Amid severe backlash from human rights advocates and members of Congress, the White House is defending President Donald Trump’s decision Saturday to invite Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to Washington as a necessary move to shore up alliances against North Korea. But human rights advocates say that excuse “doesn’t pass the laugh test.”
The White House has denied any changes to Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative, which education experts say has fought global poverty by empowering women and girls around the world.
Forty-three senators signed an open letter to the four senators leading federal budget negotiations, asking them to protect the foreign aid budget. Members from both major parties requested “robust funding” for the international affairs budget – home to diplomatic and foreign aid spending. The letter comes just days after a Trump administration budget document was leaked proposing deep cuts to foreign aid programs and to shift money away from USAID to the State Department.
The Trump administration appears to be planning a major restructure of the U.S. aid agency. Money for USAID would shift to the State Department as a part of the White House effort to streamline the federal government, according to a leaked budget document obtained by Foreign Policy.
Widespread backlash has followed Saudi Arabia’s election to the United Nations commission for the empowerment of women, with women’s rights advocates citing the country’s notoriety for being the world’s most gender-segregated nation.
The U.N. hosted a humanitarian pep rally in Geneva today, and raised $1.1 billion for Yemen. “Yemen today is experiencing a tragedy of immense proportions. Two years of conflict have devastated the lives of ordinary Yemenis,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the event. “We are witnessing the starving and the crippling of an entire generation. We must act now, to save lives.”
Supporters of U.K. foreign aid finally got what they wanted. After mounting pressure from both sides of the debate, Prime Minister Theresa May affirmed the country’s 0.7 percent foreign aid spending commitment.
In its latest bid to crack down on foreign funding of civil society, the Indian government has revoked the license of one of the country’s largest public health organizations to accept foreign contributions. Largely funded by the government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Delhi-based Public Health Foundation of India is a public-private partnership launched by the government in 2006.
The U.N.’s human rights chief condemned a Burundian pro-government youth militia after a video surfaced showing rape chants by members.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley wants to talk about human rights. Yesterday she did just that at the first-ever Security Council meeting dedicated solely to the topic. Although the U.S. mission celebrated the event as “history-making,” opposition from several member states prevented it from becoming a recurring agenda, and many human rights organizations are skeptical – even critical.