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Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

 

What’s happening to families at the border right now is horrific: Nursing infants ripped away from their mothers. Parents told their toddlers are being taken to bathe or play, only to realize hours later that they aren’t coming back. Children incarcerated in warehouses and, according to more than one account, kept in cages. This is a moral and humanitarian crisis. Everyone of us who has ever held a child in their arms, and every human being with a sense of compassion and decency should be outraged.

Even as I warned this could happen on the campaign trail — that Trump’s immigration policies would result in families being separated, parents being sent away from their children, people rounded up on trains and buses — I hoped it would never come to be. But now, as we watch with broken hearts, that’s exactly what’s happening.

We can be heartbroken, but we shouldn’t be hopeless. There’s something you can do to help.

Today, I’m asking you to take a stand on behalf of immigrant families by making a direct donation to the groups working to protect kids separated from their families by ICE.

The test of any nation is how we treat the most vulnerable among us. First Lady Laura Bush made that case eloquently in the Washington Post this weekend, writing: “This zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.” She’s absolutely right. We should be a better country than one that tears families apart, turns a blind eye to women fleeing domestic violence, and treats frightened children as a means to a political end.

Meanwhile, Jeff Sessions is trying to use the Bible to justify this cruelty. Let me say this: I went to a lot of years of Sunday school and even taught it from time to time, and what is being done using the name of religion is contrary to everything I was ever taught.

I still believe in the vision we share for our country, and I won’t let scared children become victims of partisan politics. Alongside the organizations that Onward Together partners with, we can and will elect politicians and enact legislation to protect the most vulnerable among us — but first, we have to address the urgent needs of families at the center of this crisis.

Make a contribution today, and your donation will go directly to the groups doing this work right now:

Donate now

Thank you,

Hillary

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Heartbreaking. This is what terrorism looks like.

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Dean Gloster

Pictured: a two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker about to be taken from her mother and placed in a facility where the staff (according to an interview) “is not allowed to comfort her.”
(Long again. *Sigh.* Please read it anyway.)

We are now essentially torturing parents who legally seek asylum in the United States (and their children), by taking away their minor children, caging those children, and telling the parents they may never be reunited–all to “deter” them (and those like them) from exercising their legal rights under U.S. law. This new Trump “zero tolerance policy” (announced and implemented April 6, 2018 by Jeff Sessions) is evil and not based on our laws.

As some of you know, I used to be a lawyer, and in the 1980s I used to do pro bono political asylum work for Salvadorans fleeing death squads. U.S. law allows you to claim political asylum here if you have a “well-founded fear of persecution” in your home country that fits within specified categories. You can either present yourself at a point of entry and claim asylum (risky–you aren’t afforded a lawyer and most asylum claims are turned down) or you can claim asylum as a defense to deportation.

Now on our southern border, the U.S. is (contrary to law) refusing to admit those legally claiming asylum (Chis Hayes/Beto O’Rourke interview, in comments.) They are forcing immigrants to cross into the U.S. illegally, and then arresting them and (even if they have a defense to being deported because of a potentially valid asylum claim) taking their children to be housed in a concentration camp–an abandoned Wal-Mart filled with cages or a new tent camp in 100 degree Texas heat on a military base. This is being done, per Jeff Sessions and Mitch McConnell, to “deter” them from seeking asylum–that is, as a punishment to them, to deter others from doing the same thing. Even though that thing (claiming asylum) is completely legal under U.S. law.

Accounts from Congressional Representatives and pro-bono attorneys reveal that parents are told that their children are being taken away “to get a bath” and then the children are not returned. When asked how they’ll be reunited, parents are being told “your families do not exist anymore.” Parents have been deported and they don’t know where their children are. Because there are at least four federal bureaucracies involved (CBP, DHS, ICE, ORR in addition to private prison corporations and the DOJ) and there was no planning for implementing the policy none of attorneys representing them, the Customs and Border Patrol, nor U.S. Congressional Representatives can get confirmation that the children are even being kept track of by family.

Not surprisingly, one man, after learning that his child had been taken away, recently killed himself.

Jeff Sessions announced the new policy on April 6, 2018 (link in comments) but Trump now (1) claims, inaccurately, that it’s “the Democrats'” prior law (a complete lie) and (2) tweeted today that he won’t change the new policy unless Congress agrees to fund the wall and end political asylum and end “catch-and-release.” (That is, we must make the current policy permanent and worse.)

Today, DHS revealed that almost 2,000 children have been taken from their parents in the last 6 weeks under the new policy. (Washington Post link.) Children are housed in cages on concrete floors. Many of the children don’t have access to anyone who speaks their language. The staff has no training to deal with the children’s trauma, and a whistle-blower recently explained that both the staff and the children are traumatized, while the CEO of the private prison company has been paid $1 million. (Chris Hayes, after the O’Rourke interview, in comments.)

Today, three medical organizations announced their unanimous denunciation of this new policy because separating young children from their parents and incarcerating them is permanently traumatic. (Link in comments)

So here we are, friends. This is a violation of the Fifth Amendment guaranty of due process of law. It’s a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. It is a violation of international law. I would hope that any of those who continue to assist the implementation of this new policy are shunned by their congregations of faith until that changes. (Catholic bishops have already discussed assessing Canonical penalties to ICE agents ranging from refusing the sacrament of communion to excommunication.) I would hope that our courts ultimately order them to cease and desist, and if they fail to do so, that they are jailed for contempt of court. I hope they are ultimately prosecuted as international war criminals and they can never travel outside the U.S. In the meantime, every single one of them has violated his or her oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and they deserve our horror and our contempt.

I’ve spent today in a funk, knowing that I needed to write this, and hating that fact. I have, despite every horrible thing up until the last nineteen months, been proud to be an American, choosing to concentrate on our lofty aspirations (equal protection, freedom of speech) rather than our tragic failings (slavery, segregation, white supremacy, McCarthyism.)

But this is simply unmitigated evil. And refusal to face it or to acknowledge it or to own it, is cowardice and a deliberate choice to enable evil. (Yes, friends, this _is_ America, today. This is exactly who we are, until we change it.)

We are terrorizing families. We are traumatizing children. We are violating our principles and our laws to further a racist ideology of our misguided rulers. We are doing evil. We need to do everything in our power to stop that. Now.

There is no law requiring separation of children from their parents. That is a lie to mask a tactic instituted by the Trump regime. This is a dangerous practice and wrong. Speak out! This country is on a very slippery slope.

 

Debra Messing

This little boy, who has been taken from his parents, has been assigned a number. #47 on his chest and arm. Like the Holocaust. •••••••••••••••••••••••••• The Keep Families Together Act S-3036 has the support of All Democrats EXCEPT Claire McCaskill (D-MO) 202-224-6154; Joe Donnelly (D-IN) 202-224-4814; Joe Tester (D-MT )202-224-2644; Doug Jones (D-AL)202-224-4124; Heidi Heitkamp (D-NV) 202-224-2043; Joe Marchon (D-WV) 202-224-3954. At this point, NOT ONE Republican has signed on to this bill that would prohibit children from being separated from their parents. PLEASE CALL your members of Congress. 202-224-3121. Look at this image. It should send chills up your spine. We must not let history repeat itself. We must speak loud and clear. #Wherearethechildren

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The practice of separating families is malevolent. Putting children in detention centers is criminal and abusive. There is no reasonable defense whatsoever for this. It is a human rights violation. It is an abomination.

NOT IN OUR NAME!

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WOW! This April marks 5 years since Hillary Clinton PUBLICLY announced her support for Marriage Equality:

Every loving couple and family deserves to be recognized and treated equally under the law across our nation. -- Hillary Clinton, April 13, 2013

We want to thank her for her advocacy for LGBT people, and fighting for Marriage Equality until it PASSED. YES!!

That’s why we’ve made a card to THANK her for her tireless support of the LGBT community — but it’s not complete without YOUR signature!

 

SIGN TO THANK HILLARY →

 

 

Thank you for supporting Marriage Equality!
Hillary Clinton
SIGN THE CARD

 

We are SO lucky to have progressive leaders like Hillary who stand up for LGBT rights. She is truly the best.

We hope you’ll sign her card so that we can give it to her on April 28!!

