6 Critical Human Rights Concerns Obama Should Address Tonight

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President Obama Addresses The Nation On Terrorism And San Bernardino Attacks

Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

Once more, President Obama will address the nation before the full Congress. Once more, he will lay out his plans for this year, his last in office. While it is true that his administration has helped to usher in notable progress in some areas– like the right to marry for gay and lesbian people and a dramatic increase in the number of people with access to health insurance there are still many urgent issues to be addressed when it comes to human rights for people in the U.S. and around the world, and some promises remain unfulfilled.

Tonight, we hope that the president will take this last State of the Union address to touch upon the following issues: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

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As the mother of a 9/11 victim, I want justice – not Guantanamo

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By Phyllis Rodriguez, Activist and mother of 9/11 Victim Greg Rodriguez

My son Greg was 31 years old and worked on the 103rd floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center.

I first learned he was there on the morning of September 11. But it wasn’t until 36 hours later that I learned he had perished. Through the shock and pain of my grief, I was afraid of what our government was going to do in the name of my son and my family. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Guantanamo’s Poetry: 14 Years Too Many

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Can you imagine needing to write? What if you needed to write so badly that’d you use toothpaste instead of a pen, a Styrofoam cup instead of paper, if that’s all you had?

What would it be like if this writing – this poetry – was the only way to preserve your sanity? Your humanity?

That’s how it was – how it may still be – for the prisoners at Guantánamo. As the prison enters its 15th year of operation, there are 107 people still there, and most are held without charge. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Guantánamo is entering its fifteenth year. Here are 5 people waiting for President Obama to keep his promise to close it.

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On January 11, 2016, the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay will enter its fifteenth year of existence. The “forever prison” is perhaps the most infamous icon of the human rights abuses resulting from the global war on terror. Instead of justice for the September 11 attacks, Guantánamo has given the world torture, indefinite detention and unfair trials. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

The Case of Richard Glossip

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We have ended the death penalty in two thirds of the countries around the world and in 18 states in the United States. On Wednesday, New Hampshire may make it 19 (Photo Credit: Mike Simons/Getty Images).

By Zack Michaelson, Former AIUSA Board member, 2009 – 2013.

Richard Glossip was sentenced to death in 1997 following a murder-for-hire conviction in the homicide case of motel owner Barry Van Treese in Oklahoma City. However, the only evidence used to prosecute Glossip was a questionable story told by the murderer, a former co-worker of Glossip, Justin Sneed. Sneed was spared the death penalty, receiving a sentence of life without parole, in exchange for his implicating story against Glossip. There is no evidence for Glossip’s role in the murder beyond this implicating story offered in a bargain with prosecutors. Even Justin Sneed’s daughter has filed petitions for clemency, declaring, “[she] strongly believe[s] he is an innocent man sitting on death row.” Richard Glossip has consistently maintained his innocence for nearly twenty years now. So what is the problem? SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

How has Albert Woodfox Survived 40 Years in Solitary Confinement?

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By Kristin Hulaas Sunde, Global Content Producer at Amnesty International

Albert Woodfox has spent the last 40 years alone in a tiny US prison cell. His old friend Robert King – who was also imprisoned for decades in the notorious Angola prison – tells us how Albert’s political courage and global support are keeping him going, despite the pain and isolation.

“Angola was considered the bloodiest prison in America. There was slave-like labour – people worked 17 hours a day for two and a half cents an hour. There was a lot of raping going on – the prison guards sold the younger inmates [into sexual slavery].” SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

We Need Your Help Today: Ensure this American Torture Story is Never Repeated

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It’s been exactly one year since shocking new details emerged about the CIA’s torture program. After years of investigation, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence published a report – known as “the torture report” – that contained more than 6,000 pages.

Now this landmark report on torture is in danger of being buried – and we need your help. Call the Justice Department today.

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The Beauty and Ugliness of Guantanamo

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This week I traveled to Guantanamo naval station, on the southeastern tip of Cuba, to observe the military commission proceedings. So far, the thing that surprises me most about Guantanamo is how beautiful it is.

On the beaches here, stones crackle like fireworks as the waves recede over them. Green hills are dotted with yellow flowers. The breeze is the kind that gently stirs your appetite, or tempts you to nap in the shade.

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After Paris: Don’t Sacrifice Human Rights in the Name of Security

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By Dana Gallaty, Security with Human Rights Action Network

amnestyIt is concerning, though unsurprising, that some U.S. lawmakers’ and politicians’ initial reactions to the horrific attacks in Paris earlier this month were to respond to one set of human rights abuses by threatening another.

Last month, Donald Trump suggested American Muslims should be tracked and forced to carry identification cards denoting their religious beliefs. That statement—and the din of anti-Muslim fear-mongering on mainstream media right now— echo the anti-Semitism that preceded atrocities committed during World War II against Jews in Europe. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Much to Be Thankful For

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By Meredith Reese, Missouri State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator (SDPAC)

It had been twenty-two years, seven months, twenty-two days and countless hours since Reggie Clemons was sentenced to death until, on November 24, 2015, the Missouri Supreme Court threw out not only his sentence but also his murder conviction in its entirety. They sent the case back to the state, who has sixty days to decide whether to retry the case. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST