Economic and Human Rights :

Water

WESPAC promotes Economic Justice through promoting fair trade year round and helping to organize the annual Margaret Eberle Fair Trade Festival in White Plains. We also partner with the Wassaic Community Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) http://wassaiccommunityfarm.com. WESPAC is an active member of the Hudson Valley Fair Economy Coalition that meets monthly at the Union Hall in Port Chester, and we have taken a lead role in promoting a public bank for the State of New York. To get involved, please contact the office at 914.449.6514 or by email at [email protected]

IADL: U.S. sanctions targeting International Criminal Court are an outrage against international justice

See the statement on our website:
https://iadllaw.org/2020/09/iadl-u-s-sanctions-targeting-international-criminal-court-are-an-outrage-against-international-justice/

On 2 September 2020, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the imposition of sanctions on Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and prosecution jurisdiction director for authorizing such an investigation, including war crimes committed by U.S. forces, for which U.S. officials bear responsibility.  These sanctions were based on a declaration by U.S. President Trump of a national emergency on this subject in June of 2020. 

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) rejects as outrageous these sanctions on senior prosecution officials of the International Criminal Court.  IADL will be investigating the best ways to challenge these sanctions.

The United States has for some time claimed that it is exempt from the laws which bind the rest of the world, seeking permanent international impunity for itself.   The United States openly seeks to evade international accountability for its responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the world, not only by refusing to join the Court but by U.S. President Trump declaring that the potential for an ICC investigation into international crimes in the war in Afghanistan is a “national emergency.”

That the International Criminal Court prosecutors are investigating the United States can be declared a “national emergency” makes a mockery of the word “emergency”. 

Of course, such an investigation follows the United States’ illegal invasion and military occupation of Iraq after years of devastating sanctions, torture of prisoners, and devastation of the country that led directly and indirectly to the deaths of millions of Iraqis. The United States continues to illegally occupy Afghanistan, having killed and wounded thousands of Afghans over nearly 20 years of ongoing military attacks, while continuing drone strikes, extrajudicial killings and other war crimes and crimes against humanity around the world.

It must further be noted that this also comes in response to the Prosecutor’s approval of an investigation into Israeli war crimes in Palestine, about which the U.S. and Israel have exerted tremendous pressure on both Palestinian and international actors in an effort to uphold permanent impunity for ongoing Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity. It further follows the submission of a complaint by Middlesex University law professor William Schabas against Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump adviser Jared Kushner before the ICC for their support of illegal Israeli colonial settlement activities in the West Bank of occupied Palestine.

The ICC was established in order to prevent serious crimes against civilians and put an end to impunity when domestic law does not or cannot provide a remedy.  For years, the bulk of ICC actions were directed at African officials, even in relatively weak cases. The US imposed sanctions are an attempt to prevent the ICC from performing a truly international or universal role, since any such court or judicial project must be able to hold the U.S. and its allies accountable for their crimes.

Sixty-seven member countries of the ICC have issued a joint statement expressing their support for the Court as an independent and impartial judicial institution, and 10 members of the UN Security Council have done the same. It is incumbent upon all States Parties to the Rome Statute act to defend the Court and address these latest threats to the international rule of law by the United States. We further call on the UN General Assembly to condemn these U.S. actions.

It must be noted as well that these sanctions come amid the ongoing use of unilateral coercive measures, in violation of international law and the United Nations charter, by the U.S. government; for example, against Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Syria, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Zimbabwe. These unilateral coercive measures are a form of economic warfare and an attempt to impose regime change upon any country that rejects the dictates of the United States, and the sanctions on individual ICC prosecutors fit precisely into this framework. 

The IADL rejects the US attempt to suppress international justice and any form of accountability for U.S. and Israeli officials through direct economic attack and the threat of criminal prosecution against victims and their advocates simply for pursuing justice.

We affirm that this announcement will not chill our efforts to hold U.S. officials and their allies, including Israeli officials, accountable and to support our members and colleagues working to do so in a variety of forums and venues, especially the International Criminal Court. 

