School authorities in India persistently discriminate against children from marginalized communities, denying them their right to education. Four years after an ambitious education law went into effect in India, guaranteeing free schooling to every child ages 6 to 14, almost every child is enrolled, yet nearly half are likely to drop out before completing their elementary education.

India: Marginalized Children Denied Education


Sudan: No Justice for Protest Killings
Sudanese authorities have failed to provide justice for scores of civilians killed in anti-government protests in September 2013. 
The protests erupted on September 23 in Wad Madani in response to new economic austerity measures and price hikes, then spread to the capital, Khartoum, and other towns. The Sudanese government responded by deploying police and security forces, who used live ammunition, teargas and batons to disperse the protests. As many as 170 people were killed.
Read more.
Photo: Sudanese men at the funeral of Salah Sanhouri, 26, who was killed during protests by security forces on September 27, 2013, pray over his body. Protests over subsidy cuts on fuel and food have been taking place across Sudan since September 2013. © AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File
Sudan: No Justice for Protest Killings

Sudanese authorities have failed to provide justice for scores of civilians killed in anti-government protests in September 2013. 

The protests erupted on September 23 in Wad Madani in response to new economic austerity measures and price hikes, then spread to the capital, Khartoum, and other towns. The Sudanese government responded by deploying police and security forces, who used live ammunition, teargas and batons to disperse the protests. As many as 170 people were killed.

Read more.

Photo: Sudanese men at the funeral of Salah Sanhouri, 26, who was killed during protests by security forces on September 27, 2013, pray over his body. Protests over subsidy cuts on fuel and food have been taking place across Sudan since September 2013. © AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File


Europe Treaty on Violence Against Women to Take Effect
A ground-breaking European treaty on violence against women moved one step closer to entering into legal force, with Andorra becoming the 10th country to ratify it. With this milestone met, the treaty will become binding on August 1, 2014. Countries ratifying the treaty are obligated to protect and support victims of violence.The treaty, the “Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence”­­ – known informally as the “Istanbul Convention” – is the first European treaty specifically targeting violence against women and domestic violence. It sets out minimum standards on prevention, protection, prosecution, and services. Countries ratifying must also establish services such as hotlines, shelters, medical services, counselling, and legal aid.
One in three women in the European Union has experienced some form of physical and/or sexual assault since the age of 15, according to an EU Fundamental Rights Agency survey. An estimated 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner, or sexual violence by a stranger. The World Health Organization calls this a public health problem of epidemic proportions.
Photo: Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez (R) and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) attend a signing ceremony for a convention on preventing violence against women and combating domestic violence during the 121st session of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers meeting in Istanbul, Turkey on May 11, 2011. © 2011 Reuters
Europe Treaty on Violence Against Women to Take Effect

A ground-breaking European treaty on violence against women moved one step closer to entering into legal force, with Andorra becoming the 10th country to ratify it. With this milestone met, the treaty will become binding on August 1, 2014. Countries ratifying the treaty are obligated to protect and support victims of violence.

The treaty, the “Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence”­­ – known informally as the “Istanbul Convention” – is the first European treaty specifically targeting violence against women and domestic violence. It sets out minimum standards on prevention, protection, prosecution, and services. Countries ratifying must also establish services such as hotlines, shelters, medical services, counselling, and legal aid.

One in three women in the European Union has experienced some form of physical and/or sexual assault since the age of 15, according to an EU Fundamental Rights Agency survey. An estimated 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner, or sexual violence by a stranger. The World Health Organization calls this a public health problem of epidemic proportions.

