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ACLU, Human Rights Watch calls for end to war on drugs

ACLU: End war on drugsHuman Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union jointly called on all states and the federal government to decriminalize personal drug use and possession, instead to focus on prevention and harm reduction.

The human-rights organizations said one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement across the country is for drug possession, with some 1.25 million people arrested each year. Four times as many people are arrested for possessing illegal drugs than for selling them. At the same time, drug use has not declined, a newly released report said.


Nigeria: Boko Haram 'releases 21 Chibok girls'

Chibok girl captivesTwenty-one of the more than 200 Nigerian girls kidnapped from a school in Chibok by Boko Haram fighters in 2014 have been released, according to Nigeria's presidency.

The release followed negotiations between Nigeria's government and Boko Haram brokered by Red Cross and Swiss government officials, a spokesman for the country's president said on Thursday.

"It is confirmed that 21 of the missing Chibok girls have been released and are in the custody of the Department of State Services," presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement.


UN: Children in 'life-threatening' conditions at Papuan Nauru

Nauru prisonA United Nations report into the Nauru prison camp has raised "profound" concern over the inhuman and degrading treatment of refugee children there, which it says is having an impact on their physical wellbeing.

About 500 people, including 50 children, are stuck in a prison on the tiny Pacific Island nation as they seek asylum in Australia.


Gaza's women flotilla 'challenging Israel's blockade'

Women's flotillaI am on board the Zaytouna, but not as a crew member. I was expecting to be crew on the Amal II for the first two legs from Barcelona to Ajaccio and from Ajaccio to Messina, but ultimately the Amal II suffered engine trouble and could not sail.

My role is as an organiser and the flotilla is expected to reach Gaza early on Wednesday October 5.

We all hope that we will break the blockade and celebrate on the shores of Gaza, but in reality, we know that our ships will probably be intercepted by Israeli forces and we will be illegally detained.


Ten countries host half of world's refugees: report

Syrian refugeesTen countries - which account for just 2.5 percent of the global economy - are hosting more than half the world's refugees, a rights group has said, accusing wealthy countries of leaving poorer nations to bear the brunt of a worsening crisis.

In a report published on Tuesday, Amnesty International said the unequal share was exacerbating the global refugee problem, as inadequate conditions in the main countries of shelter pushed many to embark on dangerous journeys to Europe and Australia.


CIA prisoners allege they faced version of waterboarding

CIA prisoners waterboardedTwo men who were held at a CIA prison in Afghanistan have told a human rights group that they were subjected to a version of waterboarding at a detention site where the agency has insisted the brutal method was never used.

The allegations were detailed in a report released Monday by Human Rights Watch based on extensive interviews with two Tunisian men who were returned to that country last year after spending 13 years in U.S. custody, almost all of it at a prison complex at Bagram air base in Afghanistan.


Hospitals in Aleppo 'all but obliterated'; civilians in 'living hell,' U.N. warns

Aleppo hospitals destroyedCivilians in the rebel-held portions of Aleppo are enduring a "living hell" and the hospitals there have been all but obliterated, the United Nations warned Sunday as bomb attacks continued to hit the city.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien said in a statement that civilians in Aleppo are being subjected to "a level of savagery that no human should have to endure," NBC News reported.


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