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Great Britain is Violating Human Rights

Great Britain is Violating Human Rights

The deeply critical attitude of current United Kingdom politicians in relation to other countries’ violations of fundamental human rights is widely known. However, while criticizing other countries, the United Kingdom, with its characteristic stance of double standards, is completely ignoring human rights in its own kingdom, something which has now even been recognized by UN staff.

According to the Herald Scotland regional newspaper it is for exactly this reason, that United Nations staff intend to visit the UK to investigate the welfare reforms that have led to grave and systematic violations of the rights of certain categories of population in this country. In particular, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities intends to conduct thorough investigation of the situation, and has already launched an investigation into the activities of the head of the Department for Work and Pensions UK ( DWP ) Iain Duncan Smith.

The reason being that in late August of this year, the Minister for Work and Pensions, I.D. Smith, announced the Department for Work and Pensions’ plan to reduce benefits for the disabled, depriving a million Britons of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). These “new developments” will affect 43% of people with disabilities, as indicated in a report by the regional human rights organization Inclusion Scotland. What is quite remarkable is that, according to statistics recently released by the Department of Work and Pensions, from December 2011 to February 2014 2,380 Britons died, after social services found them ‘fit to work’ and struck them off the list of persons with disabilities. Inclusion Scotland reported in their study, that in 2018 more than 80,000 persons with disabilities in Scotland alone will lose all or some of their social benefits and currently disabled people in some areas already have to wait for their benefits for 10 months owing to the Department for Work and Pensions error.

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Amnesty International releases new guide to curb excessive use of force by police

Amnesty International releases new guide to curb excessive use of force by police

From the streets of Ferguson, Missouri to the favelas of Brazil, the police use of force and firearms makes global headlines when it turns fatal. In countless other cases, including in response to demonstrations, police are too quick to use force instead of seeking peaceful conflict resolution. In many countries police deploy tear gas, rubber bullets and other weapons in arbitrary, abusive or excessive use of force, causing serious casualties, including killing and maiming people, often with little or no accountability.

Amnesty International is responding to this serious deficiency in law enforcement by publishing comprehensive new Guidelines for authorities to ensure that police give utmost priority to the respect and protection of life and physical integrity.

“All too often, in many countries around the world, people are killed or seriously injured when police use force in violation of international standards or existing national laws,” said the report’s author, Dr. Anja Bienert of Amnesty International Netherlands’ Police and Human Rights Programme.

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Muslim flight attendant says she was suspended for refusing to serve alcohol

Muslim flight attendant says she was suspended for refusing to serve alcohol

A Muslim flight attendant says she was suspended by ExpressJet for refusing to serve alcohol in accordance with her Islamic faith. In a bid to get her job back, Charee Stanley filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday for the revocation of a reasonable religious accommodation.

She wants to do her job without serving alcohol in accordance with her Islamic faith  just as she was doing before her suspension, her lawyer said.

“What this case comes down to is no one should have to choose between their career and religion and it’s incumbent upon employers to provide a safe environment where employees can feel they can practice their religion freely,” said Lena Masri, an attorney with Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Stanley, 40, started working for ExpressJet nearly three years ago. About two years ago she converted to Islam. This year she learned her faith prohibits her from not only consuming alcohol but serving it, too, Masri said.

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Human Rights Watch Concerns and Recommendations on France

Human Rights Watch Concerns and Recommendations on France

Human Rights Watch welcomes the upcoming review of France by the Human Rights Committee. This briefing provides an overview of our main concerns with regard to France’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). We hope it will inform the Committee’s review of France.

Abuses by law enforcement officials against migrants and asylum-seekers (article 7, paragraph 8 in the list of issues)

In November and December 2014, Human Rights Watch documented abuses by French police against migrants and asylum-seekers in the port city of Calais, in breach of the prohibition of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under article 7.The abuses described to Human Rights Watch included beatings and attacks with pepper spray as migrants and asylum seekers walked in the streets or hid in trucks in the hope of traveling to the United Kingdom. In response to these findings, French government officials either denied that such abuse took place, or claimed they did not have enough evidence to conduct investigations.

On May 11, 2015, members of the local group Calais Migrant Solidarity posted a video filmed on May 5 that appears to show officers of the French riot police (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, CRS) pushing, kicking and beating migrants who tried to hide in trucks while they seemed to pose no threat, and spraying pepper spray in their direction even as the migrants were leaving the road. On May 12, the Directorate of the National Police (Direction générale de la police nationale, DGPN) announced that it had seized the national police’s internal inspectorate (Inspection générale de la police nationale, IGPN) of the matter, as did the public prosecutor of Boulogne-sur-mer. The Defender of Rights also seized himself of the case.

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U.S.-Made Cluster Munitions Causing Civilian Deaths in Yemen

U.S.-Made Cluster Munitions Causing Civilian Deaths in Yemen

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 27 (IPS) - New research released today by a leading human rights watchdog has found evidence of seven attacks involving cluster munitions in Yemen's northwestern Hajja governorate.   Carried out between late April and mid-July 2015, the attacks are believed to have killed at least 13 people, including three children, and wounded 22 others, according to an Aug. 26 report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The rights group believes the rockets were launched from Saudi Arabia, which has been leading a coalition of nine Arab countries in a military offensive against armed Houthi rebels from northern Yemen who ousted President Abu Mansur Hadi earlier this year.

