In the News

News Update

Published October 1, 2014

by Kayleen Jacobson, News and Policy Associate

Thailand: Thailand has fallen in ranking on the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons report this year. Thailand’s efforts to comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in previous years has kept it at above Tier 3 until this year, when it dropped a full ranking. The drop shows there have been no improvements in tackling the issue. Human trafficking impacts many Burmese, Cambodian, and Lao workers in Thailand who are often exploited in the fishing industry. Read more.

Central African Republic: The International Criminal Court is beginning a new investigation of murder, rape, and persecution that has been perpetrated in the country since 2012 as a result of sectarian violence. With over 5,000 people dead from the conflict and a history of impunity, the investigation is a step towards justice in a nation that does not have the sufficient resources to process the crimes itself. Read more.

Libya: After a killing spree of 14 people on September 19th, a day that is being referred to as Black Friday in Libya, Human Rights Watch is requesting investigations of war crimes in the country. In 2014, at least 250 individuals were killedin Libya by what appears to be politically motivated actions. Libyan authorities have not looked into the crimes. Outside of the ICC’s investigations of the Gaddafi government in 2011, no investigations have been started. Since its revolution in 2011, Libya has struggled to access the support it needs from the international community to create a foundation of justice and peace in the country. Read more.

Cote d’Ivoire: Charles Blé Goudé, a close ally to former President Gbagbo and a partner in alleged war crimes, began a week-long hearing at the International Criminal Court to determine whether his alleged crimes will bring him to trial on counts of murder, rape, persecution, and other inhumane acts. Read more.

United States: Human Rights Watch has recommended investigations on air strikes in Syria be conducted to ensure accountability of US military operations is met and proper redress for wounded or killed civilians is provided. Working with individuals on the ground, the organization has gathered information that civilians have been harmed by US airstrikes and the failure of these strikes to differentiate between combatant targets and civilians could have been a violation of the laws of war. Read more.

South Africa: The country, along with 45 other nations, became a co-sponsor of the Human Rights Council’s Resolution on Anti-Gay Violence and Discrimination that provides further protections for the established rights of LGBT people through regular reporting of violence and discrimination. South Africa became the first nation to constitutionally prohibit sexual orientation and gender discrimination in 1996 and it was responsible for tabling the newly signed resolution in 2011. Despite its constitutional leadership, South Africa has demonstrated oppositional foreign policy on the issue at times. Read more.

China: Protests have erupted in Hong Kong in response to the Chinese government’s restrictions of nominations for Hong Kong’s leadership. Protesters have contested this restriction in light of the existing treaty that grants Hong Kong autonomy. Police have responded to the peaceful protests with pepper spray, tear gas, and batons. Civilian participants have been navigating the censored media climate by employing creative social media tactics to communicate and mobilize people. Read more.


Legislative Update

Published October 1, 2014

By Kayleen Jacobson, News and Policy Associate

Wars and Conflict

H.J.RES.128 : Authorization for Use of Military Force Against ISIL Resolution

Sponsor: Rep Larson, John B. [CT-1] (introduced 9/19/2014)

Latest Major Action: 9/19/2014 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Committee on Rules, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.


S.2828 : Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014

Sponsor: Sen Menendez, Robert [NJ] (introduced 9/16/2014)

Cosponsors: Sen Cardin, Benjamin L. [MD] – 9/16/2014
Sen Corker, Bob [TN] – 9/16/2014
Sen Markey, Edward J. [MA] – 9/16/2014

Latest Major Action: 9/18/2014 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 573.


S.J.RES.44 : Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant

Sponsor: Sen Kaine, Tim [VA] (introduced 9/17/2014)

Cosponsor: Sen Heinrich, Martin [NM] – 9/18/2014

Latest Major Action: 9/17/2014 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.


S.RES.567 : A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the possible easing of restrictions on the sale of lethal military equipment to the Government of Vietnam.

Sponsor: Sen McCain, John [AZ] (introduced 9/18/2014)

Cosponsors: Sen Cardin, Benjamin L. [MD] – 9/18/2014
Sen Corker, Bob [TN] – 9/18/2014
Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] – 9/18/2014
Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [RI] – 9/18/2014

Latest Major Action: 9/18/2014 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.