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Reports: News & Updates

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What do you think when you hear the words “fair trade”? A smiling coffee farmer? A cup shared with friends? Maybe you think of chocolate, or of an artisan bending over a handmade craft. Those are common images of fair trade. But the reality is changing. Other products, including those grown on large-scale farms and plantations, are outpacing traditional fair trade products in market growth. The face of fair trade has changed a lot since I founded Fair World Project 12 years ago. Fair trade certification now is big business. In a new paper, we look at what that shift towards big business means–and how growing corporate consolidation in the food system changes what it means to "look for the label." Because we believe in giving you actionable analysis to take into your lives and your communities, the paper concludes with some recommendations for change - what would it look like to have strong, human-centered certification standards? What kind of better buying practices could grocery stores, colleges and universities, and brands commit to for more fair supply chains?

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Read this summary of Border Focus Month Infographics to get an overview on immigration, detention and border issues like ICE Detention, Detention of Unaccompanied Children, the 100-Mile Border Zone, The Digital Border Wall, Alternatives to Detention, ICE 287 (g) Agreements, Deportations and Forced Removals, and Root Causes of Migration!

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Read this fact sheet from IRTF to learn about Temporary Protected Status (TPS), what countries are currently designated for TPS and what the challenges are!

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Vice President Kamala Harris today announced more than $1.9 billion in new private sector commitments to create economic opportunity in northern Central America, more than doubling the value of initial private sector investments in response to her Call to Action.  As part of her role addressing the root causes of migration from Central America, in May 2021, the Vice President launched the Call to Action for businesses and social enterprises to make significant commitments to promote economic opportunity for people in the region. This is in support for the U.S. Strategy to Address the Root Causes of Migration which the Vice President launched in July 2021. The announcement today builds on the announcement the Vice President made in December 2021 of $1.2 billion in private sector commitments.  Aggregate commitments under this initiative now total more than $3.2 billion.  Taken together, these investments are creating an ecosystem of opportunity and helping to provide hope for people in the region to build safe and prosperous lives at home.  
 

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Seeking asylum is never an easy process. Families, children, and adults forced to flee their homes experience the trauma of violence or other life-threatening circumstances at their place of origin, the rupture of leaving their past lives behind, and the uncertainty of where and how to find refuge. But in recent years, this already difficult path has become increasingly fraught with obstacles for the rising population of protection-seeking people arriving at Mexico’s southern border, the majority of whom make their asylum claims in the city of Tapachula, Chiapas.

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Mexico’s immigration enforcement is increasingly militarized with the armed forces and National Guard now accounting for more migrant detentions than immigration agents, according to a report published Tuesday by six nongovernmental organizations. The human rights and migrant advocacy groups, among them the Foundation for Justice and the Democratic State of Law, say that many of the detentions are also arbitrary, based on racial profiling and have led to abuses. The armed forces are supposed to just be supporting immigration agents in their work, but the organizations found that they are now responsible for the majority of detentions.

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Step by step, the nefarious legacy of the 12 years of the JOH regime are being dismantled in Honduras. Two key steps took place this month, the first being the extradition of JOH himself to the US. What seems unthinkable after his illegal reelection backed by the US in 2017 and still very unlikely just some months ago, has now passed in record speed. A second cornerstone of JOH’s reign were the ZEDEs, the private cities. Their legal basis were outright repealed, unanimously, by Congress this month. A huge victory for Honduras’ social movements, while still leaving many questions unresolved regarding the existing ZEDEs in Honduras. The Xiomara administration and its allies in Congress further reformulated the 2022 budget which includes more spending on education and public health, but also rose some questions. Welcome to another month in Honduras.

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Reporting on the human rights situation in Guatemala, the US State Department illustrated worsening conditions and highlighted the role that corruption and impunity have played in the last year. The 2021 Human Rights Report–released on April 12–summarizes and provides examples of what the State Department deems “significant human rights issues” in Guatemala, including the following: unlawful and arbitrary killings; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; serious problems with the independence of the judiciary; restrictions on freedom of expression, including threats and violence against journalists; interference with freedom of association and organization; and significant corruption. 

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Countries in Latin America came under particularly harsh criticism in the U.S. State Department’s annual report on human rights, with allies such as Mexico and adversaries including Nicaragua facing similar opprobrium. The report zeroed in on many of the widely denounced human rights abuses, including the killing of journalists, discrimination against LGBTQ people, targeted murders of women, and widespread violence fueled by drug traffickers, but largely ignored by the government of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The annual reports examine actions from the previous year.

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U.S. human rights, faith, labor, environmental, and grassroots organizations sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken regarding their deep concern with the human rights and humanitarian situation in Colombia. We believe the Biden Administration should take firmer action to fully protect and implement the accords, particularly with respect to the rights of Colombia’s ethnic minorities, police brutality, and the right to peaceful protest. The letter outlines a series of actions the State Department can take to ensure coordinated diplomacy for forward momentum on peace accord implementation, human rights, and racial justice. This includes pressing for protection of human rights defenders and for full implementation of the accords’ comprehensive rural reforms, Ethnic Chapter, and gender provisions. The letter also urges the State Department to take a much stronger stance regarding police brutality and human rights abuses by Colombia’s military.  The Biden Administration must immediately mobilize a range of government agencies to rescue Colombia’s long sought-after and waning peace.

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