As Yemen Cholera Cases Reach 500,000, US and UK Condemned for Complicity

Written by Super User on . Posted in Front News

by Jake Johnson, staff writer, August 14, 2017

www.commondreams.org

As Yemen Cholera Cases Reach 500,000, US and UK Condemned for Complicity

The epidemic is a "man-made disaster driven by national and international politics," said Oxfam's Katy Wright

 

"Thousands of people are sick, but there are not enough hospitals, not enough medicines, not enough clean water."

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday announced that the number of cholera cases in Yemen had reached 500,000.

"In backing this war with billions of dollars of arms sales and military support, the U.S. and the U.K. are complicit in the suffering of millions of people in Yemen." 

—Katy Wright, OxfamThe WHO also noted that around 5,000 people are being infected with cholera daily, "and nearly 2,000 people have died since the outbreak began to spread rapidly at the end of April."

"Yemen's cholera epidemic, currently the largest in the world, has spread rapidly due to deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions and disruptions to the water supply across the country," WHO noted in a statement. "Millions of people are cut off from clean water, and waste collection has ceased in major cities."

WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus observed that Yemen's health system—which has suffered mightily from endless conflict and insufficient funds—is not capable of handling the epidemic.

Yemen's health workers are operating in impossible conditions. Thousands of people are sick, but there are not enough hospitals, not enough medicines, not enough clean water. These doctors and nurses are the backbone of the health response—without them we can do nothing in Yemen. They must be paid their wages so that they can continue to save lives.

To save lives in Yemen today we must support the health system, especially the health workers. And we urge the Yemeni authorities—and all those in the region and elsewhere who can play a role—to find a political solution to this conflict that has already caused so much suffering. The people of Yemen cannot bear it much longer—they need peace to rebuild their lives and their country.

Responding to the WHO announcement, Katy Wright, head of advocacy for Oxfam, called the cholera epidemic a "man-made disaster driven by national and international politics."

Wright went on to single out two world superpowers—the United States and the United Kingdom—that have fueled conflict in Yemen by providing weaponry and intelligence to Saudi Arabia, which has for years been waging a relentless bombing campaign against its neighbor.

"All those fighting and backing this war need to stop fueling the madness and instead come to the peace table for the sake of civilian families in Yemen. Too many people have died, too many have lost everything they owned, too many have seen their futures put on hold, Wright concluded. "In backing this war with billions of dollars of arms sales and military support, the U.S. and the U.K. are complicit in the suffering of millions of people in Yemen."

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Asylum Seekers, Fleeing Trump's Hostility, Overwhelm Quebec's Refugee Resources

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by Jessica Corbett, staff writer, August 3, 2017

www.commondreams.org

Asylum Seekers, Fleeing Trump's Hostility, Overwhelm Quebec's Refugee Resources

Crossing at remote locations along the border, thousands have left the U.S. for Canada in hopes of attaining refugee status

So many asylum seekers are pouring over the Canadian border from the United States that authorities opened Montreal's Olympic stadium—a 56,000-seat arena and one of the city's most famous landmarks—as a temporary welcome center on Wednesday.

Between January and June 2017, more than 4,000 people hoping to attain refugee status crossed the U.S.–Canadian border at remote locations, with nearly 80 percent of them entering Quebec. Last month, more than a thousand asylum seekers arrived in the province, according to Francine Dupuis, who runs PRAIDA, a government-funded program that helps asylum claimants adjust to life in Canada.

"It's really quite a bit more intense than what we're used to."

—Francine Dupuis, PRAIDA

"It's really quite a bit more intense than what we're used to," Dupuis said.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre tweeted on Wednesday that as many as 2,500 asylum seekers entered Quebec via the United States during July, and about 500 people are currently being held at St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, where Quebec borders New York State.

About 70 percent of asylum seekers who have recently arrived in Quebec are Haitian, according to the province's Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil. Many Haitians fear their fate if they remain in the United States, because of the anti-immigrant rhetoric and actions by the Trump administration. 

