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Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, come and go anytime between 9 am - 2 pm

John Carroll University, University Heights, Ohio

The Ohio Fair Trade Network, together with John Carroll University, is hosting the 2022 Ohio Fair Trade Teach-In and Expo! Join in one of the largest regional fair trade events in the country. The theme for this year is Environmental Sustainability: Care for Our Earth, one of the nine principles of fair trade! Our guest speakers will highlight these and other principles of fair trade, inviting all of us to play our part in promoting social and economic justice. Register at https://2022OhioFairTradeExpo.eventbrite.com . Walk-ins also welcome!

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As Fiscal Year 2022 is almost over, we are hearing numbers of 750 or more migrant deaths over the past twelve months. While, tragically, it does still happen that migrants die while being chased by Border Patrol agents or shot when attempting to cross the border, the majority of these deaths are a result of the so-called “prevention through deterrence” strategy that forces people to take on more dangerous routes when traveling up to the southern U.S. border to seek safety. And if they do make it through to the U.S., they are often expelled immediately or put into deportation proceedings, waiting for their hearing in Mexican emergency shelters or U.S. detention centers. Read IRTF's monthly overview of recent updates on U.S. immigration and what has been happening at the border!

https://www.irtfcleveland.org/blog/migrant-justice-newsletter-sep-2022

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For over six months now the country of El Salvador has been in a State of Exception (similar to a declared State of Emergency).

This is a temporary suspension of some constitutional rights that enables the government to repeal basic human rights as well as democratic structures. 

The current government under president Nayib Bukele officially initiated the State of Exception as a means to counter gang violence, but uses it to rule the country with an iron fist.

In this time span corruption and human rights violations have risen to new highs.

One of the rights that has been suspended is the 2011 enacted "Law on Access to Public Information" (LAIP), guaranteeing the right to seek and receive information held by the state. With this law expelled, the government has eliminated any public control over the the use of funds and state contracts, opening the door for corruption. According to the Office of the General Attorney, up to 66% of state purchases showed signs of irregularities in their procedures. 

Besides the staggering rise of corruption, the State of Exception drags a trail of state violence and oppression. Under the pretext of the struggle against gang violence, massive power abuse by police and armed forces has been reported. Up until September the state has detained over 52,549 people without warrants and has sent 45,260  individuals to prison during mass hearings. 

The policies have led to overcrowded prisons, causing a lack of basic human needs and at least 73 deaths due to torture, lack of medical assistance, hunger and other violence. The number of unreported cases is estimated to far surpass the official numbers. 

 

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 The Akron Beacon Journal is reporting that Ultimate Jet Charters, a local company, played an instrumental role in a depraved political stunt by Florida Gov. DeSantis. The charter airline flew dozens of people seeking asylum to Martha's Vineyard and left them there, stranded. In this video, lawyer Rachel Self talks about the ways people were tricked by Gov. DeSantis, DHS, and now an Ohio company. Ultimate Jet Charters facilitated a depraved political stunt for a Republican governor, which amounts to large-scale human trafficking. The passengers were people seeking asylum in the U.S. because they face extortion, gang violence, kidnapping, and murder in their native countries. They were tricked into getting on the plane, told lies, and had no idea what was happening.

We will not stand for this. Call and email Ultimate Jet Charters' leadership TODAY. Tell them you are outraged at their company's role in this cruel political stunt. Demand that they denounce their participation and ensure it never happens again.

 

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An unexpected turn hits the eight-year ongoing case of 43 missing students in Mexico.

The prosecutor in charge of the most notorious human rights case involving police, military officials, politicians and drug gangs, Omar Gómez Trejo, has quit. This follows disagreements with the Office of the Attorney General. 

Gómez Trejo spent more than three years investigating the case, winning judicial approval for 83 arrest warrants in the last month alone. During his investigation he was met with massive pushback by the attorney general's office, which pressured a judge to vacate 21 of the arrest warrants, 16 of which being military officials.

This resignation leads to people questioning the state's willingness to take on politicians, the police, and the military. 

Officially the government blames corrupt local police and politicians, as well as drug gangs, for the forced disappearance of the students, though independent experts have stated that federal and state army officials had knowledge of the kidnappings and did not intervene. Furthermore, a report accuses the police and army of covering the case up. 

So far the remains of only three of the 43 students have been found. 

This development comes in a charged time. Shortly earlier, Mexico's president Andrés Manuel López Obrador moved the formerly civilian controlled national guard to the army's command and has pushed the congress to extend the military mandate to law enforcement until 2028.

Critics fear that the reliance on the military for everything from arresting drug traffickers to building airports and operating seaports may lead Mexico’s democracy to slip away from civilian control.     

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After the transportation of asylum seekers to Martha's Vineyard, initiated by Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, the contracted aviation company Vertol System Inc. caught public attention. 

The Oregon-based company has received more then $1 million from the state of Florida to transport immigrants to different locations in the United States. 

Investigations now show, that the company has donated at least $12,000 to the Floridian political campaigns of DeSantis' allies, including 2,500 to a Super Pac supporting  Matt Gaetz, a former law representative of Vertol System Inc. 

Read more about DeSantis' transportation of Venezuelan asylum seekers in this month's IRTF Migrant Justice newsletter. https://www.irtfcleveland.org/blog