Photo: Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez (R) and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) attend a signing ceremony for a convention on preventing violence against women and combating domestic violence during the 121st session of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers meeting in Istanbul, Turkey on May 11, 2011. © 2011 Reuters


China: Exams Accessible to the Blind a Breakthrough
The Chinese Education Ministry’s decision to provide Braille or electronic exams for national university entrance will improve access to higher education for candidates who are blind or have visual impairments. Up to now, students who are blind or partially sighted were effectively barred from mainstream higher education because no provision was made to accommodate their disability.
Making exams accessible to the blind would help to minimize discrimination against and maximize respect for people with disabilities in China. This is an important breakthrough after years of advocacy by disability rights advocates in China.
Photo: Students prepare for the university entrance exam in a classroom in Hefei, China on June 2, 2012. © 2012 Reuters
China: Exams Accessible to the Blind a Breakthrough

The Chinese Education Ministry’s decision to provide Braille or electronic exams for national university entrance will improve access to higher education for candidates who are blind or have visual impairments. Up to now, students who are blind or partially sighted were effectively barred from mainstream higher education because no provision was made to accommodate their disability.

Making exams accessible to the blind would help to minimize discrimination against and maximize respect for people with disabilities in China. This is an important breakthrough after years of advocacy by disability rights advocates in China.

Photo: Students prepare for the university entrance exam in a classroom in Hefei, China on June 2, 2012. © 2012 Reuters

Louisiana Taking Away Medicaid Lifeline for Disabled, Other Vulnerable Residents
Two years ago, Donna Risso and her friend Michael were living under a bridge in New Orleans. They were struggling not only with homelessness, but also with Donna’s mounting health problems, which included hepatitis C, cirrhosis of the liver, encephalitis, pancreatitis and chronic anemia. Donna was a “frequent flyer” at the emergency room, often five to 10 times a month, but her health was getting steadily worse.
Social workers using federal and state resources helped Donna find housing and got her on a state program called “disability Medicaid,” which covers health care costs for people who meet federal disability criteria but are not yet on the federal program. This important initiative, common in many states, is a bridge to health services for people applying for federal benefits, which can take years.
Although the program was a lifesaver for Donna, Gov. Bobby Jindal terminated “disability Medicaid” in Louisiana as of Jan. 1, leaving 9,200 people across the state with no coverage.
Read more.
Photo: An outreach team from Unity Of Greater New Orleans counsels a homeless man on housing options, January 2011. © 2011 AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Louisiana Taking Away Medicaid Lifeline for Disabled, Other Vulnerable Residents

Two years ago, Donna Risso and her friend Michael were living under a bridge in New Orleans. They were struggling not only with homelessness, but also with Donna’s mounting health problems, which included hepatitis C, cirrhosis of the liver, encephalitis, pancreatitis and chronic anemia. Donna was a “frequent flyer” at the emergency room, often five to 10 times a month, but her health was getting steadily worse.

Social workers using federal and state resources helped Donna find housing and got her on a state program called “disability Medicaid,” which covers health care costs for people who meet federal disability criteria but are not yet on the federal program. This important initiative, common in many states, is a bridge to health services for people applying for federal benefits, which can take years.

Although the program was a lifesaver for Donna, Gov. Bobby Jindal terminated “disability Medicaid” in Louisiana as of Jan. 1, leaving 9,200 people across the state with no coverage.

Read more.

Photo: An outreach team from Unity Of Greater New Orleans counsels a homeless man on housing options, January 2011. © 2011 AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

"I was very hopeful when President Obama was elected president, because I listened to his speeches about reform in the prisons and I just knew he’d be fair with clemencies."

Barbara Scrivner, a California woman serving a 30-year prison sentence for refusing to testify against her drug dealer husband and his associates. She was slammed with 30 years thanks to mandatory minimum sentencing laws which are (thankfully) no longer on the books, despite having no history of violence.

While in prison, Barbara has “graduated from a drug-addiction program in prison and became a certified drug counselor; she nearly completed her bachelor’s degree in Bible studies; and she’s finally dealing with her previously undiagnosed mental illness issues.” She should be an ideal candidate for early release via clemency, but 20 years on she continues to languish in prison while her daughter and grandson grow up largely without her.

