Tag Archives: Civil Rights

Will Facebook respect international rights or the whims of angry rulers?

A muddle of decisions indicates that Facebook and its ‘Supreme Court’ are making little progress towards a consistent policy on human rights

By Linda Bonyo   Published 10-18-2021 by openDemocracy

Photo: Louis Jadwong/Twitter

Facebook’s ‘Trump ban’ received breathless coverage earlier this year, when the Facebook Oversight Board (FOB) – the supposedly independent entity established by the tech giant to adjudicate its content decisions – ‘ruled’ that the former president’s ban from the social media site should be upheld.

Experts from WIRED’s Gilad Edelman to scholar Kate Klonick have used the Trump decision to argue that the FOB is working.

But buried amidst that coverage – and that surrounding Facebook’s botched handling of COVID disinformation – are a muddle of decisions indicating that Facebook and its Oversight Board are making little progress towards a consistent policy on human rights. In fact, they may be headed towards a showdown. Continue reading

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‘Policy of Death’: Amazon Guardians Sue Ecuador’s President Over Oil, Mining Decrees

“We are fighting to defend our territory, our rivers, our forest, our fish, and our animals,” one Indigenous leader explained. “Without our forest and without water, we cannot live.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-18-2021

Indigenous Amazon protectors on October 18, 2021 filed the first in a series of lawsuits challenging a pair of decrees by Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso in service of expanding the fossil fuel and mining industries. (Photo: Amazon Frontlines/Twitter)

In a bid to halt what one Indigenous leader called a “policy of death,” communities from Ecuador’s Amazon region on Monday sued the country’s right-wing president, who is planning a major expansion of fossil fuel extraction and mining that threatens millions of acres of pristine rainforest and the survival of native peoples.

In the first of a series of lawsuits against President Guillermo Lasso, Indigenous nations, groups, and advocates allege that Executive Decree 95—which aims to double the country’s oil production to one million barrels per day by deregulating the fossil fuel industry—violates their internationally recognized right to free, prior, and informed consultation and consent. Continue reading

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‘Weapon of War’: Cori Bush Decries Unregulated Use of Tear Gas on US Civilians

“The current design of our law enforcement is militarized,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-14-2021

Tear gas in front of Oakland Museum – Occupy Oakland January 2012. Photo: Steve Rhodes/flickr/CC

Following a call by Rep. Cori Bush to investigate the use of tear gas on civilians by law enforcement, the House Oversight Committee on Thursday released a memo showing that the federal government has never determined the unregulated chemical to be safe for use on humans—despite the fact that manufacturers earn millions of dollars per year providing tear gas to police departments across the country.

Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who chair the Oversight Committee’s panels on economic and consumer policy and civil rights liberties, respectively, released the memo decrying “a complete void in the regulation of tear gas, a weapon that is banned in war yet commonly used against U.S. citizens.” Continue reading

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‘Striketober’ in Full Swing as Nearly 100,000 Workers Authorize Work Stoppages

“You might say workers have declared a national general strike until they get better pay and improved working conditions,” said former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Puplished 10-13-2021

Members and supporters of SEIU Local 49 picketed Aug. 21 at Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro. Two days later Local 49 wrapped up strike balloting: The result was a 98% vote to authorize a strike. (Photo courtesy SEIU Local 49)

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich observed Wednesday that with employees in industries across the spectrum set to strike in the coming days following corporate leaders’ failure to meet their demands for fair pay and working conditions, the U.S. is closer than it has been in decades to experiencing a general strike.

“You might say workers have declared a national general strike until they get better pay and improved working conditions,” wrote Reich in The Guardian. “No one calls it a general strike. But in its own disorganized way it’s related to the organized strikes breaking out across the land—Hollywood TV and film crews, John Deere workers, Alabama coal miners, Nabisco workers, Kellogg workers, nurses in California, healthcare workers in Buffalo.” Continue reading

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155 More Arrested for ‘People Vs. Fossil Fuels’ Protest at White House

“We’re coming every day of this week to tell Biden: Stop this madness.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-12-2021

Throughout the week, Indigenous leaders and climate activists are leading protests outside the White House to demand that President Joe Biden stop fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency. Photo: Patrick Young/Twitter

At least 155 more protesters were arrested outside the White House Tuesday as part of a weeklong action pressuring President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency and end all new fossil fuel projects.

