The shooting to death of a prominent journalist outside a court in Amman yesterday is an alarming attack on freedom of expression, said Amnesty International.
Nahed Hattar was in court to face charges of “offending religion” and “inflaming religious feelings” under the country’s strict blasphemy laws, after he shared a satirical cartoon deemed to be offensive to Islam. His family warned he had received a number of death threats since his arrest in August.
“This deplorable murder of a journalist in broad daylight sends an alarming message about the state of freedom of expression in Jordan today. By using strict blasphemy laws to prosecute a person for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression the Jordanian authorities are fuelling a climate in which violent threats against people whose views are deemed offensive by others are allowed to flourish,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
Released 00:01 GMT 15 September 2016
Video footage and satellite images showing makeshift grave sites and burial mounds offer a rare glimpse inside a desert no man’s land between Jordan and Syria where tens of thousands of refugees who have been virtually cut off from humanitarian aid for two months are stranded, said Amnesty International.
Fresh accounts gathered by the organization from people in the area known as the berm, paint a desperate picture of human suffering and highlight the tragic consequences of the world’s failure to share responsibility for the global refugee crisis. Next week, world leaders will gather in New York for two high-level summits to discuss refugees.
The Irish authorities’ planned deportation to Jordan of a man deemed a national security threat would place him at real risk of torture and other serious human rights violations, and is a worrying sign of backsliding on the absolute ban on torture, said Amnesty International today.
The High Court of Dublin cleared the way for Irish authorities to deport a Jordanian man of Palestinian origin (who cannot be identified for legal reasons) in a hearing on 4 July. The man was notified in 2015 that Irish authorities considered him a national security threat on the basis of an allegation that he had been involved in organizing and facilitating travel of people intending to join the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS).
The “iron fist” security response pledged by Jordanian authorities in the wake of Tuesday’s car bombing of a military outpost along the border with Syria must not descend into closing the border and denying humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing armed conflict, Amnesty International said today.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the apparently well-coordinated attack, which killed six army border guards and injured several others.
More than 70,000 people are stranded in the desert area known as “the berm”, which is a raised barrier of sand marking the Jordanian limit of the Jordan-Syria border near Rukban and Hadalat crossings. A total closure of the border and denial of humanitarian aid to the area would inevitably lead to extreme hardship among those unable to find refuge and put their lives at risk.
Posted at 0001hrs GMT 23 March 2016
The combination of grossly inadequate support from the international community and barriers imposed by the government of Jordan are leaving Syrian refugees unable to access health care and other vital services, said Amnesty International in a new report published ahead of a major high-level meeting on responsibility sharing for Syrian refugees.
Living on the margins: Syrian refugees struggle to access health care in Jordan features heart-rending cases of refugees in need of emergency care to treat injuries sustained during the conflict in Syria being turned away at the Jordanian border - leaving some to die as result of their wounds. It also highlights how many Syrian refugees, who live outside refugee camps, are either unable to afford medical care since the Jordanian authorities imposed new fees in November 2014, or lack the necessary documents to be eligible to access health care.
Jordan must not deport the approximately 800 Sudanese asylum-seekers currently being held near Queen Ali International Airport in Amman, Amnesty International said today. The asylum-seekers were taken from outside UNHCR’s office in the capital Amman in the early hours of Wednesday morning and transferred to an industrial area by the airport.
“It is an absolute disgrace that Jordan is about to deport these asylum-seekers back to a country where they will be at real risk of human rights violations and their lives will potentially be in danger,” said Francesca Pizzutelli, Researcher in Amnesty International’s Refugee and Migrants Rights Team.
“Most of these people have fled from Darfur, where they would face a real risk of persecution, brutal repression and other human right violations by the Sudanese government in the region.
Jordan must take immediate action to assist up to 12,000 refugees who have been denied entry to the country and are struggling to survive in desperate, freezing conditions in “no man’s land” on the Jordanian side of the border with Syria, said Amnesty International. Those stranded include pregnant women, young children, elderly people and people suffering from serious medical conditions.
Testimony from Syrian refugees and international aid workers in Jordan collected during a recent research trip to the country, suggests that hundreds of refugees have been arriving on a daily basis in recent weeks but have been denied access to Jordan by the authorities. Analysis of satellite imagery also confirms that the number of refugees arriving at the border has increased in recent months.
The vicious summary killing of a Jordanian pilot who was burned alive by the armed group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS) is an atrocious attack against humanity, said Amnesty International, but responding with executions is not the answer.
The video showing Muath al-Kasasbeh being burned alive in a cage has sent shockwaves across the world. This morning at dawn the Jordanian authorities executed Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouli, two Iraqis linked to al-Qa’ida, in apparent revenge for his killing.
“The abhorrent killing of Muath al-Kasasbeh is a war crime and an all-out attack on the most basic principles of humanity,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
“The Jordanian authorities are rightly horrified by this utterly reprehensible killing but the response should never be to resort to the death penalty, which itself is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The death penalty should also not be used as a tool for revenge. The IS’s gruesome tactics must not be allowed to fuel a bloody cycle of reprisal executions.”
International support is needed to help Jordan end border restrictions on refugees fleeing the armed conflict in Syria, said Amnesty International. According to a new report published today hundreds fleeing to Jordan and other neighbouring countries are being turned back at borders.
The report, Growing restrictions, tough conditions: The plight of those fleeing Syria to Jordan, highlights the increasing difficulties faced by people who are trying to escape the conflict in Syria to Jordan, as well as other countries. ٍScores have also been forcibly deported back to Syria. In many cases those allowed to stay struggle to access basic services.
“It is unacceptable that scores of people from Syria, including families with small children seeking refuge from the fighting, are being denied admission by neighbouring countries,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director of the Middle East and North Africa.
The Jordanian authorities must not deny entry to anyone fleeing the armed conflict in neighbouring Syria, Amnesty International said after families with young children were among scores of people forced to wait at the border in recent days.
“The Jordanian authorities must ensure safe access to Jordan for all those wishing to seek safety without discrimination,” said Said Boumedouha, Acting Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
“Persons fleeing Syria should not be denied entry even on a temporary basis as this puts their lives in danger. Jordan has an obligation under international law to ensure that its borders stay open to receive refugees.”
Since Wednesday 14 August, Syrian national Amina and her six children have been denied entry to Jordan at the official Nasib border crossing, the organization has learned. Jordanian border officials granted them entrance visas but told them that they could not enter Jordan for one month. Their passports were stamped with the message: "Return in one month”.