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Home / Press Release / Human Rights First Applauds President Biden’s Commitment to Repeal the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs
March 05, 2021

Human Rights First Applauds President Biden’s Commitment to Repeal the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs

NEW YORK -- Human Rights First welcomed President Biden’s decision to repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF), and urged the president and Congress to act swiftly to bring a permanent end to the United States’ “forever wars.” President Biden’s decision follows nearly two decades of advocacy led by Human Rights First and our allies to end endless wars. We have repeatedly called for the end of all operations on the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, and long advocated for a rights-respecting national security policy that ends America’s “forever wars.”

“These AUMFs have served as blank checks for nearly two decades of counterproductive conflict,” said Human Rights First President and CEO Mike Breen. “Repealing these authorities is an important first step toward ending the ‘forever wars’ that started before many of the service men and women who fight in them were even born. Actually ending these wars will take more than ending large-scale troop deployments; it demands turning the page on the costly war-based approach to national security that has defined the post-9/11 era.”

Successive administrations have relied on the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs for military and other operations far beyond Congress’ intent in enacting them, which has led to egregious human rights violations, damaged the rule of law and destroyed hundreds of thousands of lives.

Human Rights First urges President Biden to ensure any future AUMF includes safeguards and sunsets that apply the hard lessons learned from overbroad, harmful interpretations of the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs. A clearly-defined enemy and mission, a specific geographic scope, comprehensive transparency mechanisms, mandatory compliance with international law and an expiration date will be essential to any future AUMF.

Human Rights First led partners this month in calling on the Biden administration to work with Congress to sunset the 2001 AUMF and repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF, which have driven two decades of military engagement in the region. Human Rights First also outlined our recommendations on ending America’s endless wars in Walking the Talk, our blueprint for the incoming administration, and in a series of recommendations with partner organizations.