August 6th, 2012

President Obama Discusses the Shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin

Posted on 06 Aug 2012 at 9:16am

Before signing a bill that will better protect veterans and their families, President Obama took a question from reporters about Sunday’s shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Though he urged caution against assumptions while the investigations unfold, the President also spoke about the need for Americans to come together as one people in this time of tragedy.

“If it turns out, as some early reports indicate, that it may have been motivated in some way by the ethnicity of those who were attending the temple,” he said, “I think the American people immediately recoil against those kinds of…

President Obama Signs the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012

Posted on 06 Aug 2012 at 9:13am

This afternoon, President Obama signed legislation that takes two important steps to help fulfill our nation’s obligations to our veterans and their families.

First, the new law offers extended care to a group of servicemembers who were based at Camp Lejeune with their families during a period when contaminated water caused major medical issues for a number of individuals.

Among those standing with the President at today’s bill signing were Jerry Ensminger, a Marine Corps veteran who has been an advocate for affected families, and Mike Partain, who was born at Camp Lejuene and later developed male breast cancer. The bill the President signed was named after Janey Ensminger, the Master…

On anniversary of Hiroshima atomic bombing, Ban urges elimination of nuclear weapons

Posted on 06 Aug 2012 at 9:08am

Marking the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged countries to work together to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons and stressed the importance of honouring victims and survivors by sharing their stories with new generations.

“The tragedy in Hiroshima decades ago continues to resonate today,” Mr. Ban said in a message to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, honouring those killed when an atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city on 6 August 1945, during the closing stages of the Second World War.

“There must never be another nuclear attack – never. The elimination of such weapons is not just a visionary goal, but…

Satellite Images from Escalating Syrian Conflict Are Reason for Concern

Posted on 06 Aug 2012 at 9:03am

(New York)-Amnesty International USA today released satellite images collected from Aleppo and the surrounding area, which show the increased use of heavy weaponry, including near residential areas, and raise urgent concerns over the impending assault on the beleaguered Syrian city.

Images from the small nearby town of Anadan reveal more than 600 probable artillery impact craters from heavy fighting between Syrian armed forces and armed opposition groups.

“Amnesty International is sending a clear message to both sides in the fighting: Any attacks against civilians will be clearly documented so that those responsible can be held accountable,” said Christoph Koettl, emergency response manager for Amnesty International USA.

An image from July 31 shows…

Mexico: Court’s Historic Opportunity to Address Military Impunity

Posted on 06 Aug 2012 at 8:51am

Nearly 5,000 Cases Languish in Military Jurisdiction; Reform Needed

(Washington, DC) – Mexico’s Supreme Court has a momentous opportunity to reform the military justice system and eliminate one of the greatest sources of impunity for grave human rights violations, Human Rights Watch said today.

The Supreme Court is reviewing at least 28 cases that challenge the use of military jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute allegations of abuses by military personnel against civilians. The legal challenges stem from a July 2011 Supreme Court judgment that Mexico’s judiciary is obligated to comply with international rulings barring the investigation and prosecution of human rights abuses under the military justice system. The court is scheduled…

Domestic Workers Convention: Labor Rights Treaty to Take Effect

Posted on 06 Aug 2012 at 8:43am

Philippines Becomes Second Country to Ratify

(Manila) – The Philippines’ ratification of the Domestic Workers Convention will bring the groundbreaking international treaty into legal force, promising better working conditions and key labor protections for millions of domestic workers, Human Rights Watch said today. The convention takes effect one year after the second ratification.

The Philippine Senate ratified the instrument today; President Benigno Aquino III signed it on May 18, 2012, following the treaty’s first ratification, by Uruguay, on April 30.

“The Philippines’ ratification of the Domestic Workers Convention means that basic labor rights for domestic workers are finally becoming a reality,” said Nisha Varia, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch….

Tunisia: Revise Judiciary Bill

Posted on 06 Aug 2012 at 8:35am

Strengthen Measures to Promote Judicial Independence

(Tunis) – Tunisia’s elected National Constituent Assembly (NCA) should urgently address flaws in a draft law that would allow for continued arbitrary infringement of judicial independence.

The bill would set up a Temporary Judicial Council to supervise the appointment, promotion, and dismissal of judges. The draft law gives the executive a lesser but still significant role in the composition of the council and fails to provide specific guidelines for the drastic step of removing a judge. As it stands, the measure would leave open the possibility of arbitrary dismissal or transfer, Human Rights Watch said.

“The draft law for a Temporary Judicial Council lacks protection against…

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