Cuba Repeats Support for Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights

Geneva, Jul 3 (Prensa Latina) Cuba today repeated its support for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Human Rights Council, to which it was submitted recently as a show of its commitment to that mechanism, Cuban representative Pablo Berti noted.

When speaking at the 38th Ordinary Session of the Human Rights Council, the Cuban diplomat called on all countries to continue to work for the consolidation of the achievements and results of the UPR, which has proved to be effective and useful.

'No one could question its success, although the selectivity and politicization in the treatment of human rights have increasingly become entrenched in the Council's works,' he stressed.

In that regard, the Cuban representative expressed concern about the efforts to undermine the foundational bases of the UPR, and noted that 'achieving more efficiency of the Council cannot be used, under any concept, to eliminate the intergovernmental nature of the review.'

Berti favored taking into consideration the concerns of the States and strictly complying with what was established in the institutional construction package.

'The universality of this mechanism is essential. So is the fair treatment of all members of the United Nations, bringing about an objective and periodic review, in a climate of respect and mutual cooperation,' he stated.

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Cuba rejects at UN Council manipulation of human rights issues

Geneva, June 28 (RHC)-- Cuba rejected at United Nations headquarters in Geneva the politicization of the issue of Human Rights, as well as the manipulation, double standards and selectivity of its treatment.

Speaking at the 38th regular session of the UN Council for Human Rights, Cuban ambassador Pedro Luis Pedroso regretted that ‘dialogue and cooperation, some of the foundations on which the Council was created,  have been left aside and confrontation, politicization, selectivity and double standards have been privileged, 'Prensa Latina reported.

The Cuban representative denounced that debate continues to be used so that powerful countries, seeking to establish themselves as paradigms of promotion and protection of human rights, criticize countries of the South, omitting their own and serious violations of human rights.

'There is no talk of the rising to worrisome levels of xenophobia, racism and intolerance in those countries that refuse to recognize the right to development, as a basic human right', he deplored.

The diplomat expressed the rejection of the use of the human rights issue 'to exert political pressure and seek to impose punitive actions, with the objective of promoting regime changes'.

Pedroso reiterated Cuba's solidarity with the governments and peoples of Venezuela and Nicaragua and called for an end to all interference in the internal affairs of those countries.

The Ambassador said that the island  will continue its struggle so that its society is as fair as possible, promoting international solidarity and cooperation, with the conviction that through dialogue and respect it is possible to achieve a better world for all.'

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares
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Trump says illegal immigrants should be deported with 'no judges or court cases'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Sunday that people who enter the United States illegally should be sent back immediately to where they came from without any judicial process, likening them to invaders who are trying to “break into” the country.

His proposal drew immediate criticism from legal analysts and immigrant rights advocates who said it would violate the U.S. Constitution’s due process provision, which applies to citizens and non-citizens alike.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, Trump said: “We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.”

“Cannot accept all of the people trying to break into our Country. Strong Borders, No Crime!”

It was unclear if Trump was advocating an expansion of the provision that allows expedited removals of illegal immigrants at or near the U.S. border, a policy his administration has embraced since he took office. Nor did Trump differentiate between illegal immigrants and people who entered the United States to seek asylum protection.

The White House did not return a call seeking clarification.

“The president of the United States has just forcefully proposed the end of political asylum and no due process for migrants,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, wrote on Twitter.

Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, told Reuters: “The administration cannot simply get rid of all process for immigrants. The due process clause absolutely applies. It’s not a choice.”

Authorities can bypass due process protections with the expedited removals policy that allows quick deportations if an immigrant is apprehended within 100 miles (160 km) of the border and has been in the country less than 14 days. Those seeking asylum must be granted a hearing.

Trump’s tweets on Sunday came after a week of global outcry over images and video of crying children and their distraught parents separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. Critics in Trump’s Republican Party, as well as his wife and daughter, urged him to abandon the policy.

The president buckled to the pressure on Wednesday, issuing an executive order that ended the separations. But the government has yet to reunite more than 2,000 children with their parents.

TRUMP FUMES OVER IMMIGRATION

But Trump’s frustration over the issue only grew. He has issued a drumbeat of criticism of the immigration system and Democrats in Congress, while using increasingly harsh terms such as “invasion” and “infestation” to describe illegal immigration.

