Photos From Ecuador Show Devastation After The Deadly Earthquake

Ecuador is reeling from a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the country on Saturday, killing at least 235 people and injuring over 1,500. It is the worst quake to hit Ecuador in decades, and threatens to further hurt the nation’s already struggling economy.

A state of emergency was declared in provinces across the nation, while areas along the country’s coast — where there was briefly a tsunami warning following the quake — have been especially hard hit. Mayor Gabriel Alcivar of the coastal town of Pedernales told local media of collapsed buildings and devastation, saying that the town desperately needed food and medicine.  

Aid groups including the Ecuador Red Cross and World Vision are rallying to help those affected by the quake, and nations including Mexico and Venezuela have pledged to send teams and supplies. Skype has also offered free calls to landlines and cell phones in the nation for “the next few days.”

Ecuador’s government has mobilized over 13,000 of its security forces following the disaster. 

The photos below give a glimpse at the extent of the damage in the nation, and the efforts of rescuers searching for those still trapped in the rubble.

  • JOSE SANCHEZ L/Getty Images

    People gather next to a collapsed house in Guayaquil on April 17, 2016. The earthquake devastated homes and left rubble in the streets.
  • JUAN CEVALLOS/Getty Images

    A fallen building after a 7.8-magnitude quake in Portoviejo, Ecuador, on April 17, 2016.
  • MARCOS PIN MENDEZ/Getty Images

    People resting in a park after an earthquake in the city of Guayaquil on April 17, 2016.
  • ARIEL OCHOA/Getty Images

    Rescue workers work to pull out survivors trapped in a collapsed building after thehuge earthquake struck, in the city of Manta early on April 17, 2016.
  • JUAN CEVALLOS/Getty Images

    Avehicle squashed by rubble after the7.8-magnitude quake in Portoviejo, Ecuador, on April 17, 2016.
  • JOSE SANCHEZ L/Getty Images

    A collapsed house is seen in Guayaquil on April 17, 2016. Hundreds were killed in the quake.
  • JUAN CEVALLOS/Getty Images

    View of a damaged building in Portoviejo, Ecuador, on April 17, 2016.
  • Guillermo Granja / Reuters

    Damage seen in the Tarqui neighborhood in Manta, Ecuador, April 17, 2016.
  • Guillermo Granja / Reuters

    People react after an earthquake struck off Ecuador’s Pacific coast, at the Tarqui neighborhood in Manta on April 17, 2016.
  • Guillermo Granja / Reuters

    Red Cross members arrive at Eloy Alfaro Airport after an earthquake struck off Ecuador’s Pacific coast, in Manta on April 17, 2016.
  • Guillermo Granja / Reuters

    Damaged homes in the Tarqui neighborhood in Manta on April 17, 2016.
  • Guillermo Granja / Reuters

    Devastated houses in the Tarqui neighborhood in Manta on April 17, 2016.
  • Guillermo Granja / Reuters

    Acollapsing buildingis pictured after an earthquake struck off Ecuador’s Pacific coast, in theTarqui neighborhood in Manta on April 17, 2016.
  • JUAN CEVALLOS/Getty Images

    View of a car squashed by rubble after a 7.8-magnitude quake in Portoviejo, Ecuador, on April 17, 2016.
  • Guillermo Granja / Reuters

    Firemen work after an earthquake struck off Ecuador’s Pacific coast, in the Tarqui neighborhood in Manta on April 17, 2016.
  • JUAN CEVALLOS/Getty Images

    View of rubble after a 7.8-magnitude quake in Portoviejo, Ecuador, on April 17, 2016.

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Plane carrying members of Brazilian soccer team crashes in Colombia

In this Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, file photo, players of Brazil’s Chapecoense celebrate at the end of a Copa Sudamericana semifinal football match against Argentina’s San Lorenzo in Chapeco, Brazil.( AP)

A chartered aircraft with 81 people on board, including a Brazilian first division soccer squad heading toward Colombia for a regional tournament final, has crashed on its way to Medellin’s international airport.

Aviation authorities said there are reports of at the least six survivors, with a local mayor corroborating at the least three passengers were found alive. The British Aerospace 146 short-haul airliner, operated by a charter airline named LaMia, declared an emergency at 10 p.m. Monday because of an electrical failure.

“It’s a misfortune of huge proportions, ” Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez told Blu Radio on his style to the site in a mountainous area outside the town where aircraft crashed.

