Rising authoritarianism is one of the gravest challenges that defenders of human rights face every day,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “It’s essential that world leaders push back against the lineup of anti-rights crusaders who will open this year’s UN General Assembly this year.”

Egypt’s al-Sisi, whom Trump reportedly praised as his “favorite dictator,” has been crushing free speech and other basic rights for six years. Hallmarks of his rule include the massive use of lethal force against protesters, and widespread and systematic use of torture in detention facilities.

In Turkey, three years after a violent coup attempt in 2016, Erdogan’s presidency has normalized emergency rule. More than 40,000 people are imprisoned on terrorism charges, few of the more than 130,000 public officials dismissed have been reinstated, elected Kurdish mayors have been removed, and the country is the world’s top jailer of journalists.

The Trump administration has repeatedly disparaged human rights, emboldening white supremacists and other extremists at home and abusive leaders abroad. And with respect to climate change, one of the top issues at this year’s General Assembly, Brazil’s Bolsonaro has effectively given a green light to criminal networks destroying the Amazon rainforest and intimidating and attacking forest defenders. Trump has actively undermined efforts to address climate change.

….[for other post on populism see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/populism/]

The lineup of abusive leaders speaking at the General Assembly does not end with the opening speakers. Leaders and ministers from countries with abysmal human rights records – including China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela – will also take the podium during the General Debate.

…“The only way for the UN’s prime-time lineup of leaders who proudly disparage rights not to set the tone for the entire General Assembly is for more principled leaders to be vocal and unflinching in their support for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Roth said.