Tag Archives | Human Rights

Violence Against U.S. Homeless on the Rise

David Blackwell. (CC BY 2.0)

David Blackwell. (CC BY 2.0)

Ehab Zahriyeh writes at Al Jazeera America:

Despite a decrease in the U.S. homeless population, new research by an advocacy group for the homeless indicates an alarming increase in violent crimes targeting those living on the streets.

In 2013, homeless Americans experienced a 23 percent increase in violence compared with the year before, according to preliminary figures by the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH). The U.S. homeless population declined over the same period, with 610,000 people going without shelter on any given day in 2013 — 20,000 fewer than in 2012.

The homeless “are targeted solely because of their circumstances,” coalition director Jerry Jones told Al Jazeera. “People who are in shelters and marginalized are often preyed upon.”

Because the NCH bases its research on reported crimes covered in news media, the actual number of violent attacks targeting the homeless may be much higher, since many go unreported.

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Is Obama Covering Up the Scope of CIA Torture?

Central_Intelligence_Agency_logoJon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

“The public has to know about it. They don’t want the public to know about it.”

That’s what Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) told the Huffington Post on Thursday night regarding continued White House stalling over release of a report that catalogs the internal investigation of CIA torture during the Bush years. The comments followed a close-door meeting between Senate Democrats and Obama administration officials that took place just hours before the president gave a much-anticipated speech on another subject, immigration reform.

Rockefeller said the torture report is “being slow-walked to death” by the administration and told the HuffPost, “They’re doing everything they can not to release it.”

“[The report] makes a lot of people who did really bad things look really bad,” Rockefeller continued, “which is the only way not to repeat those mistakes in the future.”

Though the report has been completed for many months, the members of the Senate Intelligence committee have been fighting with the White House, which allowed CIA officials to review its findings, over the scope of redactions to the report’s summary before it’s made public.

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Almost 36 million people live in modern slavery

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via BBC:

Nearly 36 million people worldwide, or 0.5% of the world’s population, live as slaves, a survey by anti-slavery campaign group Walk Free says.

The group’s Global Slavery Index says India has the most slaves overall and Mauritania has the highest percentage.

The total is 20% higher than for 2013 because of better methodology.

The report defines slaves as people subject to forced labour, debt bondage, trafficking, sexual exploitation for money and forced or servile marriage.

It uses slavery in a modern sense of the term, rather than as a reference to the broadly outlawed traditional practice where people were held in bondage and treated as another person’s property.

The Global Slavery Index’s estimate is higher than other attempts to quantify modern slavery. In 2012, the International Labour Organisation estimated that almost 21 million people were victims of forced labour.

Read More: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-30080578

Learn More About Modern Slavery: http://www.walkfree.org/learn/

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Why the world’s largest democracy has the most modern-day slaves

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via Quartz India:

India has the highest number of enslaved people in the world.

More than 14 million out of India’s population of over 1.2 billion people are living in modern slavery, according to the second edition of the Global Slavery Index. Produced by an Australian human rights body, Walk Free Foundation, the survey defines modern slaves as those without individual liberty, by being subjugated to forced labor, trafficking and sexual exploitation.

An estimated 35.8 million people worldwide, or 0.5% of the world’s population, live as modern-day slaves.

In terms of the highest number of slaves as a percentage of a nation’s population, India is ranked fifth, with 1.14% of the country’s population trapped as slaves. The worst affected are people belonging to lower castes or tribes, religious minorities and migrant workers.

Of 167 countries surveyed, the worst 10 countries are home to 71% of the world’s slaves.

Read More: http://qz.com/298005/why-the-worlds-largest-democracy-has-the-most-modern-day-slaves/

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Veterans Day and the Last Day on Earth

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core:

On the eve of Veterans Day, President Obama announced that he will send another 1,500 Americans troops to Iraq to advise the Iraqi military on how to fight militants in a civil war.

While not seeking Congressional approval for the troop surge, the White House intends to request $5.6 billion for this latest military campaign, the end of which is nowhere in sight. This at a time when cost of the decade-long war in Iraq has exceeded $2 trillion ($6,250 for each American citizen), which makes it one of the most expensive clusterfucks in modern history. Yet war spells profit for numerous weapons manufacturers (roughly half of all the weapons in the world are sold by the United States), military contractors, and oil companies, all of which have joined hands with the mainstream media to churn out war propaganda and lies while funding the election campaigns of unscrupulous politicians who later vote to re-direct taxpayer dollars to their corporate sponsors.… Read the rest

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Burma: Body of human rights journalist Mr Aung Kyaw Naing found with possible evidence of torture

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via Front Line Defenders:

On 5 November 2014, during the exhumation of the body of human rights journalist Mr Aung Kyaw Naing, witnesses observed clear signs of torture which are believed to have been committed by the Burmese military forces during the time the journalist was held in incommunicado detention. He was later killed on 4 October 2014.