Banned by a 2008 international convention, cluster munitions are bombs or rockets that explode in the air before dispersing many smaller explosives, or ‘bomblets', over a wide area.

"Weapons used in these particular attacks were U.S.-made M26 rockets, each of which contain 644 sub-munitions and that means that any civilian in the impact area is likely to be killed or injured," Ole Solvang, a senior research at HRW, said in a video statement released Thursday.

According to HRW, a volley of six rockets can release over 3,800 submunitions over an area with a one-kilometer radius. M26 rockets use M77 submunitions, which have a 23-percent ‘failure rate' as per U.S. military trials – this means unexploded bombs remain spread over wide areas, endangering civilians, and especially children.

Local villages told HRW researchers that at least three people were killed when they attempted to handle unexploded submunitions.

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Europe Squabbles While Refugees Die

Europe Squabbles While Refugees Die

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 30 (IPS) - As tens of thousands of refugees continue to flee conflict-ridden countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, Western European governments and international humanitarian organisations are struggling to cope with a snowballing humanitarian crisis threatening to explode.

Hungary is building a fence to ward off refugees.  Slovakia says it will accept only Christian refugees, triggering a condemnation by the United Nations.

3The crisis was further dramatized last week when the Austrians discovered an abandoned delivery truck containing the decomposing bodies of some 71 refugees, including eight women and three children, off a highway outside of Vienna.

Sweden and Germany, which have been the most receptive, have absorbed about 43 percent of all asylum seekers.

But in Germany, despite its liberal open door policy with over 44,000 Syrian refugees registered this year, there have been attacks on migrants, mostly by neo-Nazi groups.

The crisis is likely to get worse, with the United Nations predicting over 3,000 migrants streaming into Western Europe every day – some of them dying on the high seas.

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Europe’s asylum-seekers form a human tide of desperation

Europe’s asylum-seekers form a human tide of desperation

It took perhaps an hour for them to die. The children would have suffocated first: the baby girl of around 18 months, the three boys aged about eight to 10, watched by their anguished mothers, helpless to give them air inside the hot, sealed truck.

By the time it crossed the border from Hungary into western Europe where the asylum-seekers must have hoped for a new life, all 71 were dead: 59 men, eight women, four children.

The Austrian police who found them said their bodies were piled one on top of the other inside the vehicle as if they had tried to climb up. With four bodies for every square metre, they had been so desperate to get air that the side of the truck was bent out of shape.

“It was terrible. It looked as if the victims had tried to push against the wall to get out as they ran out of air,” says Gerard Pangl, spokesman for the local Burgenland police. “It was their last fight.”

They had left Budapest on the Wednesday. When highway police found the abandoned truck on Thursday morning at the side of the main road to Vienna, the smell of death was overpowering and fetid liquid was dripping from the vehicle. The bodies were so badly decomposed that police could not count them at first.

Who they were is not yet known. Forensic experts in protective suits found only one document — a Syrian passport — and a few SIM cards for mobile phones. It is thought all were Syrians.

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Noam Chomsky: US Invasion of Iraq Helped Create ISIL

Noam Chomsky: US Invasion of Iraq Helped Create ISIL

Renowned linguist and well-respected political commentator, Noam Chomsky, said that the US-led invasion of Iraq helped create the ISIL terrorist group. “There’s an interesting interview that just appeared a couple of days ago with Graham Fuller, a former CIA officer, one of the leading intelligence and mainstream analysts of the Middle East. The title is “The United States Created ISIS …

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Slovenia Top in ECHR Report by Human Rights Violation Rate

Slovenia Top in ECHR Report by Human Rights Violation Rate

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has established human rights violations in 304 cases against Slovenia so far, which is the highest rate per capita among all 47 Council of Europe countries.

 A report providing the court's statistics for 1959-2014 shows that the ECHR received more than 8,400 cases against Slovenia, judging in 323 of the cases and finding at least one violation in 304 cases.

Most of the violations established concern the right to trial within a reasonable time and the right to effective legal remedy.

A graphic analysis of the ECHR support on the Rights Info portal finds Slovenia has the highest violation rate relative to its population with 148 violations per million people.

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Chelsea Manning found guilty of violating prison rules

Chelsea Manning found guilty of violating prison rules

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Convicted national security leaker Chelsea Manning was found guilty Tuesday of violating prison rules and will receive three weeks of recreational restrictions at the Kansas military prison where she's serving her 35-year sentence, her attorney said.

The transgender Army private was accused of having a copy of Vanity Fair with Caitlyn Jenner on the cover and an expired tube of toothpaste, among other things. Her attorney, Chase Strangio of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a news release that Manning was convicted of all charges after a closed four-hour disciplinary board hearing in which she had no counsel.

Manning received 21 days of recreational restrictions limiting access to the gym, library and outdoors. The maximum punishment she could have faced was indefinite solitary confinement.

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