February Human Rights News Roundup

human rights newsYesterday, we wrote letters to the editor to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch regarding VAWA and getting the comprehensive version passed by the House, not a version that fails to include LGBT and Native American women. Perhaps next month, one of our letters will appear in the human rights news roundup. Perhaps next month, we’ll have good news regarding the Reggie Clemons case. However, these things take time, so in the meantime, here are some of the biggest and more important human rights news stories for the month:

Five Human Rights Stories You Probably Didn’t Know About – Amnesty International – We can’t cover them all, which is why articles like this every now and then are so valuable. Yes, we have to pick and choose what we specialize in and where we focus our efforts, but the doesn’t mean everything else should be ignored. In the case of one of these stories (Bolivia), it’s not necessarily a matter of preventing human rights but of carrying out justice to those who suffered violations.

The Truth About Women and Chocolate – Oxfam International – Oxfam has started this really awesome campaign on food and beverage companies; getting them to commit to strong sustainability and social responsibility companies. Food and human rights is a very interesting topic, as is corporate responsibility and accountability, and Oxfam is taking both of those things by the horns. This article is just a snippet of the content and actions they have about the things we eat and where they come from.

One Year Later, Raising Our Voices for Pussy Riot – Human Rights Now Blog – Can you believe that its been one year since Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot performed their song in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral? In that year, we’ve been able to get one of the three members released, but we’re still working hard to get Nadezhda “Nadya” Tolokonnikova and Maria “Masha” Alyokhina released as well. And, we’re not stopping until the two of them are free as well.

Same-Sex Marriage Ban Challenge Tossed by Australia Judge – Bloomberg – I’m actually surprised to hear that Australia has a national ban on same-sex marriage. I would have thought Australia would be more progressive on these types of issues. However, it could just seem that way since the U.S. is always portrayed as conservative on many human rights issues and benefits, such as maternity leave, the death penalty, and international treaties.

Obama Urged to Back Tough Arms Trade Treaty at U.N Talks – We’re still working on that arms trade treaty, and UN negotiations take place next month. We really want a tough treaty in place, one that will close loopholes and make it harder for governments to violate the human rights of their people and for others to cause enormous human suffering. Right now, there are more regulations for the international trade of bananas and dinosaur bones than there are for guns. This needs to change, and Obama has the power to change this.

Georgia Rushes Through Executions Before Lethal Injection Drugs Expire – The Guardian – Are we really surprised here? The state might still actually execute Warren Hill, despite being a mentally disabled man. But, isn’t it weird and abhorrent that a state is rushing to kill people because the drugs are going to be no good in a few days? It’s also crazy the Georgia was exposed in 2011 for acquiring lethal injection drugs through an unlicensed company that operated out of a driving school in west London. Isn’t it cruel and unusual punishment if the means to inflict that punishment were obtained through less than legitimate ways? Well, it should be.

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