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    July 21, 2017
      Responding to the Ugandan police’s announcement that they have arrested 56 people for allegedly holding illegal meetings under the deeply-flawed Public Order Management Act (POMA), Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:   “The Ugandan police are no strangers to making arrests in utter disregard for constitutionally-guaranteed rights, but this most recent case is patently absurd. These 56 individuals are guilty of nothing more than attending a peaceful meeting. They should be released immediately and unconditionally.   “The Public Order Management Act is deeply flawed and has previously been used by the police to crack down on the opposition and civil society. This latest mass arrest is no exception.”  
    July 19, 2017
    The Sudanese authorities must end the continued discrimination of Darfuri students at universities, said Amnesty International today as more than 1,000 Darfuri students of Bakht al-Rida University in White Nile State descended on the capital Khartoum to demand the release of 10 of their colleagues accused of killing two police officers.   The students are now blockaded on the southern edge of the capital Khartoum after they were stopped by National Intelligence Security Service (NISS) agents from delivering a statement listing their demands to the government. They also want 14 other colleagues who were expelled from the university readmitted.   “These students only want to present a petition to their leaders, but instead of helping and protecting them, the NISS have chosen to block them, in callous disregard of their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes. “Instead of stopping them, the authorities should protect them and ensure that their grievances are heard.”
    July 14, 2017
    Joint Statement by 68 organisations   We, the undersigned civil society organizations, condemn the arrest, detention and prosecution of six people, including three journalists, under the 1908 Unlawful Associations Act in Myanmar. We demand that the charges against them are dropped and that the three journalists are immediately and unconditionally released, as they have been detained solely in connection with their peaceful journalistic activities.   The three journalists, Thein Zaw (also known as Lawi Weng) from the Irrawaddy magazine, Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Aung from the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), as well as those with them at the time, Mai Tun Aye, Mai San Nyunt, and Mai Aung Kham, were detained by the military on 26 June, 2017 in northern Shan State. They were detained after attending a ceremony in an area controlled by the ethnic armed organization, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).  
    July 14, 2017
    Joint Statement by 68 organisations   We, the undersigned civil society organizations, condemn the arrest, detention and prosecution of six people, including three journalists, under the 1908 Unlawful Associations Act in Myanmar. We demand that the charges against them are dropped and that the three journalists are immediately and unconditionally released, as they have been detained solely in connection with their peaceful journalistic activities.   The three journalists, Thein Zaw (also known as Lawi Weng) from the Irrawaddy magazine, Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Aung from the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), as well as those with them at the time, Mai Tun Aye, Mai San Nyunt, and Mai Aung Kham, were detained by the military on 26 June, 2017 in northern Shan State. They were detained after attending a ceremony in an area controlled by the ethnic armed organization, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).  
    July 13, 2017


    Nobel Prize Winner leaves a lasting legacy for China

    Chinese authorities announced today that Liu Xiaobo, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has passed away.

    Information on Liu Xiaobo’s ill health, who was suffering from terminal liver cancer, was released only after he became too ill to recover. Several Western countries have previously asked that Mr. Liu be allowed to seek treatment abroad. The request was refused. Worse yet, he was kept under guard in a hospital and kept silenced.

    Because of his demand for greater human rights in China, he was branded as a criminal by the Chinese government. 

    Liu Xiaobo developed a conviction for the cause of democracy and human rights after witnessing the brutal government crackdown of the peaceful protest in Tiananmen Square in 1989. He once said, “as a survivor of the Tiananmen Square Democracy movement, I feel that I have a duty to uphold justice for those who died in the event.”

