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Human Rights Abuses

    June 23, 2016
    Delegation of Human Rights Defenders travels to Ottawa, demands substantive dialogue between Prime Minister Trudeau and President Peῆa Nieto on Mexico’s dire human rights crisis.   

    The deadly and steadily growing human rights crisis in Mexico must be at the top of the agenda in the upcoming meetings between Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Mexican Prime Minister Peῆa Nieto, said a delegation of Mexican human rights defenders, Amnesty International and the Nobel Women’s Initiative.

    Staggering levels of human rights violations have been documented in Mexico. More than 100,000 people have been killed and 27,000 people reported missing or ‘disappeared’ in the last decade. There has been a marked increase in reports of grave abuses committed by police and security forces, including enforced disappearances and widespread use of torture.  Violence against women and girls is endemic. Impunity is rampant: with more than 7,000 complaints of torture officially filed between 2010 and 2013, there have only been 15 convictions in the last quarter century.

    June 20, 2016

    Days before the state visit to Canada of Mexico’s President and the North American Leaders Summit, four courageous women human rights defenders from Mexico are visiting Ottawa with a compelling message: it’s time to break the silence and take meaningful action to confront an acute human rights crisis in Mexico.

    The women are in Ottawa from June 21 to 23. They will hold a press conference on June 23 to make public devastating personal experiences they are sharing with Canadian government officials, MPs, Senators and members of civil society organizations, as well as the actions needed to stop the explosion of human rights violations in Mexico.

    A press conference will take place on Thursday June 23 at 10:30 AM

    in the Charles Lynch Press Room, Centre Block, House of Commons, Ottawa

    Speakers:

    June 09, 2016

    Failed responses to the sharp increase in hate crimes across Germany – including attacks on shelters for asylum-seekers – expose the need to urgently step up protection and launch an independent inquiry into possible bias within the country’s law enforcement agencies, said Amnesty International in a report released today.

    The report, Living in insecurity: How Germany is failing victims of hate crimes, details how 16 times as many crimes were reported against asylum shelters in 2015 (1,031) as in 2013 (63). More generally, racist violent crimes against racial, ethnic and religious minorities increased by 87% from 693 crimes in 2013 to 1,295 crimes in 2015.

    “With hate crimes on the rise in Germany, long-standing and well-documented shortcomings in the response of law enforcement agencies to racist violence must be addressed,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s EU Researcher.

    June 08, 2016

    The shooting of students peacefully protesting in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, is a disgraceful attack on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, Amnesty International said today.

    The organisation has received information that there are 38 people injured, including four in critical condition. Three people are still being assessed in emergency.

    “The shooting of students peacefully protesting is reminiscent of the worst excesses of repressive regimes in the region,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    “Papua New Guinea’s authorities must establish a prompt, impartial and independent investigation to determine who is responsible for the unnecessary and excessive use of force.”

    The Papua New Guinea police opened fire today on a group of students at Papua New Guinea University who were peacefully protesting against the alleged corruption of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

    Several eye-witnesses have come forward to say they saw students beaten and shot at, including one case where a student was shot in the head.

    June 06, 2016

    The Colombian authorities must ensure that the security forces, in particular the ESMAD anti-riot police, refrain from using disproportionate and excessive force against demonstrators, Amnesty International said today as a nationwide protest by rural communities enters its second week.

    According to local social and human rights organizations, at least 179 demonstrators have been injured and three Indigenous protestors killed since Indigenous, Afro-descendant and peasant farmer communities began a national mobilization on 30 May. There are also reports that members of the security forces have been injured.

    The demonstrators are protesting at what they argue is the Colombian government’s failure to comply with numerous agreements on a range of rural issues. These include agrarian reform; education; health; free, prior and informed consent; and mining.

    The security forces have a duty to guarantee public order but this must not be used as an excuse to ignore international standards on the use of force by the security forces.

    June 03, 2016

    Authorities in Ethiopia should immediately stop the ill treatment of political opposition members and human rights defenders who were beaten in detention and then forced to appear before the court inadequately dressed, Amnesty International said today.

    The 22 defendants, including political opposition leaders Gurmesa Ayano and Beqele Gerba, Deputy Chief of the Oromo Federalist Congress, were brought today before the court inadequately dressed. According to complaints lodged with the court by Beqele Gerba, some defendants were beaten while in detention, and prison officials confiscated all the defendant’s black suits, which they intended to wear to court. The rest of their clothes were taken by other prisoners.

    “Aside from the beatings they suffered in detention, degrading the defendants by making them attend court in their underpants is a new low in the behavior of the prison authorities and a total outrage,” said Michelle Kagari Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Eastern Africa and the Great Lakes.

    June 02, 2016

    The Ethiopian Government must end its escalating crackdown on human rights defenders, independent media, peaceful protestors as well as members and leaders of the political opposition through the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP) says a group of civil society organisations (CSOs).

    “The government’s repression of independent voices has significantly worsened as the Oromo protest movement has grown,” said Yared Hailemariam, Director of the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE). “The international community should demand the end of this state-orchestrated clampdown and the immediate release of peaceful critics to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.”

     

    June 02, 2016

    Brazil is on a fast-track course to repeat the deadly mistakes it has been making around policing for decades, made even more evident during the 2014 World Cup, which left a long trail of suffering, Amnesty International said today in a briefing two months ahead of the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony.

    Violence has no place in these games! Risk of human rights violations at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games reveals how Brazilian authorities and sports governing bodies in Rio de Janeiro have put in place the same ill-conceived security policies which led to a sharp increase in homicides and human rights violations by security forces since the 2014 World Cup. This jeopardizes the promised Olympic legacy of a safe city for all.

    “When Rio was awarded the 2016 Olympic Games in 2009, authorities promised to improve security for all. Instead, we have seen 2,500 people killed by police since then in the city and very little justice,” said Atila Roque, Director at Amnesty International Brazil.

    May 30, 2016

    In a shocking attack on the right to freedom of expression Bahrain’s authorities today upheld the conviction of opposition leader Sheikh  ‘Ali Salman and increased his prison sentence from four to nine years for giving speeches in which he criticized the government, said Amnesty International.

    “Sheikh ‘Ali Salman’s conviction is clearly politically motivated and is designed to send a message to others that even legitimate and peaceful demands for reform will not go unpunished. He is a prisoner of conscience and should never have been put on trial in the first place. He must be immediately and unconditionally released,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    May 28, 2016

    The sentencing of a former Argentinean military leader for his role in hundreds of enforced disappearances in the context of a region-wide intelligence operation must open the door to further investigations to bring all those responsible to justice, said Amnesty International.

    Former de facto President Reynaldo Bignone was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a court in Buenos Aires. Fourteen other military officers were also sentenced to prison terms.

    “This is a day for celebration in South America. This historic ruling sends the important message that justice will always prevail,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Today’s ruling must be the first step towards real justice for the many victims of this Machiavellian operation, which left a long trail of suffering and horror throughout Latin America. Governments in countries who had a direct or indirect role in aiding Operation Condor must left no stone unturned to ensure all those responsible face justice so these terrible crimes never happen again.”

    May 26, 2016

    Dozens of detainees held in dire conditions in poorly ventilated metal shipping containers, fed only once or twice a week and given insufficient drinking water are at risk of death, warned Amnesty International today. 

    According to information obtained by the organisation, these conditions have apparently resulted in the deaths of multiple detainees at the Gorom detention site, located about 20km south of the capital Juba. Soldiers also periodically take them out of the containers and beat them.

    “Detainees are suffering in appalling conditions and their overall treatment is nothing short of torture,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “This egregious disregard for human life and dignity must stop and for that to happen, the detention site should be immediately shut down until conditions are brought into compliance with human rights standards.”

    May 20, 2016

    The Kazakhstani authorities must immediately and unconditionally release almost three dozen activists after dramatic wave of arrests, apparently aimed at blocking peaceful demonstrations from going ahead this weekend, Amnesty International said.

    At least 34 activists have been arrested across the country over the past three days, many of them for the “crime” of publicly stating their intention to participate in the peaceful protests, planned for 21 May, or for posting information about them on Facebook and other social media.

    “To prosecute people merely for intending to exercise their human right to peaceful assembly is beyond belief,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Programme Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    “It is scandalous that dozens of Kazakhstani citizens should be rounded up simply for sharing the details of a peaceful protest, or for saying that they wish to take part in it. The Kazakhstani authorities must release these people immediately and respect their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.”

    May 18, 2016

     

    The Malaysian government’s plans to revoke or refuse to issue passports to critics is yet another demonstration of increasing intolerance in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    Datuk Sakib Kusmi, the Immigration Department’s Director-General, is quoted as saying that critics of the government could be denied the right to travel for three years.

    “A travel ban on critics will mark a dangerous escalation in the government’s ongoing crackdown on dissent,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific. “The right to freedom of speech is a key human right which the Malaysian people deserve to enjoy just like any other people.”

    May 17, 2016

    Released  00:01 GMT Wednesday 18 May 2016

    The Huthi armed group, supported by state security forces, has carried out a wave of arrests of its opponents, arbitrarily seizing critics at gunpoint and subjecting some to enforced disappearance as part of a chilling campaign to quash dissent in areas of Yemen under its control, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    Where is my father? Detention and disappearance in Huthi-controlled Yemen, which is based on 60 cases of detention examined in detail by the organization, reveals a pattern of arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances in Sana’a, Ibb, Ta’iz and Hodeidah between December 2014 and March 2016. Those targeted include political opposition figures, human rights defenders, journalists, academics and others. Many have been held incommunicado for prolonged periods, suffered torture and other ill-treatment and been denied access to a lawyer or their family.

    May 17, 2016

    Today’s multiple bombings in Baghdad, in which media agencies have reported the deaths of at least 63 people and injuries to at least 90 others, are the latest in a horrific spike in deadly attacks that have hit the country over the past week, Amnesty International said today.

    “The spike in deadly bomb attacks across Baghdad, in predominantly Shia areas, will outrage anyone who places value on human life,” said James Lynch, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The bloody toll from these attacks, which is predominantly civilian, has been growing steadily over the past seven days.”

    “Today’s sickening attacks, carried out in daytime, in areas well known to be frequented by civilians such as busy markets, display a total disregard for the lives of civilians and the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law.”

    May 13, 2016

    Accountability for human rights violations and abuses should be an indispensable part of the regional response to Boko Haram, Amnesty International said today.

    As world leaders meet today for the Regional Security Summit in Abuja to discuss the collective effort to defeat Boko Haram and reconstruct the Lake Chad region, Amnesty International calls on them to ensure that justice remains a priority and to increase efforts to protect civilians.

    “Whether they have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram, or of the security forces who were supposed to protect them, the conflict’s thousands of victims deserve justice,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for Africa.

    “Despite repeated promises, governments affected by the conflict have not adequately investigated evidence of crimes under international law and human rights abuses and violations nor taken steps to prosecute and bring to trial the suspected perpetrators. Now is the time to put those promises into action.”

    May 11, 2016

    The Ugandan authorities must halt the shameful assault on human rights that has cast a stain on the country’s electoral and post-electoral period, said Amnesty International today, on the eve of President Yoweri Museveni inauguration for a fifth five-year term.

    “President Museveni’s inauguration comes amidst a crackdown on the rights to the freedoms of expression, association and assembly,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “The arbitrary detention of political opposition leaders and their supporters, the recent ban on live media coverage of opposition activities and the violent disruption of peaceful opposition gatherings in the lead up to and since election day not only violate Uganda’s own Constitution, but also fly in the face of its regional and international human rights obligations.”

    Read more:

    Uganda: Violations against opposition party impeding its efforts to contest election outcome (26 February 2016)

    May 10, 2016

    If President-elect Rodrigo Duterte is serious about introducing change in the Philippines, he must turn his back on the history of human rights violations and end the prevailing culture of impunity, Amnesty International said today.

    Rodrigo Duterte, the former Mayor of Davao city, is set to become the newly-elected President of the Philippines after leading the voting in the 9 May 2016 election. Duterte’s principal rivals have conceded defeat.

    “If Rodrigo Duterte is serious about bringing change to the Philippines, he should address the dire human rights situation in the country and put an end to extrajudicial executions, unlawful arrests, secret detention as well as torture and other ill-treatment,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for South East Asia.

    During the course of the presidential election campaign, Duterte has issued a series of inflammatory statements that, if enacted, would contravene the Philippines’ international human rights obligations, including his promise to reduce crime rates by shooting suspected criminals.

    May 05, 2016

    The daily security threats that plague the lives of Iraqi civilians must not open the door to more human rights violations, Amnesty International warned today at the end of a six-day trip to Baghdad and Erbil headed by the organization’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty.

    Both the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government promised to investigate a string of abuses by their respective militias and security forces.

    “The atrocities committed by the Islamic State (IS) armed group do not give a free pass to Shi’a militias and Kurdish Peshmerga to go on the rampage in blatant violation of international humanitarian law,” said Salil Shetty.

    “The Iraqi authorities and their international backers should ensure human rights are not sacrificed in the fight against IS. Even during conflict there are rules that must be observed - the protection of civilians is paramount.”

    May 03, 2016

    More than 1,000 detainees, including some as young as 15, are being held without charge in horrendous conditions at makeshift holding centres in Anbar governorate, west of Baghdad, said Amnesty International today.

    A delegation led by the organization’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, gained access on 30 April to a centre run by Anbar’s counter-terrorism agency (Mukafahat al-Irhab) in Ameriyat al-Fallujah, where 683 male detainees are held without charge.

    The detainees are cramped into several rooms within a complex of disused warehouses being used as a detention and interrogation facility.

    “The detainees are squeezed into a space of less than one square metre each, sitting in a crouching position day and night, unable to stretch or lie down to sleep and are rarely allowed outside for fresh air,” said Salil Shetty.

    “It was a truly shocking sight – hundreds of human beings packed together like sardines in a tin and held in inhumane and degrading conditions for months on end.”

    April 29, 2016

    The government of North Korea must immediately disclose all details in the court case of U.S. citizen Kim Dong-chul, who was sentenced to 10 years’ hard labour for “spying,” in what appears to be yet another politically motivated decision, said Amnesty International today.

    Kim, a 62-year-old who was born in South Korea, is the latest foreigner to be sentenced to hard labour.

    “The timing of this sentence, amid increasing international tension, calls into question the motivation behind the proceedings. The judicial system is notoriously political, and foreign nationals in particular are very unlikely to receive a fair trial in the country, but few other details have been made public,” said Arnold Fang, East Asia Researcher of Amnesty International.

    “This entire trial has been shrouded in secrecy, and the North Korean authorities must present the evidence for these alleged crimes and make court proceedings fully transparent, so that the international community can see whether a fair trial took place. Otherwise, questions about these convictions will continue.”

    April 29, 2016

    A court ruling that allows the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) to continue to keep 16 soldiers detained raises further serious concerns about their ability to have a fair trial, Amnesty International said today, following a decision announced by the Lesotho Court of Appeal. 

    The Appeals Court turned down a request by the soldiers to be placed under “open arrest”, a form of military bail, after they challenged their ongoing detention under “closed arrest” since May and June 2015.

    The High Court had previously ordered that the men be released on “open arrest” but the LDF, who are detaining the men in Maseru Maximum Security Prison, did not comply with the ruling. Today’s ruling by the Court of Appeals thereby overruled the earlier High Court decision. 

    “Today’s decision by the Lesotho Court of Appeal to deny bail to 16 soldiers who have been held in maximum security since June last year raises serious questions about the Lesotho’s justice system,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    Join us for a thought-provoking presentation by visiting Mexican human rights defender Míguel Alvarez Gándara. Míguel works with the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Centre in Chiapas and the peace-building organization Serapaz. He is a highly respected spokesperson for Mexico’s Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which has publicized the names and photos of thousands of victims killed during the government’s war on drugs. Míguel will also talk about efforts to support the families of 43 disappeared students from a teachers college in Ayotzinapa in their quest for truth and justice.

    The event will offer an opportunity to add your voice to Amnesty’s Butterflies for Mexico Action Campaign - see www.amnesty.ca/butterflies.

    When: Tuesday May 10 from 7:00 to 8:45 PM

    Where: Mary Ward Centre, 70 St Mary Street, Toronto  [ West of Bay St. + South of Charles St. - Bay or Museum subway stops ]

    April 26, 2016

    Released 27 April 2016 at 00:01 Brazil time (03:01 GMT)

    Residents in many of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas are living in terror after at least 11 people have been killed in police shootings since the beginning of the month, Amnesty International warned ahead of the 100-day countdown to the Olympic Games.

    In the city of Rio alone, at least 307 people were killed by the police last year, accounting for one in every five homicides in the city. Meanwhile the authorities have failed to hold those responsible to account and have increasingly taken a hard-line approach against mainly peaceful street protests.

    “Despite the promised legacy of a safe city for hosting the Olympic Games, killings by the police have been steadily increasing over the past few years in Rio. Many have been severely injured by rubber bullets, stun grenades and even firearms used by police forces during protests,” said Atila Roque, Executive Director of Amnesty International Brazil. 

    April 26, 2016

    One year on from the start of the Burundi crisis, the human rights situation in the country continues to deteriorate and accountability for horrific acts of violence remains elusive, Amnesty International said today. The decision by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open a preliminary examination underlines the gravity of the situation.

    Burundi has been in a political crisis since President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to stand for a third term in office last April, which many saw as unconstitutional. Since then, hundreds have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled abroad.

    “Burundians have paid the price as the political crisis escalated over the last 12 months, as killings, torture, arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances have increased to alarming levels,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    April 26, 2016

     

    26 April 2016

    Security forces arbitrarily arrested hundreds of people in response to planned protests in Egypt yesterday, said Amnesty International, after large numbers of security forces deployed to prevent demonstrators from gathering in Cairo and elsewhere.

    The Front of Defence for Egyptian Protesters (FDEP) early this morning told Amnesty International that they knew of at least 238 people, including foreign nationals, activists and journalists, who were arrested on 25 April across Egypt. The FDEP is a group of local activists, including human rights lawyers, formed to protect peaceful demonstrators from human rights violations. The “Freedom for the Brave” movement, another local watchdog, had logged a list of 168 names late yesterday as activists continued to identify detainees. 

    April 21, 2016

    New Government Should Quickly Establish Special Court

    21 Central African and international human rights organizations issued a statement today calling on the new president of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, to make justice for grave international crimes a top priority for his government. President Touadéra was sworn in on March 30, 2016, and his new government took office on April 11.

    “The people of the Central African Republic have suffered unspeakable abuses and have made clear that they want to turn the page on a past where impunity ruled,” the human rights groups said. “President Touadéra should demonstrate leadership and take concrete steps to advance justice for grave international crimes, notably through the swift establishment of the Special Criminal Court and continued cooperation with the International Criminal Court.”

    April 20, 2016

    As Saudi Arabia receives Barack Obama today, Amnesty International is urging the US President not to turn his back on victims of repression and human rights violations across the Gulf states.

    In an open letter published ahead of Obama’s meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on 20 April and with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on 21 April, the organization has called on President Obama to ensure human rights abuses are not swept beneath the carpet.

    “President Obama’s trip offers a crucial opportunity for him to demonstrate a principled commitment to human rights and prove to the world that the US government will not sacrifice human rights in favour of US geopolitical and business interests,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    April 18, 2016

    Air strikes on residential areas in the south eastern Pool region of Congo that have reportedly resulted in deaths, casualties and the destruction of properties, including churches, schools and medical facilities represent an unlawful use of lethal force by the security forces, Amnesty International said today.

    They are a clear violation of the country’s international human rights obligations, including the right to life and should be subject to a thorough, independent and impartial investigation. Eyewitnesses told the organization that on 5 April, helicopters dropped at least 30 bombs on residential areas including a school in the town of Vindza where the target was a house which used to be the residence of Pastor Frederic Ntumi, leader of the “Ninjas” armed group. The government blamed the “Ninjas” for the 4 April violence in the capital Brazzaville. Subsequently the towns of Soumouna and Mayama have come under attack. An eyewitness told Amnesty International that she saw at least 30 dead bodies between Soumouna and Ngula a village located some 8 km.

    April 15, 2016

    The horrific murder of a two-year-old girl with albinism highlights the failure by the Malawi’s authorities to adequately protect this vulnerable group, said Amnesty International following the discovery of her skull, teeth and the clothes she was wearing in Balantha Hill in Kasungu district.

    The child, Whitney Chilumpha, had been missing since being abducted from her home whilst sleeping beside her mother in Chiziya village, Kasungu district, on 3 April. She is the twelfth person with albinism known to have been killed in Malawi since December 2014.

    “The murder of this innocent child is part of a deeply disturbing pattern of disappearances and killings of people with albinism in Malawi where body parts are sold for use in witchcraft,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

    April 14, 2016

    Posted at 0300 GMT 15 April 2016

    The South Sudanese government must end arbitrary detentions by the intelligence agency under which dozens of men are being held in squalid conditions without charge or trial sometimes for months on end, said Amnesty International days before opposition leader Riek Machar is due to return to the capital Juba as part of a peace deal requiring the parties to the conflict to form a national unity government.

    Amnesty International has compiled a list of 35 men arbitrarily detained by the National Security Service (NSS) at its headquarters in the Jebel neighbourhood of Juba. Some of the detainees have been held for close to two years, without access to lawyers and with very limited access to their families and the outside world.

    The list, published as part of a briefing Denied protection of the law: National Security Service detention in Juba, South Sudan, includes a former state governor, a 65-year-old university professor, a Ugandan aid worker and a journalist employed by UN-run Radio Miraya.

    April 14, 2016

     Amnesty International is deeply disappointed in the Government of Canada’s decision to proceed with the sale of light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. According to newly published documents, on April 8, Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion signed off on the export permits negotiated by the previous government.

    April 12, 2016

    Revelations of the slaughter and secret burial of 347 members of a Shi’ite religious group in mass graves by the Nigerian army must be urgently investigated said Amnesty International today, and anyone suspected of criminal responsibility for these crimes must be brought to trial.

    The acknowledgment of the extrajudicial killings which took place between 12-14 December 2015 in Zaria, were made by a Kaduna government official at a Public Hearing of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and echoes Amnesty International’s own findings.

    “The horrific revelation by the Kaduna State government that hundreds of Shi’ites were gunned down and dumped in mass graves is an important first step to bringing all those suspected of criminal responsibility for this atrocity to trial,” said Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, M.K. Ibrahim.

     

    Their names are Héctor, Brenda Karina, Jorge Antonio, Dan Jeremeel … The list goes on and on.

    Some were last seen being taken away by military or police, like the 43 students of Ayotzinapa. Others left their homes but never arrived where they were going. All disappeared, never to be seen again.

    It’s nothing less than an epidemic, concludes Amnesty’s latest report. More than 27,000 people are now missing, at least half of them reported during the current government of President Enrique Peña Nieto.

    Families desperate to find their loved ones meet with indifference or hostility from officials whose ‘investigations’ are destined from the start to lead nowhere.

    April 05, 2016

    Chile’s outrageous two-tier justice system is allowing police officers to beat, ill-treat and in some cases even kill peaceful demonstrators and other individuals and only face a miniscule sanction at best, said Amnesty International in a new report today.

    'I didn't know there were two kinds of justice' : Military jurisdiction and police brutality in Chile reveals that Chile’s military courts, which deal with cases of human rights violations committed by members of the security forces, regularly fail to adequately investigate and prosecute officers that are suspected of having committed a crime. Trials in these courts usually lack the most basic levels of independence and impartiality.

    “Chile’s military courts should not be allowed to investigate, prosecute and punish members of its own ranks – that is simply a no-brainer. It is akin to courts allowing criminals to be judged by their own families,” said Ana Piquer, Director at Amnesty International Chile.

    March 31, 2016

    “The announced withdrawal of French Sangaris forces from CAR later this year further increases the urgency for the UN Security Council to ensure that the MINUSCA peacekeeping force is much better equipped to protect civilians and promote justice,” said Stephen Cockburn, Deputy Regional Director for Amnesty International in West and Central Africa.

    “Yesterday’s inauguration of CAR’s new President Faustin-Archange Touadéra offers an opportunity to rebuild and stabilize the country, including to bring those suspected of having committed serious human rights violations to justice. But to do so CAR needs the international community to boost its support, including by ensuring the peacekeeping force is well-equipped to prevent and contain large-scale violence.”

