Category Archives: Human Rights

Watch: Devastating New ‘Land of the Free’ Music Video Decries Violence and Cruelty of Trump’s America

Set to a short film by Spike Lee, The Killers take on Trump’s wall, tear-gassing of asylum-seekers, mass incarceration, and gun violence

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-15-2019

Filmmaker Spike Lee spent a few weeks in 2018 documenting migrants’ experiences at the U.S.-Mexico border for The Killers’ “Land of the Free” music video, over which he reportedly was given full creative control. (Photo: YouTube/screenshot)

In a powerful indictment of cruelty across the United States, The Killers’ new song “Land of the Free”—released Monday with a devastating music video directed by Spike Lee—decries President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, the dehumanization and abuse of asylum-seekers, mass incarceration, institutional racism, and the nation’s refusal to address the epidemic of mass shootings and gun violence.

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Merkley Calls for FBI Perjury Probe into Homeland Secretary Nielsen After Child Detention Memo Leaked

“Merkley deserves a ton of credit for his leadership here. This is good, honest,

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-18-2019

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., Jan. 16, 2018. Photo: DHS/flickr

After releasing a damning draft memo that showed the Trump administration planned to “traumatize” migrant children with family separations and expedite deportation by denying asylum hearings, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on Friday called for an FBI investigation into whether Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen lied when she testified before Congress about the policy.

In a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the senator noted that “compelling new evidence has emerged revealing that high-level Department of Homeland Security officials were secretly and actively developing a new policy and legal framework for separating families as far back as December 2017.” Continue reading

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The ‘Shameful’ Answer to #WheresMitch? Not Ending Shutdown, But Voting on Extremist Anti-Choice Bill

“If Senator McConnell is able to push through an anti-abortion bill to score political points, he surely should be able to schedule a vote on the House of Representatives’ bills to reopen the government.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-17-2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to hold a vote in recent weeks on bills that would reopen the government, but on Thursday called a vote on a extreme anti-choice bill. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr

Freshman members of Congress and others who have been demanding to know the whereabouts of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in recent days got their answer on Thursday, as McConnell held a Senate vote not on whether to reopen the government, but on a bill that would restrict abortion rights for low-income women.

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (S.109) would have permanently restricted federal funds from going to abortion care, codifying the Hyde Amendment so the Senate doesn’t have to pass it—as it has since 1976—in annual appropriations bills.The legislation would have also banned abortion care in federally funded medical facilities and barred healthcare plans subsidized under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from covering abortions. Continue reading

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As Corporate Power Threatens Americans’ Right to Water, Groups Offer UN Body List of Issues to Raise With US

“Civil and political rights must encompass the human right to water, which is increasingly under threat by corporations that seek to use and abuse our water supplies for profit.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-14-2019

“The more we learn about various issues affecting the human right to water in the U.S., including millions of residents having their water shut off because they can’t pay their bills, the more there is to be deeply concerned about,” said Maude Barlow, board chair of Food & Water Watch. (Photo: Detroit Water Brigade)

When it comes to ensuring the human right to clean water, the United States has a long way to go.

That’s the thrust of a new letter (pdf) to the United Nations Human Rights Committee as the body gets ready to review how the U.S. is faring in its implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a treaty seen as part of the “International Bill of Human Rights.” Continue reading

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‘Not a Good Answer’: Privacy Advocates Reject Democratic Proposal for ‘Technological Wall’ With Expanded Border Surveillance

“‘More surveillance’ has become the default answer to far too many difficult policy questions.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-11-2019

A U.S. surveillance tower seen from Nogales, Mexico, near the wall that runs between Mexico and the United States. (Photo: Jonathan McIntosh/Flickr/cc)

Progressives in recent weeks have applauded Democrats’ refusal to bend to President Donald Trump’s demands for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, a key component of his xenophobic anti-immigration agenda. But on Friday, digital rights advocates called on Democratic lawmakers to expand their fight against the wall into a fight for all human and constitutional rights—instead of suggesting alternative “border security” proposals that would infringe on civil liberties.

