On World Refugee Day, PHR affirms its dedication to ending human rights violations and protecting the rights of refugees and displaced people. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that 800,000 people were forced to flee across borders last year, adding to a population of 15.2 million refugees worldwide.
PHR applauds President Obama's decision to suspend deportations of DREAM-eligible youth and allow them to apply for work authorization. Although this policy change is far from the full path to citizenship they deserve, it is definitely a step in the right direction.
PHR condemns the recent ethnic clashes in Arakan State, Western Burma, and urges all parties to end the violence.
Today the State Department released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. PHR applauds Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Michael Posner, and the staff of the State Department for their tireless work in producing these reports, which catalog a number of human rights violations in nearly 200 countries during 2011.
Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) introduced today an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that restricts the sale of tear gas and riot control items to Middle East and North Africa countries undergoing a transition to democracy. The amendment, which successfully passed the US House of Representatives, requires the Secretary of Defense to certify to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees that the security forces of such governments are not using excessive force to repress peaceful protesters before such items would be provided.