Now, President Obama claims he intends to grant clemency to “hundreds” of drug offenders like Barbara. Whether he actually will remains to be seen, as the Justice Department apparently has not started processing applications.

Meanwhile, Scrivner is trying not to get her hopes up that this time will be different. She struggles to understand what her life’s purpose is and why her seemingly robust clemency application has not been successful.

If her petition is denied again, she has a little bit more than five years until she can be released to a halfway house near her daughter in Fresno. Her daughter Alannah says it will be strange to see her mother for the first time outside of prison walls.

Scrivner says the new petition has filled her with hope, which scares her, because she doesn’t want to be let down again. The eye shadow runs down her face, creating blue tracks on her tanned cheeks. “Ten years is a long time to be in prison. And now it’s been 20 years.”

"It just doesn’t seem real to me," she said.

Last month, the president walked into the East Room to greet dozens of U.S. attorneys who traveled to the White House to discuss criminal-justice issues. The president told them he was expecting an influx of clemency applications for his new push, and warned that he wanted them to personally examine them all and not “reflexively” deny them.

"I take my clemency authority very seriously," he told them.

With just a few years left of Obama’s presidency, Scrivner, and others, will soon find out if he means it.

(via hipsterlibertarian)

anarcho-queer:

Women Prisoners Sterilized To Cut Welfare Cost In California
In California, prison doctors have sterilized at least 148 women, mainly Mexicans, from 2006 to 2010. Why? They don’t want to have to provide welfare funding for any children they may have in the future and to eliminate ‘defectives’ from the gene pool.
The sterilization procedures cost California taxpayers $147,460 between 1997 and 2010. The doctors at the prison argue it is money well-spent.
Dr. James Heinrich, an OB-GYN at Valley State Prison for Women, said, “Over a 10-year period, that isn’t a huge amount of money compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children – as they procreated more.”
In 1909, California passed the country’s third sterilization law, authorizing reproductive surgeries of patients committed to state institutions for the “feebleminded” and “insane” that were deemed suffering from a “mental disease which may have been inherited and is likely to be transmitted to descendants.” Based on this eugenic logic, 20,000 patients in more than ten institutions were sterilized in California from 1909 to 1979. Worried about charges of “cruel and unusual punishment,” legislators attached significant provisions to sterilization in state prisons. Despite these restrictions, about 600 men received vasectomies at San Quentin in the 1930s when the superintendent flaunted the law.
Moreover, there was a discernible racial bias in the state’s sterilization and eugenics programs. Preliminary research on a subset of 15,000 sterilization orders in institutions (conducted by Stern and Natalie Lira) suggests that Spanish-surnamed patients, predominantly of Mexican origin, were sterilized at rates ranging from 20 to 30 percent from 1922 to 1952, far surpassing their proportion of the general population.
In her recent book, Miroslava Chávez-García shows, through exhaustively researched stories of youth of color who were institutionalized in state reformatories, and sometimes subsequently sterilized, how eugenic racism harmed California’s youngest generation in patterns all too reminiscent of detention and incarceration today. California was the most zealous sterilizer, carrying out one-third of the approximately 60,000 operations performed in the 32 states that passed eugenic sterilization laws from 1907 to 1937.
Although such procedures may seem harsh, they are not illegal. The Supreme Court ruled in 1927 that women can be forcibly sterilized in jail in Buck vs Bell. Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
Credit

anarcho-queer:

Women Prisoners Sterilized To Cut Welfare Cost In California

In California, prison doctors have sterilized at least 148 women, mainly Mexicans, from 2006 to 2010. Why? They don’t want to have to provide welfare funding for any children they may have in the future and to eliminate ‘defectives’ from the gene pool.

The sterilization procedures cost California taxpayers $147,460 between 1997 and 2010. The doctors at the prison argue it is money well-spent.

Dr. James Heinrich, an OB-GYN at Valley State Prison for Women, said, “Over a 10-year period, that isn’t a huge amount of money compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children – as they procreated more.

