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Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission Officials Meet with Chinese Antitrust Agencies Officials at Second Annual High-Level Meetings
January 10th, 2014 Posted by

Justice Department Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer participated in high-level meetings with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and officials from China’s three antitrust agencies – Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) Vice Minister Jiang Zengwei, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Vice Minister Hu Zucai and State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) Vice Minister Sun Hongzhi.

The meetings took place at MOFCOM in Beijing, China, on Jan. 9, 2014. This was the second high-level meeting of the agencies since the Justice Department and FTC signed the antitrust memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Chinese antitrust agencies on July 27, 2011. The officials discussed promoting competition in a global economy and various aspects of general civil and criminal antitrust enforcement.

The MOU is designed to promote communication and cooperation among the agencies in the two countries. The MOU provides for periodic high-level consultations among all five agencies.

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Chinese National Development and Reform Commission Vice Minister Hu Zucai, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division Bill Baer, Ministry of Commerce Vice Minister Jiang Zengwei, Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, and State Administration for Industry and Commerce Vice Minister Sun Hongzhi

 DOJ_FTC_China2 

 Department of Justice and FTC Officials participated in high-level meetings with China’s three antitrust agencies – MOFCOM, NRDC and SAIC

 

 

POSTED IN: Antitrust Division  |  PERMALINK
Remembering Newtown
December 13th, 2013 Posted by

Blog courtesy of Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.

No words can express the shock and horror that our nation witnessed one year ago tomorrow, in Newtown, Connecticut, when a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and took the lives of 20 young children and six staff members.

Although the people of Newtown experienced the very worst of humankind on that terrible day, they have responded to that senseless tragedy with remarkable resilience.  From the determined law enforcement officers and other first responders who entered the school, confronted the unspeakable acts that took place there, and helped get students to safety; to the counselors, community leaders, and service providers who have rallied around those who lost friends and loved ones – the days, weeks, and months since the tragedy at Sandy Hook have been marked by healing and compassion.

I had the great honor of meeting with a few of the first responders, investigators, and others when I visited Newtown the week after this horrific shooting.  On that day, which I will always regard as the most difficult of my professional life, I walked the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary School and saw the devastating crime scene.  I spoke with the men and women who helped secure the building, worked to save lives, and comforted those in need.  And I will never forget the courage displayed by every one of the people with whom I met.

Over the past year, their bravery has been matched only by the strength and resolve of the parents and other family members of those whose lives were cut short last December.  As a father of three children, I can only imagine the pain and heartbreak that each of them must feel.  My thoughts and prayers remain with them and with others who have lost young children, family members, or friends to similar tragedies.  Our nation has been inspired by their grace in the aftermath of incomprehensible loss.  And I will continue to carry their stories with me every day.

Today, I am honored to join the families of Sandy Hook in calling for all Americans to mark this solemn anniversary as an occasion for remembrance.  This weekend, let us pause to think of those who were taken from us – far too suddenly, and far too soon.  Let us lift up, and hold in our hearts, the memories of the 20 little angels and six brave adults we lost last December.  Let us pledge that we will always stand with and support those they left behind.  And let us join the people of Newtown in paying tribute to the victims of this heinous crime by engaging in acts of kindness for our fellow citizens – ensuring that the legacy of this hateful act will be forever defined by compassion, by solicitude, and by love.

Bureau of Prison’s Universal Children’s Day
December 6th, 2013 Posted by

The following post appears courtesy of the Bureau of Prison’s Director Charles E. Samuels

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis past weekend, the Bureau of Prisons held its first ever Universal Children’s Day, a visiting event for inmates and their families. This special visiting weekend provided a wonderful opportunity for inmates to deepen bonds with their children and strengthen their roles as parents through various activities and workshops. With more than 123,000 federal inmates who have children under the age of twenty-one, BOP is committed to giving inmates opportunities to enhance their relationship with their children and their role as parents. There is no substitute for looking your children in the eye and letting them know you care about them.

