Category Archives: International Agreements

Rights Advocates Decry ‘Very Frightening’ Court Ruling Upholding Anti-BDS Law

“This is not just about boycotts,” said one critic. “This is opening the door to strip away First Amendment rights of all Americans.”

By Julia Conley  Published 6-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Image: Al-Haq

A federal court ruling allowing Arkansas to penalize government contractors that support boycotts of the Israeli government was decried as “dangerous” and a threat to First Amendment rights on Wednesday, as civil liberties defenders vowed to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an Arkansas law does not violate Americans’ constitutional rights by requiring state contractors with contracts of $1,000 or more to reduce their fees by 20% if they refuse to sign a pledge saying they won’t support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement (BDS). Continue reading

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Children ‘Dying Before Our Eyes’: Aid Workers Plea for Help as Famine Unfolds in Somalia

“Already 1.5 million children below the age of five are malnourished,” said one United Nations official, “and we expect that 356,000 of these may not survive through the end of September.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published -22-2022 by Common Dreams

Norwegian Refugee Council Secretary-General Jan Egeland listens to a woman speaking during a visit to drought-stricken Somalia on June 21, 2022. (Photo: Jan Egeland/Twitter)

International aid workers are issuing desperate pleas for help this week as severe climate-driven drought coupled with critically depleted global food supplies due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are fueling a slide into “catastrophic famine” in Somalia that could claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of children by summer’s end.

“Already 1.5 million children below the age of five are malnourished, and we expect that 356,000 of these may not survive through the end of September this year,” Adam Abdelmoula, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Somalia—which has suffered an unprecedented four consecutive failed rainy seasons—said during a visit to Dolow in the south near the Ethiopian border. Continue reading

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‘Totally Unacceptable’: US Rejecting 90% of Afghans Seeking Asylum Under Humanitarian Program

“We don’t feel safe,” lamented one Afghan asylum-seeker whose brothers translated for U.S. invasion forces. “We don’t know what will happen in an hour. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 6-20-2022 by Common Dreams

Seven Afghan citizens arrived in Luxembourg to start a new life – 2021. Photo: NATO/flickr/CC

As a coalition of human rights groups on Monday implored the international community to do more to help Afghan refugees, new reporting revealed that the United States is rejecting the overwhelming majority of Afghans seeking to enter the country under a humanitarian program—including relatives of those who aided the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of their country.

“Today, over six million Afghans have been driven out of their homes and their country by conflict,” the Alliance for Human Rights noted in its World Refugee Day statement. “These numbers have been exacerbated by the Taliban’s seizure of power in Afghanistan in August 2021 and the critical humanitarian crisis Afghanistan is facing today.” Continue reading

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Why reporting from the Amazon has become so dangerous

The discovery of two bodies believed to be those of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira highlights risks facing journalists in the region

By Pablo Albarenga and Francesc Badia I Dalmases  Published 6-15-2022 by openDemocracy

Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira on Amazon expedition in 2018 Screenshot: The Guardian

Reporting from the Amazon, as we can both attest, is fraught with danger at every corner.

While leaving Indigenous territory on one of our recent reporting trips, we were stopped at gunpoint by military police. Officers searched our bags and personal belongings while firing questions at us. Continue reading

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‘Poverty Is Violence!’ Thousands of Demonstrators in DC Demand Economic Justice

“We are the 140 million poor and low-wealth people, standing together to declare we won’t be silent anymore,” said Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s campaign.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 6-18-2022 by Common Dreams

Demonstrators gathered in the U.S. capital for the Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington on June 18, 2022. (Photo: Bishop William Barber/Twitter)

Led by the Poor People’s Campaign, advocacy groups and low-income individuals gathered in Washington, D.C. on Saturday to demand that policymakers “fight poverty, not the poor.”

