Happy Pride!

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It’s June, and June means that we’re entering the heart of Pride season here in the United States. Around the country, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies are coming together to celebrate Pride.

At Amnesty International, we’ve launched our 2016 Pride Toolkit to help members and supporters take action at Pride events to promote LGBT human rights. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Foster v. Chatman Ruling Reverses Death Sentence on the Basis of Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection

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In a significant ruling from the Supreme Court yesterday, the Court reversed the conviction and death sentence of a Georgia man on the basis that prosecutors intentionally discriminated by excluding blacks from the jury. Timothy Foster, an 18-year old black man, was convicted by an all-white jury in 1987 of murdering an elderly white woman. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

That Time When Solitary Confinement Was Not Considered “Solitary Confinement”

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It has been more than three years now, but I can still remember the awestruck feeling I had in January 2013 while observing Chelsea Manning’s court-martial proceedings for the unauthorized disclosure of classified military documents to Wikileaks. This thought kept pouring through my mind as I sat intently listening to Col. Lind as she read her decision: “How is solitary confinement not ‘solitary confinement’?”

On 18 May, Amnesty International, with the help of attorneys from Keker & Van Nest, LLP, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals in support of Chelsea Manning’s appeal of her sentence. While Manning’s attorneys are raising several points on appeal, Amnesty International’s brief focused on the conditions of her pre-trial detention, arguing that Judge Lind erred when finding that Manning was not subject to prolonged solitary confinement that amounted to pre-trial punishment in violation of Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

IDAHOT 2016: LGBT Human Rights Around The World

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Today, May 17, Amnesty International celebrates International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. This IDAHOT, Amnesty International condemns the ongoing discrimination, violence, and denial of fundamental human rights faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people around the world. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

It is Time for Leonard Peltier to be Freed

Amnesty has serious concerns about the fairness of Leonard Peltier's (above) trial (Photo Credit: Taro Yamasaki).

“Only one thing’s sadder than remembering you were once free, and that’s forgetting you were once free.” –Leonard Peltier

This weekend I made the 850 mile trip from the Nation’s Capitol to the sprawling Coleman Federal Correction Complex in Wildwood Florida to visit a man who has been in Federal custody for more than half of his life – Leonard Peltier. As I wound my way past barbed wire and concrete, the words above weighed heavy on my mind. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Why Gun Violence is a Human Rights Crisis

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Human rights are basic rights and freedoms that all people are entitled to regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, language, or other status.

Human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life, liberty and freedom of expression; and social, cultural and economic rights including the right to participate in culture, the right to food, and the right to work and receive an education. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

What If Eating Caused You Excruciating Pain? This Man’s Impossible Choice

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I just ate an apple. Later, I’ll try to resist the temptation to munch on crackers. I keep hearing about the importance of a “clean diet.” I think that means no crackers. Maybe carrots instead?

As I make these decisions, I can’t help but compare them to the ones this torture survivor makes every day. If he eats, he will experience excruciating pain. If he wants to avoid the excruciating pain, he cannot eat.

This man weighs about 110 pounds. I have seen him through glass, in a makeshift courtroom at Guantanamo, and he seems frail, a wisp of a person, a man broken and hardly repaired. His name is Mustafa al Hawsawi. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

CIA Torture Just Got One Step Closer to Facing Accountability

Director of Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan, December 11, 2014. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Director of Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan, December 11, 2014. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

“You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” I keep a poster up in my office with this quote from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. To me, it perfectly summarizes Amnesty International’s work of pushing back against the human rights abuses carried out in the name of national security. That’s because we’re fighting against fear and hate, which are powerful, intimidating adversaries. But recent victories have reminded me that there’s something stronger than fear and hate, and that our fight is worthwhile. We may feel sometimes as if human rights rarely win – but this time, they did. And they won big. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

President Obama Must Appoint ATF Director to Stop the Flow of Illegal Guns

US President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting with CNN's Anderson Cooper on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016. Obama announced limited measures two days ago to tackle rampant US gun violence and called on Americans to punish lawmakers who oppose more meaningful reforms.   AFP PHOTO/ NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Last month, President Obama unveiled a number of actions his administration will take to help curb the increasing number of gun violence incidents in the United States. Included in those actions are new guidelines to strengthen background checks, provide increased access to mental health care, explore gun safety technology and implement more aggressive enforcement of current laws.

One of the agencies tasked with helping to enforce those laws is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). As a bureau within the Department of Justice, the ATF plays a key role in stopping the illegal use and trafficking of firearms. This is an issue that doesn’t just impact people in the United States but also individuals around the world; for example, 70 percent of the more than 104,850 guns seized by Mexican authorities from 2009-2014 can be traced back to the United States. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST