President Obama

Safe Passage for Syrian Refugees

Safe Passage: An Open Letter to U.S. President Barack Obama & Congressional Leaders
October 01, 2015

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The lifejacket pictured here belonged to one of more than 16,000 people rescued on the Mediterranean Sea by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams since May. This lifejacket, and the person who wore it, are symbols not only of a chaotic and dangerous world, but also of the failure of United Nations member states to meet their obligations to care for, extend safe passage to, and consider the asylum claims of those who fear for their safety from violence and oppression.

People don’t abandon their homes because they want to, and they know the risks they will face on their journeys. It is out of desperation that they flee war and torture, misery, poverty, and persecution. While delivering emergency medical care across a wide range of countries and continents, Doctors Without Borders sees firsthand the horrific conditions and suffering that drive people to risk their lives for the chance of a better and safer future. In northern Jordan, for example, which only a lucky few of the Syrians wounded daily in besieged areas in and around Damascus (and elsewhere) can reach to access medical care; in northern Afghanistan, where hundreds of people injured in current fighting are pouring into our trauma center in Kunduz; in the Domeez refugee camp in northern Iraq, where food vouchers were recently cut by two-thirds; and in Kenya, where Somali refugees face the threat of violence and forcible return.

We have also established projects providing health care to refugees in several European Union countries, and we have been running search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Our staff therefore has a unique perspective of what happens—physically, psychologically, morally—to people in need when safer countries slam their doors shut, while public policy and debate focus on economic fears, deterrence, and dehumanizing discourse about “the other.”

This crisis has rightly shocked the world. But the harrowing scenes we have all seen are not confined to Europe and the Middle East. More than 60 million people have been uprooted by conflict and chaos around the world today. From stateless Rohingyas fleeing persecution in Myanmar and adrift on the Andaman Sea, to families driven from their homes by wars in South Sudan and Central African Republic, to people escaping violence and extortion in Central America—we are witnessing a global crisis that is fundamentally challenging the willingness of the international community to uphold its moral responsibilities to other human beings.

The United States has a proud tradition of welcoming refugees, and it has apportioned billions of dollars in aid and assistance to lands around the world affected by armed conflicts. But the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, has urged the US and other attendees of the UN General Assembly in New York to do more, to play a greater, more active, and more compassionate role in the ongoing refugee and migrant crises in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and Central America. What better backdrop than the world’s largest gathering of international leaders for the United States to once more offer additional humanitarian support for people struggling to find safety, increase the number of asylum claims it approves (including for civilians wounded or tortured in conflict), and further ease cumbersome refugee application processes so the most vulnerable can easily apply?

President Obama: You took steps in this direction when you addressed the UN General Assembly this past Monday. But announcing an intent to accept a certain number of refugees falls far short of truly addressing the suffering faced by millions fleeing violence and oppression.

More than simply living up to obligations as a signatory to the 1967 protocol on refugees—and its own proud history of providing shelter to millions of foreign-born men, women, and children—the United States should take additional actions to ensure hope, dignity, and humanitarian assistance for those uprooted by war and strife. A courageous, committed United States can once again rise to the occasion by making its voice heard, showing resolve, and joining the European states that have opened their borders to large numbers of people in need of refuge.

By taking action and showing solidarity, the United States can reaffirm its commitment to refugees the world over and can set an example to other governments that have been unable to come to terms with the challenge at hand. This could be a step towards dismantling recently erected barriers to safe passage, which only drive those forced from their homes to take ever more dangerous routes in search of sanctuary.

The United States should encourage UN member states to ensure that lifesaving and basic needs are met and that humanitarian appeals are fully funded, reversing the shortfalls and cutbacks that have sadly become the norm in humanitarian crises. Beyond this week’s meeting in New York, we hope America’s political leaders will commit themselves to once again placing the country at the heart of efforts to find solutions to this global crisis, as it was when past generations of immigrants and refugees found shelter and opportunity in this land. The United States can make an essential difference by ensuring safe passage for people driven from their homes and by working to make the need for their harrowing journeys obsolete.

Doctors Without Borders has also encouraged European leaders to do more, and we readily admit that we do not have all the answers. But we see the medical and psychological consequences of the current situation, and we must bear witness to the tragic human impact of a global system that shuts out people seeking to escape violence, poverty, and misery—people who, like many Americans, past, present, and future, seek only a safe place for themselves and their families.
—Jason Cone, Executive Director, MSF-USA

Article from: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/safe-passage-open-letter-us-president-barack-obama-congressional-leaders?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=social

SENATOR JOHN McCAIN ON MASS ATROCITIES IN SYRIA

SENATOR JOHN McCAIN ON MASS ATROCITIES IN SYRIA
Feb 12, 2014


Syria Assad regime torture center

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syria assad torture murder holocaust

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today delivered the following remarks on the floor of the U.S. Senate regarding mass atrocities perpetrated by the Assad regime against the people of Syria:

“Mr. President, I rise today to appeal to the conscience of my colleagues and my fellow citizens about the mass atrocities that the Assad regime is perpetrating in Syria. When the images and horrors of this conflict occasionally show up on our television screens, the impulse of many Americans is to change the channel. But we must not look away. We must not avert our eyes from the suffering of the Syrian people, for if we do, we ignore, we sacrifice that which is most precious in ourselves – our ability to empathize with the suffering of others, to share it, to acknowledge through our own sense of revulsion that what is happening in Syria today is a stain on our the collective conscience of moral peoples everywhere.

