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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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Since the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state agents two years ago, Saudi Arabia has significantly ramped up its efforts to divert public attention from its dismal human rights record. In its latest attempt, Saudi…
Since the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state agents two years ago, Saudi Arabia has significantly ramped up its efforts to divert public attention from its dismal human rights record.
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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 killing of 33 inmates in the Brazilian state of Roraima is another sign that the country's prisons are disgracefully out of control. Many of the bodies were decapitated, a practice widely used by gangs to terrorize their enemies. …
A relative of a prisoner holds a local newspaper, which shows a headline about a deadly prison riot, in front of Anisio Jobim prison in Manaus, Brazil, on January 3, 2017.
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Latika C. sat cross-legged on the floor of a cramped room telling her story about how she ended up in Muscat, Oman, as a domestic worker. Back home in Bangladesh, her husband’s paralysis had required an expensive operation that plunged them into debt.…
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Under a new agreement Somalia is sending between 600 and 1,000 domestic workers to Saudi Arabia in time for Ramadan. The month of fasting usually brings an increase in the demand for domestic workers as employers often host large iftar meals to break…
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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…
CIA torture pic 3
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“Maria,” a Ugandan worker, paid $400 in 2013 to an agency in the United Arab Emirates that promised her a job in a mall in Dubai. Instead, the agency placed her as a domestic worker with half the salary she had been promised. Maria told me that her…
A female employer and her children are accompanied by their domestic worker, back right, as they walk through The Avenues, an indoor luxury shopping center in Kuwait City.
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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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On Wednesday, there was yet another tragedy off the Greek island of Lesbos, when a large Turkish fishing boat carrying some 300 people trying to reach Europe sank, causing at least seven to drown, including four children, with at least 34  still missing.…
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The United States is providing early release this weekend for 6,000 inmates who have been serving federal sentences for non-violent drug crimes -- the biggest one-time release of inmates in US history. It's a sign of a tectonic shift occurring in the…
U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazil President Dilma Rousseff depart a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on June 30, 2015.
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Pernambuco’s prisons have become a haven of private enterprise. Imagine, if you can, what it is like to be imprisoned there. For 2,000 reais (USD530), you could buy a place to sleep, a narrow wooden cubicle where you can throw a mattress and prop a fan.…
Makeshift “barracos,” or cubicles, inside Pavilion 7 at Presídio Juiz Antônio Luiz L. de Barros (PJALLB), in Recife.
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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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Politicians are not well known for going out of their way to change their attitudes. Yet the  plight of refugees is spurring them to do just that. Politicians need to convince voters that refugees are not a burden, but people in need of protection, with…
On Kos, children and adults alike sleep in tents provided by Doctors without Borders, while waiting for processing, which can take three weeks or more.
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(Brussels)—I met “Majid,” a 34-year old Palestinian from Syria, along with his wife and their four-year old son, in December in Serbia where they had arrived after a three-month journey through Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, and Macedonia. As…
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What happens when a world-class institution dedicated to the free exchange of ideas meets up with a government that doesn’t share those values? The latest episode of this drama played out Saturday evening at Terminal 4 of JFK airport when ground crew…
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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…