The aircraft, which made a stop in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was transporting the first division Chapecoense soccer team from southern Brazil. The team was scheduled to play Wednesday in the first of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin.

“May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests traveling with our delegation, ” the club said in a brief statement on its Facebook page.

South America’s soccer federation widened its condolences to the entire Chapecoense community and said its president, Luis Dominguez, was on his route to Medellin. All football activities were suspended until further notice, the organization said in a statement.

Elkin Ospina, mayor of La Ceja, near where the accident took place, said the priority is searching for survivors and ratings of rescuers running through the night had been heartened after pulling three passengers alive from the wreckage.

Authorities and rescuers were immediately activated but an us air force helicopter had to turn back because of low visibility. They recommended journalists to stay away from the hard-to-access zone and stay off the roads to facilitate the entry of ambulances and rescuers. The region has been hit by heavy rains in recent days.

An ambulance transporting a male passenger with oxygen and covered in a blanket arrived on a stretcher to a local hospital, Blu Radio reported. He was apparently alive.

The plane was carrying 72 passengers and nine crew members, aviation authorities said in a statement. Local radio said the same aircraft transported Argentina’s national squad for a match earlier this month in Brazil, and previously had transported Venezuela’s national team.

A video published on the team’s Facebook page presented the team readying for the flight earlier Monday in Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos international airport.

The team, from the small city of Chapeco, was in the middle of a fairy tale season. It joined Brazil’s first division in 2014 for the first time since the 1970 s and built it last week to the Copa Sudamericana finals the equivalent of the UEFA Europa League tournament after defeating Argentina’s San Lorenzo squad.

Read more: www.foxnews.com

In Spanish, please: Two former Venezuelan dentists help Hispanics transition into US dentistry – Dentistry IQ


Dentistry IQ

In Spanish, please: Two former Venezuelan dentists help Hispanics transition into US dentistry
Dentistry IQ
Sikiu Perez Aular and Glenda Serfaty came to the United States to flee from the economic collapse in Venezuela. The South American country has also struggled with political unrest opposing its president, Nicolas Maduro. Serfaty arrived in the United

Read more: www.dentistryiq.com

World’s most dangerous places to take a road trip

Nearly 1.3 million people die in road accidents each year around the world, on average 3,287 deaths a day, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel( ASIRT ). Up to 50 million are injured or disabled globally; most of the victims are between 15 and 44 years of age.

Car accidents rank as the ninth leading cause of death internationally and the leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 29. About half of the people who die as a result of a vehicle incident are actually pedestrians( 22 percentage ), cyclists( 4 percent ), and people riding motorcycles( 23 percentage .)

Low- and middle-income countries have only half of the driving vehicles all over the globe– but they have 90 percent of the world’s road traffic deaths, the highest fatality rates being in some of the world’s poorest countries.

The following listing is based on several analyses and analyses the most recent data by the World Health Organization and research by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Both calculate the rate of traffic fatalities per 100,000 dwellers. Road conditions, traffic regulations, law enforcement, pedestrians behavior, and social stability have all been taken into consideration.

1. Eritrea

iStock

With a rate of 48. 4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, Eritrea is one of the deadliest places to drive, according to the World Health Organizations figures. Main roads are often in bad condition with many potholes. Signs and safety guard rails are often non-existent. Driving risks include unpredictable wild animals, pedestrians and cyclists on the road. Road regulations are reportedly generally ignored.

2. Dominican Republic

Shutterstock

Each year, 29 out of every 100,000 people in this Caribbean nation die in road accidents, according to the 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety. Drunk driving, outstripping speed limits, making sudden lane changes without signaling properly, and not paying attention to stop signs are some of the contributing factors to car accidents in the country.

3. Libya

Shutterstock

The rate of traffic fatalities in Libya is 73.4 per 100,000 people. More than 3,606 demises were reported in 2013 alone, even though WHO estimates the actual number was above 4,500. Speeding is a big problem. Intense fighting also continues in many regions, plus there are high threats throughout the country of terrorist attacks and kidnaps, according UK government statistics.

