Foreign Titbits: US migrants: Judge orders deportation plane turnaround

Foreign Titbits: US migrants: Judge orders deportation plane turnaround

A federal judge has ordered a mother and her daughter be flown back to the United States, after learning they had been deported mid-appeal.

The two were being represented in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which said they had fled “extreme sexual and gang violence.”

The judge said it was unacceptable they had been removed during their appeal.

He reportedly also said Attorney General Jeff Sessions could be held in contempt of court for the deportation.

The mother and daughter were part of a case filed by the ACLU and the Centre for Gender and Refugee Studies on behalf of 12 mothers and children who said they had fled violence, but were at risk of deportation.

A tightening of rules in June by Mr. Sessions means victims of domestic abuse and gang violence no longer generally qualify for US asylum.

The government had pledged not to deport anyone in the case before Friday at the earliest, ACLU said.

But ACLU said they learned during Thursday’s emergency hearing that the mother and daughter had already been put on a flight back to El Salvador by US authorities.

Washington DC District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan said that it was unacceptable that people claiming asylum had been removed while lawyers argued their case.

He branded the situation “outrageous” and ordered the pair be returned immediately, according to reports.

An official from the Department of Homeland Security told the Reuters agency that the agency worked to comply with the court’s order.

“Upon arrival in El Salvador, the plaintiffs did not disembark and are currently en route back to the United States,” the department said in an emailed statement.

The mother and daughter are said to have arrived back in Texas, where they were being held, by Thursday night.

According to the lawsuit, the migrant mother, known under the alias “Carmen,” came to the US with her young daughter after two decades of sexual abuse from her husband and death threats from a local gang in her native El Salvador.

But their case was halted when officers found they did not have a “credible fear of persecution.”

The case comes at a time when US migrant policy remains firmly under the spotlight after it emerged in June that migrant children were being separated from their families at the US border.

The policy led to widespread outrage and condemnation.

Mr. Trump signed an executive order seeking to end the policy, but more than 500 children remained apart from their families as of Thursday.


Costa Rica Supreme Court rules against same-sex marriage ban

Source: Time

Costa Rica’s Supreme Court has ruled that the country’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional and discriminatory.

The court ruling gives the country’s legislators a time limit of 18 months to change the current law.

The president welcomed the ruling, saying he wants to guarantee “no person will face discrimination for their sexual orientation.”

However many lawmakers are evangelicals who strongly oppose gay marriage.

A Supreme Court judge, Fernando Castillo, told a press conference on Wednesday that the ban would automatically cease to legally exist in 18 months, even if no action is taken by the legislature.

The legislative chamber has 57 seats – 14 of which are held by evangelical members.

Late Wednesday’s ruling complies with a judgement issued in January by the Inter-American Human Rights Court that said same-sex marriage should be recognised by all of its signatory members.

Enrique Sanchez, the country’s first openly gay legislator, told AFP that he did not believe the assembly would work out a law change between themselves.

He is a member of the Citizen Action Party, led by President Carlos Alvarado who came to power on a pro-LGBT platform.

President Alvarado is a former rock singer and novelist, who won the presidential run-off in April following a campaign where LGBT rights became a key issue.

He beat evangelical pastor opponent, Fabricio Alvarado, who vowed to defy the Human Rights Court’s rulings on same-sex rights.


North Korea lashes out at US diplomats over sanctions

Source: Axios

North Korea has lashed out at the US for continuing to push for sanctions enforcement.

Pyongyang said there would be no progress towards denuclearisation if the US followed an “outdated script.”

It accused US negotiators of going against the intentions of President Donald Trump and the spirit of the summit in Singapore.

Mr. Trump and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, agreed at the June meeting to work towards denuclearisation.

But the details of that process remain vague – North Korea did not commit to unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons and the UN says its nuclear programme is continuing.

The US has insisted it is vital to maintain diplomatic and economic pressure on the North.

“As long as the US denies even the basic decorum for its dialogue partner and clings to the outdated acting script which the previous administrations have all tried and failed, one cannot expect any progress in the implementation of the joint statement including the denuclearisation,” North Korea’s foreign ministry said on Thursday.

The warnings come just days after North Korea’s foreign minister called US actions “alarming.”

Last month, North Korea accused the US of using “gangster-like” tactics in the negotiations.

The latest statement by the North’s foreign ministry also accused US officials of “going against the intention of President Trump” by “making baseless allegations against us and making desperate attempts at intensifying the international sanctions and pressure.”

It said “expecting any result, while insulting the dialogue partner” was “a foolish act that amounts to waiting to see a boiled egg hatch out.”

The fresh anger out of Pyongyang comes as top diplomats from the US have strongly criticised the North’s commitment to denuclearisation.

National security adviser, John Bolton, earlier this week said North Korea had not begun the progress, while US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, said Washington was “not willing to wait for too long” for the North.

Pyongyang’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho is currently on a visit to Iran where President Hassan Rouhani warned the US could not be trusted after Tehran’s experience of having the Trump administration tear up an Obama-era deal to ease sanctions.

According to Iranian media, Mr. Ri said his country would seek to retain its nuclear skills for when the US would revert to a more aggressive position against Pyongyang.

“Since we know that the US will never give up its hostile policy toward us, we will hold onto our nuclear knowledge,” he was quoted by local media.


Yemen war: Saudi-led air strike on bus kills 29 children


At least 29 children have been killed and 30 wounded in a Saudi-led coalition air strike in Yemen, the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

The children were travelling on a bus that was hit at a market in Dahyan, in the northern province of Saada.

The health ministry run by the rebel Houthi movement put the death toll at 43, and said 61 people were wounded.

The coalition, which is backing Yemen’s government in a war with the Houthis, said its actions were “legitimate.”

It insists it never deliberately targeted civilians, but human rights groups have accused it of bombing markets, schools, hospitals and residential areas.

Meanwhile the new UN special envoy to Yemen, former British diplomat, Martin Griffiths, is planning to invite the warring parties to Geneva in September to discuss a framework for negotiations.

He told the BBC that if the conflict was left unresolved, Yemen could collapse and the international community could be looking at “Syria-plus” in the years to come.

“The war in Yemen will get more complicated the longer it goes on. There will be more international interest and polarisation in terms of the parties, it will fragment further, it will be more difficult to resolve – even more than it is now.”

Yemeni tribal elders told the Associated Press that the bus was hit as it passed through Dahyan market and that it was transporting local civilians, including many school children.

The charity, Save the Children, said it had been told by its staff that the children were on their way back to school from a picnic when the driver of their bus stopped to get a drink.

The vehicle was stationary when the attack happened, it added.

The ICRC said a hospital it supported in Saada had received the bodies of 29 children, all of them under the age of 15, and 48 injured people, among them 30 children.

It sent additional supplies to the hospital to cope with the influx of patients.

Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV reported that 47 people were killed and 77 wounded, and broadcast graphic pictures showing the bodies of several young children, some of them wearing school uniforms.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam accused the coalition of showing “clear disregard for civilian life” by targeting a crowded public place.

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The ICRC stressed that “under international humanitarian law, civilians must be protected during conflict” while the secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland called it a “grotesque, shameful” attack that showed “blatant disregard for rules of war.”

Save the Children described the incident as “horrific”, and called for a full, immediate and independent investigation into recent attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure.

It was not immediately clear whether the bus was the target of the air strike, but coalition spokesman, Col Turki al-Malki said the attack was “a legitimate military action, conducted in conformity with international humanitarian law.”

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