US diplomat in Nairobi resigns, blasts Trump over human rights


Elizabeth Shackelford who was in Nairobi over the past 10 months with the US mission to Somalia laments in a letter published by Foreign Policy Trump’s recent pivot away from global diplomacy and their abandoning of human rights protections across the world.

“President Trump’s dismissive attitude toward human rights was no surprise following his campaign, but your May 3 remarks to Department staff shocked many as you called into question the utility of advancing human rights when it proves inconvenient.

“As a foreign policy professional, I understand better than most that we must balance competing interests, but human rights and democracy are fundamental elements of a safer world for our people.”

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Her letter shows frustration and anger felt by many career diplomats at the State Department who are being marginalised and forced out by Trump’s administration.

While US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has claimed efforts to downsize the agency aim to make it more efficient, the result, Shackelford notes, has been a troubling weakening of US diplomatic capabilities.

The letter adds that the US diplomatic corps has sadly ceded influence to the Pentagon “at the behest of the White House but to our detriment as a nation.”

A senior official told Foreign Policy that Shackelford “was one of the most promising officers” in the Foreign Service. Other colleagues said her departure is reflective of a lack of confidence at the State Department and its related agencies in both Tillerson and Trump.

Shackelford’s last day on the job was Friday.

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