Tag Archives: United Nations

Statement From Chelsea Manning’s Legal Team: Ms. Manning is Recovering in Hospital, Scheduled to Appear in Court Friday

Statement From Chelsea Manning’s Legal Team: Ms. Manning is Recovering in Hospital, Scheduled to Appear in Court Friday

Alexandria, VA — On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, Chelsea Manning attempted to take her own life. She was taken to a hospital and is currently recovering. 

Ms. Manning is still scheduled to appear on Friday for a previously-calendared hearing, at which Judge Anthony Trenga will rule on a motion to terminate the civil contempt sanctions stemming from her May, 2019 refusal to give testimony before a grand jury investigating the publication of her 2010 disclosures. 

In spite of those sanctions — which have so far included over a year of so-called “coercive” incarceration and nearly half a million dollars in threatened fines — she remains unwavering in her refusal to participate in a secret grand jury process that she sees as highly susceptible to abuse.   

Ms. Manning has previously indicated that she will not betray her principles, even at risk of grave harm to herself. 

Writing in a 2019 letter to Judge Trenga, Ms. Manning said: “I object to this grand jury … as an effort to frighten journalists and publishers, who serve a crucial public good. I have had these values since I was a child, and I’ve had years of confinement to reflect on them. For much of that time, I depended for survival on my values, my decisions, and my conscience. I will not abandon them now.” 

Her actions today evidence the strength of her convictions, as well as the profound harm she continues to suffer as a result of her ‘civil’ confinement — a coercive practice that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, recently said violates international law. 

Prior to her current incarceration, Ms. Manning served seven years in a military prison under unusually difficult conditions, including eleven months of solitary confinement. 

For more information about Chelsea’s ongoing legal situation visit: https://ReleaseChelsea.com

Read Chelsea’s letter to Judge Anthony Trenga HERE

Read more about the UN Rapporteur on Torture’s letter calling for her release HERE

Those interested can send letters and words of encouragement to Chelsea at the following mailing address:    

Chelsea Elizabeth Manning
A0181426
William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center
2001 Mill Road
Alexandria, VA 22314


UN Orders Canada to Halt Work on Trans Mountain Pipeline

UN Orders Canada to Halt Work on Trans Mountain Pipeline

Blue River BC — A new United Nations report orders Canada to cease construction on the Trans Mountain Pipeline until informed consent is obtained from the Secwepemc people. 

“Now it is clear to the whole world every minute that Canada continues construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline is a violation of the basic human rights of Indigenous people.”

That was how land and water defender Kanahus Manuel responded to the newly released United Nations report that has denounced Canada’s major resource projects on Indigenous lands saying they could “cause irreparable harm to indigenous peoples rights, culture, lands, territories and way of life.”

The UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) was also, “disturbed by the forced removal, disproportionate use of force, harassment and intimidation by law enforcement officials against indigenous peoples who peacefully oppose” the large-scale development projects and committee members were “alarmed by escalating threat of violence against indigenous peoples.”

“What is different about this UN report” says Manuel, “is they are not only condemning Canada, they are ordering that Canada cease major resource developments on Indigenous lands.”

Manuel, whose Tiny House Warriors have set up a village on the Trans Mountain Pipeline route near Blue River B.C., says this UN report clearly sets out Canada’s criminal actions against us.

The report orders Canada to cease construction on the Trans Mountain Pipeline, and to cancel all pipeline permits and permission, until free, prior and informed consent is obtained from all the Secwepemc people. The UN body also ordered Canada to cease work on the Site C dam and on “the Coastal Gas Link pipeline in the traditional and unceded lands and territories of the Wet’suwet’en people, until they grant their free, prior and informed consent, following the full and adequate discharge of the duty to consult.”

The Human Rights Committee also condemned the “violent arrest and detainment” of Kanahus Manuel herself when her wrist was broken during a violent assault and arrest by RCMP officer at her home and protest site along the pipeline route.

The Committee further demanded that Canada refrain from using force against Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en peoples and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and associated security and policing services will be withdrawn from their traditional lands.

