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Archive for the ‘human rights’ Category

CRS — Unaccompanied Alien Children: Potential Factors Contributing to Recent Immigration

July 21, 2014 Comments off

Unaccompanied Alien Children: Potential Factors Contributing to Recent Immigration (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

Since FY2008, the growth in the number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras seeking to enter the United States has increased substantially. Total unaccompanied child apprehensions increased from about 8,000 in FY2008 to 52,000 in the first 8 ½ months of FY2014. Since 2012, children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Central America’s “northern triangle”) account for almost all of this increase. Apprehension trends for these three countries are similar and diverge sharply from those for Mexican children. Unaccompanied child migrants’ motives for migrating to the United States are often multifaceted and difficult to measure analytically.

Four recent out-migration-related factors distinguishing northern triangle Central American countries are high violent crime rates, poor economic conditions fueled by relatively low economic growth rates, high rates of poverty, and the presence of transnational gangs.

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Entombed: Isolation in the US Federal Prison System

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Entombed: Isolation in the US Federal Prison System
Source: Amnesty International

The USA stands virtually alone in the world in incarcerating thousands of prisoners in longterm or indefinite solitary confinement, defined by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment as “the physical and social isolation of individuals who are confined to their cells for 22 to 24 hours a day”. More than 40 US states are believed to operate “super-maximum security” units or prisons, collectively housing at least 25,000 prisoners. This number does not include the many thousands of other prisoners serving shorter periods in punishment or administrative segregation cells – estimated to be approximately 80,000 on any given day.

While US authorities have always been able to segregate prisoners for their own protection or as a penalty for disciplinary offences, super-maximum security facilities differ in that they are designed to isolate prisoners long-term as an administrative control measure. It is a management tool that has been criticized by human rights bodies, and is being increasingly challenged by US penal experts and others, as costly, ineffective and inhumane.

NCSL — Child Migrants to the United States

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Child Migrants to the United States
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

The U.S. is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of unaccompanied children arriving on the southern border, gaining humanitarian and political attention and challenging federal and state resources and management. As of June 14, 2014, more than 52,000 children have been apprehended, a doubling of arrivals compared to last year.

Federal responsibility for unaccompanied children is divided between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Children in DHS custody who are under age 18 without a parent or guardian must be screened and transferred to HHS within 72 hours. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in HHS reunites the child with family or a friend, or in approximately 10 percent of the cases, places them in foster care, pending court review of their immigration claims. After being placed either with a sponsor or in foster care, every child is put into deportation proceedings. The children may then be granted permission to stay (for example, through family visas, special immigrant juvenile visas or asylum); choose to leave voluntarily; or be removed from the United States.

The surge in children crossing the border has placed an immense strain on federal agencies to process and care for them. The agencies have responded by identifying shelters and processing facilities, redirecting staff and funds, and activating an interagency group coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). DHS and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have assigned more staff to apprehend and process children and families crossing the Texas border. ORR has requested approval from Congress to address a budget shortfall for unaccompanied children by shifting funding from state-administered refugee programs.
Potential state impacts include: budget shortfalls in state administered refugee programs and implications for state services; state licensing and oversight of care providers for unaccompanied children; and communication/coordination of federal enforcement and emergency response with state law enforcement.

In a June 30, 2014 letter to congressional leaders, the president provided an update on the administration’s response to the humanitarian crisis and a request for support for an emergency supplementation appropriation. The request for $3.7 billion in emergency funding, submitted July 8, 2014, would provide an additional $3.7 billion in emergency funding: $1.6 billion to DOJ and DHS; $1.8 billion to HHS; and $300 million to the Department of State.
This brief highlights recent trends in arrivals of unaccompanied children, an overview of the federal unaccompanied minor program, federal budget proposals to respond to the increased arrivals, and benefit eligibility for unaccompanied migrant children.