More from The Active Times Most Dangerous Cities for Pedestrian Dangerous City You Should Never Visit Alone The Worlds Most Dangerous Cruise Ports Most Dangerous Islands in the World

4. Thailand

Tong Creative/ shutterstock.com

Thailands fatality rate due to vehicular accident is 36. 2 per 100,000 inhabitants, according local figures . There are no formal audits required for new road construction projects, according to WHO, and there are no regular inspections of existing road infrastructure. Speeding, drunk driving and loose enforcement of road laws are some of the more common reasons for the high number of accidents.

5. Venezuela

iStock

UMTRI calculate the road demises rate to be 35 per 100,000 people in this South American nation. Many roads are in good condition, but there are also gravel and grime roads with pot pits and landslips, according to TripAdvisor. The rainy months of May and October are the most dangerous for pedestrians and drivers. Also, pedestrians dont have the right of way as they do in many other countries, so if you slow down or stop at a crosswalk, you could cause road traffic accidents with unsuspecting motorists.

Check out more of the world’s most dangerous places to hit the road .~ ATAGEND

Report: Foe of Venezuela's government bites steakhouse diner – Charlotte Observer

Report: Foe of Venezuela's government bites steakhouse diner
Charlotte Observer
A diner at one of New York's best-known steakhouses was bitten on the arm during a protest against the socialist government of Venezuela. El Nuevo Herald reports (http://hrld.us/2uITDFO ) that a woman was assaulted at Peter Luger Steak House in

Read more: www.charlotteobserver.com

Bathroom Lawsuit Could Send Transgender Rights To U.S. Supreme Court

A lawsuit brought by Texas and other countries against the Obama administration’s policy on bathroom access may move the United States closer to a resolution on transgender rights by putting the issue on a trajectory for the Supreme Court.

Conservative officials from 11 states sued all federal departments on Wednesday to overturn a directive that transgender students be allowed to use the bathroom matching their gender identity instead of being forced to use one corresponding to gender assigned at birth. The governor of a 12 th state, Mississippi, said he planned to join the lawsuit.

The country’s high court has never ruled on a main question of the lawsuit: Do federal legal protections against sex discrimination is being implemented in transgender people?

The plaintiffs picked a path that could get them two quick wins in lower courts. The lawsuit is expected to be heard first by an appointee of Republican President George W. Bush and if there is an appeal by a conservative federal appeals court covering Texas.

If that appeals court ruled against the Obama administration, the Supreme court may feel compelled to take over the matter because of a likely conflict with a ruling last month from a federal appeals court in Virginia. That ruling resuscitated a transgender teen’s suit against his school district.

The Supreme Court is more likely to agree to hear a instance when there is a split among different federal appeals court, and such a conflict does not yet exist on transgender rights.

The plaintiffs have accused the management of its President obama of overreaching its authority and said the U.S. Congress, or individual states, should set policy.

At least two the relevant requirements of federal statute prohibition discrimination on the basis of sex: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which covers employment, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

When lawmakers passed the education amendments, they did not consider that the law could one day be applied to gender identity, told Jeremy Tedesco, senior attorney at the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal group.

“The( administration’s) lawless interpretation ignores the will of Congress in legislating Title IX, ” Tedesco said. “It’s a clear occurrence of federal overreach.”

The Obama administration has argued that the education amendments encompass discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status. It said in a letter to school districts this month that their access to federal money depended on their compliance.

The states that sued have two tracks to victory, Tedesco said: a ruling that the Obama administration did not follow proper procedure for constructing new regulations, which would leave the larger issue unsettled, or that its interpretation of Title IX is inconsistent with the law.

Without clear guidance from the courts, the question of transgender rights would remain open to interpretation by federal agencies, entailing a future president could take the opposite view of Obama.

The Republican-controlled Congress has the power to end the dispute immediately, either in favor of transgender rights or against them, but it has shown few signs of acting, especially with a Democrat, Obama, in the White House.

A series of decisions suggests courts are coming around to a more expansive definition of sex discrimination, said Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLBTQ Legal Advocates& Defenders.

Federal bureaux clearly have the authority to interpret civil rights law when its application is unclear, she said.

“To characterize( the administration’s position) as extraordinary or overreaching proves a complete misunderstanding of what these agencies do, ” Levi said.

The countries countered in their lawsuit that the federal agencies went beyond mere interpretation of civil rights law and in effect created new regulations that should have gone through a notice-and-comment procedure.

A court could also find that the states’ lawsuit was premature because the Obama administration has not yet moved to cut off funding to any state or school district, said Arthur Leonard, a professor at New York Law School and an expert on LGBT law.

