amnesty Spring 2006
FAREWELL TO AIUSA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR BILL SCHULZ Locked Away and Forgotten: Child Life Without Parole
Turkeyâ€™s Homegrown Feminism
THE FIGHT FOR
Global Justice Protecting Human Rights Worldwide
The Magazine of Amnesty International USA
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contents Amnesty International Amnesty International USA 5 Penn Plaza New York, NY 10001 P-212-633-4200
04 Amnesty International Spring 2006 • Volume 32, no. 1
World View A New Morning: Outgoing AIUSA Executive Director Bill Schulz looks back on 12 years at the helm of AIUSA. Israeli Defense Forces soldiers break the silence; From the war on terror to the war on torture, AIUSA gears up to make some noise.
Address changes: Attn: AIUSA Member Services firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Gwen Fitzgerald Managing Editor Jungwon Kim
Homegrown Progress Turkish human rights defender Cânân Arin takes a bricks and mortar approach to building a movement for women’s rights.
Editorial Associates Jason Opeña Disterhof Ranjani Ramaswamy Proofreader Laura Jamison Creative Direction SW!TCH Studio
While the “Pinochet Precedent” was a milestone in international jurisprudence, the trials of Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein raise difficult questions about how far the world has yet to go.
Art Director Amy Lamp Designers Jaclyn Threadgill Romeo Van Buiten Erin Loukili Jim Nissen Thanks to: Alexandra Arriaga Catherine Carpentieri Vienna Colucci Sheila Dauer Jane Debenham Kate Driscoll Leo Givs Curt Goering Carol Gallo William Green Maureen Greenwood Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn Zeke Johnson William Jones Alyson Kozma Meredith Larson Gerald LeMelle Amber Massey Morgan McLean Vivianne Potter Kevin Reid Marty Rosenbluth Steve Ruhl Karen Schneider Eric Sears Harriet Short
Discarded Lives: Juvenile Life Without Parole In the late 1800s a special juvenile court was created with the goal of altering the trajectories of troubled lives. But a wave of “tough on crime” legislation has put thousands of child offenders in prison for life, with no hope of freedom.
Action Alert Protect women’s human rights defenders in Colombia; Support U.S. ratification of the Treaty for Women’s Rights.
Arts & Culture Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer; the U.N.’s Michael Gaouette; filmmaker Oscar Torres
Columns Bill Schulz, AIUSA Executive Director
Cover photo: A Kosovar refugee girl, 12, in the Blace transition camp in Macedonia. Her family fled Podujevo, Kosovo, after Serb paramilitaries told them to leave. They hid in the woods and villages nearby for a month before joining a convoy to Macedonia. CREDIT: Andrew Testa/PANOS
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, Spring 2006, VOL. XXXII, NO. 1. Amnesty International (USPS #016307), a quarterly magazine sent for a subscription of $1 from each member’s dues, is published by Amnesty International USA, 5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Amnesty International, Attn: Member Services, 5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001. Printed in USA by Consolidated Color Press. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices.
A New Morning Farewell to AIUSA Executive Director
Bill Schulz took the helm when AIUSA was at a crossroads. Twelve years later, a strengthened organization prepares for its next transition, and Schulz considers life after Amnesty.
By Mohan Seneviratne
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hen Dr. William F. Schulz became executive director of Amnesty International USA in April 1994, he assumed leadership of an organization struggling to define itself in a changing world. Images of Chinese students protesting in Tiananmen Square and the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe had inspired human rights activists across America. The ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and the genocide of an estimated 1 million Tutsi and moderate Hutus in Rwanda had appalled them. But AIUSA was not in prime form to help realize human rights gains following these developments. Membership had begun to decline after considerable growth in the 1980s. Fundraising had leveled off. The organization was divided about how best to combine grassroots leadership with staff and volunteer expertise. The largest national section of one of the world’s most pre-eminent human rights organizations was at a crossroads. AIUSA needed more than a strong new director with a commitment to social justice. It needed a visionary with the expertise in organizational growth, management, fundraising and public relations to rebuild its foundation. And it needed an inspirational leader who would build bridges and heal wounds. Schulz, then the president of the Unitarian Universalist Association and a former minister, was well-prepared to take AIUSA forward.
The Dalai Lama and Bill Schulz mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the Carter Center in Atlanta Ga., in 1988.
Schulz admits bridging
the organizational divide was a major early challenge. “Being responsive to staff needs that are often very diverse, hearing all the members pushing Amnesty in different directions, and then trying to balance them with the international movement’s own needs and priorities is always a complex challenge,” he says. “I was surprised there was as much tension between staff and volunteers as I found when I got here. So I tried to be a bridge-builder…to not take a radical position. I think everyone, no matter what their perspective on the organizational issues, was deeply committed to the human rights agenda. Calling people back to that agenda and reminding them why we were all in this together was very important.”
Schulz next to AIUSA’s Advocacy Director for Europe and Eurasia Maureen Greenwood, then-First Lady Hillary Clinton and a delegation of the Algerian Mothers of the Disappeared.
After an initial tour of AIUSA, Schulz decided quickly to build a staff of some of the most talented individuals in the human rights field and a dynamic senior management team. He also prioritized dramatically increasing revenues. “I knew no matter what else we did right, if we didn’t have enough money the organization would be at odds with itself…constantly fighting about financial priorities” and diminishing its capacity to fulfill its core mission.
Schulz’s strategies worked. Since 1994 the staff has grown from 80 to 160. Many are experts in their fields. Between 1996 and 2005 the dues-paying membership grew by nearly 30 percent. The organization has doubled its budget to $42 million. Gifts of $5,000 or more have grown from a total of $500,000 a year to more than $5 million a year. This enormous increase in major gift-giving has provided a base for AIUSA’s first comprehensive capital campaign, now in Phase 1, and supported the development
Mohan Seneviratne is a freelance writer and web designer in New York City.
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WORLD VIEW of AIUSA’s Web site, whose online community now exceeds 400,000 individuals. “Bill has been an incredibly intense, creative and inspired leader and a very successful fundraiser,” says Paul Hoffman, a civil rights attorney in California and former chair of AI’s International Executive Committee. “The work he has done will leave the organization on firm financial footing for many years to come.”
Schulz also recognized that grassroots activism must retain a place at the heart of an organization built by volunteers. So to expand and support an active, vibrant and diverse membership base, AIUSA created the Activist Growth and Development Blueprint in 2003. Under Schulz’s direction in 2005, the organization sharpened its focus on activist development and created the National Training Program and the National Student and Youth Program, to better prepare members to campaign and to enlist and serve young members, some of AIUSA’s most dedicated activists. The stronger membership networks lend force to AIUSA’s work to secure the release of prisoners of conscience and advance the larger human rights agenda around the world. Under Schulz’s leadership, an invigorated AIUSA has expanded its work via new programs, including OUTfront! for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights; a Research Department to conduct field research on domestic human rights issues; the Business and Human Rights program to work on corporate responsibility; the Crisis Preparedness and Response Unit to mobilize the organization on rapidly unfolding and grave human rights situations; the Domestic Human Rights Program to focus on U.S. abuses; and Artists for Amnesty to engage members of the creative community such as actors Mira Sorvino, Halle Berry and Nicolas Cage. Post-September 11, Schulz has increased resources to address violations in the U.S.-led “war on terror,” especially rollbacks on the absolute prohibition on torture. Cultivating new leadership networks has been a hallmark of Schulz’s tenure. During his first year with AIUSA he formed the Executive Director’s
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Leadership Council (EDLC), which includes major contributors who meet twice yearly to discuss programs and often take direct action themselves. In 2000 EDLC member Bianca Jagger hand-delivered a letter co-signed by Schulz to the office of then-Texas Governor George W. Bush urging him stop the execution of Gary Graham, whose guilt had come under serious question. “Bill has played an indispensable role personally in developing the EDLC,” says Curt Goering, Senior Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Programs at AIUSA. “It’s become more than just a collection of individuals, but rather a group with such good rapport it’s created its own momentum.” Schulz also played a critical role during the mid-1990s in creating a coalition of the directors of 12 human rights groups. They have come together quarterly, planned collaborative work and met with senior government officials. Schulz “has been in most of these meetings and has been a very articulate and clear voice for holding the line,” says Michael Posner, Executive Director of Human Rights First, a coalition member. “The effort to challenge the current administration’s detention policies culminating in the [McCain] amendment is one of the biggest successes I can remember. Amnesty is the mother ship. It’s the foundation on which the human rights movement has been built. As the leader of AUISA for the last 12 years, Bill has set a very positive tone that encourages human rights organizations to work collaboratively and collectively, which is the way we need to work to make change.” These innovations have put AIUSA in a position to influence domestic policy on human rights. In a 2004 report, AIUSA recommended successfully that law enforcement agencies limit the proliferation of electro-shock weapons such as Tasers, the use of which has too often been a contributing factor in torture and death. The Stop Child Executions! campaign focused attention on capital punishment for juvenile offenders and culminated in 2005 when the Supreme Court declared these executions unconstitutional. And after more than 92,000 Amnesty activists signed a peti-
Jimmy Carter and Schulz at the Carter Center, where the former president addressed the AIUSA Board of Directors in 1999.