CRS — Aliens’ Right to Counsel in Removal Proceedings: In Brief

July 8, 2014 Comments off

Aliens’ Right to Counsel in Removal Proceedings: In Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The scope of aliens’ right to counsel in removal proceedings is a topic of recurring congressional and public interest. This topic is complicated, in part, because the term right to counsel can refer to either (1) the right to counsel of one’s own choice at one’s own expense, or (2) the right of indigent persons to counsel at the government’s expense. A right to counsel can also arise from multiple sources, including the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), other federal statutes, and federal regulations. Further, in some cases, courts have declined to recognize a “categorical” right to counsel, applicable to all aliens in removal proceedings, but have found that individual aliens could potentially have a right to counsel on a case-by-case basis because of their specific circumstances.

CRS — Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview

July 7, 2014 Comments off

Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) arriving in the United States has reached alarming numbers that has strain the system put in place over the past decade to handle such cases. UAC are defined in statute as children who lack lawful immigration status in the United States, who are under the age of 18, and who are without a parent or legal guardian in the United States or no parent or legal guardian in the United States is available to provide care and physical custody. Two statutes and a legal settlement most directly affect U.S. policy for the treatment and administrative processing of UAC: the Flores Settlement Agreement of 1997; the Homeland Security Act of 2002; and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.

Several agencies in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) share responsibilities for the processing, treatment, and placement of UAC. DHS Customs and Border Protection apprehends and detains UAC arrested at the border while Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) handles the transfer and repatriation responsibilities. ICE also apprehends UAC in the interior of the country and is responsible for representing the government in removal proceedings. HHS is responsible for coordinating and implementing the care and placement of UAC in appropriate custody.

UN Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict Documents Continued Child Suffering in 23 Conflict Situations

July 2, 2014 Comments off

Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict Documents Continued Child Suffering in 23 Conflict Situations
Source: United Nations (Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict)

In 2013, children were recruited and used, killed and maimed, victims of sexual violence and other grave violations in 23 conflict situations around the world. These are some of the findings unveiled today in the Annual Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict.

“We have documented the cases of children recruited and used by 7 national armies and 50 armed groups fighting wars in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria, and in 11 other countries.” said Leila Zerrougui, UN Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict. “But there is also progress to report. No violations were recorded in Chad in 2013 and the country’s National Army has fulfilled all the requirements of its action plan. They are no longer on the list for recruitment and use of children.”

War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing

July 1, 2014 Comments off

War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing
Source: American Civil Liberties Union

All across the country, heavily armed SWAT teams are raiding people’s homes in the middle of the night, often just to search for drugs. It should enrage us that people have needlessly died during these raids, that pets have been shot, and that homes have been ravaged.

Our neighborhoods are not warzones, and police officers should not be treating us like wartime enemies. Any yet, every year, billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment flows from the federal government to state and local police departments. Departments use these wartime weapons in everyday policing, especially to fight the wasteful and failed drug war, which has unfairly targeted people of color.

As our new report makes clear, it’s time for American police to remember that they are supposed to protect and serve our communities, not wage war on the people who live in them.

Warehoused and Forgotten: Immigrants Trapped in Our Shadow Private Prison System

June 24, 2014 Comments off

Warehoused and Forgotten: Immigrants Trapped in Our Shadow Private Prison System
Source: American Civil Liberties Union

In rural Texas, 3,000 men are locked inside a “tent city,” sleeping in bunk beds spaced only a few feet apart. The tents are crawling with insects and the smell of broken, overflowing toilets. This is Willacy County Correctional Center: a physical symbol of everything that is wrong with enriching the private prison industry and criminalizing immigration.

More than 25,000 low-security non-U.S. citizens languish at thirteen private prisons like Willacy under Criminal Alien Requirement (CAR) contracts. For years, these for-profit prisons have been able to operate in the shadows, effectively free from public scrutiny. That ends now.

World Refugee Day: Global forced displacement tops 50 million for first time in post-World War II era

June 24, 2014 Comments off

World Refugee Day: Global forced displacement tops 50 million for first time in post-World War II era
Source: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The UN refugee agency reported today on World Refugee Day that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide has, for the first time in the post-World War II era, exceeded 50 million people.

UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, which is based on data compiled by governments and non-governmental partner organizations, and from the organization’s own records, shows 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2013, fully 6 million more than the 45.2 million reported in 2012.

This massive increase was driven mainly by the war in Syria, which at the end of last year had forced 2.5 million people into becoming refugees and made 6.5 million internally displaced. Major new displacement was also seen in Africa – notably in Central African Republic and South Sudan.

Just Released — Trafficking in Persons Report 2014

June 20, 2014 Comments off

Trafficking in Persons Report 2014
Source: U.S. Department of State

“We each have a responsibility to make this horrific and all-too-common crime a lot less common. And our work with victims is the key that will open the door to real change—not just on behalf of the more than 44,000 survivors who have been identified in the past year, but also for the more than 20 million victims of trafficking who have not.

As Secretary of State, I’ve seen with my own two eyes countless individual acts of courage and commitment. I’ve seen how victims of this crime can become survivors and how survivors can become voices of conscience and conviction in the cause.

This year’s Trafficking in Persons Report offers a roadmap for the road ahead as we confront the scourge of trafficking.” — John F. Kerry, Secretary of State

Strengthening Refugee Protection and Meeting Challenges: The European Union’s Next Steps on Asylum

June 20, 2014 Comments off

Strengthening Refugee Protection and Meeting Challenges: The European Union’s Next Steps on Asylum
Source: Migration Policy Institute

While great progress has been made towards creation of a Common European Asylum System (CEAS) that establishes shared standards for refugee protection in the European Union (EU), important obstacles to its full and effective operation remain. The evolving global context of conflict and displacement, highlighted by the Syria crisis, failures by many States to protect their citizens, and mixed migration more broadly will continue to throw up new challenges in the asylum domain in the years ahead for the European Union and Member States, requiring robust systems and policies that can be adapted to meet them.

At the end of June 2014, the European Council, comprising the heads of state and government of the European Union’s 28 Member States, will adopt strategic guidelines for the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) area, including asylum. The guidelines, which will define the way forward on the JHA portfolio for the 2014-20 period, have the potential to offer clear direction for the further development of asylum policy and cooperation at the EU level. To achieve this, however, the guidelines will need to address key priorities in practical and principled terms, and accommodate widely differing perspectives among Member States, EU institutions, and other stakeholders. Looking beyond the guidelines, European policymakers will need to explore the ways in which these priorities can be translated into action. The Migration Policy Institute Europe and the International Migration Initiative of the Open Society Foundations, through their ongoing project on the future of asylum in the European Union, are examining a number of the current challenges as well as possible ways to address them.

Dramatic Surge in the Arrival of Unaccompanied Children Has Deep Roots and No Simple Solutions

June 13, 2014 Comments off

Dramatic Surge in the Arrival of Unaccompanied Children Has Deep Roots and No Simple Solutions
Source: Migration Policy Institute

The phenomenon of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, typically after an arduous and often dangerous journey through Central America and Mexico, has reached a crisis proportion, with a 90 percent spike in arrivals from last year and predictions of future increases ahead. While the immediate humanitarian situation has galvanized the attention of the Obama administration, policymakers, and the country at large, it is painfully clear that there are no simple solutions, whether in the short or medium term, to address the complex set of push and pull factors driving the rise in arrivals of unaccompanied alien children (UACs).

Silenced, Expelled, Imprisoned: Repression of Students and Academics in Iran

June 9, 2014 Comments off

Silenced, Expelled, Imprisoned: Repression of Students and Academics in Iran
Source: Amnesty International

This report is based on research that Amnesty International conducted using a wide range of private and public sources. This included in-depth interviews with more than 50 individuals, both women and men, with direct knowledge of Iran’s universities and system of higher education, including former students and academic teaching staff. Amnesty International has not been permitted to visit Iran for fact-finding and research on the country since shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and thus was unable to investigate conditions at Iran’s universities first hand. However, its interviewees included students and teaching staff who had recently attended or been employed at Iranian universities before fleeing Iran and seeking asylum in Turkey and other countries.

