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Human Rights

Jerusalem’s Last Decade Of Revolt

Palestinians have led many uprisings in the history of the Zionist colonization of Palestine, from the 1936 Great Palestinian Revolt, to the First and Second intifadas, to the Unity Intifada of 2021. Yet these grand revolts are only significant in how they have encompassed all the other revolts that have preceded them. For the past ten years, I made my home in a small apartment in Shu’fat, just north of Jerusalem’s Old City, after having lived in Jerusalem for more than two decades. Shu’fat is one of only 18 small and heavily policed areas afforded to Palestinians in Jerusalem.       I can see the Al-Sahel (the meadow) area west of my balcony. Most of it remains empty, untainted by construction. Yet it is also a strange scene for a community that suffers from discriminatory restrictions in housing opportunities.

Palestinian Families Call On Biden To Cancel Embassy Plans

Two human rights groups have sent a letter calling on the Biden administration to cancel its plans to build a new US Embassy Compound in Jerusalem. The letter was sent on behalf of Palestinian families who would have inherited the land if it hadn’t been confiscated by Israel decades ago. The letter, which was written by Adalah-The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), was addressed to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides. “We write on behalf of several Palestinian heirs to this land to formally bring this information to the State Department’s attention, and to demand an immediate cessation of this plan,” it reads.

Commission Hears Landmark Case Of Killing By US Border Patrol

For the first time, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has agreed to hear an extrajudicial killing case involving violence committed by U.S. law enforcement. The Commission is a body of the Organization of American States, which includes the United States. It considers cases involving torture, massacres, extrajudicial killings and disappearances in the Americas. On May 28, 2010, Anastasio Hernández Rojas, a 42-year-old long-time San Diego resident and father of five, was crossing the border from Mexico into the United States when he was apprehended and tortured by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. He died in the hospital a few days later from his injuries. In order to cover up their crimes, the agents attempted to destroy evidence and create a false narrative that portrayed them as the victims and Hernández Rojas as the aggressor.

Bolivia Human Rights Body Alerts Of Para-State Violence

We want to denounce to international human rights organizations, to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, to United Nations Human Rights, that the campesino and union leaders in the city of Santa Cruz are being threatened, intimidated, persecuted by fascist hordes of the Pro Santa Cruz Civic Committee, by people who want to promote a rupture of the democratic order in the country. And it is in this context that we call on you to visit our country urgently, because we want to point out that the human rights of a population that opposes the indefinite strike, of a population that is crying out for work, are being completely violated. A population that is crying out to generate economic resources for their families.

Glaring Western Hypocrisy On Human Rights In Africa

On October 31st, thousands of Congolese in Goma, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu Province, protested the war of aggression waged by Rwanda and Uganda’s M23 militia, which has reportedly tightened its grip on surrounding countryside. One sign read “Rwanda and Ouganda Is Killing in DR Congo,” and Congolese activists are using the hashtag #RwandaIsKilling. Mambo Kawaya, a civil society representative, told AFP, “We denounce the hypocrisy of the international community in the face of Rwanda’s aggression.”  Nowhere is this hypocrisy more vivid than in the contrast between the US/Canadian/EU engagement in the Ethiopian and Congolese conflicts. As Ethiopia nears victory in its war with the US-backed, insurrectionist Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), huge crowds of Ethiopians have taken to the streets to protest US intervention and demand respect for Ethiopian sovereignty.

Florida Is Poised To Ban Gender-Affirming Care For Minors

On Saturday October 29, the Florida Board of Medicine voted to begin drafting rules that will ban all gender affirming care for anyone under 18. They did this based on a “medical report” written by a dentist, after refusing to let activists and experts opposed to the ban speak at the hearing while trans youth led a die-in outside. This is the latest advance of the far-right’s deadly and radical anti-trans agenda. The Florida Board of Medicine sets and regulates medical practices and medical professionals in the state of Florida. This rule would essentially ban medical professionals from providing gender affirming care unless they want to risk losing their licenses. This vote follows the DeSantis administration issuing a non-binding order to the Florida Department of Health to stop not just medical transition but also social transition for trans children.

Hunger Strikes And Criminalization Of Human Rights Defenders

In episode 45 of The Watchdog podcast, Lowkey explores the issue of life inside Israeli prisons. Currently, 30 Palestinians are on hunger strike, protesting the Israeli government’s policy of indefinitely detaining their political enemies without trial or evidence. Last week, 900 further prisoners refused their meals as a sign of solidarity. “We will continue with our struggle, knowing what awaits us of repression, abuse, isolation, confiscation of our clothes and pictures of our children, thrown into concrete cells devoid of everything, except for our bodies and our pain,” the prisoners said in a statement. The most high profile of the hunger strikers is Salah Al-Hamouri, a French-Palestinian human rights defender. Detained without charge or trial for six months, Al-Hamouri has refused all food since September 25.