“Here, I think he is making it clear, he just doesn’t want anybody here. He wants people to just be sent back, no matter what,” said Jorge Baron, executive director for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, who compared Sunday’s tweets with comments Trump was reported to have made in January about immigrants from “shithole” countries.

While some who advocate for stricter immigration rules have argued that people are making fraudulent asylum claims or abusing the loopholes in U.S. immigration laws, Baron said Trump’s views went way beyond those arguments.

Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting adults for entering the country illegally entails a process that typically takes many months. That required children to be separated from parents because they are not legally allowed to be kept in detention for more than 20 days.

Keeping the children with their migrant parents as they await court proceedings faces obstacles, however, including the lack of sufficient housing, a paucity of immigration judges and a daunting backlog of cases.

Under expedited removal proceedings, which are used most commonly at ports of entry, an immigration official can evaluate an immigrant’s claim and reject it with no involvement by an immigration judge or review board.

The Trump administration called last year for the expansion of the expedited removals program to immigrants who have been in the country illegally for up to two years.

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Nevada Republican Party Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., June 23, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

There is an exception from expedited removal for those with a credible fear of returning home.

Lindsay Harris, an assistant professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia, said those with no credible fear could still see a judge, while those with such a fear could begin a long legal process that eventually could result in asylum and applying for a work permit.

“It’s already an extremely truncated process,” the ACLU’s Gelernt said. “The president’s suggestion that there is a ton of process for these individuals is simply wrong. There are already people being removed with a truncated process.”

Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Sarah N. Lynch; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Peter Cooney

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Separating Children From Parents At US Border "Unconscionable", Says UN

Geneva:  The UN human rights chief on Monday urged Washington to stop separating migrant children from their parents at the US border, describing the policy as "unconscionable".

"The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable," Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said as he opened a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The "zero-tolerance" border security policy implemented by President Donald Trump's administration has sparked global outrage.

The government has said that during one recent six-week period nearly 2,000 minors were separated from their parents or adult guardians.

The number of separations has jumped since early May, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that all migrants illegally crossing the US border with Mexico would be arrested, regardless of whether the adults were seeking asylum.

Since children cannot be sent to the facilities where their parents are held, they are separated.

Zeid quoted the American Association of Pediatrics as describing the practice as "government-sanctioned child abuse" which may cause "irreparable harm," with "lifelong consequences".

"I call on the United States to immediately end the practice of forcible separation of these children," he said, urging Washington to ratify the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

The US is the only country that has not ratified the convention.

Ratification, Zeid said, would "ensure that the fundamental rights of all children, whatever their administrative status, will be at the centre of all domestic laws and policies."

Zeid's address at the start of the 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council marks his last address to the body before he is due to step down at the end of August.

The session kicked off under a cloud of growing US criticism of the council. Diplomatic sources said there was a risk that Washington may withdraw from the council altogether.
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‘Julian Assange could die in Ecuadorian embassy’ – Pamela Anderson

Anderson appeared on Tuesday’s installment of ‘Good Morning Britain,’ hosted by Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid. Having complemented the former Playboy model on her looks, and asked her if she had dressed up for his benefit, Morgan got down to more serious matters.

“He’s awful. It’s terrible,” said Anderson when asked how her friend Assange was doing. “They’ve cut off internet access. He’s a political prisoner in the heart of London. It’s very surprising. Cut off from everybody.”

Asked if she “feared he was going to die in there,” Anderson replied: “He could. He’s human and I don’t know who could tolerate this, he’s a political prisoner and he’s a hero so we need to support him.”

Anderson confirmed she can no longer communicate with the man for whom she has previously expressed her love. “No, nobody can visit him right now. His lawyers possibly.” Anderson went on to say that she had visited him every time she was London up to now but that is no longer possible and she is very concerned about his health.

“I’m very, very, very, concerned, deeply concerned for him. He’s one of the most important people on the planet right now,” she said. “He’s exposing all of these war crimes and truths and we really need him at this moment. And it’s not a coincidence that he is being silenced at this time.”

Anderson believes it’s possible her relationship with Assange is being investigated. “Probably, gosh, I wouldn’t be surprised,” the Canadian address admitted before reiterating her concerns for Assange and calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to do something.

“The UK is being so stupid they have to make a decision, they keep on passing the buck no-one wants to take responsibility and they want to extradite him to the US, 100 percent, and that would be life in prison or worse,” Anderson continued.

“There’s so much going on in the world right now, I want to know what he’s thinking.”

Anderson went on to say that Assange is being “abused” and that it’s a human rights issue.

