Tag: rights

Explainer: How Trump’s Supreme Court nominee applies the law to LGBT+ rights

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – President Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court has alarmed many LGBT+ advocates, who fear the appointment of another conservative judge would jeopardise the rights of gay and trans people.

FILE PHOTO: Rainbow flags fly at Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan in support of the LGBT community, prior to the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, in New York City, New York, U.S., June 26, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

If confirmed, Barrett, who has described conservative judge Antonin Scalia as her mentor, would push the country’s highest court to a 6-3 conservative majority.

At 48, she could serve for decades in the lifetime job, potentially leaving a lasting conservative legacy.

“Confirming Barrett will drag America backwards,” Sarah Kate Ellis, head of the LGBT+ advocacy group GLAAD, said in a statement when she was nominated.

As the U.S. Senate on Monday opened a four-day confirmation hearing, here is a look at Barrett’s record on LGBT+ rights.

DEFENDING DISSENT ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

In a 2016 lecture, Barrett defended the justices who dissented against the landmark 2015 ruling that legalized gay marriage nationwide, known as Obergefell v. Hodges.

She suggested that the ruling should have been decided by legislators not the court.

“Those who want same-sex marriage, you have every right to lobby in state legislatures to make that happen, but the dissent’s view was that it wasn’t for the court to decide,” Barrett said then.

“So I think Obergefell, and what we’re talking about for the future of the court, it’s really a who decides question,” she said.

Criticism of the gay marriage ruling was revived this month when Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito said the ruling continues to have “ruinous consequences” for religious liberty.

LBGT+ advocacy groups took those comments as a worrying sign for same-sex marriage and gay rights on a court moving further rightward.

BATHROOM ACCESS FOR TRANS PEOPLE

Barrett has also argued against extending Title IX protections, federal civil rights laws barring Americans from discrimination on the basis of sex, to trans Americans.

In the same 2016 lecture, Barrett said that applying Title IX to fight against policies banning trans people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity would be a “strain” of the text.

“When Title IX was enacted, it’s pretty clear that no one, including the Congress that enacted that statute, would have dreamed of that result, at that time,” Barrett said, referring to the extension of the rights to trans Americans.

Instead, Barrett said that the debate should be decided by U.S. Congress.

“Maybe things have changed so that we should change Title IX, maybe those arguing in favor of this kind of transgender bathroom access are right. That’s a public policy debate to have.”

RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS

Later this year, the court will decide on a major religious rights dispute involving the city of Philadelphia’s refusal to place children for foster care with a Catholic agency that bars same-sex couples

Continue reading

A declaration of our Covid lockdown rights for society as a whole

Gupta and her co-authors boast decades at the pinnacle of global science. Imposing lockdown measures across all age groups is having terrible health implications, they say – not least as the NHS has significantly restricted non-Covid treatments. We’re seeing “worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come”, the GDB says. And the impact on school children and students is “a grave injustice”.

Overall, it is the “the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden”, thunders the declaration, pointing to both the economic and health implications of society-wide lockdown. “Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage,” the GBD says, “with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.”

The declaration’s concept of “focused protection” suggests looking after the vulnerable by using care home staff who are already immune, delivering groceries to the elderly so they needn’t go shopping and families meeting older relatives outdoors instead of inside. “People who are more at risk may participate if they wish,” says the GBD, “while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.”

So while the elderly and others shield if they want to, helped by their families, friends and the rest of society, the rest of us carry on. “Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal,” says the declaration. “Schools and universities should open for in-person tuition… and young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home.” Restaurants and other businesses should open, the GBD argues, with the arts, music, sport and other cultural activities resuming too.

All this, of course, is anathema to a political and medical establishment that has backed non-discriminate lockdown – and is now tightening restrictions even more. While Downing Street counters the scientific basis of the GBD, others go for straight character assassination.