    July 14, 2017
      Responding to a Hong Kong court decision today to disqualify four pro-democracy lawmakers for failing to sincerely take the oath of office, Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, commented:   “Today’s decision confirms the Hong Kong government’s agenda to silence and effectively punish any speech critical of the present political system, wherever it may occur, even within the legislature. It is the latest damaging sign that expressing political opinions that challenge the status quo are no longer tolerated. By bringing these cases, the Hong Kong government only reinforces the impression that they are mere puppets of Beijing.”
    July 13, 2017
      In response to the news that the European Commission is to begin infringement proceedings to hold Hungary to account for its law stigmatising non-governmental organisations (NGOs) receiving funding from abroad, Iverna McGowan, Director of the Amnesty International, European Institutions Office said:   “Hungary’s NGO law was designed to stigmatize and vilify NGOs. Today’s action from the European Commission sends a strong signal that such onslaughts against civil society are not acceptable in the European Union.” “Amnesty International will not comply with the law unless compelled to do so by a court. It is in flagrant violation of EU law and the fundamental right to freedom of association. Hungary must drop the law before it causes further damage to civil society and the valuable services they provide to Hungarian society.”   The deadline for “foreign funded” NGOs registration was 12 July 2017. Amnesty International Hungary’s membership has decided not to comply with the registration requirement; instead the organization is submitting a constitutional appeal.
    July 13, 2017
      A bill on the agenda for discussion in Tunisia’s parliament today could bolster impunity for security forces by granting them immunity from prosecution for unnecessary use of lethal force as well as potentially criminalizing criticism of police conduct, said Amnesty International today.   The proposed law, known as the “Repression of attacks against armed forces” bill, would authorize security forces to use lethal force to protect property even when it is not strictly necessary to protect life, contrary to international standards. It would exempt security forces from criminal liability in such cases if the force used is deemed “necessary and proportionate”. The bill was first proposed by the government to parliament in April 2015 and was reintroduced at the demand of police unions.  
    July 10, 2017
      The sentencing of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, in his absence, to two years in prison for TV interviews is the latest shocking display of zero tolerance for freedom of expression by the Bahraini authorities, Amnesty International said today.   “Imprisoning Nabeel Rajab simply for sharing his opinion is a flagrant violation of human rights, and an alarming sign that the Bahraini authorities will go to any length to silence criticism,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.   “Nabeel Rajab should be commended for shedding light on allegations of serious human rights abuses; instead, Bahrain’s government and judiciary have once again tightened their chokehold on freedom of expression and branded him a criminal. No one should be jailed for speaking out about human rights.”   Nabeel Rajab was jailed in June 2016 over tweets he made that alleged torture in a Bahraini prison, and criticized the killing of civilians in the Yemen conflict by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.  
    July 10, 2017
      As US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits Turkey to meet with senior Turkish officials in Ankara today, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, Gauri van Gulik said:   “With both the Chair and Director of Amnesty International Turkey behind bars we urge Rex Tillerson to use his face-to-face meetings to call on Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them and the other human rights activist caught up in this cynical trawl.   “The US Department of State already described the arrest of Taner Kiliç, the chair of Amnesty International Turkey as part of an ‘alarming trend’. Now with arrest of Idil Eser, the Director of our Turkey office, and nine others detained with her, the situation has deteriorated further. It’s time to act and use all possible opportunities to demand that Idil, Taner and all human rights defenders are freed immediately and unconditionally.”  
    July 07, 2017
        Those responsible for the enforced disappearance and death of Gambian journalist Ebrima Manneh must have nowhere to hide, Amnesty International said as its supporters from around the world are today sending solidarity messages to his family, holding vigils and releasing a video with a call for justice.   Today marks the 11th anniversary of Ebrima Manneh’s disappearance, following his arrest by officers believed to be from Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency. In January this year his family was finally officially informed by the police of his death, yet they still have no information about what happened or who was responsible. The family are not able to perform burial rites, as they do not know the whereabouts of his body.   
    July 07, 2017
      Chinese labour activist Liu Shaoming is the latest victim of the authorities’ relentless assault on human rights, Amnesty International said, after he was sentenced to four and a half years in jail for publishing his story of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.   On Friday, a court in Guangzhou found Liu Shaoming guilty of “inciting subversion of state power”. He has already spent more than two years in detention, after he was taken away by police on 30 May 2015. His detention occurred five days after he published an article on US-website Boxun.com reflecting on his involvement in China’s 1989 pro-democracy movement.    “This is a most callous and unjust verdict against Liu Shaoming. He is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released. All that Liu Shaoming is guilty of is the legitimate exercise of his freedom of expression,” said William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International.   
    July 06, 2017

    The government of Tanzania should end its hostile rhetoric toward civil society groups and threats to obstruct their work, 18 national and international nongovernmental organizations said today. The comments have targeted groups helping pregnant girls finish their education and those working to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.

    The organizations shared the concerns raised in a joint statement by 25 Tanzanian organizations reaffirming their support for re-entry to school for adolescent mothers.

    July 04, 2017

    The Bangladesh authorities must make every effort to trace the whereabouts of and recover a prominent writer who has been abducted and may have been subject to an enforced disappearance, Amnesty International said today.

    Farhad Mazhar, a prominent columnist, poet and political analyst, was taken from outside his home at approximately 5am this morning by a group of unidentified people. Half an hour later, his wife, Farida Akhtar, received a haunting phone call from Farhad, when he is reported to have told her: “They are taking me away, I’m afraid they will kill me.”

    “The Bangladesh authorities must make every effort to locate Farhad Mazhar, bring him back to safety and hold the perpetrators accountable,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    “Far too many people have gone missing in Bangladesh over recent years without any further news of their fate. The government must end impunity for these abuses.”

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