Assault on Capitol – Washington, DC, USA
Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday’s events in the USA
GENEVA (7 January 2021) – We are deeply troubled by Wednesday’s attack on the US Capitol, which demonstrated clearly the destructive impact of sustained, deliberate distortion of facts, and incitement to violence and hatred by political leaders. Allegations of electoral fraud have been invoked to try to undermine the right to political participation. We are encouraged to see that the process has continued in spite of serious attempts to disrupt it. We call on leaders from across the political spectrum, including the President of the United States, to disavow false and dangerous narratives, and encourage their supporters to do so as well. We note with dismay the serious threats and destruction of property faced by media professionals yesterday. We support calls from many quarters for a thorough investigation into Wednesday’s events.
Statement from the OAS General Secretariat on Incidents in Washington, D.C.
Organization of American Statement, Washington, DC
January 6, 2021
The OAS General Secretariat condemns and repudiates the attack against institutions being carried out today in the United States by protesters who disavow recent electoral results. Democracy has as its fundamental pillar the independence of the powers of the State, which must act completely free of pressure.
The exercise of force and vandalism against the institutions constitutes a serious attack against democratic functioning.
We urge a return to much-needed rationality and a conclusion of the electoral process in accordance with the Constitution and the corresponding institutional procedures.
As representatives of nonpartisan philanthropic institutions, serving rural, urban, and suburban communities across the nation, we condemn the violence that broke out at the U.S. Capitol this week. The events in Washington are a stain on our nation’s history and a painful break in the peaceful transition of power that has been a defining hallmark of American democracy for more than 200 years.
The shameful events are the result of actions by President Trump and other political leaders who have recklessly fanned the flames of grievance. Those responsible for this deadly violence and insurrection must be held to account, and we call on Republican leaders, in particular, in government and media to unequivocally reject conspiracy theories and the actions of extremists who use violence. After hard-fought campaigns, extraordinary voter turnout, and the resolution of more than 60 election-related lawsuits, it is long past time for our nation to accept the results of the 2020 election so that our duly elected leaders — President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris and members of the 117th Congress — can move forward with addressing the nation’s pressing challenges.
Our organizations donate hundreds of millions of dollars to charitable causes each year to advance the common good. While we have different funding approaches, vary in our areas of focus, and are ideologically diverse, we share a belief in the importance of finding common ground to solve problems and serve people and communities. And while we may vary in our views on the size and scope of government, we share a belief that safeguarding the health, security, and rights of people and communities requires a government whose leaders can accept the election results, bridge divisions that have roiled our nation, work in good faith to forge solutions, and stand up for democracy.
As the U.S. faces the most dire global health emergency in 100 years, the worst economic crisis in modern history, and a racial reckoning overdue for centuries, it is time to move on from last year’s election, cease further delays in the transition of power, and turn to governance. To our duly elected leaders, we urge you to follow facts and let science lead the way toward solving the COVID-19 crisis. We encourage you to listen to diverse voices — including those of people who have been overlooked, forgotten, and excluded, and who are facing persistent threats to their lives and livelihoods. We call on you to repair our tattered social fabric and help our democracy live up to its ideals. And we stand ready to work with you to move our country forward and increase opportunity for all who call it home.
Signatories [some 100 signatories, updated on a rolling basis, listed here]
The Washington Post
Jan. 7, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. EST
Opinion by Editorial Board
To heal America, we must repudiate not just Trump but also his politics of demonization
HOURS AFTER Sen. James Lankford’s speech challenging Arizona’s electoral college vote was interrupted as a mob of President Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, the Oklahoma Republican returned to the floor Wednesday night with a welcome, and far different, message. “We’re the United States of America,” he said. “We disagree on a lot of things, and we have a lot of spirited debate in this room. But we talk it out, and we honor each other — even in our disagreement. That person, that person, that person” — here the senator gestured to other senators, presumably of the other party — “is not my enemy. That’s my fellow American.”
We can rue that it took such a horrific event to remind Republicans such as Mr. Lankford of the foundational and precious values of our democracy, values undermined by their support for the president’s bogus claims about an election he lost. But we can also hope that the event will jolt them away, for the long haul, from Mr. Trump’s toxic politics of inflaming — not healing — the divides between Americans. That will require repudiating not only Mr. Trump himself but also his politics of untruth and demonization.
That Republicans and Democrats came together late Wednesday to renounce the violence that Mr. Trump had incited and condoned was both heart-rending and uplifting. “I was shaken to the core as I thought about the people I met in China and Russia and Afghanistan and Iraq and other places who yearn for freedom, and who look to this building and these shores as a place of hope. And I saw the images being broadcast around the world, and it breaks my heart,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who has been a pillar of principle while much of his party caved to the whims of a dangerous president.
But an even more powerful coda to a day that was filled with so much shame and disgrace is how the men and women of Congress rallied to return to the halls that had been sullied by Mr. Trump’s hooligans to fulfill their constitutional duty to certify the election of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris. “To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. . . . Let’s get back to work,” said Vice President Pence, who had earlier made clear he would not go along with Mr. Trump’s demands that he throw out the electoral results.
Mr. Trump’s imminent departure will not undo the damage to our democracy that culminated with Wednesday’s violent assault on the Capitol. While Mr. Lankford and several other Republican senators opted to drop their ill-advised objections to electors of some states, others — most notoriously Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.) — and more than 100 Republicans in the House voted against certifying results for Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris. They “will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy,” as Mr. Romney said.
During his campaign and since winning the election, Mr. Biden consistently has vowed to serve all Americans, not just those who voted for him. That will be a welcome change, but healing the divisions of the past four years will be a long-term, difficult process. Mr. Biden will have to do more than mouth the right words — he will have to reach across the aisle in a true spirit of citizenship and cooperation. And we hope that the Republicans who were confronted with the harm that words can do as they raced from Wednesday’s angry mob keep Mr. Lankford’s observation at the forefront: “We’re the United States of America . . . even in our disagreement. That person, that person, that person is not my enemy. That’s my fellow American.”