Tag: human-rights

R.I.P. Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Former United Nations Secretary General

Kofi Annan was awarded the Nobel peace prize for his humanitarian work with the UN. (Photograph: Allison Joyce/Reuters)

by Chris Johnston via theguardian.com

The former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, has died at the age of 80 after a short illness, his family and foundation announced on Saturday.

The Ghanaian was the seventh secretary general and served for two terms between 1997 and 2006. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work jointly with the UN as an organisation in 2001.

He died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland in the early hours of Saturday with his wife, Nane, and three children Ama, Kojo and Nina, by his side. He had retired to Geneva and later lived in a Swiss village.

Annan’s foundation issued a statement on his Twitter account on Saturday that described him as a “global statesman and deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world.”

The statement added that Annan, who succeeded Boutros Boutros-Ghali as UN leader, was a “son of Ghana and felt a special responsibility towards Africa”.

The current UN secretary general, António Guterres, whom Annan appointed to lead its refugee agency, said: “In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organisation into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination.”

The former UK prime minister Tony Blair said on Twitter that he was shocked and distressed by Annan’s death. “He was a good friend whom I saw only weeks ago. Kofi Annan was a great diplomat, a true statesman and a wonderful colleague who was widely respected and will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathy go to Nane and his family,” he said.

Annan was chair of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working for peace and human rights founded by Nelson Mandela. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former prime minister of Norway and the body’s deputy chair, said she and her colleagues were devastated by Annan’s death.

“Kofi was a strong and inspiring presence to us all, and The Elders would not be where it is today without his leadership. Throughout his life, Kofi worked unceasingly to improve the lives of millions of people around the world,” she said.

Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s secretary general, said the world had lost a great leader: “Kofi’s dedication and drive for a more peaceful and just world, his lifelong championing of human rights, and the dignity and grace with which he led will be sorely missed in a world which needs these characteristics more than ever.”

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United Nations Panel Issues Report Stating U.S. Owes Black People Reparations

Verene Shepherd (right), a member of the United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, in 2014
Verene Shepherd (right), a member of the United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, in 2014. (EVERT ELZINGA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

article by Monique Judge via theroot.com

Colonial history, a legacy of enslavement and segregation are among the chief reasons reparations are owed to African Americans, according to a report put out by a United Nations group (pdf).

The U.N.’s Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, which reports to the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, presented its findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday, the Washington Post reports.

The panel, which visited the U.S. on a fact-finding mission in January, wrote in a statement that it was “extremely concerned about the human rights situation of African Americans,” stating that there has been no real commitment to reparations, truth and reconciliation for people of African descent.

Despite substantial changes since the end of the enforcement of Jim Crow and the fight for civil rights, ideology ensuring the domination of one group over another, continues to negatively impact the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of African Americans today. The dangerous ideology of white supremacy inhibits social cohesion amongst the US population.

The panel likened the pattern of police officers killing unarmed black men to lynching, which it referred to as a form of “racial terrorism that has contributed to a legacy of racial inequality that the US must address.”

“Contemporary police killings and the trauma it creates are reminiscent of the racial terror lynching of the past. Impunity for state violence has resulted in the current human rights crisis and must be addressed as a matter of urgency,” the panel wrote.

The panel also noted that African Americans are disproportionately affected by “tough on crime policies,” mass incarceration, and racial bias and disparities in the criminal-justice system.

During this country visit, the experts observed the excessive control and supervision targeting all levels of their life. This control since September 2001, has been reinforced by the introduction of the Patriot Act. We heard testimonies from African Americans based on their experience that people of African descent are treated by the State as a dangerous criminal group and face a presumption of guilt rather than innocence.

The panel laid out recommendations for the U.S. to assist in “its efforts to combat all forms of racism, racial discrimination, Afrophobia, and related intolerance,” which included the “profound need to acknowledge that the transatlantic slave trade was a crime against humanity.”

“Past injustices and crimes against African Americans need to be addressed with reparatory justice,” the panel wrote.

To read more, go to: http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2016/09/u-n-panel-says-the-u-s-owes-black-people-reparations/

Oprah, Frank Ocean Among GLAAD Award Nominees

Frank Ocean 'comes out': The breakout R&B star made  headlines with a small blog post in which he admitted is first love was a man. Amazingly, his admission mattered little to his fans, who helped turn his album 'Channel Orange' into one of the year's biggest hits.

Frank Ocean ‘comes out’: The breakout R&B star made headlines with a small blog post in which he admitted is first love was a man. Amazingly, his admission mattered little to his fans, who helped turn his album ‘Channel Orange’ into one of the year’s biggest hits.

NEW YORK (AP) — The film “Cloud Atlas,” AMC’s reality show “Small Town Security” and the New Yorker magazine are among the nominees for the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. The awards are meant to recognize and honor media for outstanding images of the gay and lesbian community.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation announced on Wednesday 120 nominees in English-language categories and 33 nominees in Spanish-language categories.

Other nominees include the NBC shows “Smash” and “The New Normal,” Frank Ocean for his “Channel Orange” album, the magazine People en Espanol and Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Neil Patrick Harris and partner David Burtka.

The winners will be announced March 16 in New York and at ceremonies in April and May in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press via thegrio.com

Bryan Stevenson’s Masterful TED Talk Challenges America’s Judicial System

Bryan Stevenson
Bryan Stevenson

Human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson’s insightful TED speech from 2012 eloquently discusses the injustices of our current incarceration system and encourages us all to help change it.  If you haven’t seen it previously, GBN guarantees the above video is fully worth twenty three minutes of your time.  To learn more about Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, click here.  

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson; contributions by Gabriel Ryder

Florida Youth in Manatee County Work to Keep Martin Luther King Legacy Alive

Bre’Yahna Thompson, 15, of Bradenton, foreground, calls herself a “positive rapper,” and is very tuned in to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Behind Bre’Yahna is her father, Rodney Thompson. RICHARD DYMOND/Bradenton Herald

PALMETTO — Like other communities getting set to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 21, Manatee County’s religious leaders wonder if Dr. King’s message of brotherhood, nonviolence and persistence is getting through to the younger generation.  One way that is working, say local pastors, is the recently completed Dr. Martin Luther King Speech and Essay Contest in Manatee County, which involved more than 300 young people writing essays and researching King’s life and work.

Another way is through church, where pastors say a moment of silence and some discussion will be the hallmark of services on Jan. 20 and where a local Jewish temple is holding an interfaith Shabbat service honoring the civil rights leader.

But one talented young local African-American woman is trying another way to share King’s ideals.  She wants to use music to reach her generation.  Bre’Yahna Thompson, 15, a Bradenton home-schooler who writes poetry, plays the violin and cello, and calls herself a “positive rapper,” is working on a rap song about King that she calls, “The Story of a Leader.”

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