In 1909, California passed the country’s third sterilization law, authorizing reproductive surgeries of patients committed to state institutions for the “feebleminded” and “insane” that were deemed suffering from a “mental disease which may have been inherited and is likely to be transmitted to descendants.” Based on this eugenic logic, 20,000 patients in more than ten institutions were sterilized in California from 1909 to 1979. Worried about charges of “cruel and unusual punishment,” legislators attached significant provisions to sterilization in state prisons. Despite these restrictions, about 600 men received vasectomies at San Quentin in the 1930s when the superintendent flaunted the law.

Moreover, there was a discernible racial bias in the state’s sterilization and eugenics programs. Preliminary research on a subset of 15,000 sterilization orders in institutions (conducted by Stern and Natalie Lira) suggests that Spanish-surnamed patients, predominantly of Mexican origin, were sterilized at rates ranging from 20 to 30 percent from 1922 to 1952, far surpassing their proportion of the general population.

In her recent book, Miroslava Chávez-García shows, through exhaustively researched stories of youth of color who were institutionalized in state reformatories, and sometimes subsequently sterilized, how eugenic racism harmed California’s youngest generation in patterns all too reminiscent of detention and incarceration today.

California was the most zealous sterilizer, carrying out one-third of the approximately 60,000 operations performed in the 32 states that passed eugenic sterilization laws from 1907 to 1937.

Although such procedures may seem harsh, they are not illegal. The Supreme Court ruled in 1927 that women can be forcibly sterilized in jail in Buck vs Bell. Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

Credit

(via the-uncensored-she)

Happy Easter, and happy Friday Tumblr!

Happy Easter, and happy Friday Tumblr!

fotojournalismus:

A mother and her child pan for gold and diamonds near the town of Gaga, Central African Republic on April 6, 2014. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)

fotojournalismus:

A mother and her child pan for gold and diamonds near the town of Gaga, Central African Republic on April 6, 2014. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)

theatlantic:

In Focus: Battling for Control of Eastern Ukraine

For the past few weeks, armed groups of pro-Russian men have been storming and seizing government buildings in towns across eastern Ukraine. Angered by the new pro-western Ukrainian government and emboldened by Russia’s annexation of Crimea, these groups are demanding separation from Ukraine. Ukraine’s new government has asked for western assistance, as it tries to recapture police stations, airbases, and other government properties — without resorting to violence that may trigger a Russian response. Meanwhile, thousands of Ukrainian soldiers are deploying in eastern Ukraine, with even more Russian soldiers massed on the other side of the border. NATO officials said they planned to deploy more forces in eastern Europe and called for Russia to stop “destabilizing” the former Soviet satellite, which has been in deep turmoil since the ouster of the pro-Kremlin leadership in February.

Read more.

Nigeria: Escalating Communal Violence
 Escalating violence across five states in central Nigeria has killed more than 1,000 people since December 2013, Human Rights Watch said today. The failure of Nigerian authorities to investigate the attacks or bring those responsible to justice is likely to exacerbate the cycle of violence in the conflict-prone north central region.Communal violence, stoked by competition between local farming communities and nomadic herdsmen, has plagued this region for many years and is spreading to other states in northern Nigeria.
Adding to the overall tension in the central region, a bomb explosion on April 14, 2014, killed more than 71 people and injured hundreds others in Nyanya, in the Abuja suburbs. The attack, occurring during an early morning peak period and at a usually crowded commuter motor park, appeared aimed at achieving a high casualty rate. Nyanya is in Nasarawa state, one of the states affected by communal violence, though it did not immediately seem to be connected to those conflicts.
Photo: The aftermath of a bomb explosion on April 14 that killed more than 71 people in a bus station near Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja. © 2014 Getty Images

Nigeria: Escalating Communal Violence

 Escalating violence across five states in central Nigeria has killed more than 1,000 people since December 2013, Human Rights Watch said today. The failure of Nigerian authorities to investigate the attacks or bring those responsible to justice is likely to exacerbate the cycle of violence in the conflict-prone north central region.

