Thursday, December 29, 2016

Dear Naresh, As the year comes to an end

Elisa Massimino, Human Rights First on Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:07:51 Add to address bookTo: You

“Human Rights First – American Ideals. Universal Values.”
Dear Naresh,
As the year comes to an end and we reflect on our accomplishments, I am deeply grateful for your partnership and support of Human Rights First. In a year filled with bitter partisanship and lots of noise, together we made a difference. Let’s celebrate these achievements, even as we gear up for the challenges ahead!
Here are the real-world outcomes we achieved this year with your support:
President Obama issued a public report setting out the legal and policy framework for counterterrorism operations. Throughout the Obama Administration we pushed for it to set out—in public and in a single document—all the rules that govern the U.S. approach to countering terrorism. This reporting now helps define the rules of the road for the next administration.
The Obama Administration met its goal to bring 10,000 desperate Syrian refugees to safety and resettle more than 85,000 refugees total. Through a series of reports based on missions to Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan and persistent advocacy with the administration and Congress, we kept up the pressure that was instrumental in meeting this meager goal. Working alongside some of the nation’s most prominent national security experts, retired military leaders, and former government officials, we succeeded in making the case that reaching this goal was not only the right thing to do, but was essential to American security. We will be mobilizing these partners again in 2017 to advocate for vulnerable refugees who are increasingly caught in the crosshairs of our nation’s politics.
Defeated an effort to eliminate the United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Created by the U.N. Human Rights Council to investigate bias-motivated acts of violence and discrimination against LGBT people around the world, the position of Independent Expert came under attack this year. We fought to make sure the U.N. General Assembly voted to keep it.
Stopped legislation that would have shut down the resettlement of refugees from Syria and Iraq. At a time when the world is facing the largest refugee crisis since WWII, the so-called “American SAFE Act” was a disgraceful effort to block the protection of vulnerable people—including women and children—fleeing the very terrorist groups our country is fighting. Our efforts—including rallying a stunning array of former cabinet officials and national security experts from both parties—were instrumental in killing the bill. Sadly, we expect continued attempts to bar refugees from the United States next year, and we are gearing up to fight them.
Extended the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program and increased the number of visas available for wartime allies seeking protection in the United States. Working in partnership with veterans, we secured an increase in the number of visas available for the translators, engineers, security guards, embassy clerks, logisticians, cultural advisors, and soldiers who have risked their lives alongside American military personnel. In 2017 we will continue to work with veterans through our new Veterans for American Ideals project to make sure our country does not abandon those whose lives are at risk because they helped us.
Secured more funding for global anti-slavery programs. The scourge of modern day slavery robs an estimated 21 million men, women, and children around the world of their rights and freedom. It’s an atrocity—and it’s also a wildly lucrative business, producing $150 billion in profits for the perpetrators. Along with a powerful and diverse coalition, we helped pass the End Modern Slavery Act that will spur investment to hold slave traders and their accomplices accountable for this horrific crime.
Blocked the holding of children in immigration detention facilities in Pennsylvania and Texas. A Texas judge blocked the issuance of licenses for family immigration detention facilities in Karnes and Dilley, Texas, noting that the facilities are ineligible for childcare facility licenses. Similarly, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services did not renew the childcare operating license for the Berks County family detention center. We will continue to work to protect the rights of vulnerable asylum seekers.
We know we will face enormous—perhaps unprecedented—challenges in the coming year. But we know how to win. Together, we get the job done. Please donate today to join us in the fight to defend American ideals and universal values in 2017.
Elisa Massimino
President and Chief Executive Officer
On human rights, the United States must be a beacon. America is strongest when our policies and actions match our values.
Human Rights First - American Ideals. Universal Values.
Human Rights First is an independent advocacy and action organization that challenges America to live up to its ideals. We believe American leadership is essential in the struggle for human rights so we press the U.S. government and private companies to respect human rights and the rule of law. When they don’t, we step in to demand reform, accountability and justice. Around the world, we work where we can best harness American influence to secure core freedoms.
Human Rights First
New York: 75 Broad Street, 31st Floor, New York, NY 10004
Washington: 805 15th Street, NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20005
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Surge in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) by 9.3% in November 2016

India registered a 9.3% growth in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in the month of November 2016 compared to November 2015.

