May 8, 2013 |
GUADALAJARA, Mexico - Guadalajara police commander Juan Carlos Martinez took Mexico's national police vetting exam in April 2012. He failed. But no one in government would tell him why. A few months later, he received a phone call from a man identifying himself as a member of a drug cartel. Why don't you think about joining us, he said the man on the phone asked. You won't go hungry. Martinez, 38, declined the offer and maintains that he had been an honorable cop. But the phone call was not an anomaly.
April 30, 2013 |
Ukraine violated the rights of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko by jailing her for political reasons during her trial in 2011, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday. Tymoshenko, an opponent of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich's government, is serving seven years in prison for allegedly abusing her powers while negotiating a gas deal with Russia while she was prime minister. Many critics condemned her trial as politically motivated. The charismatic opposition leader claims to have been mistreated while in detention and has brought several complaints to the European human rights court about her case.
April 30, 2013 |
MEXICO CITY -- Activists are attempting to spotlight human rights issues during President Obama's visit this week to Mexico, urging him to publicly condemn what they describe as Mexico's abysmal record of torture, killings and forced disappearances by security forces. It is highly unlikely Obama would make that kind of public statement during his stay here Thursday and Friday. His meetings with Mexico's new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, are expected to focus on topics the two governments prefer, such as the economy and trade, with a nod to security and the drug war. Any discussion of human rights issues would probably occur behind closed doors.
April 24, 2013 |
Garment workers in Bangladesh were so uneasy about the cracks in their building that as many as 2,500 refused to enter Tuesday, according to a labor rights group. Activists say the building's owner and several factory managers assured the workers that they had nothing to fear and prodded them back to work Wednesday - barely an hour before the eight-story building collapsed, crushing to death scores of people under a mass of concrete and debris. “The workers were absolutely frightened," said Charlie Kernaghan, director of the Pittsburgh-based Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights, which has offices in Bangladesh.
April 24, 2013 |
The death toll in the collapse of a Bangladesh building surged to at least 149 after rescuers worked through the night to pull people from the rubble, news services reported. As morning dawned Thursday, many remained trapped under fallen slabs of concrete and jumbled debris. “I gave them whistles, water, torchlights. I heard them cry. We can't leave them behind this way,” fire official Abul Khayer told the Associated Press. The Rana Plaza building on the outskirts of Dhaka held several garment factories estimated to employ about 2,500 people, according to labor activists.
April 21, 2013 |
BEIRUT - Syrian government security forces and paramilitaries killed dozens of people, many of them civilians, in a five-day battle for a Damascus suburb, rebel activists and a pro-opposition nongovernmental organization said Sunday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, considered close to the opposition, said at least 80 people had been killed in the fighting in Jdeidat al Fadel, a suburb of Damascus, the capital. The British-based organization said the dead included three children, six women and 71 men, of whom 19 were fighters.
April 19, 2013 |
Human rights groups are appropriately appalled by the breadth of a U.S. Supreme Court decision this week that would make it exceedingly difficult for some victims of human rights abuses committed in other countries to win redress in U.S. courts. Led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., a self-proclaimed foe of judicial activism, the court reined in the use of a 1789 law known as the Alien Tort Statute, which gives federal courts jurisdiction over "any civil action by an alien for a tort committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.
April 17, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - U.S. courts will not be the world forum for lawsuits brought by victims of human rights abuses abroad who seek damages from multinational corporations or deposed tyrants, the Supreme Court declared Wednesday. In a decision welcomed by corporate leaders and decried by human rights activists, the justices said U.S. courts are limited mostly to deciding disputes over conduct that took place on American territory, not on foreign soil. By a 9-0 vote, the high court tossed out a closely watched lawsuit brought by Nigerians against Royal Dutch Petroleum for allegedly conspiring with the Nigerian regime in a campaign of rape, torture and murder in the oil-rich delta in the early 1990s.
April 17, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court declared Wednesday that U.S. courts will not be the world's forum for deciding lawsuits alleging human rights abuses by corporations and tyrants on foreign soil. In a 9-0 decision, the high court tossed out a lawsuit brought by Nigerians against Royal Dutch Petroleum alleging the company conspired with the Nigerian regime in a campaign of rape, torture and murder in the oil-rich delta in the early 1990s. The suit had become a test of whether U.S. courts could serve as a judicial forum for victims of gross human rights abuses abroad. Its claims were filed under the recently rediscovered Alien Tort Statute of 1789, which opened the courts to claims based on the “law of nations.” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., in an opinion that was joined by four other justices, moved to limit the interpretation of that law in a decision that will be welcomed by corporate America. Roberts invoked the “presumption against extraterritorial application” in holding that the 1789 law does not open the courthouse door to hearing legal claims based on conduct outside of this country.