October Human Rights News Roundup

human rights newsIt’s been a few months since we’ve done a human rights news roundup, and we can’t forget that there are tons of issues that we need to at least be aware of. Our chapter is also in the middle of a waiting game, as we won’t have any updates from the Reggie Clemons case until January, so we do need some other issues to learn about and to focus on. To help with that, here’s a human rights news roundup, covering some really good human rights issues from the past week or so.

Her ‘Crime’ was Loving Schools – New York Times – This is one of the biggest human rights stories of the past week, so it would be a surprise if you haven’t heard about it yet. Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani girl, was shot in the head while riding the bus to school. She was shot for being an outspoken advocate for girls’ education, and was threatened more than once by the Taliban for her work. Yousafzai has since been transferred to a hospital in the UK, where she is predicted to recover from her wounds. The Taliban have said that if she survives, they would try and kill her again. Amnesty International has an urgent action on this case.

Pussy Riot Member Uses Freedom to Resume Protests Against Vladimir Putin – The Guardian – The girls of Pussy Riot have become a priority case for Amnesty International. Pussy Riot was sentenced to several years in prison for singing a protest song in Red Square. Their exact charge is “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” One of the members, Yekaterina Samutsevich, has been released. While Amnesty is continuing action on getting the other two released, Samutsevich has said that she will continue the struggle of the group.

Speaking of the Guardian, they did some great work covering the Reggie Clemons hearings at the end of September. We’ve linked to their articles.

National Coming Out Day: A Straight Perspective – Huffington Post – Friday, Oct. 12 was National Coming Out Day (something that wasn’t mentioned in the VP debate, and one that I hope will be discussed in the next presidential debate). Thought this was a great essay on the topic of gay marriage.

What’s Going On At Guantanamo This Week? Shhh…It’s A Secret – Amnesty International Blog – Did you know that this week, the pre-trial motion hearings are taking place for the military commission case against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the four other alleged co-conspirators in the 9/11 attacks? Probably not, as everything the defendants know, say, or write is “preemptively classified”, whatever that means. A big reason why this is wrong, according to Amnesty, is that if the defendants know of or have experienced any sort of human rights violations, then all that is classified and cannot be discussed. Amnesty also believes that “the blanket policy of presumptive classification is inconsistent with the defendants’ right to a fair trial and seriously undermines the defendants’ ability to challenge the evidence against them.”

Egyptian Rights Group: No End to Police Abuses – Voice of America – Egypt may have been the birthplace of the Arab Spring, but it isn’t in the clear and perfect yet (like any country is perfect). There’s been documentation of rape, wrongful deaths, and torture ever since President Mohammed Morsi came to power. According to the reports, many of the victims were protesters and that President Morsi hasn’t made any institutional changes since becoming president. Part of the rise in crime and abuses is also due to the fact that much of police force fled at the beginning of the Arab Spring.

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