Fight for the Future launched a campaign Friday to fight against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) suggestion on Thursday that a so-called “technological wall” would be an appropriate alternative to Trump’s planned concrete or steel wall. Continue reading

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United States Doesn’t Even Make Top 20 on Global Democracy Index

Nation classified “flawed democracy”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-11-2019

Statue of Liberty through the morning fog from the Staten Island Ferry. (Photo: Brian Angell/flickr/cc)

A new index released this week offers a sobering look at how democracy is faring in the United States.

According to the 2018 edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, the U.S. doesn’t even make the list of top 20—its demonstrably “flawed democracy” notching it the 25th spot.

The ranking is based on 60 indicators spanning five interrelated categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Each category gets a 0-10 score, with the final score being the average of those five. Continue reading

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Mike Pompeo’s Cairo Speech Denounced as Ahistorical ‘Imperial Hogwash’

“An arrogant tirade extolling the U.S. as a liberator not an occupier, a defender not an aggressor—a depiction that runs totally counter to the sordid U.S. history of invasions and occupations all over the world.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-10-2019

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressing students at the American University in Cairo on Thursday. Photo:@SecPompeo/Twitter

speech delivered by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Cairo, Egypt on Thursday was immediately chided by critics as bellicose and ahistorical “hogwash” that did more to reveal the incoherence and dangers of the Trump administration’s foreign policy than anything else.

In his remarks, Pompeo said while Trump remains committed to withdrawing all U.S. troops from Syria, the administration would not rest until “every last Iranian boot” was also removed from the country. The U.S. government, he added, will “not ease our campaign to stop Iran’s malevolent influence and actions against this region and the world.” Continue reading

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Demanding Trump and McConnell #StopTheShutdown, Dozens of Unions to Rally for Struggling Federal Workers

Protest plans come as concerns mount about impacts of the ongoing government shutdown, including on food stamps and Medicare

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-9-2019

Photo: Geek Stop

As the partial government shutdown entered its 19th day on Wednesday—well on its way to becoming the longest in U.S. history—dozens of unions are planning a rally in
Washington, D.C., adding to mounting pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to stand up to President Donald Trump, who is refusing to back a budget bill without $5.7 billion in funding for his “ridiculous” border wall.

Announcing the rally at AFL-CIO’s D.C. headquarters, which is scheduled to kick of at noon local time on Thursday, organizers said the union-led event was planned “to protest the continuing shutdown and resulting furloughs that are financially hurting 800,000 federal employees and families.” Speakers will included furloughed federal employees, union leaders, and members of Congress. Continue reading

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‘Shameful Day for Canada’: First Nations Encampment Violently Raided, Land Protectors Arrested

“Is this a normal way to respond to Indigenous people who are peacefully protecting their drinking water from fracking pipelines?”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-8-2019

Reacting to footage of the “invasion” by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on Monday, author and activist Naomi Klein said it was “a shameful day for Canada, which has marketed itself as a progressive leader on climate and Indigenous rights.” (Photo: Michael Toledano/@M_Tol)

More than 50 protests have been planned for across the globe on Tuesday in solidarity with a First Nations group fighting against the construction of TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink through unceded Wet’suwet’en territory, with the number of protests rising overnight after Canadian police broke down a checkpoint gate erected by Indigenous land protectors and arrested more than a dozen people.


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U.S. to Investigate Discrimination Against Native American Students on Montana Reservation

The Education Department said it will look into a long-standing complaint of racial inequities in Wolf Point schools after The New York Times and ProPublica wrote a story about the issue.

By Annie Waldman, ProPublica, and Erica L. GreenThe New York Times. Published 1-4-2019 by ProPublica

This article is a collaboration between ProPublica and The New York Times.

A year and a half after receiving a detailed complaint from tribal leaders, the U.S. Department of Education plans to investigate their allegations that the Wolf Point School District in Montana discriminates against Native American students.

In a Dec. 28 letter, sent hours after The New York Times and ProPublica published an investigation into racial inequities in the school district, the department’s Office for Civil Rights notified the lawyer representing the tribal executive board of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation that it would look into the complaint. The board includes members of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes. Continue reading

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