Category Archives: Human Rights

As Rich Countries Shield Pharma Monopolies, Just 0.2% of Covid Vaccine Doses Have Gone to Poor Nations

“We need the cooperation of the whole world and the elimination of all the barriers to the production and distribution of vaccines.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-11-2021

Graphic: Our World in Data/CC

The head of the World Health Organization estimated in a recent address that of the more than 700 million coronavirus vaccine doses that have been administered across the globe, just 0.2% have gone to people in low-income nations—inequity that experts warn will persist unless rich countries end their obstruction of an international effort to suspend vaccine patents.

Speaking to the media on Friday, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus warned that “there remains a shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines” as pharmaceutical companies cling to their monopoly control over technology that was developed with large infusions of public money. Continue reading

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As Activists’ Hunger Strike Reaches Day 13, Calls Mount for Biden to End US Complicity in Starvation of Yemen

“My pain cannot amount to that of Yemenis under siege,” said one hunger striker. “I am starving, but I am not being starved. I am suffering, but I can choose to end that suffering.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-10-2021

Photo: Joe Catron/Twitter

A hunger strike launched by Detroit-based anti-war activists in protest of the Saudi-led blockade of Yemen entered its 13th day on Saturday as calls grow for President Joe Biden to end all U.S. support for the kingdom’s deadly restrictions, which are preventing food, medicine, fuel, and other aid from reaching starving Yemenis.

Iman Saleh, a 26-year-old Yemeni American taking part in the hunger strike, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Friday that “the siege against Yemen not only has had a crippling effect on everyday life, but it is also compounding the ongoing conflict in the country, causing damage that exceeds even the violence itself in both scale and intensity.” Continue reading

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Global Just Recovery Gathering Kicks Off to Harness ‘Collective People Power’ and Create a ‘Better Future for All’

The event is being called “an invitation for us all to build a movement that is massive and that shakes the foundations of power and money and greed that seem to hold all the cards right now.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-9-2021

Organizers circulated a promotional image for the Global Just Recovery Gathering. (Image: 350.org)

A three-day event called the Global Just Recovery Gathering kicked off Friday and is aimed at being “a space to design new pathways for a better future for all.”

“There is nothing we can’t achieve if we pool our collective people power together, and create the forces of change necessary for a just recovery for all,” organizers declare.

The free and virtual event, scheduled with time zones around the world in mind,
features 200 interactive sessions and high-profile progressives including Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, Greta Thunberg, and Nnimmo Bassey. Continue reading

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Dozens of House Dems and Progressive Groups Push Biden to Curb Militarization of Police

“It is absurd that the Pentagon has so much funding they can send their ‘excess’ weaponry to police departments around the country. We need to demilitarize our police and defund the Pentagon now.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-7-2021

A SWAT vehicle, Fulton County Sheriff. Photo: Pinterest

Backed by more than 50 progressive advocacy groups, dozens of House Democrats are urging President Joe Biden to issue an executive order to prevent the transfer of military-grade weaponry from the Pentagon to federal, tribal, state, and local police departments.

In a letter (pdf) sent to the White House on Tuesday afternoon, 29 lawmakers, led by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), argue that taking executive action to reform the Defense Department’s 1033 program “is a reasonable step towards demilitarizing our police forces while preserving the safety of our communities.” Continue reading

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America gets a D+ for school infrastructure – but federal COVID relief could pay for many repairs

Money from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan could go toward much-needed improvements to crumbling public school buildings. Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Michael Addonizio, Wayne State University

Many kids are attending public schools this spring with the use of COVID-19 safety protocols, including more desk spacing, more frequent cleaning and mandates to wear masks.

But far too many of the school buildings themselves remain dilapidated, toxic and in desperate need of structural improvements.

On average, U.S. public schools are more than 50 years old – and by and large they are not being properly maintained, updated or replaced. The American Society of Civil Engineers graded America’s public K-12 infrastructure a D+ in their 2021 Infrastructure Report Card, the same abysmal grade as in their prior 2017 report.