    March 18, 2016

    On the occasion of President Barack Obama´s upcoming historic visit to Cuba, followed by a two-day visit to Argentina, Amnesty International would like to take this opportunity to highlight to the three Presidents a number of major human rights concerns which we hope will be prioritized as part of your discussions.

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    Detentions at Guantánamo Bay

    While we recognize the current administration’s commitment to end the detentions in the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, the fact that dozens of detainees remain there more than six years after President Obama’s original deadline for closure of the detention facility is a cause for huge international concern. We reiterate that any Guantánamo detainee the USA does not intend to charge for prosecution in proceedings that fully comply with international fair trial standards should be immediately released.

    March 16, 2016

    The Pakistani authorities must promptly, thoroughly and effectively investigate this morning’s bomb attack on a bus which killed at least 15 people and severely injured 25 in Peshawar, and bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible in fair trials, said Amnesty International.

    “There can be no justification for intentionally targeting civilians or carrying out indiscriminate attacks. Those responsible for the bombing have shown contempt for the right to life and fundamental principles of humanity,” said Champa Patel, Director of Amnesty International’s South Asia Regional Office.

    Media reports indicate that explosive material was packed into a toolbox and detonated remotely inside the privately hired bus, which was carrying government employees from Mardan to the provincial capital. No individual or group has yet claimed responsibility for the blast.

    March 16, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs CAT  17 March 2016

    The authorities in Lesotho must uphold human rights and the rule of law and end continuing harassment and intimidation of lawyers and human rights defenders, said Amnesty International today, marking Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s first year in office.

    “In the year since Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s inauguration, we have seen a disturbing pattern of human rights violations committed with absolute impunity as illustrated by the repeated flouting of court orders by the Lesotho Defence Force,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    “Lawyers, civil society leaders and journalists have been intimidated and even threatened with death for simply doing their jobs.”

    March 13, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT    14 March 2016

             Protest actions to take place outside Nigerian embassies around the world

    Two years after at least 640 recaptured detainees were slaughtered by soldiers of the Nigerian Army, the authorities have failed to conduct an effective, impartial and independent investigation into the killings, said Amnesty International.

    The detainees – men and boys, many arbitrarily arrested in mass screening operations - were killed after they fled the barracks in Maiduguri, Borno state on 14 March 2014 following a Boko Haram attack. The majority were shot. The others had their throats cut. To mark the anniversary of this massacre, Amnesty International campaigners will be gathering outside Nigerian embassies around the world to call for independent investigations and prosecutions.

    “It is shocking that two years after these horrific killings there has been no justice for the victims and their relatives,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International's Research and Advocacy Director for Africa.

    March 03, 2016

    The sickening discovery of the severed head of a nine-year-old boy with albinism in Malawi shows the grave risk to life faced by this vulnerable minority group and the urgent need for the authorities to provide them with adequate protection, said Amnesty International today.

    Police confirmed to Amnesty International today that they found the head of the boy who was abducted from his home at Moto village in Malawi's eastern district of Machinga on Friday 26 February.

    “The discovery of the head of a nine year-old boy with albinism who was abducted in front of his mother, shows the grave danger faced by people with albinism in Malawi. The Police must urgently and thoroughly investigate the matter and bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible for this heinous crime,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    February 22, 2016

    Amnesty International USA Statement

    WASHINGTON—Today, the last imprisoned member of the Angola 3, Albert Woodfox, was released after more than four decades in solitary confinement. In response, Jasmine Heiss, Senior Campaigner at Amnesty International USA’s Individuals and Risk Campaign, issued the following statement:

    "After four decades of isolation, Albert Woodfox’s release is long overdue and undeniably just. Nothing will truly repair the cruel, inhuman and degrading solitary confinement that the state of Louisiana inflicted upon him. But this belated measure of justice, on Woodfox’s 69th birthday, is something he has been seeking for more than half his life. Amnesty International USA joins his supporters around the world in celebrating Woodfox and his legal team’s tireless pursuit of justice.  While the State of Louisiana did not release Woodfox’s fellow Angola 3 prisoner Herman Wallace until he was on death’s door, it has made a just and humane decision in ensuring Woodfox’s freedom.

    February 16, 2016

    Urgent and sustained international support is needed to help end the cycle of chaos and rampant abuse gripping Libya, said Amnesty International on the fifth anniversary of the uprising that brought an end to Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi’s brutal authoritarian rule.

    The international community has been actively engaged in a peace process aimed at ending the fighting and forming a unity government. However, accountability for countless war crimes and other serious human rights abuses during spiralling violence is still elusive. Urgent International funding to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the country is also desperately needed.

    “World leaders, particularly those who took part in the NATO intervention that helped to overthrow Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011 have a duty to ensure that those responsible for the horrors that have unfolded in Libya in its wake are held to account,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    February 08, 2016

    Released Tuesday 9 February 2016, 00:01 GMT

    Mexico is facing a human rights crisis of epidemic proportions with disappearances, torture and brutal murders becoming the hallmarks of the country, said Amnesty International ahead of a state visit by Pope Francis.

    “As soon as he sets foot on Mexico City, Pope Francis will come face-to-face with one of the most troubling human rights crises in the whole of the Americas,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “From the tens of thousands of people who have gone missing, to the widespread use of torture and rising numbers of killings of women, to the utter lack of ability to investigate crimes, human rights abuses have become shorthand for Mexico.”

    February 07, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  8 February 2016

    Civilians in Central African Republic (CAR) remain at risk of deadly violence and instability unless serious weaknesses in the United Nation’s peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, are urgently addressed, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    With a new president to be elected in less than a week, Amnesty’s report Mandated to protect, equipped to succeed? Strengthening peacekeeping in Central African Republic analyses how major gaps in personnel and equipment resulted in UN peacekeepers failure to prevent and contain a serious outbreak of violence in Bangui in September 2015 that led to the death of over 75 people, including many civilians.

    The organization is calling for a major review of the apparent failure to protect civilians in September 2015, including of MINUSCA’s capacity to carry out its mandate, covering factors such as training, equipment, coordination and the number of operational uniformed and civilian personnel.

    February 03, 2016

    The killing of a woman with albinism in Malawi highlights the government’s shocking failure to protect the right to life and personal security of this vulnerable minority, said Amnesty International.

    The mutilated body of Eunice Phiri, a 53-year-old woman with albinism, was found on 28 January in the Kasungu National Park. Her arms had been cut off – a practice common with ritual murders where people with albinism are killed for their body parts which are sold for use in witchcraft.

    “It is deeply worrying that there’s poor security for people with albinism in Malawi despite an increasing number of attacks against them,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    “The government’s human rights obligations require them to protect everyone’s right to life. They must ensure that the police have the resources to protect those at risk of attacks.”

    These crimes must be investigated and those suspected of responsibility brought to justice without recourse to the death penalty.

    January 29, 2016

    Three Chinese human rights campaigners who were handed jail sentences on Friday for publishing books on democracy and activism are the latest victims of politically motivated “national security” charges used to silence government critics, Amnesty International said.

    Tang Jingling, 44, Yuan Xinting, 44, and Wang Qingying, 31, were convicted by Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate People’s Court for “inciting subversion of state power”, and were sentenced to five years, three-and-a-half years and two-and-a-half years in jail respectively.

    “Today’s verdict against the three activists is a gross injustice. Their peaceful and legitimate work never threatened state security, this is solely about the authorities arbitrarily silencing government critics,” said Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “The authorities appear to be stepping up the use of spurious “national security” charges as they escalate their attack against human rights activists and peaceful critics of the government’s abuse of power.”

    January 28, 2016

    Released 29 January 2016 – 00:01 EAT

    Compelling new satellite images, video footage and witness accounts analysed by Amnesty International strongly indicate that dozens of people killed by Burundian security forces in December were later buried in mass graves.

    Before and after images and video footage clearly show five possible mass graves in the Buringa area, on the outskirts of Bujumbura. The imagery, dating from late December and early January, shows disturbed earth consistent with witness accounts. Witnesses told Amnesty International that the graves were dug on the afternoon of 11 December, in the immediate aftermath of the bloodiest day of Burundi’s escalating crisis.

    “These images suggest a deliberate effort by the authorities to cover up the extent of the killings by their security forces and to prevent the full truth from coming out,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    January 20, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  21 January 2016

    The Turkish government’s onslaught on Kurdish towns and neighbourhoods, which includes round-the-clock curfews and cuts to services, is putting the lives of up to 200,000 people at risk and amounts to collective punishment, Amnesty International said today.

    Research carried out by Amnesty International in areas under curfew and reports from residents in areas that are currently inaccessible to external observers, reveal the extreme hardships they are currently facing as a result of harsh and arbitrary measures.

    There have also been numerous reports of security forces preventing ambulances from entering areas under curfew and providing treatment to the sick.

    “Cuts to water and electricity supplies combined with the dangers of accessing food and medical care while under fire are having a devastating effect on residents, and the situation is likely to get worse, fast, if this isn’t addressed,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Program Director.

    January 15, 2016

    Re: Ongoing concerns about the multi-billion dollar sale to Saudi Arabia of light armoured vehicles manufactured in Canada.

     

    January 13, 2016

    (Kampala) – The Ugandan government should urgently suspend the crime preventer program ahead of the February 2016 national elections, said Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Network Uganda (HURINET-U), Chapter Four Uganda, and Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) today. Presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for February 18.

    “Crime preventers” are a volunteer force of civilians recruited and managed by police to report on and prevent crime in cooperation with the police and communities. In practice, crime preventers are strongly affiliated with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party. Its members have acted in partisan ways and carried out brutal assaults and extortion with no accountability, the organizations said.

    January 08, 2016

    The trial of Guatemala’s former military ruler, José  Efraín Ríos Montt, due to start on 11 January, will be a major test for the country’s justice system and a huge opportunity for Guatemala to show it is committed to human rights, said Amnesty International today.
           
    “Tens of thousands of Guatemalans who fell victim to the heinous crimes committed under Ríos Montt’s rule have been waiting three decades to see justice done – they must not be forced to wait one second longer,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “The Guatemalan ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ approach when it comes to dealing with the hundreds of thousands of cases of torture, killings and disappearances that took place during the country’s civil war is shameful and illegal. The only deterrent to the perpetrators of crimes like these is the clear knowledge that they will face justice and the full might of the law.”

    December 23, 2015

    (Bangui, December 23, 2015) – The Central African Republic transitional government, the United Nations, and donors should intensify their efforts to establish a Special Criminal Court, 23 Central African and international human rights groups said today.

    In June 2015, the Central African Republic’s transitional government promulgated a law passed in April to establish a Special Criminal Court inside the national judicial system, consisting of national and international staff, to investigate and prosecute the gravest crimes committed in the country since 2003, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    “Our organizations welcome the steps taken by the transitional government to put an end to impunity for atrocities committed in the Central African Republic, notably through the establishment of a Special Criminal Court,” the groups said. “These efforts must continue and be supported by international actors to ensure that the court envisioned on paper becomes a reality as quickly as possible.”

    December 21, 2015

    Released 00.01 GMT, 22 December 2015

    Security forces systematically killed dozens of people, including by extrajudicial execution, on the single bloodiest day of Burundi’s escalating crisis, Amnesty International has found.

    In a briefing, “My children are scared”: Burundi’s deepening human rights crisis, Amnesty International documents extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests, and looting by the police in Bujumbura on 11 December 2015.

    “In the single most deadly day since the current political unrest began, the streets of Bujumbura were left littered with bodies, many shot with a single bullet to the head. At least one body was found tied up,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “The security forces’ violent tactics that day represented a dramatic escalation in scale and intensity from previous operations. Men were dragged out of their homes and shot at close range, while others were shot the instant their doors were opened.”

    December 18, 2015

    The decision by authorities to move 15 Angolan human rights activists from detention to house arrest today is encouraging but falls far short of the unconditional release that they should be immediately granted, said Amnesty International.

    “Shifting the Angola 15 from pre-trial detention to house arrest is not enough to guarantee their rights to liberty and security. The fact that they activists will be home for Christmas will is a welcome but they should not have spent a single day in prison in the first place,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa

    “The activists are not only still facing trial on trumped-up charges but the onerous conditions imposed during their house arrest violate their right to liberty and to communicate with the outside world.”

    Background

    The 15 activists and two others have been on trial since 16 November 2015.

    Amnesty International regards the Angola 15 as prisoners of conscience and are calling for their immediate and unconditional release.

    December 17, 2015

    Five years since fruit-seller Mohamed Bouazizi sparked wide-ranging protests in Tunisia and the wider region after setting himself alight in protest at police harassment in the town of Sidi Bouzid, ongoing human rights violations across the region are increasingly reminiscent of repressive and abusive measures of the past, Amnesty International warned today.

    In a fact sheet published today Amnesty International gives a brief overview of human rights developments in the countries where there were uprisings five years ago.

    “Many dared to hope that the ‘Arab Spring’, as it became known, would augur real change in the relationship between the rulers and those they ruled – greater power-sharing, social justice, transparency, accountability, and greater respect for human rights. The reality is that across the region, conflict and harsh repression remain the order of the day,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    December 17, 2015

    The international community must take urgent steps to address the political crisis in Burundi and restore full respect for human rights as the country moves dangerously to the brink of civil war, said Amnesty International following a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

    The organization described the adoption of a resolution to send a team of international experts to Burundi to investigate the violence and recommend solutions as an important first step, and called for an intensified focus on human rights violations.

    "There is no time to delay - Burundi is facing a human rights crisis”, said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “There is an urgent need for a redoubling of efforts to resolve the political crisis in Burundi, and the international community must act vigorously by supporting the urgent mission of independent experts to investigate crimes under international law and human rights violations as soon as possible. Burundi must receive the mission without delay.”

    December 16, 2015

    Protesters have been labelled ‘terrorists’ by Ethiopian authorities in an attempt to violently suppress protests against potential land seizures, which have already resulted in 40 deaths, said Amnesty International.

    A statement issued by state intelligence services today claims that the Oromia protesters were planning to “destabilize the country” and that some of them have a “direct link with a group that has been collaborating with other proven terrorist parties”.

    “The suggestion that these Oromo - protesting against a real threat to their livelihoods - are aligned to terrorists will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression for rights activists,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “Instead of condemning the unlawful killings by the security forces, which have seen the deaths of more than 40 people in the last three weeks, this statement in effect authorizes excessive use of force against peaceful protesters.”

    December 15, 2015

    The shooting of members of a Shi’ite religious group in Zaria, Kaduna state, by the Nigerian army must be urgently investigated said Amnesty International today, and anyone found responsible for unlawful killings must be brought to justice.

    “Whilst the final death toll is unclear, there is no doubt that there has been a substantial loss of life at the hands of the military,” said M.K. Ibrahim, Director of Amnesty International, Nigeria.

    “Firearms should only be used as a last resort, if strictly unavoidable in order to protect life. It is crucial that the authorities refrain from using excessive force and ensure that anyone responsible for unlawful killings is brought to justice in fair trials.”

    As well as the loss of life, security forces arrested many members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), including the leader of the group, Ibraheem Zakzaky, who was picked up at his residence on Sunday morning and remains in detention. It is unclear if he has access to a lawyer. Reports suggest that the dead and injured were taken to the military hospital and to the university teaching hospital.

    December 10, 2015

    The UN Security Council must send an unequivocal message to the North Korean authorities to end the systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations that continue to be committed in the country, when diplomats meet on Thursday to discuss the situation in the country, Amnesty International said.    

    The meeting in New York, marks only the second time the grave human rights situation in North Korea has been discussed at the Security Council.

    “The UN Security Council has a chance to show that the world has not forgotten about the victims of crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in North Korea, and that those responsible will face justice,” said Nicole Bjerler, Deputy Representative at Amnesty International’s UN office in New York.

    “This meeting should serve as a wake-up call to the North Korean authorities to put an immediate end to the systematic, widespread and grave human rights violations that persist in the country. A starting point would be for them to cooperate with the UN and let independent human rights monitors into the country.”

    December 02, 2015

    Security forces have carried out scores of arrests and detentions in the wake of last week’s suicide attack in central Tunis, in a troubling sign that the authorities are reverting to repressive and abusive measures, said Amnesty International.

    The organization spoke to residents who suffered a series of night time raids by security forces wearing balaclavas and carrying rifles, who stormed homes in the La Goulette district of Tunis threatening residents, including women children and the elderly, at gunpoint and arresting dozens of people in the early hours of 27 November.

    “The Tunisian authorities must protect the population, investigate attacks on civilians, and bring perpetrators to justice. However, they must not trample over human rights by subjecting terrified families to heavy-handed home raids, and conducting mass arbitrary arrests and detentions ,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East  and North Africa Program.

    November 27, 2015

    Central African Republic (CAR) must seize the historic opportunity that Pope Francis’ two-day visit presents to place human rights and justice at the heart of national reconciliation efforts, Amnesty International said today.

    At least 75 people have been killed, many of them civilians, in a fresh wave of sectarian violence in the capital Bangui since 26 September 2015.

    “The Pope has a real opportunity to call for the protection of civilians of all faiths and use his great moral authority to help reduce the tension that has recently resulted in deadly violence,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Central Africa Researcher.

    “The Pope’s visit is a rare opportunity to press for an end to the impunity that too many of those responsible for serious violations and abuses of human rights still enjoy. The impunity is a key driver in the conflict and all those reasonably suspected of committing crimes under international law and other serious violations and abuses of human rights must be brought to justice through fair trials.”

    November 26, 2015

    Disturbing new evidence of Nigerian soldiers beating a man to death and injuring six others in the northern state of Yobe is a chilling reminder that elements of the Nigerian military need to be reined in, said Amnesty International today.

    The organization is calling for a prompt, independent investigation after being passed photographs of the corpse of Ibrahim Bala bearing marks and scars of a severe beating. Eyewitnesses say he was beaten to death by soldiers last week.  

    "The death of Ibrahim Bala is a tragic reminder of the consequences of the impunity enjoyed by the military for widespread torture and other gross human rights violations. Those responsible for his death must be brought to justice in fair trials," said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International's Africa Director, Research and Advocacy.

    November 20, 2015

    There can be no justification for a spate of deliberate deadly attacks by Palestinians on civilians over the past week in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories which displayed a clear contempt for human life, said Amnesty International.

    In the latest attacks on Thursday, Palestinians from the occupied West Bank killed five civilians: three Israelis, a US national and a Palestinian, in two separate incidents.

    “As tensions continue to skyrocket we have seen a string of reprehensible attacks by Palestinians on Israeli civilians over the past week in which the assailants appear to have sought to kill individuals they presumed to be Israeli Jews,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    November 19, 2015

    The decision by Rio de Janeiro State Public Prosecutor’s Office to prosecute the killing of a 10-year-old boy in a favela earlier this year is a positive sign towards ensuring the external oversight of police actions, Amnesty International said today.

    Eduardo de Jesus Ferreira, who was black, was shot in the head during a police operation in Alemão complex, one of the city’s largest favelas, on 2 April this year.

    “The circumstances surrounding young Eduardo’s death could become a watershed moment in the fight against impunity and this is an important step by the Public Prosecutor to ensure external oversight over police actions,” said Átila Roque, Executive Director of Amnesty International Brazil.

    “This is crucial when we are talking about a police force that has killed more than 1,000 people between 2014 and 2015 in alleged confrontations. Transparency in this investigation will be a way to protect everyone.”

    November 13, 2015

    The attack that killed at least 41 people in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, reveals a shocking disregard for human life, said Amnesty International.

    “This was a gruesome and unjustifiable suicide attack in a populated civilian area,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    “The Lebanese authorities must ensure that those responsible for this terrible crime do not go unpunished.”

    This attack also highlights the growing risk of contagion from the Syrian conflict.

    “Until all sides responsible for the countless war crimes and crimes against humanity in the conflict in neighbouring Syria are brought to account, the violence will continue to pose a menace beyond Syria’s borders,” Philip Luther said.

    “We again call on the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, so that all suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity can be investigated.”

    Thursday’s attack was among the deadliest in Beirut since the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1990.

    November 09, 2015

    This afternoon’s United Nations Security Council meeting on Burundi’s ongoing political and human rights crisis must include a clear and robust call on Burundian authorities to end the crisis, address serious human rights concerns and ensure people’s safety, Amnesty International said.

    “Incendiary rhetoric from top officials is fuelling fears that the already tense situation in Burundi could spiral out of control, leading to mass killings,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes region.

    “Allowing independent human rights observers in, and protecting residents from further violence, are key ingredients to quelling the current unrest.”

    Violence has continued in the capital, Bujumbura, with daily reports of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment. Nine men – including a UNDP employee – were reportedly killed in a shooting in a bar in the capital on Saturday. On Friday, the son of leading human rights defender Pierre Claver Mbonimpa was found dead after having been arrested by police.

    November 04, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs BST    5 November 2015

    The vast scale and chillingly orchestrated nature of tens of thousands of enforced disappearances by the Syrian government over the past four years is exposed in a new report by Amnesty International published today.

    Between prison and the grave: Enforced disappearances in Syria reveals that the state is profiting from widespread and systematic enforced disappearances amounting to crimes against humanity, through an insidious black market in which family members desperate to find out the fates of their disappeared relatives are ruthlessly exploited for cash.

    “The government’s enforced disappearances are part of a coldly calculated, widespread attack against the civilian population. These are crimes against humanity, part of a carefully orchestrated campaign designed to spread terror and quash the slightest sign of dissent across the country,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    October 30, 2015

    The Israeli military must immediately take steps to protect Palestinian civilians from attacks by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank and ensure effective investigation of all attacks, including the killing of a Palestinian teenager in Hebron by an Israeli civilian on 17 October, Amnesty International said today.

    Since 1 October, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of attempted, alleged and actual stabbing attacks by individual Palestinians on Israeli civilians, soldiers, and police. Eight Israeli civilians have been killed in stabbing or shooting attacks by Palestinians. In the same period, Israeli forces have shot and killed more than 35 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Israel, including at least 14 in Hebron, either after stabbings were carried out or when the Israeli authorities alleged stabbing attacks were intended.

    October 30, 2015

    Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces appear to have used a Brazilian variant of internationally banned cluster munitions on a residential neighbourhood in Ahma  in Sa’da, northern Yemen, this week, wounding at least four people and leaving dangerous unexploded submunitions strewn around the surrounding farmland, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization interviewed a number of local residents including two victims, the medical personnel treating them, an eyewitness and a local activist who visited the site shortly after the attack. Unexploded “duds” pictured at the attack site bear similarities to Brazilian-manufactured cluster bombs Saudi Arabia is known to have used in the past.

    October 22, 2015

    Security forces killed at least three people in election-related violence in Guinea’s capital city Conakry, including two who were shot in the back and one who was beaten to death, Amnesty International revealed today.

    Three others were killed in Conakry, and at least 80 injured, in clashes between supporters of rival parties. Across the rest of the country at least seven others died in violence between supporters. The killings happened between 8 and 13 October, immediately before and after the country’s Presidential election. With the election results disputed, and local elections to be held in 2016, there are fears that future protests could lead to more deaths unless security forces show restraint and those suspected of firing on civilians are brought to justice in fair trials before civilian ordinary courts.

    October 13, 2015

     An upsurge of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and in Israel since 1 October has seen at least 27 Palestinians and seven Israelis killed in recent days. Palestinians have carried out a number of attacks on Israelis in Israel and the OPT, killing six civilians and one off-duty soldier and injuring others. Israeli forces have used excessive, sometimes lethal, force against Palestinian demonstrators, injuring hundreds with live ammunition and rubber-coated metal bullets, and have failed to protect Palestinian civilians from a wave of settler attacks.

    A delegation of Amnesty International researchers is on the ground in the West Bank and available for interviews about the ongoing violence.

    October 15, 2015

    The US Congress must launch an immediate independent inquiry into the Obama administration’s drone strikes overseas, Amnesty International said following today’s publication of a series of files and documents disclosing long-standing secrets of the global killing program.

    “The Drone Papers”, leaked by an anonymous whistle-blower to the online media outlet The Intercept, reveal the startling human costs of armed drone use and highlight chronic flaws in the decision-making process behind the strikes carried out in multiple countries.

    “These documents raise serious concerns about whether the USA has systematically violated international law, including by classifying unidentified people as ‘combatants’ to justify their killings,” said Naureen Shah, Director, Security with Human Rights at Amnesty International USA.

    “This warrants an immediate congressional inquiry into why the Obama administration has kept this vital information secret, including the real identities of all those killed in this global killing programme.