The GBD is “a libertarian agenda packaged as science… a manifesto for selfishness,” says Gupta’s Oxford colleague Professor Trisha Greenhalgh. NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens says, disgracefully, that focusing on voluntary shielding among the over-65s amounts to “age-based apartheid” – comparing the motives of distinguished scientists with an immoral, repressive regime of racial subjugation.

As the insults fly, more and more scientists, examining the actual data on Covid cases, hospitalisations and deaths, are backing the GBD or similar strategies. Public opinion is also turning.

“I’m not a natural Telegraph reader, but I’ve been surprised by many of the people I’ve agreed with during this covid crisis”, writes Dan, emailing us on [email protected] “Sunetra Gupta’s calm, measured manner has been admirable as she’s been vilified by fellow academics and media.”

Join us on our metaphorical capsule of common sense, by listening to the latest Planet Normal podcast, which comes out every Thursday. It’s free – at www.telegraph.co.uk/planetnormal or via iTunes, Spotify or wherever else you get your podcasts.

 

Source Article

Continue reading

18,000 elderly people have died of COVID-19 in British care homes and now Boris Johnson’s government is being accused of human rights abuse



a man and a woman standing in front of a mirror: Care worker Sarah Cox helps fix care home resident, Patricia Taylor's hair on May 6, 2020 in Borehamwood, England Getty


© Getty
Care worker Sarah Cox helps fix care home resident, Patricia Taylor’s hair on May 6, 2020 in Borehamwood, England Getty

  • The death of thousands of COVID-19 in British care homes was a violation of their human rights, according to Amnesty International.
  • The human rights organization has now called for the public inquiry, promised by the government in July, to begin immediately. 
  • The report also raised particular concerns about the inappropriate use of “do not attempt resuscitation” (DNAR) orders issued on a blanket basis in care homes.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

More than 18,000 untested elderly people died of COVID-19 in British care homes in what a damning new report from Amnesty International has described as a violation of their human rights.

Between March and June, over 28,116 “excess deaths” were recorded in care homes in England, with 18,500 of them confirmed to have been from COVID-19, according to the human rights group’s Crisis Response team.

The report. entitled As If Expendable: The UK Government’s Failure to Protect Older People in Care Homes during the COVID-19 Pandemic, found that many of the deaths were “entirely avoidable.”

Amnesty International, the world’s leading human rights group,  has called for the public inquiry promised by the government in July to begin immediately in a move that would compel the government to release confidential records and documents. 

Ministers, including Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, would also be required to testify under oath and attempt to justify their actions, which Amnesty International has called “shockingly irresponsible.” 

Until March 13, two days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus a global pandemic, Public Health England had said that “there is no need to do anything differently in any care setting at present.”

Four days later, the government ordered the discharge of 25,000 hospital patients into care homes and reiterated the instruction at the beginning of March despite the WHO confirming the existence of pre-symptomatic cases on the very same day. 

The Amnesty report also raised particular concerns about the inappropriate use of “do not attempt resuscitation” (DNAR) orders issued to care managers who were told to add the instruction to residents’ files as a blanket approach.

Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Adviser and author of the report, told Business Insider: “The DNAR orders have not been revised since they were imposed and we are calling for the government’s Department of Health and Social Care to immediately investigate the issue and every single case individually. 

“It is imperative that lessons are learned so that the same mistakes are not repeated, and that those responsible for such disastrous decisions are held accountable.”

Care home residents were often denied access to NHS services they were entitled to, the report found. Staff and relatives told Amnesty that sending residents to hospital was heavily discouraged or outright refused, “violating their right to health and potentially their right to life, as well as their right to non-discrimination,” according to the report.

Official

Continue reading

Disney executive defends Mulan filming in China despite government’s human rights abuses

Disney’s president of film production, Sean Bailey, addressed the recent controversy over the studio’s live-action Mulan remake in a letter to a British politician this week. In the letter, which member of parliament Iain Duncan Smith posted online Thursday, Bailey defended the choice to film portions of Mulan in an area of China that has been the site of extensive human rights abuses.



a group of people walking down a dirt road: Jasin Boland/Disney


© Provided by Entertainment Weekly
Jasin Boland/Disney

After Mulan debuted on Disney+ last month, controversy arose when viewers noticed the end credits included “special thanks” to several government entities in Xinjiang, a region in northwest China. The region has been the site of what experts have called a “cultural genocide,” with the Chinese government detaining and torturing Uighur Muslims in mass “re-education” camps.