In addition to the interviews, almost all of which were conducted in Persian, Amnesty International compiled further information using questionnaires.

Among public sources, Amnesty International has drawn on information published by the Iranian government, including in submissions to the UN; reports and findings of UN bodies; statements made by Iranian officials; reports of independent non-governmental human rights organizations; and Iranian and international media reports.

CBP — Use of Force Policy, Guidelines and Procedures Handbook

June 4, 2014 Comments off

Use of Force Policy, Guidelines and Procedures Handbook (PDF)
Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A. General Guidelines

1. CBP policy on the use of force by Authorized Officers/Agents is derived from constitutional law, as interpreted by federal courts in cases such as Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989) and Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985), federal statutes and applicable DHS and CBP policies.

2. Authorized Officers/Agents may use “objectively reasonable” force only when it is necessary to carry out their law enforcement duties.

3. The “reasonableness” of a particular use of force is based on the totality of circumstances known by the officer/agent at the time of the use of force and weighs the actions of the officer/agent against the rights of the subject, in light of the circumstances surrounding the event. Reasonableness will be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer/agent on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.

4. The calculus of reasonableness embodies an allowance for the fact that law enforcement officers/agents are often forced to make split-second decisions – in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving – about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.

5. A use of force is “necessary” when it is reasonably required to carry out the Authorized Officer’s/Agent’s law enforcement duties in a given situation, considering the totality of facts and circumstances of such particular situation. A use of deadly force is “necessary” when the officer/agent has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer/agent or to another person.

6. An Authorized Officer/Agent may have to rapidly escalate or de-escalate through use of force options, depending on the totality of facts and circumstances of the particular situation.

7. Based on the totality of circumstances, different officers/agents may have different responses to the same situation, any of which may be both reasonable and necessary. The level of force applied must reflect the totality of circumstances surrounding the situation, including the presence of imminent danger to the officer/agent or others.

8. If feasible, and if to do so would not increase the danger to the officer/agent or others, a verbal warning to submit to the authority of the officer/agent shall be given prior to the use of force. If a particular situation allows for the issuance of a verbal warning, the officer/agent:
a. Should have a reasonable basis to believe that the subject can comprehend and comply with the warning; and
b. Allow sufficient time between the warning and the use of force to give the subject a reasonable opportunity to voluntarily comply with the warning.

9. Following any incident involving the use of force, Authorized Officers/Agents shall seek medical assistance for any person who appears, or claims to be, injured.

See also: DHS OIG — CBP Use of Force Training and Actions To Address Use of Force Incidents (PDF; redacted)

Flying under the radar: A study of public attitudes towards unmanned aerial vehicles (drones)

June 4, 2014 Comments off

Flying under the radar: A study of public attitudes towards unmanned aerial vehicles
Source: Research & Politics

Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, have become a central feature of American foreign policy, with over 400 strikes in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen in the last decade. Despite criticisms that have arisen about ethics and legality of this policy, polls have registered high levels of public support for drone strikes. This article shows that the standard formulation of poll questions takes as a given the government’s controversial claims about combatant status and source of legal authorization. I conduct a survey experiment that evaluates how varying the terms of the debate –in particular whether the strikes are compatible with international humanitarian law (IHL) and have legal authorization – affects public support for the drone policy. Treatments that incorporated contested assumptions about IHL meaningfully decreased public support while the public was less moved by questions about domestic or international legal authorization.

Supreme Court — Syllabus — HALL v. FLORIDA — CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA (capital cases/IQ score)

May 29, 2014 Comments off

HALL v. FLORIDA — CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA (PDF)
Source: Supreme Court of the United States

After this Court held that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments forbid the execution of persons with intellectual disability, see Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U. S. 304, 321, Hall asked a Florida state court to vacate his sentence, presenting evidence that included an IQ test score of 71. The court denied his motion, determining that a Florida statute mandated that he show an IQ score of 70 or below before being permitted to present any additional intellectual disability evidence. The State Supreme Court rejected Hall’s appeal, finding the State’s 70-point threshold constitutional.