    October 14, 2015

    •        14 people, including two children, killed: six shot in the back 
    •        Hundreds injured by beatings and live ammunition, including a child born with a bullet wound
    •        Commission of inquiry should investigate recent and historical abuses

    Burkina Faso’s former presidential guard displayed a cold-blooded disregard for human life, killing 14 unarmed protestors and bystanders and wounding hundreds more with automatic weapons following last month’s coup d’état, Amnesty International said today.  

    Whilst General Gilbert Diendere, who led the coup, and General Djibril Bassole, former Foreign Minister, have been arrested and charged with crimes including attacking state security and murder, members of the Regiment de sécurité présidentielle (RSP) are being reintegrated into the national army.

    October 02, 2015

    The trial of satirical cartoonist Atena Farghadani and her lawyer on a charge of “illegitimate sexual relations falling short of adultery” after they shook hands is not only absurd and extreme but clearly politically motivated, said Amnesty International ahead of the General Criminal Court session starting tomorrow in Tehran.

    Both Atena Farghadani, whom Amnesty International regards as a prisoner of conscience, and her lawyer Mohammad Moghimi may face up to 99 lashes if found guilty. The organization believes the cartoonist and activist has been detained solely for exercising her right to freedom of expression.

    “It is clearly both absurd and a violation of the right to privacy to consider a man and a woman shaking hands as a criminal offence,” said Raha Bahreini, Amnesty International’s researcher.

    September 21, 2015

    Security forces in Nepal must refrain from using excessive force against protestors, Amnesty International said after at least twenty protesters were shot when security forces opened fire on several demonstrations against the country’s new constitution.

    Force and the use of live ammunition by security forces to contain often violent protests have already claimed more than 40 lives in Nepal since August, most of them protesters.

    Investigations by Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission and civil society, including Amnesty International, have found that in many of the protest-related deaths, the force used by security forces was excessive, disproportionate or unnecessary, contrary to international legal standards.

    “More than 40 people, the majority of them protesters, have been killed in recent weeks. We continue to urge the Nepali authorities to rein in their security forces and prevent them from using excessive force,” said David Griffiths, Research Director for South Asia at Amnesty International.

    September 11, 2015

    UN peacekeeper reform will only restore credibility if those who rape and sexually exploit the people they are supposed to protect are brought to trial and punished, Amnesty International said today.

    A report released today by the UN Secretary General on the recommendations of the High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations includes important recommendations to prevent further sex abuse scandals. These include the creation of rapid response teams, mechanisms for local communities to complain and in-country trials.

    However, the report falls short of calling for an important deterrent - asking the UN Secretary-General’s annual report must include full details about cases, including trials and sentences.

    “Sexual misconduct by UN peacekeepers threatens to discredit the entire UN system if it goes unpunished. Unless people are held to account, other reforms will fade into irrelevance. Every time someone wearing the blue beret commits an abuse and gets away with it, another piece of trust in the UN is chipped away,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.

    September 11, 2015

    The 13 years and nine months prison sentence against a Venezuelan opposition leader without any credible evidence against him shows an utter lack of judicial independence and impartiality in the country, said Amnesty International.

    “The charges against Leopoldo López were never adequately substantiated and the prison sentence against him is clearly politically motivated. His only ‘crime’ was being leader of an opposition party in Venezuela,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “He should have never been arbitrarily arrested or tried in the first place. He is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

    “With this decision, Venezuela is choosing to ignore basic human rights principles and giving the green light to more abuses.”

    Christian Holdack, Demian Martín and Ángel González, who were tried alongside Leopoldo López, were also found guilty but will spend their sentences outside of prison.

    September 08, 2015

    The death of a teenage boy who was caught up in a shootout between police and suspected members of a criminal gang in a favela in Rio de Janeiro today tragically illustrates the urgent need for Brazil to drastically reform its approach to policing, said Amnesty International.

    “We have long documented the shocking ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ tactic used by police in Rio de Janeiro during their security operations in favelas. This ‘Wild West’ approach to policing is leaving a tragic trail of blood and suffering,” said Atila Roque, Executive director at Amnesty International Brazil.

    Thirteen-year-old Cristian was playing football in the favela of Manguinhos, in Rio de Janeiro, when military and civil police officers entered the community and engaged in a gun battle with a group of men. One of the bullets hit Cristian, who died immediately. Eyewitnesses said police officers tried to clean the crime scene after the incident.

    September 09, 2015

    Amnesty International UK Release
     
     ‘David Cameron should be direct with Benjamin Netanyahu, telling him that Gaza’s suffering is unacceptable and must end now’ - Allan Hogarth
     
    Amnesty International is calling on UK ministers to urge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lift the blockade on Gaza when the Israeli leader makes a state visit to Britain this week. 
     
    Mr Netanyahu, who is set to meet David Cameron, other senior politicians and diplomats during his two-day visit beginning today, has defended the eight-year-long blockade of Gaza on the grounds that it prevents weapons being smuggled into the Palestinian territory. However, the crippling blockade includes bans - or severe restrictions - on the import and export of fuel, food, building materials and other essential goods into Gaza.
     

    September 06, 2015

    From the streets of Ferguson, Missouri to the favelas of Brazil, the police use of force and firearms makes global headlines when it turns fatal.

    In countless other cases, including in response to demonstrations, police are too quick to use force instead of seeking peaceful conflict resolution. In many countries police deploy tear gas, rubber bullets and other weapons in arbitrary, abusive or excessive use of force, causing serious casualties, including killing and maiming people, often with little or no accountability.

    Amnesty International is responding to this serious deficiency in law enforcement by publishing comprehensive new Guidelines for authorities to ensure that police give utmost priority to the respect and protection of life and physical integrity.

    “All too often, in many countries around the world, people are killed or seriously injured when police use force in violation of international standards or existing national laws,” said the report’s author, Dr. Anja Bienert of Amnesty International Netherlands’ Police and Human Rights Programme.

    September 04, 2015

    The Swazi government is continuing to use repressive laws, including the 1938 Sedition and Subversive Activities Act (SSA Act) and the 2008 Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA) as a tactic to silence its critics and suppress their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, said Amnesty International on the 47th anniversary of its independence on 6 September.

    “It is ironic that as Swaziland celebrates 47 years of independence from Britain today it continues to use legislation to shut down dissenting voices used by the colonial regime for the same purpose,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.
    “Swazi authorities must stop persecuting human rights defenders and political opponents in the country and allow them to carry out their work without harassment and intimidation.”

    September 04, 2015

    Maldives authorities must promptly and thoroughly investigate the brutal stabbing in broad daylight today of one of the lawyers of ex-President Mohamed Nasheed and bring to justice those responsible for it, Amnesty International said.

    Mahfooz Saeed, who is also a member of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and an active blogger, was attacked by two men in the Maldivian capital Male today around 5pm local time. The men stabbed him in his head, and he is currently going through emergency surgery. The police must undertake a full, impartial and independent investigation, using all available information including any footage from nearby CCTV cameras.

    “This vicious attack must not go unpunished – Maldives authorities must ensure that human rights defenders can work free from fear of reprisals and that those responsible are held to account. There are strong suspicions that this was a targeted attack against Mahfooz Saeed and it is crucial that the true motive is uncovered,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Maldives Researcher.

    September 03, 2015

    Released 3 September 2015: 10 am GMT

     Guinean authorities must rein in security forces ahead of October's presidential elections and ensure there is no repeat of excessive use of force during clashes with protesters, Amnesty International said in a briefing published today. Six people died and more than 100 were injured in demonstrations earlier this year.  

    “Guinea: Preventing the excessive use of force and respecting freedom of peaceful assembly in the 2015 presidential elections and beyond”, examines protests which took place between April and May and warns that, without concerted action by the authorities, there could be more deaths and injuries during demonstrations ahead of October’s vote. It also calls for legal reform after the election to prevent such violence reoccurring in the future, as well as to facilitate peaceful assembly, and ensure accountability for any violation.  

    September 02, 2015

    The gruesome discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of at least 31 individuals in northern Mexico highlights the urgent need for robust action to tackle the country’s rapidly deteriorating human rights crisis, said Amnesty International.

    “Mexico is miserably losing the battle against disappearances, with nearly 25,000 people going missing since 2007. This latest discovery must be a wake-up call for authorities in Mexico to take real action to stop what seems to be an endless list of horrors taking place across the country,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “As a first step, Mexican authorities must ensure that, unlike too many times in the past, forensic investigations into this shocking discovery are conducted in a way that protects all evidence and leads to the identification of the remains and to justice for the relatives of the victims.”

    August 29, 2015

    The Lebanese authorities should investigate allegations that security forces used excessive force to disperse residents protesting in Beirut over the lack of adequate public services, a waste management crisis, and corruption, Amnesty International said ahead of fresh demonstrations planned for today.

    At least 343 people were treated for injuries and 59 more were hospitalized, according to the Red Cross, after protests on 22 and 23 August organized by the local “You Stink” civil society movement.

    “Lebanese security officials responded to overwhelmingly peaceful protesters in downtown Beirut by shooting into the air with live rounds, firing rubber bullets, tear gas canisters, and water cannons, and in some cases hurling stones and beating protesters with batons and rifles,” said Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.

    August 26, 2015

    The signing of a peace agreement today by the Government of South Sudan is an important and vital step in ending the violence and addressing the massive human suffering in South Sudan. Amnesty International reiterates its call for both parties to embrace an unequivocal commitment to accountability for atrocities committed during the conflict to ensure a lasting peace.  

    “Both sides must uphold the terms of the peace deal in order to ensure that immediate steps are taken to bring those responsible for crimes under international law to trial and provide full reparations to victims,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes. 

    August 17, 2015

    Botswana’s President Ian Khama should use his tenure and leadership position as chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to prioritize finding solutions to the human rights crisis in the region, said Amnesty International. 

    The most pressing issues President Khama should address as he takes over the position from President Mugabe today include the ongoing suppression of dissent in Angola and the killing and torture of police and soldiers accused of leading a mutiny in Lesotho. 

    “We are seeing a worrying picture of shrinking space for human rights in many countries across the SADC region. We are also seeing the targeting and persecution of human rights defenders,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    “As the leader of SADC, President Ian Khama must work with his fellow regional leaders to try to find durable solutions to the human rights crisis during his term.” 

    August 13, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs CAT   14 August 2015

    All members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) implicated in the Marikana killings and subsequent cover-up must be suspended immediately pending the outcome of further investigations, said Amnesty International today, ahead of the third anniversary of the unlawful and fatal police shootings of 34 striking miners.

    As a first step, President Zuma must initiate the suspension of the National Commissioner of Police, Riah Phiyega. Three years on, not a single member of the SAPS has been suspended or held to account.

    “With police authorities closing ranks in the face of strong findings against them in the Farlam Commission report, it is vital that President Zuma shows strong leadership and takes action against those right at the top of the police service,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    “Anything less will result in the continued lack of accountability for the unlawful killings by police on 16 August 2012 at Marikana. The ongoing denial of justice for the victims and their families is unacceptable.” 

    August 13, 2015

    The UN must review the oversight of its peacekeeping operations, Amnesty International said ahead of today’s Security Council meeting called to discuss allegations of sexual abuse in the Central African Republic (CAR) revealed on Tuesday.

    “If the UN is determined to end the scourge of sexual abuse and exploitation by its peacekeepers, it must finally recognize that the current system is not working. It has failed to address abuses in the past, failing the victims it was supposed to protect,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International. 

    “Ban Ki-moon himself has said that trust in UN peacekeepers must not be replaced by fear. But until the UN acts to ensure rigorous screening mechanisms for peacekeepers and increased criminal accountability for their actions, such atrocities will continue.”

    On Wednesday Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the CAR and head of MINUSCA, Babacar Gaye, resigned at the request of the UN Secretary-General. 

    August 13, 2015

    Indonesia is still failing tens of thousands affected by the devastating Aceh conflict, leaving family members and victims in the dark about the fate of loved ones and without justice, truth and full reparation Amnesty International said ahead of the 10-year anniversary of the conflict’s end.        

    Saturday 15 August 2015 marks a decade since the peace agreement that signaled the end of the Aceh conflict. But despite promises by successive Indonesian governments, victims are still left to fend for themselves while authorities show little interest in addressing past crimes.

    “This has been a lost decade for far too many people affected by the Aceh conflict. Even if the violence has ended, Indonesian authorities have almost completely failed in their duty to provide truth, justice and full reparation to tens of thousands of victims and their family members,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for South East Asia.

    August 13, 2015

    Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to sign a deeply worrying new counterterrorism bill into law today which contravenes the Egyptian Constitution and international human rights law, Amnesty International said.

    According to Egypt’s Minister of Justice Ahmed El Zend, the President has the law on his desk for final approval today ahead of 14 August, the second anniversary of a police operation to disperse protesters camped in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda squares, which resulted in the killing of more than 600 protesters and mass arbitrary arrests, among other human rights violations.

    “This new law will become yet another tool for the authorities to crush all forms of dissent and steamroll over basic human rights. It is an abomination that will only pave the way for more horrific incidents like Rabaa in the future. The Egyptian authorities must drop the draft law or fundamentally revise it,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    August 11, 2015

    The rape of a 12-year-old girl and the apparent indiscriminate killings of a 16-year-old boy and his father by UN peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic must be urgently investigated, with those implicated in the crimes suspended immediately, Amnesty International said.

    The incidents took place on 2 and 3 August as peacekeeping forces from the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) were carrying out an operation in the capital Bangui’s PK5 Muslim enclave.

    “Our evidence strongly suggests that a UN peacekeeper raped a young girl and that UN peacekeeping forces indiscriminately killed two civilians,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.

    “An independent civilian investigation must be urgently launched and those implicated must be suspended immediately and for the duration of the investigation.”

    August 07, 2015

    As the nation marks the one-year anniversary on Sunday of unarmed teenager Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson, Amnesty International USA executive director Steven W. Hawkins released the following statement:

    “Michael Brown’s death and similar tragic incidents around the nation highlight a disturbing pattern of use of lethal force and racially discriminatory conduct by law enforcement officers. One year later, there is still a pressing need for reform at the local, state and federal levels.

    “Legislators in Missouri and around the country must bring laws concerning the use of lethal force in line with international standards, limited to instances in which it is necessary to protect life. Our own research found that the laws of every state in the country fail to meet this standard.

    In the wake of Brown’s killing and the militarized response to street protests, a Justice Department investigation found widespread misconduct and racial bias in the Ferguson police department. 

    August 03, 2015

    Military police in Rio de Janeiro who seem to follow a “shoot first, ask questions later” strategy are contributing to a soaring homicide rate but are rarely investigated and brought to justice, Amnesty International said as it published exclusive statistics and analysis ahead of the one-year countdown to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

    The report “You killed my son" : Killings by military police in Rio de Janeiro reveals that at least 16% of the total homicides registered in the city in the last five years took place at the hands of on-duty police officers – 1,519 in total. Only in the favela of Acari, in the north of the city, Amnesty International found evidence that strongly suggests the occurrence of extrajudicial executions in at least 9 out of 10 killings committed by the military police in 2014. 

    July 23, 2015

    News that a Chilean judge is charging 10 former military officers for the killing of singer and political activist Víctor Jara in 1973 and that seven others have been arrested for burning 19-year-old Rodrigo Rojas to death and severely injuring 18-year-old Carmen Gloria Quintana in 1986 bring a glimmer of hope to the tens of thousands of victims of human rights violations committed during Augusto Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship, said Amnesty International.

    “These developments show that when there is political will, justice can be done. Authorities must now end the long wait for justice of thousands of victims of enforced disappearances and torture and their families,” said Ana Piquer Romo, Executive Director at Amnesty International Chile.

    “Suspected perpetrators of the Pinochet era must be prosecuted without further delay.

    “These historic moves should open a new chapter for justice in Chile and the authorities should ensure no stone is left unturned until all victims and their families are provided with the justice and reparation they are entitled to.”

    July 23, 2015

    The United Nations Human Rights Committee issued its Concluding Observations today following its review of Canada’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Amnesty International welcomes this review of the country’s human rights record, the last of which occurred in October 2005—nearly a decade ago.

          New UN Report goes to the heart of Canada's failure to meet its international human right obligations    

    Read response from Indigenous peoples' organizations and allies

    July 23, 2015

    Twin suicide bombings in Maroua, northern Cameroon, yesterday, are part of a growing pattern of armed groups such as Boko Haram targeting civilians as the regional conflict grows ever more dangerous, said Amnesty International today.

    The attacks, in which at least 13 people were killed and 30 injured, is the third large-scale attack against Cameroonian civilians this month. More than 50 civilians have been killed in the last three weeks, following months of relative calm in the region.

    "It is deeply worrying that we are now seeing such a sharp increase in attacks, and the use of tactics such as suicide bombs deliberately and indiscriminately targeting civilians shows a total disregard for human life,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International Central Africa Researcher, who recently returned from a research mission in Maroua.

    “Those behind these recent attacks should be identified and brought to justice, and the Cameroonian security forces should use all lawful and necessary means to protect the civilian population from Boko Haram, while upholding human rights standards.”

    July 21, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  22 July 2015

    The human rights situation in Gambia has deteriorated sharply during President Yahya Jammeh's 21st year in power, said Amnesty International on the anniversary of his 1994 coup d’état.

    “The climate of fear which has blighted the lives of Gambians for more than two decades worsened over the last 12 months with journalists, people perceived to be gay or lesbian, and those considered to be opponents of the regime and their families increasingly targeted,” said Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty International’s West Africa researcher.

    “A severe backlash following December’s failed coup attempt has seen a spike in the numbers of arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances. In a further worrying step, last Friday President Jammeh stated that those on death row should expect to have their sentences carried out.”

    July 06, 2015

    Recent troubling developments have added to an already long list of worrying concerns being presented by Amnesty International to the UN Human Rights Committee today in Geneva. They are part of a brief covering 31 issues with 55 recommendations submitted for the review of Canada’s compliance with the country’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    “The concerns are many, including the rights of Indigenous Peoples, corporate accountability for human rights, refugee and migrant rights, national security and counter-terrorism measures, and freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch. “These all need to be addressed”.

    July 03, 2015

    The Mexican civilian authorities must urgently investigate a recently uncovered military document that seems to indicate that the killing of 22 people in June 2014 was not the outcome of a clash between soldiers and a criminal gang as the military reported, but the direct result of an order to “take down criminals”, said Amnesty International.

    “This military order has come to light in the midst of the most grievous human rights crisis in Mexico’s recent history which has resulted in thousands of people killed or disappeared. It is fundamental that President Enrique Peña Nieto publicly condemns this act and makes a public commitment to human rights by ordering a prompt, thorough and independent investigation by civilian authorities into the way the armed forces are implementing the government’s security policy,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    July 01, 2015

    Amnesty International India News Release

    Twenty-five years after the introduction of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Jammu and Kashmir, the law continues to feed a cycle of impunity for human rights violations, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    The report, Denied: Failures in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir, documents the obstacles to justice faced in several cases of human rights violations believed to have been committed by Indian security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. It focuses particularly on Section 7 of the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 (AFSPA), which grants virtual immunity to members of the security forces from prosecution for alleged human rights violations.

    June 29, 2015

    The perpetrators of a bomb attack in Cairo this morning which killed Egypt’s Public Prosecutor and injured five of his bodyguards and one other by-stander must be brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty, Amnesty International said. 

    Hisham Barakat was being driven downtown from his home in the district of Heliopolis early this morning when a car bomb exploded next to his convoy, setting fire to many cars. He later died in hospital of his injuries.

    “The killing of Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat was a despicable, cowardly and cold-blooded act of murder,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International. 

    “If the rule of law is to prevail in Egypt, judges and prosecutors must be free to do their jobs without the threat of violence. However, the Egyptian authorities must not use such threats as a pretext for trampling upon human rights.”

    June 29, 2015

    When Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act 2015, was tabled in Parliament this spring, Canada’s leading human rights organizations called for the Bill to be withdrawn. Amnesty International, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, La Ligue des Droits et Libertés and the National Council of Canadian Muslims have stated from the outset that the serious human rights shortcomings in Bill C-51 are so numerous and inseparably interrelated that the Bill should be withdrawn in its entirety. We believe that any national security law reform should instead, first, be convincingly demonstrated to be necessary and should then proceed only in a manner that is wholly consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the country’s international human rights obligations.

    June 26, 2015

    Azerbaijan must immediately and unconditionally release all government critics unfairly imprisoned if the European Games are to leave a positive legacy, Amnesty International said today ahead of the closing ceremony on Sunday.

    A human rights crackdown in the run up to the Games saw journalists, lawyers, youth activists and opposition politicians harassed, intimidated and jailed on trumped-up charges by the repressive government of President Ilham Aliyev.

    “The crude attempt to create a ‘criticism free zone’ around the Games by jailing and intimidating critics and banning international journalists and human rights organisations, has backfired severely,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Programme Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    “International media coverage of the crackdown has held a mirror up to Azerbaijan and showed the world that the country has something very shameful it wants to hide.”

    June 23, 2015

    The suspicious murder of opposition leaders and wide-spread human rights violations against opposition party members over the past few weeks raises questions about Ethiopia’s elections, said Amnesty International as the parliamentary poll results were announced yesterday.

    The organization has also expressed concerns about the failure of the Africa Union Elections Observer Mission (AUEOM) and the National Elections Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to properly monitor and report on allegations of wide-spread abuses before, during and after the election.

    “Amnesty International has received a number of reports concerning the deaths of political opposition figures in suspicious circumstances, as well as of a pattern of human rights violations against political opposition parties throughout the election period. These reports must be investigated and perpetrators brought to justice,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Eastern, Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes.

    June 18, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  19 June 2015

    Cameroonian authorities must immediately end the six-month illegal detention of 84 children – some as young as five years-old - who were rounded up during a raid on Quranic schools in the far north of the country, Amnesty International said today.

    On 20 December 2014, Cameroonian security forces raided a series of schools in a town called Guirvidig, arresting 84 children and 43 men – including many teachers. All but three of the children are under 15 years old and 47 are under 10. The authorities claim the schools were being used as fronts for ‘Boko Haram training camps’.

    Six months on, the children remain detained in a children’s centre in Maroua, the main city of the northern region, despite having been charged with no crimes. In the absence of provisions from local authorities, Unicef provided mattresses for the centre while the World Food Program has been providing food stocks, which are now running low.

    June 18, 2015

    •        Nine states and the District of Columbia lack any laws on the appropriate use of deadly force
    •        Laws in 13 states are out of step even with protections under US constitutional law
    •        No official statistics to track fatalities, but estimates range from 400 to 1,000 deaths annually
    •        African Americans disproportionately affected by the police use of lethal force

    All 50 US states and the District of Columbia fail to comply with international standards on police use of lethal force, a new Amnesty International USA report found today.

    Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force in the United States calls for reform at the state and federal levels to bring laws in line with international law and standards, which require that lethal force should only be used as a last resort when strictly necessary for police to protect themselves or others against imminent threat of death or serious injury.

    June 12, 2015

    A legal ruling that will mean the continued incarceration for long-suffering Albert Woodfox piles further injustice on a man who has suffered for decades in solitary confinement, said Amnesty International today.

    On Monday 9 June a federal court ordered the immediate release of Albert Woodfox and denied the state the opportunity to try him again. The state protested that ruling and today the 5th Circuit Court decided to keep Albert Woodfox in detention, until the appeal is heard.  

    “Today’s heartbreaking ruling from the 5th Circuit Court means Albert Woodfox, who has already spent 43 years in prison, faces yet further barriers to his freedom. Amnesty International supporters from all over the world had hoped to rejoice with Albert today as he walked free from incarceration, but his continued detention is a yet another cruel blow for a man who has spent more than 40 years in intolerable solitary confinement,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Albert Woodfox's conviction had already been overturned on three separate occasions.

    June 09, 2015

    An Italian court ruling that the Municipality of Rome acted unlawfully by forcibly relocating Romani families to an ethnically segregated camp is a landmark step towards ending the discrimination faced by Romani people in Italy, said Amnesty International.

    The judgement, revealed by the complainants at a joint press conference in Rome today, found that making Roma live in the ethnically segregated La Barbuta camp constituted discriminatory treatment. Amnesty International said that the judgment should mark the beginning of a process to dismantle housing segregation faced by Roma across the country.

    “Making Roma people live in a segregated camp in a remote and inaccessible site not only pushes them to the margins of society but has now been proven to be unlawful,” said Elisa De Pieri, Amnesty International’s Italy Researcher.

