Category Archives: Human Rights

A Refrain of ‘Drop the Charges’ Rises as Scott Warren Faces Retrial for Giving Aid to Migrants in Need

“No one should die while attempting to migrate, and no one deserves to be punished for working to prevent those deaths.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-12-2019

No More Deaths volunteer Scott Warren faces up to 10 years behind bars for giving humanitarian aid to migrants in the desert. (Photo: Alli Jarrar/Amnesty International)

Human rights advocates and family members gathered outside a federal courthouse in Arizona on Tuesday as the retrial began for Scott Warren, who faces up to a decade behind bars for providing humanitarian aid to migrants in the Sonoran Desert.

“We are here today standing together as rural border residents in the firm belief that every life is sacred, deserving of care and dignity,” Arivaca, Arizona resident Patty Miller said on behalf of the Rural Border Community Coalition. “For those of us living on the border, to deny care to those in need would be to deny our own humanity.” Continue reading

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‘Simply Barbaric’: Trump Administration Proposes Charging Asylum Fee for Refugees Fleeing Violence and Poverty

“It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-10-2019

USCIS office in Atlanta. Photo: Gulbenk/CC

The Trump administration this coming week will formalize a proposal that could make it one of just four countries in the world that charge asylum-seekers for entry.

As the New York Times reported late Friday, the administration plans to publish in the Federal Register a proposal to require a $50 application fee for asylum-seekers as well as a $490 charge for work permits.

“It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees,” Doug Rand of the immigrant assistance company Boundless Immigration told the Times. Continue reading

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How Mike Pence’s Office Meddled in Foreign Aid to Reroute Money to Favored Christian Group

Officials at USAID warned that favoring Christian groups in Iraq could be unconstitutional and inflame religious tensions. When one colleague lost her job, they said she had been “Penced.”

By Yeganeh Torbati Published 11-7-2019 by ProPublica

Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, during the Senate’s vote on Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos. On Tuesday night, Pence returned to the chamber again to a break another tie. This time it was to make sure it’s easier in the future for financial service companies and other Wall Street darlies to make it easier to rip-off consumers. (Photo: Senate Television)

 

Last November, a top Trump appointee at the U.S. Agency for International Development wrote a candid email to colleagues about pressure from the White House to reroute Middle East aid to religious minorities, particularly Christian groups.

“Sometimes this decision will be made for us by the White House (see… Iraq! And, increasingly, Syria),” said Hallam Ferguson, a senior official in USAID’s Middle East bureau, in an email seen by ProPublica. “We need to stay ahead of this curve everywhere lest our interventions be dictated to us.” Continue reading

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Pentagon Claims US Authority to Shoot Any Syrian Govt Official Who Tries to Take Control of Syrian Oil

“This is not a new mission.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-8-2019

An M-ATV used by U.S. forces near [[Manbij]], [[Syria]], July 2018. Photo: Public domain

Pentagon officials asserted Thursday U.S. military authority over Syrian oil fields because U.S. forces are acting under the goal of “protecting Americans from terrorist activity” and would be within their rights to shoot a representative of the Syrian government who attempted to retake control over that country’s national resource.

The comments came from Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman and Navy Rear Admiral William D. Byrne Jr. during a press briefing in which the two men were asked repeatedly about the legal basis the U.S. is claiming to control Syrian oil fields. Continue reading

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‘Dystopian’: Reproductive Rights Advocates Decry California Woman’s Murder Charge Over Her Stillborn Baby

“Pregnant people being criminalized and thrown in jail because of their pregnancy outcomes is not just a warning for the future: It’s already here.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-7-2019

A woman in California was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of her stillborn baby, who had toxic levels of methamphetamine in his system. Experts caution against the criminalization of women who use drugs during pregnancy. (Photo: Mikasi/cc/flickr)

Reproductive and human rights advocates on Thursday warned that first-degree murder charges against a woman in California for the death of her stillborn baby is “the direct result” of the anti-choice movement’s push for extreme laws pitting the rights of women against those of unborn children.

Chelsea Cheyenne Becker was arrested and charged on Wednesday with murder in Hanford, California and held on $5 million bail, several weeks after giving birth to a stillborn baby. The baby was found to have toxic levels of methamphetamine in his system, suggesting to investigators that Becker had used the drug throughout her pregnancy. Continue reading

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Australian PM Morrison Pledges to Outlaw Climate Boycotts

 “A new breed of radical activism is on the march. Apocalyptic in tone,” said Morrison, an evangelical Christian and a very vocal supporter of US President Donald Trump.