Schulz at the premiere of Hotel Rwanda with cast members Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo on the right and event co-hosts Angelina Jolie and Harrison Ford on the left.
tion calling for President Bush to renew the Violence Against Women Act, he signed its reauthorization into law in January 2006. The act will provide approximately $3.9 billion during the next five years toward the fight against domestic violence in America. Schulz is savvy about boosting awareness about human rights among the American public. He has published two well-received books and been a strong presence in the U.S. news media, appearing on radio and television programs from Morning Edition and 60 Minutes to Politically Incorrect. “I did so many national media appearances because I wanted to reach beyond the traditional constituency and expand the arena of people who thought about and talked about human rights,” he says. As a result, AIUSA is now routinely cited in major news media outlets. And according to Edelman Public Relations’ 2006 Trust Barometer, in which 1,500 opinion leaders were surveyed, AI is now one of the most trusted NGOs in the country. The New York Review of Books said of Schulz in 2002 that he has “done more than anyone in the American human rights movement to make human rights issues known in the United States.”
Schulz Leads AIUSA Through 12 Years of
March 1994. Dr. William F. Schulz appointed executive director of Amnesty International USA. [MAY] 1995. Schulz convenes first meeting of Executive Director’s Leadership Council, an advisory group of major supporters from business, entertainment, the arts, education, science, media and philanthropy. October 1997. Schulz joins an AI mission to Liberia to investigate atrocities committed during the country’s civil war. November 1998. AIUSA launches the OUTfront! program to fight for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. November 1999. With the Sierra Club, AIUSA inaugurates the JustEarth! program, now a part of the Business and Human Rights program. November 1999. AIUSA launches its first Internet campaign, “Raise the Roof,” to support activists in building relationships with their elected officials. May 1999. Schulz joins an AI mission to Northern Ireland to urge that human rights protections be incorporated into the peace process. October 2000. AI launches a new global anti-torture campaign. AIUSA’s membership takes part via Fast Action Stops Torture (FAST), its first extensive online network. Internet-based AIUSA activism blossoms. June 2000. AIUSA’s Crisis Preparedness and Response Unit is created to mobilize membership, staff and allies on human rights emergencies. April 2001. Beacon Press publishes Schulz’s first human rights book, In Our Own Best Interest: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All, with a foreword by Mary Robinson.
WORLD VIEW Schulz himself is modest in his assessment of all he has accomplished for AIUSA through staff development, fundraising, membership support, program expansion and media exposure. When he speaks before crowds of members and volunteers at events across the country, however, his oratorical zeal is in effect. Darcie Olson, an activist from Costa Mesa, Calif., remembers well his appearance at the Western Region conference in Salt Lake City, shortly after the 2004 presidential election. “He gave such an inspirational speech when so many of us were down,” she says. “He reminded us of our long-term vision for the human rights movement and told us not to be discouraged and to keep fighting. It was exactly what we all needed to hear at that moment. A lot of us walked out afterwards just saying ‘Wow!’” “Human rights people are not shrinking violets,” Schulz insists, explaining why he has taken on adversaries from Bill O’Reilly to Donald Rumsfeld. “I was trained in debate in high
“As the leader of AUISA for the last 12 years, Bill has set a very positive tone that encourages human rights organizations to work collaboratively and collectively, which is the way we need to work to make change.”
May 2001. Artists for Amnesty established in Los Angeles. August 2001. After some 40 years of campaigning only for civil and political rights, AI opens the door to work on economic, social and cultural rights. August 2001. AIUSA launches its own Research Department. March 2002. AIUSA’s Research Department releases its first report, Amnesty International’s Concerns Regarding Post-September 11 Detentions in the USA. October 2002. The U.S. Domestic Human Rights Program is established. September 2002. AIUSA’s Online Action Center launches in its current form, with 40,000 supporters. May 2003. Schulz receives the Public Service Citation from the University of Chicago. September 2003. Nation Books publishes Schulz’s second human rights book, Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights. September 2004. Schulz participates in Amnesty mission to Darfur, Sudan, to help address the humanitarian crisis in that region. April 2005. AIUSA launches National Activist Development Unit to cultivate youth organization and coordinate the Denounce Torture initiative. June 2005. Schulz defends AI against the Bush administration’s vociferous attacks after the organization’s criticism of U.S. detention facilities in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. September 2005. AIUSA’s Online Action Center reaches 400,000 supporters, a tenfold increase in three years.
MICHAEL POSNER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS FIRST
school and can be kind of a combative guy....We ought not to be afraid to be confrontational, to call people to account, to be very honest and very direct [when] we are dealing with the most extreme circumstances that human beings can face.” His conviction comes in part from his experiences on international missions, during which he has met many who suffer in extreme circumstances. He recalls a mission to Liberia, where he visited with a prisoner “whose body was covered with red dots. I asked him what had happened and he said he had stolen a radio. The police had caught him but instead of just arresting him they had forced him to lie down in a bed of red ants, and he had spent hours with the ants biting him. It was a shocking, dramatic example of how human beings can gratuitously inflict cruelty upon one another.” Schulz has also seen how a heart hardened by sustained conflict can be touched. He remembers meeting David Trimble, the Protestant Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in 1999, after having visited the same day with a Catholic family whose son had been killed by a Protestant mob. “I said, ‘Mr. Prime Minister, you are no longer leader of the Ulster Unionist Party. You are the leader of Northern Ireland. Someone has to reach across the divide to people who are not grieving Catholic parents, but simply grieving parents. Wouldn’t you like to be the person who did ▲
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WORLD VIEW »USA
AIUSA Marks the 1000th U.S. Execution Since the Resumption of the Death Penalty in 1977
From the War on Terror to the War on Torture
Former Army Muslim Chaplain James Yee.
IUSA activists saw their efforts pay off last December as the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Anti-Torture Amendment, 308-122, following the Senate’s 90-9 vote. The amendment to the Defense Department appropriations bill reaffirmed the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. AIUSA Director of Government Relations Alexandra Arriaga called the victory significant for “every American who values our nation’s core principles.” AIUSA’s Denounce Torture Initiative activists worked tirelessly for passage of the amendment, convening community forums from Boston to Houston to Pasadena, Calif. At a Dec. 7 forum in Charleston, S.C.,
West Point graduate and former Army Muslim Chaplain James Yee recounted his experience ministering at the U.S. detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he was falsely accused of being an al-Qaeda infiltrator. Attendees held teach-ins throughout the city, and the event drew extensive media coverage. But the news wasn’t all good. Congress also adopted the Graham-Levin-Kyl Amendment which— for the first time in U.S. history and in violation of the Constitution—legalizes the use in military proceedings of evidence obtained by torture and restricts detainees’ legal rights to challenge their imprisonment and treatment in custody. And President Bush, who originally agreed to support the Anti-Torture Amendment, later appeared to reverse himself. His “signing statement”—providing his official interpretation of the measure—asserted a presidential authority to waive the law when he deems it necessary. AIUSA has called for Bush to withdraw his signing statement and continues to push for an independent commission to investigate allegations of torture by agents of the U.S. government and prevent such acts from recurring. Jason Opeña Disterhoft
Human Rights at High Volume
t’s not too late to sign up to attend Make Some Noise: Human Rights at High Volume, the 2006 AIUSA Annual General Meeting, in Portland, Ore., April 28-30. On Friday, hundreds of AIUSA activists will rally in Portland’s town square to denounce torture. On Saturday night Portland band March 4th and musicians from Oakland-based Youth Movement Records will play the famed Roseland Theater. The weekend’s speakers include British former Guantánamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg and James Yee, the former Army Muslim Chaplain at the U.S. detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Get the latest news and register at amnestyusa.org/events/agm
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The Black Eyed Peas
Let’s Make Some Noise!
