Global Justice Center Blog

GJC Weekly News Roundup

NATO in Crisis? President Trump Openly Criticizes Allies

The annual NATO summit took place on Wednesday July 11th. President Trump took no time to openly throw NATO allies, including Germany and Britain, under the bus in the media. "Germany is a captive of Russia," said Trump on Wednesday. Such accusations have only escalated the tension among the United States’ European allies, provoking anxiety among some US officials. “NATO is indispensable,” said Paul Ryan upon hearing Trump’s hasty remarks.

 

Supreme Court Nomination: The New Era of Conservatism?  

With the sudden announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, President Trump was given the opportunity to nominate a candidate to fill Justice Kennedy’s position. On July 9, President Trump chose Brett Kavanaugh, a conservative judge who Democrats, LGBTQ and, abortion rights supporters fear will become the deciding factor in the Supreme Court if confirmed.

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GJC Weekly News Roundup

Lopez Obrador Becomes First Leftist to Govern Mexico in Years

Andrés Manuel López Obrador has won Mexico’s presidential election after the concession of his top two rivals. This victory makes him the first leftist president since Mexico transitioned to a multiparty democracy 30 years ago. The former mayor of Mexico City has made promises to the poor and declared a battle against corruption. Obrador said his government would, “represent all citizens rich and poor, religious or nonbelievers, migrants, human beings of all manner of thought and all sexual preferences.”

Trump Weighs Top Picks for Supreme Court

President Trump said he is close to deciding his Supreme Court nominee after evaluating the four leading candidates at his New Jersey golf club. The President must take into account the likely response of key senators and his core supporters to each prospect. Trump has remained quiet about his decision, which he is expected to announce on July 9th at 9 pm, but it will likely be one of the following federal judges: Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Thomas Hardiman. This decision could move abortion opponents one step closer to overturning the landmark case of Roe v. Wade.

Angela Merkel Reaches Immigration Compromise for Germany

In order to keep her government intact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has decided to abandon the “Willkommenskultur”, or the culture of welcoming, which she had preached in 2015 when she welcomed nearly one million migrants and refugees into Germany. The government will enforce stricter border controls, transit camps, and discretionary identification checks imposed on the nation’s southern border. Merkel’s decision still depends on approval from her other coalition partner, the Social Democrats. However, they appear unlikely to reject the proposal and trigger a new round of elections, which they would most likely lose. 

South Carolina Governor Vetoes Millions of Dollars from Budget over Funding for Abortion Providers

Republican Governor Henry McMaster issued vetoes that cut nearly $16 million from the state budget. This will prevent taxpayer dollars from directly or indirectly subsidizing abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. McMaster also directed the state’s Department of Health and Human Services to submit a waiver to the federal government that would allow the state to withhold funding to abortion clinics. Some are concerned these organizations that provide life-saving services to pregnant women could be harmed by the cuts.

Thailand Cave Rescue Mission Reaches Second Day

Four more boys have been rescued from Thailand’s Tham Luang Cave as the mission to rescue the stranded children and their soccer coach continues. Thai Navy SEALS have confirmed that a total of eight children have been rescued from the flooded cave, with five people still trapped. The boys’ health remains unknown. Thai Prime Minister Prayat Chan-O-Cha has visited the cave site and talked to family members of those who are stranded. An international team of rescue divers has led the rescue mission, but the situation is not without danger. Former Thai Navy SEAL, Samarn Poonan, died after he fell unconscious while placing oxygen tanks deep inside the cave.

India’s Supreme Court Reaffirms Death Penalty for Fatal 2012 Rape Case

India’s Supreme Court has refused to review the capital sentences of three assailants in the notorious gang rape and murder of a young college student in 2012, bringing them closer to eventual execution. This attack prompted widespread protests across the country, sparking a new debate about women’s safety in India. This resulted in changes being made to the country’s rape laws, which now allow for the death penalty in some rape cases.

Two Journalists Charged by Myanmar Judge

A Myanmar judge charged two Reuters journalists with violating Myanmar’s colonial-era secrets act during their coverage of the Rohingya crisis. The journalists will go to trial in this case of press freedoms, which has drawn criticism from foreign governments. The two journalists were arrested in December after being accused of obtaining secret documents concerning the police force while reporting on the killing of ten Rohingya boys and men in the Rakhine state. The offense is punishable by up to 14 years in prison

How the International Community is Failing the Syrian Torture Victims

 

By Maftuna Saidova

June 26th was the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. In honor of this day, we should remember the victims who were tortured (and continue to be tortured) in Syrian detention centers and evaluate what is being done to hold the perpetrators responsible. Neither the Syrian government nor the international community has taken any significant steps to address or mitigate the violations happening in in Syria. Under the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the state–who should be responsible for protecting its citizens–has been acting as the perpetrator. Under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad, those who are deemed as a threat to the government continue to be tortured in the detention centers.  Moreover, the two mechanisms set out by the Convention Against Torture, meant to protect victims, have not been fully employed–leaving the victims defenseless against their own government.  As a result, many Syrians continue to live in fear, knowing that their government could strip them of their rights at any moment.

Under Article 14 of the Convention Against Torture, state parties to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, are required to, “ensure in its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible.” Acts of “redress” can include reparations for the victims such as rehabilitation, compensation, and guarantees of non-repetition. However in this case the Syriangovernment is the perpetrator, which makes it highly unlikely that any types of reparations will be provided to the victims by the government. This is why the role of the international community is especially important for the Syrian victims.

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The UN General Assembly Ignores Gender in Debates on the Responsibility to Protect

By Hannah Sarokin and Brandon Golfman

The 90s were a time of multiculturalism, grunge music, Friends, and the world-wide web.  It was also a decade marked by devastating humanitarian crises, including widespread sexual and gender-based violence.  From Rwanda to the Balkans, mass conflict and genocide rattled global security and peace processes and shed light on the resounding failure of the international community to act.  The principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) was born from such atrocity.  

First addressed by the UN during the World Summit in 2005, R2P is the collective recognition that protecting vulnerable civilians from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity is both a domestic and international obligation.  The three pillars of R2P oblige states to protect their populations from such atrocities, require the international community to assist in that protection, and if a state has failed, other states must take appropriate actions to intervene.  Despite a unanimous commitment to R2P at the World Summit, there remains a severe gap in domestic implementation, especially in regards to gender.

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