9 September 2020

Beinart:

 “Well I think ultimately the right of a refugee return, not just to the West Bank but also to Israel proper. Now, one of the ways Land for All thinks about that, is through a notion of those Palestinians refugees remaining, being citizens of a Palestinian state based in West Bank and Gaza, even as they live in Israel proper, right? While Israeli settlers stay in the West Bank and retain their Israeli citizenship. Right, so this is where a confederation model could work. But I do think that the way a two-state solution has been conceived by some people, which is essentially to say, virtually no right of refugee Palestinian return to areas inside Israel proper – I have come to the view that I think that would be unlikely to be that effective of a solution. And I also think that we have to really have a conversation about the morality of telling… we are a people who for 2000 years have prayed every morning since the creation of modern liturgy, for a return to this land – how do we tell people who grew up in a place, that they don’t have the right to return to that place? So I think that one of the reasons that I would favor a confederation model over a two-state model, if I had to choose between the two at this point, is that I think it creates more opportunity for meeting people’s legitimate rights to have the option of returning. That does not mean going to someone’s house and kicking them out of their home. And I don’t think it’s the way most Palestinians I know think about it. But it means maybe compensation and it means having the right to return to the city where you were born. I mean again, one of the things that comes across to anyone who spends time with Palestinian writing and learns from the Palestinian experience, is the enormous power and the importance for people of being able to go back to places that were precious to them. And one of the things that I find appealing about the confederation model, even if one doesn’t go fully towards the one-state model, is it provides some way of realizing that. And I am saddened that in our Jewish discourse, that we are people who take so much pride in our ability to remember, to not forget, and to hold sacred memory and to try to fulfil it, are so dismissive of that when it comes to Palestinians”.     Read full article here: https://mondoweiss.net/2020/07/peter-beinart-and-the-palestinian-right-of-return/

“Children in Detention, an introduction to the No Way to Treat a Child Campaign” was originally recorded on June 16, 2020.

58 minutes
https://www.classwars.org/NoWayTreatChild.mp3

Panelists: Kwame Holmes, PhD, Scholar in Residence, Human Rights Program, Bard College, AND Shaina Low, U.S. Advocacy Officer at Defense for Children International, Palestine.

Permission to air this program has been granted by the four sponsoring groups, Jewish Voice For Peace – Hudson Valley, Mideast Crisis Response, Veterans For Peace, and Women in Black – New Paltz.

The Antiracist Alliance, WCPR, the local chapter of NYCLU as well as WESPAC have worked together to put together this letter. We are asking for additional organizations, groups and congregations to please add your names if you support our list of specific reforms outlined in the letter. Now is the moment. If you agree, please sign on here June 5, 2020

A Call to Police Leaders

Communities across the country, including our own, are angered and appalled as we witness an unending stream of callous, disrespectful, and often deadly encounters between police and civilians. While many of these events occur elsewhere, both individual experience and published research reports tell us that there is not a community in Westchester County that is not afflicted by disturbing police-civilian encounters, racially biased policing practices, and a problematic lack of transparency by its law enforcement agencies. 

This is a call for you to make a firm and public commitment to transparency, accountability, and a zero-tolerance approach to police misconduct. 

While we are wary after decades of refusals to reform, we remain willing to partner with our law enforcement leaders who embrace the tenets of accountability, transparency, equal justice, and respect for all human life. 

Below you will find a list of specific reforms that we wish to see implemented immediately here in Westchester. Achieving these recommendations will send a strong message to all members of our community that our leaders are committed to fundamentally redefining the relationship between our police department and our community. This is tough work, but if we commit to it, we can build a stronger community: one that is rooted in the fundamental ideals of liberty and justice for all.

In peace and commitment to partnership for the safety of all,

Residents and organizations of Westchester County (list is still in formation):

AntiRacist Alliance 

Black Westchester

Blacks in Law Enforcement

CD17 Indivisible

Indivisible New Rochelle

Indivisible Scarsdale 

Indivisible Westchester Districts 6 & 7

Indivisible White Plains

Indivisible Yorktown Heights

Larchmont/Mamaroneck Indivisible

NYCD16-Indivisible

PISAB/The People’s Institute; for Survival and Beyond NY/Northeast

SURJ Westchester Coordinating Committee

WESPAC

Westchester Black Political Conference

Westchester Coalition Against Islamophobia

Westchester Coalition for Police Reform

Westchester for Change 

Westchester Martin Luther King Jr. Institute for Nonviolence

OUR EXPECTATIONS

We expect you, as leaders with authority and responsibility for law enforcement in Westchester County, to assume full responsibility for meeting the highest possible standard of accountability, transparency and equal protection to all residents and visitors to our county. Our specific expectations are detailed below. 

  • Make publicly available the current policies and patrol guides of all law enforcement agencies under County jurisdiction, including but not limited to policies on: de-escalation tactics, implicit bias, use of force, department diversity, enforcement of low-level offenses, field interviews, search and seizure, use of surveillance technology, and the penalties for violating these policies.

