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Amnesty report compares trends that led to Hitler’s rise to power to today’s divisive politics

Monday, March 6, 2017 6:37
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In its latest report, Amnesty International just compared the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment and populist rhetoric in 2016 to the 1930s, singling out President Trump in particular.

Trump was harshly criticized by the London-based group on Tuesday evening for his “hateful xenophobic pre-election rhetoric,” divisive politics and a rollback of civil rights.

The comments were part of an extensive annual report released by Amnesty International that also singled out other leaders and politicians for pursuing “a dehumanizing agenda for political expediency.”

Referring to general trends in many of the 159 countries included in the report, Amnesty International’s secretary general, Salil Shetty, drew parallels between developments in 2016 and Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s.

“2016 was the year when the cynical use of ‘us vs them’ narratives of blame, hate and fear took on a global prominence to a level not seen since the 1930s,” he said.

“Donald Trump’s poisonous campaign rhetoric exemplifies a global trend towards angrier and more divisive politics,” said the introduction of the report. “Across the world, leaders and politicians wagered their future power on narratives of fear and disunity, pinning blame on the ‘other’ for the real or manufactured grievances of the electorate.”

The report also condemned the continuing violence in Syria and Yemen, comparing international inaction in

A Syrian man walks along a damaged street in Aleppo’s Tareeq al-Bab neighborhood on Jan. 18. (Getty Images)

the case of Aleppo with “similar failures in Rwanda and Srebrenica in 1994 and 1995,” referring to two of the worst genocides of the past few decades which both resulted in pledges to not allow such mass killings to happen again.

The human rights group this year particularly focused on what it perceives to be a dangerous rollback of civil rights far from the battlefields of war-torn nations but instead in Europe and North America.

“The limits of what is acceptable have shifted. Politicians are shamelessly and actively legitimizing all sorts of hateful rhetoric and policies based on people’s identity: misogyny, racism and homophobia,” Shetty said in a statement.

The group singled out Trump’s executive order, which was signed in January and banned citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The executive order was blocked by courts but Trump has since announced plans to issue a modified version.


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