Minneapolis, Minnesota - United Nations human rights investigators visited six U.S. cities that have been in the spotlight in recent years for police-involved killings of African Americans. The Minnesota visit comes after Twin Cities based activists organized petitions and letters to get the human rights panel to include Minneapolis in its tour. On May 2, the Urban League in North Minneapolis hosted two United Nations’ (UN) panelists and a room full of members of the Twin Cities Black American and African communities, along with the press, for a community listening session. At least 80 people were in attendance.
The United Nations officially expressed concern over recent reports of the US government spying on its top officials, including Secretary General António Guterres, and attempting to interfere in their work. The statement came from UN Secretary General’s official spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric on Tuesday, April 18. Dujarric said that the “UN officially expressed to the host country its concern regarding recent reports that the communications of the secretary general and other senior UN officials have been the subject of surveillance and interference by the US government.” He also asserted that the said US actions violate its obligations to the UN Charter and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN.
The United States and South Korea have been stirring up the situation on the Korean peninsula to an “extremely dangerous level,” with threatening rhetoric and a military demonstration targeting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea), DPRK’s Vice Foreign Minister Kim Son-gyong said. In a statement published on the website of the national media aggregator KCNA, the senior official drew attention to the aerial exercises carried out by Washington and Seoul in the Yellow Sea on March 3, which included equipment such as the B-1B strategic bomber and the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned attack aircraft.
Each year, in the last weeks of September, the world’s leaders gather in New York City to speak at the podium of the United Nations General Assembly. The speeches can usually be forecasted well in advance, either tired articulations of values that do not get acted upon or belligerent voices that threaten war in an institution built to prevent war. However, every once in a while, a speech shines through, a voice emanates from the chamber and echoes around the world for its clarity and sincerity. This year, that voice belongs to Colombia’s recently inaugurated president, Gustavo Petro, whose brief remarks distilled with poetic precision the problems in our world and the cascading crises of social distress, the addiction to money and power, the climate catastrophe and environmental destruction.
The Haitian people in struggle were greatly surprised and stunned, when they learned that you have broadcast, on channel France 24, with regard to their current just and legitimate protest movement, a set of false information that is prone to confusion, criminalization, discredit their struggle for a sovereign Haiti, just, livable. Contrary to your assertions, these popular protests are part of a struggle for a Haiti free from suffocating foreign interference, gangsterization, this extreme manufactured misery and an anti-national, illegitimate, criminal political regime established by the Core Group of which the UN is a member. This puppet political regime, operating under the dictation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has just stabbed the people by the decision to increase by more than one hundred percent (128%) the price of petroleum products, which have already suffered, in less than a year, a vertiginous increase that has led to the doubling and tripling in some cases of the prices of basic necessities and others.
Nicaragua’s Sandinista government used its platform at the United Nations General Assembly to call for a global rebellion against the “imperialist and capitalist system” that is “bleeding the world dry.” “It is time to say enough to the hypocritical imperialism that politicizes, falsifies, and denigrates human rights, that they themselves violate and deny every day,” declared Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada. “Imperialism and its coercive actions are anti-life, in all spheres, and because of this, they are contrary to international law,” he added. In his September 26 UN speech, Moncada proclaimed, “A better, just, multipolar world” is “already being built, and we are here to keep creating it, and to defend it.”
In a blatant violation of international law and its 1947 hosting agreement, the US government has blocked numerous countries from participating in events at the UN headquarters in New York City. The Biden administration is banning Russian diplomats, while the Trump administration illegally prohibited top officials from Venezuela and Iran. Reuters reported on September 2 that Russia has filed a formal complaint with the United Nations, after the US government has “been constantly refusing to grant entry visas” to Russian diplomats to participate in events at the UN headquarters, Moscow’s ambassador said.
By Amantha Perera for IPS - COLOMBO Sri Lanka , Dec 21 2015 (IPS) - Details of a secret detention center, where serious human rights abuses took place, deep inside the sprawling Tricomalee Naval base in the east of Sri Lanka are slowly emerging. The site is nothing new to those who were held there. In June this year the South Africa-based International Truth and Justice Project, Sri Lanka (ITJPSL) launched a 134-page report on on-going human rights violations and past cases in Sri Lanka. The report titled An Unfinished War: Torture and Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka 2009-2014 said. They knew they were being held there, but their family members or others concerned about their state knew nothing of where they were held.
Mass surveillance of the internet by intelligence agencies is “corrosive of online privacy” and threatens to undermine international law, according to a report to the United Nations general assembly. The critical study by Ben Emmerson QC, the UN’s special rapporteur on counter-terrorism, released on Wednesday is a response to revelations by the whistleblower Edward Snowden about the extent of monitoring carried out by GCHQ in the UK and the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US. Emmerson’s study poses a direct challenge to the claims of both governments that their bulk surveillance programs, which the barrister finds endanger the privacy of “literally every internet user,” are proportionate to the terrorist threat and robustly constrained by law. To combat the danger, Emmerson endorses the ability of Internet users to mount legal challenges to bulk surveillance.
