` Letter to President Obama Urging Repatriation of Guantanamo Detainees to Yemen ‘

#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON DC – April 13 (HRW) – The US should expedite the return of Yemeni detainees cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to President Barack Obama. Human Rights Watch released a video showing the plight of families of Yemeni detainees. All Guantanamo detainees should be returned or resettled, or charged and prosecuted in US federal courts.

Obama imposed a moratorium on returning Guantanamo detainees to Yemen after the arrest of the “Christmas Day bomber,” who had trained in the country. Although he lifted the moratorium in May 2013, no Yemeni has been returned, and currently 56 of the 76 Guantanamo detainees recommended for transfer are Yemeni.

“President Obama lifted his moratorium on returns to Yemen nearly a year ago, yet the Yemenis OK’d for release remained trapped in Guantanamo largely because of their nationality,” said Andrea Prasow, senior national security counsel at Human Rights Watch. “If the president truly intends to close Guantanamo, he needs to repatriate the Yemenis, some of whom were cleared more than four years ago.

http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/04/07/us-send-guantanamo-s-yemenis-home

Letter to President Obama dated the 08 April 2014 by Human Rights Watch – Director – Kenneth Roth.

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

RE: Repatriation of Guantanamo Detainees to Yemen

Dear President Obama:

We write to urge you to expedite the repatriation of Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay to their home country of Yemen.

Five years ago, on your second full day in office, you pledged to close the Guantanamo detention centre, and in your State of the Union address this year you reaffirmed that pledge. The return of Yemeni detainees to Yemen is an essential component of any plan to close the detention facility.

As you know, of the 76 individuals your administration has recommended for transfer from Guantanamo, 56 are citizens of Yemen. These include Mahmud Abd Al Aziz Al Mujahid, the first detainee whose status was reviewed by the new Periodic Review Board on November 25, 2013 (the remaining 55 were recommended for transfer by your interagency task force in 2010). One reason so many Yemenis remain at Guantanamo is that in January 2010 you imposed a moratorium on transfers to Yemen after the arrest of the “Christmas Day bomber,” who had trained in Yemen. We were pleased that last year you lifted that moratorium, and that your administration successfully urged Congress to alter conditions it had previously imposed on transfers of detainees, resulting in significant changes to the law in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. Yet no detainee has been returned to Yemen since 2009.

We recognize that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula poses a security threat in Yemen. But the detainees in Guantanamo who have been recommended for transfer pose no greater threat than many other people at large in Yemen. Speculative concern that these men could join militant groups in the future, as so many others in Yemen might do by comparable speculation, is no reason to keep them detained without charge or trial. The continued detention of people based solely on their country of origin runs counter to US values and sets a dangerous example for other countries.

Prolonged indefinite detention without charge or trial violates international human rights law. We have long urged the United States either to prosecute detainees in fair trials that comport with international due process standards, or to release them. The continued detention of those recommended for transfer by your administration more than four years ago is particularly troublesome.

We urge you to commence the repatriation of Yemenis as soon as possible; to transfer to US federal court any detainee against whom there is sufficient evidence of criminal conduct; and to continue repatriation or resettlement, as appropriate, of the rest.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Roth
Human Rights Watch
Executive Director

Human Rights Watch

#ANS2014

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` Washington DC bears Witness to the March of People Protesting No More Deportation of Immigrants ‘

#AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON DC – April 06 – RT reports that several hundred activists marched through the streets of Washington, DC on Saturday, demanding an end to immigrant deportations, Ruptly reports.

The marchers chanted slogans such as “Up education, down deportation” as they made their way along a route which ended outside the White House.

The protest, organized by NotOneMoreDeportation.com, aims to tackle what it believes is an unreasonably harsh US deportation policy, which has seen over two million people removed from the United States under the Obama administration.

Thousands of immigrants and their supporters also rallied in more than 80 other cities across the US.

#ANS2014

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“Group of Little Sister’s that Care’s for the Elderly and Poor Get Dispensation from the Federal Contraception Mandate”

#AceHealthNews Blessed Jeanne Jugan (October 25, 1792 – 1879)...

