Category: Civil Rights

PEN calls for immediate release of VICE News journalists detained in Turkey


English PEN, PEN American Center, PEN International and PEN Turkey are extremely concerned about the detention of four VICE News journalists in Turkey and have called on the Turkish authorities for their immediate release.

British journalist Jake Hanrahan and cameraman Philip Pendlebury were reporting from south-eastern Turkey along with two VICE News colleagues when they were detained last Thursday.
The reporting team had previously covered a story about the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish army in the same region in a documentary for VICE News in January.
The ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK came to an end earlier this year. The Turkish government has since targeted the group in Iraq and Turkey.
A member of the Council of Europe, Turkey is a state party to both the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It is therefore obliged to respect the right to freedom of expression and ensure that journalists are free to gather information without hindrance or threat.
At a time of heightened tension in the region, it is more important than ever that journalists are allowed to do their vital work without intimidation.
Turkey’s targeting of journalists who report on the PKK, alongside other sensitive topics, and its routine use of counter-terrorism legislation against the media are a longstanding cause of concern for PEN.

Linda Sarsour Is a Brooklyn Homegirl in a Hijab

Linda Sarsour at the Arab American Association of New York's annual Arab American Bazaar. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times
Linda Sarsour at the Arab American Association of New York’s annual Arab American Bazaar. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Behind schedule as usual, Linda Sarsour rushed into the Times Square office of the civil rights group the Gathering for Justice last month, 40 minutes late for a meeting with its founder, Harry Belafonte. On the way in from Brooklyn, the Uber driver she had hired made a wrong turn and wound up in New Jersey. Now, wearing her head scarf and hungry from fasting for Ramadan, Ms. Sarsour scurried into an auditorium packed with some of the city’s most prominent social-justice warriors.

There was just enough time for her to speed-hug friends and take a quick selfie with “Mr. B.,” as everybody called him, before he took the stage and told the assembled activists that they — the younger generation — were continuing the legacy of “Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer and Dr. King.” As Mr. Belafonte sonorously spoke of how he had devoted his life and art to activism, Ms. Sarsour, already a half-hour tardy for her next event, was quietly bent over her phone, scanning Uber for the nearest available car.

Italy breaches rights over gay marriage – European court


Italy violates human rights by failing to offer enough legal protection for same-sex couples, a European court has ruled.

Judges said the government had breached the rights of three gay couples by refusing them marriage or any other recognised form of union.

Italy is the only major Western European country with no civil partnerships or gay marriage.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has long promised to pass a law on civil unions.

By failing to introduce new legislation, his government failed to “provide for the core needs relevant to a couple in a stable committed relationship,” the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Tuesday.

The court said Italy was in breach of Article 8 – the right to respect for private and family life – of the European Convention on Human Rights.

A small number of municipalities in Italy allow local civil unions, but there is a national ban on same-sex marriage and the benefits of the existing provision are limited.

Family Renews Calls for Civil Rights Charges a Year After Garner’s Death

A rally outside the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on Saturday, protesting Mr. Garner’s death. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times
A rally outside the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on Saturday, protesting Mr. Garner’s death. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

Nikita Stewart and Benjamin Mueller write:

Hundreds of people converged on a lawn in front of the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on Saturday to demand that federal civil rights charges be filed in the death of Eric Garner, focusing attention on the latest chapter of his family’s yearlong push for police accountability.

At the rally, sponsored by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Mr. Garner’s family renewed calls for charges against the officer who put him in a chokehold, and reflected on a year of sustained activism.

Esaw Garner, Mr. Garner’s widow, approached the microphone on a stage, sighed and said, “I can’t breathe.” Her husband spoke the same words 11 times as he was being restrained on a sidewalk.

Ms. Garner said she gets nervous appearing in front of crowds, but the support kept her going. “I feel like a flat balloon until I see you,” she told the audience.


Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to speak Sunday afternoon at the inaugural NYC Disability Pride Parade.

The parade route begins at Manhattan’s Madison Square Park and continues along Broadway to Union Square Park.

July is designated as “Disability Pride Month” in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act that aims to guarantee equal opportunities and rights for people with disabilities.

The city has planned a monthlong series of events relating to New Yorkers with disabilities. That includes an exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society titled “Gaining Access: The New York City Disability Rights Movement.”