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September 15, 2014
Solidarity banner delivered to Claudia Medina (middle) from Amnesty Canada
by Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada
-Mexico City, 15 September 2014.
We could not have had a more powerful affirmation of how important solidarity is in our human rights work. 

We passed over to Claudia Medina Tamariz a collection of messages from Amnesty supporters across Canada; greeting cards, letters, handwritten notes, and drawings.  We showed her some of the colourful messages that will be among the large number of petitions and letters turned over to Mexican officials later this month.  And we unfolded a vibrant yellow banner full of handprints and a message of solidarity, from an event held in Toronto in June.
Posted in Mexico
September 15, 2014
by Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International's Senior Crisis Response Adviser in Iraq
These days there are no visitors heading to the ancient Iraqi city of Samarra, 120km north of Baghdad, to admire its archaeological treasures.
The city, once the capital of the powerful Abbasid Empire, which spread from Tunisia to Central Asia, is also home to the iconic golden-domed al-Askari shrine, a Shi’a holy site that was bombed by Sunni militants in 2006, unleashing a vicious cycle of sectarian attacks and counter-attacks across Iraq.
Posted in Iraq
September 12, 2014
By Craig Benjamin, Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Ten years ago, when Amnesty International released its first research report on missing and murdered Indigenous women, we did not call for a national inquiry.
September 12, 2014
By Shappal Ibrahim, a Syrian Kurdish rights activist.
When Shappal Ibrahim, a peaceful activist with the Union of Young Kurds, was approached by a Syrian government official claiming to be a fellow supporter of the country’s “revolution”, he did not realize it was part of a ploy to detain him for his human rights activities. After agreeing to meet the official on 22 September 2011, he was driven away and detained in the city of Qamishli, his hometown. He was held in secret for nearly two years, one of Syria’s many “disappeared” before he was released as part of a presidential amnesty on 29 May 2013. It was only then he learned that on 5 September 2012 a court had sentenced him to 15 years in prison. Here, he tells his story of how he was treated in some of Syria’s many detention centres.
Posted in StopTorture, Syria, Syria
September 11, 2014
A torture wheel, discovered at a detention facility in the Philippines
By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner
September 11, 2014
By Hazel Galang-Folli, Amnesty International’s Expert on the Philippines
Although it is talked about little, torture is the Phillipines’ dirty, open secret. It is endemic. Even though banned in Philippine law, and even though the country has signed up to all the right international treaties on ending torture, this has amounted to little more than paper promises.
Amnesty International has received numerous and harrowing reports of the widespread use of torture and other cruel and inhuman practices by security forces.
September 9, 2014
By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International Canada

The images are haunting. The message shocking. “Am I next?”

Holly Jarrett, cousin of Loretta Saunders, an Inuk woman murdered in Halifax, NS in February, launched the “Am I next?” social media campaign on Saturday, September 6. It plays on the word “ain,” a term of endearment in her native Inuktituk. Given the alarmingly high rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada, it is meant to draw attention to a question that Indigenous women and girls have to ask themselves—will they be the next to vanish?
September 9, 2014
by Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada (English branch)
- September 8, 2014, from Guadalajara, Mexico

The prison we were about to visit loomed large and intimidating
It had been a two and a half hour drive from Guadalajara. As we approached, the ominously named prison, CEFERESO Number 4, the Federal Centre for Social Rehabilitation, loomed large and intimidating at the bottom of one last hill.
We spent the next hour going through the most extensive series of endless security checks I’ve been through in any prison visit, anywhere. It included a stamp on our forearms which only showed up under a special light, which we had to show again on our way out to demonstrate that none of us had stayed behind and allowed a prisoner to slip out in our place. There was, in fact, far more visible security than I have experienced on any of the visits I’ve made to the US detention centre at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Posted in StopTorture, Syria, Mexico
September 8, 2014
by By James Lynch, Refugee and Migrants’ Rights researcher, in northern Iraq.

Everywhere in northern Iraq thousands of people driven from their homes by the conflict are now struggling to survive in grim conditions. As winter approaches it can only get worse.
Near Derabon, close to the Turkish and Syrian borders, a group of displaced families have simply found a patch of open ground beside roads and built the most basic shelters out of wood and straw. They get water – which they say is barely drinkable – from a spring about half a mile away and they are without any kind of power.
Posted in Iraq
September 5, 2014
by Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

This summer’s conflict in Gaza and southern Israel was wrenching. Day after day it did not let up. Rockets launched from Gaza. Relentless aerial bombardment by Israeli forces in Gaza. More rockets from Gaza. Missiles and ground assaults by Israeli forces. All of that in a wider context of serious and longstanding human rights violations, including the collective punishment of the Gaza blockade; and very legitimate security concerns. Against this loud and angry backdrop the toll on civilians, overwhelmingly Palestinian civilians, was heartbreaking. In a corner of the world that has been enmeshed in decades of repression, terrorism, reprisal, defence and revenge the summer of 2014 will long be remembered for the scale and ferocity of the violence.