    June 02, 2015

    The sentencing of Iranian artist and activist Atena Farghadani to more than 12 years in prison – far in excess of the statutory maximum punishment for the charges she faced – is a terrible injustice, and a violation her rights to free expression and association, Amnesty International said.

    This case follows the sentencing last month of Atena Daemi, another Iranian woman, to more than a decade in prison – also on charges stemming from her peaceful activism. Both are prisoners of conscience and must be freed immediately.

    “Atena Farghadani has effectively been punished for her cartoons with a sentence that is itself a gross caricature of justice. No one should be in jail for their art or peaceful activism,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “Such harsh and unjust sentences seem to be part of a disturbing trend in Iran, where the cost of voicing peaceful dissent is escalating, with punishments even worse than those issued in the post-2009 election crackdown.”

    June 02, 2015

    The killing of nine people, mostly humanitarian workers, in a despicable gun attack in northern Afghanistan last night is an urgent reminder of the need for authorities to increase protection for aid workers, said Amnesty International.

    The attack took place in an NGO guesthouse in the province of Balkh, Zari district, in northern Afghanistan. No-one has yet taken responsibility.

    The aid workers were part of the Czech organization People in Need, which runs rural development projects.

    “Being an aid worker in Afghanistan is an extremely risky business which will only become more dangerous if authorities fail to ensure those responsible for these disgraceful attacks face justice,” said Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “The latest attack must be urgently investigated and those responsible brought to justice. Anything less will send the message that aid workers are a fair target.”

    May 29, 2015

    The Saudi Arabian authorities must take immediate steps to protect the country’s Shi’a Muslim minority from sectarian violence and put an end to decades of systematic discrimination, Amnesty International said today after the second deadly attack on a Shi’a mosque in the past week.

    Today’s attack in al-Dammam in the country’s Eastern Province left at least three people dead and an unknown number injured during Friday prayers. It comes exactly one week after 22 people were killed in an attack on another Shi’a mosque in nearby Qudaih on 22 May.

    According to Saudi Arabian state TV the armed group calling itself Islamic State has claimed responsibility for both attacks.

    “Members of Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a Muslim community have been subjected to cruel attacks during Friday prayers for the second week in a row. There can be absolutely no justification for attacking worshippers in a mosque,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director at Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    May 22, 2015

    The run-up to Ethiopia’s elections on Sunday has been marred by gross, systematic and wide-spread violations of ordinary Ethiopians’ human rights, says Amnesty International.

    “The lead-up up to the elections has seen an onslaught on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. This onslaught undermines the right to participation in public affairs freely and without fear as the government has clamped down on all forms of legitimate dissent,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    The Ethiopian authorities have jailed large numbers of members of legally registered opposition political parties, journalists, bloggers and protesters. They have also used a combination of harassment and repressive legislation to repress independent media and civil society.

    May 14, 2015

    Last night’s deadly siege in a central Kabul hotel is a stark reminder of the Taliban’s contempt for human life, which comes amid a worrying new surge in the armed group’s targeting of civilians around the country, Amnesty International said today.

    According to media reports, up to 15 civilians, including both Afghans and foreigners, were killed and more injured when gunmen stormed the Park Palace Hotel as a garden party was being held there on Wednesday evening. The hotel, located near a hospital and compounds used by aid agencies, formerly hosted United Nations staff.

    “This atrocious attack on a well-known hotel in central Kabul is a worrying sign that the Taliban’s spring offensive is in full swing, putting civilians at heightened risk of death and injury,” said Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan Researcher at Amnesty International.

    May 13, 2015

    Evidence gathered by Amnesty International suggests that Huthi forces have carried out indiscriminate mortar attacks on civilians and repeatedly targeted medical workers and facilities in the governorate of Aden.

    Dozens of civilians were killed and injured in an attack on a port in Tawahi, west of Aden city, on 6 May, where a crowd of more than 400 people were waiting to flee the area by boat. Eyewitnesses have told Amnesty International that the mortars used in the attack had been fired from a Huthi- controlled area. Others said Huthi fighters in the area had raided medical clinics and attacked medical workers.

    “Testimony gathered from eyewitnesses in Aden paints a damning picture of the conduct of Huthi forces in and around Aden who appear to have carried out serious human rights abuses,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    May 13, 2015

    The killing of more than 40 Ismaili Shi’a Muslims in Karachi marks a new low in a campaign of sectarian violence that has left Pakistan’s religious minorities fearing for their lives while extremists in the country operate with impunity, said Amnesty International.

    The attack on a bus carrying the Ismailis, claimed by the Jundullah group, highlights both the ever-present threat of violence and the authorities’ persistent failure to prosecute the perpetrators and to protect religious minorities.

    “We deplore this unprovoked assault and the tragic loss of life,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Asia Pacific.

    “While attacks on the Ismailis are rare, attacks by the Jundullah group are not. The extremists have claimed responsibility for many killings, including a 2013 attack on a church in Peshawar in which more than 80 Christians were killed. None of these attacks have been investigated or prosecuted in a thorough and transparent manner.”

    May 08, 2015

    Iranian security forces must refrain from using excessive and unnecessary force in the policing of protests, Amnesty International urged after police in riot gear dispersed a demonstration in the Kurdish-populated city of Mahabad, West Azerbaijan province, on 7 May.

    Officials have today confirmed that at least 25 people, including seven police officers, were injured in the ensuing clashes last night.

    There are fears of a renewed police crackdown amid reports of arrests and after further demonstrations were called.

    “After last night’s violence, tensions are running high in Mahabad and other Kurdish-majority towns and cities. Law enforcement officials have the right to defend themselves and a duty to protect the safety of the public, but they must comply with international standards governing the use of force in their policing of any further protests,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa.

    May 08, 2015

    New eyewitness testimony gathered by Amnesty International in the aftermath of recent airstrikes in Sana’a points to a repeated failure by the Saudi Arabian-led military coalition to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths in Yemen.

    In the early hours of 1 May an airstrike hit a residential area in the Bab al-Sha’b neighbourhood of Sa’wan, in the east of the capital, killing 17 civilians and injuring 17 others. Amnesty International carried out interviews with local residents and eyewitnesses the following day and heard the horrific experiences of a number of survivors of the airstrike.

    “These harrowing testimonies are a damning indictment of the failure of the Saudi Arabian military and its allies to take adequate steps to ensure civilians are not needlessly slaughtered in their campaign of airstrikes,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    “Under international humanitarian law, all parties to the armed conflict have a duty to take certain precautions in planning and carrying out attacks in order to minimize civilian suffering.

    April 29, 2015

    (Ottawa)  The mother of one of 46 student-teachers who were extrajudicially executed or forcibly disappeared during an attack by police and gunmen in Iguala, Mexico last September, made a heart-felt appeal for Canadian action to policy makers at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development in Ottawa today. 

    “It has been seven months and we still do not know where our children are,” testified Hilda Legideño Vargas, whose twenty year old son Jorge Antonio disappeared with 42 other students of a teacher-training college in Ayotzinapa on September 26, 2014.  “Premature statements by Mexican authorities, without reliable evidence, have caused us to distrust their willingness to get to the bottom of what actually happened and who is responsible. We’re asking Canada to speak up and support our efforts to find our children.”

    April 29, 2015

    From Amnesty International USA

    (Baltimore,MD) Amnesty International USA is sending a human rights observer delegation to Baltimore today to observe police and protester activity in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. The delegation will be monitoring compliance with human rights standards for the policing of protests. 

    "We are calling on the police in Baltimore to exercise restraint, and to ensure that peaceful protesters can assemble and the media can do its job without undue interference,” said Amnesty International USA’s executive director, Steven W. Hawkins. “Confronting protestors in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put law enforcement in the mindset that confrontation and conflict is inevitable rather than possible.” 

    April 28, 2015

    (Ottawa, April 28, 2015) The mother of one of 46 students from a teacher-training college in the Mexican community of Ayotzinapa who were killed or forcibly disappeared during a September 2014 attack by Mexican police and gunmen will testify before Parliament’s Subcommittee on International Human Rights this afternoon, along with a surviving student and a lawyer for the families of the victims.

    Their goal is to make visible a disturbing pattern of grave abuses perpetrated by state security forces, and call for attention to serious failures on the part of government authorities to protect human rights in Mexico, a country that Canada has designated a so-called “safe country”.

    The members of the Mexican delegation who will testify to Canadian MPs are:

    • Hilda Legideño Vargas, whose son Jorge Antonio was forcibly disappeared in the September 2014 attack;

    • Jorge Luis Clemente Balbuena, a student leader at the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college;

    April 24, 2015

    The killing of hundreds of civilians, including scores of children, and the injury of thousands during the relentless Saudi Arabian-led campaign of airstrikes across Yemen must be urgently investigated, said Amnesty International, one month after the strikes began.

    “The month-long campaign of air strikes carried out by Saudi Arabia and its allies has transformed many parts of Yemen into a dangerous place for civilians,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.  

    “Millions of people have been forced to live in a state of utter terror, afraid of being killed at home. Many feel they are left with no choice but to move away from their destroyed villages to an uncertain future.”

    According to the UN more than 550 civilians have been killed including more than 100 children since the military campaign began on 25 March.

    April 23, 2015

    Romani children face daily discrimination and segregation in schools due to the Czech government’s longstanding failure to address deeply engrained prejudice within the education system, said Amnesty International in a new report launched today.

    Must try harder: Ethnic discrimination of Romani Children in Czech schools, documents how the Czech authorities are violating the human rights of Romani children in schools across the country. Romani children are segregated in mainstream education in Roma-only separate classes, buildings and schools and even placed in schools for pupils with “mild mental disabilities”. Those in ethnically mixed schools experience bullying, and harassment. 

    “The widespread segregation of Romani children is a horrifying example of systematic prejudice, with schools introducing children to bitter discrimination at an early age,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, who launched the report in Prague, Czech Republic today.

    April 15, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs BST 16 April 2015

    A new report by Amnesty International details the rampant abuses including torture, arbitrary detentions and excessive use of force against peaceful activists and government critics, which continue to take place in Bahrain four years after the uprisings that rocked the Gulf kingdom in 2011. 

    Behind the Rhetoric: Human rights abuses in Bahrain continue unabated, demonstrates that the authorities have failed to deliver crucial reforms to end repression, despite repeated assurances to their Western allies that they are truly committed to human rights. The report is being published days before the world gathers in Bahrain for the Formula One Grand Prix tournament this weekend.

    “As the world’s eyes fall on Bahrain during the Grand Prix this weekend, few will realize that the international image the authorities have attempted to project of the country as a progressive reformist state committed to human rights masks a far more sinister truth,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program.

    April 09, 2015

    The Telangana Government must order an independent criminal investigation into the killing of five undertrials by Telangana Police on 7 April, Amnesty International India said.

    The Telangana Police say the five undertrials - Viqaruddin, Amjad Ali, Mohammed Hanif, Zakir Ali and Izhar Khan - were being taken in a van by 17 policemen from the Warangal central prison to a court in Hyderabad. The police say that the undertrials attempted to overpower the policemen and snatch their assault rifles, and claim they opened fire in self-defense.

    Video footage given to Amnesty International India by a journalist appears to show the five undertrials inside the police van after they were killed. All five appear to be handcuffed.

    “Impunity for extrajudicial executions is a serious issue in India,” said Abhirr V P, Campaigner at Amnesty International India. “Authorities in Telangana need to urgently conduct an independent criminal investigation into the case to determine if it involved extrajudicial executions disguised as ‘encounter’ killings.”

    April 09, 2015

    Deep social and economic inequalities, ongoing violence by criminal networks and security forces, as well as constant repression and criminalization of human rights defenders continue to plague the Americas, Amnesty International told regional leaders today ahead of a regional summit in Panama.

    The range of human rights issues were laid out in an open letter sent to heads of state and government across the Americas as they meet this week in Panama City for the VII Summit of the Americas. Cuba’s attendance marks an historic first.

    “As leaders meet in luxurious settings in Panama City, across the region ordinary citizens are suffering. From indigenous people trying to protect their lands from multinational corporations, to protesters killed and maimed in Venezuela and Brazil, to those waking up to another day without their disappeared children in Mexico - human rights in the Americas are being trampled underfoot,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director, Amnesty International.

    The central theme of the Summit of the Americas is: “Prosperity with Equity: The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas”.

    April 08, 2015

    On 14 April, the anniversary of the abduction of the schoolgirls from Chibok, Amnesty International will be releasing a report on Boko Haram.

    The report, ‘Our job is to shoot, slaughter and kill’: Boko Haram’s reign of terror in north-east Nigeria, documents war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the armed group. It provides evidence of the scale and depravity of Boko Haram’s human rights abuses, as well as detailed new information about the abduction of women and girls and the conditions faced by those abducted.

    The report catalogues serious human rights abuses which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity and explores the way in which Boko Haram is structured, operates, recruits, organizes and sustains itself offering chilling insights into life in Boko Haram territories and camps.

    It also includes new satellite images offering evidence of the destruction left by Boko Haram as they retreated from the advancing Nigerian military in March 2015.

    April 07, 2015

    A new law that would allow terrorism suspects in Malaysia to be held indefinitely without charge, trial or judicial review, is a shocking onslaught against human rights and the rule of law, said Amnesty International.

    “Indefinite detention without trial is contrary to human rights law and it will not stop terrorism. Abandoning people to rot in a cell for years on end without a judicial process and proof that they have committed a crime is just like aimlessly stabbing in the dark. Authorities must ensure that human rights and fair trial guarantees are respected and protected,” said Hazel Galang-Folli, Malaysia Researcher at Amnesty International.

    Under the newly enacted Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), a board will be established to approve detention or restriction orders for individuals “in the interest of security of Malaysia”. A suspect can first be detained for 59 days without charge before being presented to the board. This body, which will be appointed by the King and will be outside of the jurisdiction of any court, will have the power to renew detention orders indefinitely. Its decisions cannot be appealed.  

    April 02, 2015

    This morning’s horrific attack on a Kenyan university college by masked gunmen highlights the urgent need for the protection of students, college staff and other ordinary people in Garissa and other areas in the north of the country, said Amnesty International today. The organization is also calling for the authorities to conduct a prompt, impartial and effective investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice.

    Garissa University College, a constituent college of Moi University, is located in northern Kenya, a part of the country known to be vulnerable to Al Shabaab attacks. 

    “We urge the Government of Kenya to act decisively and within the Constitution and the law to ensure protection for those under or at risk of attack in Garissa and other areas of the north,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes. 

    April 02, 2015

    Thailand’s announcement that it is lifting martial law and replacing it with new measures is little more than a cynical exercise in the preservation of military power, said Amnesty International today.

    “The announcement that Thailand’s Prime Minister, General Prayuth Chan-Ocha, was lifting martial law should have been a cause for celebration. However, he has simply granted himself and his military officers’ extensive powers to continue violating the rights to liberty, freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.

    “The international community must not be fooled by this cynical exercise in the preservation of military power. Nothing has changed – this is an attempt to cast a veil over its determination to continue using military might to crush dissent.”

    Amnesty International is calling for the new Order to be repealed and for the reinstatement of the rule of law and constitutional protections for human rights which the 2014 coup has so badly undermined.

    March 27, 2015

    A range of security reforms in a bill passed by Turkey’s Parliament today will give the country’s police forces broad and dangerous new powers to detain people and use firearms to quell dissent, Amnesty International said.

    The organization said the bill facilitates the already widespread practice of arbitrary detentions during protests and paves the way for further human rights violations including politically motivated criminal investigations and violations of the right to life.

    “Today’s vote to pass this draconian new law confirms our fears – Turkey’s Parliament has taken some of the worst abuses from the country’s appalling track record on policing and effectively endorsed them in law,” said Andrew Gardner, Researcher on Turkey at Amnesty International.

    The articles passed – which amend 14 different laws or decrees – have been hotly debated. The timing is seen as especially contentious given parliamentary elections in June.

    March 26, 2015

    Gambia has effectively thumbed its nose to the international community after it failed to accept a raft of recommendations to address its deteriorating human rights situation, Amnesty International said today.

    The government of Gambia only accepted 93 of the 171 recommendations at the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva.

    “The significant number of rejections on key human rights issues demonstrates the government’s weak commitment to addressing its deplorable human rights situation - including unjustified restrictions on the right to freedom of expression, enforced disappearances and the use of torture to stifle dissent,” said Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty International’s West Africa Researcher.

    “Human rights defenders, journalists and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex people have all been targeted, and Gambia’s human rights situation will continue to deteriorate unless the international community takes action to engage Gambia to strongly adopt the recommendations it rejected.”

    March 26, 2015

    Mexican authorities have made shamefully little progress in their investigation into the enforced disappearance of 43 student teachers from Guerrero State, said Amnesty International today, six months on from the tragedy.

    “The past six months have been a period of heartbreak and torment for the family and friends of those who were forcibly disappeared last September. Despite worldwide attention on the issue, the Mexican authorities have failed to properly pursue all lines of investigation, especially the worrying allegations of complicity by armed forces. The Mexican authorities cannot wait even one day more, but must act now to bring those responsible to justice,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director Amnesty International.

    “Six hours after the students went missing we were worried for their safety. Six weeks on we were frustrated and saddened by the lack of progress in the search for their whereabouts. But now, six months later, we are absolutely horrified by the abject failure of the Mexican government to get to the full truth of what happened to these young men and bring those responsible to justice.”

    March 18, 2015

    Today’s armed attack that killed at least 19 people, according to the Tunisian Prime Minister, and injured many more in a museum in central Tunis shows an utter disregard for the right to life, Amnesty International said.

    The organization is calling on the authorities to ensure that all those involved in planning and carrying out this attack are apprehended and brought to justice. 

    “This deadly attack, which in itself is utterly deplorable, must not be allowed to derail what many regard as the region’s most successful transition from authoritarianism to the rule of law and respect for human rights,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International. 

    “The best answer to this atrocity would be bringing those responsible to justice in fair trials. A return to the draconian measures of the Ben Ali years which trampled over human rights would compound the tragedy of this crime and is likely to play into the hands of those trying to undermine Tunisia’s transition.”

    March 18, 2015

    The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) must immediately and unconditionally release human rights activists arrested on 15 March in the capital, Kinshasa, for holding a meeting. Those suspected of criminal responsibility for the arbitrary arrests must be brought to justice in a fair trial.

    Five youth activists are among a group of civil society activists detained since 15 March following their arrest at the Centre Eloko ya Makasi, a cultural centre in Masina, Kinshasa. They were attending a press conference after a workshop on youth civic engagement in political processes.   A DRC journalist who was also held alongside the activists was released yesterday evening.

    “The DRC government must immediately release activists detained for peaceful assembly and free expression,” said Christian Rumu, Amnesty International’s Campaigner for the Great Lakes Region.

    “These arrests show the government’s continued crackdown on peaceful assembly before next year’s presidential election.”

    March 13, 2015

    The conviction of Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives on terrorism charges after a deeply flawed and politically motivated trial is a travesty of justice, said Amnesty International.

    “Amnesty International condemns the conviction of Mohamed Nasheed to 13 years in jail by judges who were state witnesses during an earlier investigation of this case. This trial has been flawed from start to finish, and the conviction is unsound” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Director.

    “Rather than responding to international calls to strengthen the impartiality of the judiciary the government of the Maldives has proceeded with this sham trial for political reasons”.

    March 12, 2015

    More than two decades of conflict, inadequate health services and discrimination have left people with disabilities in Somalia at risk of forced marriage, violence, rape and repeated forced evictions, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today.

    The briefing, Somalia: Prioritise Protection for People with disabilities, reveals how lack of protection, underpinned by discrimination by families, the public and the state, renders people with disabilities vulnerable to further attack and exploitation.

    Amnesty International is calling on the Somali Federal Government to act decisively to ensure the rights of people with disabilities are protected in law and in practice.

    “People with disabilities face greater abuse in Somalia, are often seen as a burden or as easier targets to attackers. Somalia must do more to protect their rights, rather than allow them to be subject to further abuses because of their disabilities,” said Gemma Davies, Amnesty International’s Somalia Researcher.  

    March 11, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 12 March 2015

    Eighty-three percent of all the lights in Syria have gone out since the start of the conflict there, a global coalition of humanitarian and human rights organizations has revealed ahead of the fourth anniversary on March 15.

    Analyzing satellite images, scientists based at Wuhan University in China, in co-operation with the #withSyria coalition of 130 non-governmental organizations, have shown that the number of lights visible over Syria at night has fallen by 83% since March 2011.

    March 09, 2015

    Sweeping changes to Canada’s national security laws, proposed to prevent and respond to terrorist threats, fail to meet a range of important international human rights obligations, says Amnesty International in Insecurity and Human Rights a detailed briefing released today highlighting concerns and recommendations with respect to Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015.

    February 28, 2015

    The killing of Boris Nemtsov, one of Russia's most prominent political activists, must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated.
    Boris Nemtsov was shot and killed late in the evening of 27 February in central Moscow. His killer, who escaped from the scene, has not been identified.

    The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has stated that he would personally control the progress over the investigation.

    “In the current climate of crackdown on freedoms of expression, assembly and association, this is a cold-blooded murder of one of those free voices whom the authorities have so actively sought to silence” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Regional Deputy Programme Director for Europe and Central Asia. 

    “There is already a list of unsolved political murders and attack in Russia, the investigations of which were under the ‘personal control’ of senior Russian politicians. We cannot allow Boris Nemtsov to become just another name on this list.”

    February 26, 2015

    Rights groups across Canada reacted with alarm and deep concern to the news that the government has brought forward a motion limiting study of Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, by the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to only four sessions of two hours each.  With the first session devoted to government witnesses, including the Minister of Public Safety, this would leave only six hours for all other potential experts.

    Amnesty International Canada, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, La Ligue des Droits et Libertés and the National Council of Canadian Muslims all called on the government to withdraw the motion and agree to a schedule of extensive hearings that will ensure that all relevant expertise and perspectives across the country is available to the Committee during the course of its study of Bill C-51.

    February 24, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 25 February 2015

    • Amnesty International releases Annual Report along with forecast of human rights trends for the coming year

    • Says governments must ‘stop pretending the protection of civilians is beyond their power’

    • Forecasts more civilians at risk of abuses by armed groups, continued attacks on freedom of expression, and a worsening humanitarian and refugee crisis; unless there is a fundamental change to the global response to conflict

    • Calls for global action including renouncement of veto rights by five permanent members of UN Security Council in situations of mass atrocities

     

    World leaders must act urgently to confront the changing nature of conflict and protect civilians from horrific violence by states and armed groups, urged Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world.

    February 18, 2015
    By Levan Asatiani, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Ukraine @levan_asatiani 

    At least 77 people died as a result of clashes between police and protesters at Kyiv’s EuroMaydan roughly a year ago and another 1,000 were severely injured.

    These numbers may sound like dull statistics, but for me they were transformed into real individual stories of injustice as I attended launch of Amnesty International’s report: A year after EuroMaydan, justice delayed, justice denied in Kiev this morning. One of the most outspoken victims of police violence at EuroMaydan – Vladyslav Tsilytskiy – was present at the report launch.

    Fighting for justice

    February 18, 2015

    According to the Ministry of Health, 105 people died as a result of the EuroMaydan protests in Ukraine, including at least 13 police officers.© Aleksandr Piliugun

    A deeply imbedded culture of impunity, lack of expertise and in some cases, deliberate obstruction, are denying justice to the hundreds of victims of police abuses during the EuroMaydan protests in Ukraine, says Amnesty International in a new briefing on the first anniversary of the protest.

    Ukraine: A Year After Maydan, Justice Delayed, Justice Denied details the consistent failure to investigate unlawful use of force by security forces in Ukraine during the EuroMaydan protests in Kyiv and the failure of the authorities to deliver justice for the victims.

    “The deplorable lack of progress in delivering justice for those killed, injured and tortured exposes once again the deep failings of the Ukrainian criminal justice system,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director of Europe and Central Asia. 

    February 16, 2015

    The decision by the UN Human Rights Council to delay, until September, the release of a key report into widespread human rights violations during the conflict in Sri Lanka must not allow the perpetrators of horrific crimes during the country’s armed conflict to escape punishment, said Amnesty International.

    “Sri Lankan victims of human rights violations deserve truth and justice. Survivors of torture, including sexual abuse, people whose family members were killed or forcibly disappeared have waited a long time for this report,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Director.

