Category Archives: Human Rights

As ICE Raids Begin, Advocates Remind Immigrants That ‘You Have Rights’

“I can only imagine the fear our immigrant communities feel this morning.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-14-2019

Photo: ICE (Public domain)

Long-feared ICE raids began quietly over the weekend as the agency moved slowly to lead off what’s expected to be several days of actions targeting families as part of President Donald Trump’s war on immigrants.

Plans for the raids were made public on July 11. Reporting from The New York Times revealed the scope of the planned raids—targeting 10 cities and thousands of families—and President Donald Trump, in a tweet, confirmed the operation. Continue reading

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‘Embarrassing Nepotism’: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Appoints Son as Ambassador to US

One critic said that it’s “only a matter of time now before the son of Brazil’s wannabe despot has an official meeting with the daughter of America’s wannabe despot.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-12-2019

Eduardo Bolsonaro (L) joined his father, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, for a March 2019 meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House. (Photo: Eduardo Bolsonaro/Instagram)

In a move critics condemned as “embarrassing nepotism,” right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday appointed his son Eduardo to serve as ambassador to the United States.

Though the appointment still needs approval from Brazil’s Federal Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a confirmation vote by all members of the upper house, Eduardo has said he would resign from his current post in the lower house of the country’s National Congress to serve as ambassador. As Eduardo put it, according to Reuters, “If it is a mission given by the president, I would accept.” Continue reading

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US House Applauded for Approval of ‘Sweeping’ Provisions That Target Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

As part of the annual defense spending bill, lawmakers passed several amendments on PFAS, including one that would designate them “hazardous substances” under the Superfund law

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-12-2019

The U.S. House just passed several measures targeting so-called “forever chemicals” that experts warn have likely contaminated the drinking water of millions of Americans. (Photo: Bart/Flickr/cc)

Public health and environmental advocates celebrated a victory Friday as the U.S. House approved an amendment in the annual defense spending bill that would designate a class of “forever chemicals” as “hazardous substances” under the federal Superfund law.

The amendment was one of several provisions targeting toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances—collectively called PFAS—that the Democratic-controlled House passed this week as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. Continue reading

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Call to Action by Journalists, Academics Urges Americans to Use ‘All Nonviolent Means Necessary’ to Shut Down Trump Detention Camps

“From abolitionism to Standing Rock, Americans have come together time and again to defy horrific injustice. Now, as the government tries to normalize concentration camps, it is time like never before to target those responsible.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-9-2019

“Inspired by the civil rights movement, ACT-UP, and early labor struggles, we must employ every nonviolent tactic at our disposal to oppose this institutionalized criminality,” states the call to action. (Image: NoMoreConcentrationCamps.org)

A group of nearly two dozen prominent journalists, academics, and activists Tuesday called on Americans across the nation to use “any nonviolent means necessary” to force the closure of President Donald Trump’s immigrant detention facilities.

“We are calling on all people of conscience to shut down the concentration camps on the U.S.-Mexico border,” reads the call to action, which was backed by renowned linguist and dissident Noam Chomsky, environmentalist and author Naomi Klein, Intercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill, and others. Continue reading

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Fresh Demands for Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s Resignation Mount After Jeffrey Epstein Arrested for Child Sex Trafficking Charges

Acosta has long faced intense public criticism for helping Epstein secure a “sweetheart plea deal” while serving as Miami’s top federal prosecutor

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-7-2019

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta reached a deal with Jeffrey Epstein, an alleged serial child molester and associate of President Donald Trump’s, allowing Epstein to walk free. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

The arrest of financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein on federal child sex trafficking charges elicited fresh demands for the resignation of Trump Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who helped Epstein secure a “sweetheart plea deal” for previous allegations while serving as Miami’s top federal prosecutor over a decade ago.