Some of the entities thanked in Mulan‘s credits have been directly linked to this campaign, including the Turpan Bureau of Public Security, which was sanctioned by the U.S. Commerce Department last year. The news raised questions from U.S. lawmakers and other observers about the degree to which Disney cooperated with the Chinese government. Duncan Smith, a prominent politician of the British Conservative Party and co-chair of the U.K.’s Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, sent a letter to Bailey inquiring about the film.

In his reply, dated Oct. 7, Bailey noted that the footage filmed in China, which consisted entirely of landscape shots, “comprises 78 seconds” of the 115-minute film, and was shot “over a brief four-day period — compared to 143 days of filming in New Zealand.”

“Although Mulan was filmed almost entirely in New Zealand, in order to accurately depict the unique geography and landscape of China for this period drama, the producers chose to film some scenery in 20 locations throughout the country, including the Kumtag Desert in Xinjiang Province, home to an important passageway along the historic Silk Road,” Bailey wrote. “The decision to film in each of these locations was made by the film’s producers in the interest of authenticity, and was in no way dictated or influenced by state or local Chinese officials.”



a group of people in costumes: In a letter, a Disney executive defended the decision to film portions of 'Mulan' in China despite the government's reported human rights violations.


© Jasin Boland/Disney
In a letter, a Disney executive defended the decision to film portions of ‘Mulan’ in China despite the government’s reported human rights violations.

He added that the studio was required to cooperate with the government in order to film in China, writing, “There are regulations that must be followed by all foreign film production companies wanting to operate in China. These companies are not allowed to operate independently and must partner with a Chinese production company which is responsible for securing all film permits.” The thanks in the credits were simply standard industry practice, he continued, saying the production company provided a list of entities to thank for granting permission

Continue reading

Disney Defends ‘Mulan’ Credits That Thanked Chinese Government Entities Involved in Human Rights Abuses

Click here to read the full article.

Disney’s president of film production Sean Bailey defended the controversial credits for the new live-action “Mulan” film, which thanked Chinese government entities directly involved in perpetuating human rights abuses in Xinjiang, as being part of “standard practice across the film industry worldwide,” according to a letter addressed to and posted online by prominent British politician Iain Duncan Smith.

The choice to film in the region was made for reasons of “authenticity,” Bailey explained.

Disney made global headlines when “Mulan,” released to streaming on its Disney+ platform Sept. 4, gave “special thanks” during the film’s end credits to eight different Chinese government departments in Xinjiang, a number of which are directly involved in the campaign that critics have deemed a cultural genocide. They include the Turpan Bureau of Public Security, which was last October sanctioned by the U.S. Commerce Department for engaging in “human rights violations and abuses in implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups.”

In the letter dated to Oct. 7 on official Disney letterhead, Bailey wrote, in Disney’s defense: “It is standard practice across the film industry worldwide to acknowledge in a film’s credits the cooperation, approvals, and assistance provided by various entities and individuals over the course of a film’s production. In this case, the production company Beijing Shadow Times provided our production team with the list of acknowledgements to be included in the credits for ‘Mulan.’”

To bolster his point, he included “examples of credits from other films shot in international locations” in further pages that were not posted online, concluding: “I hope this clarification puts this issue in the proper perspective.”

The remarks rank among the very few that have emerged from any Disney executive since the “Mulan” release. Disney’s CFO Christine McCarthy echoed Bailey’s explanation at an unrelated conference in early September, saying that filming in China requires government approvals and “it’s common to acknowledge in a film’s credits the national and local governments that allowed you to film there.”

Disney has not issued a formal statement or apology on the matter, and has told creatives involved in “Mulan” to steer clear of the subject.