    “A delay is only justifiable if more time will lead to a stronger document and to a concrete commitment by the new Sri Lankan authorities to actively pursue accountability. This includes by co-operating with the UN to investigate conflict-era abuses and bring perpetrators to justice.”

    The Human Rights Council must also be vigilant and ensure that all those coming forward to give testimony are protected from any potential threats from those who do not want justice to prevail.

    February 13, 2015

    The Mexican government must take serious steps to tackle the disappearance of thousands of people, said Amnesty International as the United Nation’s Committee on Enforced Disappearances prepares to publish recommendations to the country today.

    “More than 22,600 people have disappeared or gone missing in Mexico in the past eight years. Meanwhile thousands more people wait in anguish and turmoil unsure of what has happened to their loved ones. The recommendations to the Mexican government cannot just be baseless words, but instead must herald a tangible and urgent change in policy and legislation to address this chronic situation. It is time for the authorities to wake up to this tragedy,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Last week the UN Committee reviewed the situation in Mexico and heard from victims and human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, in Geneva. The UN body will publish its recommendations to the Mexican government today.

    February 12, 2015

    With the announcement of a ceasefire deal in Minsk today, both sides to the conflict in eastern Ukraine must take immediate steps to protect civilians in the days before it comes into force, Amnesty International urged. 

    Both Ukrainian government forces and separatist militias must stop launching indiscriminate attacks that kill civilians, and must allow civilians to flee contested areas like Debaltseve safely.

    Because the ceasefire does not enter into effect until Saturday night at midnight, the risk of civilian casualties in continued hostilities is extremely high. Civilians trapped in affected areas like the Debaltseve pocket are at particular risk, as both sides try to gain territory before the fighting is halted.

    “Given the intensity of the current fighting in Debaltseve, and the likely desire to escalate hostilities to gain ground before the ceasefire begins, we fear for the safety of the civilian population,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International, who has just returned from Debaltseve.

    February 10, 2015

    Amnesty International UK Press Release
     

    Amnesty International is urging the authorities in Sudan to disclose the whereabouts of two church leaders who were arrested by the country’s National Intelligence and Security Service in Khartoum last December and January.

    Both Reverend Yat Michael and Reverend Peter Yen – of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church – are being detained incommunicado, in an unknown location without access to their families or lawyers and are at risk of torture or ill-treatment.

    January 31, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 1 February 2015

    Evidence gathered by Amnesty International published today indicates that the Egyptian authorities are attempting to cover up the deaths of more than two dozen people who were killed in protests marking the 2011 uprising last weekend.  

    Prosecutors have threatened eyewitnesses with arrest and at least 500 demonstrators, including two disabled people and children, and bystanders are being held in unofficial detention centres across the country. Two journalists were also detained while covering the protests.

    “The authorities have not only used unnecessary or excessive force but they also appear to have orchestrated a ‘cover up’ of the disastrous events of last weekend to hide the brutal reality that Egyptian security forces have once again resorted to arbitrary and abusive force to crush protesters,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director.

    January 30, 2015

    Sierra Leone must immediately release, or facilitate a review by a judicial authority, 8 people detained for over three months without charge following a riot related to the Ebola outbreak, Amnesty International said today.

    2 women and 6 men are detained in the capital’s maximum security prisons following their arrest last October in the Eastern region of Kono. These people are among 34 people detained after an Executive Order was issued by President Ernest Bai Koroma using his powers under the State of Emergency. 26 were later released while 8 continued to be arbitrarily detained. The detainees have no warrants or documentation supporting their detention or any release date.

    Their arrests are related to a riot that occurred in Kono over a contested suspected Ebola patient who was the 90 year old grandmother of a local politician. Her family was accused of preventing health authorities to take her for an Ebola test. At least two people were shot dead during the riot, with witnesses describing how police used live rounds to disperse the crowd.

    January 30, 2015

    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe should use his position as the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) to address key human rights concerns in different parts of the continent, including his own country, Amnesty International said today.  

    President Robert Mugabe takes over the rotating position from the Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz which will see him in charge for the year ahead.

    “There is an urgent need for the AU to take more concrete steps to effectively address the massive human rights violations resulting from the many conflicts taking place in several parts of the continent. President Mugabe should use his time as Chairperson to restore stability in parts of the region that have been ravaged by conflicts,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Director for Research and Advocacy.

    January 30, 2015

    The African Union’s (AU) Peace and Security Council has failed the thousands of South Sudanese victims who are waiting for truth and justice by not making public the report of the Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, said Amnesty International today.

    Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria and Chair of the Commission of Inquiry, was scheduled to present the report to the AU Peace and Security Council yesterday evening. But, in a move shocking to those committed to accountability, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, tabled a motion to “defer” presentation and consideration of the report pending the finalisation of a peace agreement. Presidents Zuma of South Africa and Museveni of Uganda seconded the motion.

    “What is outrageous is that the Peace and Security Council shelved the report indefinitely before its members even received copies or heard Obasanjo’s remarks,” said Amnesty International’s African Regional Research and Advocacy Director Netsanet Belay. “The AU seems to have forgotten that one of its founding principles is the condemnation and rejection of impunity.”

    January 29, 2015

    The Bangladeshi authorities risk exacerbating an already violent situation by giving police carte blanche to use excessive force in response to a recent wave of horrific petrol bomb attacks amid ongoing violent political protests, Amnesty International said today.

    Media reports yesterday quoted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as saying: “as the head of the government I'm giving [the police] the liberty to take any action wherever and whenever it will be deemed necessary” to stop the arson attacks that have already resulted in more than two dozen deaths.

    “Remarks like these carry a high risk of being seen as an open invitation for the police to use unnecessary and excessive force against demonstrators or even to carry out extrajudicial executions – which Bangladeshi security forces have carried out with appalling frequency in the past,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

    January 28, 2015

    The announcement by the Mexican Attorney General that all the missing Ayotzinapa students are dead is premature and risks curtailing a full and thorough investigation into this tragedy, said Amnesty International today.

    Yesterday Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam announced that he could prove the students were dead, basing his findings mainly on confessions from arrested suspects. He was unable, however, to show strong evidence of it.

    “If the Attorney General hopes that this announcement will draw a line under this tragedy then he is wrong. There are still many, many questions left unanswered, including the possible complicity, by action or omission, of the army and other authorities in the attack against these young student teachers,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “I have met with the families and those left behind, I have seen their pain and it is not something that can be swept under the carpet. Mexico’s troubled past when it comes to police investigations is all the more reason for this investigation to continue until there is solid proof of what happened to these young men.”

    January 25, 2015

    A failure to protect hundreds of thousands of civilians could lead to a disastrous humanitarian crisis said Amnesty International with reports of two large scale attacks in Nigeria on the major north-eastern city of Maiduguri as well as the nearby town of Monguno.

    “These ongoing attacks by Boko Haram are significant and grim news. We believe hundreds of thousands of civilians are now at grave risk,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Director.

    “People in and around Maiduguri need immediate protection. If the military doesn't succeed in stopping Boko Haram's advance they may be trapped with nowhere else to turn.”

    Amnesty International has received reports that at 6am on Sunday, gunmen attacked the base of 33 Artillery brigade at Jintilo village, just 6km outside Maiduguri.  There are reports of ongoing fighting at the air force base closer to Maiduguri.

    The Nigerian military has responded with air strikes and moved tanks and troops to the area.

    Civilians have reportedly fled the areas near to Jintilo towards central Maiduguri. However, not all civilians have been able to leave.

    January 09, 2015

    Following reports of the massacre of large numbers of civilians by armed group Boko Haram in north east Nigeria, Amnesty International has expert spokespeople available to comment.

    “The attack on Baga and surrounding towns, looks as if it could be Boko Haram’s deadliest act in a catalogue of increasingly heinous attacks carried out by the group. If reports that the town was largely razed to the ground and that hundreds or even as many as two thousand civilians were killed are true, this marks a disturbing and bloody escalation of Boko Haram’s ongoing onslaught against the civilian population,” said Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International.

    “We are currently working to find out more details of what happened during the attack on Baga and the surrounding area. This attack reiterates the urgent need for Boko Haram to stop the senseless killing of civilians and for the Nigerian government to take measures to protect a population who live in constant fear of such attacks,” said Daniel Eyre.
     

    January 06, 2015

    Amidst a surge in election-related harassment and violence ahead of the 8 January presidential poll, Sri Lankan authorities must ensure that people’s right to political participation is respected, Amnesty International said.

    “The growing harassment and violence against those campaigning in the coming elections is deeply troubling – the authorities have a responsibility to ensure that all people in Sri Lanka can exercise their rights to political participation and freedom of expression without facing threats or violence, and that on election day they can vote without fear,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    “Reports of a potential organized plan to obstruct voters on election day – allegedly orchestrated by the government through the military – is also a matter of grave concern.”

    December 16, 2014

    Today’s Taliban attack on a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar shows a merciless disregard for human life and highlights the urgent need for protection of civilians in the area, Amnesty International said.  

    At least 126 people, mainly children, were killed when several armed men entered the school and began firing indiscriminately at students and teachers in one of the most shocking Taliban attacks in recent memory.

    “There can be absolutely no justification for targeting children in this way. This unconscionable Taliban attack is a grave reminder that civilians in north-west Pakistan desperately need effective protection from militant groups,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Asia-Pacific.

    “Of prime importance now is that the Pakistani authorities take effective steps to protect civilians and minimize the risk of this type of sickening tragedy being repeated.”

    December 16, 2014

    As Canada heads towards an election sometime before October 2015, Amnesty International Canada’s annual human rights agenda, Jobs, Security … and Human Rights For All, reveals serious failings in  federal government laws and policies.  In his first address to the UN General Assembly in four years Prime Minister Harper spoke of a world “where human rights and justice are preserved”.  Amnesty International is concerned that government action far too often fails to match those words.

    “Canada’s failure to ground economic development in respect for Indigenous peoples’ rights, hesitancy to ratify treaties that enhance law and order, and inconsistency in which countries attract Canada’s criticism are among the issues outlined in the new agenda,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch. “Economic growth, the quest for law and order and the promotion of freedom and democracy abroad must have respect for human rights at their core.”

    December 10, 2014

    Today’s presentation of the final report of Brazil’s National Truth Commission (Comissão Nacional da Verdade, CNV) marks an historic step in the country’s efforts to obtain justice for crimes against humanity and other violations during the military dictatorship that took power five decades ago, Amnesty International said.

    The commission spent two years investigating the thousands of cases of torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other violations dating back to the period of military rule in Brazil from 1964-1985.

    Since 1979 an Amnesty Law covering political crimes has been used as a means of protecting members of the former military government from being put on trial for serious human rights violations.

    “By showing the widespread nature of human rights violations committed by state agents during the military dictatorship and recognizing them as crimes against humanity, the National Truth Commission’s final report paves the way to ensure the Amnesty Law will not be an obstacle to investigating these crimes,” said Atila Roque, Director of Amnesty International Brazil.

    December 10, 2014

    The death of a Palestinian minister during a protest against land confiscations in the West Bank may have resulted from arbitrary and abusive force by Israeli forces against demonstrators, said Amnesty International.

    Ziad Abu Ein, who headed a committee that opposed the West Bank wall and Israeli settlements, died after a confrontation with Israeli forces in the village of Turmus'ayya. Photographs posted online showed Israeli forces grabbing his throat.

    “This appears to be a tragedy that could have been avoided. The Israeli forces have an abysmal track record when it comes to policing protests and have frequently resorted to the unnecessary or excessive use of force against protesters in the West Bank, resulting in numerous unlawful killings. And they continue to do so with impunity,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International. 

    Shortly before his death Ziad Abu Ein told news reporters the protest had been peaceful. "We came to plant trees on Palestinian land, and they launched into an attack on us from the first moment. Nobody threw a single stone," he said. 

    December 03, 2014

    Afghanistan’s foreign donors should press the Afghan government to prevent a further deterioration in the country’s human rights situation and support services crucial to rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. The groups issued a joint statement ahead of a major donors’ meeting on Afghanistan on December 3-4, 2014 in London. Despite the government’s important improvements in human rights, many serious abuses continue and pose a threat to the fragile gains of the past decade.

    Delegations from more than 70 countries will gather for the London Conference on Afghanistan, a follow-up to the July 2012 Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan. At that conference, both the Afghan government, then-headed by President Hamid Karzai, and international donors agreed on a “mutual accountability framework.” The London Conference will be the first such meeting under Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, and coincides with declining donor engagement in tandem with the end-2014 deadline for the withdrawal of the majority of foreign combat forces from Afghanistan.

    November 27, 2014

    Mexico must drop overblown charges and urgently release 11 demonstrators who have been unfairly held in two remote high-security prisons after protesting at the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, said Amnesty International ahead of a crucial hearing on the case on Saturday.

    The organization is also calling for an immediate investigation into allegations that the police officers beat and threatened the protesters while in detention.

    “The evidence against the 11 protesters is so thin that it is incredibly hard to understand why they are still in detention, let alone in high-security facilities and treated as ‘high value criminals’. Such acts raise the question of whether there is a deliberate attempt to discourage legitimate protests,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    November 27, 2014

    Released 27 November 2014 05:01 GMT

    Threats and killings coupled with the weak implementation of flawed legislation are scuppering the Colombian government’s promise to return millions of hectares of land illegally snatched from peasant farmers, Indigenous People and Afro-descendant communities, said Amnesty International today.

    In a new report A land title is not enough: Ensuring sustainable land restitution in Colombia, Amnesty International explores how the Victims and Land Restitution Law (Law 1448), implemented in 2012, is failing the vast majority of people whose lands were stolen. Many have been unable to return home due to ongoing threats of violence and the slowness of the restitution process. 

    “Colombia has one of the highest levels of forced displacement in the world and it is patently clear that the authorities are not doing enough to ensure that stolen lands are effectively returned to their rightful occupants,” said Marcelo Pollack, Colombia Researcher, Amnesty International.

    November 18, 2014

    Armed men who attacked worshippers at a synagogue in West Jerusalem killing four Israelis and injuring eight this morning have displayed an utter contempt for fundamental principles of humanity, said Amnesty International. 

    The killing is the deadliest attack on civilians to occur in Jerusalem in six years.

    “Nothing can ever justify such an abhorrent attack on worshippers in a synagogue. The deliberate killing of civilians must be utterly condemned,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    The attack was said to be carried out by cousins living in East Jerusalem. No group has yet claimed responsibility for carrying out the attack but both Hamas and the Palestinian armed group Islamic Jihad have praised it. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the attack.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to respond “with a heavy hand” to the attack in a worrying signal that violations against Palestinians in the West Bank, including house demolitions and other collective punishment, will worsen.

    November 10, 2014

    The announcement by Kuwait that tens of thousands of stateless people in the country known as the Bidun might be able to obtain “economic citizenship” of the Union of the Comoros, an impoverished archipelago off eastern Africa, is a shameless betrayal of Kuwait's international human rights obligations, said Amnesty International.

    “It is shocking that authorities in Kuwait would try to resolve the long-standing issue of the Biduns’ statelessness and discrimination by mass purchasing another country's 'economic citizenship',” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa programme.

    “Many Bidun currently living in Kuwait were born and raised in Kuwait. They are entitled to a fair, transparent and prompt adjudication of their applications for Kuwaiti citizenship.”

    According to the proposal, the Bidun would be allowed to remain in Kuwait as foreign nationals.

    November 06, 2014

    November 5, 2014

    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
    Prime Minister of Canada
    Office of the Prime Minister
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

    Re:  Visit to China

    Dear Prime Minister,

    We are a Coalition of Canadian organizations across the country concerned about human rights in China.   We are writing to urge that during your official visit to China over the coming days, in advance of next week’s APEC Leaders’ Meeting, you, and Ministers and other Canadian officials travelling with you, raise the issue of human rights during bilateral meetings with Chinese leaders and other events and opportunities.

    November 05, 2014

    Egypt’s defence of its human rights record lay in tatters today, Amnesty International said following the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) examination at the UN Human Rights Council today.

    The Egyptian delegation in Geneva rejected criticism from UN member states despite damning evidence of human rights violations collected by Amnesty International and others.

    “As expected, we saw a lot of posturing today from Egypt. The picture of the country the delegation provided was unrecognizable,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    “At best, they are completely disconnected from the scale of the human rights crisis engulfing the country. It was a pathetic attempt at a cover up.”  

    Leading Egyptian human rights organizations had earlier announced they were withdrawing from the UPR process altogether for fear of reprisals by the authorities.

    Many fear a sweeping crackdown will begin in five days’ time, when a government deadline for NGOs to register under the current Mubarak-era repressive Law on Associations expires.

    November 04, 2014

    Today’s conviction of three men following a brutal racist attack on a Roma woman and her nephew is a “first step towards justice”, said Amnesty International and Greek Helsinki Monitor - the NGO that provided free legal representation to the victims.

    A court in the town of Messolonghi today handed eight-month jail sentences – suspended for three years – to the three men over the attack on Paraskevi Kokoni and her nephew Kostas Theodoropoulos in October 2012.

    “These convictions are only the first step to justice. Equally important is that the court now recognizes the racist motive behind this crime,” said Giorgos Kosmopoulos, Amnesty International’s expert on Greece, who observed the trial.

    Paraskevi Kokoni and her nephew were punched, kicked and beaten with logs by a group of local men while they were out shopping in the town of Etoliko, western Greece.

    Paraskevi told Amnesty International that she was singled out as a relative of a local Roma leader.

    November 03, 2014

    Any failure of a court in Messolonghi, western Greece, to consider the racist motive in the brutal attack on a Romani woman and her nephew will be a failure of justice, Amnesty International said ahead of the opening of the trial, on 4 November, of three men accused of causing serious bodily harm during an attack two years ago.

    In October 2012, Paraskevi Kokoni, and her nephew Kostas, who has a learning disability, were beaten by a group of local men in a violent attack while they were out shopping in the town of Etoliko, western Greece. Her 11-year-old son could only look on as they were punched, kicked and beaten with logs. Paraskevi told Amnesty International that she was singled out as a relative of a local Roma leader. The attack took place amongst a series of vicious racist raids on Roma families in the same town between August 2012 and January 2013.

    October 31, 2014

    Authorities in Burkina Faso must rein in security forces that have used excessive force to crack down on peaceful anti-government protests, Amnesty International said today.

    According to Amnesty International’s information, at least three people have been killed in the protests and dozens of demonstrators have been injured by gunshot wounds since unrest erupted yesterday.

    “The use of excessive force to crack down on peaceful protesters is unacceptable and the transition authorities must act urgently to rein in security forces,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s Researcher for West Africa.

    “Any use of force in the policing of demonstrations, even when they may have turned violent, must comply with international law. It appears from these reports of deaths and injuries that the security forces have ignored these basic principles.”

    October 29, 2014

    Embargoed until 30 October 2014 00:01 GMT

    The fourth anniversary of the killing of an outspoken community leader in Maranhão state must be a wake-up call to the Brazilian government to urgently address increasing violence in the region, said Amnesty International today.

    Flaviano Pinto Neto, leader of the Charco community in north-east Brazil, was shot dead on 30 October 2010. In April 2011, four people were charged with the killing but have not yet been brought to trial.

    “This shocking case is emblematic of the serious injustices that befall human rights defenders in Brazil. By failing to investigate the death of Flaviano Pinto promptly, thoroughly and impartially, the Brazilian government is denying justice to his family and effectively giving the green-light for the murder of other activists,” said Renata Neder, Human Rights Advisor at Amnesty International Brazil.

    The state of Maranhão is plagued with land conflicts and violence against rural workers. This year alone, five community leaders have been killed in struggles over land.

    October 28, 2014

    The Gambian authorities must heed a warning from the international community about the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    This morning, 62 countries took the floor at the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva to urge Gambia to promote and protect human rights. Concerns voiced by UN member states included Gambia’s unjustified restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and its renewed use of the death penalty.

    “UN member states have sent a clear message to Gambia that the government must end its rule of fear and repression,” said Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s regional deputy director for West and Central Africa.

    “Gambia’s muzzling of dissent has had a devastating and chilling effect on human rights defenders, journalists and political activists, who have been persistently brutally targeted solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Today UN member states have said to Gambia: enough is enough.”

    October 27, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 28 October 2014

    Thousands of members of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, are being ruthlessly targeted by the state based solely on their perceived opposition to the government, said Amnesty International in a new report released today.

    “Because I am Oromo” – Sweeping repression in the Oromia region of Ethiopia exposes how Oromos have been regularly subjected to arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention without charge, enforced disappearance, repeated torture and unlawful state killings as part of the government’s incessant attempts to crush dissent.

    “The Ethiopian government’s relentless crackdown on real or imagined dissent among the Oromo is sweeping in its scale and often shocking in its brutality,” said Claire Beston, Amnesty International’s Ethiopia researcher.

    “This is apparently intended to warn, control or silence all signs of ‘political disobedience’ in the region.”

    October 24, 2014

    Equatorial Guinea’s government should reveal the names and the reasons for the arrest of all prisoners set to benefit from the country’s newly announced amnesty on political crimes, Amnesty International said today.

    President Obiang Nguema signed a decree this week granting an amnesty to all individuals convicted or facing trial for political offences in the country. However, it does not clearly define “political crimes”, nor clarify how many people will benefit from the amnesty.

    ‘‘This decree would be an encouraging step for human rights in Equatorial Guinea if it leads to the release of people imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights, but the authorities must be transparent about the details,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

    “The government must ensure that these prisoners are released immediately and that their families and others are kept informed of all developments.”

    October 24, 2014

    Following the initial protests in Ferguson, Missouri sparked by the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, Amnesty International USA dispatched a human rights delegation which included observers to monitor the protests and police response. Today, the human rights organization has released a new report, “On the Streets of America: Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson,” documenting the human rights concerns witnessed first-hand by Amnesty International while in Ferguson from August 14-22, 2014. The report also outlines a series of recommendations that need to be implemented with regards to the use of force by law enforcement officers and the policing of protests.

    This weekend, human rights activists are gathering in St. Louis for Amnesty International USA’s 2014 Midwest Regional Conference.

    October 17, 2014

    Testimonies gathered by Amnesty International indicate that Egyptian security forces used excessive force to crack down on student demonstrations at Alexandria University this week, injuring at least 35 students and leaving three other students in a critical condition. Two security officers were injured during the clashes according to official figures.

    Students interviewed by Amnesty International described how protests that started peacefully on university grounds later descended into violence. Security forces stationed outside the university’s main gate fired tear gas and shotgun pellets at a crowd of students, some of whom hurled ‘hmarich’ (fireworks), Molotov cocktails and stones. It is not clear how the clashes began but as they intensified, security forces broke down the main gate storming the university premises, chasing students and continuing to fire at them.

    October 15, 2014

    Hong Kong police officers involved in the beating and kicking of a detained pro-democracy protester on Wednesday must face justice, Amnesty International said.

    Local TV news footage shows social worker Ken Tsang Kin Chiu being taken away by six police officers in the early hours of Wednesday, his hands tied behind his back.  The police officers then appear to carry Tsang around a corner and put him on the ground. The publicly available video shows that some officers proceed repeatedly to kick and punch Tsang, who is seen curled-up in a ball, while other police officers stood by.

    Amnesty International spoke to a lawyer assisting Tsang who confirmed the details of the attack, and that the victim was taken by police to a local hospital to receive medical treatment. Police have since said they will conduct an investigation into the incident.

    “This appears to be a vicious attack against a detained man who posed no threat to the police. Any investigation into this incident must be carried out promptly and all individuals involved in unlawful acts must be prosecuted,” said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.

    October 08, 2014

    The Turkish government must act to stop the spiraling violence which continues to rock the predominantly Kurdish south-east of Turkey where 19 people were killed and many injured during protests prompted by the advances of the armed group that calls itself the Islamic State towards Syria’s border with Turkey.

    “It is essential that the Turkish authorities act now to calm tensions with firm but rights-respecting policing and a commitment to investigate promptly the up to 19 deaths and scores of injuries of protesters,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey.

    “Any use of force by the security forces must be strictly in line with international human rights standards, in particular the principles of necessity and proportionality.”

    Protests were sparked by the IS (Islamic State armed group) attack on the city of Kobani/Ayn Al-Arab in Syria, which is held by the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG). Kobani has been held by the YPG since July 2012. It has been under siege and assault by the IS since July 2013, and has come under renewed and more sustained attack since September 2014.

