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Britain ‘cheerleader’ for Bahrain’s ‘woefully inadequate’ human rights reforms – Amnesty

Amnesty International has condemned the British government for attempting to whitewash human rights abuses in...

UK ‘disingenuous' about human rights abuses in Bahrain: Amnesty

Amnesty International has condemned the British government for 'being dishonest about human rights violations in Bahrain.' Read more

Rights groups blast UK minister for securing Qatar contracts but keeping mum on human...

A British minister has received harsh criticism from human rights groups for his 2022 World...

Prince Charles opens new military base in Bahrain despite human rights abuses

Prince Charles has opened the first section of the controversial Mina Salman naval base in...

Obama Is Pathetic on Human Rights in North Dakota

We’re monitoring this closely. And, you know, I think, as a general rule, my view is that there is a way for us to...
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Video: Western Aleppo strikes: Casebook for human rights organizations (GRAPHIC)

A compilation of evidence from RT of airstrikes in western Aleppo that are killing and injuring civilians in government-controlled parts of the city on...

Killer drones policy defended by British govt after human rights committee probe

Accusations of question-dodging from Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights have forced the government to...

UN human rights chief warns of Trump’s presidency: Dangerous!

The UN top human rights official says if Donald Trump win the US 2016 vote, it will pose a threat to the world. Read...

Sale of tear gas & water cannon to ‘human rights-abusing’ Gulf nations worth millions...

The UK government has once again been accused of “arming repression” in countries such as...
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Video: UK govt to allow military to violate European human rights law to stop...

UK government will allow its military to violate European human rights law to boost their confidence on the battlefield and stop a “witch-hunt,” as...

Human rights no more? UK to exempt troops from European Convention to stop ‘annoying’...

UK government will allow its military to violate European human rights law to boost their confidence on the battlefield and stop a “witch-hunt,” as...
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Video: Human Rights Council withdraws independent probe into Yemen war crimes

An EU-backed resolution demanding an independent inquiry into human rights violations during the Yemeni war has been withdrawn at the UN Human Rights ... Via...
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Video: Green Party VP Ajamu Baraka on Human Rights Violations in the United States

In an interview with Sharmini Peries, Baraka discusses Black Lives Matters, the Flint water crisis, shelter, immigration, and more Visit http://therealnews.com for ... Via Youtube

Elite’s assault on human rights would strip soldiers of ‘hard-won’ protections – lawyer

Amid allegations of abuse by British soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, a top...
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Video: Serial Human Rights Abuser Paul Kagame to Speak at Yale University

Journalist and Yale alum Anjan Sundaram says Yale is ignoring the Rawandan president's atrocious record in both Rwanda and Congo Visit ... Via Youtube

Human rights concerns won’t stop Prince Charles visiting weapons buyer Bahrain

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will soon visit Bahrain on behalf of...
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Video: Hit Man Recalls Violent Past of Philippine President as Wave of Killings Raise...

http://democracynow.org - A wave of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines has claimed thousands of lives since Rodrigo Duterte became president in June. Via Youtube

Trump's Supreme Court Contenders Would Spell Disaster for Human Rights

When voters go to the polls this November, they won't just be choosing the next president, they'll also be deciding the direction...
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Video: “Pardon Snowden” Campaign Launches, Led by ACLU, Amnesty & Human Rights Watch

http://democracynow.org - The release of Oliver Stone's film "Snowden" comes amid a stepped-up campaign by the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty ... Via Youtube

Human rights groups launch campaign seeking pardon for Snowden

Three leading human rights organization launched a campaign to try and persuade President Barack Obama to pardon National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden of...

The Human Rights of the Settler

Gerardo C.Lerner | Shutterstock.com Just a few weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that he cares about the rights and lives of Palestinians in Gaza...

The Human Rights of the Settler

Just a few weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that he cares about the rights and lives of Palestinians in Gaza...

OBAMA Sells Human Rights and Weapons to Former Asia Enemies

US President Barak Obama took to three former enemy targets in Asia this year. His mission in Vietnam was to sell “lethal weapons”. This comes...

Philippines leader calls Obama ‘son of a b****,’ rejects lecturing from US on human...

In an acid comment, Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte called Barack Obama a “son of a b****,”...

Police depts should accurately report killings or lose federal funding – human rights groups

The Department of Justice should withhold federal criminal justice grants from any law enforcement agency that...

Kick Saudi Arabia off UN human rights council for Yemen brutality, May told

Politicians and NGOs are urging the UK government to vote against Saudi retention of the...
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Video: UK govt urged to kick Saudi Arabia off UN human rights council for...

Politicians and NGOs are urging the UK government to vote against Saudi retention of the chairmanship of the UN human rights council in light...

Are Human Rights Treaties a "Reputational Umbrella" for Foreign Investment?

When countries commit to international human rights regimes, does this affect the amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) they receive? Although many...

Trudeau Continues Harper Assault on Human Rights

Rabble — There’s something about Justin Trudeau and his PR-spinning Liberal Team that reminds me of the Tennessee Williams character Harvey “Big Daddy” Pollitt...

Bombs made in UK dropped on Yemeni civilians, human rights group claims

New links have been found between bombs dropped on Yemeni civilians and arms factories in...

US criminal justice system targets minorities more than Wall Street thieves – UN human...

The United States continues to be mired in racial, social, and economic inequalities, inhibiting the basic...

Demands for Theresa May to ensure human rights aren’t pushed aside

Human rights charities are demanding assurances from Theresa May that she will tackle hate crime...

Prevent ‘counter-radicalization’ strategy condemned by human rights NGO

Britain’s controversial Prevent strategy, which is purportedly aimed at preventing the radicalization of Muslim youngsters,...

UN human rights chief urges Britain to act over post-Brexit ‘xenophobic’ attacks

HomeUKPublished time: 28 Jun, 2016 11:03Edited time: 28 Jun, 2016 11:10Get short URL ...

Saudi Arabian Human Rights Lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair Continues to Fight for Social Justice...

“Even from prison, you can still light a candle”. Waleed Abu al-Khair began to practice law in Saudi Arabia in 2007.  He quickly earned an...

Before Orlando, Omar Mateen Worked for Human Rights Abusers

How do we even talk about the horrific killings in Orlando, which left at least 50 LGBTQ revelers dead and more than 50 more...
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Video: Bahrain re-arrests top human rights activist Nabeel Rajab

A prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been arrested, his family members said on social media. Rajab led numerous protests during the Arab...

Before Orlando, Omar Mateen Worked for Human Rights Abusers

(Photo: Palestine Solidarity Campaign / Flickr) How do we even talk about the horrific killings in Orlando, which left at least 50 LGBTQ revelers dead...

Making kids attend Christian worship at school violates their human rights – UN

Forcing British children to attend Christian school assemblies undermines their human rights, a UN committee...

Saudi Arabia, UN Black Lists and Manipulating Human Rights

It appears that political power and diplomatic clout have been allowed to trump the UN’s duty to expose those responsible for the killing and...

British Army training of Turkish & Saudi troops condemned by human rights groups

Britain’s habit of sending UK troops to train and mentor authoritarian regimes such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia are “deeply concerning” and need to...

Yanis Varoufakis on Privatization, Human Rights and Capitalism

In this interview with the former finance minister of Greece and founder of DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025), Yanis Varoufakis, a...

‘Business as usual’: Activists condemn G4S at AGM over Israeli human rights abuses

Activists gathered outside G4S' AGM in London on Wednesday to protest against the security giant’s...

Britain is training the armed forces of brutal regimes on its own human rights...

British soldiers are training troops for regimes on the UK’s own human rights watchlist, including...

US State Department Gave Egypt Passing Grade on Human Rights for Military Aid

Although the State Department was ignored by the government of Egypt after inquiring about the use of American-made riot gear, US diplomats said...

Queen’s Speech: Tories push ahead with controversial plan to scrap Human Rights Act

Human rights groups have condemned Tory plans outlined in the Queen’s Speech to scrap the...
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Video: Part 1: Suing Dictators Around the World: How Michael Ratner Helped Reshape Human...

http://democracynow.org - Michael Ratner's activism and human rights work dated back to the 1960s. He was a student at Columbia Law School during the...
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Video: Part 2: Suing Dictators Around the World: How Michael Ratner Helped Reshape Human...

http://democracynow.org - Michael Ratner's activism and human rights work dated back to the 1960s. He was a student at Columbia Law School during the...

Tory plans for controversial human rights reforms to be unveiled next week

Tory plans to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA) and introduce a British Bill of...

‘Yemen war crimes’: BAE evicts human rights activists from shareholder AGM

BAE Systems evicted a number of shareholders from its AGM on Wednesday who decried the...

Jewish Human Rights Watch sues British councils over Israel boycott

A Jewish rights organization has taken three local councils to court, alleging discrimination over the public authorities’ decision to boycott Israeli goods produced in...

Business interests trump human rights, laments Britain’s Foreign Affairs Committee

The promotion of human rights abroad has been “deprioritized” in favor of commercial relations, a...

Human Rights Lawyer Francis Boyle on US War Crimes, the Refugee Crisis in Europe...

Migrants sit near a fire at a camp in Idomeni, Greece, March 11, 2016. The camp -- a padlocked waiting room for...

Death threats sent to Muslim human rights lawyer who called for unity

Police in Scotland are investigating death threats against a prominent human rights lawyer after he...

End global war on drugs, bring in decriminalization to protect human rights, says report

The global war on drugs has failed, eroding public health and human rights, and must...
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Video: UN Human Rights Council Will Monitor Corporations Operating in Occupied Palestine

The U.N. vote to expose corporations profiting from Israeli occupation demonstrates shifting global opinion on settlements, says the Institute of Policy Studies' ... Via Youtube

With Obama in Cuba, Pro-Torture Pundits Suddenly Concerned With Human Rights

US President Barack Obama landed in Havana Sunday to great fanfare, both in Cuba and stateside. His visit marks a significant shift of the...
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Video: Castro to Obama: U.S. Has Double Standards When it Comes to Human Rights

Lawrence Wilkerson, Former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State , says that it is hypocritical for the United States to judge the Cuban...

Human Rights Hypocrisy: US Criticizes Cuba

In advance of President Barack Obama's historic visit to Cuba on March 20, there is speculation about whether he can pressure Cuba to...

‘Don’t trade refugees!’ EU outsourcing human rights obligations to brutal Turkish regime – NGOs

EU states are outsourcing their human rights obligations to a brutal Turkish regime that is...

EU Accused of ‘Outsourcing its Human Rights Responsibilities to a Brutal Regime’

Speaking at the start of the next EU-Turkey summit on migration, Nick Dearden, the director of the campaign organisation Global Justice Now said: “The deal...

‘Prisoner of conscience’: Free Bahraini mother convicted for human rights work, demands Amnesty

Bahraini authorities are facing demands to release a human rights campaigner convicted of destroying a...

Europe offloading human rights duties onto non-EU states, says think tank

Europe is outsourcing its human rights obligations to non-EU states as it seeks to militarize...
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Video: ‘Turkish govt in full-fledged military op against Kurds’ – Russian FM envoy for...

To discuss the situation in Turkey and its influence on the EU, Konstantin Dolgov, Russia's Commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of...

Saudi Arabia ‘fights torture’ & ‘promotes human rights,’ Gulf state tells UN

Saudi Arabia told the United Nations Human Rights Council that it “fights torture” and leads...

Home Office protest targets ‘secret arms fair’ & human rights abusers

(RT) - Campaigners have held a demonstration outside the Home Office to highlight Britain’s ‘secret...

Discrimination against Gypsies & Travelers ‘common’ in Britain – human rights commission

(RT) - Institutional discrimination against Gypsies and Travelers is rife in Britain with the public,...
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Video: 2016 Summit on Saudi Arabia: Human Rights

Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International Dr. Sharat G. Lin, scholar on Middle Eastern migrant labor Julianne Hill, Reprieve U.S. Legal Fellow Moderator: Andrea ... Via Youtube

UN Human Rights Chief: FBI Could Unlock ‘Pandora’s Box’ in Apple Case

'It is neither fanciful nor an exaggeration to say that, without encryption tools, lives may be endangered.' Nadia Prupis The United Nations human rights chief on...

War, Human Rights and the Politics of Personalism

There is a familiar aphorism that says “violence begets violence”; from the origin of one destructive act stems more and different forms of brutality, provoking an...
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Video: Son of Executed Saudi Cleric to Defy Saudi Regime By Attending Upcoming Human...

Mohammed al-Nimr, the son of Sheik Nimr al-Nimr, and CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin speak against Saudi Arabia's brutality, and discuss the Summit on Saudi ... Via...

Stop ‘damaging’ attacks on lawyers investigating soldiers’ abuse of Iraqis – human rights groups

Senior Tory attacks on lawyers investigating alleged abuses and murders committed by British troops during the Iraq War are “ill-judged and damaging,” say human...

Human Rights Watch report finds US violations, signs of reform in criminal justice

The annual World Report from Human Rights Watch lauded the US’ “vibrant civil society,” but found plenty of room for improvement as well, calling...

Snowden leaks: Law used in David Miranda detention incompatible with human rights, court rules

Legal loopholes used to detain David Miranda at Heathrow Airport while he was carrying leaked intelligence files for journalistic use are incompatible with human...

Trade Union Bill may violate human rights, Tories’ own watchdog warns

The Conservative government’s Trade Union Bill may impose “potentially unlawful” restrictions on the right to strike, the government’s own human rights watchdog has warned...
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Video: S. Arabia & Qatar among top US arms buyers despite human rights abuses

When it comes to arms dealing, the United States are the big guns dominating the industry with almost one third of all global trade....

Human rights in US a catastrophic failure: American researcher

The rising death of an African Americans by the hands of white police officers highlights the “catastrophic failure of human rights in the United...
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Video: Xenophobia, neo-Nazism upsurge shows EU failing on human rights: Russian human rights envoy

The issue of human rights has played a central role in the discourse of western nations. But it has also been misused as a...
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Video: Mary Robinson on Int’l Human Rights Day: Climate Change is the Biggest Human...

Today is International Human Rights Day, which commemorates the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of ... Via Youtube

Plans to scrap Human Rights Act delayed until 2016 — Gove

Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights has been delayed for...

France: Emergency Measures Must Protect Public Without Trampling Human Rights

The emergency measures being rushed through the French Parliament in the wake of the horrific Paris attacks must not become a permanent fixture in...

Scrapping Human Rights Act ‘dangerous and expensive’ — Lord Woolf

Former Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf has warned that scrapping the Human Rights Act could bring about “dangers” including a deluge of new cases...

Human Rights Act abolition would shield soldiers from abuse claims

Abolition of the Human Rights Act will grant military personnel greater protection from legal claims against them for violating human rights overseas, according to...
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Video: Knife-Wielding Israeli Settler Attacks Founder of Rabbis for Human Rights

Democracynow.org - Tension is continuing to mount in Israel over a string of recent Palestinian stabbing attacks and an intense crackdown by the Israeli...

UN slams UK Tory for planning to scrap Human Rights Act

UK ruling party’s plan to scrap the Human Rights Act has sparked harsh criticism from the UN arguing that the act would be disastrous...

Lawsuit Filed Against CIA Torture Psychologists Physicians for Human Rights Welcomes ACLU’s Case, Demands...

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today welcomed a federal lawsuit against psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the architects of the CIA’s post-9/11 torture...
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Video: Terrorists use human rights to justify their actions – UN Sustainable Development Advisor

WATCH FULL INTERVIEW https://youtu.be/qrQjuiFt0ZM The UN has recently adopted its Sustainable Development Goals, which include targets such as the ... Via Youtube
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Video: Saudi Arabia Silences UN Human Rights Council Over Its War Crimes in Yemen...

Omer Aziz says the Saudis are blocking an inquiry into one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent times. Via Youtube
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Video: Saudi Arabia Silences UN Human Rights Council Over Its War Crimes in Yemen...

Omer Aziz says the Saudis are blocking an inquiry into one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent times. Via Youtube
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Video: RT looks for ‘Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’ owner smearing Russian anti-ISIS campaign

Since Russia's air campaign began in Syria, many western media outlets have been heavily relying on information from 'the Syrian Observatory for Human ... Via...
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Video: Syrian Observatory for Human Rights run by immigrant from his UK home

Many western media outlets have frequently been relying on one information source for facts about the death toll in Syria - The Syrian Observatory...

Thousands Protest Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in US Over Human Rights Record

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Monday before leaving the United States after a seven-day trip that focused primarily...
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Video: Thousands Protest Indian PM Narendra Modi in U.S. over Human Rights Record

Democracynow.org - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Monday before leaving the United States after a seven-day ... Via Youtube

Human rights abuse rampant in Turkey — British lawyers

The Turkish government is guilty of systemic human rights violations, according to a report written by Britain’s top lawyers and commissioned by President Erdogan’s...

Can Obama Lecture Xi on Human Rights?

Exclusive: The Obama administration often scolds China over its human rights record — and President Obama is sure to hammer away at those themes in...

UN snub: Britain is turning its back on human rights, experts say

Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to opt out of a United Nations (UN) General Assembly debate has prompted fresh allegations that the majority Conservative...

‘Britain ignores basic human rights values by supporting repressive Saudi regime’

A British charity has slammed the government for ignoring its basic human rights values by supporting the Saudi regime’s prison system as well as...

Human Rights Applies to All

It’s no fun to be put in your place. It’s all the worse if you’re a big shot. Take it from the fly on...
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Video: Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch on Refugee Crisis

Democracynow.org - Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, urges European nations to rethink its handling of the refugee crisis. Democracy ... Via Youtube

Support for Universal Human Rights Is an Absolute

Kim Petersen A recent headline stated: “NDP Cautiously Differentiates Itself from Tories and Grits on Palestinian Human Rights.” The article made it seem as if...