Rick Halperin, Chair, AIUSA Board of Directors, speaks at a vigil in Raleigh, N.C., for Kenneth Boyd, who was executed on Dec. 2, 2005, at 2 am.
Artists in Action
IUSA’s Imagine campaign— founded on Yoko Ono’s generous donation of the rights to John Lennon’s ballad—helped Amnesty illuminate the vision of a world where human rights are realized for every man, woman and child. Now with Ono’s additional extraordinary gift of Lennon’s entire songbook, Amnesty International will combine our vision of universal human rights with the universal language of music. Launched on Dec. 10— International Human Rights Day— the new Make Some Noise campaign pairs the world’s largest human rights organization with the world’s hottest artists, who are re-recording contemporary versions of Lennon’s most memorable work. Avril Lavigne, The Black Eyed Peas and The Cure are just a few of the artists participating in this groundbreaking mix of music, celebration and action that reaches out to a new, younger generation of potential supporters. A compilation album will mark one of the greatest music projects of the decade. Music downloads already available include The BlackEyed Peas’ rousing version of Power to the People, The Cure’s Love, Snow Patrol’s recording of Isolation and Grow Old With Me by The Postal Service. To download these exclusive singles via MSN Music and obtain human rights updates: amnesty.org/noise
Larry Cox Brings Intellectual Depth and Leadership Expertise to the Table
ongtime human rights advocate Larry Cox, 60, has come full circle with his selection as Amnesty International USA’s new executive director. Cox spent 14 years at AI before becoming executive director of the Rainforest Foundation and then senior program officer at the Ford Foundation’s Human Rights Unit, his most recent job. At AI he held a number of positions that gave him a deep and extensive understanding of the organization, including deputy secretary general of AI’s International Secretariat. At AIUSA during the late 1970s and early 1980s—a period of significant growth for the organization—he served as deputy director, communications director, and founder and first director of the Program to Abolish the Death Penalty. Cox’s passion for human rights work has only intensified with time. “Human rights are increasingly being treated as irrelevant or even harmful to solving the most serious problems facing humankind,” he says. “There is no easy or simple way to turn this situation around, but the starting point surely has to be the creation of a much more broadly based and effective human rights movement, particularly in the United States.” Cox believes no human rights organization is better prepared to mobilize popular support for the human rights movement than Amnesty International. AIUSA’s Board of Directors confirmed the selection of Cox during its January meeting, and he will begin his tenure as the new executive director on May 1, working for a few months with outgoing Executive Director Bill Schulz to ensure a smooth transition. “I think Larry is the right person for this job at the right time,” says AIUSA Board Chair Rick Halperin. “He will be great at bringing a strong sense of enthusiasm about the work to our membership, and he also brings the necessary high moral quality required in human rights efforts.”
Internal Dissent ointing to a photo of four Palestinian children playing at getting frisked against a wall, a former Israeli soldier explains, “This is their emotional reality.” It is one of many telling moments in the video documentary Breaking the Silence (Shovrim Shtika in Hebrew), produced by an eponymous NGO based in Jerusalem. A group of former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) officers formed the organization and interviewed hundreds of their fellow ex-combatants who served in the Occupied Territories during the second intifada in 2000. The resulting testimonies revealed gross human rights violations and forced the military to reopen investigations that had been closed. Because Breaking the Silence relies on the testimonies of a broad cross section of the country’s citizens who were conscripted into military service, it has become a credible voice of dissent in mainstream Israeli discourse. “We had to speak out for our own personal selves, but it also became our duty to question what we as a society were willing to legitimize,” says Avichay Sharon, 24, a former soldier in the IDF Special Forces. Photos of blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinian men detained for breaking curfew at checkpoints are common. There are
Breaking the Silence
New Executive Director Comes Full Circle
Palestinian children play at getting frisked in an image taken by an Israeli soldier.
also more self-critical images documenting the soldiers’ own growing indifference and desensitization to violence, such as a photograph of a young Palestinian boy feeding his pigeons as seen through the viewfinder of the sniper’s weapon. Yair Hirschfeld, one of the key architects of the Oslo Peace Accords and a professor of Middle East history at Haifa University, says the debate over Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories will continue to be polarized until Israel can credibly assess questions about international law, the proportionality of war, military force and the legitimacy of self-defense. “The answers to these will be more important in shaping policy than negative soldier testimonials alone,” he says. Breaking the Silence is not the only group of soldier dissenters. But their unusual approach has brought their voices into the mainstream media dialogue about occupation, both in Israel and abroad. breakingthesilence.org.il Ranjani Ramaswamy
Rosa del Angel
Staff and interns launched AIUSA’s mobile billboard from the Washington, D.C., office as part of AIUSA’s campaign, in advance of the Jan. 31 State of the Union address, to urge the president to be honest about the U.S. government’s use of torture in the “war on terror.”
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Rage Against the Dying of Light William F. Schulz, Executive Director, AIUSA
went into the ministry more than 35 years ago because I couldn’t stand the fact that life entails death, that everyone I loved would eventually die, that no matter how kind, generoushearted, wise or robust, each one of us eventually succumbs to that fate. I took Dylan Thomas’ words as my mantra—“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” I didn’t think that by becoming a minister I could ease the hard facts. (Had I thought that, I would have chosen a different faith than Unitarian Universalism!) But I wanted to live intimately with death, to not run from it, to accompany others into its world and therefore to understand something more about life. I expected to spend a lifetime as a parish minister who comes up against death and hardship all the time. Well, it didn’t work out as I had planned. I was a parish minister for less than three years before I was asked to resuscitate the Unitarian Universalist denomination’s national social justice program. I went on to become president of the church and then was appointed executive director of AIUSA. As a religious bureaucrat, I managed to keep some distance from death. But, interestingly, through Amnesty International death and I have become reacquainted. You can hardly be a human rights activist and not be on intimate terms with death, torture, “disappearances,” political killings and state executions that occur in so much of our world.
Only my Amnesty sojourn with death has been different than what I anticipated as a young minister. For most of the death we deal with comes capriciously and at the hands of human agents rather than the natural rhythms of life’s unfolding. And most importantly at Amnesty, we can do something about it. We can actually sometimes defeat death’s dominion— at least for a time. I love that. I don’t know if I have saved anyone’s life during my 12 years at Amnesty, but I know that collectively we’ve saved thousands. And I love the congruence of my having gone into the ministry in order to reconcile myself to the existential fact that all life ends and ended up in a “ministry” designed to stave off that ending’s arrival. We Amnesty activists never give up raging, raging against the premature dying of the light. As I grow closer to my own death, I have become a bit more reconciled to the inevitability of my own demise, but I still can’t stand all the rest of you dying on me. Stop it, won’t you? Or, if you won’t, at least realize that to have been part of an organization devoted to warding off the intentional infliction of death and suffering is holy work—work worth celebrating. Thank you for all you do to make such work possible, for the privilege I have had to be a part of it, and for reminding me over and over again that, no matter our ultimate human fate, to do justice and love mercy is to know that life itself is a blessing.
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that?’ Tears came into his eyes. It was a fascinating moment.” The sum of experiences like these has changed Schulz. “This job has forced me to live in the whole world, not just in a portion of it. [It has] given me the opportunity to act upon my own personal faith that history is not fated or scripted… . We human beings make it for the whole world.” It’s that awareness and the opportunity to work with people committed to making the world “more tender, more civilized, and more gracious” that Schulz says he has loved most about his job.