When Reid suggested that many people feel Assange should face “justice,” Anderson replied: “For what? Telling the truth and exposing war crimes. He’s not the culprit, just the messenger. You should know you’re journalists, it’s the same thing.”

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In US 6,300 People Evicted Every Day, Mainly Blacks: Report

One of the main findings of the newly launched project is the deep racial undertone behind a vast majority of these evictions. 

In the United States, 6,300 people are evicted every day, according to a new, one of its kind project called the Eviction Lab

RELATED: Richest 1% to Own Two-Third of World's Wealth by 2030: Report

The project launched by Princeton University sheds light on U.S.'s eviction and housing crisis, as it sifted through nearly 80 million evictions going back to 2000. The lab found that in 2016 alone, there were nearly four evictions filed every minute. 

One of the main findings of the newly launched lab is the deep racial undertone behind a vast majority of these evictions. 

Matthew Desmond, professor of sociology who runs the project at Princeton University, told Democracy Now, "The legacy of racial discrimination in America is deeply connected to the eviction crisis. One of our big findings for the data that we’ve just released is the concentration of evictions in the Southeast, especially in counties that have large numbers of African Americans in them. 

"And I think that this is deeply connected to our legacies of systematically dispossessing African Americans from the land, which is a history that goes from slavery all the way up to the recent subprime crisis." 

Eviction Lab, which is the country's first nationwide database on evictions, also indicated that the evictions could lead to poor health, depression, job loss and a lost chance to find decent housing in the future.  

"Families lose not only their homes, but children often lose their schools. You often lose your things, which are piled on the sidewalk or taken by movers. And eviction comes with an official mark or a blemish, and that can prevent you from moving into safe housing in a good neighborhood. It can also prevent you from moving into public housing," Desmond argued.  

"And then there’s health effects, like depression. We have a study that shows that moms who get evicted experience high rates of depression two years later."

According to Eviction lab findings, cities like North Charleston and Richmond faced the highest number of evictions in 2016, per the latest extensive database available.

RELATED: Brazil's 'Extreme' Inequality Likely to Deepen: Report

"This is not just a problem that’s in New York or San Francisco or Boston—cities we often talk about as being hotbeds of the affordable housing crisis. If you go to Wilmington, Delaware, one in 13 renter families are evicted every year. If you go to Tucson, Arizona, or Tulsa, Oklahoma, Albuquerque, New Mexico, you see very high eviction rates," Desmond said, according to Democracy Now. 

In some eviction cases recorded in recent years, the tenants said they weren't sure who was evicting them, which Desmond concluded was maybe because the property was "flipping hands very quickly and maybe being consolidated in fewer hands in some cities." 

"I’d ask a tenant, “You know, what’s happening? What brought you to this situation?” And their answers were very confused. They’d say, “Well, I got a letter from this company, and I sent my check there. They sent it back. They said my property is owned by another property," Desmond informed. 

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Over 1,000 Palestinians Died in Gaza Due to Israeli Blockade

Some 80 percent of the nearly two million residents of Gaza depend on humanitarian aid, with around 60 percent suffering food insecurity. 

Over 1,000 Palestinians have died in the Gaza strip as a result of Israel's military blockade, which has been ongoing for more than a decade, the strip's collective of charitable organizations has warned.

RELATED: Israel Fires at Gaza, Kills 2 Palestinian Teenagers

"Out of the 1,000 or so victims of the blockade, 450 died as a result of the collapse of the health situation in Gaza, such as the lack of medical supplies and the crisis of medical referrals for outside treatment," Ahmad Kurd, the coordinator of the collective, told Al-Jazeera Sunday.

Just in the past few days five premature babies died due to lack of medical treatments available in the region, Kurd said. Meanwhile nearly 100 people died while trying to use alternate electricity. The number of workers who were killed in the fields of agriculture, fishing, and commercial tunnels has reached 350, according to the collective.

Ever since the 2007 Israel-imposed blockade on Gaza, the territory has been in crisis and has been facing food, water, and power shortages. "Gaza is a disaster area in all areas - health, environmental, social, and energy," he warned, adding that power cuts last between 18-20 hours a day.

The Palestinian government "must provide the needs of the Gaza Strip regarding medical supplies, social assistance, pay the salaries of government employees, and exert pressure to open the border crossings," Kurd said. "The use of candles, firewood or generators has resulted in house fires that claimed the lives of children and adults alike."