In the Thursday tweet in which he publicized the letter, Conservative member of parliament Duncan Smith called Bailey’s reply “very weak and full of platitudes.”

“The reality is that Disney simply does not want to offend China, and have given in to China’s demands and will not stand up to them,” he wrote. “Disney’s corporate policy does not appear to care about the human rights issues affecting the #Uighurs. It seems human rights come second to the corporate policy of not upsetting China.”

In June,

Continue reading

Battle Over Animal Rights Almost Brings Down the Polish Government

KASZEWSKA WOLA, Poland — When the European Union condemned Poland’s government for demonizing gays and lesbians, the country’s governing coalition defiantly stood together. When state media was accused of spreading hate speech that fueled violence, the governing parties brushed off concerns. And when protests erupted against efforts to control the judicial system, they pressed ahead regardless.

Then came the minks.

Proposed legislation that would ban the farming of minks, semiaquatic mammals prized for their fur, and put in place a range of protections for other animals, opened deep divisions in the coalition that almost brought down the government.

It took the intervention of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the dominant Law and Justice Party, to quell the uprising for now by taking on a formal role that allowed him to act as a buffer between opposing factions.

The bill, which gained momentum after a documentary aired on Polish television showing minks living in deplorable conditions on one farm, has widespread public support and the leaders of the country’s foremost opposition party support the legislation.

But the conservative governing coalition is divided over the issue, waging increasingly furious internal battles at a time when the nation is consumed with the coronavirus. All that has raised questions about the long-term viability of the government.

In the face of those concerns, Mr. Kaczynski, the most powerful politician in Poland and the architect of the government’s agenda, stepped in Tuesday to be sworn in as deputy prime minister after five years of ruling from behind the scenes.

Apart from separating feuding coalition partners, one of his main tasks will be trying to grow public support for the Law and Justice Party, whose candidate for president, Andrzej Duda, only managed a narrow election victory in July.

It will be a difficult challenge since Mr. Kaczynski has been the driving force behind efforts by his party to marginalize the L.G.B.T. community, a campaign that has turned off many young voters. And his government has spent years at war with the European Union, despite broad support in Poland for membership in the bloc, especially among the generation born after the end of communist rule in 1989.

The government also has a dismal record on environmental issues — from logging in the country’s ancient forests to failing to curb a reliance on coal.

But in championing animal rights, Mr. Kaczynski sees an opportunity.

“This is a pivotal moment for the party,” said Wojciech Przybylski, the editor in chief of Visegrad Insight, a policy journal focused on Central Europe. Mr. Kaczynski, he said, knows he needs to expand his political base to include younger, more moderate voters by sending “a message of concern about nature and animals.”

The issue also seems personal for Mr. Kaczynski, who has long been known for his affection for animals. When his beloved cat, Alik, died, it was national news. The 71-year-old, who shuns nearly all requests for interviews outside of supportive media outlets, even went on TikTok to post a video promoting the

Continue reading

EU lashes out at Turkey over rule of law, rights, freedoms

The European Union says it sees no reason to speed up membership talks with Turkey

BRUSSELS — The European Union said Tuesday that Turkey’s negotiations on joining the world’s biggest trade bloc shouldn’t be accelerated because of its failure to uphold democratic standards, protect the independence of its courts and effectively fight corruption.

In a scathing report on Turkey’s progress toward EU membership, the European Commission said Turkish authorities continue to pressure civil society, aid groups and the media, and that political power is still being concentrated in the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey rejected some of the findings and branded the EU as “prejudiced.”

“Turkey remains a key partner for the European Union. However, Turkey has continued to move further away from the European Union with serious backsliding in the areas of democracy, rule of law, fundamental rights and the independence of the judiciary,” the commission said.

Turkey began its EU membership talks in 2005 but they have stood at a standstill in recent years, and tensions with Ankara have mounted since over its disputed energy exploration in parts of the Mediterranean Sea.