Georgina Beyer

Vijay Mathur/ Reuters

New Zealand’s Georgina Beyer became the world’s first openly transgender MP when she entered Parliament in 1999. At the time, the media heavily underlined Beyer’s past as a sexuality employee, but she told the scrutiny “did not induce enough of an impact to destroy my credibility as a human being, as a person, as a politician. Which is remarkable.”

Tamara Adrin

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Adrin, a lawyer and human rights campaigner, became the first openly transgender member of theVenezuelan National Assemblyin 2016. My sole presence in the Parliament, it brings fresh air to an environment that was full of homophobia and transphobia, ” she has said. “My presence will require tolerance and I will very strongly request that respect.”

Althea Garrison

Boston Globe via Getty Images

In 1992, Garrison was elected as a Republican to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Just days after that victory, however, The Boston Herald published an article outing Garrison, who had been living as her authentic self as a woman at the time of her campaign, as transgender.In 1994, she lost her re-election bid.

Aya Kamikawa

Reuters Photographer/ Reuters

Kamikawa, who is a Tokyo municipal official, became Japan’s first openly transgender personin a public office in 2003. Still, in 2006, she said, My mission is not over yet. There are still many who are suffering as I used to.

Kim Coco Iwamoto

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Often called the “highest elected office holder” in the U.S. who happens to be openly transgender, Iwamoto is a commissioner on the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.”For me it’s about resilience and having a strong core of self-esteem, which I was very fortunate to have the support and love my parents, their own families, ” she has said.

Anna Grodzka

JANEK SKARZYNSKI via Getty Images

Grodzka was elected in 2011 as a member of thePalikot’s Movement party in Poland, building her the world’s merely openly transgender MP and the second ever in history.”The real issue is a lot more complicated, ” she has said of her country’s posture on LGBT rights, “And Polish people are a lot more divided on the issue.”

Shabnam Mausi

Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Shabnam Mausi is the first openly transgender person in India to be elected to public office, serving as part of the Madhya Pradesh State Legislative Assembly from 1998 to 2003. A film about their own lives was released in 2005. is the first openly transgender person in India to be elected to public office, serving as part of the Madhya Pradesh State Legislative Assembly from 1998 to 2003. A film about their own lives was released in 2005.

Stu Rasmussen

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Stu Rasmussen became the United States first openly transgender mayor after being electedin Silverton, Oregon, in 2008.

I only happen to be transgendered[ sic] – something I didn’t even know the word for until I detected it on the Internet, Rasmussen notes. Ive been a crossdresser or transvestite my whole life, only ‘coming out’ lately and thereby was found that life goes on very nicely.

In 2013, a musical about Rasmussens life debuted in Seattle, Washington.

Camille Cabral

Francois Lenoir/ Reuters

In 2001, Cabral was electedto the council of the 17 th arrondissement of Paris by the French Green Party. The dermatologist stimulated history as the first openly transgender woman in France to be elected into office and bravely defended the rights of sex employees. She served until 2008.

Nikki Sinclaire

AFP via Getty Images

Nikki Sinclaire became the United Kingdoms first openly transgender parliamentarian in 2013 when she came out in her autobiography. In the book, Sinclaire disclosed she underwent gender confirmation surgery in 1995.

Sinclaire served from 2009 to 2014, when she was not re-elected.

Luisa Revilla Urcia

via YouTube

In 2014, Luisa Revilla Urcia became the first openly transgender person to be elected to public office in Peru when she won a seat on a local council in La Esperanza in the province of Trujillo.

I am going to promote equality and I will say no to discrimination, she told The Washington Blade. We want everyone to have equal access, to succeed and to achieve their goals. When there is no discrimination, there is pacification. Infrastructure and modernity is important, but promoting values and showing concern for the people matters even more.

Michelle Surez

via YouTube

In 2014 Michelle Surez became the first openly transgender official elected to the Uruguayan legislature, as well as the first openly trans person elected to a national assembly in the Americas .