Guided by the theme “fossil fuels are driving the climate crisis,” the latest demonstration followed over 100 arrests on Monday, when protesters marked Indigenous Peoples’ Day and drew attention to polluting operations including Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands project and the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). Continue reading

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Over 70,000 March in Brussels to Demand Green New Deal, Urgent Climate Action

“What do we do when we destroy the planet?” asked one demonstrator. “We have nothing else.”

By Common Dreams.  Published 10-10-2021

An estimated 70,000 or more protesters took part in a demonstration against climate change in Brussels, on October 10, 2021, ahead of the COP26 climate summit. Photo: European Youth Forum/Twitter

Tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Brussels on Sunday to demand Belgium’s elected leaders and others from around the world finally dispense with proclamations, broken promises, and half-measures and instead “act” on the climate emergency.

With the U.N. climate conference (COP26) set for next month in Glasgow, the estimated 70,000 or more people who took part in the march offered a dramatic show of force for the nation’s climate movement. Continue reading

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Nobel Peace Prize for journalists serves as reminder that freedom of the press is under threat from strongmen and social media

When the reporter becomes the story.
AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

 

Kathy Kiely, University of Missouri-Columbia

Thirty-two years ago next month, I was in Germany reporting on the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event then heralded as a triumph of Western democratic liberalism and even “the end of history.”

But democracy isn’t doing so well across the globe now. Nothing underscores how far we have come from that moment of irrational exuberance than the powerful warning the Nobel Prize Committee felt compelled to issue on Oct. 8, 2021 in awarding its coveted Peace Prize to two reporters. Continue reading

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220+ Groups Blast Biden Plan to Expand ‘Harmful, Abusive, and Unjust’ ICE Prisons

“It’s not too late for the administration to take the moral high ground here and put a stop to ICE’s cruel, costly, and unnecessary detention expansion.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-8-2021

Abolish ICE Protest and Rally Downtown Chicago Illinois 8-16-2018. Photo: Charles Edward Miller/flickr/CC

More than 220 human rights groups on Friday sent a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas expressing their outrage over the administration’s plans to reopen and expand immigration detention centers in violation of the president’s campaign promises.

The groups—which include Detention Watch Network, the Shut Down Berks Coalition, JUNTOS, National Immigrant Justice Center, the ACLU, and CASA—are demanding that the administration halt the planned expansion of the privately run Berks County Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Pennsylvania and the reopening of the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center, a former Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facility also in Pennsylvania, as an ICE lockup. Continue reading

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‘Historic Moment’: EU Approves Call for Sweeping Ban on Facial Recognition Surveillance

“This is a huge win for all European citizens.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-6-2021

The European Parliament has overwhelmingly approved a call to ban facial recognition surveillance—a development heralded by the technology’s foes as a “big win for human rights.”

The vote on the resolution was 377-248. While the measure is nonbinding, the EUObserver reported Wednesday that its passsage means “Parliament now has for the first time an official position advocating for a ban on biometric mass surveillance, which sends a strong signal for negotiations of the first-ever EU rules on AI systems.”

“Fundamental rights are unconditional,” MEP Petar Vitanov, a member of the Bulgarian Socialist Party who backed the resolution, said in a statement. Continue reading

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Leaving Post, Top Official Blasts Biden Over Use of ‘Inhumane’ Trump-Era Deportation Policy

The current administration is using Title 42 “to rebuff the pleas of thousands of Haitians and myriad others arriving at the Southern Border who are fleeing violence, persecution, or torture.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-5-2021

Photo: Robert Brown/Twitter

A senior official departing the Biden State Department has issued a blistering critique of the administration’s ongoing use of a Trump-era policy “to rebuff the pleas of thousands of Haitians and myriad others arriving at the Southern Border who are fleeing violence, persecution, or torture” and urged his remaining colleagues “to do everything in your power to revise this policy.”

The rebuke, Politico first reported, came in an Oct. 2 internal memo—which centers on the government’s use of Title 42—from resigning senior adviser Harold Koh. Continue reading

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