Schulz will leave
his successor an energized, better-funded and more united organization with new challenges to face. Changes in AI country rules have already freed AIUSA to focus on an array of human rights violations at home. Amnesty International decided in 2003 to step beyond the traditional agenda of civil and political rights and tackle issues
of economic, social and cultural rights. “These two changes alone are enormously significant and will be into the future, particularly in shaping Amnesty as an organization,” Schulz says. The political climate in the United States could also remain contentious. “Americans who care about human rights are going to have an enormous battle on their hands if those who can without apology oppose prohibition on torture [in the war on terror] remain in power in this country over the long haul.” But Bill Schulz remains optimistic about the future of AIUSA. He looks forward to making way for new leadership, as well as to his own future. “E.B. White said, ‘Every morning I awake torn between the need to save the world and the desire to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day.’ I’ve always loved that. I think the first thing I’m going to do after leaving Amnesty is take a little time to savor the world.” ai
Memberhip Services For questions about membership, donations or pledges: Member Services Amnesty International USA 5 Penn Plaza New York, NY 10001 Phone: (800) 792-6637 Fax: (212) 627-1451 email@example.com Include your full name and address in all correspondence. Please note: dues must be paid by March 31 to be eligible to vote on resolutions at the Annual General Meeting.
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Copyright Toshi Kazama
ânân Arin casually shrugs when describing the occupational hazards of being a leading women’s rights advocate in Turkey. A few years ago, Arin recalls, a doctor in Istanbul survived a beating from her husband that left her spine broken in three places. When Arin helped the doctor initiate divorce proceedings, the abuser came after her as well. “He threatened me, he tried to bribe me, he tried everything against me because there was no way to break me,” says Arin, a lawyer who has pioneered the movement to provide shelter and legal services for domestic violence victims in Turkey. An unfaltering, powerful woman of 63, Arin knew she was the last line of defense for the woman; her family had turned her away and her abuser had evaded jail by paying a $2 fine. Another client’s violent husband once tried to discredit Arin by accusing her of kidnapping his child for ransom. When police stopped her and found no baby in her car, they took her in for questioning, during which she shrewdly refused to sign any papers without receiving her own copy. Eventually the case was dropped after the court claimed to have lost the file. While Arin downplays the menace of angry husbands, the staff in her warm, serene Istanbul office subject would-be visitors to rigorous questioning and cross-referencing in order to identify potential assailants. For Arin, the elaborate security protocol is just one of the many obstacles on the long, arduous and often circuitous path toward advancing women’s human rights in Turkey. It has often been said that Turkey sits at the crossroads of East and West, a geographical position that has created overlapping cultural dichotomies. Nowhere is that clearer than in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, which the swift currents of the Bosporous Strait have cleaved into European and Asian halves. Discos with flashing lights pump music around the corner from market stalls selling traditional kilim rugs, and
Progress Turkish Human Rights Defender Cânân Arin Takes a Bricks and Mortar Approach to Building a Movement for Women’s Rights
By Carin Zissis
As a child,
Arin knew nothing of gender-based violence or the notion that one gender could dominate another. She grew up on the European side of Istanbul during a time when Turkey’s blossoming republic actively promoted women’s equality. The oldest of four children in a comfortable middleclass family, she was never expected to cater to her brothers and recalls, “We always set the table in turns.” Neither her mother, a bank manager, nor her father, a lowlevel government official, pushed her toward any specific profession. Arin was interested in theater, which she finds entirely compatible with her decision to pursue a law degree. “A good lawyer must speak the language perfectly, she must be interested in literature, psychology, sociology, everything,” says the well-traveled Arin, who delights at discussing the architecture in Edinborough, Scotland and Diego Rivera murals in Mexico City. Arin received a scholarship to study constitutional law at the London School of Economics and after returning home became active in the Turkish women’s rights movement, which gained momentum after a 1980 coup splintered the nation’s
Only one-third of families are willing to accept an abused woman back into their homes after she has left to marry. And Turkey has only 14 women’s shelters, while Sweden has 120 for a population just one-tenth the size.
Copyright Toshi Kazama
women in head scarves walk on the same crowded streets as teenaged girls sporting tank tops. While economic growth has brought prosperity to pockets of the city, poverty and persistent unemployment from the rural areas of the country have metastasized to zones of urban suffering. Over the past few decades the population of Istanbul has swelled to 9 million, with migrants from the poor eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey moving into poorly built, overcrowded apartment blocks in the city’s outer neighborhoods. Research conducted by the Istanbul Municipality in 2002 found that half of the city’s households earned a monthly income of less than $250. Though violence against women in Istanbul—and in Turkey at large—cuts across class and geography, women from poor families predictably have fewer places to turn for help. There is a critical shortage of women’s shelters across Turkey, and a recent survey shows that only one-third of families are willing to accept an abused woman back into their homes after she has fled her marriage. “They can hardly manage their own lives,” explains Arin. “To have her in their house again, that is someone else to feed. And usually she isn’t by herself—there are her children, too.” Much of Arin’s work focuses on securing shelter and legal services for abused women. In December Amnesty International sponsored her trip to Washington, D.C., where she met with U.S. lawmakers and AI members to inform them about violence against women in Turkey. Although the Turkish government maintains no official statistics related to violence against women—demonstrating its indifference on the issue, says Arin—AI estimates that as many as half of all Turkish women have been subjected to some form of violence. In the impoverished, largely rural Anatolia region in the southeast, 51 percent of women in a 2000 survey of 600 reported that they had been raped by their husbands. A 2003 study of middle and upper-class women in Turkey found that 63 percent had suffered some form of sexual assault.
As a founder of a trifecta of groups working to protect and advocate for Turkey’s women, Cânân Arin fields a constant stream of calls and meets with women in crisis in her Istanbul office.
leftist movement. While meeting with other women activists— sociologists, lawyers, students of international affairs—Arin realized that in spite of institutional promises of equal rights, backwards beliefs kept women trapped in cycles of violence behind closed doors across Turkey. Over the next 25 years, Arin worked methodically to build an infrastructure for women’s rights advocacy and secured herself a place of honor in Turkey’s women’s movement. In 1990 she co-founded Turkey’s first autonomous women’s group, the Purple Roof Foundation, based in Istanbul, with a satellite opening later in the capital city of Ankara. The foundation established a women’s publishing company to raise funds and published Scream So Everyone Can Hear You, a collection of testimonies by battered women. “We got so many letters,” says Arin, holding out her arm at waist level to indicate the piles of mail that arrived in response to the call for submissions. “It was the first time we were dealing with violence against women, and it was the first time we brought the subject before society.” In 1995 Purple Roof opened a women’s shelter— Istanbul’s first—with capacity for 19 women and 20 children. In spite of some public criticism, Purple Roof continued shelter operations—its location is a zealously guarded secret in order to protect the women who take refuge there. The shelter began sending clients for legal counsel at the Istanbul Bar Association Women’s Rights Enforcement Center, another organization Arin co-founded. Arin became intimately familiar with how
Carin Zissis is a freelance journalist based in New York City. Her work has been published in the Boston Globe, Newsday and Inter-Press News.
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© Toshi Kazama
The heterogeneity of Turkey is amplified on the streets of Istanbul.
her nation’s laws shortchange women in domestic abuse cases. That led her to form the Association for Support and Training of Woman Candidates to help more women enter politics. As the hub of this network of key women’s organizations, Arin has begun to take part in national policy-making. In 2005 she played a significant role in shaping Turkey’s revised penal code, which includes several provisions protecting abuse victims. These include the call for stiffer punishments for perpetrators of abuse and sexual crimes and the abolition of virginity tests.
