Posts Tagged ‘ACLU’

US NGOs react furiously to visa restrictions imposed on ICC investigators by Trump administration

March 16, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new visa restrictions in a press briefing on Friday. (Photo: U.S. State Department)

Human rights defenders expressed outrage on Friday after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed that the Trump administration is revoking or denying visas for any International Criminal Court (ICC) personnel who try to investigate or prosecute U.S. officials or key allies for potential war crimes. The move, Pompeo confirmed is a direct response to ongoing efforts by the ICC to probe allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity tied to the war in Afghanistan. There was an immediate and almost unanimous outcry by the key human rights NGOs in the USA:

Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU‘s Human Rights Program (the ACLU currently represents Khaled El Masri, Suleiman Salim, and Mohamed Ben Soud, who were all detained and tortured in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2008): “This is an unprecedented attempt to skirt international accountability for well-documented war crimes that haunt our clients to this day,” Dakwar said. “It reeks of the very totalitarian practices that are characteristic of the worst human rights abusers, and is a blatant effort to intimidate and retaliate against judges, prosecutors, and advocates seeking justice for victims of serious human rights abuses.”

Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch, called it “an outrageous effort to bully the court and deter scrutiny of U.S. conduct.” He encouraged ICC member countries to “publicly make clear that they will remain undaunted in their support for the ICC and will not tolerate U.S. obstruction.”

Daniel Balson, advocacy director at Amnesty International USA, noted that this is just “the latest attack on international justice and international institutions by an administration hellbent on rolling back human rights protections.” Visa bans, as Balson pointed out, are “powerful tools typically reserved for the most serious of human rights abusers.” But rather than targeting global criminals, the Trump administration has set its sights on the ICC—an impartial judicial body that aims to promote accountability under international law by probing and prosecuting crimes of aggression, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.

The move is “is highly indicative of [the administration’s] culture of disregard for rights abuses,” said Balson. “Throwing roadblocks in front of the ICC’s investigation undermines justice not only for abuses committed in Afghanistan, but also for the millions of victims and survivors throughout the world who have experienced the most serious crimes under international law.

Pompeo’s announcement came after John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser and a longtime critic of the ICC, threatened to impose sanctions on court officials in September if they continued to pursue an investigation of potential crimes by U.S. civilians or military personnel in Afghanistan….”These visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis, without allies’ consent,” Pompeo added. “Implementation of this policy has already begun.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/03/15/blatant-effort-intimidate-and-retaliate-pompeo-imposes-visa-ban-icc-staff-probing-us

See also later development: https://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCAKCN1R328X-OCATP

Pat Ryan, Maine human rights defender, honored for 40 years devotion

November 10, 2014

The Maine ACLU awarded Pat Ryan of Brunswick their annual Roger Baldwin award in October. Roger Baldwin founded the American Civil Liberties Union.

(Pat Ryan (c) Troy R. Bennett | BDN)

Bangor Daily News in Maine reports that Pat Ryan received in October the Roger Baldwin Medal (given in alternating years by the ACLU to US citizens) for her  work in Maine, USA. “For over 40 years, Pat Ryan has been at the forefront of the movement for gender equality in Maine, working to ensure that all Maine women and girls are able to lead lives of dignity, free from violence and discrimination,” said Alison Beyea, executive director of the ACLU of Maine.  The article gives rich details of how Pat Ryan was at the forefront of Maine’s fight for human rights, including 32 years as executive director of the Maine Human Rights Commission.

‘The dialogue will continue’: Maine human rights activist looks back on 32 years — Midcoast — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine.

American Civil Liberties Union sees Snowden as a Human Rights Defender!

December 20, 2013

Whether Edward Snowden is a human rights defender or a criminal has been much debated and was also reported on in this blog. He was nominated for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize and received the Netizen’s award from the NGO Reporters without Borders. Now the highly respected American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), through its Executive Director Anthony Romero, has taken a clear stand and his article of 17 December 2013 is provided here in full:Snowden photo

Edward Snowden is a Patriot

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