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

One Year: Deadly Force From Missouri to Minnesota

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Protestors, activists, and community members listen to speeches at a candlelight vigil held for Jamar Clark on November 20 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Protestors, activists, and community members listen to speeches at a candlelight vigil held for Jamar Clark on November 20 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

One year ago today, on the evening of November 24, 2014, I remember watching one of the most anticipated legal decisions since the O.J. Simpson verdict.  This was the night that St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the shooting of Mr. Michael Brown.

One year later, my thoughts are 550 miles away in Minneapolis, MN, dealing with another police shooting of an unarmed black man. As in Ferguson, the community is protesting the targeting of black lives and the shooting of Mr. Jamar Clark. Community members are being arrested for expressing their constitutional right to peacefully assemble while the victim is being demonized as a criminal without the opportunity to defend himself, and the officers protected from the scrutiny of the citizens that they are sworn to protect. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Make a Call to Stand up for Refugee Rights in the United States

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This is a critical moment to stand up for refugee rights in the United States. Join us and call your Senator immediately to vote NO on the upcoming bill limiting entry to the U.S. to Iraqi and Syrian refugees.

The “American SAFE Act of 2015” that passed the House Thursday, Nov 19, now moves to the Senate. This bill would add increased and unnecessary screening and barriers for Syrian and Iraqi refugees (including requiring the Secretary of Homeland security, the Head of the FBI, and the Director of National Intelligence to sign off on every individual refugee from Iraq and Syria).  If it were to become law, thousands of desperate refugees fleeing the armed group calling itself the Islamic State and other violence would pay the price.

Please, call your senator NOW. Click here to find your Senators by state. Ring both Senators to express your support for refugees and your rejection of this bill. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

4 Reasons Why Syrian Refugee Resettlement Is the Right Policy for the US

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Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Three weeks ago, two Syrian activist journalists, Ibrahim Abd al-Qader and Fares Hamadi, both refugees who had survived harassment from the Assad regime, were killed in Urfa, Turkey, presumably by ISIS. They were added to the list of more than 220,000 Syrian dead, caught between the violence of both the Assad regime and ISIS and other armed groups.

Their murders highlight the continuing dangers Syrian refugees face. These are the people we should be supporting; these are the people who are essential to keeping hope the original vision of the Syrian uprising in 2011: a vision of a Syria built on respect for human rights.  Instead, political leaders threatening to ban Syrian resettlement are threatening to shut the door on them.

Take action to end refugee-bashing here. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

One in 10 Death Row Inmates Are Veterans

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By Mark Berman via The Washington Post

One-tenth of those who currently on death row in the United States are military veterans, including some with post-traumatic stress disorder that was not factored into their sentences, according to a new report released on the eve of Veterans Day.

This report arrives as the country’s use of the death penalty is simultaneously declining and facing increased scrutiny, something that has been argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and on the presidential campaign trail this year.

While it is not known exactly how many veterans have been sentenced to death, the report released Tuesday by the Death Penalty Information Center says that about 300 of the country’s more than 3,000 death-row inmates have served in the military. Read more

This is an excerpt from a piece published by The Washington Post. Click here to read the full article

Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, Replies to Amnesty International USA Board of Directors

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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

James Clapper, U.S. Director of National Intelligence (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By Ann Burroughs and Pratap Chatterjee, Members of AIUSA Board of Directors

James Clapper, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, sent a reply to a letter from the Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) Board of Directors asking the Obama administration to conduct a review of U.S. signals intelligence practices that threaten the human rights of millions of people worldwide. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Amnesty International USA

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Last November, we decided to send our sixth delegation of organizers and human rights observers to Ferguson. In response to requests from community members, AIUSA staff and members chose to go through training, to bear witness, to stand for accountability, and to lift up the voices of community members living their human rights.

These choices reflect a commitment to live our values in a way that recognizes that local human rights abuses are global human rights challenges. Amnesty sections, structures and offices from Hong Kong to Venezuela, and from Brazil to Turkey have made important changes to bring their work closer to the ground. Part of that shift for us here has meant a commitment to working more closely with communities who are most impacted by human rights abuses here at home. And by embarking on an ambitious body of human rights work, at AIUSA we also knew we would have to examine the ways our structure and staffing reflect that same commitment. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

The Secrets Are Out on Drones

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The secrets are out. Today, The Intercept published a series of articles allegedly based on leaked documents that expose the inner workings of the lethal drone program. While we are not in a position to independently verify them, they underscore the Obama administration’s long-standing failure to bring transparency to the drones program. Here are three reasons this is such a big deal:

1. There is new evidence that aspects of the drone program may be unlawful. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Shaker Aamer Will Be Transferred Home After 13 Years in Guantanamo

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ShakerAamer

This is big news. At long last, the Obama administration has reportedly notified both Congress and the UK government that Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer will be transferred home to the UK after 13 years. Shaker’s case has for years compelled the Amnesty movement, along with many others, to call loudly for him to be transferred back to the UK. So today’s news is, to say the least, heartening. But as we celebrate, let us not forget – there is much more to be done, and not much time left to do it. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST