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OMNI NEWSLETTER ON HUMAN RIGHTS JUNE 8, 2008
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OMNI NEWSLETTER, SPECIAL NUMBER ON the UNITED STATES VERSUS HUMAN RIGHTS, June 8, 2008, Compiled by Dick Bennett
See OMNI’s newsletters on Terror, Torture, and other related subjects.
Building a Culture of Peace Through Justice.
These materials enable us better to be WE, THE PEOPLE, informed citizens demanding a constitutional democracy.
“Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment; and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” G. B. Shaw.
SENATOR LINCOLN (202) 224-4843 Fax: (202) 228-1371.
Fayetteville office: 251-1380
Senator Mark Pryor: Phone: (202) 224-2353 Fax: (202) 228-0908
CONGRESSMAN Boozman: Lowell office: 479-725-0400.
DC address: 1708 Longworth House Office Bldng., Washington, DC 20515; 202-225-4301.
I. UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (UDHR)60TH ANNIVERSARY
Human Rights Organizations
II. USA and HUMAN RIGHTS
US Withdraws from UN Human Rights Council
US and Habeas Corpus
[For remaining contents go to www.omnicenter.org]
Death Penalty: ABA
Death Penalty: NWA, John Threet
Human Rights Week 2008 at UA
I. UN UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHT 60TH ANNIVERSARY
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."
"Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."
"No one shall be held in slavery or servitude...."
"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
These fundamental principles are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the milestone document that for the first time set forth specific rights to which every individual is entitled. Although this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Declaration, its ideals remain far from reality in too many places.
This 60th anniversary year provides an important opportunity to renew America's commitment to the Declaration, and you can help by urging your Representative to cosponsor H. Con. Res. 332, which calls on all countries to reaffirm their commitment to the Declaration's principles of freedom and equality.
UNA-USA member Margaret "Molly" Bruce has a unique perspective on the Declaration, having worked with Eleanor Roosevelt and others in drafting the historic document. "Anniversaries," she observes, "encourage us to review the past, evaluate the present and assess the future in the light of history." While acknowledging the widespread human rights abuses that continue today, Mrs. Bruce nevertheless stresses, "Governments, however, can be pressured, they can change, and they can be swayed by the force of public opinion at home and abroad."
That Means You Can Make a Difference! To ACT NOW, click here.
HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS
HUMAN RIGHTS FIRST (orig. Lawyers Committee for Human Rights)
Human Rights First | Home Page
Human Rights First is a human rights advocacy group working on issues related to: refugees, civil liberties after September 11, Darfur, discrimination, ...
www.humanrightsfirst.org/ - 36k - Cached - Similar pages
Law & Security
Board of Directors
About Human Rights Defenders
More results from humanrightsfirst.org »
Human Rights First | About Us - Internship program
Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled ...
www.humanrightsfirst.org/about_us/jobs/interns.htm - 27k - Cached - Similar pages
Human Rights First - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Founded in 1978, Human Rights First also works on a range of other issues, including asylum seekers in the United States, international refugee policy, ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Rights_First - 18k - Cached - Similar pages
Human Rights Watch - Defending Human Rights Worldwide
Home page for Human Rights Watch, an organization dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. We stand with victims and activists ...
www.hrw.org/ - 35k - Cached - Similar pages
Human Rights Watch: Women's Human Rights (Discrimination ...
The Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch fights against the dehumanization and marginalization of women. We promote women's equal rights and human ...
www.hrw.org/women/ - 25k - Cached - Similar pages
Human Rights Watch - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Human Rights Watch is a United States-based international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Rights_Watch - 67k - Cached - Similar pages
American Civil Liberties Union
National organization advocating individual rights, by litigating, legislating, and educating the public on a broad array of issues affecting individual ...
www.aclu.org/ - 29k - Cached - Similar pages
Religion and Belief
More results from aclu.org »
American Civil Liberties Union - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) consists of two separate non-profit organizations: the ACLU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization which focuses on ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACLU - 119k - Cached - Similar pages
American Civil Liberties Union
This is the Web site of the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU ... Learn more about the distinction between these two components of the ACLU. ...
www.aclu.com/ - 29k - Cached - Similar pages
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’S National Casework Program has some 600 groups in the US engaged on specific long-term cases. To learn more and join the Freedom Writer’s network, call 404-876-5661, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CONGRESSIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CAUCUSES in both houses of Congress since at least FEBRUARY 15, 2006 according to http://harkin.senate.gov/news.cfm?id=251635
CONGRESSIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CAUCUS BECOMES BICAMERAL
Washington, D.C. â€“ The Congressional Human Rights Caucus, a bipartisan organization in the House of Representatives, is expanding to the U.S. Senate for the first time in its 23-year history. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) will co-chair the Senate Caucus.
