Declaration of the High-Level Meeting of the 67th Session of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law at the National and International Levels (Sept. 24, 2012)
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The High-level Meeting of the 67th Session of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law at the National and International Levels, attended by UN Member States, non-governmental organizations, and civil society, took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 24, 2012. The meeting, which was meant to address the rule of law at the national and international levels, resulted in the adoption by the General Assembly of the Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law at the National and International Levels.
The Declaration reaffirmed the "commitment to the rule of law and its fundamental importance for political dialogue and cooperation among all States," emphasizing that rule of law applies equally to all states and international organizations, including the United Nations and its principal organs. The Declaration also acknowledged the importance of informal justice mechanisms to resolve disputes, provided that such mechanisms are in accordance with international human rights law. Finally, the Declaration recognized the importance of ensuring that women "fully enjoy the benefits of the rule of law, and commit to using law to uphold their equal rights and ensure their full and equal participation."
United States Senate, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Federal Support for and Involvement in State and Local Fusion Centers, Majority and Minority Staff Report (Oct. 3, 2012)
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A bipartisan report issued by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has concluded that fusion centers—information sharing centers that are meant to facilitate sharing of terrorism-related information between state, local, and federal agencies—failed to "produce[ ] useful intelligence to support Federal counterterrorism efforts." According to the report, the centers "forwarded 'intelligence' of uneven quality - oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens' civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already-published public sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism." The report also accused Department of Homeland Security officials of often misrepresenting the centers' achievements: "DHS officials asserted that some fusion centers existed when they did not. At times, DHS officials overstated fusion centers' 'success stories.' At other times, DHS officials failed to disclose or acknowledge non-public evaluations highlighting a host of problems at fusion centers and in DHS's own operations."
The report recommended "that Congress and DHS revisit the statutory basis for DHS support of fusion centers, in light of the investigation's findings." It also recommended "that DHS improve its oversight of Federal grant funds supporting fusion centers; conduct promised assessments of fusion center information-sharing; and strengthen its protection of civil liberties in fusion center intelligence reporting."
President Obama Executive Order - Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking In Persons In Federal Contracts (Sept. 25, 2012)
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U.S. President Obama has issued an Executive Order outlining measures to improve the U.S. government's existing zero-tolerance policy on human trafficking in government contracting. The Executive Order provides concrete steps to be implemented by numerous federal agencies to strengthen the existing U.S. policy on trafficking in persons by federal contractors and subcontractors in solicitations, contracts, and subcontracts for supplies or services. Specifically, the President ordered that within 180 days of the date of the Executive Order, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Administrator for the United States Agency for International Development, take steps necessary to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to further the objective of the Executive Order.