How UK Anti-Terror Guidance Could Violate Children’s Human Rights

There are enormous dangers in the way child protection legislation in the UK intersects with Channel, the government's anti-radicalization program. There are only a...

UN Reports Blasts Canada’s Human Rights Record on Violence against Indigenous Women

Aboriginal Legal Service of Toronto’s Christa Big Canoe explains why government policies are leaving Indigenous women four times more likely to be murdered than...
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Video: UN Reports Blasts Canada’s Human Rights Record on Violence Against Indigenous Women

Aboriginal Legal Service of Toronto's Christa Big Canoe explains why government policies are leaving indigenous women four times more likely to be murdered ... Via...
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Video: Chokeholds & Beatings: IDF abuse Palestinian children — Human Rights Watch

Israeli security forces have abused Palestinian children, choking, beating and coercing them into confessions - that's according to a recent Human Rights Watch ... Via...
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Video: UK pilots bombed ISIS in Syria without Parliament’s authorization – human rights group

British combat pilots embedded with American and Canadian coalition forces have been bombing targets in Syria without democratic sanction, a Freedom of ... Via Youtube

The Fast Track To Ending Human Rights

By Barbara Loe Fisher From flash to bang, it took the politically powerful corporate, medical trade, and government lobbyists just six months this year to...
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Video: Human rights group slams IDF soldier for killing Palestinian teen

An Israeli human rights group released a video said to show details of how a 17-year-old Palestinian was shot by IDF soldiers. The group...

Are Human Rights Violations Already Being Trumped By Corporate Trade Deal?

AP, Reuters report that Obama administration about to upgrade Malaysia's human trafficking status, seen as move merely 'for political expediency' by Andrea Germanos  (Common Dreams) - The Obama...
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Video: Bahrain: EU to debate resolution on human rights as US resumes military aid

The European parliament today votes on a resolution condemning violations of human rights in Bahrain. It focuses on the case of prominent jailed activist...

Protests Target ‘Human Rights Abusers Determining Our Future’ at Summits

"We're demanding total transformation of how our societies work in addressing the climate crisis that doesn't sacrifice our communities." by Nadia Prupis (Common Dreams) - As international leaders...

Activists Campaign for Binding Human Rights Treaty at the UN

GENEVA, Switzerland - Environmental defenders and human rights campaigners attending a key UN gathering tasked with drafting a binding treaty to regulate corporate human...

The Problem With Human Rights Organizations

When Israel is criticized about its rights-abusive policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the refrain most often heard among local politicians is...

US complicit in Saudi crimes against Yemen: Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch has accused the United States of complicity in the Saudi Arabia's war of aggression against Yemen. Human Rights Watch announced on Tuesday that Washington is potentially...

US urged to investigate CIA human rights abuses

Leading human rights groups have called on the United States Department of Justice to investigate the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture program. Amnesty International, Human Rights...

US Police Slammed Over Human Rights Breaches

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. By Andre Damon 19 June 2015 Laws governing the use of force by police...
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Video: TPP vs. Human Rights: Groups Express Concern Over Record of Member Nations

http://democracynow.org - As the Obama administration praises the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), backlash continues to grow against the deal. Via Youtube
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Video: ‘Western govts give Saudi Arabia pass to violate human rights’

Anger is spreading through the human-rights community, over the latest UN-backed summit on the subject. The reason is that the venue is Saudi Arabia...

Human Rights Groups Welcome USA Network’s Decision to Cancel Israeli Government-Sponsored Show ‘Dig’

Human rights groups welcome USA Network’s recent announcement that it will not renew its action series ‘Dig’ for a second season due to concerns...

Australian government vilifies human rights commissioner

  By Mike Head (WSWS) - For the second time in four months, the Abbott government has denounced Australian Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs for criticising the extensive...

Growing movement in US to protect human rights: American social activist

The US government is a major violator of human rights but there is a growing movement in the country to protect those rights, particularly...

‘Britain risks following Nazi lead on human rights’

A UN special rapporteur says the United Kingdom risks following the lead of Nazi Germany by its possible withdrawal from the European Convention on...

‘Britain not bound by European court of human rights’

A British judge renowned for his report on press ethics, Brian Leveson says UK courts no longer automatically defer to European Court of Human...

UK Conservatives plan to scrap Human Rights Act

By Jean Shaoul The incoming Conservative government is to replace the 1998 Human Rights Act with a British “Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.” It will curtail...

UN issues scathing report of US human rights record

The United Nations Human Rights Council has revealed hundreds of major human rights violations in the United States, including police brutality and the racial...

Despotic Saudi Regime Lobbies to Chair Human Rights Council

Despotic Saudi Regime Lobbies to Chair Human Rights Council

by Stephen Lendman

It's one of the world's most repressive states - a blight on humanity, a cancer in a part of the world known for despotic regimes.

Its human rights record is horrific by any standard. Fundamental rights don't exist.

State terror is official policy. Democracy is strictly prohibited. Torture and physical abuse are commonplace. So are public whippings, beheadings and hangings.

Due process and judicial fairness don't exist. Thousands of political prisoners languish in its gulag under deplorable conditions.

Abuse of power is extreme. So is massive corruption and lack of transparency. Inequality is institutionalized. Independent media don't exist. Nor do labor rights.

Islam is the state religion. No other is tolerated. All Saudis are required by law to be Muslims. Failure to comply is considered apostasy - a capital offense.

Capital punishment is standard practice for non-violent crimes - including adultery, armed robbery, drug smuggling, kidnapping, witchcraft, sorcery, and apostasy. 

Absolute monarchal rule tolerates no criticism or opposition. It's despotic, lawless and brutal - a police state by any standard.

Riyadh is Washington's main Arab regional ally. One rogue state supports another.

The UN Human Rights Council includes 47 Member States. Many comprise a rogue's gallery of major human rights abusers - including Saudi Arabia, America, Algeria, Ethiopia, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, among others.

Membership is apportioned regionally as follows:

African nations - 13 seats

Asia/Pacific: 13 seats

Latin America and Caribbean - 8 seats

Western Europe and other states - 7 seats

Eastern Europe - 6 seats.

Members serve for three years. They're not eligible for immediate reelection after serving two consecutive terms.

General Assembly Res. 60/251 (April 2006) states:

"(T)he Council shall be responsible for promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner…" 

"(T)he Council should address situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, and make recommendations thereon..."

Most often HRC mocks what it's mandated to support. It functions as a US imperial tool - notably siding with Washington-backed takfiri terrorists waging war on sovereign Syria. Failing to condemn US-orchestrated/Saudi-led terror-bombing of Yemen.

Reports indicate Riyadh wants to chair the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). Its membership alone is a travesty of justice.

One human rights group called letting Riyadh head the HRC an "abomination, and cynical by a nation that beheads people in public squares."

It's like letting a serial killer become police chief or a pyromaniac being appointed fire commissioner.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom criticized Riyadh's human rights record - including its treatment of blogger Raif Badawi.

He was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, 10 years imprisonment and possible capital punishment -  for freely expressing his views.

Wallstrom said "(o)ne must protest against what are (punitive) medieval methods." 

Riyadh responded by refusing to issue business visas to Swedish nationals or renew current ones. It tolerates no criticism of its horrific practices - even from a high-ranking diplomat like Wallstrom.

In January she tweeted: Riyadh's "cruel attempt to silence modern forms of expression has to be stopped."

Independent human rights groups condemn Riyadh's record as one of the world's most egregious for good reason.

Human rights in the Kingdom don't exist. Saudi Arabia is included in HRC's Asian group. One of its member states is next in line for HRC's chairmanship.

Reports indicate Riyadh is lobbying intensively to get it. Washington is supportive. US pressure may get other Asian nations to back what demands rejection.

Rogue state HRC chairmanship would mock what it claims to stand for. Riyadh's membership alone lacks legitimacy. 

Appointing it head of the human rights group would make the organization a laughing stock. Don't bet against it happening.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Tory scheme to trash Human Rights Act labelled ‘appalling’

The proposed scrapping of the Human Rights Act by the Conservatives has been condemned by the Scottish Government, which said the “appalling” move was...

UK Tories pushing to scrap human rights act

The UK’s new Justice Secretary, Michael Gove is pushing forward with controversial Conservatives’ plans to scrap the Human Rights Act. Gove has returned to the...

The Baltimore Uprising and the U.S. Government’s Record on Human Rights

On Friday, Baltimore state's attorney Marilyn Mosby declared that six police officers will face criminal charges including second degree heart murder, manslaughter, assault and...

NYT Gives Former Peruvian Strongman/Human Rights Abuser Feature Op-ed Space

NYT Gives Former Peruvian Strongman/Human Rights Abuser Feature Op-Ed Space

by Stephen Lendman

Alejandro Toledo served as Peruvian President from 2001 - 2006. He led opposition against former despot Alberto Fujimori (1990 - 2000).

He was elected on populist promises to create more jobs, alleviate dire poverty, deliver social justice, and end years of corrupted hardline rule including serious human rights abuses.

As president, he continued business as usual Washington Consensus policies - same old, same old neoliberal harshness.

They include obeying IMF/World Bank diktats, paying bankers first, privatization of state enterprises, deregulation, ignoring social needs, and cracking down hard on nonbelievers.

He targeted anyone challenging his agenda. Independent journalists were harassed, threatened and attacked. So were human rights worker. 

Public protesters faced harsh recrimination. Torture remained official policy. Peruvians suffered hugely during his tenure.

Times editors ignored his ruthlessness. They featured his op-ed criticizing Venezuela's model democracy - polar opposite Peru during his tenure and today.

He blamed President Nicolas Maduro for Obama's political and economic war - including US manipulated street violence and failed February coup d'etat.

He called violent anti-government protesters "peaceful." He ignored clear evidence against coup plotters - and other opposition figures in league with Washington to topple Venezuela's government.

He ludicrously claimed Bolivarian fairness fosters inequality. His solution includes failed policies during his tenure - serving monied interests at the expense of all others, dressed up in populist rhetoric without meaning or follow-through. 

He outrageously accused Maduro of "conspiratorial mindset (thinking) and authoritarian instincts...carried over from the regime of his predecessor, Hugo 
Chavez…"

Venezuela is the region's model democracy - polar opposite America's sham version, what Peruvians got throughout his tenure and conditions today.

Dissent was crushed. In Venezuela it's cherished. Toledo wants criminal opposition figures freed. He wants monied interests alone served.

He wants external and internal pressure maintained against sovereign Venezuelan independence. He wants pro-Western rogue leadership replacing its democracy.

Times editors share his extremism. They waged war on Venezuela throughout Chavez's tenure.

It continues against Marduro. They support wealth, power and privilege. They back every imperial war America wages. 

They want monied interests alone served. They support exploiting all others to make them richer.

A Final Comment

Venezuela represents model Bolivarian fairness. Peru is polar opposite. Why the IMF and World Bank selected it for their October 5 - 12, 2015 meeting - their first in Latin America in half a century.

Thousands of neoliberal advocates will meet in Lima - in recognition of Peru following strict IMF/World Bank diktats at the expense of its own people greatly harmed.

Toledo's legacy remains in place. He urges all Latin America to follow his failed agenda - enforced by harsh crackdowns against nonbelievers.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Human Rights Group Accuses Israel of Deliberately Murdering Gazan Children

Human Rights Group Accuses Israel of Deliberately Murdering Gazan Children

by Stephen Lendman

A new Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) report accuses Israel of willfully killing Palestinian children during last summer's Gaza war.

Around 550 children were murdered in cold blood - two-thirds under age 12.

Israel considers all civilians legitimate targets. International law calls killing them a war crime.

Another 3,400 children were injured - over 1,000 maimed for life. They need vital medical care unavailable because of Israel's lawless siege - ongoing aggression by any standard with full US-led Western support.

America and Israel partner in each other's high crimes. They're the world's leading aggressor states - the most egregious human and civil rights abusers. 

They're mindless of core international laws, norms and standards.

Imagine willfully murdering defenseless/nonthreatening young children at home asleep, at play, going to or from school, or running errands for parents.

Imagine considering them enemies of the state. Imagine using illegal terror weapons against them. 

Imagine traumatizing young survivors for life. Imagine Israel outrageously trying to justify the unjustifiable.

Imagine a grieving Palestinian mother explaining her nine-year-old son's "arms and legs were cut off" by an Israeli shell. 

"The upper part of his body was separated from his lower body, which was turned into small pieces. I screamed," she said. 

She and her son were returning to a UN shelter when disaster struck. Israel murdered dozens of entire families in cold blood.

Accountability for its highest of high crimes remains nowhere in sight.

Cold-blooded murder is longstanding Israeli policy. Viciously persecuting Palestinians continues daily.

Israel is a ruthless terror state. It's just a matter of time before it ravages Gaza again.

DCIP's report said "2014 was a year that brought violence, fear and loss (to Gaza)."

"The Israeli military offensive" lasting 51 days from early July to late August killed nearly 550 Palestinian children.

Nearly 3,400 other children were wounded - many from illegal terror weapons.

Over 2,200 Palestinians died - mostly defenseless civilians.

"Investigations undertaken by (DCIP) into Palestinian child fatalities during Operation Protective Edge found overwhelming and repeated evidence of international humanitarian law violations committed by Israeli forces."

"These included direct attacks on children, and indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilian homes, schools, and residential neighborhoods."

Witness testimonies and other documented evidence DCIP collected "showed places that should have been provided children with shelter and safety were not immune from attacks from Israeli forces."

"Missiles fired from Israeli drones and warplanes, artillery shelling, and shrapnel scattered by explosions killed children in their homes, on the street as they fled from attacks with their families, and as they sought shelter from the bombardment in schools."

Israel killed scores of children in drone attacks alone. Clear evidence shows "Israeli forces directly targeted children."

One of many examples affected Rawya Joudeh and four of her five children. An Israeli drone attack murdered them in cold blood - "as they played together" in the family's Jabalia refugee camp yard.

Around half the number of children Israel killed came from attacks on residential buildings.

Sunday, July 20, characterized Israeli viciousness most clearly - the deadliest day for children throughout its lawless aggression.

A nighttime and ground assault on the residential Gaza City Shuja’iyya neighborhood killed 27 children. It injured at least 29 others.

Israeli armed forces are "regularly implicated in serious, systematic and institutionalized human rights violations against Palestinian children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory," said DCIP.

"Children affected by armed conflict are entitled to special respect and protections under international law…"

Israel breaches it repeatedly. It indiscriminately and disproportionately murders and injures defenseless Palestinian civilians in cold blood - including young children and infants, helpless against its onslaught.

Evidence of Israel high crimes is overwhelming. It bears repeating. Accountability is nowhere in sight - nor justice for long-suffering Palestinians.

DCIP stressed "(w)ithout an end to the current regime of collective punishment, targeted assassinations, and regular military offensives, the situation for Gaza's children (and all illegally occupied Palestinians is) guaranteed to further deteriorate."

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

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Duplicitous Human Rights Misinformation on Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

A previous article discussed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. It discussed her duplicitous anti-Assad report. It wasn't her first one. It won't be her last

She's a reliable imperial tool. She buries truth. She lies for power. Her credibility long ago was lost. Not a shred of it remains. 

She never had any in the first place. It launched her career earlier. It sustained it. 

Her new report supports illegitimate putschist fascists. It's titled "Misinformation, propaganda and incitement to hatred need to be urgently countered."

During months of Maidan protests, Berkut special police showed remarkable restraint. Pillay lied claiming otherwise.

They used "excessive force," she said. So did other security elements, she added. Doing so "led to the radicalisation of the protest movement," she claimed.

Yanukovych government "(v)iolations related to the Maidan protests should be investigated and addressed in order to ensure accountability of perpetrators," she said.

"Most acts of severe beatings, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment were reportedly attributed to the Berkut."

False! Western-supported and paid radicalized elements bore full responsibility. Pillay lied saying otherwise.

She claimed Crimea's reunification referendum had "no validity." 

Saying it "raised a number of human rights concerns pertaining to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and other civil and political rights flies in the face of reality.

Pillay twists truth for power. She does so to please her Western sponsors. She does consistently. 

Crimea's referendum reflected model democratic process. Independent monitors called it scrupulously open, free and fair. Not a single irregularity was reported.

Not according to Pillay. She accused Crimean authorities of "vote-rigging." She lied saying so.

She said "paramilitary" and "soldiers without insignia" intimidated voters. Not one report on the ground said so. Conditions were polar opposite.

"What is clear from our findings is that there is an urgent need to ensure full respect for the rule of law and human rights in Ukraine and thus guarantee the enjoyment of all human rights for all, including minorities," she said.

"The international community, including the UN, can play a role in supporting the creation of such an environment." 

"My Office and its monitoring team can provide impartial and authoritative human rights assessments to contribute to establishing the facts, de-escalating tension, and paving the way for an environment that is conducive to the holding of free and fair elections on 25 May."

Results when held will be farcical. Ballot choices exclude democracy. Junta power victory is certain. Illegitimate putschists run things. Don't expect Pillay to explain.

It bears repeating. Throughout her career, she's been a reliable imperial tool. Her reports include a litany of lies. 

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich responded to her latest one. It mocks legitimacy. It reads like bad fiction.

On April 15, Lukashevich was unsparing. He was clear and unequivocal, saying:

"We have to acknowledge that the report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Ukraine is one-sided, politicized and unobjective, and does not reflect the real situation in this country." 