“We are the 140 million poor and low-wealth people, standing together to declare we won’t be silent anymore,” said Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the campaign. “Poverty is a policy choice and we will hold our leaders accountable.” Continue reading

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Calls to ‘Stop the Deal’ as US Military Contractor Moves to Buy NSO Group

“NSO Group should not be rewarded for its facilitation of human rights violations and dangerous business practices with a lucrative offer from a U.S. defense contractor,” said one campaigner.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 6-14-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: NSO Group/Facebook

Digital rights advocates sounded the alarm on Tuesday following reports that U.S. military contractor L3Harris Tech plans to acquire NSO Group, a private Israeli firm widely condemned for selling surveillance technology to repressive governments across the globe.

NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used to crack down on dissidents and journalists, worsening “human rights abuses around the world, from Palestine to El Salvador to Poland,” advocacy group Access Now said in a statement urging U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to “stop the deal.” Continue reading

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‘Worrying Trend’: Global Nuclear Stockpile Set to Grow for First Time Since Cold War

“The risk of nuclear weapons being used seems higher now than at any time since the height of the Cold War,” said the director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 6-13-2022 by Common Dreams

The world’s stockpile of nuclear warheads is expected to expand in the coming years for the first time since the 1980s and the catastrophic threat of those weapons being used is escalating, a leading arms watchdog said Monday.

“If the nuclear-armed states take no immediate and concrete action on disarmament, then the global inventory of nuclear warheads could soon begin to increase for the first time since the Cold War,” Matt Korda, an associate researcher with the Weapons of Mass Destruction Program at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said in a statement released alongside SIPRI’s annual report. Continue reading

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‘Endangers Us All’: Supreme Court Ruling Shields Border Agent From Excessive Force Lawsuit

The ruling leaves thousands of Border Patrol agents “absolutely immunized from liability,” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “no matter how egregious the misconduct or resultant injury.”

By Julia Conley   Published 6-9-2022 by Common Dreams

ERO Cross Check 2017. Photo: ICE/flickr/public domain

A ruling by the right-wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday “will have far-reaching consequences” for people who accuse federal agents of violating their constitutional rights, the ACLU warned after the court ruled against a man who wanted to sue a U.S. Border Patrol agent who entered his property without a warrant and used excessive force.

The court ruled 6-3 in Egbert v. Boule that Congress must decide whether the plaintiff can sue the government over the alleged violation of his rights—a decision which Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissenting opinion threatens to block nearly all civil suits against federal agents. Continue reading

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Pushed by Progressives, Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to Boost Renewable Energy

“We hope this use of the Defense Production Act is a turning point for the president, who must use all his executive powers to confront the climate emergency head-on,” said Jean Su with the Center for Biological Diversity.

By Andrea Germanos  Published 6-6-2022 by Common Dreams

Photovoltaic solar panels mounted on roof in Berkeley, CA. Photo: Alfred Twu/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The White House announced on Monday executive actions to help “create a bridge” to a “clean energy future” including invoking the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of U.S.-made solar panels.

The actions, first reported by Reuters, come as the Build Back Better’s climate provisions remain stalled in the Senate and amid the threat of new tariffs the solar industry has blamed for dampening domestic projects. Continue reading

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‘Racing at Top Speed Towards Global Catastrophe’: NOAA Says CO2 Levels Highest in Human History

“We have known about this for half a century, and have failed to do anything meaningful about it,” said one NOAA researcher. “What’s it going to take for us to wake up?”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 6-3-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Gerry Machen/flickr/CC

There is more carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere than at any time in the past four million years, as the world’s continued dependence on fossil fuels keeps humanity hurtling toward a “global catastrophe,” officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned on Friday.

NOAA reports its Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory in Hawaii measured CO2 levels averaging 420.99 parts per million (ppm) in May, an increase of 1.8 ppm over levels at this time last year, while scientists at the San Diego-based Scripps Institute of Oceanography, which also tracks atmospheric CO2, calculated a monthly average of 420.78 ppm. Continue reading

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