But help may finally be on the way. Continue reading

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‘Critical First Step’ But ‘Long Overdue’: Biden Repeals Trump Sanctions on the ICC

“Trump’s sanctions set a dangerous precedent for attacks on victims, lawyers, human rights advocates, and courts.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-2-2021

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda speaking at the Oslo Forum in 2014. Photo: Stine Merethe Eid/CC

Progressives in Congress and human rights organizations on Friday welcomed the Biden administration’s repeal of sanctions on the International Criminal Court imposed under former President Donald Trump in a bid to pressure the Hague-based tribunal to not investigate alleged U.S. and Israeli crimes.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in a statement that President Joe Biden revoked Trump’s Executive Order 13928, “ending the threat and imposition of economic sanctions and visa restrictions in connection with the court.” Continue reading

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As Biden Ramps Up Detention Capacity, Group Warns Contaminated Military Bases ‘Are No Place’ for Kids

“Immigrant children under the care of the federal government should not be in cages, let alone toxic sites in military bases,” an Earthjustice attorney said.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-2-2021

Photo: Jerry Dunleavy/Twitter

In a move that was condemned by environmental justice advocates on Friday, President Joe Biden’s administration earlier this week sent 500 unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors to Fort Bliss—a highly contaminated and potentially hazardous military base in El Paso, Texas—and is reportedly considering using additional toxic military sites as detention centers for migrant children in U.S. custody.

“We are extremely concerned to hear of plans to detain immigrant children in Fort Bliss. Military bases filled with contaminated sites are no place for the healthy development of any child,” Melissa Legge, an attorney at Earthjustice, said in a statement. Continue reading

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‘Outrageous’: 46 Million Americans Say They Would Not Be Able to Afford Healthcare If They Needed It

“The American model of health reform—throwing money at private insurers—cannot solve it.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-31-2021

Dr. Christina Bastin De Jong, a critical care physician at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, shares a light moment with Jimmy Porter, who was on the mend following a serious bout with COVID-19, on Thursday, Dec. 10. (Photo by Derek Montgomery for Essentia Health)

A new study released Wednesday morning shows that nearly 50 million Americans would be unable to afford quality healthcare should the need for treatment suddenly arise, a finding seen as further evidence of the immorality of a for-profit insurance system that grants or denies coverage based on a person’s ability to pay.

“People can’t afford their goddamn healthcare,” Tim Faust, a proponent of single-payer healthcare, tweeted in response to the new report. “Families spend less on food so they can make insurance payments. This problem is felt by all, but concentrated among poor people and black people. The American model of health reform—throwing money at private insurers—can not solve it.” Continue reading

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‘Major Political Crisis’ in Brazil as Military Chiefs Quit Amid Bolsonaro Purge of Top Ministers

A leading opposition figure said the country “can’t overcome” Covid-19 with Bolsonaro, because “he is the crisis incarnate.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-30-2021

Brazil’s political stability was in doubt Tuesday after the heads of all three military branches resigned following President Jair Bolsonaro’s dismissal of his defense minister, one of six Cabinet officials who have recently left or been forced out of an administration whose popularity has plummeted amid soaring Covid-19 deaths in South America’s largest nation.

Folha de São Paulo reports Gen. Edson Leal Pujol, Adm. Ilques Barbosa, and Lt.-Brig. Antônio Carlos Bermudez—respectively commanders of the army, navy, and air force—resigned a day after Bolsonaro fired Defense Minister Gen. Fernando Azevedo e Silva. Continue reading

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After 10 Years of Civil War in Syria, US (Quietly) Declares Defeat but Won’t Go Home

After a decade of bombing, invasions, exoduses and economic strife, it is clear that there are precious few winners in the Syrian Civil War — or from the rest of the Arab Spring, for that matter.

By Alan Macleod  Published 3-25-2021 by MintPress News

Montage of the Syrian Civil War. Photo: Collective, CC BY 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons

This March marks the 10-year anniversary of the Arab Spring and the protests that rocked Syria, which were a starting point for the ongoing civil war. That conflict has led to over half a million deaths and nearly 13 million people displaced, according to some estimates.

Now, after 10 years of attempts to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad, it appears that many in the U.S. government and media are quietly conceding defeat. Continue reading

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