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June 17, 2015 0

White House Hosts Conference on Combating International LGBT Hate Crimes

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On June 12, the White House hosted a “Con­ver­sa­tion on Com­bat­ing Bias-Motivated Vio­lence against LGBT Per­sons Around the World.”  Bias-motivated vio­lence against LGBT indi­vid­u­als remains dis­turbingly preva­lent, as doc­u­mented by a May 2015 report by the United Nations High Com­mis­sioner for Human Rights and the FBI’s annual Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act report.  The prob­lem is com­pounded by incon­sis­tent def­i­n­i­tions of hate crime and inad­e­quate hate crime data col­lec­tion efforts, accord­ing to a 2013 ADL/Human Rights First report on hate crimes in the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­rity and Coop­er­a­tion in Europe (OSCE) region.

Randy Berry, the State Department’s Spe­cial Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons,announced a num­ber of new Admin­is­tra­tion ini­tia­tives at the con­fer­ence, which fell dur­ing LGBT Pride Month.  He high­lighted exist­ing part­ner­ships and pledged to expand inter­na­tional law enforce­ment train­ing and tech­ni­cal assis­tance, as well as efforts to empower civil soci­ety and LGBT edu­ca­tion and advo­cacy orga­ni­za­tions. The Admin­is­tra­tion will con­tinue to draw on exist­ing exper­tise across the US Gov­ern­ment to enable orga­ni­za­tions and agen­cies abroad to request assis­tance to launch new local and national initiatives.

The White House pro­gram included pan­els focused on the impact of community-based orga­ni­za­tions, the role of law enforce­ment and the judi­ciary, and gov­ern­ment actions and best prac­tices – which was mod­er­ated by ADL Wash­ing­ton Coun­sel Michael Lieber­man.  The meet­ing built on a Decem­ber 2011 Pres­i­den­tial Mem­o­ran­dum on “Inter­na­tional Ini­tia­tives to Advance the Human Rights of Les­bian, Gay, Bisex­ual, and Trans­gen­der Per­sons.” Fed­eral agen­cies – espe­cially USAID, the Jus­tice Depart­ment, and the State Depart­ment – have done a lot of work on the issue.  The State Depart­ment released a report in May 2014 detail­ing its progress on car­ry­ing out the President’s Memorandum.

ADL works to address dis­crim­i­na­tion and vio­lence against LGBT indi­vid­u­als in the United States and abroad, fil­ing ami­cus briefs in Supreme Court cases, con­duct­ing work­shops and train­ing for edu­ca­tors and law enforce­ment offi­cials, and encour­ag­ing the col­lec­tion of hate crime sta­tis­tics that help local and fed­eral law enforce­ment track and address this issue. ADL rep­re­sen­ta­tives also helped craft the sem­i­nal OSCE pub­li­ca­tion, Hate Crime Laws: A Prac­ti­cal Guide, and main­tain rela­tion­ships with many human rights groups to track anti-Semitism, hate crimes, and vio­lence and dis­crim­i­na­tion against LGBT per­sons at home and abroad.  ADL Wash­ing­ton Office Direc­tor Stacy Bur­dett, who also attended the con­fer­ence, leads that work.

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June 11, 2015 1

Event Offers Chance to Win Pink Prison Underwear Signed by Joe Arpaio

Ore­go­ni­ans for Immi­gra­tion Reform (OFIR), the most active anti-immigrant group in the state, is adver­tis­ing a June 27 “Grass­roots Rally” in Salem, Ore­gon, that will fea­ture Arizona’s Sher­iff Joe Arpaio as the main speaker and a raf­fle that includes an auto­graphed pair of the infa­mous pink pris­oner under­wear that Arpaio forces inmates in his county to wear.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Sher­iff Joe Arpaio

The rally is report­edly being hosted by the Ore­gon Repub­li­can Party and will focus on immi­gra­tion reform and Sec­ond Amend­ment rights. The choice of Arpaio, who is known for his hard stance on immi­gra­tion, is indica­tive of the rally’s anti-immigration slant.