“I appeal to my colleagues today not to look away from the images I will show you. And I want to warn all who are watching: These are graphic and disturbing pictures. But they are the real face of war and human suffering in Syria today – a war that our nation has the power to help end, but which we are failing to do.

“These images are drawn from a cache of more than 55,000 photographs that were taken between March 2011 and August 2013 by a Syrian military policeman, whose job it was to document the horrors that the Assad regime committed against political prisoners in its jails. This individual eventually defected to the opposition along with his photographs, which were meticulously reviewed and verified by three renowned international war crimes prosecutors and a team of independent forensic experts. They compiled their findings in a report late last month that provides direct evidence that the Assad regime was responsible for the systematic abuse, torture, starvation, and killing of approximately 11,000 detainees in what amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity. These are just a few of those pictures, and far from the most disturbing.

“I urge every member of Congress and the American public to read the full report, which can be found on the websites of CNN and The Guardian. Although only a handful of these gruesome images have been released publicly, the authors have provided their own startling commentary on what they reveal:

“David Crane, the first chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the man responsible for indicting former Liberian President Charles Taylor for crimes against humanity, stated that many of the photographs show groupings of bodies in ways that, quote, ‘looked like a slaughterhouse.’ Crane characterized the Syrian government as a ‘callous, industrial machine grinding its citizens’ that is guilty of ‘industrial-age mass killing.’

“Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice, lead prosecutor in the case against former Yugoslav President Milosevic at the Hague, reported that the systematic way the bodies were catalogued, and the effort given to obscure the true causes of death leads one to ‘reasonably infer that this is a pattern of behavior’ for Assad’s forces.

“But perhaps most chilling of all, Sir Desmond de Silva, who also served as a chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, stated that the emaciated bodies revealed in these pictures are ‘reminiscent of the pictures of those who were found still alive in the Nazi death camps after World War II.’

“Yesterday, in a hearing of the Committee on Armed Services, I asked the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, whether these photographs, which clearly depict ghastly crimes against humanity, are authentic. Director Clapper said he has, quote, ‘no reason to doubt’ their authenticity. The United Nations is now doing its own assessment of these images, and all of us should fully support that. It is important to have the broadest possible validation of these images, and I am confident the U.N. team will validate them. After all, does anyone seriously believe the Assad regime does not have the means, motive, and opportunity to murder 11,000 people in its prisons?

“Indeed, this kind of inhuman cruelty is a pattern of behavior with the Syrian government. According to a detailed U.N. report issued at the end of January, Assad’s forces have systematically, as part of their doctrine, used children as human shields and threatened to kill the children of opposition members if they did not surrender. The U.N. also detailed the arrest, detention, torture, and sexual abuse of thousands of children by government forces. I will spare you the remaining details, as they are unspeakable, but again I urge you to read the entire report which can be found on the United Nations’ website.

“I also recommend that my colleagues read of the war crimes that Human Rights Watch has been documenting. They have reported, for example, on how Syrian authorities have deliberately used explosives and bulldozers to demolish thousands of residential buildings, and in some cases entire neighborhoods, for no military reason whatsoever, just as a form of collective punishment of Syrian civilians.

“Human Rights Watch researchers have also documented the toll of the Syrian government’s airstrike campaign against Aleppo and Damascus, and in particular, the regime’s use over the past few months of what has become known as ‘barrel bombs.’ For my colleagues who are not aware of them, barrel bombs are oil drums or other large containers packed with explosives, fuel, shrapnel, glass, and all manner of crude lethal material. Their sole purpose is to maim, kill, and terrorize as many people as possible when they are indiscriminately dropped from Syrian government aircraft on schools, and bakeries, and mosques, and other civilian areas. In one stark video of a barrel bomb’s aftermath, a man stands in front of a child’s body and cries out, ‘Oh God, we’ve had enough. Please help us.’

“These are just some of the many reasons why our Director of National Intelligence referred to the Syria crisis yesterday as ‘an apocalyptic disaster.’ And with more than 130,000 people dead, after more than one-third of the Syrian population has been driven from their homes, no truer words were ever spoken. But this ‘apocalyptic disaster’ in Syria is no longer just a humanitarian tragedy for one country; it is a regional conflict and an emerging national security threat to us.