I was pleased by the large number of children that were able to visit with their incarcerated parents. Nearly 8,500 children visited more than 4,000 federal inmates during this special weekend. Our institutions across the country collaborated with their local communities to make the event a tremendous success and many featured activities such as storytelling, face painting, parenting workshops, family worship services and holiday-themed arts and crafts. At Oklahoma’s Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, dairy calves were on hand for a petting zoo and fire trucks were featured from the local fire department. In addition to activities, each institution provided families with a helpful toolkit including Sesame Street’s “Little Children, Big Challenges” booklets and DVDs, “Mommies and Daddies in Prison” by Sue Jeweler and Judi Goozh, and children’s coloring pages and parenting tip sheets. These materials are aimed to help provide support to children and help them understand, express and cope with the feelings that come with having incarcerated parents.

For some inmates this was the first time they read a book to their child or drew a picture together. My hope is that this is just the beginning, for many mothers and fathers, of a sustained journey back into the lives of their children and their roles as parents. We are always looking for new ways to help inmates enhance their parenting and other skills that are related to a successful return to the community. This weekend’s events were certainly a great start!

For more information and additional resources and supports for children of incarcerated parents, please visit http://findyouthinfo.gov/youth-topics/children-of-incarcerated-parents.

Recognizing World AIDS Day 2013
December 2nd, 2013 Posted by

This post is courtesy of the Civil Rights Division

“Federal law is a critically important tool in eradicating the discrimination that so many people living with HIV and AIDS still face in their daily lives.  By enforcing the civil rights laws and educating members of the public about their rights and responsibilities, the Department of Justice seeks to eradicate the stigma and stereotypes that so often lead to unlawful treatment of people with HIV/AIDS.  Along with our partner agencies under the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, we remain committed to using every tool available to protect the rights of individuals with HIV/AIDS.”  

-Attorney General Eric Holder

In recognition of World AIDS Day 2013, the Department of Justice reaffirms its commitment to eradicating stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS across our country.  President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy recognizes that important work as a priority.  This year’s observance offers us the chance to both reflect on the work we have done in the past year to protect the rights of people with HIV/AIDS and – due to the sad truth of continuing discrimination – the significant work to be done in the year ahead. 

 The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division HIV/AIDS enforcement work under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) over the past year has been robust.  Much of that work has involved allegations that individuals were denied care or were otherwise treated differently in health care, dentistry, or other clinical settings because they have HIV, and the department resolved those allegations through policy changes that ensure that all future individuals with HIV/AIDS would not face the same discrimination in those settings.  These included settlements with a pain management clinic in North Carolina that refused to treat a patient due to her HIV status, a clinic in Missouri that refused to treat a woman with HIV for her serious eating disorder, a dentistry practice in Virginia that told a new patient with HIV that all of his appointments must be scheduled as the last appointment of the day, an alcohol treatment program in Ohio that excluded an individual from their program because of the side effects of his HIV medication, and a provider of bariatric surgeries based on the experiences of individuals in Pennsylvania and Michigan whose anticipated surgeries were cancelled or denied because of their HIV status. 

In September 2013, the department filed a complaint and settlement in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina regarding the South Carolina Department of Corrections’ (SCDOC) policies and practices of segregating inmates with HIV in several of its prisons and denying those individuals the opportunity for equal participation in services, programs, and activities.  The segregation at the heart of the lawsuit includes placement of individuals with HIV in two of the system’s highest security prisons –  regardless of their individual security classifications –  where they were housed in “HIV-only” dorms and required to wear clothing and badges that identified their dorms (effectively disclosing their HIV status to other inmates, staff, and visitors).  Because certain programs are not provided at the two high security prisons, inmates with HIV were unable to participate in a variety of the SCDOC’s programs, such as drug treatment, work release, pre-release preparation, intermediate psychiatric care, and certain jobs that are made available to lower-level security inmates who do not have HIV. 

