Amnesty International’s purview has always been international human rights, and although our work in that area is very important, this month’s human rights news roundup focuses on events happening in the United States. It’s a new year, with a new Congress and a new opportunity to make changes domestically. Here’s the latest going on within our borders:
Advances in Reproductive Health Since Roe v. Wade – Boston Globe – Although Amnesty International doesn’t focus on reproductive rights, it’s an important component of women’s rights both at home and abroad. Even with the great strides we made over the past 40 years, we’ve also taken many steps backward, such as the fact that there’s no federal funding for abortion policies. This article focuses specifically on abortion policy in Massachusetts, showcasing that there’s still a lot of resistance toward abortion.
Senators Push Immigration Plan – Reuters – Immigration reform is badly needed in this country, and it looks like there’s finally movement in this area. The plan, put forward by a bipartisan group of senators, will allow illegal immigrants to register with the government and be able to work here after paying a small fine. This plan doesn’t really provide any permanent legal status, and doesn’t address border enforcement. President Obama also planned to make immigration reform a priority this term, especially since it didn’t get addressed over the last four years.
Dear Congress: Let’s Get Moving Together! Reauthorize VAWA Now – Amnesty International Blog – Great news! The Senate and the House of Representatives have jointly announced the reintroduction of the reauthorization the Violence Against Women Act. We really hope this goes through, and has the additional provisions to protect immigrant women, LGBT individuals, and Native American and Alaskan women. Now’s a good time to take action and to encourage Congress to reauthorize VAWA.
Apple Pledges to Eradicate Child Labor from Technology Supply Industry – The Guardian – A plus one for corporate accountability and responsibility! Apple recently cut off ties with its manufacturer after finding over 70 cases of underage workers and falsified documents. The company is also making every effort to boost transparency in its supply chain and to make sure its manufacturers are providing good working conditions and not using child labor. It’s companies as big and powerful as Apple that can really make a difference on these issues.
Dear Obama: Pivoting to Asia Doesn’t Mean Abandoning Human Rights – The Atlantic – This article particularly addresses issues in Myanmar, which has been a focus of our chapter for years and years. Even though the country has made significant improvements, there are still a war insurgents in the Kachin state, and its unclear whether those soldiers are acting independently or on behalf of the government. Not to mention, there are still human rights violations in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. We hope President Obama makes a clear stance on these issues, and ensure addresses these issues as the US builds relationships with the continent.