“The regime’s war crimes are being aided and abetted by thousands of Hezbollah fighters and Iranian agents on the ground, as well as Russian weaponry that continues to flow into the Assad government, even as Russia works with us to remove the Assad regime’s chemical weapons – a truly Orwellian situation.

“The conflict in Syria is devastating its neighbors. Lebanon is suffering from increased bombings and cross-border attacks by both the Syrian government and opposition fighters in response to Hezbollah’s role in the fighting. Unofficial estimates suggest that half of Lebanon’s population will soon be Syrian refugees. Similar estimates suggest that Syrian refugees now represent 15 percent of the population in Jordan, which is straining to manage the social instability this entails. Turkey has been destabilized. And perhaps most worrisome of all, the conflict in Syria is largely to blame for the resurgence of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has grown into the larger and more lethal Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which now possesses a safe haven that spans large portions of both countries. Nowhere is this more threatening, or more heartbreaking, than in Fallujah – the Iraqi city where hundreds of U.S. troops were killed and wounded fighting to rid of terrorists and extremists, but where the black flags of Al-Qaeda now hang above the city.

“The sanctuary that Al-Qaeda now enjoys thanks to the crisis in Syria increasingly poses a direct threat to U.S. national security, and that of our closest allies and partners. The Secretary of Homeland Security, Mr. Jeh Johnson, has said, quote: ‘Syria is now a matter of homeland security.’ The Director of National Intelligence has referred to the Al-Qaeda sanctuary in Syria and Iraq as ‘a new FATA’ – the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan where Al-Qaeda planned the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“Indeed, Director Clapper has warned that Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists in Syria now aspire to attack the homeland. If the September 11 attacks should have taught us anything, it is that global terrorists who occupy ungoverned spaces and seek to plot and plan attacks against us can pose a direct threat to our national security. That was Afghanistan on September 10, 2001. And that is what top officials in this administration are now warning us that Syria is becoming today.

“The conflict in Syria is a threat to our national interests, but it is more than that. It is, and should be, an affront to our conscience. Images like these should not just be a source of heartbreak and sympathy. They should be a call to action.

“It was not too long ago, just a few months after the revolution in Syria began, that President Obama issued his Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities. In it he stated: ‘Preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States.’ He went on to say: ‘Our security is affected when masses of civilians are slaughtered, refugees flow across borders, and murderers wreak havoc on regional stability and livelihoods.’

“Last year, speaking at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, the President said, ‘Too often, the world has failed to prevent the killing of innocents on a massive scale. And we are haunted by the atrocities that we did not stop and the lives we did not save.’

“And just last September, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly, President Obama said this, and I would like to quote him at length: ‘[T]he principle of sovereignty,’ he said, ‘is at the center of our international order. But sovereignty cannot be a shield for tyrants to commit wanton murder, or an excuse for the international community to turn a blind eye. While we need to be modest in our belief that we can remedy every evil, while we need to be mindful that the world is full of unintended consequences, should we really accept the notion that the world is powerless in the face of a Rwanda, or Srebrenica? If that’s the world that people want to live in, they should say so, and reckon with the cold logic of mass graves.’

“That was our President, and I agree with every word of what he said. But how are we to reconcile these stirring words with the reality of these images from Syria? How are we to explain how the leader of the free world, who says that it is a moral obligation of the United States to do what we can to prevent the worst atrocities in our world, is not doing more to stop the atrocities that are occurring every single day in Syria?

“Where is that President Obama today? Where is the President Obama who has spoken so movingly of the moral responsibilities that great power confers? Where is President Obama who has said he refuses to accept that brutal tyrants can slaughter their people with impunity while the most powerful nation in the history of the world looks on and stands by? Where is the recognition that ‘the cold logic of mass graves’ is right there – right there in front of us, in Syria today?

“And yet our government is doing what we have sadly done too often in the past. We are averting our eyes. We try to comfort our guilty consciences by telling ourselves that we are not doing nothing, but it is a claim made in bad faith, for everyone concedes that nothing we are doing is equal to the horrors we face. We are telling ourselves that we are too tired or weary to get more involved – that Syria is not our problem, and that helping to resolve it is not our responsibility.

“We are telling ourselves that we have no good options, as if there are ever good options when it comes to foreign policy in the real world. We are telling ourselves that we might have been able to do something at one point, but that it is too late now – as if such words from the leaders of the world’s only global power will be any comfort to the Syrian mother who will lose her child tomorrow. We are telling ourselves what Neville Chamberlain once told himself about a different problem from hell in an earlier time – that it is ‘a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing.’ Where is our outrage? Where is our shame?

“It is true that our options to help end the conflict in Syria were never good, and they certainly are worse and fewer now. But no one should believe that we are without options, even now. And no one should believe that doing something meaningful to help in Syria requires us to rerun the war in Iraq. That is an excuse for inaction. This is not a question of options or capabilities. It is a question of will.

