Category Archives: Human Rights

‘Deeply Alarming’: AstraZeneca Charging South Africa More Than Double What Europeans Pay for Covid-19 Vaccine

“This is the problem when you have essential medicines in the hands of big business, with almost no transparency as to pricing.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-22-2021

Photo: Jmarchn/Wikimedia Commons/CC

“The unfair patent system is now one the biggest obstacles to defeating this virus.”

That was the core critique from Nick Dearden, executive director of the U.K.-based advocacy group Global Justice Now, on Friday morning in response to news this week that South Africa is paying more than double for AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine compared to most countries in Europe.

According to a report by The Guardian, a Belgian minister leaked information revealing that European Union members are paying  €1.78 ($2.16) per dose for the AstraZeneca vaccine. Meanwhile, even as the pharmaceutical giant has said it would cap the price at €2.50 (approx. $3) per dose, South Africa’s deputy director general of health Anban Pillay confirmed to the newspaper that it was quoted a price of $5.25 per dose. Continue reading

Share Button

‘No One Can Censor Reality’: Human Rights Group Pushes Back After Israel Retaliates Against ‘Apartheid’ Label

“Israel cannot be considered a democracy, for it works to advance and perpetuate the supremacy of one group of people, Jews, over another, Palestinians.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-18-2021

Palestinian workers queue up along the separation barrier often called the apartheid wall by critics as they wait to clear an Israeli military checkpoint. (Photo: delayed gratification/Flickr/cc)

The prominent Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem on Monday defiantly defended its position that Israel is an apartheid state after the country’s education minister banned members of groups that call the Jewish state “false, derogatory names” from entering its schools.

Last week, B’Tselem published a position paper that cited “a wide array of Israeli policies” it said are “advancing and perpetuating the supremacy of one group—Jews—over another—Palestinians” before concluding that “we must look at the full picture and see it for what it is: apartheid.” Continue reading

Share Button

‘Classic Case of Crisis Opportunism’: Republicans in Three States Introduce Bills Criminalizing Protest in Wake of Capitol Attack

These proposed laws are “aimed at police brutality protests, not right-wing insurrection.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-13-2021

George Floyd protests in Washington DC. Photo: Rosa Pineda /CC

Progressives are sounding the alarm that a handful of Republican lawmakers are exploiting the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by an insurrectionist pro-Trump mob to push for anti-protest bills that critics say do not aim to stem the tide of right-wing extremism but instead criminalize dissent by those seeking social change and justice.

In the immediate aftermath of last week’s invasion of the halls of Congress, GOP lawmakers in Florida, Mississippi, and Indiana introduced bills that “do not represent new strategies designed specifically to prevent future right-wing insurrections… [but] draw from a set of policies that numerous state legislators introduced [last] summer in order to appear tough on protests against police brutality,” The Intercept reported Tuesday. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Wanton Cruelty’: Pompeo to Declare Houthis a Terrorist Group, Sparking Fears of Worsening Famine in Yemen

Oxfam called the designation “a counter-productive and dangerous policy that will put innocent lives at risk.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-11-2021

18-year-old Saida Ahmad Baghili is bed-ridden and unable to eat, surviving on a diet of juice, milk and tea. Screenshot: ABC News

Advocates for a more just U.S. foreign policy on Monday denounced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to designate Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist group, a move that progressives say will disrupt the ability of humanitarian agencies to provide life-saving aid in an effort to alleviate widespread civilian suffering generated by the U.S.-backed Saudi regime’s assault on the country.

In a statement released Monday, Oxfam criticized Pompeo’s decision to label the Houthis a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO), calling it a “counter-productive and dangerous policy that will put innocent lives at risk.” Continue reading

Share Button

Media Praise of Israel’s COVID Vaccination Drive a Form of “Medical Apartheid”

Completely missing from media accounts of the Israeli vaccine drive was mention of the millions of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, none of whom have received the vaccine.

By Alan Macleod  Published 1-4-2021 by MintPress News

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu receive Pfizer C. POVID-19 vaccine, kickstarts vaccination drive. Screenshot: YouTube

As vaccinations for the deadly COVID-19 virus begin to be delivered in large numbers, Israel has been receiving a great deal of praise in global media for its handling of the fight against the pandemic — one that has cost the lives of over 1.8 million people worldwide in the last 12 months.