Held: The State’s threshold requirement, as interpreted by the Florida Supreme Court, is unconstitutional. Pp. 5–22. (a) The Eighth Amendment, which “reaffirms the duty of the government to respect the dignity of all persons,” Roper v. Simmons, 543 U. S. 551, 560, prohibits the execution of persons with intellectual disability. No legitimate penological purpose is served by executing the intellectually disabled. Atkins, 563 U. S., at 317, 320. Prohibiting such executions also protects the integrity of the trial process for individuals who face “a special risk of wrongful execution” because they are more likely to give false confessions, are often poor witnesses, and are less able to give meaningful assistance to their counsel. Id., at 320–321. In determining whether Florida’s intellectual disability definition implements these principles and Atkins’ holding, it is proper to consider the psychiatric and professional studies that elaborate on the purpose and meaning of IQ scores and how the scores relate to Atkins, and to consider how the several States have implemented Atkins. Pp. 5–7.

(b) Florida’s rule disregards established medical practice. On its face, Florida’s statute could be consistent with the views of the medical community discussed in Atkins and with the conclusions reached here. It defines intellectual disability as the existence of concurrent deficits in intellectual and adaptive functioning, long the defining characteristic of intellectual disability. See Atkins, supra, at 308. And nothing in the statute precludes Florida from considering an IQ test’s standard error of measurement (SEM), a statistical fact reflecting the test’s inherent imprecision and acknowledging that an individual score is best understood as a range, e.g., five points on either side of the recorded score. As interpreted by the Florida Supreme Court, however, Florida’s rule disregards established medical practice in two interrelated ways: It takes an IQ score as final and conclusive evidence of a defendant’s intellectual capacity, when experts would consider other evidence; and it relies on a purportedly scientific measurement of a defendant’s abilities, while refusing to recognize that measurement’s inherent imprecision. While professionals have long agreed that IQ test scores should be read as a range, Florida uses the test score as a fixed number, thus barring further consideration of other relevant evidence, e.g., deficits in adaptive functioning, including evidence of past performance, environment, and upbringing. Pp. 7–12.

(c) The rejection of a strict 70-point cutoff in the vast majority of States and a “consistency in the trend,” Roper, supra, at 567, toward recognizing the SEM provide strong evidence of consensus that society does not regard this strict cutoff as proper or humane. At most, nine States mandate a strict IQ score cutoff at 70. Thus, in 41 States, an individual in Hall’s position would not be deemed automatically eligible for the death penalty. The direction of change has been consistent. Since Atkins, many States have passed legislation to comply with the constitutional requirement that persons with intellectual disability not be executed. Two of those States appear to set a strict cutoff at 70, but at least 11 others have either abolished the death penalty or passed legislation allowing defendants to present additional intellectual disability evidence when their IQ score is above 70. Every state legislature, save one, to have considered the issue after Atkins and whose law has been interpreted by its courts has taken a position contrary to Florida’s. Pp. 12–16.

(d) Atkins acknowledges the inherent error in IQ testing and provides substantial guidance on the definition of intellectual disability. The States play a critical role in advancing the protections of Atkins and providing this Court with an understanding of how intellectual disability should be measured and assessed, but Atkins did not give them unfettered discretion to define the full scope of the constitutional protection. Clinical definitions for intellectual disability which, by their express terms, rejected a strict IQ test score cutoff at 70, and which have long included the SEM, were a fundamental premise of Atkins. See 536 U. S., at 309, nn. 3, 5. A fleeting mention of Floridain a citation listing States that had outlawed the execution of the intellectually disabled, id., at 315, did not signal the Atkins Court’s approval of the State’s current understanding of its law, which had not yet been interpreted by the Florida Supreme Court to require a strict 70-point cutoff. Pp. 16–19.

(e) When a defendant’s IQ test score falls within the test’s acknowledged and inherent margin of error, the defendant must beable to present additional evidence of intellectual disability, including testimony regarding adaptive deficits. This legal determination of intellectual disability is distinct from a medical diagnosis but is informed by the medical community’s diagnostic framework, which is of particular help here, where no alternative intellectual disability definition is presented, and where this Court and the States have placed substantial reliance on the medical profession’s expertise. Pp. 19–22.