A United Nations panel reviewing the U.S. record on racial discrimination has expressed unusually pointed concern over a new pattern of laws it warns is criminalising homelessness. U.S. homelessness has increased substantially in the aftermath of the financial downturn, and with a disproportionate impact on minorities. Yet in many places officials have responded by cracking down on activities such as sleeping or even eating in public, while simultaneously defunding social services. The new rebuke comes from a panel of experts reviewing the United States’ progress in implementing its obligations under a treaty known as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, commonly referred to as CERD or the race convention. “The Committee is concerned at the high number of homeless persons, who are disproportionately from racial and ethnic minorities,” the CERD panel stated in a formal report released on Friday, “and at the criminalization of homelessness through laws that prohibit activities such as loitering, camping, begging, and lying in public spaces.” This was only the second time that the United States’ record on race relations and discriminatory practices, and particularly the federal government’s actions in this regard, have been formally examined against the measuring stick of international law.
The New York Times and Bloomberg News got a look at a draft of a new UN report on climate change. It’s bleak, to say the least. From the Times: Runaway growth on the emission of greenhouse gases is swamping all political efforts to deal with the problem, raising the risk of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” over the coming decades, according to a draft of a major new United Nations report. Global warming is already cutting grain production by several percentage points, the report found, and that could grow much worse if emissions continue unchecked. Higher seas, devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate extremes are also being felt around the world as a result of human emissions, the draft report said, and those problems are likely to intensify unless the gases are brought under control. The world may already be nearing a temperature at which the loss of the vast ice sheet covering Greenland would become inevitable, the report said. The actual melting would then take centuries, but it would be unstoppable and could result in a sea level rise of 23 feet, with additional increases from other sources like melting Antarctic ice, potentially flooding the world’s major cities.
Deputy State Duma speaker Sergey Neverov has called for various international organizations to create a joint group to assess the US authorities’ handling of the ongoing protest in the town of Ferguson. Neverov, who also chairs the majority United Russia caucus in the Lower House, has told reporters that the international community must not remain indifferent to the crisis situation in the United States – the country that presents itself as a model for democracy. “The events in Missouri have demonstrated that the United States have serious problems based on racial discrimination,” Neverov noted in a comment to the Russian daily Izvestia. The politician said that United Russia wanted to set up a special commission manned with representatives of the UN, PACE and other international groups that would make contact with participants of the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and investigate the lawfulness of the actions of US authorities and law enforcers. Neverov added that the chairman of the Lower House committee for international relations MP Aleksei Pushkov (United Russia) could head the Russian part of the international commission.
Earth is dying. Earth is not just coming down with a cold. Earth is not just suffering a nightmare from which we all can and will suddenly wake up. Our planet is dying. Nothing short of drastic and fundamental change can save her. 2015—Our last chance? The Alliance for Global Justice believes that it is the US Empire and transnational global capitalism that has brought our Mother Earth to the brink of ecological collapse. Sure, there have been other stressors in human history, but nothing in our past compares with the wholesale threats that have emerged as a result of this most powerful and destructive of empires. Resource wars are fought to open up land, minerals, oil and water to private access and development with little if any concern for ecosystems or the communities that live in them. The one-two punch of global capitalism and the war machine that protects and advances it are killing us all. While we support all meaningful reforms and broad demands for climate justice, we believe that no solution will be durable that does not include a worldwide effort to dismantle Empire. We also believe that we are running out of time by the seconds. It’s not just wild eyed radicals and religious fundamentalists that are saying “the end is coming soon”. Some of the most sobering pronouncements and predictions are coming from quite mainstream voices.
As outraged residents of Ferguson, Missouri continue to protest a police shooting that left unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown dead, Ron Davis – the father of another slain black teen in Jacksonville, Florida – is aiming to shame the United States before the United Nations for what he says are murders committed with impunity against young black men. Davis' bid comes amid efforts in Ferguson to build a more-than-a-century-old civil rights movement in response to Brown's killing that community leaders say never took hold in the Greater St. Louis area. At the 85th meeting of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday and Thursday, Davis hopes to pressure Washington to bolster efforts to stop the phenomenon of what he and the United States Human Rights Network (USHRN), the NGO backing him, call “the criminalization of race” in America. The U.S. will be forced at the meeting to answer questions from Davis and the international community in what the American Civil Liberties Union told the press Wednesday was a singular opportunity to hold Washington accountable.