Wednesday, July 12, 2017
We note two significant local human rights developments in recent weeks, NEITHER of them from the coasts:
First, on July 5, Dallas County became the first county in Texas, and only the second county in the United States, to declare itself a Human Rights County. According to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, sponsor of the measure, “Human Rights abuses occur in our community, our country and our world every day. We must lead at the local level. We can’t do everything but we can all do something.” Dr. Rick Halperin, director of SMU's human rights program, added “The action taken by the county commissioners will mark a historic turning point in this County’s recognition of Human Dignity and Human Rights for all those who live, work, and visit here. This really puts us on the road to being the global jurisdiction we purport to be.” The resolution came one year after a historic Human Rights Dallas meeting, where local leaders met at SMU to discuss how human rights approaches might improve the welfare of Dallas residents, and how Dallas might take national leadership in expanding human rights,
Second, in May 2017, Athens, Ohio hosted its first ever "Ohio Human Rights Tribunal," addressing the human rights issues raised by fracking. Four judges heard over six hours of testimony from the community. Another tribunal hearing is expected in Ohio later in July. These hearings are held under the auspices of the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal on Fracking, which is gathering testimony to submit to the United Nations.