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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Human Rights

The ACLU of North Carolina joins countless people from across our state and around the world this week in expressing sorrow over the tragic killing of students Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, in Chapel Hill on February 10.

While the details are still being investigated, several sources, including family members of the victims, have suggested that an underlying motivation in the killings was the three victims’ Muslim faith. That is why the ACLU of North Carolina is supporting Muslim Advocates and more than 150 civil rights, faith, community, and civic groups in urging U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to open a full and rigorous federal hate crime investigation.

“With hate crimes against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim alarmingly on the rise in recent years, your leadership is crucial to help stem the tide of hate,” reads to letter to Holder. “…Federal leadership is necessary in this case in order to send the strongest message to the public that acts of violence like this have no place in civil society and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

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By Mike Meno, ACLU-NC Communications Director

Yesterday, the North Carolina House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow neurologists to recommend an oil derived from marijuana compounds to certain patients suffering from epileptic conditions. The legislation was inspired in part by 7-year-old Charlotte Figi, who made national news on CNN for a chronic, debilitating condition that could be relieved only through the marijuana-based treatment. Charlotte suffered up to 50 painful seizures a day before her parents discovered that an oil derived from a strain of marijuana that was high in the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) but low in the psychoactive cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) virtually ended her seizures entirely and allowed her to live a happy and healthy life.

“She had gone from not being able to hold her head up to being able to walk and talk and use a computer in just months,” North Carolina Rep. Pat McElraft explained during emotional testimony on the House floor yesterday before her colleagues voted 111-2 to approve the treatment that may very well have saved Charlotte’s life. 

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WINTON, NC – Rivers Correctional Institution in Hertford County, North Carolina, is one of the 13 little-known CAR (Criminal Alien Requirement) prisons for immigrants in the United States. For a new report, Warehoused and Forgotten: Immigrants Trapped in Our Shadow Private Prison Industry, the American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Texas have investigated three CAR prisons in Texas run by GEO Group, the same private prison company that operates Rivers Correction Institution in North Carolina. The report reveals inhumane conditions and egregious mistreatment of immigrants awaiting deportation in prisons removed from the public eye that enrich the for-profit prison industry at tremendous cost to taxpayers.

The culmination of a four-year investigation, the report shows how the federal Bureau of Prisons incentivizes private prison companies to keep CAR prisons overcrowded and understaffed. The companies provide scant medical care that is often administered incorrectly, if delivered at all.

“At the CAR prisons we investigated, the prisoners lived day to day not knowing if their basic human needs would be met, whether they would get medical attention if they were hurt or ill,” said Carl Takei, Staff Attorney at the ACLU’s National Prison Project. “The shameful conditions inside CAR prisons come from the government’s decision to allow the suffering inside these for-profit prisons. For instance, ten percent of the bed space in CAR prisons is reserved for extreme isolation — nearly double the rate in normal federal prisons. I spoke to prisoners who spent weeks in isolation cells after being sent there upon intake — simply arriving at prison was the reason why they were locked in a cell and fed through a slot for 23 hours a day.”

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RALEIGH – Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional. This ruling will allow legally married same-sex couples to receive more than 1,000 federal benefits.

Edith Windsor, the plaintiff in United States v. Windsor, was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and New York Civil Liberties Union, among others.

The ACLU of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) released the following statement:

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