"The authors of the report chose not to notice that the current 'authorities' in Ukraine have become such as a result of an armed coup d’etat." 

"There is not a word about the February 22 events, including an attack and takeover by illegal armed formations of administrative buildings." 

"The individuals who gained power illegally are positioned as a legitimate government." 

"Facts testifying that from their first minutes the 'new' authorities have been working in the atmosphere of violence and lawlessness are being deliberately omitted."

"No attention is being paid to a very dangerous trend - the unchecked rise of aggressive nationalism and neo-Nazism." 

"The almost 30-page document makes no use of the term 'neo-Nazism' at all." 

It pretends it doesn't exist. It suggests fascist putschists are democrats. Doing so flies in the face of reality. Radicalized criminals run Ukraine.

"The rampant chauvinism staged by Right Sector and other ultra-right groups in western and central Ukraine is described as certain sources sharing their feelings that the minorities' right to take part in the political life is not fully taken into consideration."

Regime rights violations go unnoticed. Criminal acts aren't mentioned. Coverup and denial substitutes. Pillay supports lawlessness. She fronts for power. 

She blames victims for putschist high crimes. She twists truth to fit Western policy. She commits grave human rights violations in the process.

Her report "ignores a whole host of other gross human rights violations by the self-proclaimed authorities, including, in particular, kidnappings, tortures, extrajudicial killings, encroachments on the independence of the judicial system, the suppression of mass media and civil society," said Lukashevich.

"The document abounds in flagrant selectiveness. It depicts radical actions on Maidan in late February as a peaceful protest and manifestation of popular discontent and effectively justifies it." 

"Its attitude towards protests in the country's southeast is different." Pillay's so-called 'observers' failed to see the legitimate interests of the Russian population of this region."

"The report gives odious opinions on the situation around freedom of speech and press as if ignoring the ongoing attempts by the Ukrainian 'authorities' to resist objective coverage of the situation in the country, threats and intimidation of reporters, denying entry to foreign reporters."

"Overall, the impression is that the report was fabricated in accordance with preset conclusions, for which one need not have travelled to Ukraine."

Western-supportive elements wrote it. Truth was systematically buried. Big Lies substituted. It's longstanding imperial policy.

Putschists bear full responsibility for human rights abuses. Pillay blamed victims for their crimes. She does so consistently. She does it unapologetically. She disgraces the office she holds.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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One-sided Human Rights Council Vote on Syria

One-Sided Human Rights Council Vote on Syria

by Stephen Lendman

On March 28, UN Human Rights Council members voted 32 - 4 to renew investigating war crimes in Syria for another year. Eleven members abstained.

Washington, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Morocco initiated the resolution. 

Other HRC members were bullied for support. Washington and Western partners threatened refusers with consequences. 

Russia, China, Venezuela and Cuba voted no. So-called investigations are biased. They're one-sided. They largely blame Assad for insurgent crimes. They do so duplicitously.

UK ambassador Karen Piece said three resolution aims include:

  • continuing to investigating human rights abuses;

  • condemning violators; and

  • supporting efforts to hold culpable parties accountable.

Doing so is almost entirely one-way. Victims are blamed for insurgent crimes.

Pierce lied saying: "We believe that this resolution represents a measured response to the worst human rights situation that this council has ever faced."

She stopped short of explaining her government's culpability. It's directly involved in Obama's war on Syria. So are other rogue EU partners, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, other Gulf states and Jordan.

Commission of Inquiry for Syria chairman Paulo Pinheiro prepared spurious lists of people and groups he holds responsible for Syrian crimes. It includes:

  • Syrian intelligence branches and officials;

  • government detention facility officials;

  • Syrian military commanders;

  • airport officials from which attacks are planned and executed; and

  • leaders of armed groups.

Syria's HRC envoy Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui called its resolution biased against his government. It's wrongfully blamed for Western-supported death squad crimes.

Russia's Foreign Ministry denounced the resolution, saying:

"For instance, while enumerating the violations of human rights, the resolution does not make any mention of violence on the part of rebels that was described in (HRC's) report in detail…"

It includes "mass executions, abductions of women and children, sexual violence, the use of children soldiers, mortar shelling of densely populated areas, as well as the terrorist acts committed by the groups making up the Syrian Free Army and closely linked to the Islamic Front."

Western nations call some groups committing atrocities and other high crimes Syria's "moderate opposition," Russia's Foreign Ministry added.

They're cold-blooded killers. Washington and rogue partners support them. They plan arming them more heavily. 

They intend recruiting larger numbers of like-minded extremists. They plan stepped up efforts to oust Assad. They likely intend Libya 2.0.

Russia's Foreign Ministry expressed concern about refusing Moscow's suggestion to condemn terrorism in Syria.

"The Russian side has been actively working with a group of co-authors and proposed a number of amendments for a balanced text," it said. 

"Most of our proposals, however, were not taken into account."

“This is despite the fact that the agreed counter-terrorism clause is in Resolution 2139 of the UN Security Council," it added.

Duplicitous HRC members exceeded their mandate. They urged Syria to accelerate eliminating its chemical weapons.

They're being disposed of responsibly. "The UN Council on Human Rights is not authorized to interfere in the process, to dictate priorities and decide which provisions of the Geneva communique need special attention," Russia's Foreign Ministry stressed. 

Western-supported Syrian violence claimed tens of thousands of lives. Many more were injured. Mostly civilians are affected.

Death squad invaders target Assad loyalists. Dozens die daily. Obama's war on Syria entered its fourth year. He bears full responsibility for mass slaughter and destruction.

He's waging multiple direct and proxy wars. He's ravaging one country after another lawlessly. He wants multiple imperial trophies collected.

He targets anyone considered a state enemy for extrajudicial assassination. He governs by diktat. He's got more death and destruction in mind.

He's waging war on humanity. He's doing it at home and abroad. He exceeds the worst of his predecessors. 

He's the greatest menace of our time. He threatens world peace. He risks global war. He's surrounded by likeminded neocon extremists.

They deplore peace. They promote war. They want unchallenged global dominance. They're willing to destroy planet earth to own it.

Lunatics think this way. They operate this way. They do so extrajudicially. They ravage and destroy countries indiscriminately. They falsely claim humanitarian intervention.

They're destroying humanity to save it. They infest Washington. They target Americans like others abroad. They tolerate no opposition. 

Anything goes is policy. Business as usual persists. Powerful interests control things. They partner with likeminded extremists. No one is safe anywhere with them around.

A Final Comment 

Israel is a lawless rogue state. It's the Middle East's most ruthless regime. It wages wars on Lebanon and Palestine. It bombs Syria. 

It gets away with murder and other high crimes too grave to ignore. Justice is systematically denied.

Israel's High Court most often is rubber-stamp. On March 30, RT International headlined "Israeli Supreme Court to hear war crimes case against top officials - report."

RT cited Jonathan Cook's article titled "Israel to consider war crimes case," saying:

Palestinian Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel lawyer Marwan Dalal brought charges. He's an Israeli citizen. 

He's the only Palestinian jurist "to have served as a senior prosecutor in one of the international criminal courts at The Hague in the Netherlands."

On April 2, Israel's High Court for the first time will hear evidence of Israeli war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza.

A 52-page petition was submitted. It addressed three Israeli operations. They include:

  • its preemptive 2006 Lebanon war;

  • its Operation Cast Lead Gaza aggression (December 2008 - January 2009,) and 

  • murdering nine Turkish Mavi Marmara Gaza humanitarian mission activists in May 2010 in cold blood.

Evidence against Israel is overwhelming. Culpability is indisputable. Systematic coverup whitewashed it. Independent reports were denounced. 

Israel remains unaccountable for high crimes too grave to ignore. It's high time things changed. Don't expect Israeli Supreme Court justices to do it.

It won't matter either way. Israel does what it wants whatever they rule. It ignored the World Court calling its Apartheid Wall illegal.

It ordered it dismantled. It mandated compensation for victims. Justice was systematically denied. Lawless Israeli settlements expand exponentially.

Besieged Gazans struggle daily to survive. They endure slow-motion genocide. They live in the world's largest open-air prison. Multiple daily Israeli incursions target West Bank Palestinian communities. 

Nonviolent civilians are ruthlessly persecuted. Praying to the wrong God is criminalized.

Soldiers shoot children for target practice. Fishermen are attacked at sea. Settlers freely commit vandalism. Once in a while murder. Israeli security forces do nothing to stop them.

High Court justices will hear "strong factual and legal findings," said Cook. They're from public sources.

They include official Israeli inquiries. They implicate high-ranking military and government officials.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, current Justice Minister/former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and perhaps current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are vulnerable.

So are two former IDF chiefs of staff, a former domestic intelligence chief, and a former defense minister.

Dalal plans arguing that Israeli police are legally required to investigate charges relating to possible war crimes.

Prosecutors must order them. "The evidence is in the public realm and obliges Israeli prosecutors to order investigations," he said. 

"The failure to do so is unreasonable conduct and the court must rectify the matter."

Indisputable war crimes were committed. Clear evidence proves them. Claiming otherwise doesn't wash. Getting High Court justices to agree is another matter entirely.

Most often they rubber-stamp official policy. A conservative majority makes it more likely. B'Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli said:

"There has been no discussion in Israel of the responsibility of high-ranking officials for issuing apparently illegal orders such as using white phosphorus in built-up areas, the adoption of flexible open-fire regulations, and a policy of targeting certain population groups, such as males over a certain age."

Rogue states operate this way. Israel is one of the world's most ruthless. It's a democracy in name only. Jews get a sham version. 

Muslims are considered subhumans. Israeli Arabs are considered fifth columns threats. Palestinians have no rights whatever. 

Institutionalized racism is official policy. Equity, peace and justice are non-starters. Jews alone have rights. 

Israel's gulag alone attests to its barbarity. Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish inside. Horrific treatment occurs daily.

Proper food and medical care are denied. Brutal treatment is standard practice. International law is systematically violated. Israel remains unaccountable for high crimes. 

Don't expect High Court members to hold culpable officials accountable. Don't expect Israeli war criminals to be punished. 

Business as usual persists. Long denied justice remains a distant dream.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

UN Report Denounces US Human Rights Record

UN Report Denounces US Human Rights Recordby Stephen LendmanIt's deplorable. It's longstanding. It's by far the world's worst. It's a pariah state for good reason. Claims otherwise ring hollow.Ongoing genocidal crimes of war and against humanity contin...

Text of UN Human Rights Council Report on US Human Rights Abuses

UN Human Rights Council Report on US Human Rights Abuses
ADVANCED UNEDITED VERSION
Human Rights Committee
Concluding observations on the fourth report of the United States of America

