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Two years after Trayvon Martin killing, human rights lawyer says America ‘burdened with a legacy of slavery’

February 26th, 2014
04:33 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Two years ago Wednesday, a black teenager named Trayvon Martin became the latest face of what many called racial injustice in America.

Martin was unarmed, except with a hoodie, when he was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida.

The assailant, George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, claimed self-defense. A jury agreed, pronouncing him not guilty.

Of course Trayvon's case was hardly the first or the last such tragedy.

Just two weeks ago, again in Florida, a similar situation: a white man escaped the most serious charge of first degree murder after he shot and killed a black teenager in a dispute over loud music, of all things. Michael Dunn was convicted on three charges of attempted second-degree murder for shooting into the SUV holding the victim and other black teenagers.

The cases “reflect a continuing disregard for valuing people of color in the way that we have to if we’re going to recover from our history inequality and racial injustice,” Bryan Stevenson, a human rights lawyer and founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

“This country is burdened with a legacy of slavery. We enslaved Africans for over two centuries. From the end of reconstruction until World War II we terrorized and traumatized black people in America with lynchings and violence and racial hatred.”

“And because we never told the truth about all of those problems and all the difficulties that created, we never had the moment of truth and reconciliation that every country requires if it’s going to deal with decades of human rights abuse. We didn’t have what South Africa went through.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • U.S. Politics

Venezuela opposition lawmaker: ‘government has to choose’

February 26th, 2014
03:28 PM ET

Venezuela is in the throes of the biggest protests since the death of President Hugo Chavez a year ago.

People are outraged in the oil-rich country at record inflation, shortages of basic goods, and high crime rates.

Thirteen people have been killed since the demonstrations began.

CNN’S Christiane Amanpour spoke on Wednesday with Maria Corina Machado, an opposition member of parliament.

“The government has to choose: They make changes, profound changes, or they decided to repress,” Machado said from Caracas. “And what they have decided is the second part. They decided to a brutal repression in order to stop this civic movement.”

Click above to see Amanpour’s full conversation with Machado.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Venezuela

Putin phone call convinced Yanukovych to change attitude, says Polish foreign minister

February 26th, 2014
03:19 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

A phone call between former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian President Vladimir Putin may have been the deciding factor in the Ukrainian leader changing his "attitude" towards the protests in Kiev, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

Sikorski was intimately involved in the negotiations that brought a truce between Yanukovych and the Ukrainian opposition, and gave Amanpour an insider’s view of the talks.

“President Yanukovych left us several times to talk to [U.S.] Vice President Biden, [German] Chancellor Merkel, and indeed President Putin,” Sikorski said. “One of the breakthroughs was when we said, ‘Well look, Mr. President, you have to declare to the opposition by when you agree for new presidential elections to be held, by when do you intend to shorten your term of office.’”

“He was very reluctant, as you might imagine,” Sikorski said. “His attitude changed after one of the conversations, we think, with President Putin.”


Polish FM on Ukraine future

CNN's Christiane Amanpour speaks with Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski about Ukraine's future.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine

The end of innocence: Photojournalist documents child sexual abuse

February 26th, 2014
10:02 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

It is hard to imagine – a three-year-old girl being raped. It is even harder to fathom the rapists being children themselves.

But in South Africa, not only is this crime shockingly common, it may be on the rise.

45% of rapes reported to the police in South Africa are child rapes, and 50% of South Africa’s children will be abused before the age of 18, according to South Africa’s Tears Foundation and the Medical Research Council.

For over a decade, photographer Mariella Furrer has worked to document these crimes with powerful photos and accompanying narratives.

She has compiled her work into a nearly 700-page book, “My Piece of Sky.”

Click here to see Furrer’s photos in large format

“Most child sexual abuse is unreported,” she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday. “The most important thing about this body of work really is to try to get people to speak out about their abuse – to have the courage to speak out about it, because there’s a lot of shame and guilt attached to it.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • South Africa