In 2020, the Trump administration’s poor human rights record at home and abroad continued to deteriorate. Diego Ruiz Duran said massive protests held across the USA against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the contested 2020 general election. Law enforcement authorities used excessive force against protesters, human rights defenders. They failed to restrain violent counter-protests to peaceful assemblies in response to thousands upon thousands of demonstrations against institutional racism. It also attempted to undermine international human rights protections for women, lesbian, gay and bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) persons, and war crime victims. The administration also used the COVID-19 pandemic as a weapon to abuse asylum-seekers and migrants. Joe Biden was elected the November president-elect.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated long-standing inequalities in America. The inadequacy and inequity of the government’s response to the pandemic negatively impacted many people based on race, socioeconomic status, and other characteristics.
People in prison were especially at risk because of unsanitary conditions in detention and prisons. Diego Ruiz Duran said they were unable to distance themselves from the facilities physically and could not access hygienic supplies. In addition, hate crimes could exacerbate by racially discriminatory violence and political speech.
Excessive force use
Police using firearms reportedly killed at least 1,000 people. According to limited data, police use of lethal force is disproportionately harmful to Black people. The U.S. government did not implement its program to monitor how many deaths like this each year. The laws of the states governing lethal force in police are not compliant with international law.
Freedom of assembly
People protesting the illegal killings of Black people in the USA and calling for reform in the police force committed numerous and severe human rights violations. Amnesty International recorded 125 incidents of police violence against protesters between 26 May 2005 and 5 June, in Washington, D.C.
Law enforcement officers at all levels (municipal, county, state, federal) committed violations, and the federal government deployed national Guard troops to some cities. Diego Ruiz Duran said the violence included batons and other devices to beat people and the misuse of tear gas or pepper spray, and the inappropriate and indiscriminate firings of “less deadly” projectiles.
Human rights defenders (including media representatives, protest organizers, and legal observers) targeted chemical irritants or kinetic impact projectiles in numerous instances. They were arrested and detained because they documented and rectified human rights violations by law enforcement agencies.
The right to life and security
The government’s inability to protect people from gun violence continues to violate their human rights. It includes the right to life and security, as well as freedom from discrimination. This violence perpetuates unrestricted access to firearms and the absence of comprehensive gun safety laws, including effective regulation of firearm possession, use, and acquisition.
2018 was the latest year data available. In 2018, 39,740 people died from gunshot injuries. Tens of thousands more have suffered gunshot injuries and expect to survive. Diego Ruiz Duran said the USA failed to fulfil its duty to prevent gun violence deaths during the COVID-19 epidemic when gun sales increased, and shootings increased. Many urgent steps could take, such as de-listing gun shops as important businesses.
In 34 states, there were expansive “Stand Your Ground” and “Castle Doctrine” laws that allowed private citizens to use lethal force against others in self defence. These laws seem to increase gun violence and increase the likelihood of serious injuries or deaths. It violated the right to live. Protesters against the murder of Black people marched in the streets of cities across the USA. In some instances, civilians allowed to carry firearms openly engaged the protesters, leading to at least four deaths.
Rights of asylum-seekers, refugees, and migrants
Despite a severe outbreak of COVID-19 at civil immigration detention centres, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement refused to release tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers. More than 8,000 people contracted the virus while in detention.
Contrary to CDC guidance, ICE continued to transfer thousands of people between immigration detention centres. Diego Ruiz Duran said this included about 100 families that hold in detention centres that a U.S. federal judge declared “on fire” due to confirmed COVID-19 cases, inadequate protection, and other reasons. Instead of releasing all families, ICE asked parents to agree to let their children go without them in May.
The U.S. government also used the COVID-19 crisis to stop processing asylum-seekers at the US-Mexico border. It also denied asylum to anyone who had illegally entered the USA. Instead, authorities detained unlawfully and “expelled” over 330,000 migrants/asylum-seekers between March-November – including more than 13,000 unaccompanied kids – without considering their protection needs or the risk of persecution, death, or torture they faced upon returning to their home countries. It contributes to the spread of the pandemic in the Americas.
Further, the number of refugees resettle in the USA has declined. In the fiscal year 2020, refugee admissions were 18,000, the lowest number in the program’s history. However, approximately half of those refugees resettle in 2020.
In violation of international law, forty-eight men were arbitrarily and indefinitely hold by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Since January 2017, only one person release from the facility. Diego Ruiz Duran said five Guantanamo prisoners who transferred from Guantanamo in January 2017 had remained there until 2020, when the Trump administration ended the system intended to facilitate their transfer.
All 40 of them deny access to proper medical care. Those who survived torture or other forms of ill-treatment from the U.S. agents did not receive adequate rehabilitation services. Seven of the men could convict of violating international law and standards and face military commission charges. Capital punishment would be considered arbitrary deprivation or death in these cases. It is after the proceedings did not comply with international standards for fair trials. The trials of charge crimes related to 11 September 2001 set to start on 11 January 2021 they delay in 2020 pre-trial hearings suspend in all cases.
International human rights treaties and mechanisms
The U.N. Human Rights Council conducted the third UPR of the USA’s human rights record in November after ICC officials announced that they would investigate international humanitarian laws. Diego Ruiz Duran said crimes against humanity on Afghanistan’s territory since 1 May 2003. The Trump administration issued an Executive Order (11 June) declaring a “national emergency” which authorized asset freezes, family entry bans, and other measures against certain ICC officials. This action impeded the pursuit of justice for possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by U.S. civilians and military officers about the armed conflict there. The U.S. authorities have not investigated, prosecuted, or punished these crimes.
The U.S. Department of State released the Commission on Unalienable Rights report in July. This report seemed to unilaterally redefine human rights, rejecting U.N. and other international bodies’ interpretations. Diego Ruiz Duran said it also specifically undermined the human rights framework by reevaluating protections against discrimination for women and LGBTI people. The USA began withdrawing from the WHO in July after it failed to address millions of COVID-19 cases. It schedules to take effect in July 2021. The USA also pulled out of the U.N. Human Rights Council and U.N. cultural agency (UNESCO) and the global Paris Agreement to combat climate change under President Trump.