1. The Committee considered the fourth periodic report of the United States of America (CCPR/C/USA/4 and Corr.1) at its 3044th, 3045th and 3046th meetings (CCPR/C/SR/3044, CCPR/C/SR/3045 and CCPR/C/SR/3046), held on 13 and 14 March 2014. At its 3061st meeting (CCPR/C/SR/3061), held on 26 March 2014, it adopted the following concluding observations.
A. Introduction
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the fourth periodic report of the United States of America and the information presented therein. It expresses appreciation for the opportunity to renew its constructive dialogue with the State party’s high level delegation which included representatives of state and local governments on the measures that the State party has taken during the reporting period to implement the provisions of the Covenant. The Committee is grateful to the State party for its written replies (CCPR/C/USA/Q/4/Add.1) to the list of issues (CCPR/C/USA/Q/4), which were supplemented by the oral responses provided by the delegation and for the supplementary information provided to it in writing.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee notes with appreciation the many efforts undertaken, and the progress made in protecting civil and political rights by the State party. The Committee welcomes, in particular, the following legislative and institutional steps taken by the State party:
(a) The full implementation of article 6(5) of the Covenant in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005), despite the State party’s reservation to the contrary;
(b) The recognition by the Supreme Court in Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723 (2008), of the extraterritorial application of constitutional habeas corpus rights to aliens detained at Guantánamo Bay;
(c) The Presidential Executive Orders 13491 (“Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”), 13492 (“Review and Disposition of Individuals Detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and Closure of Detention Facilities”) and 13493 (“Review of Detention Policy Options”), issued on 22 January 2009;
(d) The support for the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples announced by President Obama on 16 December 2010;
(e) The Presidential Executive Order 13567 establishing periodic review for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility who have not been charged, convicted, or designated for transfer, issued on 7 March 2011.
C. Principal matters of concern and recommendations
Applicability of the Covenant at national level 
4. The Committee regrets that the State party continues to maintain its position that the Covenant does not apply with respect to individuals under its jurisdiction but outside its territory, despite the contrary interpretation of article 2(1) supported by the Committee’s established jurisprudence, the jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice and state practice. The Committee further notes that the State party has only limited avenues to ensure that state and local governments respect and implement the Covenant, and that its provisions have been declared to be non-self-executing at the time of ratification. Taken together, these elements considerably limit the legal reach and the practical relevance of the Covenant (art. 2).  
The State party should:
(a) Interpret the Covenant in good faith, in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to its terms in their context, including subsequent practice, and in the light of its object and purpose and review its legal position so as to acknowledge the extraterritorial application of the Covenant under certain circumstances, as outlined inter alia in the Committee’s general comment No. 31 (2004) on the nature of the general legal obligation imposed on States parties to the Covenant;
(b) Engage with stakeholders at all levels to identify ways to give greater effect to the Covenant at federal, state and local levels, taking into account that the obligations under the Covenant are binding on the State party as a whole, and that all branches of government, and other public or governmental authorities, at every level are in a position to engage the responsibility of the State party under the Covenant (General Comment. No. 31, para. 4);
(c) Taking into account its declaration that provisions of the Covenant are non-self-executing, ensure that effective remedies are available for violations of the Covenant, including those that do not, at the same time, constitute violations of U.S. domestic law, and undertake a review of such areas with a view to proposing to the Congress implementing legislation to fill any legislative gaps. The State party should also consider acceding to the Optional Protocol to the Covenant providing for an individual communication procedure.
(d) Strengthen and expand existing mechanisms mandated to monitor the implementation of human rights at federal, state, local and tribal levels, provide them with adequate human and financial resources or consider establishing an independent national human rights institution, in accordance with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles) (General Assembly resolution 48/134).
(e) Reconsider its position regarding its reservations and declarations to the Covenant with a view to withdrawing them. 
Accountability for past human rights violations
5. The Committee is concerned at the limited number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions of members of the Armed Forces and other agents of the U.S. Government, including private contractors, for unlawful killings in its international operations and the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of detainees in U.S. custody, including outside its territory, as part of the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” program. While welcoming the Presidential Executive Order 13491 of 22 January 2009 terminating the programme of secret detention and interrogation operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Committee notes with concern that all reported investigations into enforced disappearances, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that had been committed in the context of the CIA secret rendition, interrogation and detention programmes were closed in 2012 leading only to a meagre number of criminal charges brought against low-level operatives. The Committee is concerned that many details of the CIA programme remain secret thereby creating barriers to accountability and redress for victims (arts. 2, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 14).
The State party should ensure that all cases of unlawful killing, torture or other ill-treatment, unlawful detention, or enforced disappearance are effectively, independently and impartially investigated, that perpetrators, including, in particular, persons in command positions, are prosecuted and sanctioned, and that victims are provided with effective remedies. The responsibility of those who provided legal pretexts for manifestly illegal behavior should also be established. The State party should also consider the full incorporation of the doctrine of ‘command responsibility’ in its criminal law and declassify and make public the report of the Senate Special Committee on Intelligence into the CIA secret detention programme.
Racial disparities in the criminal justice system
6. While appreciating the steps taken by the State party to address racial disparities in the criminal justice system, including the enactment in August 2010 of The Fair Sentencing Act and plans to work on reform of mandatory minimum sentencing statutes, the Committee continues to be concerned about racial disparities at different stages in the criminal justice system, sentencing disparities and the overrepresentation of individuals belonging to racial and ethnic minorities in prisons and jails (arts. 2, 9, 14, and 26). 
The State party should continue and step up its efforts to robustly address racial disparities in the criminal justice system, including by amending regulations and policies leading to racially disparate impact at the federal, state and local levels. The State party should ensure the retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act and reform mandatory minimum sentencing statutes.
Racial profiling
7. While welcoming plans to reform the “stop and frisk” program in New York City, the Committee remains concerned about the practice of racial profiling and surveillance by law enforcement officials targeting certain ethnic minorities, and the surveillance of Muslims undertaken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the New York Police Department (NYPD) in the absence of any suspicion of wrongdoing (arts. 2, 9, 12, 17, and 26).   
The State party should continue and step up its measures to effectively combat and eliminate racial profiling by federal, state and local law enforcement officials, inter alia by: (a) pursuing the review of the 2003 Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies and expanding protection against profiling on the basis of religion, religious appearance or national origin; (b) continuing to train state and local law enforcement personnel on cultural awareness and inadmissibility of racial profiling; and (c) abolishing all “stop and frisk” practices.
Death penalty
8. While welcoming the overall decline in the number of executions and the increasing number of states that have abolished the death penalty, the Committee remains concerned about the continuing use of the death penalty and, in particular, racial disparities in its imposition that affects disproportionately African Americans, exacerbated by the rule that discrimination has to be proven case-by-case. It is further concerned by the high number of persons wrongly sentenced to death, despite existing safeguards, and by the fact that 16 retentionist states do not provide for compensation for the wrongfully convicted and other states provide for insufficient compensation. Finally, the Committee notes with concern reports about the administration by some states of untested lethal drugs to execute prisoners and the withholding of information on such drugs (arts. 2, 6, 7, 9, 14, and 26).  
The State party should (a) take measures to effectively ensure that the death penalty is not imposed as a result of racial bias; (b) strengthen safeguards against wrongful sentencing to death and subsequent wrongful execution by ensuring inter alia effective legal representation for defendants in death penalty cases, including at the post-conviction stage; (c) ensure that retentionist states provide adequate compensation for the wrongfully convicted (d) ensure that lethal drugs for executions originate from legal, regulated sources, and are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and that information on the origin and composition of such drugs is made available to individuals scheduled for execution; (e) consider establishing a moratorium on the death penalty at the federal level and engage with retentionist states with a view to achieving a nationwide moratorium. The Committee also encourages the State party, on the 25th anniversary of the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, to consider acceding to the Protocol. 
Targeted killings using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones)
9. The Committee is concerned about the State party’s practice of targeted killings in extraterritorial counter-terrorism operations using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) also known as ‘drones’, the lack of transparency regarding the criteria for drone strikes, including the legal justification for specific attacks, and the lack of accountability for the loss of life resulting from such attacks. The Committee notes the State party’s position that drone strikes are conducted in the course of its armed conflict with Al- Qaida, the Taliban, and associated forces and in accordance with its inherent right of national self-defense and are governed by international humanitarian law, as well as by the Presidential Policy Guidance that sets out standards for the use of lethal force outside areas of active hostilities. Nevertheless, the Committee remains concerned about the State party’s very broad approach to the definition and the geographical scope of an armed conflict, including the end of hostilities, the unclear interpretation of what constitutes an “imminent threat” and who is a combatant or civilian taking a direct part in hostilities, the unclear position on the nexus that should exist between any particular use of lethal force and any specific theatre of hostilities, as well as the precautionary measures taken to avoid civilian casualties in practice (arts. 2, 6, and 14). 
The State party should revisit its position regarding legal justifications for the use of deadly force through drone attacks. It should: (a) ensure that any use of armed drones complies fully with its obligations under article 6 of the Covenant, including in particular with respect to the principles of precaution, distinction and proportionality in the context of an armed conflict; (b) subject to operational security, disclose the criteria for drone strikes, including the legal basis for specific attacks, the process of target identification and the circumstances in which drones are used; (c) provide for independent supervision and oversight over the specific implementation of regulations governing the use of drone strikes; (d) in armed conflict situations, take all feasible measures to ensure the protection of civilians in specific drone attacks and to track and assess civilian casualties, as well as all necessary precautionary measures in order to avoid such casualties; (e) conduct independent, impartial, prompt and effective investigations of allegations of violations of the right to life and bring to justice those responsible; (f) provide victims or their families with an effective remedy where there has been a violation, including adequate compensation, and establish accountability mechanisms for victims of allegedly unlawful drone attacks who are not compensated by their home governments.
Gun violence 
10. While acknowledging the measures taken to reduce gun violence, the Committee remains concerned about the continuing high numbers of gun-related deaths and injuries and the disparate impact of gun violence on minorities, women and children. While commending the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ investigation of the discriminatory effect of “Stand Your Ground Laws”, the Committee is concerned about the proliferation of such laws that are used to circumvent the limits of legitimate self-defence in violation of the State party’s duty to protect life (arts. 2, 6, and 26). 
The State Party should take all necessary measures to abide by its obligation to effectively protect the right to life. In particular, it should: (a) continue its efforts to effectively curb gun violence, including through the continued pursuit of legislation requiring background checks for all private firearm transfers in order to prevent possession of arms by persons recognized as prohibited individuals under federal law and strict enforcement of the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban legislation of 1996 (the “Lautenberg Amendment”); and (b) review Stand Your Ground Laws to remove far-reaching immunity and ensure strict adherence to the principles of necessity and proportionality when using deadly force in self-defence.
Excessive use of force by law enforcement officials
11. The Committee is concerned about the still high number of fatal shootings by certain police forces, including, for instance, in Chicago, and reports of excessive use of force by certain law enforcement officers including the deadly use of tasers, which have a disparate impact on African Americans, and use of lethal force by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the U.S.-Mexico border (arts. 2, 6, 7, and 26).  
The State Party should  (a) step up its efforts to prevent the excessive use of force by law enforcement officers by ensuring compliance with the 1990 UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officers; (b) ensure that the new CBP directive on use of deadly force is applied and enforced in practice; and (c) improve reporting of excessive use of force violations and ensure that reported cases of excessive use of force are effectively investigated, alleged perpetrators are prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with appropriate sanctions, that investigations are re-opened when new evidence becomes available, and that victims or their families are provided with adequate compensation. 
Legislation prohibiting torture
12. While noting that acts of torture may be prosecuted in a variety of ways at both the federal and state levels, the Committee is concerned about the lack of comprehensive legislation criminalizing all forms of torture, including mental torture, committed within the territory of the State party. The Committee is also concerned about the inability of torture victims to claim compensation from the State party and its officials due to the application of broad doctrines of legal privilege and immunity (arts. 2 and 7).
The State party should enact legislation to explicitly prohibit torture, including mental torture, wherever committed and ensure that the law provides for penalties commensurate with the gravity of such acts, whether committed by public officials or other persons acting on behalf of the State, or by private persons. The State party should ensure the availability of compensation to victims of torture. 
Non-refoulement
13. While noting the measures taken to ensure compliance with the principle of non-refoulement in cases of extradition, expulsion, return and transfer of individuals to other countries, the Committee is concerned about the State party’s reliance on diplomatic assurances that do not provide sufficient safeguards. It is also concerned at the State party’s position that the principle of non-refoulement is not covered by the Covenant despite the Committee’s established jurisprudence and subsequent state practice (arts. 6 and 7). 
The State party should strictly apply the absolute prohibition against refoulement under articles 6 and 7 of the Covenant, continue exercising the utmost care in evaluating diplomatic assurances, and refrain from relying on such assurances where it is not in a position to effectively monitor the treatment of such persons after their extradition, expulsion, transfer or return to other countries and take appropriate remedial action when assurances are not fulfilled. 
Trafficking and forced labour
14. While acknowledging the measures taken by the State party to address the issue of trafficking in persons and forced labour, the Committee remains concerned about cases of trafficking for purposes of labour and sexual exploitation, including of children, and criminalization of victims on prostitution-related charges. It is concerned about the insufficient identification and investigation of cases of trafficking for labour purposes and notes with concern that certain categories of workers, such as farm workers and domestic workers, are explicitly excluded from the protection of labour laws, thus rendering these categories of workers more vulnerable to trafficking. The Committee is also concerned that workers entering the U.S. under the H-2B work visa programme are also at a high risk of becoming victims of trafficking/forced labour (arts. 2, 8, 9, 14, 24, and 26).
The State party should continue its efforts to combat trafficking in persons, inter alia by strengthening its preventive measures, increasing victim identification and systematically and vigorously investigating allegations of trafficking in persons, prosecuting and punishing those responsible and providing effective remedies to victims, including protection, rehabilitation and compensation. It should take all appropriate measures to prevent the criminalization of victims of sex trafficking, including child victims, to the extent that they have been compelled to engage in unlawful activities. The State party should review its laws and regulations to ensure full protection against forced labour for all categories of workers and ensure effective oversight of labour conditions in any temporary visa program. It should also reinforce its training activities and provide training to law enforcement and border and immigration officials, as well as to other relevant agencies such as labour law enforcement agencies and child welfare agencies. 
Immigrants
15. The Committee is concerned that under certain circumstances mandatory detention of immigrants for prolonged periods of time without regard to the individual case may raise issues under article 9 of the Covenant. It is also concerned about the mandatory nature of the deportation of foreigners without regard to elements such as the seriousness of crimes and misdemeanors committed, the length of lawful stay in the U.S., health status, family ties and the fate of spouses and children staying behind, or the humanitarian situation in the country of destination. Finally, the Committee expresses concerns about the exclusion of millions of undocumented immigrants and their children from coverage under the Affordable Care Act and the limited coverage of undocumented immigrants and immigrants residing lawfully in the U.S. for less than five years by Medicare and Children Health Insurance, all resulting in difficulties in access of immigrants to adequate health care (arts. 7, 9, 13, 17, 24 and 26).
The Committee recommends to the State party to review its policies of mandatory detention and deportation of certain categories of immigrants in order to allow for individualized decisions, to take measures ensuring that affected persons have access to legal representation, and to identify ways to facilitate access of undocumented immigrants and immigrants residing lawfully in the U.S. for less than five years and their families to adequate health care, including reproductive health care services.
Domestic violence 
16. The Committee is concerned that domestic violence continues to be prevalent in the State party, and that ethnic minorities, immigrants and American Indian and Alaska Native women are at a particular risk. The Committee is also concerned that victims face obstacles to obtaining remedies, and that law enforcement authorities are not legally required to act with due diligence to protect victims of domestic violence, and often inadequately respond to such cases  (arts. 3, 7, 9, and 26)
The State party should, through the full and effective implementation of the Violence against Women Act and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, strengthen measures to prevent and combat domestic violence, as well as to ensure that law enforcement personnel appropriately respond to acts of domestic violence. The State party should ensure that cases of domestic violence are effectively investigated and that perpetrators are prosecuted and sanctioned. The State party should ensure remedies for all victims of domestic violence, and take steps to improve the provision of emergency shelter, housing, child care, rehabilitative services and legal representation for women victims of domestic violence. The State party should also take measures to assist tribal authorities in their efforts to address domestic violence against Native American women.
Corporal punishment 
17. The Committee is concerned about the use of corporal punishment of children in schools, penal institutions, the home, and all forms of child care at federal, state and local levels. It is also concerned about the increasing criminalization of students to tackle disciplinary issues arising in schools (arts. 7, 10, and 24).
The State party should take practical steps, including through legislative measures where appropriate, to put an end to corporal punishment in all settings. It should encourage non-violent forms of discipline as alternatives to corporal punishment and should conduct public information campaigns to raise awareness about its harmful effects. The State party should also promote the use of alternatives to the application of criminal law to address disciplinary issues in schools.
Non-consensual psychiatric treatment
18. The Committee is concerned about the widespread use of non-consensual psychiatric medication, electroshock and other restrictive and coercive practices in mental health services (arts. 7 and 17).
The State party should ensure that non-consensual use of psychiatric medication, electroshock and other restrictive and coercive practices in mental health services is generally prohibited. Non-consensual psychiatric treatment may only be applied, if at all, in exceptional cases as a measure of last resort where absolutely necessary for the benefit of the person concerned provided that he or she is unable to give consent, for the shortest possible time, without any long-term impact, and under independent review. The State party should promote psychiatric care aimed at preserving the dignity of patients, both adults and minors.

Criminalization of homelessness
19. While appreciating the steps taken by federal and some state and local authorities to address homelessness, the Committee is concerned about reports of criminalization of people living on the street for everyday activities such as eating, sleeping, sitting in particular areas etc. The Committee notes that such criminalization raises concerns of discrimination and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment (arts. 2, 7, 9, 17, and 26).
The State party should engage with state and local authorities to: (a) abolish criminalization of homelessness laws and policies at state and local levels; (b) ensure close cooperation between all relevant stakeholders including social, health, law enforcement and justice professionals at all levels to intensify efforts to find solutions for the homeless in accordance with human rights standards; and (c) offer incentives for decriminalization and implementation of such solutions, including by providing continued financial support to local authorities implementing alternatives to criminalization and withdrawing funding for local authorities criminalizing the homeless.  
Conditions of detention and use of solitary confinement
20. The Committee is concerned about the continued practice of holding persons deprived of their liberty, including juveniles and persons with mental disabilities under certain circumstances, in prolonged solitary confinement, and about detainees being held in solitary confinement also in pretrial detention. The Committee is furthermore concerned about poor detention conditions in death row facilities (arts. 7, 9, 10, 17, and 24).
The State party should monitor conditions of detention in prisons, including private detention facilities, with a view to ensuring that persons deprived of their liberty be treated in accordance with the requirements of articles 7 and 10 of the Covenant and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. It should impose strict limits on the use of solitary confinement, both pretrial and following conviction, in the federal system, as well as nationwide, and abolish the practice in respect of anyone under the age of 18 and prisoners with serious mental illness. It should also bring detention conditions of prisoners on death row in line with international standards.
Detainees at Guantánamo Bay 
21. While noting President Obama’s commitment to close the Guantánamo Bay facility and the appointment of Special Envoys at the Departments of State and Defense to continue to pursue the transfer of detainees designated for transfer, the Committee regrets that no timeline for closure of the facility has been provided. The Committee is also concerned that detainees held in Guantánamo Bay and in military facilities in Afghanistan are not dealt with within the ordinary criminal justice system after a protracted period of over a decade in some cases (arts. 7, 9, 10, and 14).
The State party should expedite the transfer of detainees designated for transfer, including to Yemen, as well as the process of periodic review for Guantánamo detainees, and ensure either their trial or immediate release, and the closure of the Guantánamo facility. It should end the system of administrative detention without charge or trial and ensure that any criminal cases against detainees held in Guantánamo and military facilities in Afghanistan are dealt with within the criminal justice system rather than military commissions and that those detainees are afforded the fair trial guarantees enshrined in article 14 of the Covenant. 
NSA surveillance
22. The Committee is concerned about the surveillance of communications in the interests of protecting national security, conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) both within and outside the United States through the bulk phone metadata program (Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act) and, in particular, the surveillance under Section 702 of Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) conducted through PRISM (collection of the contents of communications from U.S.-based companies) and UPSTREAM (tapping of fiber-optic cables in the U.S. that carry internet traffic) programs and their adverse impact on the right to privacy. The Committee is concerned that until recently, judicial interpretations of FISA and rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) have largely been kept secret, thus not allowing affected persons to know the law with sufficient precision. The Committee is concerned that the current system of oversight of the activities of the NSA fails to effectively protect the rights of those affected. While welcoming the recent Presidential Policy Directive (PPD-28) that will now extend some safeguards to non-US persons “to the maximum extent feasible consistent with the national security”, the Committee remains concerned that such persons enjoy only limited protection against excessive surveillance. Finally, the Committee is concerned that those affected have no access to effective remedies in case of abuse (arts. 2, 5(1), and 17).
The State party should:
(a) take all necessary measures to ensure that its surveillance activities, both within and outside the United States, conform to its obligations under the Covenant, including article 17; in particular, measures should be taken to ensure that any interference with the right to privacy complies with the principles of legality, proportionality and necessity regardless of the nationality or location of individuals whose communications are under direct surveillance;
(b) ensure that any interference with the right to privacy, family, home or correspondence be authorized by laws that (i) are publicly accessible; (ii) contain provisions that ensure that collection of, access to and use of communications data are tailored to specific legitimate aims; (iii) are sufficiently precise specifying in detail the precise circumstances in which any such interference may be permitted; the procedures for authorizing; the categories of persons who may be placed under surveillance; limits on the duration of surveillance; procedures for the use and storage of the data collected; and (iv) provide for effective safeguards against abuse;
(c) reform the current system of oversight over surveillance activities to ensure its effectiveness, including by providing for judicial involvement in authorization or monitoring of surveillance measures, and considering to establish strong and independent oversight mandates with a view to prevent abuses;
(d) refrain from imposing mandatory retention of data by third parties;
(e) ensure that affected persons have access to effective remedies in cases of abuse.
Juvenile justice and life without parole sentences
23. While noting with satisfaction the Supreme Court decisions prohibiting life without parole sentences for children convicted of non-homicide offenses (Graham v. Florida), and barring mandatory life without parole sentences for children convicted of homicide offenses (Miller v. Alabama) and the State party’s commitment to their retroactive application, the Committee is concerned that a court still may, within its discretion, sentence a defendant to life without parole for a homicide committed as a juvenile and that a mandatory or non-homicide related sentence of life without parole may still be applied to adults. It is also concerned that many states exclude 16 and 17 year olds from juvenile court jurisdictions and thus juveniles continue to be tried in adult courts and to be incarcerated in adult institutions (arts. 7, 9, 10, 14, 15, and 24). 
The State party should prohibit and abolish all juvenile life without parole sentences irrespective of the crime committed, as well as all mandatory and non-homicide related sentences of life without parole. It should also ensure that all juveniles are separated from adults during pretrial detention and after sentencing and that juveniles are not transferred to adult courts. States that automatically exclude 16 and 17 year olds from juvenile court jurisdictions should be encouraged to change their laws.
Voting rights
24. While noting with satisfaction Attorney General Holder’s statement of 11 February 2014 calling for a reform of prisoner disenfranchisement State laws, the Committee reiterate its concern about the persistence of state-level felon disenfranchisement laws, its disproportionate impact on minorities, and the lengthy and cumbersome state voting restoration procedures. The Committee is further concerned that voter identification and other recently introduced eligibility requirements may impose excessive burdens on voters resulting in de facto disenfranchisement of large numbers of voters, including members of minority groups. Finally, the Committee reiterates its concern that residents of the District of Columbia are denied the right to vote for and election of voting representatives to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives (arts. 2, 10, 25, and 26).
The State party should ensure that all states reinstate voting rights to felons who have fully served their sentences, provide inmates with information about their voting restoration options and remove or streamline lengthy and cumbersome state voting restoration procedures, as well as review automatic denial of the vote to any imprisoned felon, regardless of the nature of the offence. It should also take all necessary measures to ensure that voter identification requirements and the new eligibility requirements do not impose excessive burdens on voters resulting in de facto disenfranchisement. The State party should also provide for the full voting rights of residents of Washington, D.C. 
Rights of indigenous people
25. The Committee is concerned about the insufficient measures being taken to protect the sacred areas of indigenous peoples against desecration, contamination and destruction as a result of urbanization, extractive industries, industrial development, tourism and toxic contamination. It is also concerned about restricted access of indigenous people to sacred areas essential for preservation of their religious, cultural and spiritual practices and the insufficiency of consultation conducted with indigenous peoples on matters of interest to their communities (art. 27).
The State party should adopt measures to effectively protect sacred areas of indigenous peoples against desecration, contamination and destruction and ensure that consultations are held with the communities that might be adversely affected by State party’s development projects and exploitation of natural resources with a view to obtaining their free, prior and informed consent for the potential project activities.
26. The State party should widely disseminate the Covenant, the text of the fourth periodic report, the written responses that it has provided in response to the list of issues drawn up by the Committee and the present concluding observations so as to increase awareness among the judicial, legislative and administrative authorities, civil society and non-governmental organizations operating in the country, as well as the general public. The Committee also requests the State party, when preparing its fifth periodic report, to continue its practice of broadly consulting with civil society and non-governmental organizations.
27. In accordance with rule 71, paragraph 5, of the Committee’s rules of procedure, the State party should provide, within one year, relevant information on its implementation of the Committee’s recommendations made in paragraphs 5, 10, 21 and 22 above.

