human rights

American Civil Liberties Union


A national organization that engages in litigation, legislative lobbying, and educational outreach in order to preserve and further individual rights and liberties that are guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Among the constitutional rights that the ACLU promotes are First Amendment, equal protection, due process, and privacy rights.

American Civil Liberties Union website:


Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

So-called Defense of Marriage laws define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, for the purpose of excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage. The federal DOMA prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex legal relationships entered into in one of the states that recognize same-sex unions. Individual states' DOMA laws provide that those states do not allow same-sex marriage and, often, do not recognize same-sex unions from other states.



1) Abuse, generally: physically, sexually, or mentally injuring a person.

2) Child abuse: physically, sexually, or mentally injuring a child either with intent or through neglect.

3) Substance abuse: excessively using or misusing a legal or illegal substance.

4) In bankruptcy: filing under chapter 7 by a debtor whose monthly, disposable income exceeds $10,950 or 25% of his or her non-priority unsecured debt (if at least $6,575) for a five-year period is presumptively abusive, requiring dismissal or conversion to chapter 13.



Taking a person away by means of persuasion, fraud, or force. Some jurisdictions also require that the abductee, the person abducted, be a child or that that the abductor intend to marry or defile the abductee or subject him or her to prostitution or concubinage.  Parental abduction, a parent's abduction of his or her child, is a crime.  Although the terms abduction and kidnapping are, at times, used interchangeably, kidnapping is narrower, generally requiring the threat or use of force. 


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Conscripting Children

Conscripting children is a war crime punishable by the International Criminal Court. The crime has the following elements:

  • The perpetrator conscripted or enlisted the victims into the national armed forces or for active participation in hostilities;
  • the victims were under the age of 15;
  • the conscription took place in the context of an armed conflict.

Forced Pregnancy

Forced pregnancy is a war crime punishable by the International Criminal Court. The crime has the following elements:

  • The perpetrator confined one or more women who were forcibly made pregnant, with the intent of affecting ethnic composition of the population or otherwise violating international criminal law;
  • the conduct was associated with an armed conflict.


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