Explore the interactive map of suspected places of detention in Eritrea.
As the 20 year anniversary of Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia approaches, the euphoria and – one may speculate – hope, that characterized celebrations on May 24, 1993 could hardly be more incongruent with the bleak reality faced by the Eritrean people today.
The scope of repression in Eritrea is truly striking. Thousands of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners have disappeared into a vast and secret system of detention, many never to be heard from again. This system of abuse is used to silent all dissent and punish anyone who refuses to comply, including suspected critics of the government, journalists, pastors and other members of “unregistered” religious groups, those who have been caught attempting to flee the country and those forcibly returned to Eritrea from other countries.
There’s a new crisis unfolding in the Senate right now over the infamous indefinite military detention provisions in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).I know the effort to fix the NDAA seems to be never-ending, but it is crucial to take action once again, as the Senate is expected to vote tonight or tomorrow. The outcome is critical for human rights.
The problem: A new amendmentto the 2013 NDAA offered yesterday by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and supported by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is being touted in some quarters as sufficient to end concerns about indefinite detention. Unfortunately, that’s not true—and it could make things worse.
Here are 5 reasons Senators Feinstein and Paul should change their amendment to truly support human rights and civil liberties:
Click above to read the full article on Adnan Latif in our 2007 magazine
Adnan Latif died at Guantánamo on Saturday, after being held over 10 years without charge—despite a judge’s order that he be released.
Latif protested his treatment with a hunger strike and poetry; these lines were cleared by government censors and serve as a tragic reminder of the urgent need to end indefinite detention and close the prison:
“Hunger Strike Poem”
They are artists of torture,
They are artists of pain and fatigue,
They are artists of insults
Where is the world to save us
Where is the world to save us
from the fire and sadness?
Where is the world to save
the hunger strikers?
16-year-old Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi was one of three U.S. citizens killed by U.S. drone strikes in Yemen last year. Abdulrahman was eating at a restaurant with his teenage cousin when they and 5 others were torn to shreds. Abdulrahman was not accused of any crime.
This video about Abdulrahman, including photos of him as a young child and an interview with his grandfather, is hard to watch. But it tells the human story of drone killing in a way words can’t.
On April 29, Hamza Ali al-Khateeb joined hundreds of people from al-Jeeza and other villages in peaceful marches towards Dera’a, Syria. The protesters were attacked by Syrian security forces, who reportedly shot at them and arrested several hundred people.
Thirteen year oldHamza Ali al-Khateeb was one of many who went missing. He was later reported to be held by Air Force Intelligence.
On May 24, Hamza’s family received a phone call to say there was a body in the al-Jeeza Hospital morgue which they should see, and one of Hamza’s relatives went to identify his body.
The murder of Hrant Dink on a cold Istanbul street in January, 2007 sent shock waves across Turkey and around the world.
Dink, an ebullient public intellectual and journalist, was a key figure in Turkey’s dwindling Armenian community and an important activist in Turkey’s long struggle for a more liberal, tolerant society. For this, he was rewarded with state harassment, a public vilification campaign, and, finally, an assassin’s bullet.
Guest post by Erica Schommer, border immigration attorney
This May, in a police stop gone wrong, Benjamin Roldan Salinas and a companion were detained by the U.S. Forest Service for picking salal (a plant used in floral arrangements), without a license.
Because Salinas did not speak English, the Forest Service called in Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to translate. Events escalated rapidly when Salinas, in fear of being apprehended by immigration agents, ran from the agents to a nearby river.
A boys shows a US flag as President Barack Obama speaks on immigration at the Chamizal National Memorial on May 10, 2011 in El Paso, Texas. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Yesterday, without any fanfare, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Harry Reid (D-NV), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and John Kerry (D-MA) introduced the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011,” a bill that includes a legalization program and incorporates two important pieces of legislation, the Dream Act and AgJobs.
One hopes this will stop the discriminatory condemnation of immigrants by legislators all over the country. However, if the Act does not directly address the discrimination intrinsic to the whole immigration system, it may serve as a band-aid, but it won’t likely stop human rights abuses of suspected undocumented immigrants.
After World War II and the systematic murder of millions of Jews, Roma, LGBT and many others, nations and individuals recognized the need for safe refuge from persecution and genocide.
After years of discussion and negotiation, the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (the UN Refugee Convention) and later the 1967 Protocol emerged and provided a framework for protection. Most importantly, it established that no one could be returned to a country in which her/his life or freedom would be at risk.
It also placed obligations on signatories requiring they share responsibility when people flee across borders, and provide those seeking refuge with access to housing, health care and livelihood.
An immigrant stands in a holding cell at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Florence, Arizona. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images
For many months now, states all over the U.S. and the federal government have taken steps to “get tough” on undocumented immigrants of color without taking into account the fact that workers are crossing the border because U.S. employers are desperate for their labor and no visas exist to permit their entry.
Instead of spending their time tackling this reality, which if actually addressed might create a basis for the nondiscriminatory enforcement of immigration laws, legislators are instead continuing to introduce bills, such as Rep. Lamar Smith’s H.R. 1932.
These bills throw more money at detention centers and enforcement operations and ups the ante by making their imprisonment mandatory and indefinite, regardless of Supreme Court precedent finding that it’s unconstitutional.