The settlement resolving the department’s investigation of the SCDOC requires the SCDOC to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability (including, in particular, on the basis of HIV status).  Additionally, lower-level security inmates with HIV who are currently housed in the SCDOC’s two high security prisons will have an opportunity to choose new housing options based on the general classification system without regard to their HIV status.  Under this settlement, inmates with HIV will also be able to participate in DOC programs, such as drug treatment, work release, pre-release preparation, intermediate psychiatric care, youthful offender programs, re-entry, and food service jobs in the cafeteria and canteen.  Finally, inmates with HIV who in the past have experienced segregation will be given priority access to those programs that they were illegally denied.  With this settlement, the SCDOC joins the other 49 state correctional systems in recognizing that individuals with HIV are entitled to equal treatment under the law.

Through its technical assistance work, the department also continues its efforts to ensure that employers, businesses, state and local governments and people living with HIV/AIDS are aware of their rights and responsibilities under the law –  including through the availability of publications such as “Questions and Answers: The Americans with Disabilities Act and Persons with HIV/AIDS,” through training events and through the ADA Information Line, 800-514-0301 (voice), 800-514-0383 (TTY).

Today, in recognition of World AIDS Day 2013, the department pledges its continued commitment to the important goal of allowing individuals with HIV/AIDS to reach their full potential – free of the burdens of stigma and discrimination.  To learn more about the department’s work, please visit www.ada.gov/aids.

POSTED IN: Civil Rights Division  |  PERMALINK
Honoring the Civil Rights of Native Americans
November 27th, 2013 Posted by

This post is courtesy of the Civil Rights Division

In keeping with President Barack Obama’s proclamation recognizing National Native American Heritage Month, this month the Department of Justice honors the vibrant cultures of Native American societies and strengthens the government-to-government relationship between the United States and each tribal nation.  By proclaiming November to be Native American Heritage Month, President Obama reaffirmed this administration’s commitment to Native self-determination and the right of tribal governments to build and strengthen their own communities. 

The Civil Rights Division shares this commitment to respecting and protecting the rights of tribes and individual Native Americans.  The division’s work in this area is a year-round effort, spearheaded by the division’s Indian Working Group.  The Indian Working Group has representatives from every section of the division, from education to voting to employment, recognizing that Native Americans’ civil rights should be protected in every sphere of life.  This collaborative effort elevates enforcement, outreach and educational opportunities concerning Native American issues throughout the country.

For too long, Native Americans have experienced discrimination and injustice, and the federal government can and must stop such unequal treatment.  In response to frequent concerns raised by tribal leaders, the Civil Rights Division’s Indian Working Group is researching new ways to enhance implementation of civil rights laws and other laws affecting the rights of Native American parents and children in the context of child custody.  The discriminatory removal of Native American children from their families and placement in foster care and adoption systems, without adequate consideration of tribal citizenship and the unique family structures in Native American communities, are of deep concern to Native Americans and tribes.  The Indian Working Group is interested in methods in which the division can effectively assist in addressing Native American rights in the child custody context, including enforcement of federal civil rights laws and/or technical assistance to tribal or other related governmental agencies. 

The division enforces federal laws against hate crimes and discriminatory or abusive policing. We confront challenges to the civil rights of Native Americans, including vicious assaults born of hatred and threats used to drive Native Americans out of their homes. 

In addition, using our authority under the Religious Land Use of Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), this year we urged courts to ensure Native American prisoners in South Dakota were able to freely practice their religion.  

The Civil Rights Division’s ability to enforce federal civil rights laws on behalf of Native Americans depends on communication with Native Americans who have faced discrimination – whether in education, housing, voting, employment or lending – on the basis of race, national origin, English language fluency or religion.  To that end, the Indian Working Group is striving to establish relationships with Native American human and civil rights groups.  This year the Indian Working Group entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission (NNHRC) as a mechanism to communicate regularly about potential civil rights issues and the division’s role in enforcing civil rights laws.  The Indian Working Group has embarked on a series of meetings with the NNHRC to exchange information that might necessitate referral to law enforcement agencies for further investigation when deemed appropriate.  This is the first agreement of its kind reached by the Indian Working Group and it serves to support our mission to identify and address potential civil rights violations that affect Native Americans. 

