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Last October I visited camps for asylum seekers and migrants on the Greek islands, the landing spot in recent years for hundreds of thousands of people who abandoned everything in search of safety. As I was waiting to get into the VIAL…
2016-4-eca-VIAL-april-8
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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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On Monday, September 19, world leaders will gather in New York for a summit on the global refugee and migrant crises. The summit has been billed as a chance to create a more responsive and orderly global system for meeting the needs of millions of people…
A still from video shows Omran, the 5-year old boy who was pulled out of the rubble after an airstrike in Aleppo, Syria on August 17, 2016.
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During his late April visit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Turkey, European Council President Donald Tusk lavished praise on his hosts, saying, “Turkey is the best example for the whole world on how we should treat refugees.” Turkey,…
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On November 21, after some United States governors announced that they didn’t want to accept Syrian refugees writes Gerry Simpson, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America called on Americans “not [to] be guided by fear or bigotry,…
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The Aksaray neighborhood of Istanbul is a veritable smugglers’ den, where you can watch asylum seekers and migrants huddling and planning their next moves. But when I spoke with people there several days ago, I also saw many people with blank stares, the…
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Um Ghassan was eleven in 1948 when her family fled Haifa. They joined the Palestinian exodus to Jordan, and later moved to Syria. “They welcomed us like we were their relatives,” she said. Decades later, when fighting broke out in Syria in 2011, Um…
A man walks on debris in the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp, on the southern outskirts of Damascus, June 3, 2015.
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After four years of conflict, the crisis inside Syria not only shows no signs of letting up, but is now expanding into the region as never before. Jordan is escalating its bombing runs in Syria in retaliation for the gruesome execution of its pilot at the…
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“They would tie my hands behind my back and lay me down on the ground,” was what “Said” told me, describing the torture camp near Yemen’s coast where he spent seven days before the traffickers holding him sold him to another gang. “Then they would beat me…
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The family of a Gitmo detainee twice cleared for transfer remains pessimistic, despite Obama's speech vowing reform

Muhammad al-Baidhani, an 11-year-old Yemeni boy with a mop of brown curls, only knows his father from photos and a one-hour video conference every two months. Before Muhammad was born, his father was captured and sent to the U.S. military prison at…
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The last time Amina al-Rabeii video conferenced from Yemen with her brother Salman, a detainee at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, she barely recognized the skeletal man on the screen. “His eyes were sunken into dark recesses,” al-…
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The candidates may disagree on some human rights issues, but the next president will face challenges that transcend partisan lines. How might tomorrow's presidential election affect U.S. policy on human rights? The common wisdom is that unlike their sharp…
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As the world was gripped this week by the storming of U.S. diplomatic compounds in the Middle East, another troubling event that coincided with the September 11 anniversary unfolded largely unnoticed at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay. …
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New York - Even as US President Barack Obama declared that "the world is safer" without Osama bin Laden, his Homeland Security office was bracing for a possible revenge attack. The United States and other potential targets are right to be…
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(New York) - Last May, following several apparent suicide attempts, Adnan Latif, a Yemeni detainee at the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay camp in Cuba, sent his lawyer a letter in which he renounced all hope in the U.S. justice system. "You are still looking…
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Omar Fawza can't find a wife. The 20-something Yemeni reveals his bachelor status with a sigh that suggests it's the most painful experience of his life--worse even than the five years he spent in U.S. captivity at Guantanamo Bay and in Afghanistan, where…
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British policy on Iraqi refugees is not only morally indefensible, but also shortsighted

If the Prime Minister has refused to apologise for invading Iraq, he should at least accept responsibility for its consequences. Two million Iraqis have fled the violence unleashed by the invasion and occupation. And as the violence escalates, so does the…