The Caucus, currently with 240 House members, was founded in 1983 by Co-Chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA) and former Co-Chairman John Edward Porter (R-IL). The Caucus welcomed Congressmen Frank R. Wolf (R-VA) as Co-Chair in 2001 when Porter retired. Porter continues to serve as honorary co-chair.
As a long-time supporter of human rights, I am delighted that the Senate will have a forum devoted to shedding light on human rights abuses around the world. It is my hope that this caucus will influence US foreign policy that will advance human rights throughout the world,â€ said Senate Co-Chair Harkin.
CONGRESSIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CAUCUS (CHRC)
Created in 1983, the CHRC is the leading voice in Congress on human rights issues as defined in the UN DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.
ACTION; Urge Rep. John Boozman to join the Caucus, at 202-225-4301. And write his staff: they follow Boozman’s limited vision, but because they can also influence him we need to educate them. Write Cong. Boozman and his staff regularly. They hear mainly from people who agree with his values.
II. USA and HUMAN RIGHTS
See OMNI’s Newsletters on Torture.
US WITHDRAWS FROM UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Google news has at least 7 news articles about this matter at the following link http://news.google.com/news?rls=com.microsoft%3Aen-us&tab=wn&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&ncl=1219826754
June 7, 2008 3:40 PM | permalink
The US has pulled out of the United Nations' Human Rights Council, "an international body within the United Nations System. Its stated purpose is to address human rights violations."
The news that the US has completely withdrawn from the Human Rights Council spread like wildfire Friday afternoon (June 6) through the corridors of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. There was general consternation amongst diplomats and NGOS. Reached by phone, the American mission in Geneva neither confirmed nor denied the report. Although unofficial, the news comes at a time of long opposition by the Bush administration to the reforms which created the Human Rights Council in June 2006. Washington announced from the beginning that the US would not be an active member but its observer status would mean that it could intervene during the sessions. To date even this has rarely happened.
Link (from Chris)
HRW slams US over disengagement from UN Rights Council
Hindu, India - Jun 6, 2008
New York (PTI): A prominent international human rights watchdog has slammed the United States for its decision to disengage entirely from the United Nations ...
US policies can be better understood in the context of the old, deeply
ingrained belief by the people of the US in the unique superiority of the USA. A good source for understanding is American Exceptionalism and Human Rights edited by Michael Ignatieff. This conviction, or hubris, enables our leaders to exempt the nation from international conventions and treaties by reservation, nonratification, or noncompliance; to employ double standards of judging the nation and its friends by more permissive criteria than it does its enemies; and to deny jurisdiction to international laws within its own domestic law. Recently a writer in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (4-14-08) justified the establishment of the U.S. military’s new African Command as necessary to “make [Africa] less vulnerable to extremists.” Obviously the writer did not consider the fact and the global perception of the US as itself extremist, itself the greatest example today of State Terror.
Subscribe to WILLIAM BLUM, Anti-Empire Report,
GUANTANAMO: January 11, December 5
Take Action, Defend International Law, the International Declaration on Human Rights, Geneva Conventions, the U. S. Bill of Rights
Donate | Calendar | Local Groups | Store
January 9, 2008
Last year at this time, the three of us were in Guantanamo, Cuba with former detainee Asif Iqbal and the mother and brother of detainee Omar Deghayes. Omar's mother, Zohar, had not seen her son in five years. When we got to the gates of the U.S. Naval Base to stage our protest, she broke down. "It breaks my heart to think of my son in a cramped narrow cell without sunshine or fresh air, living for so many years in conditions not even fit for animals," she cried.
Omar grew up in Brighton, England, where he studied law. In 2001 he traveled to Malaysia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he married and had a son. When war broke out in Afghanistan, he fled with his family to Pakistan, planning to return to England. But he was arrested, reportedly for a bounty of $5,000, and sent to Guantanamo. Omar says he was beaten repeatedly and kept in solitary confinement for eight months. In March 2004, when he protested a body cavity search, five guards pepper sprayed him so badly, he lost sight in one eye.
After six years of horrendous detention without charges or a trial, Omar was finally released on December 18, 2007. While we join his family in celebrating his release, we know over 300 prisoners still remain in Guantanamo, subjected to the same abuses and utter disregard for due process.