In an effort to expand our outreach, the Indian Working Group has launched an Indian Working Group website – www.justice.gov/crt/iwg/ – that provides information about the Civil Rights Division’s work on behalf of Native Americans and includes links to publications, statements, briefs, press releases, outreach initiatives and contact information.

We do this work not only because it is our legal responsibility as a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, but because it is our moral responsibility as members of a broad, diverse community.  We have the power of the law and the federal government behind us, and we will continue to protect the civil rights of American Indians and Alaska Natives.  The Indian Working Group can be reached at indianrights.workinggroup@usdoj.gov.

POSTED IN: Civil Rights Division  |  PERMALINK
50 Years Later: Attorney General Holder Reflects on President Kennedy’s Legacy
November 22nd, 2013 Posted by

The blog appears courtesy of Attorney General Eric Holder

Attorney General Holder visits the graves of President John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy

Attorney General Holder visits the graves of President John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy

Fifty years ago today, in Dallas, the life of the 35th President of the United States was ended by an assassin’s bullet. Like nearly all Americans who were alive on that terrible day, I’ll never forget the moment when I learned of John F. Kennedy’s death. On the afternoon of November 22, 1963, I was a 7th grader – on my way to science class – when I heard rumors that the president had been shot. I’ll always remember when, at the end of class, our teacher announced that the president had died. And when I got home from school later that day, I saw my father cry for the very first time.

This unthinkable event marked a turning point in my life, and in the lives of so many Americans who felt the heartbreak, the horror, and the sense of loss that accompanied such a profound national tragedy. In the decades since then, I have always regarded President Kennedy as a personal hero – not only because he challenged Americans to look to the stars, to confront a New Frontier, and to embrace the cause of civil rights – but because he exuded both optimism and vitality. He called new generations of Americans to public service. And he inspired in me, and in countless others, the belief that government can be a positive force – and that government service can be a noble, and deeply rewarding, endeavor.

Since President Kennedy’s assassination, I have regularly marked this anniversary by visiting his gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery. Before she passed away, I often brought my mother along with me, so we could pay tribute together to the man who inspired my career in public service, and to Robert F. Kennedy, who preceded me as Attorney General and rests just a short distance away.

This morning, as I stood just before dawn at President Kennedy’s eternal flame, I found it hard to believe that half a century has passed since he was taken from us. And I reflected on the vast and enduring legacy that he left – a legacy that stretches far beyond his thousand days in office. Over the course of three too-short years, he seized his moment in history to advance a bold vision, and a sweeping civil rights agenda, that has been changing the face of our nation ever since. He captured the imaginations of millions, including me, and inspired in us a new kind of patriotism – a patriotism anchored in the values that have defined this country since its founding, but brought vividly to life by his assurance that every citizen could, and in fact must, play a role in determining America’s future.

From the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to the space program and the Peace Corps, the achievements and advances that John F. Kennedy inspired – and set in motion – have far outlasted his presidency and his young life. In his extraordinary inaugural address – which I will always rate alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech as the most important of my lifetime – he called on Americans to achieve those things we knew to be right but believed to be impossible. And he demanded that his countrymen and -women look beyond themselves and set their sights, and pin their aspirations, on a distant horizon.

Every time I visit Arlington, I think about President Kennedy’s call to service – a call that continues to motivate me even today: to work in defense of those truths our forefathers once held to be self-evident, but which we must fight, every day, to secure. To protect the progress that’s been made by all who have rallied, and marched, and sacrificed – over the last two and a quarter centuries – in the name of civil rights. And to reclaim the values of equality, opportunity, and justice that must drive every public servant and every citizen to keep moving this country forward – knowing, as President Kennedy did, that this work will outlast us, but determined, as he once urged us, to begin.

 
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