Some EU countries oppose the large, relatively poor and mainly Muslim country joining. Germany, notably, would prefer an alternate kind of “privileged partnership.” France too is opposed to Turkey’s membership, and all 27 EU nations must agree for any country to join.

Countries hoping to take a seat at Europe’s big table must align their laws and legislation in 35 policy areas, or negotiating chapters. EU leaders agreed in 2018 that no new chapters in Turkey’s accession talks should be opened or closed.

“The report presented today confirms that the underlying facts leading to this assessment still hold, despite the government’s repeated commitment to the objective of EU accession,” said the commission, which runs and monitors membership talks on behalf of the 27 EU nations.

It also said that the “adverse impacts” of a state of emergency, which was imposed by Erdogan after a failed military coup attempt in Turkey in 2016 and lifted two years ago, are still being felt today.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said the report was a reflection of “the EU’s prejudiced, unconstructive and double-standard approach.” The report failed to mention the EU’s own “responsibilities and commitments” and criticized Turkey with “unfounded arguments,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Our sincere wish is for the EU to look at the EU candidate country Turkey, not through the selfish and narrow vision of certain circles, but through the common interest and vision of our continent,” it said.

Continue reading

EU Lashes Out at Turkey Over Rule of Law, Rights, Freedoms | Business News

By LORNE COOK, Associated Press

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union said Tuesday that Turkey’s negotiations on joining the world’s biggest trade bloc shouldn’t be accelerated because of its failure to uphold democratic standards, protect the independence of its courts and effectively fight corruption.

In a scathing report on Turkey’s progress toward EU membership, the European Commission said the Turkish authorities continue to pressure civil society, aid groups and the media, and that political power is still being concentrated in the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Turkey remains a key partner for the European Union. However, Turkey has continued to move further away from the European Union with serious backsliding in the areas of democracy, rule of law, fundamental rights and the independence of the judiciary,” the commission said.

Turkey began its EU membership talks in 2005 but they have stood at a standstill in recent years, and tensions with Ankara have mounted since over its disputed energy exploration in parts of the Mediterranean Sea.

Some EU countries oppose the large, relatively poor and mainly Muslim country joining. Germany, notably, would prefer an alternate kind of “privileged partnership.” France too is opposed to Turkey’s membership, and all 27 EU nations must agree for any country to join.

Countries hoping to take a seat at Europe’s big table must align their laws and legislation in 35 policy areas, or negotiating chapters. EU leaders agreed in 2018 that no new chapters in Turkey’s accession talks should be opened or closed.

“The report presented today confirms that the underlying facts leading to this assessment still hold, despite the government’s repeated commitment to the objective of EU accession,” said the commission, which runs and monitors membership talks on behalf of the 27 EU nations.

It said that the “adverse impacts” of a state of emergency, which was imposed by Erdogan after a failed military coup attempt in Turkey in 2016 and lifted two years ago, are still being felt today.

Turkey’s dispute in the eastern Mediterranean with EU members Greece and Cyprus, as well as its roles in conflict-torn Libya and Syria were also criticized in the report, which noted that Ankara’s foreign policy has “increasingly collided with the EU priorities.”

The commission was more upbeat about Ankara’s migration policy. It said that “Turkey sustained its outstanding efforts to provide unprecedented humanitarian aid and support to more than 3.6 million registered refugees from Syria and around 370,000 registered refugees from other countries.”

The EU relies on Turkey to stop migrants from entering the bloc through its borders with Greece and Bulgaria, and is paying around 6 billion euros ($7 billion) to help Syrian refugees in the country to persuade Ankara not to let migrants head to Europe. EU leaders suggested last week that they are willing to send Turkey even more funds.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source Article

Continue reading

Joe Biden says he’ll push new abortion rights law if Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade

Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said Monday he would work to pass legislation codifying the right to obtain an abortion if the Supreme Court takes action to undermine Roe v. Wade, the 1973 high court ruling that recognized abortion rights.