Turkey last approved a penal code 80 years ago when the founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk—a firm supporter of gender equality—was molding a secular republic. His 1926 code gave women equality in the areas of education, authority over their children and rights to divorce. Polygamy was abolished and women were no longer required to wear headscarves. But in spite of the historical promotion of equality and the passage of the new penal code, enforcement of women’s rights law continues to lag. “Women, veiled or unveiled, still are at a disadvantage in the halls of power and as subjects of laws,” says Jenny White, author of Islamist Mobilization in Turkey and president of the Turkish Studies Association. During the 1990s, secular Turkey experienced an upsurge in Islamist political activity, leading to the election of the current prime minister, conservative Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The fact that tradition often trumps law in Turkey is shown by the infrequent but enduring practice of so-called “honor killing”—a term coined to describe the murder of a woman by a relative seeking to protect the family’s reputation. The horrific practice has spread from villages to urban migrant neighborhoods, where tradition and modernity collide. A study by the Human Rights Association of Turkey counted 40 “honor killings” in 2003, although some murders go unreported, others are disguised as suicides, and, in some cases, women are induced to kill themselves. One recent university study conducted in southeastern Turkey found that 37 percent of respondents supported killing a woman who commits adultery, and many suggested punishments that included cutting off an ear or nose. The new penal code promises harsher penalties for those who carry out these murders, and Arin and fellow activists are working to close loopholes and ensure enforcement. Although Turkey’s government has jumped through hoops to bring the 12 amnesty international
country closer to European Union membership, Arin believes local NGOs deserve the credit for these recent victories in women’s rights. “We are working very hard and changing many things without the help of anybody.” On the other hand, the government has failed miserably in protecting women from physical violence. In 1998 Purple Roof temporarily shut down its shelter due to lack of funding, despite the demand for its services. Turkey has only 14 women’s shelters (five in Istanbul), while Sweden has 120 for a population just one-tenth the size of Turkey’s. The Turkish government passed a law requiring more shelters, but it has rejected every new application. AIUSA’s Alyson Kozma, coordinator for the Women’s Human Rights Program, says women’s groups are mired in red tape and “feel like they’re being stonewalled.” Women’s rights activists have begun to bypass the government by offering direct education to women about their legal rights. Last fall Arin joined AI Turkey’s Stop Violence Against Women Campaign Bus during a six-city tour, and Purple Roof sent activists on a similar boat trip to towns along the Black Sea coast. “In the beginning, when they come to you, you see something so broken—it’s awful,” says Arin, reflecting on her work with abuse survivors. But she remembers one client whom she helped win a divorce case. When the woman later visited her to thank her, she proudly told Arin, “This is the first time in my life that I have paid the rent myself.” For Arin, changing the lives of women like these is a fundamental step toward a more open society in Turkey. “You cannot change a society before you change the lives of women,” she says. “You cannot have a democratic country before you have democracy in the home.” ai
AI Boosts Efforts to Build Women’s Shelters As many as half of the women in Turkey may be victims of family violence, according to Amnesty International. Millions have been beaten in their homes, and many others have been raped, killed or even forced to commit suicide. The Turkish government passed a law in December 2004 that requires municipalities with more than 50,000 residents to fund and establish women’s shelters. AIUSA activists are lobbying mayors of two of these Turkish municipalities to establish shelters.
ACT » Please send letters to the mayors of the cities of Izmir and Bursa to encourage full implementation of the Law on Municipalities No. 5272 in their cities, funding of shelters for women fleeing violence and adherence to universal shelter principles. Appeals to: Sayın Aziz Kocaoglu/Belediye Baskanı/Izmir Büyüksehir Belediyesi/Cumhuriyet Bulvari No.1/Konak/Izmir/Turkey and Sayın Hikmet Sahin/Belediye Baskanı/Bursa Büyüksehir Belediyesi/Atatürk Caddesi/Uçak Sokak No.1 Osmangazi/Bursa/Turkey (Salutation: Your Excellency). Postage: $0.80. To read the transcript of Cânân Arin’s AIUSA online chat: amnestyusa.org/countries/turkey
SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images
By Philippe Sands
While the â€œPinochet Precedentâ€? was a milestone in international jurisprudence, the trials of Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein raise difficult questions about how far the world has yet to go.
Judge Lloyd Williams presides over a session of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda 2002 in Tanzania, where masterminds of the 1994 Rwandan genocide were tried.
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For those associated with the implementation of policies on detention and interrogation—in the United States and among its allies—the cases from Nuremberg to Baghdad via London should serve as a salutary reminder of the potential consequences of violating international laws.
CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images
international actions and mechanisms to hen the fifth and final judge of Britain’s hold states accountable. highest court delivered his verdict The standards for human rights build against former Chilean President Augusto upon the critical foundation of the Nuremberg Pinochet on Nov. 25, 1998, the entire chamber and Tokyo tribunals, which established a new of the House of Lords gasped. Observers reccategory of international crimes that no longer ognized immediately that the judges’ rejection permitted nation-states—or their officials—to of Pinochet’s claim to immunity was a waterturn a blind eye to genocide, crimes against shed moment in international justice. The humanity, war crimes and aggression. Since recording of their collective, dramatic reaction World War II the developing system of interis preserved in the BBC radio archive. national justice has put in place a raft of interSome 60 years after the beginning of the national treaties, jurisprudence and practice Nuremberg and Tokyo military trials—the The decision by Britain’s highest court to that require states to investigate and prosecute first international war-crimes tribunals—the allow former Chilean president Augusto those accused of the most heinous internation“Pinochet Precedent” established the principle Pinochet to be extradited was a milestone in that no individual is above the rule of law, not international justice. Pinochet is pictured here al crimes, or extradite them to other countries where they will be prosecuted. even a former president who had acted in his in 1997. In the mid-1990s the United States led the capacity of head of state. It was a defining world in creating criminal tribunals for the formoment in international justice, an exclamamer Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and for tion point following the evolution of internaRwanda. In 1998—just weeks before Pinochet tional relations that has taken place over the was arrested—129 governments signed off on past 50 years. the new International Criminal Court (ICC), That evening, news broadcasts around which is now operating in The Hague and investhe world led with the story, trumpeting the tigating atrocities in Uganda, the Democratic transformation of the international legal order. Republic of Congo and Sudan. Around the Author Isabel Allende, daughter of President same time, former President Slobodan Salvador Allende, whose government was Milosevic of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia overthrown by Pinochet, called the decision became the first serving head of state to be “marvelous, a truly great satisfaction.” The indicted by an international tribunal, soon folUK Guardian columnist Hugo Young lowed by Liberia’s president Charles Taylor. described the verdict as “bold and principled, By any account these are important taking a stand on behalf of the globalization of developments, yet they are not without their fundamental human rights.” difficulties. Watching the criminal trial of The global response to the case reflected Nazi war criminals, surrounded by U.S. Milosevic in The Hague, any observer is how dramatically notions of sovereignty have military police, listen to the accusations bound to ask whether it is appropriate to prochanged over the past 50 years, which have against them during the Nuremberg trials of 1945-1949. vide an international stage for those accused been marked by unprecedented global interdeof the most serious crimes. Milosevic has been adept at stringing pendence. An avalanche of international laws adopted since out costly proceedings, now into their fourth year without an World War II means that states are now regulated by an increasend in sight, and using them to provide succor to his supporters ingly wide net of international obligations covering everything back home. There is a distinct possibility that he may be acquitfrom free trade and investment rules to labor standards and the ted of some of the more serious charges. protection of fundamental human rights. And the rules, once National proceedings may not be any more effective, adopted, take on a logic and a life of their own. due to domestic political considerations. I follow Saddam In this globalized, interdependent world, it is impossible Hussein in the dock of a Baghdad court and notice that he to conceive of a return to the old days, when each state was has not been charged for some of the most serious of his free to act as it wished, unfettered by international obligaalleged crimes, including the conduct of an illegal war tions. Of course our current system of international justice is against Iran. His limited access to his own lawyers is wideimperfect, in continual need of evaluation and faced with the ly perceived to fall short of the minimum standards of intercomplicated challenges of a changing world order that national law on the rights of the defendants—a flaw that includes non-functioning states and borderless, sometimes only serves to discredit the outcome. Hussein’s trial is at risk malign non-state actors. However, the global rules provide of becoming a costly shambles. necessary minimum standards for judging the legitimacy of
Philippe Sands, author of recently published Lawless World: America and the Making and Breaking of Global Rules (Penguin 2005), is an international lawyer who has represented British detainees at the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay and participated in the extradition proceedings of Augusto Pinochet from the U.K. to Spain. He is a professor at University College London and a barrister (QC) at Matrix Chambers.