Following news of Epstein’s arrest late Saturday, reporters, politicians, and other observers called on Acosta to immediately step down—bolstering demands that have mounted in recent months amid a legal challenge to Epstein’s deal filed by survivors. Continue reading

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Judge Releases German Rescue Ship Captain, Saying Carola Rackete Was Fulfilling ‘Her Duty to Protect Life’

“A big win for solidarity with all people on the move…and against the criminalization of helpers.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-3-2019

Carola Rackete. Photo: Sea-Watch

In a rebuke of far-right Italian leader Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigration policy, a judge on Tuesday ordered the release of Carola Rackete, the captain of a German rescue ship, who had been arrested for bringing African migrants to Italy.

Rackete should not be held in custody, Judge Alessandra Vella said, because she had simply been fulfilling “her duty to protect life.”

The captain was arrested Saturday for hitting a police boat in June when she entered the port of Lampedusa carrying 40 migrants, who she rescued off the coast of Libya with her charity organization, Sea-Watch. She had been under house arrest in Italy since then and potentially faced up to 10 years in prison before Judge Alessandra Vella’s ruling. Last year, Interior Minister Salvini ordered rescue ships to stay out of Italian ports Continue reading

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Announcing Retrial, Federal Prosecutors to Continue ‘Unconscionable Prosecution’ of Humanitarian Scott Warren for Helping Migrants

Warren says that his case has generated “a greater awareness of the humanitarian crisis in the bordlerland… and a flood of water into the desert at a time when it is most needed.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-2-2019

Scott Warren, a volunteer with the humanitarian group No More Deaths, faces up to 20 years in federal prison for providing aid to migrants in the Arizona desert. (Photo: No More Deaths/Twitter)

Federal prosecutors in Arizona announced Tuesday that they will seek a retrial in the case of humanitarian aid volunteer Scott Warren, who could face several years in prison for providing food, water, clean clothes, and beds to migrants in the desert.

The move by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona comes after Warren’s first trial ended with a hung jury last month. The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday that “Anna Wright, an assistant U.S. attorney, said in Tucson federal court that the government would dismiss one count of conspiracy to transport or shield, but that they would seek a retrial on two counts of harboring an undocumented immigrant.” Continue reading

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Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes

The three-year-old group, which has roughly 9,500 members, shared derogatory comments about Latina lawmakers who plan to visit a controversial Texas detention facility on Monday, calling them “scum buckets” and “hoes.”

By A.C. Thompson  Published 7-1-2019 by ProPublica

(Photo: Legal Loop)

 

Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas on Monday and posted a vulgar illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, according to screenshots of their postings.

In one exchange, group members responded with indifference and wisecracks to the post of a news story about a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in May while in custody at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas. One member posted a GIF of Elmo with the quote, “Oh well.” Another responded with an image and the words “If he dies, he dies.” Continue reading

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Nationwide ‘Close the Camps’ Demonstrations Announced to Protest Horrific Conditions at Trump Detention Centers

“We need to fight for immigrant families and

stop Donald Trump’s racist policies, and we can only do it together.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-29-2019

As appalling details of the conditions at immigrant detention centers in the U.S. continue to pour in—with one doctor recently comparing them to “torture facilities“—a coalition of rights groups on Friday announced nationwide “Close the Camps” demonstrations for next week to protest the Trump administration’s treatment of migrant children.

“We’ve seen the images and heard the stories coming out of child detention centers,” said MoveOn.org, one of the groups helping to organize the events, which are set to take place Tuesday, July 2. Continue reading

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On ‘Hottest Day in History of France,’ World Told ‘Do Not Look Away’ as Police Tear-Gas Climate Campaigners in Paris

“Watch this video and ask yourself,” said Greta Thunberg, “who is defending who?”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-28-2019

Activists with Extinction Rebellion pepper-sprayed by police as they occupied the Sully Bridge in Paris on Friday. (Photo: Extinction Symbol/Screenshot/via Twitter)

French riot police tear-gassed climate protesters in Paris on Friday as the county sweltered under record heat.

Activists with Extinction Rebellion (XR) were occupying a bridge over the Seine to demand the French government declare a climate emergency and take necessary action to avert planetary catastrophe.

“We need to civilly disrupt because, otherwise, nothing is going to be done,” a British woman who took part in the protest told Euronews. Continue reading

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