Responding to the recent revelation that the RCMP was preparing to use “lethal force” against land protector, the UN ordered Canada to explicitly prohibit the use of lethal weapons by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, against indigenous peoples.

“This condemnation by the United Nations it a first step,” Manuel said. “We will now be calling on Human Rights organizations from around the world to come to our territory to monitor the situation. We are asking for the world to step in to help us to oppose the dirty oil pipeline on our land and to fight against Canada’s criminal behaviour.”

Read the UN CERD Report HERE 

Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning Responds to United Nations Rapporteur’s Call For Her Release


UN Special Rapporteur on Torture: Release Chelsea Manning immediately

Alexandria, VA — This week Nils Melzer, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment published a letter to the U.S. government dated November 1, 2019, condemning the incarceration of Chelsea Manning, calling such coercive confinement “torture” in violation of international law, and recommending her immediate release. He also recommends that any disproportionate fines levied against her be cancelled. The letter was made public following a customary 60-day window pending any government response.

Said S.R. Melzer:

“…I recommend that Ms. Manning’s current deprivation of liberty be promptly reviewed in light of the United States’ international human rights obligations. Should my assessment regarding its purely coercive purpose be accurate, I recommend that Ms. Manning be released without further delay, and that any fines disproportionate to the gravity of any offence she may have committed be cancelled or reimbursed.”

The letter was announced by Melzer via Twitter late December 30, 2019, stating:

“…the continued detention of @xychelsea is not a lawful sanction but an open-ended, progressively severe coercive measure amounting to torture & should be discontinued & abolished without delay”

In the letter, Melzer also condemns the United States’ practice of what he considers to be “prolonged coercive confinement” which “involves the intentional infliction of progressively severe mental and emotional suffering for the purposes of coercion and intimidation at the order of judicial authorities.” He added that “victims of prolonged coercive confinement have demonstrated post-traumatic symptoms and other severe and persistent mental and physical health consequences.” 

According to Ms. Manning:

“My long-standing objection to the immoral practice of throwing people in jail without charge or trial, for the sole purpose of forcing them to testify before a secret, government-run investigative panel, remains strong. 

“Nearly every other legal system in the world condemns coercive confinement, and long ago replaced secret grand juries with public hearings. I am thrilled to see the practice of coercive confinement called out for what it is: incompatible with international human rights standards. Regardless, even knowing I am very likely to stay in jail for an even longer time, I’m never backing down.” 

Moira Meltzer-Cohen, Manning’s attorney, said:

“Special Rapporteur Melzer has issued a legally rigorous condemnation of the practice of coercive confinement, and of Ms. Manning’s confinement in particular. While the United States has so far failed to live up to its human rights obligations, I remain hopeful that the government will reconsider its policies in light of the UN’s admonition. 

“In any case, there can be no further doubt that Ms. Manning has the courage of her convictions, and will never agree to testify before a grand jury, even at great personal cost. As S.R. Melzer notes, since her confinement is not having the intended coercive effect, she must be released.” 

Although S.R. Melzer has requested a clarifying response from the United States, he makes clear his settled conclusion that the practice of coercive confinement violates international human rights law, and recommends Ms. Manning’s immediate release pending any response or investigation. In the two months since the letter was conveyed to the United States, Ms. Manning has remained confined, and the daily fines imposed upon her have continued to accrue.

 
A Note to Editors



1. Definition of “torture” — as outlined in Article one of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), as described by S.R. Nils Melzer in his letter

“torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity, it does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions”.

(Note: Melzer clarifies, in the letter, on page 2, that he does not think such practices fall under CAT’s “lawful sanctions” exception.

2. List of international human rights laws that the U.S. practice of coercive confinement is in violation of, as described by S.R. Nils Melzer in his letter:

  • Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) (Articles 1, 2, 15 and 16)

  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); ratified by the United States of America in 1994 and 1992 respectively (Articles 2, 7 and 9)

  • Human Rights Council Resolution 16/23

  • Human Rights Council Resolution 34/19

  • Human Rights Council Resolution 25/13

  • General Assembly Resolution 68/156