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AI’s International Justice Work
An ethnic Albanian boy cries during a funeral ceremony of 30 Kosovar Albanians killed during the 1998-99 war between Serb forces and Albanian guerrillas.
Martin Adler/PANOS PICTURES
There is also the lingering concern 60 years after Nuremberg that the emerging system of international criminal justice is lopsided in the sense that it has thus far been applied in the cases of despots and torturers from smaller and less powerful nations, while those who happen to come from the larger and more powerful nations have been able to evade its reach. The Yugoslavia Tribunal did not fully investigate allegations that NATO violated international humanitarian law in the Kosovo war or prosecute NATO forces for attacking civilian targets, such as the television station in Belgrade. Countries whose national courts investigate alleged international crimes by U.S. officials find themselves subject to overwhelming political pressures, as Belgium recently discovered when U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld reportedly threatened that the country would lose its status as host of NATO if it did not change its universal jurisdiction law. Yet it is surely right that the rules should be applied equally to all. Since World War II the system of international criminal justice has become a significant tool to prevent conflict and promote peace and justice. That developing system envisages a
“Globalizing Justice!” is the rallying cry of AI’s long-term human rights strategy. Fighting impunity requires cooperation between countries in order to bring human rights abusers to justice. AI is tackling factors that undermine justice at the domestic and local levels, strengthening the accountability of non-state actors and working to re-establish justice systems in post-conflict systems and emerging democracies. AIUSA aims to create a better informed constituency in the United States for these issues. We will: • build grassroots support for the ICC • defend the exercise of universal jurisdiction to bring suspected perpetrators of human rights abuses to justice • promote the fair and effective functioning of international criminal tribunals and internationalized courts • support victims’ rights to truth, justice and reparation • develop and enforce new standards of accountability For more information, visit amnestyusa.org/international_justice/index.do or contact Vienna Colucci (firstname.lastname@example.org). primary role for national courts, with international tribunals stepping in where domestic justice fails. Notwithstanding the difficulties outlined, great progress has been made. Criminal courts now play a crucially important role in the delivery of a more just global order. The challenge is not whether courts should have a role, but rather how improvements can be made. There can be no question of turning back the clock. Indeed, the Pinochet case has shown that the possibility of criminal sanctions is not an idle one. The principles of international law that removed General Pinochet’s claim to immunity could also be summoned against the highest office holders in the United States for allowing the practice of torture and renditions in the “war on terror,” after they have left office and as they travel around the world, as well as their lawyers and advisers. In 1947 a U.S. military tribunal in Germany in the case of Josef Altstotter convicted a group of lawyers for complicity in international crimes for their role in enacting and enforcing Nazi laws and decrees that permitted crimes against humanity. They were charged with participating in a governmentally organized system of cruelty, not with murder or the abuse of a particular person. As the tribunal put it: “The dagger of the assassin was concealed beneath the robe of the jurist.” For those associated with the implementation of policies on detention and interrogation—in the United States and among its allies—the cases from Nuremberg to Baghdad via London should serve as a salutary reminder of the potential consequences of violating international laws. These laws apply to all. No amount of willful misreading or legalistic acrobatics can serve as a defense or justification to former Presidents Milosevic or Hussein, or to anyone else. More on Philippe Sands’ Lawless World: America and the Making and Breaking of Global Rules at: http://us.penguingroup.com ai
Online chat Rwandans digging graves for the dead. Between 800,000 and 1 million people were killed during the genocide of 1994.
Join Amnesty International magazine for Globalizing Justice, a series of online discussions on international justice. Details on dates and participants at amnestyusa.org/international_justice
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By John Hubner 16 amnesty international
FEATURE In 1899 a special juvenile court was created with the goal of altering the trajectories of troubled lives. But a wave of “tough on crime” legislation has created an entire population of child offenders who will spend the rest of their days behind bars.
t age eight, Dietrick Mitchell was sweet-natured and eager to go to school. By 16, he was “a mess, without discipline,” says his aunt, Linda Mitchell, who raised the boy in Aurora, Colo., west of Denver. Dietrick did not know his father; his mother was “into drugs, she was cracked-out. She kept Dietrick because she wanted the social welfare.” On a fateful day in August 1991, a friend gave Dietrick the keys to a Toyota. Dietrick did not have a license, but he spent the day drinking and driving around Denver with his 18year-old girlfriend in the front seat and a 14-year-old boy in back. When a police officer spotted the car and turned to follow it, Dietrick took off. He rounded a corner and looked back to see if the officer was behind him. Danny Goetsch, 16, and two friends were walking three abreast. Danny was in the street near the curb; the Toyota hit Danny, sending him airborne. His head came down on the curb. Dietrick and his friends fled. Danny died the next day. When Dietrick saw the story on television, his aunt says, he “went into a state of shock.” After he told her what had happened, she told Dietrick he had to face the consequences and took him to a police station. She did not hire an attorney. Prosecutors charged Dietrick with first-degree murder with “extreme indifference.” Although experts testified that the accident was not likely gang-related, the 14-year-old passenger told the court Dietrick had shouted, “That’s three points!” after hitting the victim, as if he would be rewarded by a gang. The jury convicted Dietrick, and in 1992 he joined the swelling ranks of child offenders in the United States serving life without parole. He turned 30 in prison last year. A new report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that at least 2,225 prisoners in the United States are serving life without parole for crimes they committed as minors. The sentence is rare elsewhere in the world—a total of 12 child offenders are serving life terms in
Dietrick Mitchell at age 17, after he was incarcerated, and at age 28. He turned 30 in prison last year.
Israel, South Africa and Tanzania. But in the United States, two decades of mandatory sentencing laws and increasing prosecutorial discretion to try children as adults have created an entire population of young prisoners who will live the rest of their days behind bars.
Linda Mitchell was devastated. “A boy was dead who should be alive, but I saw it as an accident,” she says. “Dietrick wasn’t trying to kill Danny. “Dietrick did a terrible, stupid thing. But should he pay for that terrible stupid thing by being locked up for the whole of his natural life? Giving him life without parole didn’t stop hit and runs; they happen all the time.” Dietrick’s dead-end sentence did, however, conform to the extreme racial disparity in child life without parole sentencing. The AI-HRW report found that black youth are serving life without parole sentences at a rate that is 10 times higher than white youth. This is consistent with studies published by the Department of Justice’s juvenile division, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), which have shown there is an over-representation of minorities at all levels of the juvenile justice system. There are varying opinions on why minority youth are incarcerated at higher rates than white youth. In the first, racial bias plays no role. Proponents of this theory argue the higher rates are the inevitable result of minority youth committing more crimes and more serious crimes than white youth. Another theory is that racism and poverty play their part in a complex social equation. “There is discrimination in the recurring circumstances, in the hard but true fact that if you are poor and a minority, your opportunities for rehabilitation are diminished,” says Dr. Leonard E. Lawrence, former chair of the Texas Youth Commission Board of Directors and a professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. “We have to take those conditions into consideration, but we cannot use them to excuse criminal behavior.” But researchers who study the effects of race in the juvenile justice system believe that, under the third scenario, skin color all too often is the determining factor in sentencing, particularly when it comes to making the fateful determination of whether a case is heard in juvenile or criminal court. Daniel Macallair, co-founder and executive director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, co-authored a 2000-2001 study of 18 courts across the country that found that of cases involving youth filed in adult courts, 43 percent of African American youth and 37 percent of Latino youth received a sentence of incarceration as compared with 26 percent of white youth. “Discrimination against kids of color skyrockets when juveniles are tried as adults,” Macallair says. “There’s a double standard: Throw kids of color behind bars, but rehabilitate white kids who commit comparable crimes.”
John Hubner is the author of Last Chance in Texas: The Redemption of Criminal Youth (Random House, 2005).