  • Make public the training materials used for police officers: including hours spent training on de-escalation, implicit bias, and use of force. 

  • Commit to collecting comprehensive data on all police stops – including the rationale for the stop and the race, ethnicity, age, and sex of people stopped – and making that data publicly available. 

  • Pass legislation/Require officers making police stops to provide an identification card, state the reason for the interaction, and to state that you may not be searched without your consent without probable cause. 

  • Pass legislation/Require a full, independent investigation into any police-civilian interaction that results in civilian injury or death. 

  • Advocate for legislation that would make the measures outlined above mandatory throughout New York State, including Repeal 50-a, (the law which currently cloaks police officers’ disciplinary records in secrecy), the Right-to-Know Act, which requires officer identification during police stops, and the Police-STAT Act, which requires that police departments collect and report data on police stops so that they can be monitored for patterns of racial profiling.

 We remain committed to working to advance racial justice and hold our police officers accountable, and we invite you to join us in this fight.

PANEL DISCUSSION
Police, ICE and Immigrant Safety in Westchester County


Tuesday, October 22nd at 6pm • Yonkers Riverfront Library • 1 Larkin Center in Yonkers, NY 10701

PANELISTS

Joseph Castelli
Police Chief, White Plains Police Department

John J. Mueller
Acting Police Commissioner, Yonkers Police Department

Richard Conway
Chief of Police, Port Chester Village

Jessica Young, Esq.
Westchester Supervising Attorney, Make the Road New York

Diana Sanchez
Yonkers Sanctuary Movement

Vanessa Agudelo (moderator)
Peekskill Trustee & New York Immigration Coalition

For more information, contact:
914-222-3244 • wcprny.org [email protected]

Is Westchester Ready for Police Accountability?

Saturday, June 30th at 5pm (refreshments starting at 4:30pm)
The Rev. Shelton Doles Community Center Theater
250 South Sixth Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10550

Join Bridge to Africa 360, African Family Unity Forum and the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform for a community conversation about the value of civilian oversight of law enforcement as well as an update on the status of the Mount Vernon Civilian Review Board and the Right to Know Act that is gaining momentum around New York State.

Panelists include:

  • Mount Vernon City Council member Delia Farquharson
  • Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Shawn Harris (invited)
  • Panel moderator is Mount Vernon CCRB Steering Cte member Geoff Munroe

This event is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the Mount Vernon Recreation Department.

For all details please visit: https://www.westchestersocialforum.org/

https://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/506/separate-and-unequal

Hi Nada,

 
Thank you for helping to spread the word about Good Food Farmers – we really appreciate it!
 
Please feel free to be in touch with any questions!
 
Many thanks, 
Hilary
 
 
————-

 
Good Food Farmers Network is comprised of small-scale and beginning farmers anchored by more experienced growers committed to regenerative agriculture. We work hard to produce and deliver the best quality foods grown with the highest standards of care for the earth and all who inhabit it. We welcome your support and the opportunity to grow food for you!
 
 
A few Good Food Farmers highlights: 
  • We are farmer-owned and farmer-led – a farmer cooperative in essence but not quite structured that way yet – all purchases directly support our farms. 
  • Our commitment to producing and delivering good food is unwavering. All our foods are incredibly fresh, grown and harvested with great care, and produced without pesticideswithout synthetic fertilizerswithout genetically modified organisms, and with the highest degree of animal welfare and environmental stewardship
  • You pay by the week (there’s a $45 order minimum to help make sure we’re covering our delivery costs), and you can cancel if needed. 
  • You can put your delivery on hold anytime, whether you’re going out of town or simply feel overwhelmed by the bounty of the seasons. 
  • When you sign up, you pick a Farmer’s Choice default bag. Each week, we choose items for the default bags based on what’s looking good in the fields. We announce the items in the Weekly e-Newsletter sent out on Fridays each week. If you do nothing, you will receive the default bag. But, you can also log-in to your online account and completely customize your order if desired. We have 35+ items available each week during the winter months and 65+ items during the main growing season, so there’s lots of flexibility to build a bag that suits you. About half of our members choose to customize, and about half choose to get the default bag, often remarking that they like the mix of seasonal items and don’t want to bother customizing. Either way, it’s up to you! The order deadline for holds and customizing is Sunday nights at 11:59 pm.
  • We deliver to Mt. Kisco each week with pickup at the Khader Center available each Wednesday from 10 am to 6 pm. We also offer home and office delivery in some parts of lower Westchester from Pelham to White Plains and neighborhoods in between. 
  • For more details, feel free to visit our GFF website.
  • To join, you can go directly to the GFF online store.
  • You can also check out our Crop Plan (pdf) to get a sense for what we offer throughout the year, though crop plans are always subject to weather, pests, and other farming factors!
 
