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

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

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

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

Why I Decide to Say “I Welcome” to Refugees

img-386349353

By Kit O’Connor, AIUSA Legislative Coordinator for Vermont

“I Welcome.” Think about that phrase for a second. It’s really the perfect thing to ponder this holiday season. How do we welcome? Who? Why? And who isn’t welcomed? Why? “I Welcome” refers to the global campaign from Amnesty International that focuses on the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. Now, more than ever, this campaign is crucial in the United States.

Stories about an increase in hate crime, the possible reintroduction of torture or the creation of a Muslim registry have my head spinning. One solution? Well-conceived, intentional action. Right now, while there are many people and organizations motivating and calling people to action, there are many Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) members taking action with our Legislative Coordinators (LCs) in individual states. I’m an LC in Vermont and, like my colleagues, I’m busy saying “I Welcome.” SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Update on Amnesty’s Post-Election Strategy and Work

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA - SEPTEMBER 06: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pauses during a campaign event September 6, 2016 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Trump participated in a discussion with retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – SEPTEMBER 06: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pauses during a campaign event September 6, 2016 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

We’ve been fighting the bad guys since 1961 – and we aren’t about to stop now.

Amnesty International is a guardian of human rights in the U.S. and around the globe. We do this by holding all human rights abusers accountable. We don’t differentiate by political party or take sides in elections. We take the side of human rights, and that’s why we won’t stand by and let President-elect Donald Trump and his administration – or anyone else – deny people their human rights and freedoms. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Posted in USA

Six Trump Proposals That Must Never Become Policy

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign stop at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa © Matt A.J.

 By Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA

In the very early hours of November 9, we voiced our grave concern about statements that President-elect Donald Trump made over the course of the election and his promises to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., build a wall on our country’s southern border, restrict access to healthcare and return to the practice of torture.

Already in the U.S. there have been reports of a spike in hate-driven actions and threats. This is not a coincidence – it is further proof that Trump’s irresponsible proposals must never become U.S. policy. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Race and the Death Penalty: “Just a Bunch of Racists”?

390763 02: A protester holds a sign up against a backdrop of palm trees during an anti-death penalty protest on the eve of the second federal execution in nearly four decades June 18,2001 in Santa Ana, CA. Juan Garza, who was sentenced to death by a judge who believes that the death penalty is morally wrong, is scheduled to die a week after the killing of Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh in Terra Haut, ID. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

At a recent public debate of California’s competing ballot initiatives on the death penalty, Paul Pfingst, a former district attorney for San Diego County and a supporter of Prop 66, spoke about the role race plays in the death penalty.

He said that race plays a role in every facet of the criminal justice system, but the notion that “the people making these decisions [about death penalty sentencing] are just a bunch of racists who don’t care about these things, is just unfair.” SEE THE REST OF THIS POST