 

SIGN HILLARY’S CARD →

 

https://go.fightforequality.org/Hillary-Marriage-Equality

Thanks for signing your name,

Equality PAC

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Last October, Swansea University in Wales honored Hillary Clinton with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and named their law school The Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law. Now the same university has launched a scholarship program aimed at championing children’s human rights.


A Welsh university has collaborated with Hillary Clinton to launch a scholarship programme aimed at championing children’s human rights.

Swansea University is working with the former US Secretary of State and presidential hopeful and the Welsh Government to launch the Hillary Rodham Clinton PhD Research Scholarship Programme.

Mrs Clinton was awarded an honorary doctorate from the South Wales university in October last year and at the same time its college of law was renamed The Hillary Rodham Clinton School of law.

Read more >>>>

 

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HRC had the HRC cheering wildly tonight!

 

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One way for ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) to ensure that proposed multi-state, anti-protest bills receive publicity and are perceived as necessary is to set a stage that will draw protestors.

Late last week, news of the United Nations warning the G.O.P. on pending state laws criminalizing protests brought out attention to ALEC , and their “free speech” agenda that focuses on the right of alt-right speakers to float their messages on university campuses.

Public and most private U.S. universities tend to lean liberal. We have seen incidents of alt-right speakers being invited, mysteriously, to universities where the scheduled speeches were protested.

Milo Yiannopoulos, notably, canceled an early February appearance at Berkeley due to protests. Late last month, Ann Coulter similarly canceled an appearance on the same campus recognized as the birthplace of the free speech movement of the 60s. The protests against Yiannopoulos turned ugly, destructive, riotous. Resistance protesters eschew violence leaving us with a second mystery. Who were the violent protesters?

Today’s story from the New York Times provides an answer to one question: Who invites these speakers?

So these appearances are arranged and financed, not by the schools, but by an organization, Young America’s Foundation. The speeches are bait. Hearing that an alt-right speaker is scheduled to speak at a school, students are certain to protest. We know that protests potentially draw troublemakers.

Resistance protests are peaceful. We do not know who the troublemakers were at Berkeley but they certainly were not part of the Resistance. The marches in cities, so far, have been peaceful. So why this marked difference on campus?

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I would suggest that these Berkeley incidents were intentionally set on that campus because its history guaranteed protest  – that much is obvious. I would suggest further, that the rioters were part of the staging.

Protest organizers, going forward, must remain mindful that these alt-right speakers are bait.  Protest behavior is the prey. Suppressing alt-right speakers inhibits their 1st Amendment rights. If we do that, we give the G.O.P. exactly the excuse they are looking for to push these laws that are intended to criminalize our own protests.

I will not pretend to have answers, but sometimes silence can be deafening. Silence and signs, shirts, and banners. We can predict that where these folks come in to speak, the riot goons will also appear. For that, we must be prepared and also plan to be distinct, separate, and present marked, non-violent contrast.

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Every year, the U.S. Department of State issues a Human Rights Report based on data collected from sources operating in U.N. member states and countries receiving U.S. assistance.  Upon the release of the 2009 Human Rights Report, Hillary Clinton announced that the United States would be added to the list of countries under review.  Republicans and conservatives did not take this news well.

Human rights are universal, but their experience is local. This is why we are committed to holding everyone to the same standard, including ourselves. This year, the United States is participating in the Universal Periodic Review process in conjunction with our participation in the UN Human Rights Council. In the fall, we will present a report, based on the input of citizens and NGOs, gathered online and in face-to-face meetings across the country attended by senior government officials. Assessing opportunities for progress and soliciting citizen engagement is one way that we demonstrate our commitment in word and deed to the basic principles that guide us toward a more perfect union and a more peaceful world.

Read more >>>>

The U.N. also reviews human rights conditions among member states.

It should be no secret to readers here that an organization exists that formulates legislation to be put forth in multiple states. If you were watching MSNBC in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s killing, you saw Karen Finney unveil ALEC.

One example of  Karen’s  effect at MSNBC was her unmasking of ALEC  (American Legislative Exchange Council) behind the Stand Your Ground laws in many states, including Florida, in the wake of George Zimmerman’s fatal attack on Trayvon Martin.  No one, in my experience of viewing multiple hours of MSNBC,  had ever mentioned ALEC.  But after Karen filled in for Bashir that day, it seemed that not an hour went by without some anchor bringing up ALEC.

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This comes as disturbing news.

The UN Has Stepped In To Issue A Severe Warning To GOP After Their Plans To Strip Americans Of Freedoms Is Exposed

If you thought your rights are protected in the USA, think again. There are lawmakers who are working hard to under-handedly take them away. Sixteen states have proposed bills that would criminalize peaceful protests. This is a worrying trend that may result in fatal blows to our rights and freedom to peacefully protest, assemble, and express our opinions and voices.

It is so concerning, that even the United Nations has weighed in on the trend. In an unprecedented move, representatives from the UN have sent a letter to the US government offering a strong condemnation for proposed legislation in sixteen states that is meant to limit peaceful protest.

The letter, penned by David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, claims that if passed, these bills would be “incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law.”

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There is a link to a PDF of the 19-page letter in the body of the article. I encourage you to take a look. At the end of the letter, there is a link to the U.N. Human Rights website.  Please also see that. Here are the letters sent regarding the U.S. in 2017 according to that page.

United States of America

  • 9 May 2017 – Intensified screening of travellers at the US border based on their religious affiliation – OL USA 6/2017

United States of America

  • 1 May 2017 – Intensified social media screening of travellers at the US border – OL USA 7/2016

United States of America

  • 27 March 2017 – Draft bills on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression – OL USA 3/2017

Those are the letters sent this year.  Further down the same page is a list of  all communications sent since 2011 divided by country. Here are the letters sent to the U.S.

United States of America

  • 30 September 2016: Proposal to request travelers’ social media information on immigration forms – USA 9/2016.
  • 20/04/2016 – Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement –USA 4/2016

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There is a danger of rapid erosion of human rights afoot. The U.N. is watching. It is not clear the degree to which such pending legislations will make their way into the State Department’s Human Right Report for 2017.  The easy out for this administration would be for DOS to exclude the U.S. from that report as it had been until Hillary Clinton included us.

The multiple pending legislations are most likely the work of ALEC. When you look at the menu bar on their website,  you see a “more” category.  There is a drop-down where you can access their “free speech” position.  The proposed curtailment of protest rights appears to be tied to recent protests against right wing speakers on university campuses.

This is going to become a matter of framing as our friend George Lakoff often reminds us. We need to make sure that protest remains framed as freedom of expression and not as the enemy or abrogation of someone else’s right to speak. That, from what I see on their page, is how they plan to frame these legislations.

While it is encouraging that the U.N. Human Rights folks are looking out for us, it also raises concerns that our own local governments are working formally to curtail our rights. The federal government, specifically the State Department, could potentially stand down on reviewing and reporting on rights violations within our borders. Lastly, and most dangerously, this administration, already inimical to the U.N. having its headquarters here, could move to exit the U.N. altogether.  I know that sounds far-fetched, but we ought to keep that in mind. Though I doubt it would ever pass, there are factions in our country that despise the U.N.  We need to be vigilant.

Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center will honor Hillary Clinton at their April 20 dinner. Hillary will receive the Trailblazer Award at the event to be held at Cipriani on Wall Street.

For tickets and information, go here >>>>

Congratulations in advance, Mme. Secretary, on a well-deserved honor!
07-28-16-z-05

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Donald Trump told a white audience in Jackson, Mississippi, where it’s hard to scrape up a crowd of white people, that Hillary Clinton is a bigot.

Video: How Hillary Clinton Helped Start an Academy in New York

April 15, 2016

As senator, Hillary supported many initiatives that were struggling and small and needed a helping hand.  This is one of those stories.  Here is a special message and video from Hillary for America.

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When news outlets pair the name Hillary Clinton with the word fundraiser in their headers, the implication is that the funds are being raised for her and for her campaign, but that is not necessarily the true story.

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Those of us who have had the privilege of having met Hillary Clinton know that she is warm, generous, and encouraging.  Always gracious, she is open, welcoming,  and a cheerful good sport.  Participants in the Chappaqua Summer Scholarship Program had their chance to meet and greet Hillary on Sunday upon completion of their summer courses.

