Trump’s CIA Pick Must Disavow Torture – and Commit to Upholding the Law

By Ann Burroughs, Chair of AIUSA’s Board of Directors

Donald Trump has made it clear he wants bring back torture. “We should go much stronger than waterboarding,” he said last year, calling it “your minor form” of torture.

Now he’s picked Rep. Mike Pompeo to head the CIA – an individual who called the CIA’s program of torture and disappearing under the Bush administration “within the law” and “within the Constitution.”

We can’t let Trump bring back the CIA torture program. Trump’s pick for CIA chief must reject torture – and commit to upholding the law. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Amnesty International: Shareholder Activist

Emergildo Criollo, a leader from the Cofan tribe in Ecuador and Rita Maldonado, a Guanta community member at the demonstration outside the Chevron shareholder meeting. Behind them, an activist holds bottles of contaminated water. Photo: Amazon Watch

Emergildo Criollo, a leader from the Cofan tribe in Ecuador and Rita Maldonado, a Guanta community member at the demonstration outside the Chevron shareholder meeting. Behind them, an activist holds bottles of contaminated water. Photo: Amazon Watch

By Simon Billenness, Business and Human Rights Thematic Specialist and Paz y Miño, Andean Countries Specialist

Did you know Amnesty International USA is a long-time shareholder activist?

This week, Amnesty International USA joined the New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, in filing a shareholder resolution at Chevron Corporation. The resolution asks the company to appoint a board member with expertise in the impact on communities and the environment of its oil and gas extraction operations. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Defending Human Rights & the Trump Administration: The Front Line Moves to Washington, DC

cabinet_r3

Next month Congress will get to interview nominees for the incoming Trump administration. These cabinet nominees are important indicators as to whether his administration will be uphold and protect human rights or whether the inflammatory rhetoric from the campaign will become policy. The implications for human rights – here in the United States and internationally could not be more stark and hard as it may be to remember the incoming administration will have a huge impact globally as well as here in the United States.

So far President-elect Trump’s nominees to lead foreign policy raise more alarm than confidence. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

From Margin to Center: Sex Work Decriminalization is a Racial Justice Issue

Sex workers wait for customers in Honduras (Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images).

By Jasmine Sankofa, AIUSA Sexual and Reproductive Rights Advocate

Sex work is criminalized throughout the United States, typically as misdemeanor offenses. Similar to the way the Unites States treats and criminalizes drug use, the policing of sex work exacerbates stigma, compromises access to resources, justifies violence, and is steeped in racial disparities. Women of color, especially Black cisgender and transgender women, girls, and femmes, are particularly vulnerable. Because sex work and sex trafficking are conflated, interventions are focused on abolishing the sex industry instead of eliminating structural issues that drive exploitation. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Ohio’s proposed abortion bans would violate human rights—We must fight back!

screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-10-27-23-am

 

UPDATE SINCE LAST POSTED: 

Ohio has become the 18th state to adopt a 20-week abortion ban. Governor Kasich vetoed the 6-week abortion ban, and signed the 20-week abortion ban into law on December 13, 2016. The 20-week ban, as described below, has no exceptions for rape or incest. It also criminalizes and penalizes abortion providers who would be at risk of receiving an 18 month prison sentence for providing abortion services after 20 weeks.  

We, along with our partners, will continue to fight the unconstitutionality of bans like this, and the dangers of criminalization. 

*********************************

During the U.S. Presidential campaign, we watched in horror as public figures spoke proudly about their plans to defund Planned Parenthood. And we were witness to calls—including from then candidate/now President-elect Trump—for stricter abortion laws, even at one point calling for a total abortion ban, despite the fact that proposed restrictions and bans would put pregnant people’s lives in danger and violate international law.  One of the figures calling for stricter abortion laws was Governor Kasich of Ohio. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Why We Need to Address Gender-Based Violence, Now More Than Ever

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-11-46-34-am

By Helena Klassen, Identity and Discrimination Intern and Nicole van Huyssteen, Women’s Human Rights Thematic Specialist

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” (16 Days) campaign, originated by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL). The campaign takes on a specific theme each year, which is determined by consulting with the many international human rights groups working to end gender-based violence (GBV). By calling upon individuals and organizations around the world to take action against GBV, the 16 Days campaign has had a significant impact and great success in building support of and activism for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls for more than two decades.   SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

President Obama: Halt the Dakota Access Pipeline & Respect the Rights of Indigenous People

CANNON BALL, ND - DECEMBER 01:  Night falls on Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 1, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Native Americans and activists from around the country have been gathering at the camp for several months trying to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The proposed 1,172-mile-long pipeline would transport oil from the North Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota, Iowa and into Illinois.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CANNON BALL, ND – DECEMBER 01: Night falls on Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 1, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

I’ve been on all four of Amnesty International’s human rights observer missions to Standing Rock. What I’ve seen there and on video has deeply concerned me. Non-violent Indigenous People opposed to the Dakota Access pipeline have been met with over-militarized policing and excessive, disproportionate and unnecessary military force. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Here’s why Disability Rights must be on the Forefront of the Human Rights Movement

The CRPD helps ensure that people with disabilities won't be left on the sidelines and forgotten. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

By Janet Lord, AIUSA Board Member and Senior Fellow at Harvard Law School Project on Disability

Celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities should be accompanied by reflection for the global human rights movement. Honest reflection compels a consideration as to whether and how Amnesty International – and the human rights movement as a whole – is accommodating persons with disabilities and the disability rights agenda in its human rights work. This is especially germane in the light of the 10 year anniversary of the 2006 adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Amnesty International supports Chelsea Manning’s application to President Obama to commute her sentence to #TimeServed

chelseatimeserved-b

Thirty-five years. That is the length of prison time that Chelsea Manning was sentenced to back in 2013 for publically releasing classified information, in the hopes of starting a conversation regarding the true nature of asymmetric warfare, and the harm coming to both civilians and soldiers as a result of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was an argument she was never allowed to raise as a defense during her trial — only as a point of mitigation during her sentencing. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Education is a Human Right – That is, Unless you are Pregnant in Sierra Leone.

Anonymous school children, all girls, in front of a blackboard at an unidentified school somewhere in Sierra Leone.

Anonymous school children, all girls, in front of a blackboard at an unidentified school somewhere in Sierra Leone.

By Abby Saleh, Press intern, AIUSA

Thousands of pregnant girls are being excluded from school because of a rule issued by Sierra Leone’s government. In April of 2015, the Minister of Education, Science and Technology issued a statement banning all pregnant girls from school settings. This immediately went into action, and thousands of girls were denied access to education and were barred from taking exams. The government justified the policy as the protection of “innocent girls” from negative influences, which stigmatizes pregnant girls. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST