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“For weeks, the smoke covers the sky,” a doctor told me last year, when we investigated how forest fires affect the health of Brazilians in the Amazon. Thousands of people in Indigenous and Ribeirinho communities living on the banks of one…
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Forcing Parental Involvement in Abortion Violates Rights

A law in the US state of Illinois that forces people under 18 to involve an adult family member in their abortion decision is failing some of the state’s young people and violating their human rights. In a new joint report with the American Civil…
An illustration of scales imposed over a woman's torso
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President-elect Biden’s pledge to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States — and ensure that it finally does its part to tackle the climate crisis — is welcome news. So, too, is his promise to return the country to the Paris…
Weenusk First Nation member, Mike Wabano, sets up camp for caribou hunting on a frozen river near Peawanuck, December 14, 2019. As a result of warming temperatures, ice and snow cover is often thinner and more unstable.
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Last July, I spoke with Sky H., a 20-year–old who identifies as non-binary and grew up in a very conservative rural town in the Black Belt region of Alabama. In school, Sky received abstinence-only…
Desks in an empty classroom
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When Abba M. learned that a sexual partner had exposed her to the human papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV, she did “a bunch of Googling.” The 21-year-old Alabama resident knew very little about it. Turning to her friends proved…
A billboard by the Alabama Department of Public Health in Eutaw, Greene County, raises awareness of recommended adolescent vaccines, including the HPV vaccine.
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Gov. Cuomo has only a few more days to sign a bill to ban chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide harmful to public health and the environment. Signing the bill into law is essential for protecting farmworkers’ and children’s rights, health and safety. As…
Farmworkers harvest apples on a farm in New York.
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What does it mean to be a human rights voter? Support candidates who want the government to adopt and enforce laws that promote and protect human rights. This means candidates who defend people from abusive systems, officials, individuals, and…
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The damage done by Hurricane Maria was far worse than Alvarez, or anyone, could have imagined. With broken roads, and hospitals overwhelmed as blackouts roiled the island, she gave birth at home a few weeks later. She relied on her doula skills and a…
People wait at the Jose de Diego Elementary School to file FEMA forms for federal aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico
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Tell me more about mountaintop removal. Today it’s done almost exclusively in southern West Virginia, but has been done in Eastern Kentucky, and parts of Tennessee and Virginia too. Scientific studies show that people living near this type of…
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The new acting administrator of the EPA—and former coal lobbyist—is easing rules that protect people who live near coal plants from toxic ash

Andrew Wheeler, the former coal lobbyist who became acting administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after Scott Pruitt resigned, is weakening rules that protect people who live near coal-fired plants from the toxic ash left from…
TVA Kingston Fossil Plant fly ash spill
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Much concern has been raised, for good reason, about President Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Haspel allegedly was involved in reckless, illegal torture under the agency’s “rendition,…
Gina Haspel, a veteran CIA clandestine officer picked by U.S. President Donald Trump to head the Central Intelligence Agency, is shown in this handout photograph released on March 13, 2018. © 2018 CIA handout
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It is now widely acknowledged that after the 9/11 attacks in the US, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began a global detention and interrogation program through which it tortured and abused prisoners. Yet the US government has failed to hold…
Illustration of the scales of justice replaced by two people shackled by their wrists and dangling in the air.
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In any normal case, in any ordinary court, judges hold preliminary hearings to narrow the issues and move the case closer to trial. But there is nothing ordinary about the prosecution of the five men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. And the…
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If the Taliban prisoners released could have been prosecuted, they should have been

Though questions have been raised about whether the Obama administration should have exchanged five Guantanamo detainees for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, one thing is clear: The decision shouldn’t impede U.S. efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.…
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The sight of a man, free, who used to be in chains, is breathtaking. And so I gasped as Salim Hamdan walked into the lobby of my hotel in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, one evening in January. Now in his mid-40s, he looked heavier and happier than I remembered…
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Terrorists face real consequences in US civilian courts

The American public has had a pretty good demonstration over the last couple of weeks in how a US federal court handles a big terrorism case. The New York City trial of Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, on charges of conspiring to kill…
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You know something is wrong when defense lawyers have to hike to Starbucks to find Internet access they feel they can—relatively, anyway—trust. But that’s exactly what lawyers for the five men accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks felt they…