In May, then-head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Gen. John Kelly, extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for some 59,000 Haitians affected by the catastrophic 2010 hurricane in Haiti—but only by six months, rather than the typical 18-month extension. The prospect of facing deportation as early as January 2018, coupled with mounting anti-immigrant hostility from Trump, has motivated many Haitians to cross the border into Canada.

"They think the Trump administration will fly them back to Haiti and they don't want to take a chance," Dupuis said. Coderre, on Twitter, welcomed Haitian arrivals and criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration policies.

Even Trump's campaign and election coincided with an influx of asylum seekers fleeing the United States for its northern neighbor. As Reuters reported earlier this year: "More than 7,000 refugee applicants entered Canada in 2016 through land ports of entry from the United States, up 63 percent from the previous year, according to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)."

Although 2004's Safe Third Country Agreement requires asylum seekers to "request refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in," the thousands entering at remote locations along the border aim to avoid the agreement's main tenet, arguing that the U.S. is no longer a "safe" place for them.

Last month, the Canadian Council for Refugees, Amnesty International, and the Canadian Council of Churches, launched a legal challenge to the treaty, asking a Canadian federal court to strike it down in light of the Trump administration's war against immigrants.

"Our organizations have pressed repeatedly, expecting that Canada would move to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement as regard for the rights of refugees has rapidly plummeted under the Trump administration," said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.

"To our astonishment and disappointment, however, the Canadian government continues to maintain that the U.S. asylum system qualifies as safe," Neve added. "We are left with no choice but to turn to the courts to protect refugee rights."

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At White House Conference, Tribes Push President to Act on Dakota Access

Written by Super User on . Posted in Front News

by Nika Knight, staff writer

www.commondreams.org

At White House Conference, Tribes Push President to Act on Dakota Access

Annual Tribal Nations Conference sees Indigenous people seeking immediate action from President Obama on Dakota Access Pipeline

 

As the final session of the annual Tribal Nations Conference first instituted by President Barack Obama begins Monday, the question of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline will take center stage.

North Dakota's Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has been battling the pipeline's construction for fear that it will contaminate their supply of fresh drinking water and damage tribal sacred sites and cultural artifacts, is "pushing for a much more thorough review process for this pipeline, including a full Environmental Impact Statement and meaningful tribal consultation," the tribe declared before the conference began.

The White House meeting will be the "eighth and final conference for tribal leaders from the 567 federally recognized tribes [and] the last opportunity for tribal leaders to express their concerns and issues with the Obama administration," notes the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. "More than 300 Native Nations officially stand with Standing Rock, [issuing] tribal resolutions, letters of support, or [sending] tribal delegations [to join]the camp."

Indeed, thousands have joined the Standing Rock Sioux in solidarity, establishing an ever-growing protest camp near the pipeline construction site in North Dakota.

While the Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, and Army Corps of Engineers responded to the growing protests by requesting earlier this month that the corporation behind Dakota Access halt construction to allow for further consultation with the Standing Rock Sioux, the corporation has vowed to press ahead with the pipeline regardless.

Meanwhile, Indigenous people have been pushing President Obama to take further action and issue a definitive statement against the pipeline, though he has not yet done so.

This is despite protests and calls for action from hundreds of tribes and thousands of supporters across North America, including archeologists and historians, and a statement from the U.N. special rapporteur on Indigenous peoples' rights condemning the pipeline approval process and calling on the U.S. to halt construction.

Tribes were, however, heartened Friday when the Obama administration announced a series of government-to-government consultations with tribes across the U.S., with the aim of instituting meaningful tribal input in the decision-making process for energy infrastructure projects such as Dakota Access.

