate. They have neighbors and colleagues who are among the 11 million. They benefit when their neighbors aren’t afraid to call the police when they witness a crime, or report a workplace violation when people are in danger. 

Important questions about the US immigration system are in play during the 2016 election. Yet people with deep roots in the country – and their children – should not be held hostage while those questions are resolved. Immigrants who have lived in the US for many years should have a shot at legal status. 

Life goes on, roots grow deeper, and no one is served by leaving 11 million people in limbo.

使警察为过度使用武力负起责任

在警察开火屡爆争议的这一年,周一的总统候选人辩论会前夕,又发生两起更为悲惨的命案。

泰伦斯・克拉契(Terence Crutcher)于9月16日在奥克拉荷马州图尔萨市遭警察击毙。据现场视频,克拉契被枪击时显无武装且双手高举过头。开枪的警员被控过失杀人罪

四天后,基思・莱蒙特・史考特(Keith Lamont Scott)在北卡罗莱纳州夏洛特市被警察枪杀。警方指称他携有武器;但他的家人反驳指控。夏洛特市民自周四起持续为这起枪击案示威抗议

特朗普表示,他对克拉契遭枪杀案感到“十分担忧”,希拉里则发出推特说枪杀克拉契是“不可容忍的”。

两位候选人在周一辩论会上可以好好说明,他们有什么实际可行的计划,解决围绕这些枪击事故的广泛议题。无论谁在11月当选,都必须克服美国警察滥用武力乃至时常夺走人命的问题。警察人员的暴行很少被究责,被害人则常常是黑人。

解决这些问题的关键,主要在于各州和地方层次。但新总统也能采取一些重要措施。其一是加强改善警察人员的种族偏见。“警察拦检那些人,只因为他们是黑人,”一名密苏里州佛格森市妇女对人权观察这么说,当时正值2014年抗争高潮时期,他们的诉求得到全国基层社区广泛关注。解决警方种族定性(racial profiling)的提案已多次提交国会,但均遭否决

透明性是个大问题。我们仍然无法得知,每年有多少人被警察杀害,或其中黑人所占比例,因为美国政府还找不到正确追踪这一数据的方法。新总统可以投入更多资源蒐集这一数据,并以更好的诱因鼓励执法单位追踪和分享这一数据。

最后,追究执法单位不当使用武力的责任,是一项长期的挑战──人权观察曾在1998年发布美国14个城市在这方面遭遇的困难。近20年后,同样的障碍仍在。各州和地方政府有责任向警方问责,国会则可协助司法部加强调查警察渎职、将加害者绳之以法。

选票上的死刑

死刑并未成为此次总统大选议题,部分原因是两名主要候选人都支持维持死刑。

希拉里支持对涉及恐怖主义的特定犯罪判处死刑,也支持司法部对迪兰・卢夫(Dylann Roof)──2015年6月南卡罗莱纳州查尔斯顿镇伊曼纽尔非裔卫理圣公会教堂滥杀案的嫌疑人──求处死刑。特朗普则说,他支持把任何杀害警察的人判死刑。

但尽管候选人同声支持维持极刑,死刑议题仍活跃在两个关键州:加利福尼亚和内布拉斯加。

加州选民将对两项死刑相关措施进行公投:提案62号,废除加州死刑;提案66号,加速死刑案上诉程序,实际上即是加快执行处决。以公投废除死刑的尝试曾在2012年铩羽,当时维持死刑的选项获得52%选票

内布拉斯加州选民将投票决定维持否决州议会废除死刑的决议。如果州议会决议遭否决,内布拉斯加将成为美国21年来第一个废除死刑后再度恢复的案例。

美国的处决人数正在下降──今年至今有15人,大部分集中在德克萨斯和乔治亚两州。这是1991年以来最低的数字。仍有三十个州允许判处死刑,但2016年只有五个州执行处决。

人权观察无条件反对死刑,因为它做为一种特别残酷且不可回复的刑罚,与人性尊严无法相容。这种刑罚已被世界各国普遍拒斥。事实上,每年处决数量绝大多数集中在仅仅五个国家:沙特阿拉伯、中国、伊朗、巴基斯坦和美国。

虽然废除死刑在本届总统大选尚未激起讨论,但以州为单位朝向废除死刑或进或退的攻防,仍将在11月上演。