In May 2012, the Jus­tice Depart­ment brought a fed­eral law­suit against Arpaio, assert­ing that there was a “pat­tern of unlaw­ful dis­crim­i­na­tion” toward Lati­nos by law enforce­ment offi­cials in Mari­copa County. Accord­ing to the law­suit, Arpaio and his deputies car­ried out a cam­paign against Lati­nos, regard­less of their sta­tus or citizenship.

In a sep­a­rate case, a fed­eral judge ruled in May 2013 that the Mari­copa County Sheriff’s Office engaged in racial pro­fil­ing. That rul­ing stemmed from a 2007 class action suit by Latino dri­vers, who charged that were being unlaw­fully sin­gled out for traf­fic stops based on their ethnicity.

The judge in the case ordered Arpaio to undergo train­ing in racial pro­fil­ing so that his offi­cers would not sin­gle out Lati­nos dur­ing traf­fic and immi­gra­tion stops. The judge also barred Arpaio’s immi­gra­tion enforce­ment patrols. Arpaio has since allegedly vio­lated the court order regard­ing the patrols and is now fac­ing con­tempt charges.

Arpaio is also known for his pol­icy of requir­ing Mari­copa County inmates to wear pink under­wear. In 2012, a fed­eral appeals court in Ari­zona crit­i­cized this pol­icy, say­ing it seemed to be “pun­ish­ment with­out legal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.” The court also said that it was fair to infer that the jail­ers’ choice of the color pink for the under­wear was a way to stig­ma­tize male pris­on­ers as fem­i­nine. In an effort to off­set the cost of the rally, a pair of “pink pris­oner under­wear,” auto­graphed by Arpaio will be auc­tioned off at the event.

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June 10, 2015 0

ADL Submits Testimony to House Committee on Homeland Security

The House Com­mit­tee on Home­land Secu­rity held a hear­ing on June 3, 2015, on the increas­ing efforts by extrem­ists, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), to use sophis­ti­cated social media and other Inter­net plat­forms to recruit mem­bers, share pro­pa­ganda and inspire attacks.Terrorism Gone Viral The Attack in Garland, Texas and Beyond

ADL, which tracks how ter­ror­ist groups exploit new tech­nol­ogy, works closely with the Inter­net indus­try and trains law enforce­ment around the coun­try, sub­mit­ted com­pre­hen­sive tes­ti­mony for the hear­ing record high­light­ing the exten­sive efforts of ter­ror­ists to har­ness new tech­nol­ogy for recruit­ment and radicalization.

The League’s state­ment included details on the unprece­dented num­ber of indi­vid­u­als liv­ing in the United States linked to plots, con­spir­a­cies, and other activ­ity on behalf of for­eign ter­ror­ist groups thus far in 2015.

The hear­ing, titled “Ter­ror­ism Gone Viral The Attack in Gar­land, Texas and Beyond,” focused on the attempted vio­lent attack at a Gar­land, Texas, com­mu­nity cen­ter last month. One of the appar­ent shoot­ers, Elton Simp­son, main­tained an active pres­ence on Twit­ter, with at least eight accounts that he used to net­work with ISIS sup­port­ers prior to the attack. Simp­son is believed to have inter­acted with Mohamed Abdul­lahi Has­san, a per­ma­nent U.S. res­i­dent that may have inspired as many as 11 peo­ple liv­ing in the U.S. to take action in the last two years.

Led by Com­mit­tee Chair­man Michael McCaul (R-TX), Mem­bers heard from three sub­ject mat­ter experts: John Mul­li­gan, Deputy Direc­tor of the National Coun­tert­er­ror­ism Cen­ter, Fran­cis X. Tay­lor, Under Sec­re­tary in the DHS Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis and Michael B. Stein­bach,  Assis­tant Direc­tor of the FBI, on these issues.

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