human rights

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

After more than a year of complaints and warnings — some subtle and others a little less so — the Trump administration has announced that the United States is withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley announced the decision in a joint statement Tuesday.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that foreign corporations cannot be sued for damages in U.S. courts for aiding in terrorist attacks or other human rights violations. The vote was 5-to-4.

Writing for the conservative majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the"courts are not well suited to make the required policy judgments implicated by corporate liability in cases like this one."

Rather, the political branches — Congress and the executive — should deal with these issues, he said.

Thomas Becker / Center for Constitutional Rights

Fifteen years ago, violent clashes between Bolivian security forces and protesters over control of natural gas resulted in many civilian deaths. On Tuesday a jury in Fort Lauderdale found Bolivia’s president at that time responsible for the killings.

More than 60 Bolivian civilians were killed in 2003 when security forces opened fire on demonstrators during the so-called Gas War. Many of them were Aymara Indians.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Venezuelans are fleeing to places like South Florida because of their country’s humanitarian crisis, but also because of its human rights crisis. On Thursday the University of Miami was a focal point of the outcry over the socialist regime’s abuses.

More and more, the international community is waking up to the worsening human rights situation in Venezuela. This week, the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an inquiry into reports of hundreds of killings of civilians by state security forces.

Human Rights Advocates Voice Concerns About Central America Conference

Jun 14, 2017
Holly Pretsky / WLRN

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence are all expected to visit Miami this week for the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America.

 

But some civil society organizations say they’re concerned human rights aren’t a big enough part of the discussion. More than 100 organizations have signed an open letter to Tillerson asking him to consider human rights.

 

The Trump administration is warning that the U.S. might leave the U.N. Human Rights Council, arguing that it displays anti-Israel bias and ignores violations by certain countries.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a speech to the council Tuesday that the United States is "looking carefully at this council and our participation in it. We see some areas for significant strengthening."

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s major international human rights organizations, inaugurated its new office in Miami on Tuesday night.  But if you think it’s here just to keep an eye on Latin America and the Caribbean – guess again.

Some might ask why it took the New York-based Human Rights Watch so long to come to Miami, given the hemisphere’s chronic human rights issues, like this week's debate on the Venezuela crisis at the Organization of American States. HRW’s executive director Ken Roth says he understands if people do ask.

Carolyn Kaster / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Here’s a flashback from the Cold War tape loop we used to call Cuba policy:

In 2004, then U.S. President George W. Bush tightened the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, including stricter limits on how often Cuban-Americans could visit family on the island. The aim was to pressure the communist regime in Havana to adopt democratic reforms.

“We’re not waiting for the day of Cuban freedom,” Bush said, “we are working for the day of Cuban freedom.”

April 1, 2015: U.S., Cuba Begin Human Rights Talks

Apr 1, 2015

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard:

AP

Talks between the U.S. and Cuba on human rights started Tuesday in Washington as part of the effort to restore diplomatic relations. And while they won’t reform Cuba overnight, rights experts say they’re at least a start - and may bring Cuba under more global scrutiny than it's used to.

Rick Stone

President Obama's announced opening to Cuba this week touched off vehement reactions in parts of South Florida's Cuban community. But it also exposed generational rifts that may have put time limits on the political potency of the Cuba issue.

Many in the traditional exile community believe the president caved to the Castro government and gave away much more than the U.S. would receive for opening diplomatic relations and scaling back the embargo.

Human rights activists are suing the United Nations on behalf of five Haitian families afflicted by cholera — a disease many believe U.N. peacekeeping troops brought to Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake there.

Wilson Sayre

More than 60 activists huddled in the shade during a rally on Sunday in support of an amendment to the Miami-Dade County human rights ordinance. They were joined by faith leaders including Temple Israel of Greater Miami, Unity on the Bay and All Souls' Episcopal Church.