Category Archives: Refugee Issues

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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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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Netanyahu vs not Netanyahu: Israel’s absurd election fiasco

The country’s leaders talk of Jerusalem as an ‘undivided capital’ Yet, half of the population is denied the right to vote

By Jalal Abukhater  Published 3-24-2021 by openDEmocracy

Photo: George Roussos/Twitter

Another general election just concluded in Israel, the fourth in two years. Beyond the clichés of ‘Groundhog Day’ or ‘election fatigue’ affecting the turnout, not many are actually talking about the utter absurdity of the whole thing.

The major election, held on 23 March 2021, which directly impacts nearly 14 million people living between the ‘river and the sea’, where over a third are denied voting rights, comes down to whether or not one man gets to remain as prime minister. Continue reading

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‘Death Falling From the Sky’: Report Spotlights Civilian Harm From US Drone Strikes in Yemen

“The United States is failing to investigate credible allegations of violations, to hold individuals responsible for violations accountable, and to provide prompt and adequate reparation.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-24-2021

Photo: DJANDY.COM AKA NOBODY/flickr/CC

A report published Tuesday by Yemeni human rights defenders examines dozens of casualties resulting from U.S. drone strikes and other attacks on civilians in the war-torn nation in recent years, incidents the publication says often occur without accountability, investigation, compensation—and sometimes even acknowledgment.

The report—entitled Death Falling From the Sky: Civilian Harm from the United States’ Use of Lethal Force in Yemen (pdf)—was published by Mwatana for Human Rights. It covers a dozen U.S. military operations conducted between January 2017 and January 2019, a period during which then-President Donald Trump loosened the military’s rules of engagement that were meant to protect civilians. Continue reading

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On 18th Anniversary of Iraq Invasion, Activists Renew Calls for US Reparations

“Americans owe a debt to the people of Iraq that can never be repaid in full. However, it is incumbent and imperative that we try.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-19-2021

On route 27 near An Nu’ maniyah, Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Photo: Public Domain

Human rights and anti-war activists marked the 18th anniversary of the second of three American-led invasions of Iraq by renewing calls for the U.S.—this time the Biden administration—to pay reparations for 30 years of nonstop aggression against the Iraqi people.

“Eighteen years after the United States invaded Iraq on a patently false basis, we uplift the work of Iraqi activists, civil society, and their partners building local and transnational social justice movements under extremely precarious conditions,” the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) said in a statement. Continue reading

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Biden Urged to Force End to US-Backed Saudi Blockade After Chilling Report on Starving Yemeni Children

“President Biden should demand: ‘MBS, lift the blockade’… This is a moment for moral clarity and bold leadership.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-12-2021

Poster for the global day of action in January, 2021. Image: Workers Voice

Progressive members of Congress are demanding that President Joe Biden bring pressure to bear on Saudi Arabia to end its yearslong blockade on Yemen—which has been maintained with U.S. help—after new reporting provided a closer look at the horrific suffering caused by the kingdom’s ongoing obstruction of food, medicine, and other essential supplies.

“With 400,000 children now at risk of starvation in Yemen, the U.S. must tell the Saudis in no uncertain terms: immediately end the blockade and let humanitarian aid in,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Thursday. Continue reading

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‘Saving Lives Is Never a Crime’: Aid Groups Reject Charges Over Mediterranean Refugee Rescue Missions

“This is a political declaration of intent to criminalize solidarity, and it has a deadly consequence: people die, when they could be saved,” said the crew of the vessel Iuventa.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-5-2021

“This is a political declaration of intent to criminalize solidarity, and it has a deadly consequence: people die, when they could be saved,” the Iuventa crew said. (Photo: Iuventa10.org)

Humanitarian organizations are rejecting what they say is an attempt to criminalize lifesaving aid to migrants and refugees at sea after Italian prosecutors charged three groups with aiding and abetting illegal immigration through their rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

Over 20 people are facing up to 20 years in prison.

The sea has been ominously dubbed a refugee graveyard as frequent shipwrecks of vessels crossing from Libya, as well as a drop in rescue missions, have claimed scores of lives. The United Nations says that in 2020 alone hundreds died along the route. Continue reading

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‘No One Is Above the Law’: Rashida Tlaib Rips Biden Admin’s Opposition to ICC War Crimes Probe of Israel

The Michigan congresswoman said the ICC “has the authority and duty to independently and impartially investigate and deliver justice to victims of human rights violations and war crimes in Palestine.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-4-2021

Gaza after Israeli attack. Photo: Physicians for Human Rights – Israel/flickr/CC

Responding to the Biden administration’s opposition to the International Criminal Court’s investigation of alleged Israeli war crimes in Palestine, Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Wednesday defended the probe while reminding the administration that “no one is above the law.”

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. “firmly opposes” the ICC investigation while vowing to “continue to uphold our strong commitment to Israel and its security, including by opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly.” In addition to alleged Israeli crimes, the probe will also examine war crimes allegedly committed by the militant Palestinian resistance group Hamas. Continue reading

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This Is Yemen After Biden Declared an End To American Support for the War

The Biden administration sparked a sense of hope around the world that the war on Yemen could finally be over. For those on the ground though, the bombs keep falling, food is scarce and hope is in short supply.

By Ahmed Abdulkareem Published 2-12-2021 by MintPress News

A group of children play soccer against a backdrop of ruined houses in Sa’ada. Photo: Karrar-al Moayyad/ICRC/CC

SANA’A, YEMEN — Seated next to his 13-year-old daughter Hakimah’s bed in al-Thawra Hospital, S. al-Hanishi watches a breaking news report on a small TV screen announcing that the president of the United States has announced an end to U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s war on his country.

But al-Hanishi took the news with skepticism. “[Biden] said he’ll end support to Mohammed Bin Salman but will help Saudi Arabia to defend her herself… Come on!” S. al-Hanishi, who asked that only his first initial and tribal surname be used for fear of reprisal, said in dismay. Continue reading

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‘Better Late Than Never’: Palestinians Welcome ICC Decision Enabling War Crimes Probe of Israel

An investigation “would not, for sure, bring my kids back to life,” said a survivor of an Israeli airstrike. “However, I am certain that I need to continue to try to find some sort of justice.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-6-2021

Israeli white phosphorus attack on the main compound of the United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA) in central Gaza City on 15 January 2009, during Operation Cast Lead.. Photo: HRW/CC

Palestinian families and human rights groups are welcoming a Friday decision that clears the way for the International Criminal Court to investigate allegations against Israel of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of apartheid in occupied Palestinian territories as a long-overdue step toward justice.

Given that the state of Palestine—as recognized by the United Nations and scores of countries, though not the United States nor Israel—is party to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s pre-trial chamber I decided by majority that the court’s jurisdiction “extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.” Continue reading

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