“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
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
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
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
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.
Still from ‘Waiting For The Guards ‘ shows simulated torture by the CIA
Too little, and much too late. CIA Director John Brennan this week declared that the CIA would refuse to engage in waterboarding in the future, even if ordered to do so.
This was the latest in a recent string of headline-grabbing proclamations from current and former U.S. officials insisting that, if faced with the dilemma between following orders or rejecting torture, they would reject torture.
As welcome as these promises are, they ring hollow. That’s because the same U.S. intelligence community was already faced with that exact dilemma, and they got it wrong. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Officials at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) are doing everything they can to jumpstart executions after over a decade without them—and with the largest death row in the country, they could fast track dozens of cases for execution.
That’s dozens of humans killed at the hands of the state. We can help stop them since the CDCR is required by law to listen to us!
Egyptian human right activist with chained hands during a protest against torture in police stations. KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
Following last week’s release of the 2016 Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Amnesty International USA conducted a review of the reports and offered an analysis of the reports.
The annual, Congressionally-mandated reports are meant to highlight abuses such as human rights defenders being killed, detained or hounded in to exile, along with draconian restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, often imposed in the name of national security.
Unfortunately, this year’s report continues the practice of using diplomatic language to understate human rights violations. The report also continues to bury some cases of abuse by failing to refer to them in the summary section of the report. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Today, Amnesty International released its annual report on the use of the death penalty worldwide. 2015 was a year of extremes – the number of executions worldwide skyrocketed, but here in the United States executions dropped to their lowest in decades. Here are 10 reasons why it’s time to abolish the death penalty now:
1. There was more than a 50% increase in 2015 executions from 2014. Amnesty confirmed 1,634 executions in 2015, 573 more than the previous year and the highest Amnesty has recorded in 25 years. That figure excludes executions in China, which likely executes more than the rest of the world combined but considers the data to be a state secret.
2. The death penalty in the United States continues to decline. 2015 saw the fewest executions in the U.S. in 24 years and the fewest death sentences in 25 years. All 28 executions in 2015 were isolated to just six states, and only three states – Texas, Missouri, and Georgia – were responsible for 85%. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
WATCH LIVE:Human Rights Implications of Protecting People on the Move in the Americas
Migration from Central America to the U.S. is not a new phenomenon, however the reasons, or push factors that are causing people to migrate or flee have changed. The Northern Triangle of Central America (“NTCA”), composed of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, is considered one of the most dangerous places on earth, which has caused unprecedented levels of migration. The United Nations High Commissioner for refugees has called this a humanitarian crisis. Many Central Americans are refugees who like Syrians, are fleeing for their lives.
A one-year-old from El Salvador clings to his mother ( John Moore/Getty Images)
While the United States has seen a record in asylum applications in recent years, Central American countries are dealing with larger migratory flows from the NTCA within their borders. According a 2014 UNHCR report, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama have had a 432% increase in asylum applications.SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Action for Human Rights. Hope for Humanity.