28. The Committee requests the State party, in its next periodic report, due to be submitted on 28 March 2019, to provide specific, up-to-date information on all its recommendations and on the Covenant as a whole

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Britain Harasses Human Rights Lawyer

by Stephen Lendman

Britain, America and Israel are likeminded. They're rogue states. They're axis of evil partners. 

They operate ruthlessly. They mock democratic values. They trash rule of law principles. They tolerate no one challenging their lawlessness. 

They vilify them. They imprison some. They do so to threaten others. Most often they harass. They do it no-holds-barred.

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) calls itself "the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization."

Jesselyn Radack is a prominent human rights lawyer/whistleblower. She's GAP's National Security & Human Rights director.

She's involved mainly with national security and intelligence community whistleblowers. She focuses on torture, lawless surveillance, secrecy and political discrimination.

She represented former senior NSA official Thomas Drake. He won awards for truth-telling and intelligence integrity. 

On April 15, 2010, he was wrongfully indicted. Obama prosecutors did so under the 1917 Espionage Act.

He faced multiple charges. They included willful retention of classified information, obstruction of justice and making false statements.

He leaked information on lawless NSA spying. He exposed agency waste, fraud and abuse. 

He performed a vital public service. He deserved praise, not prosecution. In May 2011, 60 Minutes featured his case. He was lucky.

In early June, Obama's Justice Department dropped all charges. They did so in return for his pleading guilty to a misdemeanor too minor to matter.

He got one year probation. He agreed to perform community service. Federal Judge Richard D. Bennett presided at his sentencing hearing.

He chastised government prosecutors. He called it "unconscionable" charging Drake with crimes potentially calling for 35 years in prison only to drop them on the eve of trial.

He refused to impose a fine. Drake's defense devastated him financially. He lost his six-figure NSA job and pension.

Perhaps he inspired Edward Snowden's revelations. He's an activist against lawless surveillance state practices.

Last September, he called NSA spying too systemically out-of-control to fix. The only solution is shutting it down and starting over.

He should have included everything ongoing politically. It's unprincipled. It's lawless. It's corrupted. It's too broken to fix. 

The only solution is turning a page. It's making a clean sweep. It's cleaning house. It's starting over. Nothing else can work.

Radack is on the frontline for justice. She's a Yale Law School grad. She's a former Justice Department ethics advisor. She practiced constitutional tort law.

She gained prominence from John Walker Lindh's case. He was captured in Afghanistan. He was persecuted unjustly. He was outrageously called the "American Taliban." 

He was brutally tortured and abused. He was falsely accused of treason. He was victimized by post-9/11 hysteria. His case was the first prominent terrorism-related one. He was Bush "Detainee 001."

His trial was a travesty of justice. He was guilty by accusation. In 2002, he got 20 years without the possibility of parole. 

With good behavior, it could be three less. It depends entirely on the political climate at the time. 

America's fast track toward full-blown tyranny isn't encouraging. Lindh and many other political prisoners may stay buried in prison hell interminably. 

Obama can detain anyone on his say alone. He can hold them indefinitely with or without charges. 

Innocence is no defense. Police states operate this way. America is by far the worst.

Lindh, Bradley (Chelsea) Manning and many others like them bear testimony to US ruthlessness. It's worse than ever now. It shows no signs of improving.

Radack chronicled her whistleblowing connection to Lindh in her memoir titled "TRAITOR: The Whistleblower and the 'American Taliban.' "

She exposed Bush administration wrongdoing in his case. He was horrendously treated. He was brutally interrogated without legal counsel. 

Justice Department officials suppressed important information. Attorney General John Ashcroft made false and misleading public statements.

Whistleblowing got Radack targeted. She was harassed. She experienced it at DOJ and subsequent private employment.

She was put on a No-Fly "Selectee" list. She remained on from 2003 through 2009. She endured unjustifiable/harassing security scrutiny.

She uses lessons drawn from her ordeal to help others. Lindh's mistreatment was a "harbinger" for what followed, she explained.

It included institutionalizing torture as official policy. Radack was the first post-9/11 whistleblower raising alarms. She exposed outrageous Bush administration wrongdoing.

"I am the Department of Justice attorney who blew the whistle on the government misconduct in the case of John Walker Lindh, the 'American Taliban."

She said so in Chapter 1 of her book. She's a leading whistleblower champion. "I don't wear the label 'whistleblower' comfortably," she said.

"Why should I get some special moniker for doing what I would have done anyway," she asked? Others like her call it "doing their jobs."

It's as simple as knowing right from wrong. It's how civil servants should behave. Just societies demand no less.

Whistleblowers should be honored. They deserve praise, not retaliatory targeting. Happy outcomes aren't typical, said Radack.

"(F)or every success story" like Daniel Ellsberg, "there are a hundred stories of professional martyrdom," she explained.

"Mine is one of them," she added. She represents Edward Snowden. She's in the line of fire. 

She was detained at London's Heathrow Airport. She was interrogated about trips to Russia, Julian Assange, Bradley (Chelsea) Manning and Snowden.

She was asked why she went to Russia twice in three months. She spoke to Firedoglake's Kevin Gosztola.

A Border Force agent harassed her. She faced "very hostile questioning." She was asked why she was there. "To see friends," she said.

She was asked to identify them. They're members of a group called Sam Adams Associates. They're former CIA officers.

They're intelligence professionals for integrity. Annually they present the Sam Adams Award. It's named after Samuel A. Adams. He was a Vietnam War era CIA whistleblower. 

Past recipients include Coleen Rowley, Katherine Gun, Sibel Edmonds, Craig Murray, Samuel Provance, Andrew Wilkie, Frank Grevil, Larry Wilkerson, Julian Assange, Thomas Drake, Thomas Fingar, Edward Snowden, Bradley (Chelsea) Manning and Radack.

She was asked where she planned to meet friends she came to see. "At the Ecuadorian Embassy," she said.

It's where Julian Assange remains a political refugee. Ecuador granted him asylum. He faces lawless extradition to America. 

Obama wants him prosecuted. He wants him imprisoned longterm like Manning. He wants another message sent potential whistleblowers. 

He wants them warned about being declared enemies of the state. He wants them told they'd receive harsh treatment.

Throughout his tenure, he waged war on freedom. Truth-telling and dissent increasingly aren't tolerated.

Whistleblowers are called threats to national security. Obama targeted more of them than all his predecessors combined.

Candidate Obama promised transparency, accountability and "change (to) believe in." President Obama delivered business as usual and then some.

Police state lawlessness defines his administration. So does waging war on humanity worldwide. He's gone all-out to defend the indefensible. 

Americans have never been less safe. Doing the right thing is risky. Anyone trying becomes vulnerable. 

Radack knows what whistleblowers face. She was "stone face cold" during Heathrow Airport interrogation. 

She was asked if she represents Snowden. "Yes, "I'm a human rights lawyer," she said.

Her interrogator "barked" questions. His demeanor was "threatening." Radack was told she's on an "inhibited persons list." It's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) terminology.

A DHS document states: 

" ‘Inhibited status’, as defined in this rule, means the status of a passenger or non-traveling individual to whom TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has instructed a covered aircraft operator or a covered airport operator not to issue a boarding pass or to provide access to the sterile area."

Radack later responded to her mistreatment, saying "(t)he government, whether in the US, UK, or elsewhere does not have the authority to monitor, harass or intimidate lawyers for representing unpopular clients."

It's standard American practice. It warns attorneys about steering clear of defendants Washington wants convicted. Otherwise they're vulnerable.

Pastor Martin Niemoller recounted how Nazis came for communists, socialists, trade unionists, and Jews. 

Each time, he didn't speak out. He wasn't among those targeted. "Then they came for me," he said. "(T)here was no one left to speak" on his behalf.

Now they're coming after lawyers. They're doing it in America. Representing unpopular clients leaves them vulnerable.

Imagine targeting anyone for doing the right thing. Imagine spying on them lawlessly. Imagine ruthlessly harassing them. 

Imagine violating attorney/client confidentiality. Imagine rule of law principles no longer applying. Imagine defending the indefensible. 

Radack quoted former White House speechwriter Jerome Doolittle on Bush administration DOJ officials targeting her, saying:

"There is something primordial about Team Bush's reaction to dissent, something reptilian."

"They're like the gila monster, its jaws holding their poisonous grip even after its head is severed."

Radack added: "If the Bush administration was primordial, the Obama administration is downright pathological..."

She felt obligated to tell her story. She felt a "moral imperative" to do so. She had many "pent-up things to say."

If white, well-educated, "comfortably middle-class" US lawyers can lose freedom, what chance have people of color, Muslims, immigrants, or others most disadvantaged.

Howard Zinn said "you can't be neutral on a moving train...You cannot be neutral on the crucial issues of our time."

Doing so means accepting the unacceptable. Late in life he said:

"Wherever any kind of injustice has been overturned, it's been because people acted as citizens, and not as politicians. They didn't just moan." 

"They worked, they acted, they organized, they rioted if necessary to bring their situation to the attention of people in power. And that's what we have to do today."

"(T)he emperor has no clothes," said Radack. "(E)xpos(ing) the nakedness of government policies should be applauded, not annihilated." 

On 9/11, her "life-altering" journey began. "The years immediately following" what happened "were the most difficult of (her) life..."

At the same time, she deepened her commitment for human and civil rights. She promised to use her "voice to try to prevent" anyone with something important to say from being silenced.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it radiate where most needed.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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Human Rights Day 2013

Human Rights Day 2013

by Stephen Lendman

In 1950, the UN proclaimed December 10 Human Rights Day. It did so to affirm the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the UDHR drafting committee. Seventeen other political, cultural and religious figures joined her. She said:

"We must show by our behavior that we believe in equality and justice and that our religion teaches faith and love and charity to our fellow men." 

"Here is where each of us has a job to do that must be done at home, because we can lose the battle on the soil of the United States just as surely as we can lose it in any one of the countries of the world." 

In September 1948, its first draft was completed. Over 50 member states were involved. 

On December 10, 1948, UN Resolution 217 A (III) adopted UNHR. No members dissented. Eight abstained. Despite emerging Cold War tensions, common ground was found.

UNHR's 30 articles pledged "to promote respect for (fundamental human) rights and freedoms...both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction."

It called "the inherent dignity (and) equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."

World War II atrocities inspired UNHR. The UN Charter's Preamble vowed never again. "(S)av(ing) succeeding generations from the scourge of war" was prioritized.

So was "reaffirm(ing) faith in fundamental human rights," "assur(ing) (respect for) justice and international law," and "promot(ing) social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom."

Since 1945, the UN failed dismally on all counts. Multiple global wars persist. Rule of law principles don't matter. Human rights are consistently ignored. Democracy is more illusion than reality.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is a US-installed imperial stooge. Disingenuously he said "let us intensify our efforts to fulfill our collective responsibility to promote and protects the rights and dignity of all people everywhere."

Throughout his tenure, he irresponsibly spurned them. He ignores what he's mandated to uphold. He one-sidedly backs wealth and power interests. Popular ones went begging on his watch. They still do.

He's done nothing to help long-suffering Palestinians. He turns a blind eye to horrific Israeli human rights violations. He does so consistently. He does it repeatedly. 

He shames the high office he holds. He's in league with rogue powers. So are other senior UN officials.

On December 6, 2011, Haaretz editors headlined "Human rights in Israel are in jeopardy," saying:

"Israel ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." It spurns them consistently. It pays lip service to what it abhors. It shows in how occupied Palestinians are treated.

Israel's longstanding Human Rights Record is deplorable. On December 9, the Jerusalem Post headlined "ACRI annual report slams human rights problem with Israeli Arabs, migrants." 

Ahead of Human Rights Day, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) reviewed major 2013 trends. 

They reflect horrific treatment of "weaker sectors of society, discrimination against Israeli Arabs, (as well as) African migrants and" nonviolent protesters.

Violations include "rolling back subsidies for young children and the elderly, cutting off the supply of water to people who could not afford timely payments and the elimination of public housing."

Racist attacks increased. Workplace discrimination is widespread. Knesset legislation institutionalized repressive practices.

High Court rulings were circumvented. Ruling authorities consistently ignore them. Arab citizens and African migrants endure horrific abuses.

ACRI CEO Hagai Elad said:

"The annual report is a reminder of how much more work there is to do to improve the defense of the rights of the sons and daughters of Israel.”

"(W)ith our joint efforts, we hold in our hands the power to change the situation, not only to be those who raise (attention) to harming rights, but also to be the generators of change."

Elad also said "(o)ccupation will never be consistent with human rights." It reflects the worst of racist repression.

Militarized occupation is ruthless. On December 9, Addameer headlined "International Human Rights Day…Palestinian People's Suffering Continues."

This year "coincides with" Oslo's 20th anniversary. Palestinians got nothing in return for renouncing armed struggle.

Settler numbers tripled from 200,000 in September 1993 to well over 600,000 now. Israel wants permanent occupation legitimacy. 

Sovereign Palestinian freedom is denied. Peace in our time is more illusion than reality.

"...Human Rights comes this year while the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is continuously deteriorating, and the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the rules international human rights law derived from it, and international humanitarian law are violated," said Addameer.

"This year may be considered the worst at the level of the catastrophic deterioration of the Palestinian human rights situation resulting from" virtually daily Israeli crimes against humanity.

They include multiple daily home invasions, mass arrests, abusing young children like adults, targeted assassinations, kidnappings, torture, land theft, violent ethnic cleansing, calling Palestinian self-defense terrorism, and committing slow-motion genocide against 1.7 million Gazans.

World leaders able to make a difference turn a blind eye.

"Today, it is disgraceful that Palestinians have (to keep) struggl(ing) for freedom and self-determination (and must beg) for their rights to life, food, health care and living conditions that preserve their dignity, while their natural right to freedom and enjoyment of all civil and political rights as well as their cultural, social and economic rights continue to be denied," said Addameer.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) addressed this year's Human Rights Day commemoration.

It comes when Occupied Palestinian conditions keep deteriorating. Israel consistently violates core international humanitarian law principles.

It controls about 60% of stolen Palestinian land. Militarized occupation is ruthless. Palestinians are increasingly isolated in ghettoized bantustans.

Ethnic cleansing continues daily. International protection is entirely absent. Palestinians aren't sure each day if they'll see another.

Palestine is an isolated prison. Besieged Gaza is the world's largest open-air one. An entire population is being suffocated out of existence.

Palestinians endure virtually every type human rights abuse imaginable. They endure it multiple times daily. They endure it horrifically. 

They sustain what no people anywhere should have to suffer. They do it isolated on their own virtually out of sight and mind. At the same time, sham peace talks continue.

Israeli-style peace is none at all. It's ruthless militarized occupation. It masquerades as self-defense.

Israeli historian Ilan Pappe believes Palestinians "don't have the luxury to wait" for Israel to change. It's been hardline for 65 years. It's more ruthless than ever now.

It's "more chauvinistic, ethnocentric (and) intransigent," said Pappe. Peaceful conflict resolution remains a distant hope. It's a present day illusion.

Waiting for Israel to change exacts an enormous price. Ignoring Israeli crimes assures increasing them. Stopping what's ongoing more than ever is urgent.

A "powerful model of (outside) pressure" is needed, said Pappe. It won't come from leaders able to make a difference. It's up to civil society. Initiatives like BDS are important.

Much more is needed. Sustaining it is vital. So is increasing it. Doing it globally. Attracting growing numbers of Jews. Including Israelis for long denied justice.

It's not easy. It takes time. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. The more the better. Big Truths repeated enough attract growing numbers of adherents.

Doing so represent steps one and two for change. The power of overwhelming popular sentiment works.

Politicians most want reelection. Spurning constituent wishes risks defeat. Pappe believes reality on the ground in Palestine reflects a one-state solution, not two.

"Five minutes on the ground shows you that the one state is already there," he says.

"It's a non-democratic apartheid regime." It's vital to change it. "You need to think about how to change the relations between the communities, how to affect the power structure in place."

How to transform an Israeli apartheid state into one nation with equal rights for all its people matters most. No other solution works.

On Human Rights Day 2013, that message should resonate. It's a core issue to support. 