"Along with the ongoing review of this pipeline," said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman David Archambault II, "the Administration has taken a major step forward by initiating consultation on nationwide reform on the protection of tribal interests regarding infrastructure projects. We will continue to advocate for the protection of our water, lands and sacred places, and the necessary respect as Indigenous Peoples."

Watch a livestream of the conference here:

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Baltimore Drops 43 Police Cases After Cops ‘Fake’ Another Bodycam Video (Yes, That Makes 3)

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by Michael Harriot

www.theroot.com

Baltimore Drops 43 Police Cases After Cops ‘Fake’ Another Bodycam Video

(Yes, That Makes 3)

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby has identified at least 43 cases that will be dismissed after a police officer basically admitted to faking a police video, leaving many people wondering, “Damn, are there any criminals in Baltimore, or are B-more cops out on the streets making their own episodes of The Wire every day?”

To be fair, the State’s Attorney’s Office did not describe the video as “faked.” It also did not use the word “admitted” in describing the officer’s actions. In its words, one of Baltimore’s finest “self-reported” an incident that looked like the cop had found evidence, only it was, in fact, a “re-enactment of the seizure of evidence,” according to the Baltimore Sun. Seems legit, right?

In July, prosecutors released a video showing Police Officer Richard Pinheiro hiding a bag of alleged drugs in a backyard, walking into an alley, turning his camera on, and then “discovering” the illegal substances. Pinheiro was suspended pending further investigation, and the two cops with him were placed on administrative duty. The incident forced the state to drop 68 cases and review another 133.

A few weeks later, a second video emerged of officers searching a man’s car but finding nothing. The officers then turned their cameras on and miraculously found drugs in the same car. The state postponed 44 cases and are reviewing another 170 cases in which those three officers were involved.

In both cases, Police Commissioner Ken Davis said he was investigating the possibility that the officers legitimately discovered the drugs, but decided to re-enact the discoveries because ...umm ... well, he didn’t actually explain that part.

Commissioner Davis also did not mention how any citizen is supposed to trust the Baltimore Police Department ever again. He also did not comment on the thousands of people who might be in jail on trumped-up charges. Also not mentioned is why the officers thought they needed to “re-enact” finding evidence when they didn’t have video evidence for the 260 years before body cameras.

Some speculate that officers are faking videos because they are under pressure to fulfill arrest quotas. WJZ in Baltimore reports it found an internal memo that warns officers that they need to “make statistics, car stops and produce warrants.” The memo goes on to say that the department will collect these stats every two hours to make sure officers are performing.

Police spokesman T J. Smith said of the latest allegations regarding what is now a third video: “This is not an allegation of planting evidence. This is a self-reported situation where the officer felt that it deserved more scrutiny based on the things that have been in the news. ... This is a good problem to have, when you are self-reporting.”

When asked about the honor and trustworthiness of the BPD, Freddie Gray could not be reached for comment.

Read more at the Baltimore Sun and WJZ.

Michael Harriot@michaelharriot

Michael Harriot is a staff writer at The Root, host of "The Black One" podcast and editor-in-chief of the daily digital magazine NegusWhoRead.

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Barbara Arnwine on Juneteenth and the History of Voting Rights for Black Americans

Written by stephanie case on . Posted in Front News

On June 19, 1865, people enslaved in Texas received news of President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, almost two and a half years after it had become official. To this day, Juneteenth is celebrated as a freedom day for African Americans, but 152 years later, there are still many steps left in the fight for racial justice. A racist prison-industrial complex keeps people of color behind bars, police officers continue to kill unarmed Black men, and – as voting rights advocate Barbara Arnwine discusses with us – voter suppression tactics continually deny Black people the right to vote.

In her conversation with Margaret Prescod, Arnwine outlines the history of the fight for voting justice: from Black Union soldiers demanding the right to vote after the Civil War, to a current Supreme Court case on gerrymandering.

"This fight is ongoing," Arnwine says. "It has historical roots, but it also has present day reality."

Listen to past shows here.

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