January 11 marks the International Day to Shut Down Guantanamo. CODEPINK is organizing a protest in Miami outside the Southern Command, which runs the prison. For a list of dozens of local protests across the country, click here. If you can't join a protest, please take a moment to call (202-353-1555) or write Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Demand that Guantanamo prison be shut down, and that all detainees either be charged and tried in US federal courts or released.
[Let’s make every day Shut Down Guantanamo Day. Dick]
Upon Omar's release from prison, he wrote the following note to CODEPINK:
"I thank everyone from America who has written and emailed my family for my release. I do not have hatred toward Americans. I know that not all Americans are bad. Even inside the prison, some guards were not bad.
I thank you for your support and ask that you continue to work hard to ensure that due process is provided for all prisoners and to force the closing of the prison in Guantanamo."
If you would like a write a note of apology to Omar or his mother, Zohra, you can send it to email@example.com.
Let's begin the new year by demanding that our government respect the rule of law. [Let’s continue this protest here in Arkansas. Dick]
With justice for all,
Attorney General Michael Mukasey and demand that Guantanamo prison be shut down, and that all detainees either be charged and tried in US federal prisons or released
Guantanamo Detainees' Fates on Trial
Marjorie Cohn, AlterNet
Rights and Liberties: The upcoming Supreme Court case Boumediene v. Bush will decide whether Guantanamo detainees will still have a right to habeas corpus.
Human Rights Crusader Michael Ratner: We'll Keep Going After Bush and Cheney When They Leave Office
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
As the Supreme Court prepares to hear the next major challenge to Bush's imperial power grab, AlterNet talks with Michael Ratner, who has been at the center of the battle over the administration's human rights assault. Read more Â» http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/69421/
GUANTANAMO AND HABEAS CORPUS
Tomorrow, December 5, the Center for Constitutional Rights will return to the Supreme Court for part III of what The New York Times has called "the most important civil rights case in 50 years." Please go to our website to learn more about the arguments and principles at stake in this GuantÃ¡namo case.You can also listen to the arguments in real time tomorrow on C-SPAN radio beginning at 11:15 EST.
In the lead up to this historic argument, CCR has been undertaking a major campaign to highlight the importance of this case. As part of this campaign we produced a television ad featuring actor and activist Danny Glover speaking about Bush administration's destruction of the Constitution. This ad was rejected by Fox News, their explanation being that we could "not document that Bush is in fact 'destroying' the Constitution." It is airing tonight in the DC area on CNN and MSNBC.
Read more and watch the video.
But the serious story behind the ad is CCR's historic case before the Supreme Court, which will in all likelihood determine once and for all whether there is a constitutional right to habeas corpus - that is, a fair hearing before a real court - for everyone detained by the U.S. government at GuantÃ¡namo.
Read more about Al Odah v. United States and Boumediene v. Bush here.
This new case goes Beyond GuantÃ¡namo - we are directly challenging President Bush's unprecedented power grab, his use of torture in violation of domestic and international law, and his assertion that he can hold anyone indefinitely anywhere in the world on his word alone. The case also challenges the 2006 Republican Congress's attempt to clear his way with its passage of the Military Commissions Act.
In 2004, CCR won the first GuantÃ¡namo Supreme Court case - Rasul v. Bush - when the Supreme Court ruled that the men at GuantÃ¡namo have the fundamental right to challenge their detention.
Even though you're not in D.C. to see the arguments, you can still take action to make sure that our rights - and our Constitution - are rescued from the hands of the Bush administration, where they have been systematically shredded for the past seven years:
Send President Bush a copy of the Constitution (something he seems to have forgotten about);
Watch the controversial video with Danny Glover that was rejected by Fox News;
Watch other videos of Eve Ensler and Vanessa Redgrave speaking out against GuantÃ¡namo and forward them to your friends and family; or
Attend a local event tomorrow, check our calendar of events for actions near you.
We need your help to restore the damage done to our most basic rights: join us today and take action to Rescue the Constitution. Let's move Beyond GuantÃ¡namo.
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Heart-wrenching accounts of individual cases of U.S. violations of prisoner rights would fill a warehouse of volumes. The Columbia Journalism Review (July-Aug. 2007) recently told about Sami al-Haj. Read it and weep. “Prisoner 345: What Happened to Al Jazeera’s Sami al-Haj” by Rachel Morris. One day he was arrested and six years later he is still at Guantanamo along with other detainees asking why they have been held there for so long without trial; that is, without any way to fairly determine whether they belong there.
Poems from Guantanamo, ed. Marc Falcoff. Thousands of lines were censored out by US Army, yet these poems remain powerful witnesses to the cruelty of that torture prison.
For the rest of this Newsletter go to OMNI’s website: www.omnicenter.org