    October 07, 2014

    The death of former Haitian ruler Jean-Claude Duvalier must not halt the investigations and prosecutions owed to thousands of people killed, tortured, arbitrarily arrested and disappeared under his regime, said Amnesty International today.

    “The death of Jean-Claude Duvalier must not be used to brush away the crimes committed under his regime. An entire network of volunteer militia and state authorities are also suspected of perpetrating human rights violations under Duvalier's command. These people too must be investigated and, if there is sufficient admissible evidence, prosecuted in fair trials,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “This is not the final chapter in this horrific episode of Haiti’s recent history. Instead it should be a reminder that there are thousands of victims who still deserve justice, truth and reparation for the human rights violations they suffered.”

    October 06, 2014

    Posted at 0001 BST  7 October 2014

    Sri Lanka must stop making empty promises to the international community and the Sri Lankan people on improving the country’s still desperate human rights situation, Amnesty International said ahead of a UN review of the country’s rights record.

    The UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, will on 7 and 8 October 2014 be reviewing Sri Lanka’s respect for rights enshrined in the key human rights treaty: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This is the first such assessment since 2003.

    Federal authorities must launch a full and thorough investigations into the disappearances for 43 missing students in Iguala, Mexico as doubts persist that the bodies found in a mass grave belong to the missing students, said Amnesty International today. 

    “The search for these missing students must continue in earnest. This horrific crime has shocked the world and the truth must come out. The coming days provide a vital window to establish what really went on and these sensitive investigations must be performed by those at the highest, federal level, including with the support of international forensic experts already assisting investigators,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director, Amnesty International.

    "Now is the time for President Enrique Peña Nieto to step up and ensure rapid and thorough investigation into these abuses to get to the bottom of what has happened to these victims. It is imperative that Mexico’s promises to respect human rights are not just government platitudes behind which a host of abuses can be committed with impunity.” 

    October 03, 2014

    Hong Kong’s police failed in their duty to protect hundreds of peaceful pro-democracy protesters from attacks by counter demonstrators on Friday evening, Amnesty International said.

    Women and girls were among those targeted, including incidents of sexual assault, harassment and intimidation, as counter-demonstrators clashed with pro-democracy protesters in the Mongkok and Causeway Bay areas of Hong Kong on Friday evening.

    "The police inaction tonight is shameful. The authorities have failed in their duty to protect peaceful protesters who came under attack," said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.

    "There has been a heavy police presence during the past week, but their failure tonight risks fuelling an increasingly volatile situation."

    Amnesty International has first-hand witness accounts of women being physically attacked and threatened, while police stood by and did nothing.

    October 01, 2014

    Ukrainian and rebel forces must immediately end indiscriminate attacks in residential areas, Amnesty International said today after at least nine civilians were killed in strikes on a school and a bus in Donetsk.

    The latest attacks, which took place in the Kievskiy district of the city, came as Amnesty International documented a pattern of indiscriminate shelling and rocket attacks in the area by Ukrainian forces in the past 10 days.

    “Ukrainian government forces must immediately stop firing on residential areas in Donetsk,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director.

    “Ukrainian and rebel forces are violating international humanitarian law by endangering civilians with indiscriminate attacks, despite the fact that attacks may only be directed against combatants.

    “These attacks are unlawful because Ukrainian forces are using weapons in populated areas that cannot be targeted with sufficient accuracy to distinguish between civilian objects and military objectives.”

    September 25, 2014

    Amnesty International today welcomed the European Commission’s announcement that it would use its powers to initiate infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic for breaching European Union (EU) anti-discrimination legislation.

    “For years, Amnesty International has documented systemic discrimination against Roma children in Czech schools. Yet the Czech government has so far failed to take effective measures to prevent, address and remedy this,” said Nicolas J. Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.

    “In agreeing to launch infringement proceedings, the Commission has sent a clear message to the Czech Republic and other member states - systemic discrimination towards Roma cannot and will not be tolerated.”

    The pre-litigation mechanism enables the Commission to hold the Czech government accountable for, and publicly and politically put pressure on it to end, the ongoing, systemic and unlawful practice of discrimination against Romani children in Czech schools.

    September 19, 2014

    A Thai court’s decision to uphold a 10-year prison sentence given to an editor and social activist for allegedly insulting the royal family continues the relentless erosion of free speech in the country, Amnesty International said.

    The Appeals Court upheld the sentence against Somyot Prueksakasemsuk for publishing two articles about a fictional monarch that allegedly defamed the Thai monarchy. He did not write the articles in question.

    “This is another regressive decision by the Thai courts – Somyot has been imprisoned for nothing other than peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. He should never have been prosecuted and must be released immediately,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

    Somyot, who turns 53 tomorrow, has been detained since 30 April 2011, and the authorities have turned down his request for bail and temporary release 15 times. His lawyers and relatives were not notified of this morning’s Appeals Court hearing.

    August 20, 2014

    Posted at 0001 BST 21 August 2014

    Children accused of being members of armed groups in the conflict in Mali are languishing in adult jails while human rights abuses continue, said Amnesty International in a short briefing published today.

    Mali: All parties to the conflict must put an end to ongoing human rights violations presents the findings of a research mission to assess the human rights situation in the country.

    “Children have suffered throughout this conflict. A number of them as young as 16 have been recruited as child soldiers and those accused of being members of armed groups are being detained alongside adults without access to family or legal counsel,” said Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s West Africa researcher.  

    August 19, 2014

    The resumption of Israeli air strikes and rocket fire from Gaza underscores the imperative need to grant human rights groups immediate access to monitor the situation, said Amnesty International today.

    Since the beginning of Israel’s military operation on 8 July 2014 in Gaza, Israeli authorities have denied repeated requests by Amnesty International to enter Gaza via the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing. The organization also requested access from Egyptian authorities, who so far have not granted it.

    “The apparent resumption of Israeli airstrikes and rocket fire today is another reminder that our access to the Gaza Strip cannot wait. Valuable time has already been lost and it is essential that human rights organizations are now able to begin the vital job of examining allegations of war crimes,” said Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Crisis Response.

    “The Israeli authorities appear to have been playing bureaucratic games with us over access to Gaza, conditioning it on entirely unreasonable criteria even as the death toll in the region has risen.”

    August 15, 2014

    Posted at 0001 BST 16 August 2014

    On the second anniversary of the catastrophic events in Marikana, justice for the victims and full accountability are still urgently needed, Amnesty International said today. All those involved in the unlawful decision to use lethal force must be held fully accountable and the disturbing pattern of obstruction of the investigations into the deaths must stop.

    Amnesty International believe that the police, acting on an unlawful decision, used unjustified lethal force against the miners, leaving 34 dead and more than 70 others injured. The police, possibly in collusion with others, also concealed and falsified evidence and attempted to mislead the judicial Commission of Inquiry into the deaths.

    “Two years after the Marikana shootings, the need for full co-operation with the inquiry and accountability for both the unlawful killings and the cover-up of these crimes is as urgent as ever,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    August 14, 2014

    Posted at 0001 BST 15 August 2014

    The number of killings perpetrated by the police is on the rise again in the Dominican Republic whilst legislation intended to fix the problem stalls and stagnates in Congress, said Amnesty International today. 

    The past six months have seen the number of people killed by the police rise by 13% compared with the year before, with 87 people dead between January and June this year, according to figures released by the National Observatory on Citizen Security (Observatorio de Seguridad ciudadana). 

    “Fourteen people a month are dying at the hands of the police in the Dominican Republic. Many of these killings seem to have been unlawful. Clearly the government needs to push harder for concrete action to stop these abuses once and for all,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Director. 

    “It’s a tragic state of affairs when the police, the very people tasked with protecting the human rights of citizens, are the ones committing such terrible crimes, further endangering public security in the country.” 

    August 14, 2014

    In addition to a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into allegations that police shot dead an unarmed teenager in Missouri, an investigation into the use of heavy-handed tactics to disperse a wave of protests in the wake of the shooting must be launched without delay, Amnesty International said.

    “What is now urgently needed are thorough investigations, not further inflammation, of the incredibly tense situation in the aftermath of Michael Brown being shot dead,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Any police officer suspected of having committed unlawful acts must be held to account through effective investigation and, where warranted, prosecution.

    “Using excessive force to quell protests is unacceptable. Police in Ferguson must conform to the US Constitution and international standards on the use of force and firearms. Residents must be allowed to peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression and journalists must not be prevented from carrying out their work.”

    August 14, 2014

    The Southern African Development Community (SADC) should address human rights violations among its member states as part of measures to improve the lives of its people, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today.

    As the 15 member states of SADC prepare to meet for the 34th Summit of Heads of State and Government in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe on August 17 and 18, 2014, the three human rights organizations drew attention to serious human rights concerns in Angola, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe will take over as chair of the regional body at the meeting.

    “SADC’s commitment to human rights will come into question if Zimbabwe, as chair of the regional body, does not expedite the process of aligning its laws with the constitution and state institutions do not live up to the regional and international best practices,” said Dzimbabwe Chimbga, Projects Manager, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

    August 12, 2014
    Displaced Iraqis from the Yezidi community cross the Iraqi-Syrian border along the Fishkhabur bridge in northern Iraq.© AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

    The international community must urgently mount a concerted humanitarian response to assist hundreds of thousands of people across northern Iraq fleeing ethnic cleansing by the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS or IS), Amnesty International said today.

    “Those trapped on Sinjar Mountain make up a tiny percentage of the hundreds of thousands from minority communities displaced by the conflict, now stranded in dire conditions,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, speaking from northern Iraq.

    “These people cannot go home as long as ISIS controls their towns and villages. They need help now.”

    August 07, 2014

    Panic has taken hold in north-western Iraq as tens of thousands of people flee areas where Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants are continuing their advance, Amnesty International said.

    “The situation for Iraqis in the north-west of the country, especially those from the Yezidi and Christian minority communities, is becoming increasingly dire as both residents and many of those already displaced are now fleeing their homes and places of shelter,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, who is currently in northern Iraq.

    Thousands of residents of the Christian city of Qaraqosh fled after ISIS arrived overnight, while others told Amnesty International that they were trapped in the town and unable to leave.

    Donatella Rovera said: “I met a man yesterday in al-Qosh, a Christian town, who for weeks has been working hard to provide shelter and assistance to displaced people – Christians, Yezidis and other minorities who had fled their homes in the recent days and weeks amid ISIS assaults. 

    August 06, 2014

    Following the resignation of the Prime Minister and his cabinet, Amnesty International has called on the relevant Central African Republic (CAR) authorities, including Transitional President Catherine Samba-Panza, to ensure that those suspected of involvement in crimes under international law are not given a seat in government.

    These individuals must instead be brought to justice in fair trials with no recourse to the death penalty.

    “CAR transitional authorities must ensure that the changes in the make-up of the government do not result in a situation where new cabinet members use their position to commit further violations or prevent effective investigations against themselves or their allies,” said Christian Mukosa, Amnesty International’s CAR Researcher.

    Amnesty International has received credible information that persons suspected of serious human rights abuses are seeking positions within the new government.

    August 04, 2014

    Posted at 0001 GMT 5 August 2014

    Gruesome video footage, images and testimonies gathered by Amnesty International provide fresh evidence of extrajudicial executions and other serious human rights violations being carried out in north-eastern Nigeria as the fight by the military against Boko Haram and other armed groups intensifies.

    The footage, obtained from numerous sources during a recent trip to Borno state, reveals graphic evidence of multiple war crimes being carried out in Nigeria.

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    July 22, 2014

    Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo must deliver on campaign promises to improve Indonesia’s dire human rights situation, Amnesty International said.

    Widodo, who today was confirmed as winner of the 9 July presidential elections, has pledged to champion human rights during his time in the office – including addressing serious past human rights abuses, protecting freedom of religion, reforming the police and opening up access to Papua for international observers.

    “It’s encouraging that President Widodo has talked about his commitment to human rights during his election campaign - now he must deliver,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director.

    “The new government has the opportunity to turn a page to an era when human rights are genuinely respected in Indonesia. Widodo’s victory will have raised the hopes of many brave human rights activists and victims who have struggled against impunity for years – those hopes must not be dashed.”

    July 21, 2014

    Amnesty International called on delegates to the CAR National Reconciliation talks due to take place in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo on 21-23 July to ensure that their discussions do not lead to impunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations that have been committed in the Central African Republic (CAR). Those suspected of involvement in crimes under international law must not be allowed to use this forum to perpetuate the culture of impunity in the country.

    It is understood that a number of people, including anti-balaka and Séléka leaders, have been invited to take part in the CAR National Reconciliation talks. Amnesty International has received credible evidence against a number of these leaders that they have been involved in crimes under international law.  

    July 15, 2014

    The government’s continued failure to properly investigate crimes committed during the 2007-2008 post-election violence and to provide justice and reparation for its victims is having a devastating impact on their lives and livelihoods, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    ‘Crying for justice: Victims’ perspectives on justice for the post-election violence in Kenya’, provides powerful evidence of the ongoing suffering of Kenyans caught up in the violence which claimed 1,100 lives, displaced 660,000 and left thousands with long term injuries.

    “Six years after post-election violence rocked Kenya, the victims are still awaiting justice. It is vital that their voices are heard and urgent action is taken,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, in Nairobi to launch the report.

    “Many of the displaced have yet to be resettled or compensated, many of the injured or the families of those killed have yet to receive reparation to help rebuild their shattered lives and most of the perpetrators have yet to face justice.”

    July 11, 2014
    A member of the Palestinian Abu Lealla family examines the damage to his destroyed house following an Israeli airstrike north of Gaza City on, 11 July 2014.© EPA/MOHAMMED SABER

    Amnesty International is calling for a UN-mandated international investigation into violations committed on all sides amidst ongoing Israeli air strikes across the Gaza Strip and continuing volleys of indiscriminate rocket fire from Palestinian armed groups into Israel.

    Since Israel launched Operation “Protective Edge” in the early morning of 8 July, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip, most of them civilians who were not directly participating in hostilities. This includes at least 24 children and 16 women as of Friday morning. More than 600 people have been wounded, many of them seriously. More than 340 homes in Gaza have been completely destroyed or left uninhabitable and at least five health facilities and three ambulances have been damaged. In Israel, at least 20 people have been wounded by rocket attacks and property has been damaged.

    July 10, 2014

    The Ethiopian authorities must halt their continuing onslaught on dissent, Amnesty International said today, after the arrest of four more opposition party members this week, who are believed to be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

    All four were arrested on 8 July in the capital Addis Ababa and the northern city of Mekele on “terror” accusations: a charge commonly used as a pretext to put dissenters behind bars in Ethiopia.

    “These latest detentions add to Ethiopia’s ever-increasing number of journalists, opposition members, activists and other dissenting voices locked up for alleged ‘terrorism’ offences,” said Claire Beston, Amnesty International’s Ethiopia Researcher.

    July 08, 2014

    Amnesty International is calling on the Israeli authorities and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, including the military wing of Hamas, to ensure that civilian lives are protected as the conflict between the two sides escalates. 

    “All sides to the conflict have an absolute obligation under international humanitarian law to protect the lives of civilians caught up in the intensifying hostilities,” said Philip Luther, Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    “Amnesty International urges the Israeli military and Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas’ military wing and those overseeing it, to fully respect the laws of war. Israel must only carry out strikes on legitimate military targets and exercise the utmost caution in the means and methods of attack to minimize the risk to civilians and damage to civilian homes and infrastructure. Carrying out indiscriminate air strikes in densely populated areas or direct attacks on civilian homes will inevitably lead to the loss of civilian lives, in violation of international humanitarian law.”

    July 01, 2014

    The murder of three abducted Israeli teens deserves justice, something ill-served by the Israeli authorities’ actions overnight and their ongoing practices that amount to collective punishment of Palestinians in the West Bank, which are blatant violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, Amnesty International said.

    On 30 June, the bodies of three Israeli teens abducted on 12 June were found north of the city of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The Israeli authorities have vowed revenge against the Palestinian armed group Hamas, alleging that it was behind the abduction.

    “Nothing can justify these abductions and murders, which we again condemn. Those responsible must be brought to justice,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    June 18, 2014

    The secret trial of a prominent Uighur scholar on charges of “separatism” makes a mockery of China’s claims to be a country based on the rule of law, Amnesty International said.

    Prominent Uighur scholar, Ilham Tohti, who was arrested in January 2013, has reportedly been secretly tried by a court of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps – a semi-military organization - according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP). If convicted he faces anything from 10 years to life in prison, or even the death penalty.

    “If these reports about a ‘secret trial’ prove to be true, this will truly be another dent in China’s facade of being a country based on the rule of law. Tohti has been held incommunicado for the past six months with no access to lawyers in clear breach of international human rights law,” said William Nee, Amnesty International’s China Researcher.

    June 18, 2014

    Amnesty International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of three Israeli teenagers abducted in the occupied West Bank on the evening of 12 June 2014. Additionally, Amnesty International calls on the Israeli authorities to cease all measures amounting to collective punishment which have been imposed on the Palestinian population in the West Bank and elsewhere since the abduction.

    Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Sha’er, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, all students at yeshivas (religious schools) in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, were last seen late on 12 June in the settlement bloc of Gush Etzion, between the cities of Bethlehem and Hebron in the southern West Bank. One of the three reportedly called the Israeli police at about 10:25pm on 12 June and said, “We’ve been kidnapped,” before all contact was lost with the teenagers.

    June 17, 2014

    Sri Lankan authorities must act immediately to end anti-Muslim violence in the country, and to rein in groups that violently target religious minorities, Amnesty International said.

    At least four people have been reported killed and scores injured in the southern coastal towns of Aluthgama and Beruwala since an anti-Muslim riot broke out following a rally organized by the hard-line Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) on Sunday. Violent incidents have also been reported in other towns since Sunday.

    “This is the worst outbreak of communal violence in Sri Lanka in years and there is a real risk of it spreading further. The government must do everything in its power to end it immediately, while respecting the human rights of all concerned. Those responsible for killings and other acts of violence must be held to account, and at-risk Muslim communities given the protection they need,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    June 17, 2014

    Libyan armed forces and armed groups, including militias, must immediately stop the reckless shelling of residential areas, endangering the lives of Benghazi residents, Amnesty International said following a renewed round of heavy fighting in the eastern city.

    At least five residents, including a boy aged 11, were killed when forces affiliated with retired General Khalifa Haftar clashed with Ansar al-Sharia and other Islamist groups. Three foreign workers were also injured.

    In a month of fighting, Amnesty International has documented a number of incidents, where shelling has resulted in deaths and injuries of ordinary residents and medical personnel and caused damage to homes, crops and medical facilities. Hundreds were forced to flee their homes because of the fighting.  

    “While both sides may be intending to attack what they consider to be military objectives, ordinary residents increasingly are bearing the brunt of attacks with weapons that lack precision,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    June 13, 2014

    Greek cleaning workers told Amnesty International they were left beaten and bruised by riot police after they tried to protest peacefully against mass redundancies in central Athens yesterday evening.

    The protesters included cleaning staff – mostly women aged between 45 and 60 - who lost their jobs at the Ministry of Finance during the last round of austerity measures by the Greek government.

    Evangelia Alexaki, a 57-year-old protester who was among the 397 staff laid off, said police hit the women with their shields and kicked them.

    “We only had a banner and a loudspeaker; we are now covered in bruises. We could have been their mothers,’’ she told Amnesty International.

    Another protester, 52-year-old cleaner Despoina Kostopoulou, was taken to hospital along with two other women and a man. She said the trio had been “severely beaten” by the police.

    June 11, 2014

    Civilians caught up in fighting in the Iraqi city of Mosul must be protected at all costs and allowed to safely leave the conflict zone, Amnesty International said after an estimated 500,000 people were forced to flee their homes in the area.

    "The takeover of Mosul by armed opposition groups is a deeply concerning development with grave consequences for human rights in Iraq,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Program Director.

    “Both sides in the conflict must ensure that civilians do not bear the brunt of the violence as they battle for control of the city.”

    The Iraqi authorities announced yesterday that its security forces had lost control of Mosul, the country’s second largest city, to armed opposition groups belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) following armed clashes over the weekend.

    The recent violence has already forced about half a million people to flee Mosul and its surroundings to neighbouring areas, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) figures issued on 10 June.

    June 10, 2014

    (Beirut) – President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi takes office in Egypt in the midst of a human rights crisis as dire as in any period in the country’s modern history, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. The new president should make addressing Egypt’s dismal human rights record a top priority.

    In the period since the July 3, 2013 ousting of President Mohamed Morsy, Egyptian security forces have used excessive force on numerous occasions, leading to the worst incident of mass unlawful killings in Egypt’s recent history. Judicial authorities have handed down unprecedented large-scale death sentences and security forces have carried out mass arrests and torture that harken back to the darkest days of former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

    June 09, 2014

    The historic declaration agreed between the Colombian government and the country’s main guerrilla group, FARC, will not contribute to a lasting peace unless those responsible for human rights abuses, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, are brought to justice, said Amnesty International.

    The 10 principles on victims’ rights contains no commitment to bring to justice those who displaced, tortured, killed, abducted, disappeared or raped millions of Colombians over the past five decades.

    “The fact that the government and the FARC have made a commitment to place victims’ rights at the centre of the peace talks is a great step forward. However, the devil is in the detail. Any agreement that fails to ensure those suspected of criminal responsibility for abuses face the courts will be incomplete and fragile,” said Marcelo Pollack, Colombia researcher at Amnesty International.

    June 04, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs (Rio de Janeiro) 5 June 2014

    Protesters taking to the streets across Brazil during the upcoming World Cup risk facing indiscriminate police and military violence as the country steps up efforts to control demonstrations, Amnesty International said a week before the start of the tournament.

    “Brazil’s deficient policing record, reliance on the military to police demonstrations, lack of training and an atmosphere of impunity creates a dangerous cocktail in which the only losers are peaceful protesters,” said Atila Roque, Director at Amnesty International Brazil.

    “The 2014 World Cup will be a crucial test for authorities in Brazil. They must use this opportunity to step up their game and ensure the security forces policing demonstrations during the tournament refrain from committing any more human rights violations,” said Atila Roque.

    Amnesty International’s report ‘They use a strategy of fear’: Protecting the right to protest in Brazil analyses the catalogue of abuses committed by the security forces in the past year.

    May 23, 2014

    Crimean Tatars face an uncertain future in the annexed peninsula, said Amnesty International today, ahead of presidential elections in Ukraine in which they and other residents of Crimea will no longer be able to take part.

     “Despite assurances made by the de facto Crimean authorities to protect the rights of Tatars, since the annexation of the peninsula by Russia in March this year, the Tatar community has faced increasing violence and discrimination,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director.

    “The Russian authorities have allowed armed groups that have been behind some brutal attacks against the Tatars to operate freely in Crimea. They have alienated Crimean Tatars by harassing Tatar leaders, threatening to dissolve their highest representative body, and restricting their rights to freedom of assembly and expression.

    “Up to 7,000 Tatars have fled Crimea already. Those who have stayed face the unenviable choice of having to give up their Ukrainian citizenship and accept a Russian one or become ‘foreigners’ in their homeland.”

    May 23, 2014

    The interim president of the Central African Republic (CAR), Catherine Samba-Panza, must ensure that changes in the makeup of the government do not result in a situation where people suspected of crimes under international law may use government roles to enjoy impunity, said Amnesty International today.

    The organization is also calling on president Samba-Panza to guarantee that those suspected of involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights abuses are investigated and held to account in fair trials.

    “Amnesty International considers that individuals reasonably suspected of having committed crimes under international law or human rights abuses should not be allowed to hold positions of authority where they could repeat their crimes or abuses,” said Christian Mukosa, Amnesty International’s Central Africa researcher.

    May 20, 2014

    Authorities in Thailand must ensure that human rights are protected and respected, following the imposition of Martial Law today, which grants the army sweeping powers and imposes tight restrictions on key human rights and has already led to several media outlets being taken off air, Amnesty International said.

    “The declaration of Martial Law decree must not be a blueprint for human rights violations. It is crucial that the military shows the utmost restraint and fully respects Thailand’s obligations under international human rights law,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Director.

    Martial Law, which was unilaterally declared by the Thai army today, suspends or restricts a number of human rights.

    The military now has powers to detain people without a warrant for up to one week, to seize property, and to search people or property without a court order. It also provides the military with impunity from claims for compensation.

    May 20, 2014

    The Moroccan authorities’ use of an anti-terrorism law to prosecute and imprison journalists is a serious blow to freedom of expression and editorial independence, Amnesty International said today, as it highlighted the cases of two men recently targeted under the law.