It's perhaps the best chance for conflict resolution. Maybe the only one. Continuing decades of repression assures none.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour


http://www.dailycensored.com/peace-without-occupation/

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Israeli Persecution of Human Rights Lawyer Anas Barghouti


Israeli Persecution of Human Rights Lawyer Anas Barghouti

by Stephen Lendman

Barghouti is a prominent human rights lawyer/defender. Israel targeted him for his activism. More on him below.

In its 2013 World Report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said:

"Serious (Israeli) violations of international human rights and humanitarian law continued in 2012 in Israel and in the West Bank and Gaza."

Israel continues to impose "severe restrictions on Palestinians' right to freedom of movement, continued to build unlawful settlements in occupied territory, and arbitrarily detained Palestinians, including children and peaceful protesters."

Israel "impede(s) the rebuilding of Gaza's devastated economy by blocking virtually all exports from Gaza" as well as greatly restricting imports. 

"Israel has also barred Gaza residents from traveling to the West Bank. Israel's use of lethal force against Palestinians close to Israel’s border with Gaza deprived them of access to 35 percent of Gaza’s farmland and 85 percent of its fishing waters."

"Israeli authorities took inadequate action against Israeli settlers who injured Palestinians and destroyed or damaged Palestinian mosques, homes, olive trees, cars, and other property. As of September 31, the UN reported 247 such attacks in 2012."  

"Settlement building and discriminatory home demolitions" continue.

"Israel maintained onerous restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank, including checkpoints, closure obstacles, and the separation barrier."

"Bedouin citizens of Israel who live in 'unrecognized' villages suffered discriminatory home demolitions on the basis that their homes were built illegally." 

"Israeli authorities continued to arrest children suspected of criminal offenses, usually stone-throwing, in their homes at night, at gunpoint, question them without a family member or a lawyer present, and coerce them to sign confessions in Hebrew, which they did not understand."

In its 2013 Annual Report, Amnesty International discussed similar Israeli crimes against humanity.

In its latest Annual Report covering 2012, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) documented ongoing Israeli "systematic violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law."

Israel wouldn't have dared violate these rights so egregiously "had the international community not consistently" turned a blind eye to its worst crimes.

Failure to enforce accountability encourages Israel to commit more crimes with impunity. It does so against nonviolent Palestinian men, women, children, the elderly, disabled and ill.

It does it multiple ways. It's ongoing daily. It violates fundamental international laws including:

  • the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols;

  • the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;

  • the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles;

  • the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Additional Protocols

  • the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;

  • the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and

  • the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Israel's legal system denies Palestinians justice. Guilt by accusation is enforced. Israeli war criminals are shielded. They remain unaccountable.

Palestinians face daily violations of their right to life, security and fundamental freedoms. They face ongoing threats of arrest, detention, torture, and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Human rights defenders are targeted. Adalah promotes and defends the rights of Israeli Arab citizens. It does heroic work. 

European Jewish Congress head Moshe Kantor called it "an extremist organization on the margins of society." Its political agenda is "radical."

It aims "to change the nature of the state of Israel. (It) work(s) alongside some of the most radical elements in the region."

In 2012, Adalah founder Hassan Jabareen won the Herman Schwartz Award for Law and Social Justice as well as the Human Rights Defender Prize.

In October, PCHR director Raji Sourani won the Right Livelihood Award. It's called the Alternative Nobel Prize. It honored Sourani for "his determination to defend the principles of rule of law and human rights in extremely difficult circumstances."

Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders are vulnerable. Awards don't shield them from ruthless Israeli treatment.

Institutionalized racism defines daily life. Earlier articles discussed daily Kristallnacht in Palestine. It's mirrors some of the worst abuses Jews endured in Nazi Germany.

Life in Occupied Palestine is a daily struggle to survive. State terror is official Israeli policy. No one's safe from arrests, beatings, detention, torture and imprisonment. 

Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish in Israel's gulag. It's one of the world's worse. Praying to the wrong God is considered terrorism. 

So is wanting to live free in their own land. Israel violates the letter and spirit of the 1948 Genocide Convention. Francis Boyle calls Palestinians victims under its provisions.

Article 2 states:

"In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or inpart; 
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Boyle calls "Israel's genocide policy against the Palestinians unremitting." It's especially "intens(e)" against 1.7 million Gazans.

Crimes consistent with the definition of genocide persisted since 1948. They remain ongoing. They target Palestinians for their faith, ethnicity and activism.

Israel goes all out to crush resistance. Human rights defenders are especially vulnerable.

On September 15, Israeli soldiers unjustly arrested Barghouti. They did so at a military checkpoint between Bethlehem and Ramallah. 

Local residents call it the "container." Palestinians detained end up imprisoned. Barghouti was initially held uncharged for nine days. He was isolated on his own out of touch. He underwent brutalizing interrogation.

Colleague Randa Wahbe said "(h)e really is a human rights defender. He is well loved, and he is constantly working" privately and pro bono for Addameer since 2009.

Its web site reported his arrest. He was one of the first lawyers to defend PA-held political prisoners. He's a prominent activist. He works on behalf of Israeli-held detainees.

Addameer's Legal Unit head Mahmoud Hassan said he endured deplorable conditions at Etzion settlement interrogation center.

He was mistreated. During his first 36 hours, he got two meals mostly unfit to eat. He wasn't allowed to shower, change clothes or have personal hygiene products.

Addameer denounced his arrest and appalling treatment. Israel criminalizes human rights defenders. They're held on trumped up charges.

They're pronounced guilty by accusation. They're imprisoned for doing the right thing. They're held administratively without charge or trial.

On March 8, 1999, UN Resolution 53/144 was adopted. It took 14 years of negotiations to approve its provisions. 

It's formally titled the "Declaration of the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms."

It's commonly called the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. It codifies standards protecting them. It recognizes the importance and legitimacy of their advocacy. 

Anyone promoting and/or working to protect human rights is considered a defender. Professionals and others are included.

Rights protected include free expression, association, assembly, movement, food and water, healthcare, education, adequate housing, a proper defense and to provide one, as well as many others.

Nations are legally bound to observe all Declaration provisions. They're required to protect human rights defenders from violence, retaliation, and intimidation resulting from their work.

UN Fact Sheet No. 29 is titled "Human Rights Defenders: Protecting the Right to Defend Human Rights."

It was prepared to support human rights defenders. It addresses state authorities, national and international NGOs, UN personnel, major private sector elements, the general public, as well as human rights defenders themselves.

It says "everyone has a responsibility to promote and protect human rights." It encourages more people to do so.

On October 24, Amnesty International UK (AI) headlined "Israel must drop charges against Palestinian lawyer Anas Barghouti."

He was detained on two charges:

  • belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; and

  • leading a committee to organize demonstrations. 

He denied both charges. He faces 18 months in prison if convicted. It's usually rubber-stamp. On October 23, an Ofer Military Court judge ordered him released on bail.

He called confessions obtained from other detainees no proof Barghouti was a security threat.

On October 8, National Lawyers Guild President-Elect Azadeh Shahshahani wrote Israel and the State Department. She did so calling for Barghouti's unconditional release.

Letters were sent ahead of his Ofer court hearing. Charges relate to his legitimate human rights advocacy.

AI's Middle East/North Africa Program director Philip Luther said:

"The release of Anas Barghouti is positive news, but he should have never been detained and charged in the first place."

"It is unacceptable for Israeli authorities to continue to prosecute activists because of their peaceful work in defense of human rights." 

"This release should be a first step towards the authorities ending their harassment of Palestinian human rights defenders."

If convicted, AI intends to name him a prisoner of conscience. It cites his advocacy on behalf of prisoners and the "peaceful expression of his political views."

On December 11, 2012, Israeli forces targeted Addameer and two other Palestinian NGOs. They stormed their offices. They ransacked them.

They seized laptops, desktops, hard drives, video cameras, legal files, photos and other personal property.

They did so hours after the conclusion of the 64th Human Rights Day anniversary. It's commemorated annually on December 10.

Addameer's been subjected to numerous previous raids. In October 2012, its researcher Ayman Nasser was targeted. He was violently arrested and detained. He was tortured during interrogation.

Abdullatif Ghaith is Addameer's chairman/co-founder. He's effectively imprisoned. Israel greatly restricts his movements. He's prohibited from entering the West Bank. In response he said:

"A military order from the head of Israeli forces in the West Bank said I constitute a threat to the safety of Israeli soldiers and security, therefore I'm forbidden from entering or being inside any of the areas they call 'Judea and Samaria.' "

He's denied permission to travel abroad. He's the only one he "ever heard of getting five bans in a row and for this long a period of time," he said.

These measures are "illegal under international law, and I think they're not particularly against me but against the entire Palestinian community and our human rights in general," he added.

Israel imprisoned Gaith 10 times. Its gulag "became a second home for me and all Palestinians," he explained.

Addameer is targeted for its activism. It supports the rights of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners. It works tirelessly on their behalf. It documents their abusive treatment.

Gaith is confined to East Jerusalem's Shuafat area. It's about 12 miles from Addameer's Ramallah office.

"Despite the circumstances that prevent me from leaving Jerusalem or Israel, I won't run out of thoughts or ideas, and this order will not keep me from working on" behalf of prisoners' issues," Ghaith stressed.

Amnesty International called Barghouti's arrest "part of a pattern of harassment by the Israeli authorities of Palestinian human rights organisations and activists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, with individuals suffering arbitrary detentions, restrictions on movement, and raids of homes and offices."

Israel ruthlessly targets independent journalists, human rights activists and defenders. Gaith, Nasser and Barghouti are three among many others affected. 

Police states operate this way. Israel is one of the world's most ruthless.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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WASHINGTON - March 26 - On Sunday, March 24 human rights activists throughout the United States began a seven day fast and series of actions in solidarity with the men currently on hunger strike at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Dozens of men, according to detainee lawyers, are entering their seventh week of a hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention and a new wave of alleged abuses. The U.S. Navy now reports that three hunger strikers have been hospitalized and that ten are being force fed — a practice condemned by human rights organizations and used in efforts to “break” prior hunger strikes at Guantanamo. Attorneys also report that some hunger strikers have lost consciousness and are experiencing severe drops in body weight.

Already, Witness Against Torture (WAT) has demonstrated in locations large and small —from New York City, to Chicago, to Perrysburg, Ohio. At least 80 people nationwide are participating in the fast, with more joining each day. Activists are also writing letters to the detainees and reaching out to the White House, U.S. Southern Command and the Department of Defense with newly urgent calls that the notorious prison close.

In New York City on Sunday, Witness Against Torture created dramatic images in front of the Times Square military recruiting station, juxtaposing the iconic orange clad, black hooded figures with the advertisements for the Navy and Marines.

“It is tragic,” says New York City WAT organizer Jeremy Varon, “that the men at Guantanamo should have to risk death through hunger to protest the denial of their basic rights. The hunger strike signals the colossal failure of the Obama administration, which promised to close Guantanamo, and of Congress, which has placed enormous barriers to ever shuttering the prison. If the hunger strikers start dying, we know where the blame for their deaths lies.”

In Chicago, protestors gathered on Sunday in front of President Obama's private home, reading the names of all 166 men still held at Guantanamo. Pat Bronte, an attorney for several detainees in Guantanamo, told the protesters how much it means to them to know that Americans are standing with them in their pursuit of justice.

Chicago’s Jerica Arents, a teacher at DePaul University, says, “Participating in the fast serves as a physical reminder to me that there are men languishing in Guantanamo, refusing food because it is the only means they have to protest their indefinite detention.”

“More than four years after President Obama promised to close Guantanamo,” says WAT organizer Frida Berrigan, “the U.S. government is investing tens of millions of new dollars in the prison facility. I can understand why the detained men feel so helpless about ever leaving Guantanamo and being reunited with their families. We have not forgotten them, and continue our struggle to close the prison.”

Actions in New York, Illinois, California, Connecticut, Ohio, and other locations will continue throughout the week and can be viewed at www.witnesstorture.org/events/

166 men remain imprisoned at Guantanamo. 86 have been cleared for release. All are subject to indefinite detention and held at a cost to U.S taxpayers of $800,000 per year per man.

Human rights watchdogs turn blind eye on Gitmo hunger strikers

Published time: March 19, 2013 07:18
This image reviewed by the US military shows a member of the military asking for enterance at the front gate of "Camp Five" and "Camp Six" detention facility of the Joint Detention Group at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, January 19, 2012. (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

Despite the prisoners' hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay being acknowledged by the US military, there has so far been little reaction from the international humanitarian organizations to the action, which enters its 42nd day on Tuesday.

The United Nations has yet to acknowledge or comment upon the Gitmo hunger strike. RT has reached out to UN human rights bodies in Geneva and officials have promised to respond to the inquiry with a comment by Tuesday afternoon.

The only international organization to respond to what’s going on in Guantanamo is the Red Cross, which visited the island prison from February 18 to 23. It acknowledged that a hunger strike was really taking place, but so far all the organization has done is release a statement saying that “The ICRC believes past and current tensions at Guantanamo to be the direct result of the uncertainty faced by detainees.

Military censorship makes it quite difficult to access any information about Gitmo prisoners. It was the attorneys for the detainees that first expressed urgency and grave concern over the life-threatening mass hunger strike that reportedly started in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility on February 6.

According to the Center for Constitutional Rights 130 prisoners went on a hunger strike to protest the alleged confiscation of personal items such as photos and mail and the alleged sacrilegious handling of their Korans.

Prison spokesman Navy Capt. Robert Durand, however, acknowledged only 21 inmates to be on hunger strike. He also denied all allegations of prisoners being mistreated.

Even if not for mistreatment and abuse, prisoners could have started the strike just to draw attention to their being kept in Guantanamo, with the US refusing to repatriate them, despite some being cleared for release.

There are 166 people at Guantanamo. Of those there are probably 20 guys who are bad guys… like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The other people... more than half of them - 86 of them have been cleared at least for three years and some during the Bush administration - cleared as innocent people. And they are still there and they are frustrated,” says Thomas Wilner, a lawyer, who used to represent some of the Guantanamo detainees in court.

According to Durand, none of the inmates on hunger strike is in immediate health danger.

Lawyers for the prisoners believe otherwise. They have reported some of their clients had weight loss of up to or more than 20 pounds (8kg) and have been hospitalized. Medical experts say that by day 45, hunger strikers can experience potential blindness and partial hearing loss.

The Center for Constitutional Rights and habeas counsel have sent a letter to US Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, urging him “to address this growing crisis at Guantánamo before another man dies at the prison, this time under his watch. The hunger strike should be a wake-up call for the Obama Administration, which cannot continue to ignore the human cost of Guantánamo and put off closing the prison any longer.”

Meanwhile, JTF-GTMO announced that flights to the island prison from South Florida will be terminated on April 5. The step is seen by the prisoners’ attorneys as an attempt by the Defense Department to limit access to their clients.

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Iran slams UN human rights report

The Iranian Judiciary’s Human Rights Committee (HRC) has dismissed a recent report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, saying the report aims at intensifying pressure on the Islamic Republic.

This report has been drafted under the influence of certain hostile Western governments to mount psychological and propaganda pressure on Iran and lacks legal credibility, read a Tuesday statement issued by the committee.

In his fourth report in late February, Shaheed once again accused Iran of ‘violations of human rights.’

The report indicates that taking advantage of the weak and flawed structure of the UN for illegitimate and political purposes such as spreading Islamophobia and promoting Western-Zionist unilateralism are still on agenda in the West.

The HRC expressed regret that the UN investigator has failed to even mention the US-led unilateral sanctions against the Iranian nation.

The statement went on to ask if this meaningful silence of the UN rapporteur can be interpreted as consent to the violation of the rights of all Iranians that have been the main target of the illegal sanctions.


The statement added that any reliable report must ensure a transparent, impartial, and logical methodology.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has a transparent constitution, comprehensive laws and a valuable civil framework that will not be distorted by such propagandist tactics under the title of "reporting on human rights" and through abusing the international media, the statement concluded.

On June 17, 2011, the UN Human Rights Council, under pressure from the United States and its allies, named former Maldivian Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed as its human rights investigator on Iran.

YH/MA/HJL

‘Human rights a tool in West’s hands’

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“While we (Iran) can spell out a large number of human rights concepts in a religious context, the West is incapable of undertaking such a task despite its liberal ideologies,” Amoli Larijani said in the northeastern Iranian city of Gorgan on Thursday.

He added that Western media outlets seek to silence Iran’s voice on human rights, dismissing West’s claims of human rights as “inhumane.”

Iran's Judiciary chief criticized West’s sweet talk on human rights, stressing that certain Western countries cannot tolerate Iranian satellite television networks to make their voice heard, and violate the international law by taking the channels off the air.

Amoli Larijani also pointed to the instrumental use of the human rights issue by the hegemonic powers, saying all aspects of this colonial onslaught have to be brought into the light.

“Westerners, who repeatedly emphasize on civil liberties, deprive other countries of the right to vote (in international bodies) and then accuse those states of human rights violation,” the senior Iranian official argued.

MP/SS

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Land Grabs and Human Rights Violations Exposed in LIberia Ahead of Global Development Summit

MONROVIA, LIBERIA - February 1 - Palm oil companies are grabbing more than 1.5 million acres of land in Liberia and are violating human rights of local communities, warn Liberian NGOs including Friends of the Earth Liberia (SDI - Sustainable Development Institute), Save My Future Foundation (SAMFU) and Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development (SESDev).

On the eve of a United Nations meeting in Liberia, that will discuss a new global development framework, Friends of the Earth International is backing the local NGOs’ demands - including renegotiation of contracts for land concessions and a reassessment of the Liberian agricultural development strategy on which these concessions are based. [1] [2]

Malaysian palm oil giant Sime Darby and Indonesian Golden Veloreum have entered into long term land leases with the Liberian Government. Investigations into Sime Darby’s operations reveal that communities located in the areas allocated to the company had little warning or consultation of this land grab. Many of the inhabitants, especially women, say they have lost their farms and food sources, livelihoods, as well as culturally sacred sites to oil palm plantations. [3] [4]

An analysis of the contracts between the Liberian Government and the Asian companies demonstrates they are likely to be violating several Human Rights conventions ratified by Liberia. [5]

“Giving away land for large scale plantations is hailed as promoting the economic recovery of Liberia but in reality these plantations undermine Liberia’s basic food security and cause poverty when livelihoods are lost. Therefore allowing these plantations contradicts the Liberian Government’s own policies on reducing poverty and preventing hunger”, says SDI campaigner Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor.

“Allocating large swathes of fertile agricultural land to foreign companies for several decades will push people further into poverty, as local income generating activities are curtailed and peoples’ earning capacities become limited”, he adds

Civil society organisations are also concerned about large scale conversion of primary and secondary forest to palm oil plantations as Sime Darby expands into Gbarpolu county. They are demanding a halt to any further planting and further deforestation and environmental degradation in any of the concession areas.

“Forests have environmental benefits and provide multiple livelihood sources for the people, which they have now lost. Employment from the plantations is insecure; low- paid and does not contribute to sustaining livelihoods in the long term. Instead, local communities want the Liberian government and the palm oil companies to recognise their ownership of community land”, says SAMFU campaigner Robert Nyahn.

The UN High Level panel meeting in Monrovia brings together political leaders from around the world, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, to discuss development goals especially in Africa. Friends of the Earth Liberia will be present at this meeting to question the suitability of large scale land concessions as a development strategy in Liberia.

Sime Darby claims that it upholds international human rights standards and voluntary guidelines such as the UN Global Compact of which the company is a signatory. However, in its operations in Liberia, Sime Darby is violating several principles of the Global Compact as well as OECD Guidelines for Multinational Companies.


FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

Silas Kpanan'Ayoung Siakor, Campaigner, Sustainable Development Institute (Liberia) Phone: 00 35383 148 4210 (Ireland mobile) Email: [email protected]

Maarten Van Den Berg, Communications Coordinator, Friends of the Earth International, Phone: +31 20 622 1369 Email: [email protected]

Detailed press information, a fact sheet about the case and supporting documents, as well as a selection of rights free images is available online at http://www.foei.org/simedarby


NOTES TO EDITORS:

[1] In a statement released today, the three Liberian NGOs are demanding a comprehensive reform program for the agriculture sector which takes into account community livelihoods and recognizes their rights to use and benefit from community resources, to kick-start genuine development in Liberia. See statement at foei.org/simedarby

[2] Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will convene a high Level Panel meeting on 1st February to discuss global Sustainable Development Goals. See more information on the meeting at http://www.un.org/sg/management/hlppost2015.shtml

[3] A fact sheet with about the operations of Sime Darby in Liberia is online at http://www.foei.org/simedarby

[4] In November 2012, 150 affected community representatives met in Liberia to discuss the impacts of palm oil. See their statement at http://www.foei.org/simedarby

[5] A human rights-based analysis of the agricultural concession agreements between Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum and the Government of Liberia, Forest Peoples Programme 2012, available at http://www.foei.org/simedarby

UK lists Israel as human rights abuser

British Foreign Office has listed the Israeli regime’s human rights record as one"of particular concern” in its quarterly report on human rights, over the Zionist entity's brutal attack on the Gaza Strip in November and its new settlement expansion plans.

The British government’s criticism against the illegal regime follows recent warnings by the British government that the regime's illegal settlements, especially the new buildings planned in E1 area, will alienate its international allies.

Britain’s new policy turn on the regime comes despite the fact that London has always been one of Tel Aviv's staunchest allies with British Prime Minister David Cameron priding himself on being a friend of Israel.

The British listing, which puts the regime alongside 27 other countries including Bahrain, follows Tel Aviv's aggressive bombing of Gaza that left over 100 Palestinian civilians killed and another 700 wounded including many who were critically hurt.

The Israeli regime has also announced it would push ahead with the hugely controversial plans to build 3,000 new settler homes on Palestinian lands.

The report reiterated an earlier warning by British Foreign Secretary William Hague who said the illegal settlement building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem “constitutes a serious provocation and an obstacle to peace.”

This comes as British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould has also warned the Israeli regime that the continued illegal expansion of settlements was draining its so-called international support.

British Foreign Secretary had also launched a tirade on the regime on Tuesday.

"I condemn recent Israeli decisions to expand settlements. I speak regularly to Israeli leaders stressing our profound concern that Israel's settlement policy is losing it the support of the international community," Hague said.

BGH/AMR/HE

Moscow regrets US pullout from bilateral commission on human rights

RIA Novosti / Maxim Blinov

RIA Novosti / Maxim Blinov

The United States has delivered the latest setback to Russia-US relations by announcing it will no longer participate in the Russian-American Bilateral Presidential Commission on Civil Society.

­“We regret whenever a bilateral format is canceled without an appropriate substitute," presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told Interfax.

Moscow did not receive the US announcement through official diplomatic channels, but rather via news agencies.

"[The US announcement] has until now reached us verbally; we have not yet received any written official documents on Washington's decision to withdraw from this format of dialogue with Russia," Konstantin Dolgov, the Foreign Ministry's envoy on human rights, democracy and supremacy of law, told reporters on Friday.

The US decision to quit the Working Group on Civil Society of the Russian-American Bilateral Presidential Commission was announced by Thomas Melia, deputy secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, in an interview with Interfax.

Melia said the bilateral working group “is no longer an appropriate or effective forum that would facilitate the development and strengthening of civil society." At the same time, he emphasized that the United States will continue to work “in the field of human rights with the Russian government and civil society."

"We remain firmly committed to working with the Russian civil society in support of its objectives, including by further strengthening the links between the civil societies of Russia and the United States," Melia said. "The US government is prepared to be honest and open dialogue on civil society and human rights with the Russian government and Russian civil society.”

The US–Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission was inaugurated on July 6, 2009 by US President Barack Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as part of the so-called ‘reset’ in relations between the two former Cold War foes.

The declared Mission Statement of the Commission is, in part, "identifying areas of cooperation and pursuing joint projects and actions that strengthen strategic stability, international security, economic well-being, and the development of ties between the Russian and American people…"

The US announcement came on the same day that the president of the Russian International Affairs Council, Igor Ivanov, said he expects US foreign policy to be more energetic and even tough during Barack Obama's second presidential term.

“In my recent conversation with John Kerry [who is anticipated to replace Hillary Clinton as the new Secretary of State], he said that now is not the time for loud statements, but a time for specific actions," Ivanov said.

Aside from the group on civil society, the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission has a multitude of other organizations that work in various diverse fields, including agriculture, arms control, counter terrorism, military technology, health and the environment.

Robert Bridge, RT

U.N. Human Rights Expert Launches Targeted Killing Inquiry

NEW YORK - January 24 - The United Nations announced this morning the official launch of an investigation into targeted killings by the United States and other governments. The inquiry will be led by Ben Emmerson, the U.N. special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights. The results of the investigation, to be run from Geneva, will be reported to the U.N. General Assembly in the fall.

“We welcome this investigation in the hopes that global pressure will bring the U.S. back into line with international law requirements that strictly limit the use of lethal force,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. “Virtually no other country agrees with the U.S.’s claimed authority to secretly declare people enemies of the state and kill them and civilian bystanders far from any recognized battlefield. To date, there has been an abysmal lack of transparency and no accountability for the U.S. government’s ever-expanding targeted killing program.”

The ACLU is fighting a legal challenge to the U.S. targeted killing program in a lawsuit brought with the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of the families of three Americans killed in targeted killing strikes in Yemen in 2011. The ACLU is also litigating two lawsuits under the Freedom of Information Act to reveal the U.S. government’s legal rationale and other details about the program.

“We hope the U.S. cooperates with the inquiry, and whether it does or not will show whether it holds itself to the same obligation to cooperate with U.N. human rights investigations that it urges on other countries,” said Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program. “The U.S. targeted killing program is setting a dangerous precedent for other countries, which will soon have similar drone capabilities but also have less traditional respect for human rights and international law.”

More information on the ACLU’s lawsuits on targeted killing is at:
www.aclu.org/national-security/targeted-killings

The ACLU’s statement to the U.N. Human Rights Council on targeted killing is at:
www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/2012/06/aclu-clustered-id-on-expression-and-executions-continued-5th-meeting.html

Emmerson's statement from today is at:
www.aclu.org/files/assets/emmerson_statement_on_un_tk_inquiry_24.01.12.pdf

Syrian rebels burn and plunder religious sites — Human Rights Watch

Syrian rebels have looted and burned minority religious sites in Northern Syria, US-based Human Rights Watch says. The attacks highlight the increasingly sectarian nature of the conflict as the bloodshed continues unabated.

The three incidents took place in November and December of last year in religiously mixed areas.

Rebels looted two Christian churches in separate villages in the relatively peaceful western governorate of Latakia, local witnesses told the rights watchdog.

They also destroyed a Shiite ‘husseiniya’ – a religious site devoted to Hussein, a martyr in Shiite tradition – in Idlib governorate.

In all three cases, Human Rights Watch found evidence showing the attacks on the religious sites were directly connected to the areas coming under the control of the armed rebels.

After rebels took control of Jdeideh village in Latakia on December 11, a local resident told the group gunmen broke into and stole from the church, letting off multiple rounds inside which caused structural damage. Damage to the sealed-off church, including broken windows and evidence of forced entry, were observed by the group a week after the attack.

The priests’ quarters next to the church were also appropriated by rebel gunmen, who used it as a base to fire upon government forces in a neighboring village. A resident said medicine had been stolen from a clinic belonging to the church, homes had been looted and civilians were kidnapped, at times for ransom.

In the village of Ghasaniyeh, gunmen broke into another church, stealing gas and diesel fuel in late November. A cross had been left on the floor, but apart from the forced entry, no other damaged was observed.

"While the motivation for the church break-ins may have been theft rather than a religious attack, opposition fighters have a responsibility to protect religious sites in areas under their control from willful damage and theft," Human Rights Watch said.

The destruction of the Shia holy site was carried out on December 11 after rebels took control of Zarzour village.

A video published on YouTube the following day purportedly showed armed rebel celebrating the expulsion of government forces from the village as a fire rages in the Shia mosque.

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by user @syriarage showing Syrian rebels seizing the village of Zarzour on December 11 2012, where they allegedly torched the local mosque.
An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by user @syriarage showing Syrian rebels seizing the village of Zarzour on December 11 2012, where they allegedly torched the local mosque.

One rebel, identifying himself as a member of the Amr bin Ma’ad Yakrib al-Zubaydi Brigade, proclaims the "destruction of the dens of the Shiites and Rafida," a derogatory term used against the Muslim denomination.

Rebel fighters claimed government forces torched the mosque before leaving, but two local residents said anti-government forces set the fire upon seizing the town.

Human Rights Watch independently confirmed that the damage to the site had been deliberate, lending credence to the video’s authenticity. The investigators witnessed that the windows at the site had been shattered, prayer stones were strewn across the floor, religious posters had been ripped off the walls, and charred items lay in a pile on the floor, indicating “they were piled on top of one another and deliberately set on fire.”

“The destruction of religious sites is furthering sectarian fears and compounding the tragedies of the country, with tens of thousands killed,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

“Syria will lose its rich cultural and religious diversity if armed groups do not respect places of worship. Leaders on both sides should send a message that those who attack these sites will be held accountable,” she continued.

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by user @syriarage showing Syrian rebels seizing the village of Zarzour on December 11 2012, where they allegedly torched the local mosque.
An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by user @syriarage showing Syrian rebels seizing the village of Zarzour on December 11 2012, where they allegedly torched the local mosque.

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by user @syriarage showing Syrian rebels seizing the village of Zarzour on December 11 2012, where they allegedly torched the local mosque.
An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by user @syriarage showing Syrian rebels seizing the village of Zarzour on December 11 2012, where they allegedly torched the local mosque.

­

Christians in crosshairs

Multiple reports of attacks on minority religious sites have surfaced in Syria as the armed conflict to out Syrian President Bashar Assad has killed more than 60,000 people and driven over 650,000 out of the country, according to UN estimates.

The 22-month-old rebellion has taken on increasingly sectarian dimensions, as primarily Sunni Muslim rebels have battled pro-government Alawites – an offshoot of Shiite Islam – and many Christians who link their survival to that of the Assad government.

Christians have increasingly viewed the current government as a guarantor of their religious freedoms. Religious persecution faced by Egyptian and Iraqi Christians in the wake of regime change has only increased fears that religiously tolerant Syria will be transformed by Islamist elements of the opposition.

Such sentiments have put them in the crosshairs of rebel fighters.

In August, Syria’s state news agency SANA reported a massacre in nearby Jandar village which left 16 civilians, mostly Alawites and Christians, dead.

In June, at least 9,000 Christians from the western Syrian city of Qusayr neighboring Homs were reportedly forced to seek refuge after an ultimatum from a local military chief of the armed opposition.

In March, sources inside the Syrian Orthodox Church have claimed the systematic “ethnic cleansing of Christians" by the Free Syrian Army was taking place in Homs.

A letter sent to Agenzia Fides – the Vatican’s press agency – by Orthodox sources in Syria said that “Militant armed Islamists…have managed to expel 90 per cent of Christians in Homs and confiscated their homes by force.”

Agnes Mariam, a local Christian leader in Syria, told RT in September that the persecution of Christians was a reflection of how their faith had excluded them from Islamist elements within the opposition.

“The Christians have been discriminated against not because they are Christians, but because by being Christians they couldn’t participate in Islamist demonstrations. Sometimes, this led to severe violence against them. You know, we had more than 200,000 Christians that had to flee out [of Syria] because of this ambiguous position.”

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by user @syriarage showing Syrian rebels seizing the village of Zarzour on December 11 2012, where they allegedly torched the local mosque.
An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by user @syriarage showing Syrian rebels seizing the village of Zarzour on December 11 2012, where they allegedly torched the local mosque.

 An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by user @syriarage showing Syrian rebels seizing the village of Zarzour on December 11 2012, where they allegedly torched the local mosque.
An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by user @syriarage showing Syrian rebels seizing the village of Zarzour on December 11 2012, where they allegedly torched the local mosque.

Human Rights Watch, US Reject Report That Syria Used Chemical Weapons

Syria RebelsA front line, where rebels have made slow gains against the entrenched Syrian Army, in Aleppo, Syria, December 12, 2012. (Photo: Tyler Hicks / The New York Times) Employees of the advocacy group Human Rights Watch expressed skepticism Wednesday over a report that a State Department cable had concluded that the Syrian government used chemical weapons last month against rebel-held neighborhoods in the city of Homs.

The group, which has been at the forefront of documenting human rights violations perpetrated during Syria's civil war, said it had received reports of suspected chemical-weapons use in Homs but had been unable to confirm that the incident had taken place.

"I shared these with our arms experts at HRW at the time, but based on the information available to us we have not been able to confirm that the government did in fact use chemical weapons," Lama Fakih, a researcher for Human Rights Watch based in Lebanon, said in an email.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also rejected the report, saying U.S. authorities had investigated a tip that arrived in late December about a possible chemical-weapons attack in Homs but found "no credible evidence to corroborate or confirm chemical weapons."

The issue of chemical weapons in Syria's civil war is a sensitive one. President Barack Obama has said that the use of such weapons by the government of President Bashar Assad would trigger a so-far undefined American military response, and U.S. officials have used diplomatic and other channels repeatedly to warn the Syrian government not to use its chemical weapons.

The issue was raised again Tuesday, however, when a blog on the website of the journal Foreign Policy reported that a classified diplomatic cable from the U.S. consulate in Istanbul had concluded that chemical weapons had been used.

The report didn't quote the cable itself. But it said an Obama administration official who'd read the cable said an investigation by a company hired by the United States had determined that Syrian doctors in Homs had made a "strong case" that the Syrian military had deployed a chemical agent. But the story also quoted the unnamed administration official as saying that U.S. officials weren't "100 percent certain" that chemical weapons had been deployed.

Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group that tracks the fighting and casualties on both sides of Syria's war, said he was familiar with the incident the cable referred to and that he too didn't believe that chemical weapons had been involved. He noted that rebels frequently report the use of chemical weapons but that to date no such report has been confirmed.

"It's not chemical weapons, but they used some kind of gas," Abdurrahman said, noting that some of the people who'd been exposed to the gas had made full recoveries.

"If you have evidence I will report it, but I will not participate in propaganda," Abdurrahman said.

Outside groups have documented the Syrian government's use of other kinds of weapons that have been confused with chemical weapons, including incendiary cluster bombs, which cause fires that are difficult to extinguish and can cause severe burns, as well as skin and lung damage and death from inhaling the smoke they produce.

© 2013 McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. Truthout has licensed this content. It may not be reproduced by any other source and is not covered by our Creative Commons license.

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Amnesty International has a bee under its bonnet.

A human rights advocate, educator, and labor attorney, Dan Kovalik, mustered the audacity to challenge the world’s most prominent and highly regarded rights-based advocacy group. Claiming over three million members since its birth in 1961, AI is the poster child for modern “non-governmental organizations” or NGOs, the hundreds of thousands of hazy entities that play an ever-growing, influential role in international affairs.

