Monday, June 27, 2016

Human Rights First - American Ideals. Universal Values.
I’m in Poland this week as its new anti-terror law signed by President Duda goes into effect on Friday. The law classifies all foreign nationals and non-Poles as terror suspects and authorizes invasive surveillance without oversight. That means that all of us—tourists, business travelers, and NGO workers like me—can be considered terrorists.
Poland is a NATO member that was once considered one of the strongest democracies in Central Europe, but now it’s backsliding on human rights and civil liberties. Its legislature has hamstrung the Constitutional Tribunal and passed a slew of problematic laws, including the anti-terror law.
Tell Obama to Speak up at the NATO Summit.
Take Action
President Obama is traveling to Poland this July for the NATO Summit and needs to speak up against Poland’s retreat from its human rights protections. He should emphasize the need for a robust civil society to counteract violent extremism, as well as full-throated freedom of speech and assembly. U.S. officials should only meet with their Polish counterparts if they show progress on reforming the anti-terror law and restoring the Constitutional Tribunal. If we remain silent on Poland, it’s backslide will creep across Europe.
Human rights protections are starting to crumble across Europe, and Poland is the tip of the iceberg. Hungary and Latvia are already taking Poland’s troublesome lead, and the Russian Duma just passed its own draconian anti-terror law.
Sign this petition to tell Obama to stand up for human rights at NATO. Don’t let Poland label human rights workers like me as terrorists.
Melissa Hooper
Director, Pillar Project
On human rights, the United States must be a beacon. America is strongest when our policies and actions match our values.
Human Rights First - American Ideals. Universal Values.
Human Rights First is an independent advocacy and action organization that challenges America to live up to its ideals. We believe American leadership is essential in the struggle for human rights so we press the U.S. government and private companies to respect human rights and the rule of law. When they don't, we step in to demand reform, accountability and justice. Around the world, we work where we can best harness American influence to secure core freedoms.

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