#AceHealthcareNews says according to WASHINGTON D.C., January 2 (CNA/EWTN News) .- A group of religious sisters that cares for the elderly poor in the U.S. was among several religious organizations to gain protection from the federal contraception mandate shortly before it took effect on Jan. 1.

“We are grateful for the decision of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granting us a temporary injunction protecting us from the HHS contraceptive mandate,” said the Little Sisters of the Poor.

On Dec. 31, just hours before the mandate was to take effect for religious non-profit groups, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued an emergency stay temporarily blocking the regulation’s enforcement against the religious sisters. The federal government has until 10 a.m. on Jan. 3 to reply to Justice Sotomayor’s order.

The Little Sisters of the Poor – who have provided physical, spiritual and emotional care for the elderly and dying in communities throughout the U.S. for 175 years – voiced gratitude for the decision.

“We hope and pray that we will receive a favorable outcome in order to continue to serve the elderly of all faiths with the same community support and religious freedom that we have always appreciated,” the consecrated sisters said in a Jan. 1 statement.

Justice Sotomayor’s stay applies to the Little Sisters as well as more than 200 religious groups insured by the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust. It protects these groups from the demands of the federal contraception mandate, which requires employers to offer health insurance covering contraception, sterilization, and some drugs that can cause early abortions.

Employers who fail to comply with the mandate face crippling penalties.

Because the Little Sisters of the Poor are not affiliated with a particular house of worship, they do not qualify for the religious exemption to the mandate.

The federal government has argued that it has sufficiently provided for the religious freedom of the Little Sisters and other religious organizations through an “accommodation” under which the faith-based employers can pass the burden of providing the objectionable coverage to insurers, who must then offer it directly to employees without cost. Critics, however, argue that the costs of the coverage will ultimately be handed on to the employer in some way.

English: The Little Sisters of the Poor facili...

English: The Little Sisters of the Poor facility in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is helping represent the Little Sisters of the Poor in their lawsuit, welcomed the news of the stay.

“We are delighted that the Supreme Court has issued this order protecting the Little Sisters,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund. “The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people – it doesn’t need to force nuns to participate.”

Justice Sotomayor’s decision joined more than a dozen other preliminary court orders to block the mandate. The majority of nonprofit groups that have sued over the mandate have received temporary relief.

Also on Dec. 31, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted last-minute injunctive relief to several Catholic colleges and organizations, including the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and The Catholic University of America.

The Archdiocese of Washington welcomed the injunction in a statement, saying that the court’s decision is “in line with the rulings of courts all across the country” in its recognition “that the HHS mandate imposes a substantial and impermissible burden on the free exercise of religion.”

“These decisions also vindicate the pledge of the U.S. Catholic bishops to stand united in resolute defense of the first and most sacred freedom – religious liberty,” the archdiocese stated.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has asked U.S. President Barack Obama to extend temporary protections from the mandate to all religious employers who object to it.

President Barack Obama and Justice Sonia Sotom...

President Barack Obama and Justice Sonia Sotomayor meet in the Oval Office prior to a reception for the new Supreme Court Justice at the White House, on Aug. 12, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a Dec. 31 letter to the president, he noted that the government has already chosen to delay a regulation requiring employers to offer health insurance to employees. However, religious employers who do wish to “provide and fully subsidize an excellent health plan for employees,” but object to covering contraception and related products, face “crippling fines of up to $100 a day or $36,500 a year per employee.”

This position “harshly and disproportionately penalizes those seeking to offer life-affirming health coverage in accord with the teachings of their faith,” the archbishop stated. “The Administration’s flexibility in implementing the ACA has not yet reached those who want only to exercise what has rightly been called our ‘First Freedom’ under the Constitution.”

“In effect, the government seems to be telling employees that they are better off with no employer health plan at all than with a plan that does not cover contraceptives,” Archbishop Kurtz said, adding that this position is “hard to reconcile with an Act whose purpose is to bring us closer to universal coverage.”

 

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