By Common Dreams. Published 11-2-2019

President Donald J. Trump poses for a photo with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison following their dinner at the Imperial Hotel Osaka Thursday, June 27, 2019, Osaka, Japan. Photo: White House

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attacked environmental activists in a speech Friday, warning of a “new breed of radical activism” that was “apocalyptic in tone” and pledging to outlaw boycott campaigns that he argued could hurt the country’s mining industry.

“We are working to identify mechanisms that can successfully outlaw these indulgent and selfish practices that threaten the livelihoods of fellow Australians, especially in rural and regional areas,” Morrison said. “New threats to the future of the resources sector have emerged,” he said. “A new breed of radical activism is on the march. Apocalyptic in tone. It brooks no compromise. It’s all or nothing.” Continue reading

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‘Outrageous’ and ‘Reprehensible’: Trump Gives Taxpayer-Funded Groups Green Light to Discriminate Against LGBTQ People

“This rule is an abuse of taxpayer dollars in the name of empowering hatred and bigotry towards society’s most vulnerable members.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-1-2019

The Trump administration continued its attack on LGBTQ rights Friday with a new rule that gives federally funded programs permission to discriminate against LGBTQ people. (Photo: Ted Eytan/Flickr/cc)

From taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption agencies to programs that serve individuals struggling with substance abuse and youth homelessness, grantees of the Department of Health and Human Services got a green light from the Trump administration Friday to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

HHS awards hundreds of billions of dollars in grants annually. The department claimed that the proposed rule (pdf), which took effect immediately, “would better align its grants regulations with federal statutes, eliminating regulatory burden, including burden on the free exercise of religion.” Continue reading

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With Little Fanfare, William Barr Formally Announces Orwellian Pre-Crime Program

A recent memorandum authored by Attorney General William Barr announced a new “pre-crime” program inspired by “War on Terror” tactics and is set to be implemented next year.

By Whitney Webb. Published 10-25-2019 by MintPress News

Graphic by Claudio Cabrera

Last Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued a memorandum to all U.S. attorneys, law enforcement agencies and top ranking Justice Department officials announcing the imminent implementation of a new “national disruption and early engagement program” aimed at detecting potential mass shooters before they commit any crime.

Per the memorandum, Barr has “directed the Department [of Justice] and the FBI to lead an effort to refine our ability to identify, assess and engage potential mass shooters before they strike.” The Attorney General further described the coming initiative, slated to be implemented early next year, as “an efficient, effective and programmatic strategy to disrupt individuals who are mobilizing towards violence, by all lawful means.” More specific information about the program is set to follow the recent memorandum, according to Barr, though it is unclear if that forthcoming document will be made public. Continue reading

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‘Deeply Disturbing’: Missouri Health Director Testifies He Kept Spreadsheet of Planned Parenthood Patients’ Menstrual Periods

“Missouri politicians have gone too far. Tracking patients’ periods is government overreach at its worst and a major violation of privacy.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-29-2019

In a revelation Tuesday that Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri described as “deeply disturbing,” the state health director Dr. Randall Williams testified at an administrative commission hearing that he kept a spreadsheet to track Planned Parenthood patients’ menstrual periods.

Williams’ testimony came as part of a contentious legal battle over the Missouri Health Department’s refusal to renew the license for Planned Parenthood’s clinic in St. Louis, which is the state’s last remaining abortion care provider. Continue reading

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Trump’s Stated Plan to Loot Syria’s Oil Reserves ‘Would Be a War Crime,’ Critics Say

“He’s pulling back that curtain and just telling you the truth.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-28-2019

An oil refinery in Homs, Syria. Photo: High Contrast Wikimedia/CC

While announcing that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed over the weekend, President Donald Trump made explicit the longstanding U.S. military policy of securing oil reserves in the Middle East regardless of the human lives that are lost in the process, a number of critics said Monday.

Trump told reporters in his Sunday press conference that the U.S. is entitled to Syria’s oil following the withdrawal of troops from the northeastern region of the country bordering Turkey. The president pulled soldiers out of the area earlier this month, while deploying troops to other parts of the country to protect oil fields from ISIS. Continue reading

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