Columbia law journal tracks Trump's threats to 'human rights'

An academic journal at Columbia Law School has begun documenting the ways that President Trump allegedly “threatens human rights” with his policies on immigration, abortion, and more.

The “Trump Human Rights Tracker,” maintained by the Columbia Human Rights Law Review (HRLW), has thus far docked Trump’s administration for nine alleged human rights violations, such as blocking federal funding for international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide “information, counseling, or referrals for abortion services.”

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“[Trump] signed a presidential memorandum blocking federal funding for international NGOs or programs that provide information, counseling, or referrals for abortion services, or advocate for a woman’s right to seek abortion services as part of comprehensive health care,” the Tracker states, arguing that such a move “undermines women’s rights,” “risks women’s right to health,” and “risks women’s right to life.”

The journal breaks down each alleged violation by “the action taken by the president,” the “human rights implication,” and “links to sources where readers can find more detailed analysis,” mostly referencing outlets such as The Huffington Post, the ACLU, Vox, and the like.

“With each day bringing fresh news of a damaging initiative by the President of the United States, it is difficult to keep up with all that the new administration is doing that threatens human rights,” a description for the Tracker explains, calling it an “aid” to “journalists, civil society organizations, and the general public.”

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Immigration-related policies dominate the list, with separate entries for Trump’s executive orders temporarily halting the admission of refugees and entry into the U.S. by citizens of seven countries, as well as his policies on detaining illegal immigrants and constructing a border wall.

Additionally, the Tracker censures the Trump administration for seeking to “block federal government funding to sanctuary cities,” which apparently violates “due process rights,” the “right to personal liberty,” and the “right to family life.”

Other human rights violations on the list include Trump’s “removal of animal welfare reports from [the] USDA website”—which the HRLR contends “undermines [the] right to information”—as well as his order excluding non-citizens from the privacy policies of federal agencies, which the journal warns “may damage the Privacy Shield agreement between the US and the EU.”

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Meanwhile, the Trump Tracker blasts his administration for expediting “construction of previously halted Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines,” a decision that apparently “undermines [the] right to culture,” “risks [the] right to water,” “health,” and a “healthy environment.”

A spokesperson for the law school told Campus Reform that the Trump Human Rights Tracker is an independent project spearheaded by students, and has not received institutional support.

“The university has no involvement whatsoever, and the project has been undertaken by student groups and others at Columbia Law School,” asserted Columbia Law School Director of Public Affairs Nancy Goldfarb, though she did acknowledge that there was some faculty involvement in directing the project.

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