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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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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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As Joe Biden settles into his presidency, in addition to facing a pandemic and economic crisis, he will hear demands for accountability. If President Biden is going to help restore a robust commitment to the rule of law, he will need to reach…
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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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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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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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The Republican candidate for president of the United States speaks and writes approvingly of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” He is referring to a program run by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that subjected people the US detained…
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In 2004, four Iraqis filed a criminal complaint with the German federal prosecutor against senior United States officials alleging torture by US armed forces in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The US government strongly protested and warned that the complaint…
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It’s been a year since the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a summary of a still classified 6,700-word report, revealed new information about the brutality and depravity of the CIA’s so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques”: “rectal feedings”…
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How it’s partnering with human rights abusers — and sparking blowback

In a letter to three U.S. senators that recently came to light, CIA director John Brennan outlined how his intelligence agency deals with abusive partners, referring – it would appear – primarily to foreign security forces. But even…
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At his first inauguration, Barack Obama rejected “as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” On his second day in office, he announced plans to close the Guantánamo detention facility within a year and to end immediately George W. Bush’s…
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In his Dec. 9 statement on the release of the Senate torture report summary, President Barack Obama insisted that the detainee abuses by Central Intelligence Agency officials revealed in the document were “inconsistent with our…
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Senate Intelligence Committee’s Report on CIA Interrogations

The recent Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA interrogations is a parade of horribles. Detainees by the dozen arrested wrongfully and later released, including innocent nobodies and even men with mental disabilities. Poorly vetted interrogators…
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The publication of the long-awaited summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s torture provides a useful moment to consider the lessons learned from this sorry chapter in American history and the steps that might be taken to avoid…
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The primary international treaty against torture, the Convention against Torture, which the United States ratified in 1994, contains two key requirements. First, it bans torture, without exception, as well as other inhumane treatment. Second, it requires…