    Yesterday, authorities further postponed today’s hearing of journalist Ali Anouzla, who risks up to 20 years’ imprisonment for reporting on a video by the armed group al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Meanwhile another Moroccan journalist, Mustapha El Hasnaoui is on his fifth day of hunger strike in protest at his ongoing three-year prison term on terrorism charges for alleged contact with individuals fighting government forces in Syria.

    “Using anti-terrorism legislation as a pretext to punish journalists for their reporting is dealing a serious blow to freedom of expression in Morocco,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    May 15, 2014

    Israeli forces have displayed continuing recklessness in their use of force against Palestinian protesters when they killed a young man and a teenager, and injured others, during a crackdown on demonstrations to commemorate the Nakba in the occupied West Bank today, said Amnesty International.

    The killings occurred in a demonstration outside Ofer military camp. As well as commemorating the Nakba (the dispossession of Palestinians in 1948), the demonstrators were expressing solidarity with around 125 Palestinian detainees who are being held by Israel without charge and have been on hunger strike for 22 days to protest their detention conditions.

    The Israeli army and border police used excessive, including lethal, force in response to rock-throwing protesters who could not have posed a threat to the lives of the soldiers and policemen in or near the fortified military camp.

    May 15, 2014

    Posted at 0001 BST 15 May 2014

    Political prisoners and prisoners of conscience at Section 350 of Iran’s Evin prison were subjected to assault, beatings and other ill-treatment, with some of those injured denied access to adequate medical care, according to a new briefing published by Amnesty International about the events of 17 April, which has become known as “Black Thursday” by local activists.

    The briefing, “Justice is an Alien Word”: Ill-treatment of political prisoners in Evin prison, tells how dozens of prisoners were met with unwarranted use of force by security officials after they demanded to be present during a monthly search of their cells. Prisoners were blindfolded and handcuffed before being shoved through a ‘tunnel’ formed of security officials carrying batons, who repeatedly struck them on their backs, heads and faces.

    May 07, 2014

    The Chinese authorities must immediately release all those detained for trying to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, Amnesty International said, following a spate of detentions in the past week.

    At least five prominent activists have been detained in Beijing, while several others have been questioned by police, as the authorities attempt to supress critics ahead of the 25th anniversary on 4 June.  

    “These latest detentions show how far the authorities are prepared to go to silence those that seek to remember the 1989 crackdown,” said Anu Kultalahti, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “Twenty-five years on the authorities have once again chosen the path of repression rather than accept the need for an open discussion about what happened in 1989.” said Kultalahti.

    On Tuesday, Pu Zhiqiang, a prominent human rights lawyer, was criminally detained on suspicion of “picking quarrels”, after he attended a weekend seminar in Beijing that called for an investigation into the 4 June crackdown.

    April 29, 2014

    Failure of the Iraqi authorities to tackle an alarming spike in violence is exposing voters who wish to cast their ballots in the country’s parliamentary elections on 30 April to high risk of attack, said Amnesty International.

    In the latest attack on Friday, at least 31 people were killed and several more injured after a series of blasts targeted a political party’s election rally in Baghdad. These are the third parliamentary elections to be held since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but will be the first since the withdrawal of US troops in 2011.

    “Iraq has been plagued by spiraling violence over the past year resulting in the highest numbers of casualties in years,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    “People should be able vote without fear of being deliberately targeted. It is the Iraqi authorities’ duty to ensure that people are able to participate in elections free from attacks by armed groups, intimidation by the security forces and any actions which will interfere with exercising their constitutional right to vote.”

    April 29, 2014

    President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s decade in office has been marked by only patchy progress on human rights and Indonesia’s next leader must urgently tackle ongoing violations and repeal repressive and discriminatory laws, Amnesty International said today in a human rights agenda for Indonesia’s presidential candidates.

    With campaigning under way for Indonesia’s presidential election on 9 July 2014, the agenda covers eight key human rights issues that the new administration should tackle.

    “It is disappointing that during the campaigning period the candidates have so far mostly ignored human rights. Indonesia has come a long way over the past decade, but there are still serious challenges remaining that the candidates should address,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    There have been some human rights improvements during President Yudhoyono’s administration (2004-2014), including the introduction of new human rights regulations for policing as well as legal reforms strengthening witness protection.

    April 28, 2014

    The Mexican Congress must pass a reform of the Code of Military Justice that would see military personnel implicated in human rights violations against civilians face investigation and trial in the civilian justice system, Amnesty International said today.

    The proposed reform, approved last week by the Senate is due to be debated and voted this week by the Chamber of Deputies, just before the current legislative session ends.

    “The reform of the Code of Military Justice would be an historic move. The lack of independence and impartiality of the military justice system has ensured impunity until now, preventing justice for the victims of human rights violations committed by the Mexican military,” said Rupert Knox, Amnesty International’s researcher on Mexico.

    Over the years, Armed Forces personnel suspected of involvement in ill-treatment and torture, unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations, have routinely escaped justice.

    April 24, 2014

    All Ukrainian law enforcement and military officials engaged in an operation to restore security in eastern Ukraine must adhere to international standards on the use of force and firearms, Amnesty International urged today.

    The call comes after Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs posted a statement today saying that three checkpoints had been taken and five “terrorists were destroyed” by Ukrainian security forces attempting to regain control of Slovyansk, Donetsk region, from a pro-Russian armed group that has seized control.

    “International standards on the use of force and firearms are clear – law enforcement officials should resort to the use of firearms only in defence against an imminent threat of death or serious injury. They should apply other non-violent means before resorting to the use of force, and the use of firearms must always be the last resort. When the use of force and firearms is unavoidable they must exercise restraint and take steps to minimize damage and injury and preserve life,” said Heather McGill, Ukraine Researcher at Amnesty International.

    April 04, 2014

    Egypt must overturn the convictions of three government critics sentenced to three years in jail for taking part in an “unauthorized” protest and immediately and unconditionally release them, Amnesty International said ahead of the prisoners’ appeal verdict.

    Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, both activists with the 6 April Youth Movement, and well-known blogger Ahmed Douma are the first Egyptians to be given jail terms for defying the country’s repressive protest law, adopted in November last year.

    The appeal court is expected to issue its final verdict on the activists’ three-year sentence on Monday.

    “Jailing government critics on trumped-up charges or for breaching the repressive protest law is part of the authorities’ ploy to silence dissenting voices and tighten their grip on the country,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Amnesty International.

    April 03, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 4 April 2014

    The modest human rights gains made over the past 12 years in Afghanistan are increasingly under threat with a resurgence of violence and women’s rights being degraded again, Amnesty International said today in an assessment of the rights record of President Hamid Karzai’s administration.

    Ahead of the presidential elections on 5 April, Amnesty International has published a scorecard that assesses the government’s performance on six key human rights issues since Karzai first assumed power in 2001.

    “Afghans will head to the polls on Saturday with the threat of violence hanging over them, but have shown they will not be intimidated. The Taliban’s promises to kill voters and election workers are beneath contempt – the authorities must make sure that polling stations and voters receive the protection they need,” said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher.

    April 01, 2014
    So far 37 people have lost their lives and more than 550 have been injured in Venezuela since protest started in early February.© Carlos Becerra

    Venezuela risks one of the worst threats to the rule of law in decades if the different political forces do not commit to fully respecting human rights, according to a new Amnesty International report on the current crisis in the country.
     
    The report, Venezuela: Human Rights at risk amid protests, documents allegations of human rights violations and abuses committed in the context of the massive public demonstrations since early February.
     
    “The country runs the risk of descending into a spiral of violence unless steps are taken to bring the conflicting parties around the table. This can only happen if both sides fully respect human rights and the rule of law. Unless this happens, the death toll will continue to rise with ordinary people bearing the brunt,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
     

    March 28, 2014

    President Barack Obama must break the US administration’s silence on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record by taking a strong public stand against the systematic violations in the Kingdom during his visit there this week, said Amnesty International.

    The US president is due to arrive in Saudi Arabia today. His visit coincides with a local campaign calling for an end to the driving ban for women in the Kingdom. Amnesty International is asking President Obama to express his dismay at the discrimination against women by appointing a woman as his official driver during the visit.

    “It is crucial that President Obama sends a strong message to the government of Saudi Arabia that its gross human rights violations and systematic discrimination are unacceptable. A failure to do so would undermine the human rights principles the USA purports to stand for,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    March 26, 2014

    The Chinese authorities must immediately let the family of deceased activist Cao Shunli see her body, said Amnesty International, as fears grow the authorities will cremate Cao to destroy any evidence of her mistreatment in detention.

    Cao’s brother, Cao Yunli, and the family’s lawyer, Wang Yu were prevented from seeing her body when they visited 309 Military Hospital in Beijing on Wednesday.

    Hospital staff claimed that Cao’s body was no longer being held there and refused to disclose any further details. Officials also rejected requests by the family for copies of Cao’s medical records.

    “It appears the authorities will stop at nothing to hide what really happened to Cao Shunli. This has all the markings of a cover-up on the part of the authorities,’ said Anu Kultalahti, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    Cao died from organ failure on 14 March at the hospital after six months in detention. Repeated requests by Cao’s family for her to receive medical treatment for serious health problems were repeatedly denied.

    March 26, 2014

    The European Union (EU) must immediately put into action its plans to deploy peacekeeping troops to protect civilians in the Central African Republic amid a worrying new surge in violence, Amnesty International said today.

    Areas of the capital Bangui have increasingly come under the control of anti-balaka militias, who have in recent days launched repeated attacks on civilians and African Union-led MISCA peacekeepers.

    “This flare-up in violence is cause for serious concern, given the backdrop of ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity across the Central African Republic since last December,” said Christian Mukosa, Central Africa Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “It is just further evidence of what Amnesty International has been saying for months – that the small contingent of peacekeeping troops on the ground will not be able to protect civilians effectively without more help from the international community.”

    March 25, 2014

    Colombia’s government is failing to address the country’s critical human rights situation said Amnesty International today ahead of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ annual review of the country.  

    Despite on-going peace talks in Havana between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest guerrilla group, human rights violations and abuses continue unabated.

    Tomorrow, High Commissioner Navi Pillay will present her annual review of the situation in Colombia to the UN Human Rights Council.

    “The peace talks represent the best opportunity in over a decade to put an end to the 50-year-old armed conflict. However, the warring parties continue to be responsible for appalling serious human rights violations and abuses. These include forced displacement, extrajudicial killings, kidnappings, abductions, and enforced disappearances,” said Marcelo Pollack, Amnesty International’s researcher on Colombia.

    March 18, 2014

    The Papua New Guinea authorities must carry out an independent investigation into alleged brutality by a police dog squad, after a graphic video depicted a seemingly defenceless man being repeatedly attacked, said Amnesty International.

    In the film, which has been shared on social media, the man is seen sitting on the ground, surrounded by officers holding three leashed dogs as they lunge and attack him. 

    While the footage has not yet been verified, it raises serious concerns about torture and other ill-treatment by police.

    “This appalling incident raises serious questions about police brutality,” said Roseann Rife, spokesperson for Amnesty International.

    “The Papua New Guinea authorities must act on this shocking footage and immediately initiate an independent investigation. Torture is unacceptable under any circumstances and those responsible must be brought to justice.

    “The seriousness of this incident is highlighted by this man’s humiliation and his screams of pain. It is difficult to watch.”

    March 19, 2014

    Saudi Arabia’s decision to accept numerous recommendations to improve its human rights record during its United Nations Human Rights Council review session in Geneva today, are unlikely to put an end to grave violations and discrimination or lead to justice and redress for victims, said Amnesty International.

    “Until Saudi Arabia’s actions match its words the Kingdom’s dire reputation as a grave violator of human rights is unlikely to change,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    “Saudi Arabia must prove that its acceptance of these recommendations is more than a mere public relations exercise designed to deflect criticism of its human rights record.”

    Although Saudi Arabia fully accepted a majority of the recommendations made to it during the review of its human rights record, it rejected crucial recommendations to ratify core international treaties including those that would safeguard the rights of women and grant victims access to justice.

    March 19, 2014

    The Sri Lankan government’s ongoing dirty tactics to silence and smear dissidents are a brazen attempt to deflect criticism as the country faces fresh scrutiny at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Amnesty International said today.

    The Council is due to vote next week on a resolution calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka during the protracted and bloody internal armed conflict with the LTTE (Tamil Tigers). Since the end of the conflict in May 2009, the government under President Mahinda Rajapaksa has pursued a crackdown on its critics.

    “Sri Lanka must put an end to the campaign of intimidation and dirty tactics against outspoken human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and families of the disappeared,” said Peter Splinter, Amnesty International Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

    March 14, 2014

    International human rights monitors must immediately be deployed across Ukraine following reports of increasing violence and disappearances ahead of Sunday’s impromptu referendum that could lead to the secession of the southern Crimea region, said Amnesty International.

    “Parts of the country are on edge and spilling over into violence. With the referendum scheduled in two days’ time, there is no time to lose,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director.

    “Amidst heightened tensions in the country and the now fatal violence between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian groups, the need for a strong human rights monitoring mission with unimpeded access to all parts of Ukraine, including Crimea, is critical.”
     
    Amnesty International’s call comes after at least one protester was killed amid violent clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian protesters in the eastern city of Donetsk and news of further disappearances of activists in Crimea itself.

    March 13, 2014

    The death toll of at least 25 after a month of massive public demonstrations for and against the government in Venezuela will keep rising unless all sides commit to human rights, Amnesty International said following three new deaths on Wednesday.

    A policeman, a student and a third man died yesterday in separate incidents in Valencia, the country’s third-largest city, 170km west of Caracas.

    “In such a polarized political context the bloodshed will only continue unless the government and its supporters, as well as the various political opposition groups commit to fully respecting human rights,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Deputy Director of Amnesty International Americas Program.

    “Specifically, all parties should roundly condemn any acts of violence against political opponents. The authorities must do their utmost to prevent these attacks and to ensure that anyone responsible for such acts is brought to justice.”

    President Nicolás Maduro has told his supporters that after a meeting of his Security Cabinet today he will announce “extraordinary measures” aimed at putting an end to the ongoing protests.

    March 11, 2014

    The Sudanese security forces must immediately stop the use of excessive and unlawful force against protesters, Amnesty International said today, after a student died of gunshot wounds sustained during a demonstration at the University of Khartoum.

    Ali Abaker Mussa Idris, a third-year economics student, died in hospital after security forces used tear gas and opened fire with live ammunition to disperse a protest he was taking part in at the university this afternoon. Another student has been severely injured, and a further 110 students were reportedly arrested at the protest, which was against a recent surge in violence in Darfur that has left an estimated 50,000 people displaced.

    “Credible accounts by eyewitnesses at the University of Khartoum protest point to police and Sudanese intelligence (NISS) officers using tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the protesters. The authorities must rein in the security forces and prevent them from using such excessive force in violation of international law and standards,” said Netsanet Belay, Africa Director of Research and Advocacy at Amnesty International.

    March 06, 2014

    Presidential candidates must champion, not sideline, human rights, Amnesty International said today in an agenda for change aimed at candidates campaigning ahead of the 5 April vote.

    “There have been undeniable human rights improvements in Afghanistan over the past decade, but the situation is still bleak for millions across the country. Conflict-related violations and appalling levels of violence against women and girls are just two of the issues that must top the agenda for the next administration,” said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher.

    “Candidates cannot afford to treat human rights as a second-string issue. Any more trading away of rights in Afghanistan for short-term gain will move the country backwards rather than forwards after 2014,”

    Almost complete impunity for past human rights abuses and war crimes persists in Afghanistan. Many of those now running for president or vice-president are facing serious allegations of complicity in such crimes.

    February 28, 2014

    Members of the UN Security Council, including France, the US and UK must throw their full weight behind proposals to tackle the crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR), said Amnesty International.

    The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is expected to present his assessment report on the possible transformation of the African-led peacekeeping force in CAR into a UN peacekeeping mission before 5 March.

    “It is urgent that the Security Council authorizes this UN peacekeeping operation. They must be given a robust mandate to protect civilians,” said Netsanet Belay, Africa Director Research and Advocacy.

    Amnesty International’s successive missions to CAR have revealed how the African led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA) is under-resourced and ill equipped.  Its poor coordination with French troops (Sangari’s) has failed to end the killings of civilians and the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim community from large parts of the country.

    “Current efforts to tackle the crisis are far from adequate and the new UN mission must have the capability to tackle this crisis,” said Belay.

    February 26, 2014

    Posted at 0001 GMT 27 February 2014

    Israel’s security forces have displayed a callous disregard for human life by killing scores of Palestinian civilians, including children, in the occupied West Bank over the past three years with near total impunity, said Amnesty International in a report published today.

    The report, Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank, describes mounting bloodshed and human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) as a result of the Israeli forces’ use of unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal force against Palestinians since January 2011.

    In all cases examined by Amnesty International, Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers did not appear to be posing a direct and immediate threat to life. In some, there is evidence that they were victims of wilful killings, which would amount to war crimes.

    February 26, 2014
    Ukraine's Berkut riot police were responsible for many instances of use of excessive force amid the recent protests. © Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

    All those responsible for the deaths of more than 100 people killed during the anti-government protests in Ukraine must be brought to justice, said Amnesty International today.

    The call comes as plans were announced to disband the riot police unit that were allegedly responsible for the excessive force used against protesters.

    “Moves to disband the riot police must not be used to allow the perpetrators of crimes off the hook. The Ukrainian authorities must not shirk their responsibility,” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s Ukraine researcher.

    “Each and every allegation must be investigated promptly, effectively and independently and any police officers found to be responsible must face criminal prosecution.”

    February 25, 2014

    Posted at 0001 GMT  26 February 2014

    The Sri Lankan government’s targeting of critics persists at alarming levels, with more surveillance and harassment reported ahead of next month’s UN Human Rights Council (HRC) session, Amnesty International said in a new briefing today.

    Suppressing calls for justice, examines the Sri Lankan authorities’ intolerance of dissent and its attacks on critics over the past six months, either directly or through proxies that range from security forces to supporters of Buddhist-nationalist groups and even immigration officials.

    “The pattern of harassment, surveillance and attacks against those opposing the Sri Lankan authorities is deeply disturbing and shows no sign of letting up,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia- Pacific Director.

    “Repression usually intensifies whenever Sri Lanka’s human rights situation is in focus internationally, something we are already seeing ahead of the UN Human Rights Council next month.”

    February 20, 2014

    The shooting of protesters, which is contributing to the spiralling death toll in Kyiv, is deeply troubling and must prompt a swift response to bring all those responsible to justice, Amnesty International urged.

    According to the Ministry of Health, at least 35 people have been killed as a result of the rapid escalation in violence in the past 48 hours, especially in the area around Kyiv’s Maidan Square. The violence has been carried out by some protesters as well as security forces. The Ministry of Interior has separately reported that 20 police officers have died.  

    There is growing evidence from across Ukraine of vigilante groups colluding with the police and reports they may have been responsible for some of the shootings. A number of protesters, medical personnel and journalists clearly not posing a threat to riot police, have been fired on from a distance.   

    February 18, 2014

    At a meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, delivered a memorandum demanding an urgent list of actions to combat entrenched impunity and serious human rights violations.  

    The meeting focussed on widespread torture, the large number of disappearances, abuses against migrants and refugees, attacks on journalists and human rights defenders, and violence faced by women and indigenous persons.

    “While Mexico is an increasingly important actor on the world stage, not only in economic terms but in the field of human rights, it is failing to deliver at home. I told the President that he must demonstrate he is serious about ensuring human rights not just internationally but for all inside the country as well,” said Salil Shetty.

    “The President has the power to address Mexico’s worrying human rights situation. He should take urgent and concrete steps to ensure full respect for human rights for every individual in the country.”

    February 10, 2014

    The authorities in California must introduce radical changes to the cruel conditions of the state’s solitary confinement units, said Amnesty International.

    Tomorrow, 11 February, a representative of the human rights organization will give an oral submission before the California Assembly Public Safety Committee. It is currently considering a series of reforms to its Security Housing Units (SHUs), proposed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

    “The authorities in California have an historic opportunity to end the inhumane conditions of detention of the hundreds of prisoners held in isolation across the state,” said Tessa Murphy, USA campaigner at Amnesty International.

    Most of the inmates are held in isolation units in California’s Pelican Bay State Prison.

    They are confined to their windowless cells for at least 22 hours a day. Exercise is limited to one 90-minute session a week, alone, in a bare, concrete yard, with 20 foot high walls and only a patch of sky visible through a partially meshed plastic roof.

    January 30, 2014

     

    FACTSHEET

    What:  336,412 people from 112 countries have signed an Amnesty International’s petition in the course of three months calling on the Russian President Vladimir Putin to repeal repressive legislation aiming to emasculate civil society, restrict legitimate protest and silence criticism.

    Amnesty International members and supporters from Australia, Japan and New Zealand to Canada, Puerto Rico and USA signed the petition, with Holland alone collecting more than 100,000 signatures.

    January 28, 2014

    The African Union (AU) Heads of State meeting starting tomorrow must address the growing crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR). They must ensure they complete the full and rapid deployment of peacekeepers to protect civilians in rural areas at risk of imminent attack.

    Over the last week Amnesty International has gathered first-hand information of large scale slaughter of both Christian and Muslim civilians in the North-West CAR. The presence of international peacekeepers in these areas is essential to help prevent further atrocities, particularly as rival militias converge on this region. 

    “There is a real danger of further escalation of what is already a human disaster. The peacekeeping forces have had an effect where they are deployed, but there are large swathes of the North West where there is a notable absence. Here towns have been attacked and there is a real risk of further atrocities.” said Amnesty International’s senior crisis adviser Donatella Rovera who is currently in the region. 

    January 27, 2014

    The Bahraini authorities must immediately investigate the death in custody of a 19-year-old boy who was shot in the head by security forces, said Amnesty International.

    “Bahrain’s authorities must come clean and open a full, independent investigation to establish the truth about the death of Fadel Abbas. Those responsible for his death must be held to account,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    “The conflicting information that has emerged over the version of events that led to his death makes such an investigation even more urgent.”

    Fadel Abbas was wounded when security forces tried to arrest him and others as they went to visit a recently released prisoner in the village of Markh.
     
    The Interior Ministry said in a statement on 26 January that Fadel Abbas had died of his wounds after he was shot on 8 January when he “purposefully” drove a car into members of the security forces as he attempted to escape arrest for smuggling arms and explosives. The Ministry said its forces had acted in self-defence.  

    January 26, 2014

    Christian and Muslim civilians in Baoro and Bossemptle in the north-west of the Central African Republic are in imminent danger of attack due to the very strong presence of anti-balaka militias in towns where international peacekeepers are nowhere to be seen, according to an Amnesty International delegation in the region today.

    Armed clashes between anti-balaka militias and remnants of the ex-Seleka forces and their supporters over the last week have resulted in civilian fatalities and casualties, as well as the burning of hundreds of homes. 

    “There is a huge risk of a major human tragedy because of the complete absence of any peacekeeping force. The situation in this part of the Central African Republic is very volatile and the international peacekeeping effort is vital to protect the thousands of civilians from both communities,” said Amnesty International’s senior crisis adviser Donatella Rovera who is currently in the region.  

    January 22, 2014
    The Egyptian authorities have tightened the noose on freedom of expression and assembly© REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghan

    Posted at 0001 GMT 23 January 2014

    The Egyptian authorities are using every resource at their disposal to quash dissent and trample on human rights, said Amnesty International in a damning new report published ahead of the third anniversary of the “25 January Revolution”.

    The briefing entitled Roadmap to repression: No end in sight to human rights violations, paints a bleak picture of the state of rights and liberties in Egypt since the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

    January 22, 2014

    The use of live ammunition by police in Kyiv would only increase what is already a highly volatile situation, Amnesty International said today after four protesters were killed and the government issued a statement saying that police may start using live ammunition.

    The death of a man after being brutally beaten by two riot police officers is another example of pervasive police impunity in Ukraine.

    “There must be no impunity for law enforcement officers who resort to abusive use of force. We have repeatedly called on the Ukrainian authorities to bring perpetrators to justice, but today’s unlawful violence by the police has led to at least one death. What else needs to happen before police officers are held accountable for human rights violations?” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International's Ukraine expert.

    The Ministry of Internal Affairs has denied that it was using live ammunition but has threatened to use live rounds following the shootings.