Communal violence, stoked by competition between local farming communities and nomadic herdsmen, has plagued this region for many years and is spreading to other states in northern Nigeria.

Adding to the overall tension in the central region, a bomb explosion on April 14, 2014, killed more than 71 people and injured hundreds others in Nyanya, in the Abuja suburbs. The attack, occurring during an early morning peak period and at a usually crowded commuter motor park, appeared aimed at achieving a high casualty rate. Nyanya is in Nasarawa state, one of the states affected by communal violence, though it did not immediately seem to be connected to those conflicts.

Photo: The aftermath of a bomb explosion on April 14 that killed more than 71 people in a bus station near Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja. © 2014 Getty Images

Can OSCE defuse Ukraine crisis?
On a recent visit to the headquarters of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Vienna, I met diplomats and officials racing to keep up with the worsening events in Ukraine.
The OSCE is the only regional security organization with Russia, Ukraine, European countries, and the US as members and so has a key role to play in defusing the Ukraine crisis. Last month it took the important consensus decision to send international monitors to Ukraine with the aim of “reducing tensions and fostering peace, stability and security”.
Its task is growing more challenging by the hour as eastern Ukraine slides toward armed conflict, but the need could not be more pressing. The Special Monitoring Mission needs to be urgently scaled up as soon as possible. The 129 staff is soon to increase to 200, but given the geographical scale of the crisis and the complexity of the issues at stake, a total closer to the 500 envisaged in the mandate will be needed to get the job done.
Read more.
Photo: OSCE Ministerial Council in Kiev, December 2013. © 2013 OSCE

Can OSCE defuse Ukraine crisis?

On a recent visit to the headquarters of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Vienna, I met diplomats and officials racing to keep up with the worsening events in Ukraine.

The OSCE is the only regional security organization with Russia, Ukraine, European countries, and the US as members and so has a key role to play in defusing the Ukraine crisis. Last month it took the important consensus decision to send international monitors to Ukraine with the aim of “reducing tensions and fostering peace, stability and security”.

Its task is growing more challenging by the hour as eastern Ukraine slides toward armed conflict, but the need could not be more pressing. The Special Monitoring Mission needs to be urgently scaled up as soon as possible. The 129 staff is soon to increase to 200, but given the geographical scale of the crisis and the complexity of the issues at stake, a total closer to the 500 envisaged in the mandate will be needed to get the job done.

Read more.

Photo: OSCE Ministerial Council in Kiev, December 2013. © 2013 OSCE


Saudi Arabia: Free Prominent Rights Activist
Saudi authorities should immediately release prominent human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair and drop all charges against him.Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court ordered Abu al-Khair’s detention when he attended a hearing in his case on April 15, 2014. Since his arrest the authorities have not allowed him to contact family members, who had no knowledge of his whereabouts for 24 hours. Abu al-Khair faces charges based solely on his peaceful human rights work, including “breaking allegiance with the ruler” and “making international organizations hostile to the kingdom.”
Photo: Waleed Abu al-Khair, prominent lawyer and human rights activist, speaks to Human Rights Watch over Skype from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on September 19, 2013. © 2013 Human Rights Watch
Saudi Arabia: Free Prominent Rights Activist

Saudi authorities should immediately release prominent human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair and drop all charges against him.

Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court ordered Abu al-Khair’s detention when he attended a hearing in his case on April 15, 2014. Since his arrest the authorities have not allowed him to contact family members, who had no knowledge of his whereabouts for 24 hours. Abu al-Khair faces charges based solely on his peaceful human rights work, including “breaking allegiance with the ruler” and “making international organizations hostile to the kingdom.”

Photo: Waleed Abu al-Khair, prominent lawyer and human rights activist, speaks to Human Rights Watch over Skype from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on September 19, 2013. © 2013 Human Rights Watch