Israel has gone into vaccine “overdrive,” announced the Financial Times, noting that the country of 9 million people has become the “world leader” and an example to follow. Detailing its achievements, it told readers that, “At one vaccination site, people waited no longer than 10 minutes each to be assigned to receive a jab, with one of 10 booths being kept empty to handle overflows,” also noting that the high tech system texts citizens an exact time of arrival, to further help with crowd control. The Wall Street Journal celebrated that Israel had vaccinated more than 10% of its population in just two weeks. Other outlets like the BBC noted that the government was prioritizing the elderly, with over 40% of over 60s having already received the first dose of a two injection procedure. “Israel could become [the] 1st nation to vaccinate all its citizens,” ran an Economic Times’ headline. Continue reading

Share Button

As Pro-Trump Mob Boasts About Roles in Deadly Capitol Invasion, Indigenous Water Protecters Charged for Peaceful Keystone XL Protests

“This is on my people’s land, and I have the right to protect it for my future generations,” said one of the charged activists.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-8-2021

Protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL Pipeline hold a sit-in in the street next to the San Francisco Federal Building. on January 26,2017,. Photo: Pax Ahimsa Gethen/CC

Indigenous advocates on Friday noted the stark contrast between the treatment of two Native American water protectors criminally charged for peacefully protesting the Keystone XL pipeline with that of supporters of President Donald Trump who have been openly boasting about their participation in Wednesday’s deadly mob attack on the U.S. Capitol.

According to the Lakota People’s Law Project, Jasilyn Charger and Oscar High Elk were charged in Phillip, South Dakota for previous protest activities against the pipeline. The Cheyenne River Sioux activists were part of a resistance camp on their reservation, which is about 100 miles from the proposed route of the pipeline. Continue reading

Share Button

Human Rights Watch Urges Biden to End Trump’s ‘Devastating’ Remain In Mexico Policy

The policy under Trump, and made only worse under the pandemic, “has needlessly and foreseeably exposed children and adults to a high risk of violence and other harm.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-6-2021

Screenshot: ABC News

Human Rights Watch in a new report Wednesday urged President-elect Joe Biden to “quickly and decisively” end a two-year-old policy under which tens of thousands of asylum seekers have been forced to stay in squalid and often dangerous makeshift shelters in Mexico.

The report, titled “‘Like I’m Drowning’: Children and Families Sent to Harm by the U.S. ‘Remain in Mexico’ Program,” includes interviews with several children and adults who have faced abduction, extortion, rape, and other violence—often at the hands of immigration officers or Mexican police—under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), commonly called “Remain in Mexico.” Continue reading

Share Button

Google Workers Form Union to ‘Promote Solidarity, Democracy, and Social and Economic Justice’

The tech titan “has a responsibility to its thousands of workers and billions of users to make the world a better place,” two of the union’s leaders wrote. “We can help build that world.”

By 

The Googleplex (Google headquarters) in Mountain View, CA. Photo: The Pancake of Heaven!/CC

Decrying numerous policies and practices they say violate Google’s “don’t be evil” founding principle, more than 200 of the Silicon Valley tech giant’s workers on Monday announced they are forming a union, a move that was applauded by progressive lawmakers and labor advocates nationwide.

The Alphabet Workers Union (AWU)—named after Google’s parent corporation—says it “strives to protect Alphabet workers, our global society, and our world,” and to “promote solidarity, democracy, and social and economic justice.” It will operate as part of the Communications Workers of America and will be open to all 120,000 of the company’s employees.

Continue reading

Share Button

Why Senators Must Reject Avril Haines for Intelligence

This unassuming spy may look and sound like your favorite college professor, but that facade masks a ruthless wolf in sheep’s clothing who enabled murder by remote control and wielded a thick black pen to cover-up CIA torture.

By Medea Benjamin and Marcy Winograd. Published 12-29-2020 by MintPress News

Avril Haines speaks during a session on “The Rise of Techno Nationalism” at the Annual Meeting 2019 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 22, 2019. Ciaran McCrickard | WEC | CC

Even before President-elect Joe Biden sets foot in the White House, the Senate Intelligence Committee may start hearings on his nomination of Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence.

Barack Obama’s top lawyer on the National Security Council from 2010 to 2013 followed by CIA Deputy Director from 2013 to 2015, Haines is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. She is the affable assassin who, according to Newsweek, would be summoned in the middle of the night to decide if a citizen of any country, including our own, should be incinerated in a U.S. drone strike in a distant land in the greater Middle East. Haines also played a key role in covering up the U.S. torture program, known euphemistically as “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which included repeated waterboarding, sexual humiliation, sleep deprivation, dousing naked prisoners with ice-cold water, and rectal rehydration. Continue reading

Share Button

7 ways women of colour resisted racism this year

Women are leading anti-racist activism around the world, from Black Brazilians running for election to Germany’s migrant rights movement. #12DaysofResistance

By Sophia Seawell  Published 12-30-2020 by openDemocracy

Anti-Racism Protest in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. June 8, 2020. Photo: Andrew Mercer/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The murder of George Floyd in May this year triggered uprisings against and conversations about racism in countries across the world. It felt as though the Black Lives Matter movement – founded in 2013 by three Black women in the US – had gone global on an unprecedented scale.

And while racism is an issue that transcends borders (White supremacy was, after all, a colonial project), it takes on different forms in different contexts. What constitutes racism in Canada may look quite different from racism in India or Brazil. Continue reading

Share Button