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Tag Archives: Human Rights

Carola Rackete and Europe’s Troubling Refugee Policies

It’s been four days since Isaac, Fréderic and their friends arrived in the port of Lampedusa on board the Sea-Watch 3, captained by Carola Rackete. They can hardly believe they’re really here. The sun is setting and the temperature has become a bit more bearable as they sit on the steps of the San Gerlando church.

It is shortly after 9 p.m. on this Tuesday and they have just received a message on their smartphones: “Carola libera.” Carola is free.

The reference is to Carola Rackete, the 31-year-old German captain of the Sea-Watch 3 who has become a rival to Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini — and a figurehead for a less restrictive migration policy.

But the migrants standing in front of the church merely see her as the woman without whom none of them would have made it to Europe. They cheer when they read the news that she has been released.

“Carola Rackete saved our lives. Without her, we would all be dead,” says Fréderic Samassi, a 24-year-old from Ivory Coast. He says he spent three years in Libya, most of it behind bars, an ordeal during which he says he saw many terrible things. Now, he has reached the goal that he had imagined when he left his home in 2016: Europe.

https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/carola-rackete-and-europe-s-troubling-refugee-policies-a-1276268.html

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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in European Union

 

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Horrific pictures of drowned migrants should not distract us from the fact that far more people die on EU borders

Four years ago, I was standing by the grave of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old child who drowned when the rubber boat carrying him and his Syrian Kurdish family from Turkey to Greece was flipped over by high waves. The picture of his small body in a red shirt and black shorts lying face down on a Turkish beach with his head in the surf was supposed to have focused public attention on the hideous plight of refugees in the Mediterranean.

Alan’s grave was an ugly stone rectangle in a cemetery beside the ruins of the Kurdish city of Kobani in northern Syria which Isis had ferociously assaulted and nearly captured in a prolonged siege in 2014-15. I found the scene all the more moving because there were no flowers and Alan’s little grave was surrounded by fresh earth gouged out by a bulldozer preparing the ground for more graves.

I thought of Alan again this week when a photo was published of a father and daughter, also refugees, lying face down in muddy brown water close to the bank of the Rio Grande which they had been trying to swim to reach the United States. Like Alan and his family, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez drowned together with his 23-month-old daughter Valeria on what they hoped would be the last lap of their journey to a better life.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/drowned-migrants-border-photo-eu-deaths-mediterranean-boats-a8979731.html

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2019 in Reportages

 

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The Criminalization of Women’s Bodies Is All About Conservative Male Power

Let’s start by acknowledging that women are not things. Before we talk, like we have to, about what the attacks on abortion access mean for this anxious, awful political era, let’s establish as a ground rule that women are not vessels, or incubators, or an undifferentiated natural resource. Women are human beings whose human rights matter.

This week, 25 white men in Alabama decided otherwise. In a sadistic nationwide legislative binge against women’s basic reproductive rights. Draconian new anti-abortion measures have also won wide margins of approval in Georgia, Ohio, and Missouri. This has been coming for a long time. It’s all part of a strategic  frontal assault on women’s right to choose, a deliberate ploy to overturn  the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling upholding abortion access as a constitutional right in the United States. These laws are not about whether a fetus is a person. They are about enshrining maximalist control over the sexual autonomy of women as a foundational principle of conservative rule. They are about owning women. They are about women as things.

https://newrepublic.com/article/153942/criminalization-womens-bodies-conservative-male-power

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2019 in North America, Uncategorized

 

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Alabama’s Abortion Ban Is Tyranny of the Minority

The government of Alabama just decided that providing an abortion to a 12-year-old girl who was raped by her father is a more serious crime than raping a 12-year-old girl.

On Wednesday, Governor Kay Ivey enacted the most restrictive abortion ban in the United States. Under its provisions, performing an abortion on someone who has been pregnant for more than six weeks is a Class A felony, carrying a minimum sentence of ten years in prison, no matter how said person became pregnant. Statutory rape and incest, meanwhile, remain Class C felonies — carrying a minimum prison sentence of just over one year.

Although some putatively “moderate” Republicans like Marco Rubio believe that the state should coerce victims of rape and incest into incubating their abusers’ fetuses, the vast majority of Americans do not. A 2018 Gallup poll found that 77 percent of voters felt abortion should be legal in such circumstances during the first trimester of pregnancy (while 52 percent said it should remains so in the last three months of a pregnancy). Even Pat Robertson — the Christian-fundamentalist televangelist who blamed “the gays” for 9/11 — said this week that Alabama’s abortion ban had “gone too far.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/05/alabama-abortion-ban-heartbeat-law-rape-incest-polls-republicans.html

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2019 in North America, Uncategorized

 

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Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind

There’s an anecdote that Ruth Wilson Gilmore likes to share about being at an environmental-justice conference in Fresno in 2003. People from all over California’s Central Valley had gathered to talk about the serious environmental hazards their communities faced, mostly as a result of decades of industrial farming, conditions that still have not changed. (The air quality in the Central Valley is the worst in the nation, and one million of its residents drink tap water more poisoned than the water in Flint, Mich.) There was a “youth track” at the conference, in which children were meant to talk about their worries and then decide as a group what was most important to be done in the name of environmental justice. Gilmore, a renowned geography professor (then at University of California, Berkeley, now at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan) and an influential figure in the prison-abolition movement, was a keynote speaker.