Read more >>>>

Hillary stepped off the campaign trail for awhile today, and into the charged situation in Flint, Michigan.  This morning on TV she spoke knowledgeably about the dangerous effects of lead poisoning as well as the structural challenges involved in making the pipelines safe again.  If any other candidate for president knows as much as Hillary does on this topic, that individual has been remarkably silent on the subject.

Read more >>>>

Two days after publishing an Easter Sunday Op-Ed in the New York Daily News addressing gun violence, Hillary Clinton visited a Baptist Church in Milwaukee today to participate in a forum on the subject.

Read more  >>>>

At Rancho High School in Las Vegas, Hillary made clear her determination to effect immigration reform and a  path to citizenship for Dreamers and, importantly, their families.

This event is a perfect example of Hillary’s early campaign strategy.  Rather than doing the speaking, Hillary is hearing  the stories these Dreamers have to tell.  For those who still do not get it, statements from her will not proliferate right now.  She is busy doing the listening.
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Actually, I have a lot more. That was only a sample.  And there is this.

June 9

In the United States, people will tell you they come by their children’s names any number of ways. And, each year, parental notions of originality are dashed when the Social Security Administration’s most popular names list makes it clear that millions of parents also thought that Emma, Noah or Olivia was distinctly made for their little one too.

But the United States is home to people who hail from many nations and where pieces of other cultures thrive. For instance in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a Central African nation riddled by armed conflict, widespread sexual violence as a tool of war and less-than-democratic elections, there is a tradition of giving children a first name which captures some aspect of what you hope they will be, what kind of personality, habits and abilities they will demonstrate.

And on Tuesday, all of that collided briefly with a singular moment in American political history.

Read more >>>>

OH! And there is this!

DOJ: Trump’s Early Businesses Blocked Blacks

A 1973 suit against Trump and the Trump Organization claimed that superintendents at Trump properties would mark African American’s applications with a ‘C’ for ‘Colored’ and other racial codes.

Gideon Resnick

12.15.15

When an African American showed up to rent an apartment owned by a young real-estate scion named Donald Trump and his family, the building superintendent did what he claimed he’d been told to do. He allegedly attached a separate sheet of paper to the application, marked with the letter “C.”

“C” for “Colored.”

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Wow! Sometimes it’s just all about those Cs!

Clarification on Classification: It Was All About the Cs

Some of the recovered emails that the FBI investigators combed through had what could have been noticed or missed depending upon how far down a chain of emails you scrolled or how quickly your eye scanned the text. (c) To discern the marking you had first to know what it indicated and second had to read carefully and thoroughly through the email chain since the marking might have appeared in an early version of an email and might have been removed in later texts, or the marking might not have been removed when it should have been. Did you see it?  In testimony to the Oversight Committee, FBI Director James Comey stated that paragraphs or sentences bearing this mark were not offset with indentation.

(c) Now you see it.

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Who is the bigot?  You decide.  You are the voter! To me, Trump is a cartoon drawn by Gary Larson.

 

STAND

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Keep fighting for a more equal America

 

By Hillary Clinton

Fri June 3, 2016

Hillary Clinton: We need to continue to fight discrimination at all levels of government
We must ensure America remains on the right side of history, she says

“Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. The opinions expressed in this commentary are hers.”

(CNN)As we enter Pride Month, and reflect on what has transpired in the last year, it’s clear that America took some big steps forward in our ongoing fight for equality.
Marriage equality is the law of the land. The federal government and U.S. military’s nondiscrimination policies now cover sexual orientation. Adoption by same-sex couples is finally legal in every state.

And in communities across the country, high schools are celebrating same-sex prom kings and queens. Transgender people have been living with greater openness and joy. There’s no denying that our country is moving forward.
Now we need to make sure America remains on the right side of history. We’re already seeing efforts to reverse the gains we’ve made in statehouses and courthouses across the country. Not to mention, there’s an election going on — and it would be all too easy for our next president to roll back much of the progress we have made.
Enter Donald Trump, who has pledged to do just that.

Read more and see video >>>>

06-01-16-Z-19

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