Venezuela-Russia deal threatens US energy security – The Hill (blog)


The Hill (blog)

Venezuela-Russia deal threatens US energy security
The Hill (blog)
Lest we forget, Venezuela is spiraling toward social, political and economic collapse, which is creating a severe humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere. The country is facing severe shortages in basic goods and medicine. Inflation is estimated

Read more: thehill.com

Iran Says It Will Resist Oil Output Limits As Part Of Global Pact

ANKARA/ DUBAI( Reuters) – Iran said on Wednesday it would defy any plan to restrain its oil output as fellow OPEC pastors tried to persuade the country to join the first global oil pact in 15 years.

Talks in Tehran between Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh and his counterparts from Iraq, Qatar and Venezuela lasted for nearly three hours. Visiting pastors left without making remark. Zanganeh was due to induce televised remarks at around 1500 GMT( 1000 ET ).

Iran is the major obstacle to the first joint OPEC and non-OPEC deal since 2001, having pledged to increase output sharply to regain market share lost during years of sanctions.

The meeting in the Iranian capital followed a deal to reach agreement on Tuesday by OPEC power Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC Russia, the world’s top two producers and exporters, to freeze production at January levels if other big oil nations agree to join.

OPEC Gulf producers – Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE – as well as Venezuela said they would join the pact, aimed at tackling a growing oversupply and helping costs recover from their lowest in over a decade.

Vahid Salemi/ ASSOCIATED PRESS Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh spoke with his international counterparts for almost three hours.Iran is the major obstacle to the first joint OPEC and non-OPEC deal since 2001.

“Asking Iran to freeze its oil production level is illogical … when Iran was under sanctions, some countries raised their output and they caused the drop in oil prices.” Iran‘s OPEC envoy, Mehdi Asali, was quoted as saying by the Shargh daily newspaper on Wednesday.

“How can they expect Iran to cooperate now and pay the price? ” he told. “We are systematically said that Iran will increase its crude output until reaching the pre-sanctions production level.”

The freeze plan has so far failed to push up oil prices, due to concerns Iran would not participate and that a deal would do little to ease the global glut as it would still allow Russia and Saudi Arabia to keep pumping at near record levels.

Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino, Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi and Qatari Energy Minister Mohammad bin Saleh al-Sada sat down with Zanganeh at 3 p. m.( 1130 GMT ).

The sanctions, imposed over Iran‘s nuclear program, were lifted last month after an agreement with world powers, allowing Tehran to resume selling petroleum freely in international markets.

Iran exported around 2.5 million barrels a day( bpd) of crude before 2012, but sanctions cut that to around 1.1 million bpd. Tehran has pledged to raise render by around 1 million bpd in the next 6-12 months.

This would only add to the global glut, which has been fueled by U.S. shale output and a decision by Saudi Arabia to pump at full capability to drive higher-cost producers out of the market.

The world is already rendering more than 1 million bpd than it consumes, with oil stockpiles at record levels.

As a outcome, costs fell below $30 per barrel in January from as high as $115 in mid-2 014, hammering the finances of Russia, Saudi Arabia and other producers.

Brent oil futures rose 3 percent on Wednesday after losing as much as 4 percent the day before.

“A freeze is not the same as a cut, and somewhat disingenuously, keeping crude production at January levels actually implies higher-than-expected annual output … and so is also difficult to tackle the current marketplace oversupply, ” JBC Energy said in a note.

Vahid Salemi/ ASSOCIATED PRESS A employee cycles through an oil refinery in Tehran.The world already creates over 1 million barrels more per day than it eats. Prices fell below $30 per barrel in January, having hit a $115 high in mid-2 014.

Two non-Iranian sources close to the OPEC deliberations told Reuters on Tuesday that Iran might be offered special terms as part of an output freeze bargain. “Iran is returning to the market and needs to be given a special chance, but it also needs to stimulate some computations, ” said one source.

The sources did not elaborate on the special words, which could be anything from defining limited production increases to linking future output rises to a recovery in oil prices.

Olivier Jakob from Petromatrix consultancy said that if Saudi Arabia was set to freeze output at January levels, the kingdom would need to cut exportations by 0.5 million bpd in the summer months, when it burns more oil for power generation at home.

“The production freeze can therefore be seen as an un-official route for Saudi Arabia to make some room for the restart of the Iranian exports, ” he said.

The last global handled in 2001 saw Saudi Arabia persuade Mexico, Norway and Russia to contribute to production cuts, although Moscow did not follow through and raised exports instead.

