Another year of activism has begun! We previously discussed some of our upcoming events for the first few months of the year, but what human rights issues will we specifically tackle? Last year, we did a lot of work on the death penalty, immigration reform, and our prisoners of conscience of Burma. Although we will be continuing similar work on similar issues, some new issues might make into the fray. Here are the four human rights issues that will require our attention this year:
With VAWA nonexistent for the first time in over a decade, women’s rights in the United States is under threat, especially the rights of Native women and illegal immigrants, who have little to no protection under the current system. With this recent development, we will probably have to do something regarding women’s rights this year, such as working to get VAWA back on the table or encouraging legislation introduced that is meant to cover the gaps left with VAWA’s departure.
The Death Penalty
We should be hearing the results of the Reggie Clemons special hearing any day now. When we do, we will be prepared to act accordingly. If the hearing is in our favor, such as a new trial for Clemons, or clemency for his death penalty sentence, then we will continue to work to abolish the death penalty in Missouri and in the country. If the hearing is less favorable, then we will continue on the case. Other than waiting on the results of the special hearing, we don’t have any other plans of action.
National Defense Authorization Act
The goal regarding the NDAA is to encourage President Obama to veto the bill. Even though the bill was passed without several harmful provisions, such as Senator Ayotte’s (R-NH) attempt to make the ban on funds for transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. mainland, even for trial, permanent, as well as her attempt to require construction of a “new Guantanamo,” there were still other provisions that made it into the bill. The specific provisions of the 2013 NDAA (H.R. 4310) we are most concerned about are:
Prisoners of Conscience
Of course, we will still be continuing writing on the behalf of prisoners of conscience around the world. Although we do not yet have a chapter case, we still have a our monthly letter writing meetings (of which the first one of the year is Tuesday, Jan 22 at 7 p.m.) where we will write our letters for current cases.
So, what do you think? This certainly isn’t an exhaustive or a definitive list, as things will come up throughout the year that will require our action and attention right away. Hopefully, you’re excited to get involved with us and Amnesty International to make a difference on these issues!