During November 2016, a cumulative of 8.91 lakh foreign tourists arrived compared to 8.16 lakh and 7.65 lakh during the same period in 2015 and 2014, respectively.
During January- November 2016, a cumulative of 78.53 lakh tourists arrived as compared to 71.14 lakh during January-November 2015, registering a growth of  10.4% .
Top 15 source countries of FTAs in India during  November, 2016 (in %)
                                   Source: PHD Research Bureau; Compiled from Ministry of Tourism
Majority of the Foreign tourists arrived from USA (15.53%) followed by UK (11.21%), Bangladesh (10.72%), Canada (4.66%), Russian Fed (4.53%), Australia (4.04%), Malaysia (3.65%), Germany (3.53%),  China (3.14%), France (2.88%),      Sri Lanka (2.49%), Japan (2.49%), Singapore (2.16%), Nepal (1.46%) and Thailand (1.37%). 

Top 15 ports in tourist arrivals during  November, 2016  (in %)
Source: PHD Research Bureau; Compiled from Ministry of Tourism
Indian ports attracted majority of the Foreign tourists were Delhi Airport (32.71%) followed by Mumbai Airport (18.51%), Chennai Airport (6.83%), Bengaluru Airport (5.89%), Haridaspur Land check post (5.87%), Goa Airport (5.63%), Kolkata Airport (3.90%), Cochin Airport (3.29%), Hyderabad Airport (3.14%),  Ahmadabad Airport (2.76%), Trivandrum Airport (1.54%), Trichy Airport (1.53%), Gede Rail (1.16%), Amritsar Airport (1.15%), and Ghojadanga land check post (0.82%)
India registered a 12% growth in Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism in the month of November 2016 compared to November 2015.

India’s foreign exchange earnings through tourism stood at USD 2.14 billion in November 2016 as compared to USD 1.912 billion and USD 1.853 billion during November 2015 and November 2014, respectively.
Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism in USD terms during January- November, 2016 were USD 20.671 billion with a growth of 9.1% as compared to the USD 18.945 billion with a growth 4.3% during January November, 2015 over January- November,  2014.