Response To Biden’s Proclamation On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2022

When reading your Proclamation regarding Indigenous Peoples, for a second there was a spark of hope that this time we might be free. Then we read on and cold water was poured on that spark of hope when you continued with words that refer only to the "Tribes" your government created in the Wheeler-Howard Act of 1934. It was also called the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) and means the "tribal governments" that Act created without our consent. This is a major Human Rights violation. However, as an elder in the family of nations trying to teach your young nation, the United States (US), the essence of Human Rights, we are sending you this letter. Remember, your colonizing government is only a little over 200 years old. We have a civilization that is more than ten-thousand years old and know a few things about Human Rights.

John Kiriakou: A Depressing Journey

I had occasion to visit London and Jerusalem to meet with members of the (establishment) media, of the two respective parliaments and people from think tanks and universities.  I took this trip to talk with interested parties about a human rights case.  Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of a group called the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), is being held in solitary confinement in a prison in Nigeria.  His crime?  He gave an interview to the BBC in which he said that Nigeria’s 70 million Biafrans want a referendum on independence.  Nnamdi is a British citizen; his wife and child live in Manchester, England.  He renounced his Nigerian citizenship years ago.  In the spring of 2021, Nnamdi was in Kenya to meet with Biafrans to discuss independence from the corrupt, violent and Muslim fundamentalist government of Nigeria. 

Lessons Learnt In Iran

After the overthrow of Shah’s regime, a dictatorship installed and fully backed by the government of US, Iran has been a main target of imperialist sanctions. Although sanctions took place as a tool among a broader agenda of US aggressions against Iran — including but not limited to attempt on direct military intervention through Operation Tabas on 24 April 1980, support for military aggression of Iraq (1980-88) and providing support to terrorist acts through which thousands of innocent people were killed — however, sanctions have been used for more than 4 decades to bring immense suffering on the entire nation. A 98 page report by “Congressional Research Service” (CRS), updated on 6 April 2021, details the account of Iran sanctions.

Alabama Prisoners Organize A System-Wide Shut Down

Alabama - “The state of Alabama is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis,” begins a demand letter authored by Alabama prisoners, who on September 26 went on strike across all major correctional facilities in the State. The letter continues, “This crisis has occurred as a result of antiquated sentencing laws that led to overcrowding, numerous deaths, severe physical injury, as well as mental anguish to incarcerated individuals.” In a country where over 80% of incarcerated workers are tasked with maintaining the prison itself, either through cooking, cleaning, laundry, or other essential needs, work stoppages can mean that the entire prison system shuts down. The strike is ongoing as of September 30 according to reports from inside prison walls.

Pirate Care, A Syllabus

Alarmed that certain types of caring for people has been criminalized, a large group of Europeans assembled a course syllabus in 2019 on what they call “Pirate Care.” As the convenors of the project explained, “We live in a world where captains get arrested for saving people’s lives on the sea; where a person downloading scientific articles faces 35 years in jail; where people risk charges for bringing contraceptives to those who otherwise couldn’t get them. Folks are getting in trouble for giving food to the poor, medicine to the sick, water to the thirsty, shelter to the homeless. And yet our heroines care and disobey. They are pirates.” Hence the idea of “pirate care” – and the need to offer humanitarian or lifesaving care even if the state chooses to criminalize it. 

Statement Condemns ‘Assessment Of Human Rights Concerns’ In China

We strongly condemn the publication by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of its Assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China. In the words of former OHCHR lawyer and human rights expert Alfred de Zayas, this document “should be discarded as propagandistic, biased and methodologically flawed.” Based on substandard research methods and biased sources, the Assessment is completely lacking in credibility. It treats arms of the military-industrial complex, such as the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), along with professional anti-communists such as Adrian Zenz, as legitimate sources. Meanwhile the voices of Chinese NGOs, academics and individuals are suppressed, as are the numerous reports of diplomatic trips to Xinjiang — including by representatives of Muslim-majority countries — that have taken place in recent years.

Activist Shareholders For Smith And Wesson Embrace The Long View

The killing of seven people and wounding of 47 more in Highland Park, Illinois on July 4 was committed with a weapon made by Smith & Wesson, the world’s biggest firearms manufacturer.  So was the killing of 17 people at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Perhaps it’s no surprise that guns made by Smith & Wesson would be implicated in gun crimes, a category that reached record heights in the United States last year. Neither is it a surprise that the issue crosses U.S. borders. In a lawsuit targeting major gun manufacturers, the Mexican government cited numerous examples of Smith & Wesson rifles being smuggled over the border to criminal cartels. The company is well aware, the lawsuit says, “that its marketing would motivate and attract criminal users — including the cartels — to select and misuse its products in unlawful acts of violence.”

US Leaders Moralize About Alleged Human Rights Abuses In Russia And China To Justify Proxy Wars

Jonny, a pseudonym for a 45-year-old man currently being held in pretrial detention in Miami’s Federal Detention Center (FDC Miami), believes that prison authorities are trying to kill him. Maria, Jonny’s partner of three years, tells me in a series of interviews translated by her teenage daughter that she is also concerned for his life, given FDC Miami’s cruel mismanagement of his grave medical condition. As a pretrial detainee, Jonny’s innocent until proven guilty and protected by the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, but you wouldn’t know this from the inhumane treatment he receives at the prison. Jonny’s detention should not deprive him of life, liberty, or property without due process, and it certainly shouldn’t subject him to punishment since he has not been convicted of a crime.
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