Aung Kyaw Naing, a freelance journalist from the city of Rangoon, regularly reported on human rights and ethnic issues along the Burma-Thai border and was a contributor for several local media groups, includingThe Voice, Eleven Media, and Yangon Times. On 30 September 2014 he was detained by governmental military forces in the Kyaikmayaw Township of Mon State, south-eastern Burma, when he returned there from insurgent-controlled territory. Prior to his detention the journalist was covering armed clashes in a region between Karen ethnic insurgents and the Burmese state army.

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Revolution vs. Rationalization: The Militarization of the Police and The Death of Rebellion

DonkeyHotey (CC by-sa 2.0)

DonkeyHotey (CC by-sa 2.0)

[Editor’s note: For future reference, Willis Gordon will be running a column on Disinfo.com: “Photobombing Salman Rushdie.”]

I initially wrote this to be presented to a crowd of highbrow poets and writers in the aftermath of the Brooklyn Book Festival. Considering my audience, I started reading up on classic poets and philosophers and found myself revisiting some of my favorite English Philosophers to get a handle on America’s current events. One of these sages, the Philosopher Jagger once said in 1968 that “in sleepy London town there’s just no place for a street fighting man.”

That was 44 years ago. That sleepy London Town is now the entire American landscape, and the street fighting man has not been displaced by some massively oppressive police force, totalitarian government, private death squad or even overfunded espionage tactics. It was us. We are so afraid of true revolution, or even change, that we have conditioned ourselves to shrink back from any indication of it.… Read the rest

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Amnesty: US Human Rights Abuses on Display in Ferguson

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Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

In a report released on Friday, Amnesty International roundly condemns the excessive force used by local law enforcement agencies in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this year and called for ‘accountability and systemic change’ in order to curb the kinds of human rights abuses increasingly seen in U.S. communities when it comes to regulating street protests and use of force by police.

The report—entitled On the Streets of America: Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson (pdf)—documents the human rights concerns witnessed first-hand by Amnesty investigators dispatched to Ferguson following initial protests in the city spurred by the shooting death of an unarmed African American teenager, Michael Brown, by a police officer Darren Wilson on August 9. The Amnesty team arrived and documented public protest and the behavior of local law enforcement from  August 14 to August 22.

Amnesty’s report makes takes no position or determination on the killing of Brown, but says the shooting and his death “highlighted on a national level the persistent and widespread pattern of racially discriminatory treatment by law enforcement officers across the United States, including unjustified stops and searches, ill treatment and excessive, and sometimes lethal, use of force.”

Focused on both the community response to Brown’s death and the subsequent police reaction to protests, the report’s authors present what they witnessed first-hand in Ferguson in order to highlight some of the national trends of human rights abuses that often, though with less attention, take place in U.S.

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Two Rapporteurs Appointed by the UN Visit Detroit: Restore access to water

Two special rapporteurs from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spoke at a press conference yesterday, at the Crowne Plaza Riverfront Hotel in Detroit, about the need for all levels of government to step up in their defense of human rights.

Catarina de Albuquerque and Leilani Farha, Special Rapporteurs on the rights to safe drinking water/sanitation and adequate housing, respectively, both spoke to multiple press organizations, concerned civil service groups, and citizens about the continuing water shutoffs in Detroit and how they also affect the housing situation of citizens in the city. Both condemned the city’s actions as a violation of human rights, stating that the shutoffs primarily affect low-income African-Americans. Furthermore, without water there are increased health risks that can easily be avoided by not shutting off water access.

The UN rapporteurs also stated that the United States is bound by Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that humans have the right to an adequate standard of living.… Read the rest

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Collective Trauma and the Politics of Fear in Israel

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The pursuit of “peace” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should mean much more than the cessation of violence. It should mean more than the locations of borders, ensuring security, the status of Jerusalem, the right of refugees to return, ending the Gaza blockade or Israel withdrawing from the West Bank. A lasting peace can only be established on the basis of justice for both peoples. This first requires understanding the collective consciousness of both Israeli Jews and Palestinians and the historical roots from which those perspectives have grown.

From the Israeli perspective, since declaring independence in May 1948, Israel has fought six wars, two intifadas, the omnipresent threat of terrorism, and the possibility of nuclear war, all in the name of self-defense against enemies intent on eliminating its existence. Today, a little over 6 million Israeli Jews see themselves entrenched in a militarily sophisticated but precarious fortress state surrounded by 320 million (mostly) hostile Muslims ready to attack should the opportunity arise.… Read the rest

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