( Writing by Andrew Torchia and Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by David Holmes, Pravin Char, Janet McBride)

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Responses To Iran Deal

Responses To Iran Deal

Trump Administration A No-Show At Hearings On Human Rights

WASHINGTON The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights heard from civil rights and other advocacy groups on Tuesday about their concerns with the Trump administrations immigration policies.

Commissioners said they hoped to hear from the government, too. But they couldnt the federal government skipped the hearings, which officials said was because of ongoing litigation.

Advocates and observers said the move was highly unusual and sent a concerning message about the new administrations respect for international bodies such as the Organization of American States, of which the commission, or IACHR, is a part. Multiple experts said the U.S. almost always attends and hasnt skipped a hearing in at least eight years.

Todays no-show is a new low, Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Unions Human Rights Program, said at one of the hearings, calling it an unprecedented show of disrespect to the international community that will alienate democratic allies.

This is another worrying sign that the Trump administration is not only launching an assault on human rights at home but is also trying to undermine international bodies charged with holding abusive governments accountable, he added.

The governments absence was noted multiple times by commissioners, who said they werent sure why it happened. IACHR President Francisco Jos Eguiguren Praeli told reporters that U.S. government officials informed the commission on Monday that they would not be in attendance at the hearings, one dealing with President Donald Trumps executive orders on travel and immigration enforcement, the other on treatment of asylum-seekers.

Suffice it to say that it is a pity that this is the situation, IACHR Vice President Margarette May Macaulay said during one of the hearings, while noting the government had declined to attend and answer questions.

Commissioner Paulo Vannuchi, speaking in Spanish at the other hearing, said he regretted the absence, which is what would have made it possible for there to be a democratic exchange of opposing views being aired.

We fear this is a further reflection of their disregard for the human rights of migrants. Sarah Paoletti, director of the University of Pennsylvanias Transnational Legal Clinic

The State Department, which has a permanent mission to the Organization of American States, said the government did not attend because it is not appropriate for the United States to participate in these hearings while litigation on these matters is ongoing in U.S. courts, acting spokesman Mark Toner said.

The United States has tremendous respect for the role performed by the IACHR in safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the hemisphere, including in the United States, he said in a statement.

The State Department did not provide examples of other instances in which the government has declined to attend hearings last year, officials were present for a separate hearing that dealt with asylum-seekers or exact litigation. The presidents temporary ban on entry to the country for refugees and certain foreign nationals is subject to pending litigation. Another State Department spokesperson, who declined to comment with their name, said participants at both thematic hearings included parties to such ongoing litigation.

The spokesperson said the departments decision not to participate does not have any bearing on current or future U.S. engagement with the Commission.

Neither the Justice Department nor the Department of Homeland Security, which were also expected by the ACLU to attend one or more of the hearings, responded to requests for comment.

Experts said it was far from normal for the government to skip a hearing. Ariel Dulitzky, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law and former assistant executive secretary of the IACHR, said in an email that it is highly unusual for States not to participate and that under former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, the U.S. attended hearings.

Marselha Gonalves Margerin, advocacy director at Amnesty International USA, said it is the first time in the past eight years that the U.S. did not attend an IACHR hearing. She has litigated before the commission and been a close observer for about 16 years, she said.

Countries that skip hearings generally do so to send a message, she said, noting that Cuba, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic have declined to attend at times when they did not want to talk about accusations of human rights violations.

Does America first mean disengagement of its human rights obligations? asked Gonalves Margerin, who was not at the hearings.

Sarah Paoletti, director of the University of Pennsylvanias Transnational Legal Clinic, said during the asylum-seeker hearing that those present were extremely disappointed to not hear from the government.

We fear this is a further reflection of their disregard for the human rights of migrants, she said, and hope that they will fully engage in future hearings and prove us wrong.

Because the U.S. government wasnt there, no one presented counter-arguments to a dire picture put forward by advocates, who argued the presidents executive orders on immigration were discriminatory, dangerous and presented a potential for abuse by Customs and Border Protection agents.

At the asylum-seeker hearing, advocates who criticized Obama on treatment of vulnerable people apprehended at the border as well said they were concerned things would get even worse under Trump. Commissioners seemed sympathetic Macaulay said they agree that detention of families, asylum-seekers and children is completely contrary to international norms and standards.

In no way can the commission accept these acts of violations which are occurring and which seem to be multiplying and becoming more and more serious as each day progresses, she said.

Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com

Steer clear of Legal Faults – Find The Right Legal professio

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