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The AI-HRW report found that in four of the years studied between 1985 and 2001, teenagers convicted of murder were more likely to get a life without parole or death sentence than adult murderers. That the United States, almost alone in the world, should be trying so many teenagers as adults is one of the great changes—and ironies—in world jurisprudence. The world’s first juvenile court was established in Chicago in 1899, a landmark event for the United States as well as the world. The court was designed to do more than settle disputes and determine sentences. Its aim was to alter the trajectories of troubled young lives. The court hired probation officers to interview parents and teachers and write reports that revealed the social causes of crime. It established a clinical division where psychologists probed a delinquent’s inner world. But the purest expression of the new juvenile court was found in Denver, where, in 1903, Judge Benjamin Lindsey established a juvenile court that was completely independent of the criminal court, which he called “a medieval torture chamber.” In Lindsey’s court the judge was parens patriae, the caring father that most young offenders who appeared before him did not have. The judge had the power to hold accountable young offenders as well as adults who had contributed to their delinquency, and he did. But Lindsey saw his primary role as developing and implementing plans designed to turn young offenders into young citizens. From 1903 to 1927, Lindsey presided over a court that legal historians have called “a vigorous machine for social engineering.”
Source: National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP), sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), U.S. Department of Justice, September 2005. More detailed data at: icpsr.umich.edu/NACJD/ncrp/
Source: Correctional Departments for 38 states and additional sources for Alabama and Virginia. Data were obtained from the State Population Data Sets based on the U.S. Census 2000.
Sixty-five years after Lindsey left the bench, Dietrick Mitchell went to trial. By then, criminologists and legislators in states around the country considered the juvenile court as archaic as the stiff Victorian suits Lindsey once wore. They believed Lindsey’s ideas were perhaps fine for his day, when kids were pickpockets and truants, but experts warned they could not be applied to the young thugs who began to appear in the 1980s. As the crack cocaine epidemic infested cities, a surge in violent teenage crime occurred—largely the result of street gangs fighting to control its distribution. OJJDP studies show that between 1983 and 1994, arrest rates for juveniles charged with violent offenses jumped 78 percent. The 18 amnesty international
juvenile homicide rate in America reached an all-time high in 1994, with more than 2,300 victims killed that year. Fear was rampant as television beamed images of young homicidal killers as lethal as the semi-automatic weapons they carried. Network news inundated homes across the United States with images of defiant teenage murderers, sometimes flashing gang signs. “America is now home to thickening ranks of juvenile ‘Super Predators,’ radically impulsive, brutally remorseless youngsters,” Princeton professor John J. DiIulio wrote in the 1996 book Body Count, co-authored with John P. Walters and William J. Bennett.
Rep. Ray Rose, a Colorado state representative, has been a consistent supporter of child life without parole laws. “Public safety has to come first,” Rose says. “Even if only 10 percent re-offend, what do you say to the families they hurt? What do you say when they ask, ‘He was locked up in prison. Why was he ever released?’”
Michael Barnes, who has an IQ of 68, was sentenced to death in Alabama for killing two people at the age of 17. His death sentence was commuted to life without parole in 1998.
Christopher Simmons was sentenced to death for a crime he committed at age 17. The 2004 Supreme Court ruling on his case, Roper v. Simmons, abolished the juvenile death penalty.
Photograph by Toshi Kazama ©
The juvenile court and the inherent idea that children are excellent candidates for redemption were swept away by fear of “Super Predators” and by politicians out to prove they were tougher on crime than their opponents. In some states, childhood was “defined down” so that youth ages 16 and 17 who committed certain crimes were automatically transferred to adult criminal courts. In other states, youth who committed certain crimes were automatically transferred to criminal courts, no matter what their ages. Prosecutors, not judges, decided whether a case would be heard in juvenile court or transferred to adult criminal court. Yet the idea that youth had suddenly evolved into the human form of the robot in The Terminator was at odds with the latest scientific research. Brain researchers using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) had established a biological basis for the premise on which the juvenile court was founded and for what parents already knew: teenagers really are immature. MRIs show that the frontal lobes, specifically the prefrontal cortex, do not develop fully until the early 20s. This is the part of the brain responsible for the cognitive control of behavior, for impulse inhibition. The prefrontal cortex regulates aggression, weighs cause and effect and considers longterm consequences. “Children are uniquely suited for change,” says David Berger, an attorney for O’Melveny and Myers LLP who conducted research on the AI-HRW report in his capacity as pro bono counsel to Amnesty International USA. “They grow up and mature, often becoming unrecognizable to those who knew them in childhood.” After 1993 the murder rate among juveniles dropped 68 percent, and the menace of the alleged “Super Predator” plague had faded. OJJDP reports show that between 1993 and 2000, juveniles arrested for murder dropped 74 percent. By 2000, murders committed by juvenile offenders were at their lowest levels in 20 years. The number of juvenile homicides plummeted to around 1,200. Experts cite a strong economy combined with a declining market for crack, plus community policing and efforts to keep weapons out of the hands of juveniles, as reasons for the decline. DiIulio ended up wishing he had never coined the term “Super Predator.” In 2001, he told the New York Times, ‘’If I knew then what I know now, I would have shouted for prevention of crimes.’’ But news of the falling juvenile crime rate did not register with the public, who remained fearful, or with their elected officials. Even today, the cry “adult time for adult crime” continues to echo in state capitols across America and supports the practice of sentencing child offenders to life without parole.
Youth must be 18 to vote;, 16 to drive and 18 or 21 to purchase alcohol and tobacco. But the justice system has blurred the distinction between child and adult. At least 28 states limit or completely eliminate juvenile court hearings for youth charged with certain crimes (ranging from violent assaults to less serious drug offenses). At least 14 states and the District of Columbia have given prosecutors the discretion to bypass the judge and move juvenile cases directly into adult court for particular crimes. And in 42 states, teenagers can be sentenced to life without parole. Ninety-three percent of youths serving life without parole in the United States have been sentenced for murder. The AI-HRW report found that in four of the years studied between 1985 and 2001, teenagers convicted of murder were in fact more likely to get a life without parole or death sentence than adult murderers. Largely because of mandatory sentencing laws, the percentage of teenage murderers given life without parole in 2000 was three times higher than it was in 1990. Yet murder can be an elastic term, as is shown by the case of Erik Jensen, a young man serving life without parole in Colorado
Photograph by Toshi Kazama ©
At least 2,225 prisoners in the United States are serving life without parole for crimes they committed as minors.
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“Discrimination against kids of color skyrockets when juveniles are tried as adults. There’s a double standard: Throw kids of color behind bars, but rehabilitate white kids who commit comparable crimes.”
for felony murder, the crime of being present when someone else kills during the commission of a crime. The classic example is the driver of a getaway car charged with felony murder because one of his accomplices killed a guard during a robbery. Erik Jensen was 17, and his friend Nathan Ybanez was 16, in 1998 when they were in a rock band prophetically named “Trouble Bound.” Nathan had a difficult home life. His parents forced him to leave the band, then changed their minds; they enrolled him in military school, then changed their minds. Nathan ran away frequently. His parents were separated and Nathan had moved into an apartment with his mother Julie. Erik and Nathan had plans one day in 1998, but when Erik arrived to pick Nathan up, Julie answered the door and said Nathan had to stay home. Nathan came up from behind and hit his mother over the head with a fireplace iron, then used it to strangle her. Erik thought about running and notifying authorities but instead stayed and helped clean up the blood and wrap the body in a rug. Nathan testified that Erik took no part in the killing, but prosecutors charged Erik with felony murder. Erik and Nathan were both sentenced to life without parole. If Dietrick Mitchell, Nathan Ybanez and Erik Jensen live to age 70 and die behind bars, Colorado taxpayers will pay more than $6 million to keep them locked away, according to an estimate by the Rocky Mountain News. “Life without parole negates what most people believe about childhood, that a person is growing and can change and needs support to make those changes,” says Alison Parker, the senior researcher for Human Rights Watch who authored the report. “We’re not saying open the prison doors. We’re saying, ‘Why not take a second look?’ We have procedures in place that show whom should be given a second chance.” Youth who had been given the death penalty were given a second chance of sorts late last year, when the U.S. Supreme Court declared the death penalty for juveniles unconstitutional in Roper v. Simmons. MRI brain research and the basic fact that adolescents are inherently different from adults played a part in the decision. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy noted that immaturity, by definition, can mean acting irresponsibly and being highly susceptible to negative peer pressure. Justice Kennedy concluded, “Even a heinous crime committed by a juvenile” is not “evidence of irretrievably depraved character.’’ Pat Jensen, Erik’s mother, wants the courts to apply those insights into adolescent behavior to youth serving life without parole.