Despite AI’s sterling reputation among middle class liberals in the English-speaking world, Kovalik was troubled by AI’s stance on the war in Libya and its role in cheer leading US and NATO involvement. After his October 23 Counterpuncharticle “Libya and the West’s Human Rights Hypocrisy” appeared, AI launched a counter attack authored by AI official, Sunjeev Bery. Bery’s response circulated widely among the AI-friendly internet community as an example of “getting it wrong” on AI’s principles and goals.

Kovalik demonstrates that he is more than capable of answering Bery in a November 8 Counterpunch response. He shows with even greater clarity how AI helped crack open the door for outside intervention in Libya and, knowingly or unknowingly (it’s hard to imagine how anyone could notknow), offered dubious but influential justification for that intervention.

AI and other advocates for a similarly narrow and myopic interpretation of human rights have a long and discreditable history of service to those on the wrong side of the struggle for justice. By ignoring material inequities, power imbalances, and class and ethnic oppressions, they dilute the question of justice to matters of individual conscience and a conservative set of negative rights. That is not to say that these concerns are wrong, but that they touch on only a corner of the concerns of the vast majority of the world’s people. In fact, they loom largest for those least touched by the ravages of predatory capitalism and its military enforcers—those in the most developed countries and those most privileged within its middle and upper strata.

When AI was founded in 1961, much of the world was engaged in an intense struggle for independence from imperialism and neo-colonialism. From Algeria to Vietnam, from the Republic of the Congo to Cuba, from the segregated deep south of the US to South Africa and the Portuguese African colonies, millions of people were committed to resolute battles for self-determination. Under the yoke of the rich and powerful, the peoples of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the ghettos and barrios of the First World were rising against their oppressors. The UN recognized this powerful movement, certified its authenticity, and attested to its legitimacy with the 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples that declared the following:  


1. The subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and co-operation.
2. All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
3. Inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence.
 4. All armed action or repressive measures of all kinds directed against dependent peoples shall cease in order to enable them to exercise peacefully and freely their right to complete independence, and the integrity of their national territory shall be respected.

Perhaps it was a coincidence, but just as these struggles took center stage, AI chose to take human rights questions in a different direction, away from the rights of subjugated people to the rights of individuals, vetted and dubbed “prisoners of conscience” by the AI establishment. By the mid-sixties, internationally recognized leaders of anti-colonial independence movements like imprisoned Nelson Mandela were ruled out as “prisoners of conscience” because they advocated armed resistance against their oppressors. At the same time, artists, writers, and other dissident intellectuals in the socialist and less developed countries seemed to be the most common candidates for AI’s attention, especially by its US and Western European affiliates.

Whether by collaboration or happenstance, the wrongs targeted by the AI leadership were readily embraced by the major capitalist media and fully congruent with the foreign policy positions of the US and its European Cold War allies. The few reports on alleged Western human rights violations gained no traction, while claims against governments in the East or South played a greater and greater role in Western diplomacy and intervention. Even AI’s founder, Peter Benenson, expressed concerns in the mid-sixties that the organization was unduly influenced by British intelligence.

In the Cold War battle of ideas, AI proved to be a great asset to the US and its allies, crafting issues that became pillars of policy and levers of negotiation. The narrow interpretation of the Final Act of the Helsinki Conference of 1975—an interpretation that elevated Article Seven over the other nine Articles and all other provisions—marked the most important collaborative victory of Western human rights organizations and Western governments in the Cold War. Most rights and social justice activists in Amnesty International’s areas of influence would be hard pressed to identify any other provision beyond the endorsement of an indistinct freedom of conscience.

Especially Article Six, the principle of non-intervention in the affairs of other governments, was neither acknowledged nor respected by Western rights groups or governments. Constructing their efforts around Article Seven, capitalist governments mounted a massive human rights offensive against socialist and anti-imperialist countries, overshadowing the national liberation, anti-nuclear, and anti-war movements of gravest concern to most of the less affluent world at that moment. Much of the credit for shaping this agenda can be laid at the doorstep of the human rights organizations. Their narrow, facile approach to social justice baited them into a calculated campaign against the tide of socialism so apparent in the mid-seventies.

Of course the positive rights of equality, education, leisure, shelter, peace, etc. were swept aside as well before the celebration of individuality and self-expression—what Marx called “…the rights of egoistic man, of man separated from other men and from the community.”

After the Cold War

With the demise of the European socialist community and the establishment of a new balance of power favorable to Western capitalist powers, imperialism further co-opted the human rights cause, contorting it into a justification for wars of aggression. With no one to advocate or enforce the rights of nations to self-determination, the US and its NATO allies cynically crafted a predatory foreign policy around protecting or promoting human rights and democracy, a policy used to justify overt armed intervention in the Balkans and the Middle East and covertly in dozens of other countries. And the Western human rights community said nothing.

Emboldened by the efficacy of the human rights cover, the US and its allies sponsored hundreds of “human rights” and “democracy” NGOs claiming to promote higher values while subverting governments hostile to US and NATO goals. Funded by USAID and other government agencies and carrying innocuous names like “Republican” and “Democratic” Institutes, they meddle in elections, foment coups, and manipulate oppositions in countries like Ukraine, Lebanon, Venezuela, and many others. Slipping into the human rights tent, these organizations exploited the Western regard for individual human rights against the rights guaranteed by the 1960 UN Declaration and other Declarations affirming the right of self-determination. And the Western human rights community said nothing.

If the leading lights in human rights circles—organizations like AI and Human Rights Watch— are to claim any moral legitimacy, they must resolutely dissociate their campaigns from those seeking to use them for predation and aggression. But they have not.

Kovalik and other critics of “humanitarian intervention” and the duplicity of human rights organizations are correct in perceiving an odor of hypocrisy. As Kovalik points out, the “even handedness” espoused by AI in regard to belligerent forces completely obscures ever-present power inequities.

Within the insular bubble of rights-based moral calculation, asymmetries of power, wealth, or development count for nothing. The rural guerrilla in sandals and armed with a rifle must respect the same etiquette of war as the foreign interloper astride a 70-ton tank. In the strange universe of the human rights industry, it doesn’t matter whether a regime’s opponents are paid by the CIA or patriotically motivated; their rights to dissent have equal legitimacy.

And the same respect for human rights is expected of a popular regime (for example, Cuba or Venezuela) under overt and covert threat from powerful foes as is expected of a country (like the US) devoid of any serious external or internal peril. One would think that a serious “human rights” organization would hail the direction of civil rights in countries like Cuba and Venezuela that have improved the health and well being of the disadvantaged in order to fully enjoy rights while condemning a country like the US that has moved dramatically toward a police state. But that is not the case. 

Nor does history extenuate the force of human rights standards as held by Western human rights organizations. Countries emerging from the civil distortions of colonial occupation, suffering the legacy of feudal social and economic relations, or holding to non-Western traditions are held to the same human rights standards by AI as the Euro-American countries that forged those standards over two centuries ago. This lack of understanding and tolerance too often reveals gross cultural and ethnic chauvinism. 

With the US and its NATO allies hijacking its principles, human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have to answer for a lot. While millions of their members honestly want to help those deserving solace, they can no longer ignore the harm that comes from the coalescence of the institutional human rights agenda and the malignant foreign policy of the US and its allies. And the naïve notion that the sins of the victim are no less grave than the sins of the bully is untenable and morally cynical.   

Zoltan Zigedy
[email protected]

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Human rights activist on trial in China

BEIJING - Hu Jia, a human rights activist and commentator, was tried in a Beijing court yesterday on charges of inciting subversion against the...

Amnesty: Human rights in Iraq ‘disastrous’

LONDON - Amnesty International on Monday said the rights situation in Iraq five years after the US-led invasion was "disastrous" and that the country...

China slams US human rights report

China on Wednesday voiced strong opposition to the US State Department's 2007 Human Rights Report that criticizes China's human rights conditions. "China is willing to...

US government misrepresent Human Rights Watch

US: Don’t Misrepresent Human Rights Watch to Justify Guantanamo Trials Contrary to US Claims, Human Rights Watch Opposes Khadr Prosecution  The US government fundamentally misrepresented Human...

Human Rights : Nico Ntumba

“  A community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest...

U.S. Commits, Lies About Human Rights Violations

Human rights violations taint almost every social sector in the U.S. By Alex Jung The Geneva conventions aren't the only humanitarian standards the United States ignores....

Human rights expert calls for Guantanamo closure

A United Nations human rights expert called on the US to put on trial or release all people detained as “unlawful enemy combatants”, move...

Hypocrite Bush hits out at tyrants and human rights abuse

Editors note: One word - Guantanamo George Bush yesterday launched a fierce attack on countries which he accused of human rights abuse. The president used a UN...

Human rights groups accuse MoD of hypocrisy over cluster bombs

· Weapon reclassified to escape ban, say critics · Unexploded munitions are threat to civilians Richard Norton-Taylor The Guardian Humanitarian organisations accuse the Ministry of Defence today of...

Britain cuts arms to Israel due to feers of Human rights violations‎

The British government has blocked almost one third of British military exports to Israel this year, citing possible threats to regional stability and fears...

Head of a human-rights org also a financier for al Qaeda

creepingsharia.wordpress.comDecember 23, 2013 The U.S. government this week said the head of a human-rights organization working...

Jordan’s human-rights watchdog reports torture

Amman- The 2008 report released Saturday by Jordan's state- funded National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR) found continued 'torture' at Jordanian jails and a...

Veterans plan ‘human shield’ to protect DAPL protesters (VIDEO)

More than 2,000 US military veterans have formed Veterans Stand for Standing Rock and plan to...

Towards a Rational Legal Philosophy of Individual Rights

Summary: I briefly describe the anthropological origin and recent statutory embodiments of human rights of individuals. I show that the modern “democratic” state moderates...

‘What Open Borders Mean for Corporations Is Really About Restricting Workers’ Rights’ – CounterSpin...

Janine Jackson interviewed Michelle Chen about Samsung’s labor and environmental abuses for the November 4, 2016, CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. Michelle Chen:...

Tory austerity ‘systematically’ violated rights of disabled Britons – UN

The United Nations has accused Britain’s Conservative government of violating the human rights of disabled...

The Human Right to Water at Standing Rock

Phil Little Thunder Sr. carries water from his home, the Rosebud Reservation, during a protest march at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation...

Globalism vs. Human Nature

The U.N. does many things that are wrong. Its setup and philosophy are fundamentally flawed, but its charter does contain some items that aim...

U.N. Rights Expert Urges Nations Not to Sign ‘Flawed’ CETA Treaty

For more information and media requests, please contact Mr. Thibaut Guillet (+41 22 917 9674 [email protected]) or write [email protected] For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: Xabier...

Santa Clara Jail inmates go on hunger strike to protest inhumane treatment

Inmates at jail facilities in Santa Clara County, California, have joined a nationwide prison strike that...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

Police Shootings Show Black Americans Still Aren't Granted Full Citizenship Rights

Last month, in a powerful moment during the nonviolent protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, following the September 20 shooting of Keith Lamont Scott...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

America Pays $300k to Force Liberalism and 'LGBT Rights' on Macedonia

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document: Apparently the...

Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders

by Adam W. Parsons / September 27th, 2016 Much has been made of the basic unfairness in how responsibility is shared between nations for ameliorating...

Human Shields as Preemptive Legal Defense for Killing Civilians

Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com Human shields have been making headlines for some time. Before the recent fray between the Islamic State of Iraq and...

Stop Playing Politics With Reproductive Rights

Young women voters have a lot to worry about this election cycle, from a flurry of anti-abortion messaging to diminishing access to reproductive services. Just...

Humanitarian Nightmare for Colombia’s Wayuu Fails to Awaken Corporate Media

A Huffington Post piece (8/2/16) called attention to the lack of media coverage of the plight of Colombia’s Wayuu people. Colombia’s Supreme Court has ordered...

Exploitative bosses, populist politicians to blame for rise in immigration raids – rights group

Immigration raids have seen a sharp rise since 2010, when current Prime Minister Theresa May...

Voting Rights for 70,000 Louisiana Felons Sought in Constitutional Challenge

Voice of the Ex-Offender (VOTE) and 8 individuals filed a class action voting rights challenge for 70,000 people in Louisiana saying they are illegally...

Off With the Bras! Sweden Legalizes Public Nudity for Humanitarian Reasons

Sweden's bungled "open doors" migration policy has left the country struggling with integration problems due to religious and cultural differences. The government's...

Israel’s Anti-terror Law Cruel and Racist, Warn Civil Rights Groups

Wearing a T-shirt, chanting songs at a demonstration or donating clothing could be enough for Israel’s large Palestinian minority to fall foul of a...

The No-Rights List

Originally published by AmmoLand.com. FPC Releases Statement on Proposed “No-Fly” and “Terror Watch-List” Laws Sacramento, CA – In response to renewed calls for a ban on firearms...

There’s Only One Human Right

Liberals will generally concede the right of every individual to his “personal liberty,” to his freedom to think, speak, write, and engage in such...

Tech Report Says Palestinian Rights Organizations Are Under Sophisticated Cyber Attack

Palestinian rights campaigners are under cyber-attack, with the key website for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement slammed by at least...

Mass surveillance bill ‘not incompatible’ with privacy rights – MPs

Bulk data collection sanctioned under Home Secretary Theresa May’s Investigatory Powers Bill is not “inherently...

NYC homeless file complaint against police for violating civil rights

The New York Police Department is under fire once again for its treatment of the city’s...

House Republican reads ‘death to gays’ Bible verse before vote on LGBT rights

A GOP congressman has called on the Bible for help with a verse condemning homosexuality –...

NATO & the Humanitarian Dismemberment of Yugoslavia

On March 24th, 1999, NATO launched its 78-day round the clock aerial assault on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia without the approval of the...

Ending Human Violence is a Task for Each of Us

Robert J. Burrowes Do you think that ending human violence is impossible? Do you believe that even aiming to do so is unrealistic? Well, you...

‘Privacy is not a privilege, it’s a fundamental human right,’ top privacy expert tells...

Britain should use targeted surveillance to tackle terrorism rather than collecting people’s private online data...

What Sanders Would Have Told AIPAC… In Which He Talked About Palestinian Rights

"To be successful, we have also got to be a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people," declared Sanders in a...

Honduran Government covers up involvement in murders of indigenous rights leaders

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Andrea Lobo Human rights and indigenous activists took to the streets of...

Is Water a Human Right?

Is access to safe, clean water a human right? It's not in the U.S. Constitution. The word water appears only once in the...

Fiji cyclone: Australian and New Zealand military mobilised for “humanitarian” relief

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Richard Phillips The Australian and New Zealand governments have utilised the devastation...

Stomping on Our Constitutional Rights

Imagine the outcry by tea party Republicans if state legislators were passing laws banning the use of video cameras in banks to capture images...

Monsanto to face tribunal at The Hague for ‘ecocide’ against humanity and the planet

An international tribunal made up of some of the world's leading environmental and human rights groups, is set to hold the world's most evil...

Inhumane conditions in privately run New Zealand prison

  By Tom Peters The National Party government announced on December 9 that it will not renew the contract for UK-based company Serco to manage Auckland’s Mount...

Amid the Hard Lessons of War, Refugee Women Learn Their Rights

(Photo: James Gordon / Flickr) Since the latest deadly attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad, the situation for refugees across the Middle East and Europe...

‘We Are in a Whole New Struggle Over the Right to Vote Now’ –...

CounterSpin interview with Ari Berman on Voting RightsJanine Jackson interviewed Ari Berman about the current assault on voting rights for the November 6 CounterSpin....

Media Turn Civilian ISIS Victims in Beirut Into Hezbollah Human Shields

New York Times headline for the Beirut bombing–corrected When civilians are killed, media reaction is often contingent upon who did the killing and why. Instead...

The TPP’s Children’s Table: Labor Rights and Currency

The concept of the children's table has moved from Thanksgiving dinner to presidential politics with the networks having a separate debate for the low-polling...

‘Rights involved in UK snoop decision’

Following reports that the British government has abandoned a citizen snooping program, speculations are emerging as to what has motivated Prime Minister David Cameron...

UN team to probe ‘grave violations’ of disabled peoples’ rights under austerity

UN representatives will visit the UK within weeks as part of an inquiry into “grave and systematic violations” of the rights of disabled people,...

Empire or Humanity?

[Note from TomDispatch editor Tom Engelhardt: Here’s how I described Howard Zinn in 2005 when I met him for a TomDispatch interview: “He's tall and...

Targeting Key Individuals, Stifling Free Speech, Arbitrary Detention, Withdrawing Rights

The Conservative party released its plan to scrap the Human Rights Act if it won the General Election. Secretary of State Chris Grayling said...

The Rise Of The Inhumanes

Paul Craig Roberts (RINF) - America’s descent into totalitarian violence is accelerating. Like the Bush regime, the Obama regime has a penchant for rewarding Justice...

‘Humanity Washes Ashore’ Goes Viral as Photos Capture Horror of War, Plight of Refugees

Jon Queally A series of heartbreaking photos showing a young boy–believed to be a refugee from Syria–washed up on the beach in Turkey after a...

‘Disability rights in UK could be violated’ by welfare reforms, UN to investigate

United Nations officials are to visit the UK to investigate whether the government’s controversial welfare reforms are committing “grave violations” of disabled peoples’ human...

Amnesty urges Britain to ‘show some humanity’ toward migrants

Amnesty International, a leading human rights group, has called on the British government to ‘show some basic humanity’ toward war migrants seeking refuge in...

Cruelty is Not a Human Right

César Chelala It is the beginning of their nightmares. Many Palestinians go to bed every night without knowing if their homes will be bulldozed during...