“These images of the human disaster in Syria haunt me. And they should haunt all of my colleagues and all Americans. But what haunts me even more than the horror unfolding before our eyes in Syria is the thought that we will continue to do nothing meaningful about it, and how that deadens our national conscience, and how it calls into question the moral sources of our great power and the foundations our global leadership – and how, many years from now, an American president will stand before the world and the people of Syria, as previous presidents have done after previous inaction in the face of mass atrocities in faraway lands, and that president will say what all of us know to be true right now: that we could have done more to stop the suffering of others, we could have used the power we possess, limited though it may be, we could have exercised the options at our disposal, imperfect though they may be, and we could have done something, and it is to our everlasting embarrassment that we did not. And that future president will apologize for our current failure.

“Shame on us if we let history repeat itself that way.”

North Korea Famine Orphans Homeless and Starving 1

In January, President Obama signed the North Korean Child Welfare Act of 2012, which instructs the U.S. State Department to “advocate for the best interests of these children” — including helping to reunite families and facilitate adoptions.

The law is aimed primarily at those orphans hiding in China and other countries. Those who make it to South Korea are provided an education, a path to citizenship and even a chance at adoption.

Many of the children are orphans; their parents victims of starvation or the gulag.

These homeless, abandoned North Korean orphans were both conspicuous and invisible in a community used to such sights. They are living on the streets, nearly freezing to death in the winters. With a chronic glower of hunger, they trolled the streets in gangs like rats. They scavenged, begged, plucking grass for food and pitted gang wars over tossed chicken bones. Whatever scraps they collected, they boiled into watery porridge.

North Korea starving children orphan

North Korea starving children orphan

North Korea starving children orphan

North Korea starving children orphan

North Korea starving children orphan

North Korea starving children orphan

North Korea starving children orphan

North Korea starving children orphan

North Korea starving children orphan

North Korea starving children orphan

Read more Article:
The other side of failure
North Korea | Caretakers find solace and take stock after nine North Korean orphans are deported from Laos
http://www.worldmag.com/2013/11/the_other_side_of_failure

http://blogs.channel4.com/world-news-blog/north-korea/27315

Is backing Syria rebels a mistake?

Syria Crisis

Fareed speaks with Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies, about his proposal for addressing the Syria crisis. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

So let’s understand why you think that the solution that so many people keep urging, which is that the United States supports those rebels in the blue areas and that they will therefore win. They will establish control, create perhaps a democratic Syria. Why is that not going to work?

Well, it’s not going to work because most of the blue area are dominated by the big rebel groups which are al Qaeda and the Islamic Front, which are jihadist, very anti-American groups. The pro-American militias just got wiped out in the northern blue spot, Jabal al-Zawiya. They just got pushed aside by al Qaeda. And so they’re very small. They may own perhaps 1 or 2 percent of Syria today, the rebels that are being backed by the United States.

So to turn those 2 percent into winners, that would not only wipe out ISIS, but taking on al-Assad would be a gargantuan undertaking.

So they have to beat Al-Nusra and al Qaeda and Khorasan. Then they’ve got to beat ISIS. Then they’ve got to beat al-Assad.

Yes, it’s not going to happen. And we’ve only – President Obama has given them half a billion dollars. Now, at the University of Oklahoma we have an endowment of much more than a billion dollars and we can’t even pay the students to go for free.

So they’re not going to build an army for that kind of money. This is just chump change that’s there to satisfy, I presume, people who are criticizing the president.

Article from: http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2014/11/08/is-backing-syria-rebels-a-mistake/

Hundreds of lives have been liquidated by ISIS

Hundreds of civilians are dying each day as the fighting goes on with no regard to law or to conscience.

ISIS: “Look at them walking to death on their own feet!”
ISIS insurgents firing their weapons into groups of young men who were bound and packed closely together in large groups at the execution site.

The Islamist group ISIS loaded the “security forces” (Iraqi men, boys and security officials) onto SEVERAL dump trucks. ISIS Slaughter of Hundreds of Young Shiites in a Ditch.

Liquidation of herds forces Swat section O Shiites. Ngeran and land from your blood. “the filthy Shiites are killed in the hundreds.” “The liquidation of the Shiites who ran away from their military bases.” and “This is the destiny of Maliki’s Shiites.”

The international community’s failure in its most elemental duties – to protect civilians, halt and prevent atrocities and create a path toward accountability – has been matched on the ground by an abandonment of even the pretense of an adherence to norms of international law.

ISIS committed war crimes

Read more articles here:
http://diclehaber.com/en/news/content/view/417132?from=919196554

http://www.infowars.com/isis-jihadists-release-shocking-photos-documenting-slaying-of-1700-iraqi-soldiers/