Tag Archives: Amnesty International

Despite US Opposition, UN Passes Resolution Condemning Death Penalty

“Joe Biden ran for president as an abolitionist… It is time for him to put this country on record as committed to ending the death penalty.”

By Julia Conley  Published 12-16-2022 by Common Dreams

Vigil for Corey Johnson at the Supreme Court on January 14, 2021. Photo: Felton Davis/flickr.CC

President Joe Biden’s stated opposition to the death penalty did not stop the United States from joining Saudi Arabia, Iran, and North Korea in voting against a United Nations resolution supporting a worldwide moratorium on the practice on Thursday, leading critics to question once again whether the president will make good on his campaign pledge to eliminate capital punishment in his own country.

The resolution passed in a vote of 125-37 with 22 abstensions, but as it has in the past when a proposed death penalty moratorium has come up for a vote at the U.N., the U.S. delegation did not aid its passage. Continue reading

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Elon Musk’s Twitter is more dangerous than you think

Beyond Musk’s oft-repeated rants about free speech, may lie shadier plans to recoup the $44bn he paid for the site

By Adam Ramsay  Published 11-11-2022 by openDemocracy

The world is burning and Ukraine is trudging into a winter of war. Prices are spiralling and the NHS is limping. The US and Brazil have held the line against fascism, just, while Italy has fallen to the far right. Watching the disastrous takeover of Twitter by the world’s richest bam can feel a little frivolous. So what if it becomes a rich boy’s toy? It often felt like that anyway.

But the thing is, we can’t solve the world’s problems without talking, and social media has become the way we do that. At its best, a space beyond the increasingly oligarch-owned press where citizens of the world can chatter, gossip, joke and revolt; can organise into new collectives and explore new identities and senses of self. At its worst, well, I don’t need to tell you. Continue reading

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Calls Mount for Release of Saudi Woman Facing 34 Years in Prison Over Tweets

The United Nations human rights office urged Saudi authorities to quash Salma al-Shehab’s conviction and “release her immediately and unconditionally,” arguing that “she should never have been arrested and charged in the first place for such conduct.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-20-2022 by Common Dreams

Salma Al-Shehab, a 34-year-old graduate student and mother of two, faces 34 years in prison for tweets critical of the Saudi monarchy. (Photo: European Saudi Organization for Human Rights/Twitter)

Human rights advocates around the world this week called on Saudi Arabia to free Salma al-Shehab after she was sentenced to 34 years in prison and a 34-year travel ban for tweets criticizing the kingdom’s repression of women.

Liz Throssell, a spokesperson for the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Friday that “we are appalled by the sentencing” of al-Shehab, a 34-year-old mother and graduate student in the United Kingdom. Continue reading

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‘Dismaying’: Human Rights Groups Blast Biden Plan to OK Millions in Military Aid for Egypt

A coalition of 18 organizations called the administration’s decision “a terrible blow to its stated commitment to human rights and to the rule of law.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-14-2021

Members of the women-led peace group CodePink, including co-founder Medea Benjamin (center), protest against Egyptian human rights abuses in this undated photo. Photo: CodePink

Left-leaning Democratic lawmakers joined human rights groups Tuesday in decrying the Biden administration’s reported decision to withhold a small portion of the $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid to Egypt over human rights crimes perpetrated by the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

A U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity—the administration’s decision had not yet been announced—told multiple media outlets Tuesday that of the $300 million in military aid to Egypt that is subject to human rights conditions, $170 million will be initially authorized. Continue reading

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Conviction of Dam Company Executive for Murder of Berta Cáceres Hailed as ‘Step Towards Justice’

“However, justice for Berta will never be truly complete until everyone who took part in the crime, including those who planned it, is brought to justice.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-5-2021

Berta Cáceres. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Human rights advocates on Monday welcomed the conviction of Roberto David Castillo Mejía, a Honduran businessman and former military intelligence officer, for the March 2016 assassination of Indigenous environmental activist Berta Cáceres, while calling on authorities in the Central American nation to bring everyone involved in planning the murder to justice.

The Guardian reports the Tegucigalpa high court found Castillo—formerly head of the dam company Desarrollos Energéticos, or DESA—guilty of collaborating in Cáceres’ murder. The court ruled that Cáceres was killed for leading the campaign to stop construction of the $50 million Agua Zarca dam, a local grassroots effort which caused delays and monetary losses for DESA. Continue reading

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Progressive Groups Mark May Day With Rallies Urging Passage of PRO Act

“The fight for the PRO Act is a fight for a future of dignity for all workers,” said Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-1-2021

Protest at Amazon HQ on Cyber Monday 2019. Photo: War on Want/flickr/CC

A coalition of over 40 progressive organizations on Saturday rallied online and in person to support the PRO Act—legislation that would strengthen workers’ right to organize among other pro-worker provisions.

Groups behind the May Day actions include MoveOn, Indivisible, Democratic Socialists of America, and the Working Families Party.

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act passed the House in March but has not yet faced a vote in the upper chamber, where it confronts the 60-vote legislative filibuster and no support from three Democrats—Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Mark Kelly (Ariz.), and Mark Warner (Va.). 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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‘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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‘So, So Cruel’: Rights Advocates, Biden Campaign Sound Alarm About Immigration Agenda Stephen Miller Is Crafting for Trump’s Second Term

According to the Democratic nominee, “This agenda is designed to do one thing only: divide our communities with cheap, xenophobic rhetoric, and demonize those seeking to make legitimate asylum claims.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-31-2020

Stephen Miller. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Immigrant rights advocates along with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his supporters responded with alarm to reporting this week that Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, is plotting how to “rev up Trump’s restrictive immigration agenda” and is ready to “unleash executive orders deemed too extreme for a president seeking reelection” in the event of a Biden loss next week.

NBC News reported Friday that Miller, speaking as an adviser to the president’s campaign, laid out four top priorities in a 30-minute call Thursday: “limiting asylum grants, punishing and outlawing ‘sanctuary cities,’ expanding the so-called travel ban with tougher screening for visa applicants, and slapping new limits on work visas.” Implementing these policies would require a mix of legislation and executive action. Continue reading

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Critics Call Upcoming Pentagon Visit by Indonesian Defense Minister—Accused of Horrific Atrocities—a ‘Human Rights Catastrophe’

Prabowo Subianto—who led a notorious commando unit implicated in genocidal violence—was invited to Washington by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-15-2020

Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto. Photo: Prabowo Subianto / CC BY-SA

Human rights advocates this week sounded the alarm on a meeting scheduled for Friday between American Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, a former U.S.-trained general in an elite army unit implicated in genocidal violence and other atrocities in East Timor, West Papua, Jakarta, and elsewhere in the archipelago nation in the late decades of the last century.

Since 2000, Prabowo has been banned from entering the United States by the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations. However, Esper last week invited the 68-year-old to Washington as the Trump administration seeks closer relations with the nation of 268 million people in a bid to counter China’s growing clout. Continue reading

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