Adam Polaski

Obama Bans Human Rights Violators from U.S. Entry

Filed By Adam Polaski | August 06, 2011 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Afghanistan, anti-war, Barack Obama, Dennis Kucinich, human rights abuses, Iraq, Kill the Gays bill, LGBT human rights, Libya, Uganda, United States, war crimes

On Thursday, President Barack Obama announced that individuals who have participated in war crimes or other serious human rights abuses would not be allowed entry into the United States.

The proclamation reads:

The United States' enduring commitment to respect for human rights and humanitarian law requires that its Government be able to ensure that the United States does not become a safe haven for serious violators of human rights and humanitarian law and
those who engage in other related abuses. Universal respect for human rights and humanitarian law and the prevention of atrocities internationally promotes U.S. values and fundamental U.S. interests in helping secure peace, deter aggression, promote the rule of law, combat crime and corruption, strengthen democracies, and prevent humanitarian crises around the globe. I therefore have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict the international travel and to suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of certain persons who have engaged in the acts outlined in section 1 of this proclamation.

The proclamation goes onto list violators of human rights as anyone who has "planned, ordered, assisted, aided and abetted, committed or otherwise participated in" widespread violence against a group of people.

The proclamation specifically lists sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes, meaning that people found to have violated the human rights of LGBT people - as, for example, is the case with those involved in Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill - could be barred from entering the country.

The Washington Blade has more:

Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality, said the order gives the Obama administration "an important tool to use in dissuading extremist actions that are prejudicial to basic human rights, and in encouraging the development of inclusive laws and societies."

"The Council praises this move, which could in principle be used to justify the exclusion of hate-promoting politicians like Ugandan parliamentarian David Bahati, who introduced a 'kill the gays bill' in a previous legislative session in Uganda and may do so again," Bromley said. "That bill, of course, would have carried dire consequences for LGBT individuals in Uganda."

The decision has elicited positive reactions - after all, who doesn't support cracking down on human rights violators? But it's interesting and hypocritical that Obama has made this proclamation while continuing to lead and encourage military strikes in Libya. The United States' involvement in the Libya conflict has not been authorized by the U.S. Congress, although under the War Powers Act, the White House is required to receive congressional approval on any military force after 60 days of the first military action. The air strikes began in March, over four months ago.

The Obama administration has since claimed that its actions in Libya do not fall under the jurisdiction of the War Powers Act. Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, among others, have said that Obama's persistence in Libya could be considered an "impeachable offense." Estimates put the number of deaths in Libya as a result of the military strikes at around 8,000 people, including around 3,500 civilians.

Even without Libya, the president has been accused of committing war crimes himself, with Ralph Nader specifically denouncing Obama's policies in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2009, of course, Obama authorized for 30,000 additional troops to be sent to Afghanistan, and just a few weeks ago, he curried favor with "liberals" by announcing plans to pull out the same number of troops that he sent in: 30,000. With all of these hawk-like decisions, Obama, the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, cannot be considered an anti-war president.

This latest proclamation, it seems, is mostly a public relations move to heighten talk of the United States' false commitment to peace.

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Sadly you don't need both your thumbs to count the number of self-admitted human rights violators from the Cheney-Bush regime whom Obama and Eric Holder have prosecuted.

Tall Stacey | August 7, 2011 11:54 AM

So, if we were to somehow get Michelle Bachman out of the country, she wouldn't be allowed back in as a "hate-promoting politician" having openly "planned, ordered, assisted, aided and abetted, committed or otherwise participated in widespread violence against a group of (LGBT)people"? Sounds like a plan to me! Can we sponsor an Republican convention on the Riviera? A Tea Party conference in Toronto? An AFA prayer vigil in Afghanistan? Oh, the possibilities are endless!

To further illustrate the point that this proclamation does very little, CNN reports:

"Under the terms of the order, which took effect immediately, the secretary of state is responsible for determining who will be kept out of the country. Exceptions can be made to accommodate U.S. foreign interests."

How is this anything more than a PR move to say that the United States and Obama are tough on human rights violations?

I suppose that would ban the torturers at Abu Graib, even though they were mostly US agents, and presumably at least some of them were US citizens. ... But they are probably already back in the USA, and even so, somehow I don't think that barring their re-entry would be likely to happen.

As far as the real world is concerned, this did almost nothing. It might have barred Idi Amin, but he's already dead.

I'll bet this announcement wasn't even a good photo op.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 7, 2011 2:51 PM

Obama, summoning up all the warped acting abilities that enabled him to run as the candidate of ‘hope and change’ shamelessly announced that individuals who have participated in war crimes or other serious human rights abuses would not be allowed entry into the United States.

The greatest war criminals in recent history, at least since the LBJ-Nixon genocide in Vietnam, are the Bushes, Bill Clinton and Obama himself. If Obama wants to implement that policy he’d have to withdraw all US troops to home bases and then surrender himself at the Hague.

This is a brazen exercise in propaganda from the man most responsible in the world today for expanding aggressive wars for oil and resources to other countries and for the deaths of civilians and GI’s.

We need to continue to call for the convening of an International War Crimes Tribunal to investigate both Bushes, Clinton, Obama and their cabinets in the wars they generated, including two separate waves of genocide in Iraq.

If Obama wants to ease the plight of GLBT victims of violence he and H. Clinton can open the doors of US embassies and consulates and the 750 US military bases that gird the globe and offer unlimited asylum and social services to LGBT and other victims of war crimes. He can let Brad Manning go and give him a Medal of Honor. He can get out of Iraq, Afghanistan and end the attacks on Palestine, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya. the Sudan, Somalia, Bahrain and elsewhere.