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“Erik had no priors, he’d never hurt anyone,” she says. “I absolutely say Erik should have been charged and convicted for what he did, but he absolutely shouldn’t be serving life without parole. He was a stupid kid who made a stupid mistake. You hope a kid can pay for it and move on and be a better person. But not these days, not with these sentencing laws.” ai
Amnesty International expresses its sincere gratitude to attorney David Berger and his firm O’Melveny and Myers LLP for his enormous contributions in researching and preparing this report in his capacity as pro bono counsel to the organization. To read a transcript of his online chat with AIUSA members: amnestyusa.org/countries/usa
Fight Juvenile Life Without Parole The recently released report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, The Rest of Their Lives: Life Without Parole for Child Offenders in the United States, is the first-ever study of youth offenders sentenced to life without parole in the United States. Drawing on unique data analysis and hundreds of letters and interviews, this report presents the history of the life without parole sentence, explores the rate and prevalence of its use nationwide and state by state, and examines the backgrounds of youth serving the sentence as well as their experiences in adult prison. AI needs your help to pass new state laws to hold children accountable without LWOP sentences.
ACT » Please write to your state legislators asking them to repeal laws that sentence offenders 18 and younger to life without parole, and ask your governor to review clemency applications of all child offenders sentenced to life without parole and commute their sentences to terms of years or grant clemency. For government directories: firstgov.gov
ACTION ALERT The following actions give you an opportunity to get directly involved with Amnesty International's ongoing work. Please write appeals on these cases within a month of receiving this magazine. All letters should be courteous and accurately specify the facts of each case. Under no circumstances should you write to any prisoner mentioned. For our most current actions and to sign up for email action alerts, visit the Online Action Center. You can make a difference. takeaction.amnestyusa.org »COLOMBIA
Protect Human Rights Defenders n Oct. 6, 2004, less than a month after Colombia’s official Human Rights Day, paramilitaries shot to death human rights defender Teresa Yarce in front of one of her daughters near their home. Yarce and her peers at the Asociacíon de Mujeres de las Independencias (AMI), a non-governmental organization in Medellín, had been actively denouncing paramilitary forces for killings and other gross human rights abuses in areas of army control, especially in the Communa XIII district of Medellín. Human rights activist Teresa Yarce was killed In retaliation, security forces promptly detained by a paramilitary in Yarce along with her colleagues, Maria del Sorocco October 2004. Mosquera and Mery del Sorocco Naranjo on Nov. 12, 2002. Authorities soon released them but initiated numerous criminal investigations, alleging that the women were involved in guerilla activities. Yarce, a vocal critic of local corruption that siphoned off funds earmarked for public services, was due to testify against a paramilitary leader just hours
before she was killed. Other AMI human rights activists, especially Yarce’s AMI colleagues, have been receiving constant threats, and Amnesty International considers them to be in grave danger.
ACT » Write to the Colombian government, urging officials to ensure the safety of human rights defenders in Medellín and initiate full investigations into the killing of Teresa Yarce and threats against AMI members. Appeals to: President of the Republic of Colombia/ Presidente de la República de Colombia/ Dr. Álvaro Uribe Vélez/ Palacio de Nariño/ Carrera 8. No 7-26/ Bogotá/ Colombia and Minister of Foreign Affairs/Ministra de Relaciones Exteriores/Dra.María Carolina Barco Isakson/ Calle 10 No.5-51/Palacio de San Carlos/ Bogotá/Colombia. Postage: $0.80.
Support Treaty for the Rights of Women through National Week of Student Action arch is Women’s History Month in the United States, a time to consider the gains American women have made and the obstacles they still face. The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) represents both victory and challenge; the United States has signed the treaty, but the current administration has it under “review” and the Senate has not moved to ratify it. Most of the rest of the world has ratified this treaty—180 countries in all. The Treaty for the Rights of Women, as it is known, is a “women’s bill of rights.” The treaty provides effective reporting and review mechanisms to ensure equal access to educational, economic and political opportunities. It also lends muscle to global efforts to stop trafficking, slavery, honor killings and other forms of violence against women. In the United States, CEDAW could help improve conditions for women and families, especially the 3 million women who suffer from domestic violence each year. While some indicators—such as literacy rates—place U.S. women near the top of the charts, others reveal that progress has been wildly inconsistent. Women comprise only 15 percent of elected officials in the United States, a figure that puts it far below many developing nations, including Rwanda, Viet Nam and Pakistan. U.S. ratification would help address such inequities and give CEDAW an added boost around the world. Amnesty International’s National Week of Student Action will mobilize thousands of activists across the country to help educate communities and officials about the Treaty for the Rights of Women. Working in coalition with more than 170 other organizations, Amnesty is part of the movement to seek U.S. ratification of CEDAW.
ACT U.S. women would also benefit from the ratification of the treaty.
» To join students in the National Week of Student Action: amnestyusa.org/nwsa
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ARTS & CULTURE Nadine Gordimer Reads The Witness to AIDS
he Witness to AIDS is written by a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa, the highest legal authority below the Constitutional Court. The “witness” is Justice Edwin Cameron, the first individual in any prominent public position to declare that he has contracted AIDS. There are many claims to truth in human existence. One definition beyond question is that of facing reality for humanity’s sake, as Cameron does. In his words, “I am an African living with AIDS. I form part of nearly 5 million South Africans who
have the virus. I speak not as an onlooker.” He writes with the objectivity of a judge and the “somber passion” (his words) of the truth. His words expose how much of the world that professes democracy denies or deals with the truth of the pandemic illness—not only as a manifestation of physical suffering, but as a reflection of race and sex stigmas. This book, though bravely personal, is not a confession. It’s a text to live by, if we aspire to the right to have a full life for all in the world threatened by HIV/AIDS.
Political novelist Nadine Gordimer received the 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature and the 1974 Booker Prize. Of her 22 novels, three were once banned in her native South Africa.
Oscar Torres Reads The Massacre of El Mozote
I Michael Gaouette Reads The Ambiguous Genocide
erard Prunier, an established researcher and writer on East African issues, has put together a timely book about the terrible war in Darfur that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and rages unabated today. The book sweeps through the history of the region, chronicling hundreds of years of political developments, population movements and exploitation by unscrupulous central powers and external interests—some next door in Chad, Libya or Egypt and some worlds away in Europe. But Prunier does not write looking backward. He is more polemical advocate than historian, and his cause here is to ascribe responsibility for the death and destruction of the last two and one-half years. In his mind, it is clear who the real villains of this terri-
ble drama are; according to Prunier, many of them hold senior positions in the government of Sudan and see violence, even with genocidal consequences, as an acceptable means of remaining in power. Prunier also scorns rich and powerful countries, including the United States, for confused and ambivalent policies that have allowed the violence to continue and Khartoum-based elites to manipulate the situation to their advantage, with terrible consequences for Darfur. This bleak little book ends by asking whether those responsible for the violence will get away with it in the long run. The answer must be no, and history will judge. The more pressing question—still unanswered—is how to stop the violence now.
Michael Gaouette is senior political affairs officer at the United Nations. He most recently visited Darfur, Sudan, in December.
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n a remote corner of El Salvador, investigators uncovered the remains of a horrible massacre—a crime that Washington had long denied. The villagers of El Mozote had the misfortune of finding themselves in the path of the Salvadoran Army’s anti-Communist crusade and top-ranking U.S. forces. The Massacre of El Mozote stands as a central parable of the Cold War. The author, Mark Danner, is an American journalist who writes for the New York Times and the New Yorker. His account of the 1981 massacre begins months prior to its occurrence and continues into the months that followed it, exploring the cover-ups by The U.S. and Salvadoran governments and the aftermath for the survivors. This book is written by an American journalist whose only agenda is to reveal the truth. It opens our eyes to the atrocities that humans are capable of and the pain and suffering that we are still inflicting upon each other at this very moment. Oscar Torres wrote and co-produced Innocent Voices, a film depicting how he survived the 12-year civil war in El Salvador. He escaped alone to the United States in 1985 at age 13, and against all odds he was eventually reunited with his mother and three siblings.
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