109 So. 3d 704, reversed and remanded.

KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. ALITO, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and SCALIA and THOMAS, JJ., joined.

CRS — Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 113th Congress

May 27, 2014 Comments off

Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 113th Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Legislation aimed at preventing trafficking in persons (TIP) is unambiguously part of the legislative agenda of the 113th Congress. TIP is believed to be one of the most prolific areas of contemporary criminal activity and is of significant interest to the United States as a serious human rights concern. TIP is both an international and domestic crime that involves violations of labor, public health, and human rights standards, as well as criminal law. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) is the primary law that addresses human trafficking. Domestically, anti- TIP efforts provided under the TVPA include protection for victims, the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenses, and education of the public. Congress reauthorized the TVPA in March 2013 (Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act; Title XII of P.L. 113-4). While this report covers P.L. 113-4, a more complete treatment of that bill can be found in CRS Report RL34317, Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress. This report discusses TIP issues that have received legislative action or are of significant congressional interest in the 113th Congress.

Amnesty International — USA: Another Year, Same Missing Ingredient

May 26, 2014 Comments off

USA: Another Year, Same Missing Ingredient
Source: Amnesty International

For a speech seen as signalling a turning point, the direction travelled since it was delivered has been frustratingly familiar.

It is now one year since President Barack Obama revisited his administration’s framework for the USA’s counter-terrorism strategy, four years after a similar address he had given early in his first term. “From our use of drones to detention of terrorism suspects”, President Obama proclaimed on 23 May 2013, “the decisions that we are making now will define the type of nation – and world – that we leave to our children”.

At the time, Amnesty International expressed some cautious optimism at signs of a possible change for the better heralded by the speech, while noting that international human rights law was the ingredient still missing from the framework. The organization noted:

“Words are one thing, actions another. Despite their positive aspects, President Obama’s words leave a lot to be desired, and it remains to be seen how much will change, and how quickly, after this latest national security speech.”

One year on, little has changed. Why? Because the USA, a country not averse to promoting itself as a, or even the global human rights champion, continues in its singular failure to put respect for human rights at the centre of its counter-terrorism policies, despite a stated commitment to do so by successive administrations.

CRS — The Lord’s Resistance Army: The U.S. Response

May 23, 2014 Comments off

The Lord’s Resistance Army: The U.S. Response (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, is a small, dispersed armed group active in remote areas of Central Africa. The LRA’s infliction of widespread human suffering and its potential threat to regional stability have drawn significant attention in recent years, including in Congress. Campaigns by U.S.-based advocacy groups have contributed to policy makers’ interest.

or kill LRA commanders, which since 2012 have been integrated into an African Union (AU) “Regional Task Force” against the LRA. The Obama Administration expanded U.S. support for these operations in 2011 by deploying U.S. military advisors to the field. In March 2014, the Administration notified Congress of the deployment of U.S. military aircraft and more personnel to provide episodic “enhanced air mobility support” to African forces. The United States has also provided humanitarian aid, pursued regional diplomacy, helped to fund “early-warning” systems, and supported multilateral programs to demobilize and reintegrate ex-LRA combatants. The Administration has referred to these efforts as part of its broader commitment to preventing and mitigating mass atrocities. Growing U.S. involvement may also be viewed in the context of Uganda’s role as a key U.S. security partner in East and Central Africa. U.S. security assistance to Uganda, including for counter-LRA efforts, has continued despite policy makers’ criticism of the Ugandan government’s decision in early 2014 to enact a law criminalizing homosexuality.

Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour

May 22, 2014 Comments off

Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour
Source: International Labour Organization
From press release:

Forced labour in the private economy generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year, about three times more than previously estimated, according to a new report from the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The ILO report, Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour, said two thirds of the estimated total of US$ 150 billion, or US$ 99 billion, came from commercial sexual exploitation, while another US$ 51 billion resulted from forced economic exploitation, including domestic work, agriculture and other economic activities.

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