Thank you for your interest, and we are happy to answer any questions whether technical or simply to learn more about us and all of our farms. Please feel free to be in touch! 
 
– Hilary, on behalf of all your Good Food Farmers
 
 
Hilary Corsun
Dog Wood Farm 
& GFF Coordinator
518-821-4282 farm office
c/o Dog Wood Farm, 85 Hartigan Road, Old Chatham, NY 12136
 
 
Good Food Farmers is farmer-owned and works to support sustainable agriculture and small-scale and beginning farmers by delivering good food into the hands of more people. 

New York’s top prosecutors, public defenders and advocates are rightly speaking out against a pernicious Trump administration policy that encourages Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to roam the halls of state courthouses with the goal of targeting and arresting immigrants attending to official court business.

As documented by the Immigrant Defense Project, there was a 1,100% increase in incidence of ICE courthouse arrests in New York in 2017 from the previous year.

Immigrants are now afraid to attend court in any capacity — as defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses, victims or supportive family members. This impedes justice.

New York is not helpless in the face of President Trump’s harsh immigration enforcement machine. We believe that courthouse arrests are not only bad policy — they are also unconstitutional. Therefore, we urge the state’s top judicial official, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, and the Office of Court Administration she leads to immediately adopt rules to restrict these civil arrests in New York’s courthouses.

“Everyone, regardless of their immigration status or the status of their loved ones, should have access to equal justice under the law,” state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in speaking out against courthouse arrests.

It’s not a platitude. The principle that equal justice requires access to court dates back to 18th century common law, which barred civil arrests for people attending court. In more recent iterations, the Supreme Court has recognized that the Constitution requires that “access to the courts is adequate, effective and meaningful.”

ICE’s policy of intimidation in effect closes the courthouse doors to immigrants. This not only tramples their rights — the Constitution isn’t only for citizens — but also infringes on the rights of people who may require immigrant witnesses in court to effectively present their cases.

 Federal immigration enforcement officials claim that courthouse arrests are necessary for safety and efficiency, but this reflects a shortsighted view of what public safety means. The reality is that when immigrants are afraid to show up in court, our city becomes less safe.

New York City is home to 3.3 million immigrants, who, even if they have legal status, may fear the presence of ICE officers.

Our courts cannot function when 40% of our population believes that if they show up, they may suddenly be dragged off in handcuffs to face unrelated deportation proceedings.

New York must no longer let its justice system be used as a hunting ground. State courts throughout the nation, including in New York, routinely implement rules to ensure order and access to justice for litigants and witnesses. New York should implement rules like those proposed by the Immigrant Defense Project and others, which would flatly prohibit civil arrests in the courthouse unless the arresting officer has a judicial warrant or order, and prevent court resources from being used to assist ICE.

Rules like these are important, timely uses of courts’ longstanding authority to regulate judicial spaces. While the public nature of the courthouses is often held as sacrosanct, this has never meant that those who visit them are free from regulation. On the contrary, the New York State Court of Appeals has repeatedly recognized “the inherent power of the court to preserve order and decorum in the courtroom, to protect the rights of parties and witnesses, and generally to further the administration of justice.”

New York courts have accordingly upheld rules restricting the courthouse presence of bail bondsmen, the press and even the general public when necessary to prevent interference with proceedings and prejudice to litigants. The disruption and chilling effect of courthouse arrests surely meets the same standard.

The fact that a rule restricting civil arrests in courthouses would apply to a law enforcement agency, and a federal one at that, does nothing to diminish New York courts’ authority in this respect. In fact, many courts have adopted rules, such as restrictions on carrying firearms, that regulate law enforcement officers’ conduct within courthouses.

As long as ICE threatens the sanctity of our state courthouses, New York has an obligation to push back — to ensure meaningful access to justice for all those who may have concerns about their immigration status, but rely on our courts to vindicate their rights to protection, child custody, housing and a fair defense in criminal proceedings.

Ultimately, New York not only has the authority to prevent this threat to the administration of justice in its courts, it has a duty to do so for the many New Yorkers who depend on them.

Morawetz is a professor of clinical law at NYU School of Law. Nash is a visiting assistant clinical professor of law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.