Tag Archives | Human Rights

Amnesty: US Human Rights Abuses on Display in Ferguson

ferguson_ai

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

800px-Israel_and_Palestine_Peace

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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Indiana Police Face Lawsuit After Officers Break Window, Taze Man During Traffic Stop

Aaron Cynic writes at Chicagoist:

A family from Hammond, Indiana is suing the Hammond Police department for excessive force after what should’ve been a routine traffic stop turned violent. Lisa Mahone was driving with her boyfriend Jamal Jones and her two children to Stroger Hospital when Hammond police pulled her over for not wearing a seatbelt. CBS2 reports Mahone admitted to the violation and asked for a ticket so she could continue on her way to the hospital to visit her dying mother.

Though Mahone was the operator of the vehicle and produced valid identification and proof of insurance, police demanded to see identification from Jones as well. Jones informed the officers he didn’t have ID, as he recently received a ticket. After attempting to reach into the backseat and produce the ticket from a backpack, the officers drew their guns.

Mahone’s 14-year-old son then began recording the encounter with his cell phone and Mahone dialed 911.… Read the rest

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What the media failed to report about the so-called “pro-democracy” protests in Hong Kong

515nvXPAxCLWhat many media outlets have failed to report about the so-called “pro-democracy” protests in Hong Kong:

1. There were hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people protesting against the plan to Occupy Central by these groups of so-called “pro-democracy” protesters several weeks ago. It is important to note that the vast majority of Hong Kong people care only for stability, job security, and the well-being of their families. The Washington Post has acknowledged this in an article with this statement:

Both sides are trying so hard to woo the middle because Hong Kong is home to a substantial silent majority — residents who do not wish to engage or pick sides in Hong Kong’s fight with Beijing and are largely focused on their jobs, businesses and other more immediate concerns.

“Most people in Hong Kong are not political animals, and most people also realize Beijing will not change its mind” in tightening its grip over Hong Kong’s politics and government, said Willy Lam, an analyst at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

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Utopia Through Digital Cooperation, Bitcoin and a Little Bit of Gin. Featuring Jeffrey Tucker

PIC: Philafrenzy (PD)

PIC: Philafrenzy (PD)

Via Midwest Real

“You can look at the historical trajectory.  From a technological point of view, we’ve gone to ever-more aggregated collectives… And now, in the last 15 years we’ve seen this great innovation of open source distributed networks and peer-to-peer relationships that distribute power equally… Bitcoin fits into this because it’s the ultimate peer-to-peer monetary system.  You don’t have to depend on some powerful third party… You just take the power on your own and possess it and own it and control your life, and that’s what we all want.” – Jeffrey Tucker

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Nearly 1,000 Workers Have Already Died Building Qatar’s World Cup Infastructure

qatarOur global sporting championship has a higher blood toll than the Hunger Games. Via the Smithsonian:

In 2022, Qatar will host the World Cup. Since 2012, about 900 workers have died while working on infrastructure in Qatar, in a building boom anticipating the World Cup.

A report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) says that if conditions don’t get any better, by the time the World Cup kicks off, at least 4,000 migrant workers will have died on the job. For comparison, only six workers have died during construction for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil that starts this summer.

Workers described forced labour in 50C (122F) heat, employers who retain salaries for several months and passports making it impossible for them to leave and being denied free drinking water. The investigation found sickness is endemic among workers living in overcrowded and insanitary conditions and hunger has been reported.

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Overpopulation Is Not the Problem

Malthus cautioned law makers on the effects of...

Malthus cautioned law makers on the effects of poverty reduction policies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (PD)

Adhering to the apocalyptic overpopulation narrative  has proven to encourage human rights atrocities. It has the effect of dragging anchor on social progress and innovation. To move forward, I feel it is in all of our best interests to weigh anchor, sail out to the horizon, and throw Malthus overboard on the way. What say you, disinfonauts?

via The New York Times

MANY scientists believe that by transforming the earth’s natural landscapes, we are undermining the very life support systems that sustain us. Like bacteria in a petri dish, our exploding numbers are reaching the limits of a finite planet, with dire consequences. Disaster looms as humans exceed the earth’s natural carrying capacity. Clearly, this could not be sustainable.

This is nonsense. Even today, I hear some of my scientific colleagues repeat these and similar claims — often unchallenged.

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New Mexico Woman Billed $5,000 After Horrific 6-Hour Cavity Search At U.S. Border

borderPerhaps most horrifying is that a hospital and its medical staff actively went along with this. The El Paso Times reports:

In a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in El Paso by the American Civil Liberties Union, a 54-year-old New Mexico woman claims that she underwent a brutal six-hour full-body cavity search by federal officers that included anal and vaginal probes that made her feel like an “animal.”

The woman also is suing University Medical Center, where while handcuffed she was forced to have an observed bowel movement, was X-rayed, had a speculum exam, vaginal exam and had a CT scan. The suit claims the hospital then gave her the $5,000 bill. Despite the six-hour search at the [border] and then later at UMC, no drugs were found.

The search took place when the woman was coming back from seeing a family friend, whom she calls “uncle” and tries to visit once a month.

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