Ever since the 9/11 attacks, the US has put human rights on the back burner—a grave problem in a country that should be “the global champion of human rights,” writes Jimmy Carter. In 1948, we committed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; today, “our government’s counterterrorism policies are now clearly violating at least 10 of the declaration’s 30 articles, including the prohibition against ‘cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment,'” the former president notes in a New York Times op-ed.
Recent drone attacks have killed perhaps “hundreds of innocent civilians” and “would have been unthinkable in previous times,” Carter continues. New indefinite detention legislation would give the president easily-abused power that ignores the declaration’s call for the presumption of innocence without proof of guilt. Some 169 prisoners are still being held at Guantanamo Bay, even though half have been “approved for release.” Meanwhile, intimidation and torture are rampant. “Instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends,” Carter writes, calling on citizens to urge change in Washington. Click through for Carter’s full piece.