She was preparing her talk when someone told her that the kids wanted to speak with her. She went into the room where they were gathered. The children were primarily Latino, many of them the sons and daughters of farmworkers or other people in the agriculture industry. They ranged in age, but most were middle schoolers: old enough to have strong opinions and to distrust adults. They were frowning at her with their shoulders up and their arms crossed. She didn’t know these kids, but she understood that they were against her.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/17/magazine/prison-abolition-ruth-wilson-gilmore.html

 

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2019 in North America, Reportages

 

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WWF Funds Guards Who Have Tortured And Killed People

Down the road from the crocodile ponds inside Nepal’s renowned Chitwan National Park, in a small clearing shaded by sala trees, sits a jail. Hira Chaudhary went there one summer night with boiled green maize and chicken for her husband, Shikharam, a farmer who had been locked up for two days.

Shikharam was in too much pain to swallow. He crawled toward Hira, his thin body covered in bruises, and told her through sobs that forest rangers were torturing him. “They beat him mercilessly and put saltwater in his nose and mouth,” Hira later told police.

The rangers believed that Shikharam helped his son bury a rhinoceros horn in his backyard. They couldn’t find the horn, but they threw Shikharam in their jail anyway, court documents filed by the prosecution show.

Nine days later, he was dead.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/tomwarren/wwf-world-wide-fund-nature-parks-torture-death

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2019 in Africa, Asia, Reportages

 

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Assange helped teach the people about our tarnished freedom – now we are all he has left to defend him

It finally happened – Julian Assange was dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy and arrested. It was no surprise: many signs pointed in this direction.

A week or two ago, Wikileaks predicted the arrest, and the Ecuadorian foreign ministry responded with what we now know were lies. The recent rearrest of Chelsea Manning (largely ignored by the media) was also an element in this game. Her confinement, designed to force her to divulge information about links with Wikileaks, is part of the prosecution that awaits Assange when (if) the US gets hold of him.

There were also clues in the long, slow well-orchestrated campaign of character assassination which reached the lowest level imaginable a couple of months ago with unverified rumors that the Ecuadorians wanted to get rid of him because of his bad smell and dirty clothes.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/julian-assange-extradition-us-wikileaks-google-slavoj-zizek-a8866741.html

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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The assange arrestis a WArning from History

The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in almost seven years.

That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for “democratic” societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.

But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi fascists in Trump’s Washington, in league with Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.

http://johnpilger.com/articles/the-assange-arrest-is-a-warning-from-history

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Julian Assange Suffered Severe Psychological and Physical Harm in Ecuadorian Embassy, Doctors Say

An American doctor who conducted several medical and mental health evaluations of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside Ecuador’s Embassy in London over the last two years says that she believes she was spied on and that the confidentiality of her doctor-patient relationship with Assange was violated.

Dr. Sondra Crosby, an associate professor of medicine and public health at Boston University and an expert on the physical and psychological impact of torture, has evaluated detainees held by the United States, including at its prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. She quietly began meeting with and evaluating Assange in 2017 inside the embassy where he had sought refuge.

During her last session with Assange on February 23, Crosby says that her confidential medical notes were removed when she briefly left the embassy to get food to bring back to Assange who, she wrote, “had not eaten.” The notes were taken from where she had been evaluating Assange and only later discovered in another space used by the embassy’s surveillance staff.

https://theintercept.com/2019/04/15/julian-assange-health-medical-care/

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2019 in Europe, South America

 

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The U.S. Government’s Indictment of Julian Assange Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedoms


The indictment of Julian Assange unsealed today by the Trump Justice Department poses grave threats to press freedoms, not only in the U.S. but around the world. The charging document and accompanying extradition request from the U.S. Government, used by the U.K. police to arrest Assange once Ecuador officially withdrew its asylum protection, seeks to criminalize numerous activities at the core of investigative journalism.

So much of what has been reported today about this indictment has been false. Two facts in particular have been utterly distorted by the DOJ and then misreported by numerous media organizations.

The first crucial fact about the indictment is that its key allegation – that Assange did not merely receive classified documents from Chelsea Manning but tried to help her crack a password in order to cover her tracks – is not new. It was long known by the Obama DOJ and was explicitly part of Manning’s trial, yet the Obama DOJ – not exactly renowned for being stalwart guardians of press freedoms – concluded it could not and should not prosecute Assange because indicting him would pose serious threats to press freedom. In sum, today’s indictment contains no new evidence or facts about Assange’s actions; all of it has been known for years.

https://theintercept.com/2019/04/11/the-u-s-governments-indictment-of-julian-assange-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedoms/

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2019 in North America

 

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