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Govt. of India accountable for Najeeb’s continued ‘disappearance’
NAPM condemns institutional impunity to right-wing hooligans in university-educational spaces and increasing repression of politically-articulate students from marginalized communities
27th December, 2016: The National Alliance of People’s Movements condemns the criminal delay and silence of the Government of India, Delhi Police and JNU administration on the ‘disappearance’ of Najeeb Ahmad from 15th October, 2016 following a reported physical attack on him by members of the ABVP, widely known as the ‘student-face’ of the right-wing BJP. The deliberate defensive tactics, delay and gaps in investigating his ‘disappearance’ from the JNU campus, only confirm the allegations that the administration and police did not find it necessary to pull up the ABVP members immediately after the incident, so that Najeeb’s whereabouts could have been known long ago. The recent campus searches after 2.5 months of delay, with lie-detector tests and sniffer dogs, only after the Delhi High Court’s tough intervention is clearly a case of too little, too late, that too with no arrests being made and none of the prime accused actually interrogated, nor their houses and ‘addas’ searched..
Our heart goes out to Najeeb’s family and friends, particularly to his mother Fatima Nafees and sister – who have been facing this torture of waiting endlessly for their beloved Najeeb and have been braving the police, dharnas in the winter cold, with the hope that Najeeb would be back and fine. As the students rightly ask, when the police immediately swung into full action to arrest Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and others what made them wait for 2 good months in this case? Why did the investigation not start from Day 1? At least, after the repeated demands, protests and repression on students? At least after Fatima Bi was ruthlessly dragged on the streets of Delhi?  The delay is inexplicable, criminal.
In the past 2 + months, the Delhi police (‘kathputhis’ in the hands of a right-wing sarkaar) did everything it could to quell the questioning of Najeeb’s whereabouts. The JNU admin’s soft-pedaling on ABVP is amply exposed by mere ‘admonition’ and simple hostel transfers and also by the brazen refusal of some of its members to even undergo the lie-detector tests, thereby committing contempt of court! Considering the extreme seriousness of the matter and the recalcitrance of the state apparatus and JNU administration, we urge the Delhi High Court to take up the case immediately (pre-pone the next hearing which is now due on 23rd Jan, 2017), summon and interrogate all the concerned ABVP students, some of who are on ‘vacations’ and take strict action, as required by law.
Sadly, the JNU VC and administration which is expected to be at the forefront to find out Najeeb seems to be moving in the opposite direction – refusing to even register an FIR and providing institutional impunity to the ABVP, coming down heavily on peaceful students’ protests, increasing ‘surveillance’, banning protests at Admin Block etc . We also condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent suspension of 12 students (most of who are from dalit, muslim, OBC communities) for questioning the various arbitrary measures in the University including fee hike and demanding revocation of an unjust UGC rule which makes ‘interviews’ the sole criteria for admissions. We fear that this pattern of the University criminalizing democratic student protests and shielding the law-breakers of the right wing is most ominous and dangerous for the intellectual independence of our higher schools of learning.
Najeeb’s case, which is another extension of Rohit Vemula’s is a stark reminder of the grim state of Indian University campuses, where the very safety and security of students, especially of those from the dalit, adivasi, minority communities as well as women and trans students is a constant source of concern, more so when they fearlessly hold and articulate progressive political opinions. NAPM stands in full solidarity with Najeeb’s mother, sister and the entire student community in these trying times and not only acknowledges their tireless and valiant questioning of “Where is Najeeb” ?, but hopes that we would find a positive answer to this question very soon and the culprits would be brought to book. This would, probably, be the best new year gift to Najeeb’s mother, who has been pining for him for the past 75 days and has even decided to begin an indefinite fast from 1st January, 2017 if Najeeb is not brought back.
Endorsed by: 
National Team of Advisors, Convenors and Special Invitees of NAPM
NAPM: Advisors and Special Invitees
Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy,  Prafulla Samantara, Binayak Sen, Sandeep Pandey, Sudhir Vombatkere, Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan, CR Neelakandan, Anand Mazgaonkar,  P. Chennaiah, Ramakrishnam Raju,  Sister Celia,  Suniti S R, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Anjali Bharadwaj, 
Kavita Srivastava
Arundhati Dhuru, Kaladas Dahariya,
National Conveners: 2016-2018

  1. Amitava Mitra, West Bengal
  2. Arul Doss, Tamil Nadu
  3. Ashish Ranjan, Bihar
  4. Dayamani Barla, Jharkhand
  5. Dr. Sunilam, Madhya Pradesh
  6. Faisal Khan, NCR & Haryana
  7. Kailash Meena, Rajasthan
  8. Krishnakant, Gujarat
  9. Lingraj Azad, Orissa
  10. Madhuresh Kumar, Delhi
  11. Manesh Gupta, Uttar Pradesh
  12. Mahendra Yadav, Bihar
  13. Meera Sanghamitra, Telangana
  14. Nanu Prasad, Delhi
  15. Rajendra Ravi, Delhi
  16. Richa Singh, Uttar Pradesh
  17. Sister  Dorothy, Bihar
  18. Suhas Kolhekar, Mahasrashtra
  19. Vilayodi Venugopal, Kerala
  20. Vimal Bhai, Uttarakhand

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