The UN Special Rapporteur on torture said Monday that the Bush administration’s handling of the war on terrorism has allowed other countries to justify using torture. Manfred Nowak said, "Today, many other governments are kind of saying: 'But why are you criticizing us? We are not doing something different than what the United States is doing.'" Nowak said that because of its prominence, the United States has a greater responsibility to uphold international standards.
U.S. Drops to #53 on World Press Freedom Index List
Reporters Without Borders has released its fifth annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index and it shows the level of press freedom in the United States continues to fall. In 2002 the U.S. was rated as having the seventeenth freest press – now it is ranked fifty-third. Reporters Without Borders criticized the Bush administration for using the so-called war on terrorism to crack down on press freedoms. The report also criticized the United States for jailing journalists at home and abroad. Freelance journalist and blogger Josh Wolf remains in a San Francisco jail for refusing to hand over video to the police. Al Jazeera camerman Sami Al Haj has been locked up at Guantanamo for over four years. Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been held in Iraq since April. Neither Al Haj or Hussein have ever faced charges. Reporters Without Borders found that the nations with the freest press were Finland, Iceland, Ireland and the Netherlands. North Korea was rated as the worst upholder of press freedom.
AFL-CIO Files UN Complaint Over New Labor Rules
The AFL-CIO has filed a complaint with the United Nations over a new federal labor ruling that could block millions of American workers from joining a union or being protected by the nation’s labor laws. The Republican-controlled National Labor Relations Board recently broadened its definition of who can be considered a supervisor to include workers with incidental oversight over coworkers. Under federal law, employees defined as supervisors aren't entitled to legal protections ensuring their right to join unions. The AFL-CIO filed its complaint with the International Labor Organization of the United Nations. Meanwhile Human Rights Watch has also criticized the labor board’s decision saying it puts the United States in violation of its labor and human rights obligations under international law. The group said the ruling creates a new category of employees -- people without the authority of real supervisors and without the rights of ordinary employees.
-Democracy Now 10.24.2006