general assemble

Some nights were so / sensory I felt that starlight landing on my back / and believed I could set fire to things with my fingers
—  Denis Johnson, from “Talking Richard Wilson Blues, by Richard Clay Wilson,” The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly: Poems New and Collected (HarperCollins, 1995)
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North Carolina’s legislature has failed to repeal transphobic HB2 bathroom law despite saying it was going to

A deal to undo the North Carolina law known as the “bathroom bill” fell apart Wednesday night when legislators couldn’t agree on a plan to the repeal the measure, a sign of the bitter political divide within the state. The North Carolina General Assembly was called into a special session on Wednesday, but things seem to have gotten only worse since then.

December 18, 2016

International Migrants Day is an international day observed on 18 December as International Migrants Day appointed by the General Assembly of United Nations on 4 December 2000 taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world. 

This day is observed in many countries, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations through the dissemination of information on human rights and fundamental political freedoms of migrants, and through sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure the protection of migrants.

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The idea of human rights is that each one of us, no matter who we are or where we are born, is entitled to the same basic rights and freedoms. They are not privileges and they cannot be granted or revoked. They are inalienable and universal.

The history behind the concept of human rights is a long one, but one of the most modern affirmations of universal human rights emerged from the ruins of WWII with the creation of the United Nations. The treaty that established the UN gives as one of its purposes ‘to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights’ and with the same spirit, in 1948 the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In the past decades, International Human Rights Law has grown, deepening and expanding our understanding of what human rights are and how to protect them.

So if these principles are so well-developed, then why are human rights abused and ignored time and time again, all over the world?

Benedetta Berti explores the subtleties of human rights in What are the universal human rights?

Animation by Sarah Saidan

Slave States Believed Lincoln Would Bring Abolition and Equality between the Races -- and They Seceded to Prevent It

Judge Harris spoke in front of a joint session of the Georgia General Assembly on December 17th, 1860. No states had yet seceded from the Union. But Abraham Lincoln had just been officially elected president, and many state legislatures were moving quickly to leave the Union. It was widely believed that Lincoln and the new party called Republican would attempt to end slavery in the south – not just prevent its spread to the west as Lincoln promised on campaign. And from there it was a short step to believing Lincoln and the Republicans wanted equality between blacks and whites.

Mississippi had already, in November of 1860, agreed to hold a state-wide convention on the question of secession. The Mississippi legislature further ordered the governor of Mississippi to appoint “commissioners” to every slave state. They were tasked with explaining Mississippi’s actions and calling for the other slave states to support whatever came out of Mississippi’s convention.

Judge Harris was a native Georgian with a reputation as a great thinker and great debater. In fact, he had been offered a Supreme Court seat earlier in the year, but turned it down believing succession was imminent. He was chosen by Mississippi’s governor to be the commissioner to Georgia for those reasons. His speech before the Georgian legislature was very similar to the other commissioner’s speeches to the other state legislatures, and Judge Harris’ conclusion to his brief address is a good example of the entire south’s thinking at the time:

Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, the part of Mississippi is chosen, she will never submit to the principles and policies of this Black Republican Adminstration.

She [Mississippi] had rather see the last of her race, men, women and children, immolated in one common funeral pile [pyre], than see them subjected to the degradation of civil, political, and social equality with the negro race.

theguardian.com
Indiana bill would allow police to shut down protests 'by any means necessary'
Opponents in Indianapolis argue the proposed law, simply labelled Senate Bill 285, or SB 285, would give police power ‘even to the point of costing lives’
By Joanna Walters

A bill that would require public officials in Indiana to dispatch law enforcement swiftly to remove any protesters blocking traffic by “any means necessary” prompted uproar on Wednesday.

Opponents of the bill, introduced by a Republican state senator, rushed to the general assembly in Indianapolis on Wednesday afternoon to attend a hearing for the legislation, arguing that it could give a green light to the police to shut down protests harshly “even to the point of costing lives”.

The proposed law, simply labelled Senate Bill 285, or SB 285, and designed to deal with “traffic obstruction by protestors” would go into effect in July if passed.

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January 21st 1793: Louis XVI executed

On this day in 1793, the King of France Louis XVI was executed by guillotine in ‘Revolution Square’ in Paris. Louis ascended to the throne upon the death of his father Louis XV in 1774, four years after his marriage to Marie Antoinette. The monarchs proved controversial figures, due to Louis’s ineptitude and Marie’s extravagant tastes and devotion to Austrian interests. Both opposed monarchical reform and the reorganisation of the general assembly, a stance which spelled their doom as the French Revolution reached a turning point with the storming of the Bastille fortress in July 1789. In the midst of the unrest, in 1791, Marie and Louis attempted to flee to Austria, but were apprehended and returned to Paris. The royal couple were imprisoned in 1792, and the monarchy was abolished in the same year. For his efforts to thwart the revolution, the National Convention tried King Louis XVI for treason and executed him by guillotine in January 1793; he was executed as ‘Citizen Louis Capet’, rather than King Louis. In October of that year, Marie Antoinette was also convicted of treason and faced death at the guillotine. Their deaths marked a turning point in the French Revolution, and, indeed, in the history of France, as the nation transitioned from a monarchy to a republic.

“I die innocent of all the crimes laid to my charge; I Pardon those who have occasioned my death; and I pray to God that the blood you are going to shed may never be visited on France.”
- Louis XVI before his execution

For the first time, United Nations Headquarters in New York has been lit up in celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of light.

“Light over darkness, hope over despair, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil - the UN lights up”, said President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson.

In recognition of the festival’s significance, this year Diwali became one of the official holidays of the United Nations.

📷: Mission of India to the UN

Today is important

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

   January 27 marks the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

    In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated this day as International Holocaust Remembrance Day (IHRD), an annual day of commemoration to honor the victims of the Nazi era.

    From 1940 to 1945, more than 1.1 million men, women and children were killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp. 90% of them were Jews. All were innocent. Today, we remember

    Never Again.

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Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

January 27 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. 

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated this day as International Holocaust Remembrance Day (IHRD), an annual day of commemoration to honor the victims of the Nazi era.

From 1940 to 1945, more than 1.1 million men, women and children were killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp. 90% of them were Jews. All were innocent. Today, we remember

Never Again.

bzfd.it
Russia Just Got Blocked From Serving On The UN Human Rights Council
Human rights advocates had called for Moscow to be denied a seat thanks to its role in bombing civilians in Syria.
By Hayes Brown

Russia’s attempt to win a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council was rejected on Friday, in a surprising vote that saw several other countries with human rights issues easily winning seats.

The United Nations General Assembly’s 193 members gathered on Friday to fill the open seats on the council, which are doled out regionally. Russia — a member of the Eastern European region — ran against Hungary and Croatia for two open seats, ultimately losing the vote.

Human rights advocates heavily contested Russia’s bid to retain its seat on the 47-member council — which it has held consistently since the Human Rights Council was formed in 2007 — given the role Moscow is playing in Syria’s ongoing civil war.

When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression
—  Brian Sims,  Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives representing Center City Philadelphia’s 182nd District.  A Democrat, in 2012  Sims became the first openly LGBT person elected to the General Assembly in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s 237 year history. 

Politically Active

[The Mirabal Sisters: Patria, María Argentina Minerva and Antonia María Teresa. Sisters from the Dominican Republic who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo through “clandestine activities against his regime”. The Mirabal sisters were assassinated in 1960. In 1999 “the sisters received recognition by the United Nations General Assembly, who designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in their honor.” (Wikipedia)]