The End of U.S. Leadership on Human Rights?

For a column in Dutch newspaper NRC, journalist Michel Kerres, diplomatic editor for the newspaper, spoke to Stephen Rapp, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues and Non-Resident Fellow at The Hague Institute.

In the interview, Rapp stated that when it comes to human rights, the Trump administration does not really know what it is doing. Placing higher importance on defense than on diplomacy and humanitarian aid, the U.S. government is now undermining its previous commitment to human rights.

This commitment is exemplified by the establishment of the Office of War Crimes Issues, later the Office of Global Criminal Justice, of which Rapp was the diplomatic representative between 2009 and 2015. This Office is now in danger of being shut down.

About this likely decision, Rapp says that the bar that has been set for human rights in the past will fall without continued leadership. Especially the United States has played a vital role in this regard.

The column also refers to the op-ed about the potential closing of the Office of Global Criminal Justice that was written by Stephen Rapp and other former Ambassadors-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, which was published on the political website The Hill in July.

Read the NRC column (in Dutch) here.

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