At a Miami, Florida town hall held by NBC, a female participant asked Mr. Biden how he would respond if the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade because she was fearful of President Trump appointing Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the high court.

“Considering the new Supreme Court nomination of [Judge] Amy Coney Barrett, what are your plans to protect women’s reproductive rights in the U.S.?” the female questioner asked.

“Number one, we don’t know exactly what she will do, although the expectation is that she may very well move to over, overview, overrule Roe,” Mr. Biden answered. “The only responsible response to that would be to pass legislation making Roe the law of the land. That’s what I would do.”

Mr. Biden has been reluctant to criticize Judge Barrett by name on the campaign trail. At the first presidential debate opposite President Trump last month, Mr. Biden said he was “not opposed” to Judge Barrett personally and added, “She seems like a very fine person.”

Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Judge Barrett’s nomination are scheduled to begin next Monday, Oct. 12, at 9 a.m.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

fbq('init', '329974197684672'); fbq('init', '450591302454597');

fbq('track', "PageView"); fbq('track', 'ViewContent');

fbq('trackSingle', '450591302454597' , 'Subscribe', {value: '0.00', currency: 'USD', predicted_ltv: '0.00'});

Source Article

Continue reading

Ministries and photographer claim Virginia LGBTQ rights law forces them to ‘violate’ their beliefs

A Christian conservative legal group has filed lawsuits on behalf of nonprofit ministries and a photographer, saying a new Virginia law offering LGBTQ protections forces them to “abandon” their beliefs.



a close up of a flag: Pride flags decorate Market Square in Old Town Alexandria during Pride Month on June 24, 2020, in Alexandria, Virginia.


© Shannon Finney/Getty Images
Pride flags decorate Market Square in Old Town Alexandria during Pride Month on June 24, 2020, in Alexandria, Virginia.

The Virginia Values Act offers sweeping protections to the state’s LGBTQ community in areas including housing, employment, public spaces and credit applications. It was signed into law in April.

But a group caled the Alliance Defending Freedom says the law has forced its clients “to abandon their core convictions in hiring and other polices or face fines up to $100,000 for each violation.”

“Our clients offer spiritual guidance, education, pregnancy support, and athletic opportunities to their communities because of the religious beliefs that motivate them,” ADF senior counsel Denise Harle said in a statement.

“But Virginia’s new law forces these ministries to abandon and adjust their convictions or pay crippling fines — in direct violation of the Virginia Constitution and other state laws. Such government hostility toward people of faith has no place in a free society,” Harle added.

In a statement from his press secretary, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said he looks forward to defending the Virginia Values Act in court.

“Attorney General Herring believes that every Virginian has the right to be safe and free from discrimination no matter what they look like, where they come from, or who they love,” Press Secretary Charlotte P.L. Gomer told CNN.

“LGBT Virginians are finally protected from housing and employment discrimination under Virginia law and Attorney General Herring looks forward to defending the Virginia Values Act in court against these attacks.”

What the lawsuits claim

The ADF is representing the Calvary Road Baptist Church, Community Fellowship Church, Community Christian Academy and Care Net, a pregnancy center in one lawsuit and photographer Bob Updegrove in the other.

In Calvary Road Baptist Church v. Herring, the ADF says its clients believe “marriage is between one man and one woman, and that God created humanity as immutably male and female. ”

The Virginia Values Act, it claims, forces churches and other organizations with similar beliefs to choose between “risking bankruptcy while being punished for their religious convictions, or abandoning their ministries all together.”

Updegrove, according to ADF, is a Virginia-based photographer who also owns a photography studio.

He creates art “to promote messages consistent with his convictions, including his convictions about marriage,” ADF said.

The state’s law, ADF says, forces him “to create photographs celebrating same-sex weddings or stop his wedding business altogether” and forbids him to explain on his business’ website “his religious reasons for only creating artwork consistent with his beliefs about marriage.”

“Artists should be free to choose the messages they promote,” the ADF argues in a statement.

Continue Reading

Source Article

Continue reading