Category Archives: Refugee Issues

‘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

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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

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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

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The American Money Tree: The Untold Story of US Aid to Israel

Congress quietly wedged billions of dollars of aid to Israel even as it debated for months over a measly $600 to help Americans endure the COVID downturn.

By Ramzy Baroud. Published 12-30-2020 by MintPress News

Benjamin Netanyahu ecember 2020. Photo: P.M. of Israel/Twitter

On December 21, the United States Congress passed the COVID-19 Relief Package, as part of a larger $2.3 trillion bill meant to cover spending for the rest of the fiscal year. As usual, US representatives allocated a massive sum of money for Israel.

While unemployment, thus poverty, in the US is skyrocketing as a result of repeated lockdowns, the US found it essential to provide Israel with $3.3 billion in ‘security assistance’ and $500 million for US-Israel missile defense cooperation. Continue reading

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UN Human Rights Expert Urges US to Lift Sanctions That ‘May Exacerbate the Already Dire Humanitarian Situation in Syria’

After nearly a decade of war, the special rapporteur noted, Syrians are living with “extensively damaged houses, medical units, schools, and other facilities.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-29-2020

A study published last year by Amnesty International found that the U.S.-led bombing campaign on Raqqa, Syria in 2017 killed an estimated 1,600 innocent civilians while leveling the city. (Photo: Amnesty International)

A United Nations human rights expert on Tuesday called for the removal of unilateral U.S. sanctions targeting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, warning that despite claims by the Trump administration and congressional leaders that the measures aren’t intended to harm the people of war-torn Syria, they may do just that.

“The sanctions violate the human rights of the Syrian people, whose country has been destroyed by almost 10 years of ongoing conflict,” said Alena Douhan, U.N. special rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights. “The conflict and violence have already had a dire impact on the ability of the Syrian people to realize their fundamental rights, having extensively damaged houses, medical units, schools, and other facilities.” Continue reading

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‘A Blatant Violation’: Sahrawis Dismiss Pompeo’s Announcement of US Consulate in Moroccan-Occupied Western Sahara

The move comes two weeks after the U.S. became the first country to recognize Morocco’s claim of sovereignty in the illegally occupied territory.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-25-2020

Sahrawi demonstration against the Moroccan occupation, November 2020. Photo: Nushatta Foundation/Twitter

Sahrawi independence advocates defiantly dismissed an announcement Thursday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the United States would open a “virtual” diplomatic mission in Western Sahara as a first step toward establishing a permanent consulate in the Moroccan-occupied territory.

Pompeo said in a statement that the U.S. was “inaugurating a virtual presence post for Western Sahara, with a focus on promoting economic and social development, to be followed soon by a fully functioning consulate.” Continue reading

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What If Jesus Had Been Born in the American Police State?

Today, Jesus’ anti-government views would certainly have resulted in him being labeled a domestic extremist by law enforcement agencies.

By John Whitehead. Published 12-22-2020 by MintPress News

A church is Southern California put up a nativity display that shows Jesus, Mary, and Joseph being detained at the border.

The Christmas story of a baby born in a manger is a familiar one. The Roman Empire, a police state in its own right, had ordered that a census be conducted. Joseph and his pregnant wife Mary traveled to the little town of Bethlehem so that they could be counted. There being no room for the couple at any of the inns, they stayed in a stable (a barn), where Mary gave birth to a baby boy, Jesus. Warned that the government planned to kill the baby, Jesus’ family fled with him to Egypt until it was safe to return to their native land

Yet what if Jesus had been born 2,000 years later? Continue reading

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The US is so desperate to leave Afghanistan that it’s abandoning its allies

A hasty withdrawal puts the Afghan government and NATO in the emboldened Taliban’s firing line.

By Paul Rogers.  Published 12-4-2020 by openDemocracy

Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley | Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II, DOD, CC BY 2.0

The United States responded to the 9/11 attacks by terminating the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and quashing al-Qaida. At the time there was widespread domestic support for the action and most allied states were also in agreement, at least at first. A few analysts were more cautious and the openDemocracy view at the time was that al-Qaida wanted a war, to show how significant it was but also to trap Western forces in Afghanistan and drag the United States down in much the same way as Soviet Union had been in the 1980s.

Now, there are signs that precisely that is happening, with the Afghan government and the Taliban agreeing to an outline of how negotiations on a peace settlement might be achieved. This comes after two months of talks in Qatar that have really been between the United States and the Taliban. The main topic of the talks was the withdrawal of all uniformed US forces by next May in return for a Taliban ceasefire and a pledge from Taliban leadership that they would not allow al-Qaida or ISIS to maintain a presence in the country. Continue reading

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Following Outcry, US Government Halts Deportations of Women Who Allege Medical Abuse in ICE Detention—At Least for Now

“ICE and others at Irwin thought they could silence these women… But the women have organized and had the audacity to speak out.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-24-2020

Screenshot: WFAL

Women who have spoken out about alleged abuse by a gynecologist while in U.S. custody won a reprieve Tuesday when the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to halt their deportations until President Donald Trump is nearly out of office.

The motion filed by the DOJ must still be approved by a federal judge, but the department reached an agreement with the lawyers of several women who say Dr. Mahendra Amin abused them and subjected them to invasive procedures without their consent while they were being held at Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. Under the agreement, the government will not deport the women until at least mid-January. Continue reading

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Shocking New Figures Show How Just Much the US is Fueling the Violence in Yemen

New figures from the UN and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute show that since the war in Yemen began, the US has sold over $13 billion in high-tech weapons to Saudi Arabia, making the Kingdom a cash cow for US weapons makers.

By Alan Macleod  Published 11-20-2020 by MintPress News

Graphic: Antonio Cabrera

Despite presenting itself as a force for good and peace in the Middle East, the United States sells at least five times as much weaponry to Saudi Arabia than aid it donates to Yemen. The State Department constantly portrays itself as a humanitarian superpower with the welfare of the Yemeni people as its highest priority, yet figures released from the United Nations and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) show that since the war in Yemen began, the U.S. government has given $2.56 billion in aid to the country, but sold over $13 billion in high-tech weapons to Saudi Arabia, the leader of the coalition prosecuting a relentless onslaught against the country.

Figures like these are always debatable. What constitutes legitimate “aid” is a question everyone would answer differently. Furthermore, the $13 billion figure does not include the enormous weapons deal Saudi Arabia signed with Donald Trump in 2017, which will reportedly see the Kingdom purchase $350 billion over ten years. Continue reading

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