The lead-poisoning disaster in Flint, Michigan is more than a shocking public health failure. It is an assault on human rights – a recognition that has been largely absent from most discussions of how and why this could have happened in the advanced industrial democracy of the United States.
This month marks the 14th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo Bay detention center, the most visible symbol of U.S. torture and injustice around the world. President Obama has called the prison a “sad chapter in American history.” Unfortunately, Guantánamo is still open – and so is this sad chapter.
Fourteen years ago, the U.S. government opened Guantánamo Bay detention facility in an effort to create a place beyond the reach of the law and the Constitution -- a place where the absolute prohibition against torture and ill-treatment could be violated with impunity. Today, the consequences of that pernicious move are being felt in every corner of the United States.
One year ago, the Senate Intelligence Committee released part of its massive report documenting the brutality and lawlessness of the CIA torture program. Yet 12 months later, those who designed, ordered, and carried out this deliberate and systematic effort to destroy human beings remain – shamefully – unaccountable for their crimes.
I came to Europe to bear witness to the overwhelming numbers of children, women, and men searching for safety and a future far from the bombs that have devastated their homes in Syria. I joined the Nobel Women's Initiative to meet with some of these courageous refugees and listened to their stories.