RELATED: Blockade-Induced Power Outages Force Gaza Hospital to Close

According to the Israeli Information for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Gaza's economy is collapsing due to the blockade. Between May and August 2017, Gaza's unemployment rate stood at 44 percent, whereas during pre-blockade, in 2000, the region's unemployment rate was 18.9 percent.

Some 80 percent of the nearly 2 million residents of Gaza depend on humanitarian aid, with around 60 percent suffering food insecurity. 

According to Haaretz, a Palestinian fisherman was killed Sunday by the Israeli Defense Forces, or IDF, after he sailed past the authorized fishing zone off the northern Gaza Strip. The IDF spokesman said the fishermen didn't respond to their call, after which they opened fire. The boat was carrying three people and the other two fishermen were detained by the IDF for interrogation.

"We are sure that the wounded are fishermen who went out to sea to make a living – and nothing else," the head of the Gaza Fisherman's Union told Haaretz. "The [Israeli] army is always inventing stories about crossing [out of] the fishing zone."

The union has identified the three men as Mahmoud Adel Abu Riala, 18, Ismail Salah Abu Riala, 18, and Ahed Hassan Abu Ali, 26. 

In January, the Palestinian ministry of health reported that a hospital in northern Gaza, Beit Hanoun hospital which serves nearly 60,000 people, had to shut down owing to power shortages.

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'A Real Wonder Woman': Artist Behind Che Guevara’s Iconic Poster Paints Ahed Tamimi

The Irish artist said he is trying to save the life of the jailed Palestinian teen who “signifies nobility in the face of oppression.”

“There is a real Wonder Woman” is the title of a new painting from Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick, who is famous for drawing the iconic 1968 poster of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, depicting Palestinian imprisoned teen Ahed Tamimi as a superhero.

RELATED: Israel Probed If Ahed Tamimi Family Were ‘Light-Skinned’ Actors

Fitzpatrick said he was amazed by Tamimi’s bravery when he first learned of her two years ago. “Ahed Tamimi, to me, signifies nobility in the face of oppression. This is a kid, a child,” Fitzpatrick told Newsweek magazine in an interview earlier this week.

“When I was 15, I think I would have been petrified. Wherever she’s getting her courage from, there’s a resonance of it echoing across the world. I’m just a part of it. There are organizations doing more than I could do, but I do think the pen—in my case, the brush—is mightier than the sword.”

He also said the title of his latest painting is directed at Gal Gadot, the former Israeli soldier-turned hollywood star who was the star of the latest “Wonder Woman” movie and has publically come out against Palestinian rights. “That’s deliberate … I think: Hold on, there is a Wonder Woman, and it’s this kid,” the renowned artist further told the magazine.

RELATED: Ahed Tamimi's Relative 1st Palestinian killed by Israel in 2018

“I’ve been collecting comic books all my life. I’ve been a guest at San Diego Comic Con. I would not say anybody in that [comic book] community has an idea that she was an IDF soldier and supports the persecution of Palestinians as young as Ahed Tamimi. I think they’d be shocked if they knew that.”

In December Ahed was arrested and indicted on 12 charges including assaulting an Israeli soldier and throwing stones after a video of her slapping an Israeli soldier in her home’s yard went viral. It was revealed later that the Palestinian girl was upset after soldiers had shot her 14-year-old cousin in the face a day earlier.

The teen, who turned 17 behind bars last month, has received large international attention and solidarity since her arrest as many prominent actors, artists and academics in the United States and other countries signed letters and petitions calling for her release.

RELATED: Young US Jews Write 700 Letters of Solidarity to Ahed Tamimi

Fitzpatrick said that he fears for her life as many in Israel are calling for sentencing her to life in prison or even executing her over “insulting” the Israeli occupation. “I’m afraid they’re going to kill her. And that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing,” he said in an attempt to echo the international campaign he kicked off against injustice with his Viva Che painting.

Ahed is being tried in an Israeli military court and the judge has denied her bail. Her first hearing Tuesday was held behind closed doors as media and the public were kicked out of the courtroom. Israeli military courts have a conviction rate of more than 99 percent.

Over the years Ahed gained international attention for her brave actions against Israeli occupation forces during protests and clashes in and around her village. In 2015 a video of her, along with female members of her family, went viral showing her fighting an Israeli occupation soldier who was pinning down her 12-year old male cousin.

 

  • Published in Culture
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