    January 20, 2014

    The new interim President of the Central African Republic must urgently rein in the “out of control” anti-balaka militias currently forcing scores of people from Muslim communities to leave the country in a bid to escape terrifying abuse, Amnesty International said.

    Catherine Samba Panza was appointed by the interim parliament as interim President of the African nation today.

    “People from Muslim communities feel totally unprotected from anti-balaka attacks and terrified about what might happen to them if they stay in the country. Even those who were born in the Central African Republic and have never set foot outside of the country are now trying to escape to Chad,” said Joanne Mariner Senior Crisis Adviser at Amnesty International, who is currently in the Central African Republic.

    “Reining in the anti-balaka militia and ensuring the Muslim population is safe from attack must be a top priority for interim president Catherine Samba Panza.”

    Over the past ten days, it has been reported that hundreds of Muslims have been victims of attacks, including unlawful killings, with many being forced to leave their homes.

    January 16, 2014

    The Geneva II peace conference on Syria must aim to urgently end government sieges imposed on opposition-held towns where civilians are starving to death, said Amnesty International. 

    The organization is urging government and opposition groups to commit to granting unfettered access to humanitarian organizations operating throughout Syria during the UN-backed talks which begin on 22 January in Switzerland. 

    January 15, 2014

    A lack of political will and unacceptable court delays are allowing Haiti’s former “president-for-life,” Jean-Claude Duvalier, to escape justice for human rights violations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. 

    The authorities re-opened a criminal case against the former Haitian dictator three years ago, shortly after he returned to the country on 16 January 2011, following a 25-year exile in France. He faced charges of serious human rights violations such as murder and torture of political opponents, and of corruption. But the case has stalled for almost a year. 

    “It appears that the Haitian authorities have no intention of carrying out thorough investigations into Duvalier-era abuses,” said Javier Zúñiga, Amnesty International’s special adviser to regional programs.

    “The judicial process has stalled, denying victims of his reign of terror their right to truth, justice and reparation. To add insult to injury, Duvalier continues to take part in public events, often at the invitation of the Haitian government.”

    January 07, 2014

    South Korea today announced a halt to shipments of tear gas to Bahrain, following pressure from Amnesty International and other human rights groups which worked alongside Bahrain Watch’s ‘Stop the Shipment’ campaign.

    “The South Korean authorities should be commended for this move to help prevent further human rights violations in Bahrain, which comes after sustained campaigning by activists from Amnesty International and other NGOs in Bahrain and around the world,” said Brian Wood, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International.

    The announcement by South Korea’s defence agency cited pressure from human rights groups following the Bahraini authorities’ repeated – and sometimes fatal – misuse of the toxic chemical agents against peaceful protesters.

    “South Korea is sending a clear message that the Bahraini authorities’ ongoing repression of peaceful protests is unacceptable and will not be rewarded with future weapons transfers. Other countries that continue to supply Bahrain with tear gas and related equipment should sit up and take notice,” said Wood.

    December 23, 2013

    Human rights violations against peaceful participants in the demonstrations that have rocked the Ukraine in the past month must be thoroughly investigated, said Amnesty International in a report published today. The organization is concerned that the blanket pardon of protestors arrested in the demonstrations is not used to detract from the abuses carried out by the police    

    “While those accused of criminal and administrative offences during the protests have been pardoned, it does not absolve the Ukrainian authorities from their responsibility for human rights violations that have taken place over the last month,” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s researcher on Ukraine.

    “Successive Ukrainian governments have failed to address deeply rooted systemic flaws in policing and the criminal justice system. It is of the utmost importance that the perpetrators of human rights violations must still be held to account.”

    December 20, 2013

    Warring factions in South Sudan must immediately rein in their troops to prevent further attacks on civilians, Amnesty International said amid violence that has erupted across the country.

    There is mounting evidence that troops and armed civilians from South Sudan’s two largest communities, the Dinka and Nuer, are carrying out targeted killings of civilians based on their ethnic background.

    Three United Nations peacekeepers were also reportedly killed on Thursday when armed Nuer youths in Akobo, Jonglei state, forced their way into a peacekeeping base sheltering Dinka civilians.

    “Attacks on civilians seeking shelter from fighting is a shocking development in this increasingly vicious conflict,” said Netsanet Belay, Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “The fact that these attacks were carried out by armed youths is a disturbing sign that this conflict is moving beyond fighting between soldiers and into widespread inter-communal violence.”

    Fighting originated in the capital Juba on Sunday but has since spread to other parts of the country including Jonglei, South Sudan’s largest state.

    December 19, 2013

    The struggle of the LGBTI * community in Jamaica challenging the society for their rights, the descent into chaos in Syria examined through voices inside the country, and the plight of refugees in Australia and Thailand are issues explored in three excellent pieces of journalism. They were recognized today as winners of Amnesty International Canada’s nineteenth annual Media Awards for outstanding reporting about human rights issues in the Canadian media.

    Jennifer Quinn is the winner this year in national print for her feature article “A dangerous place to be gay” about the community in Jamaica that constantly faces violence and intolerance, published in the Sunday Star in Toronto August 11 2013. Traveling to the island, Jennifer Quinn interviews gay and lesbian individuals and activists and examines their efforts to change the situation with a landmark court challenge.

    December 16, 2013

    Released at 00:01 GMT 17 December 2013

    China’s abolition of the “Re-education Through Labour” (RTL) system risks being no more than a cosmetic change, with authorities already stepping up other forms of persecution, Amnesty International said in a briefing released today.

    While RTL camps are being shut down, the briefing details how the Chinese authorities are increasingly making use of so-called “black jails”, enforced drug rehabilitation centres, and “brainwashing centres” to take their place.

    “Abolishing the RTL system is a step in the right direction. However, it now appears that it may only be a cosmetic change just to avert the public outcry over the abusive RTL system where torture was rife,” said Corinna-Barbara Francis, Amnesty International’s China Researcher.

    “It’s clear that the underlying policies of punishing people for their political activities or religious beliefs haven’t changed. The abuses and torture are continuing, just in a different way.”

    December 16, 2013

    The UAE authorities must stop their cruel campaign of harassment against the families of prisoners convicted on vague “national security” charges, Amnesty International said ahead of a second trial against 10 of the prisoners that is set to resume tomorrow.

    Some relatives of the 69 government critics, who were jailed after a mass trial in July, told Amnesty International they have been bullied, threatened and stigmatized by the authorities in a bid to silence their pleas for justice.

    “These prisoners were jailed following a grossly unfair trial in which there was no right of appeal, and now their families are also being targeted in their daily lives,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “The UAE authorities must end this shameful and vindictive campaign of persecution. Prisoners’ families must not be punished for seeking justice for their relatives.”

    December 12, 2013

    The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council must act urgently and clarify its plans to deploy the new African-led peacekeeping mission to tackle the spiraling human rights and humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic, Amnesty International said today.

    A week has passed since the UN Security Council unanimously authorized the transition of an existing central African states force on the ground to protect civilians into a one-year African-led peacekeeping mission joined by French peacekeepers.

    In a letter, Amnesty International has urged the AU Peace and Security Council to break its silence and spell out the concrete action it is taking urgently to put forces on the ground and ensure effective protection of civilians.

    “A clear plan and concrete action are urgently needed from the African Union to prevent the crisis in Central African Republic spiraling completely out of control,” said Netsanet Belay, Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    December 12, 2013

    Turkmenistan’s authorities have simply paid lip service to reform in a bid to appease the international community said Amnesty International in the run up to parliamentary elections this weekend (15 December).

    “Holding these elections will not address the atmosphere of total repression, denial of the basic human rights, and the all-permeating fear that has gripped society in Turkmenistan for years, and all pretence of progress on human rights is simply deceitful,” John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Program Director at Amnesty International.

    In 2012, the authorities in the strategically placed oil and gas rich country pushed through reforms which they claimed would lead to the establishment of a second political party. It also allowed, in theory, for an independent media.

    “Recent reforms amount to no more than token gestures designed to distract the international community. Eager foreign investors should not be fooled by these moves or use them to justify uncritical engagement.” said John Dalhuisen.

    December 09, 2013

    Central African Republic: International community must ensure effective  protection of civilians

    The civilian population of the Central African Republic is in urgent need of protection, Amnesty International said today from the capital Bangui, four days into the worst spate of violence in the conflict to date.

    The organization has seen scores of dead bodies in the city's central morgue and visited some of the many sites where an estimated 60,000 people have sought refuge across Bangui. Similar scenes are reportedly playing out in Bossangoa and elsewhere in the country.

    “The high number of people fleeing their homes in search of a safe refuge attests to the widespread fear and deep insecurity that has spread across Bangui neighbourhoods,” said Christian Mukosa, Amnesty International’s Central Africa expert, currently in Bangui.

    The number of people seeking sanctuary at these sites increases at night when even more people leave their homes to hide in church compounds and other perceived areas of safety, as the likelihood of attack is higher in their areas.

    December 05, 2013

    Soldiers patrol on December 5, 2013 in a street of Bangui as shots rang out.(c)SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Image

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    Revenge killings are being reported across Bangui and other parts of the Central African Republic today in the aftermath of the military clashes that happened in the early hours of the morning, Amnesty International said today.

    December 05, 2013

    The international community must give peacekeepers in the Central African Republic all the means necessary to protect civilians or risk an escalation in atrocities that could spill over to neighbouring countries, Amnesty International warned as the UN Security Council authorized deployment of an African Union (AU) force.

    The UN vote – which came just hours after clashes erupted overnight in the capital Bangui – authorizes deployment of  AU and French troops to protect civilians, restore law and order and end the spiraling human rights violations and abuses.

    “The lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians hang in the balance, made brutally clear by these attacks on the capital. The international community must do everything in its power to ensure these troops can effectively protect civilians and restore order to the Central African Republic,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    December 04, 2013

    Posted at 0001 GMT 5 December 2013

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    North Korea’s vast infrastructure of repression is further exposed in new satellite images showing the on-going development of two of the country’s largest political prison camps, Amnesty International discloses today.

    In a comprehensive assessments of camps 15 and 16 - known as kwanliso - Amnesty International found new housing blocks, an expansion of production facilities, and continued tight security.

    The analysis, along with newly released testimonies, is included in Amnesty International’s latest briefing North Korea: Continued Investment in the Infrastructure of Repression. 

    A former security official at kwanliso 16 – the largest political prison camp in North Korea – has never spoken publicly before. He describes detainees being forced to dig their own graves and women being raped and then disappearing.

    December 04, 2013

    Canadians supporting Amnesty International’s work will join thousands of others around the world to Write for Rights around Wednesday December 10. The annual activity is now the world’s largest letter-writing event. Last year, Amnesty International members in more than 80 countries wrote almost two million letters, tweets and texts. The letters aim to save lives, stop torture, free prisoners of conscience and show solidarity.

    Individuals write letters based on 9 cases come from every continent and cover a wide range of different human rights issues:

    December 02, 2013

    The Bulgarian authorities must send a clear message that they will take all necessary measures to curb the growing spate of attacks against refugees and migrants on the streets of the capital Sofia, Amnesty International said.

    The call comes after two Syrian men in their 20s and 30s were injured in a violent attack in Sofia’s Sugar Factory district last night. A third man targeted in the attack reportedly escaped unscathed. It is the seventh such assault on the city’s streets since the beginning of November 2013.

    “So far, instead of investigating and bringing the perpetrators of these violent attacks to justice, the Bulgarian authorities have sought to downplay them as run-of-the-mill muggings and crimes. Bulgaria is obliged under international law to thoroughly investigate any possible hate motive behind these crimes. Hate crimes are an affront to human dignity,” said Jezerca Tigani, a Deputy Director of Europe and Central Asia Program of Amnesty International.

    November 30, 2013

    Released 11:00 am GMT 30 November 2013

    The Malian authorities must immediately release five children that have been detained in a military detention centre for over seven months, says Amnesty International today as it releases a Human Rights Agenda for Mali, in the country’s capital.

    An Amnesty International delegation, led by the Secretary General, Salil Shetty, met the five children between the ages of 15 and 17 in the military detention centre (Gendarmerie Camp) in Bamako.

    One of the five children is a child soldier who joined the Movement for Oneness and Jihad (MUJAO). The other four were arrested because of their suspected links to armed groups. 

    “We were horrified to see these traumatised young boys detained in poor conditions, along with adults,” says Salil Shetty. “This is a clear violation of national and international law and they must be released immediately”.

    “Children should rarely, if ever, be held in detention. In all actions concerning children the best interests of the child must be a primary consideration.”

    November 25, 2013

    The UN must take full account of the human catastrophe of epic proportions unfolding in the Central African Republic (CAR) when considering the options presented by the UN Secretary-General on peacekeeping in that country, Amnesty International said.

    The situation is worsening on a daily basis in CAR, with extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls widely committed with total impunity by members of the security forces and armed groups alike.

    “The crisis is spinning out of control, despite the fact that it has been ignored by the international community for far too long,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “People are dying in the Central African Republic as we speak, and action is needed as a matter of utmost urgency. There is no time to delay.”

    November 25, 2013

    The Government of Zimbabwe must guarantee all human rights enshrined in the new Constitution, Amnesty International said in a Human Rights Agenda issued as President Robert Mugabe approaches the 100th day of his new term.

    In the report, Human Rights Agenda for the New Government – 2013 to 2018, the organization urges the Zimbabwean government to take significant steps to improve the country’s poor human rights record. It also must address impunity for past violations and provide remedies to victims.

    “There is no doubt that the new government will be judged on the basis of its human rights record and ability to improve the living conditions for everyone in the country,” says Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

    “The new Constitution offers a golden opportunity for the government to begin to right the wrongs of the past, to deliver justice for its people and to allow freedom of expression. With political will all that is possible.”

    November 05, 2013

    Presidential candidates in Honduras must promise to address the dire human rights crisis in the country if there is any chance of putting an end to the escalating levels of violence, insecurity and impunity, said Amnesty International ahead of elections on 24 November.

    The organization has written to all eight presidential candidates urging them to set out their commitment to human rights.

    “The human rights situation in Honduras is dire and the future of the country hangs in the balance,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International’s Americas Deputy Program Director.

    “These elections could mark a turning point, and the presidential candidates must commit to concrete changes to stop the widespread human rights abuses and violations perpetrated against the people of Honduras.”

    The letter to presidential candidates details the deep human rights crisis in Honduras, including the consistent killings, physical attacks and threats against human rights defenders.

    October 28, 2013

    Allegations of abuse, including the use of electric shocks, against inmates in a privately run prison in South Africa raise serious questions about the authorities’ real commitment to tackle torture and other ill-treatment, Amnesty International said.

    “Unfortunately, these recent allegations of abuse against inmates in South Africa’s Mangaung prison are consistent with a long-standing pattern across the country, including disturbing levels of impunity for human rights abuses within South Africa’s prisons,” said Mary Rayner, South Africa researcher at Amnesty International.

    “That the South African authorities have reportedly launched an official investigation into the allegations is positive. The question now is whether they will actually bring those responsible to justice and provide full reparations to victims, as opposed to what has happened too many times in the past.”

    Amnesty International will continue to monitor the follow-up to these investigations.

    “Any investigation into the alleged abuses must be prompt, impartial and independent,” said Mary Rayner.

    October 23, 2013

    The Libyan authorities must urgently find a durable solution to end the continued forcible displacement of tens of thousands of Tawarghas and other communities, from their hometown during the armed conflict of 2011, said Amnesty International.

    The entire inhabitants of the town of Tawargha – some 40,000 people - were driven out by armed groups from Misratah who accused them of supporting Colonel al-Gaddafi’s government. An Amnesty International briefing Barred from their Home, published on the second anniversary of the end of the conflict, highlights the continued discrimination, abductions and arbitrary detention of the Tawargha, who still face threats and reprisal attacks at the hand of militias acting above the law.

    “Two years after the conflict, Tawarghas and other displaced communities are still waiting for justice and effective reparations for the abuses they have suffered. Many continue to face discrimination and live in under resourced camps with no solution in sight,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

    October 17, 2013

    Diplomats from Commonwealth countries meeting in London today must push Sri Lanka to end its continuing crackdown on human rights defenders, Amnesty International said.

    The Commonwealth Committee of the Whole is meeting 17-18 October to prepare for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo in November.

    “Commonwealth countries must agree new measures to address the continuing human rights crisis in Sri Lanka and especially to monitor and condemn any civil society repression around CHOGM,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Program Director.

    “Sri Lanka has a disturbing record of repressing civil society activism. Its officials have intimidated, threatened and even attacked human rights defenders around previous international events. We are extremely worried about the safety of such activists around the summit in Colombo in November.”

    October 15, 2013

    The deaths of hundreds of people in detention facilities run by Nigeria’s military Joint Task Force (JTF) must be investigated as a matter of urgency, Amnesty International said today.

    Amnesty International has received credible information from a senior officer in the Nigerian Army that over 950 people died in military custody in the first six months of 2013 alone. Most of the reported deaths occurred in facilities used by the military to detain people suspected of being members of or associated with the armed Islamist group Boko Haram.

    “The evidence we’ve gathered suggests that hundreds of people died in military custody in 2013 alone. This is a staggeringly high figure that requires urgent action by the Nigerian government,” said Lucy Freeman, Amnesty International’s deputy Africa director.

    “The details of what happens behind locked doors in these shadowy detention facilities must be exposed, and those responsible for any human rights violations brought to book.”

    October 14, 2013

    Evidence gathered from eyewitnesses, health officials and wounded protesters  suggests security forces used live ammunition to disperse crowds of mostly peaceful demonstrators on 6 October, said Amnesty International.

    At least 49 people were killed and hundreds injured in Cairo alone, as security forces used excessive and unwarranted lethal force to disperse pro-Morsi protesters. According to eyewitnesses, in some instances, security forces stood by as men in civilian clothing armed with knives, swords or firearms attacked and clashed with demonstrators.

    “The Egyptian security forces patently failed to prevent the loss of life. In a number of cases bystanders or non-violent protesters were caught up in the violence,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. 

    October 10, 2013

    Following the death of Herman Wallace last Friday, who was held in solitary confinement for over 40 years, Amnesty International is launching a campaign for the release of his co-defendant Albert Woodfox. He too has been held in cruel conditions of isolation following the deeply flawed trials.

    "Albert Woodfox has been in solitary confinement for decades, even though the case against him was based on flawed evidence and riddled with procedural errors. Enough is enough. The state of Louisiana must accept the federal court’s ruling and release Albert Woodfox from prison,” said Tessa Murphy, USA campaigner at Amnesty International.

    Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace were both convicted of the 1972 murder of prison guard, Brent Miller. There was no physical evidence to link them to the crime and their convictions relied primarily on the dubious testimony of a sole eyewitness who received favourable treatment in return for his testimony.

    Both men have robustly denied any involvement in the crime. They believe they were falsely implicated in the murder because of their political activism in prison as members of the Black Panther Party.

    October 10, 2013

    Authorities in Morocco must immediately and unconditionally drop charges against three teenagers arrested for kissing and posting a photo on Facebook, said Amnesty International ahead of a court hearing on Friday.

    “It is simply absurd that these teenagers could face a prison term just for kissing and and posting a photo on Facebook,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “These young people should never have been detained in the first place - there is no imaginable reason why expression of this type ought to result in prosecution. Launching a judicial investigation into a complaint about an act as benign as teenagers kissing is ridiculous. It should be dismissed out of hand.”

    Two 15-year-old boys and one 14-year-old girl were arrested on 4 October in the city of Nador. They were detained for three days and released on bail on 7 October, ahead of a court hearing this Friday.

    All three were charged with “public indecency” under Article 483 of Morocco's Penal Code. If found guilty, they could face up to two years imprisonment and a fine.

    October 09, 2013

    The UN Security Council must ensure that the protection of civilians and the promotion of human rights lie at the heart of Afghan and international efforts in Afghanistan, Amnesty International said.

    The mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is expected to be extended until the end of 2014 on 10 October by the Security Council.

    “As the security transfer from international to Afghan forces enters its final stage, it is essential that the Afghan government, ISAF and the USA ensure that all necessary safeguards are in place to prevent and account for rising civilian casualties,” said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher.

    “With ISAF combat troops completing their withdrawal, their governments must continue to provide international expertise, political support and pressure, as well as financial assistance. This is crucial to secure the modest gains of the past 12 years and further advance human rights.”

    October 04, 2013

    In the week that saw over 50 students killed by gunmen in an agricultural college in Yobe State, Amnesty International publishes a new report assessing attacks on schools in northern Nigeria between 2012 and 2013.

    “Hundreds have been killed in these horrific attacks. Thousands of children have been forced out of schools across communities in northern Nigeria and many teachers have been forced to flee for their safety,” said Lucy Freeman, Amnesty International’s deputy Africa director.

    “Attacks against schoolchildren, teachers and school buildings demonstrate an absolute disregard for the right to life and the right to education.”
     
    According to the report Education under attack in Nigeria this year alone at least 70 teachers and scores of pupils have been slaughtered and many others wounded. Some 50 schools have been burned or seriously damaged and more than 60 others have been forced to close.

    The Islamist group commonly known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for many, but not all, of the attacks.

    October 02, 2013

    Reports that Sudan’s security forces have arrested at least 800 activists, members of opposition parties, journalists, and others amid ongoing anti-government protests mark a shocking escalation of the crackdown on dissent, Amnesty International said.

    A wave of arrests took place between the night of Monday 30 September and the early hours of Tuesday 1 October. Amnesty International is still receiving reports of arrests at the time of writing.

    “Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service is notorious for its repressive tactics in rounding up and placing perceived dissidents behind bars – but even by their standards, this latest round-up marks a significant escalation in arrests,” said Lucy Freeman, Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.  

    October 01, 2013

    The decision to overturn the conviction of a terminally ill man held in solitary confinement for more than 41 years after a flawed trial is a positive step but long overdue after four decades of injustice, Amnesty International said.

    “The case of Herman Wallace is a tragic example of ‘justice’ gone wrong in the USA. Finally a federal court has acknowledged some of the unfairness surrounding this case. However this sadly comes too late for lasting benefit as he is at death’s door with terminal cancer,” said Tessa Murphy, USA Campaigner at Amnesty International.

    “The state must not now try to block his release.”

    Herman Wallace, 71, was placed in solitary confinement in Louisiana State prison after being convicted in 1974 of the murder of prison guard Brent Miller.

    Today’s ruling focused on one aspect of his trial: the systematic exclusion of women from the grand jury. Many other irregularities have been raised over the years but have been rejected by the state courts.

    September 27, 2013

    Mexico’s military justice system is failing victims of alleged human rights violations by the army and navy, but the Mexican Senate has a key opportunity to change that, Amnesty International said today.

    “If the Mexican legislature wants to prove they have a real commitment to upholding human rights, they will seize this key opportunity to reform the military justice system once and for all, and ensure civilian justice to investigate and try all cases of human rights violations by the armed forces,” said Daniel Zapico, Amnesty International Mexico director.

    “This would bring Mexico in line with international human rights standards as well as rulings by the Inter American Court of Human Rights on the matter over the last years.”

    September 26, 2013

    Posted at 0001 GMT 27 September, 2013

    Sri Lanka’s disturbing human rights record means it should be barred from hosting a key Commonwealth summit in November or chairing the organization, Amnesty International said ahead of a key meeting of Commonwealth foreign ministers today.

    The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group - made up of foreign ministers and Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, who gather to address violations of the Commonwealth’s fundamental values, including human rights - is meeting in New York today.

    “Today’s meeting is an opportunity for the Commonwealth to show some real leadership on human rights. The organization has been shamefully silent so far about Sri Lanka’s human rights crisis– including the persistent lack of justice for past crimes and ongoing attacks on human rights defenders and other activists,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia- Pacific Director.

    September 26, 2013

    Joint News Release from Amnesty International and the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies

    “Shooting to kill – including by aiming at protesters’ chests and heads – is a blatant violation of the right to life, and Sudan must immediately end this violent repression by its security forces.”
    Lucy Freeman, Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International

    “The Sudanese government must immediately establish an investigation into the use of disproportionate force and allegations of the intentional killing of protestors and use of live ammunition by security forces.”
    Osman Hummaida, Executive Director of the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies
     

    The Sudanese security forces must immediately stop using arbitrary and unlawful force against protesters, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies and Amnesty International urged today, after confirming that at least 50 demonstrators were killed on Tuesday and Wednesday after being shot in the chest or head.

    September 23, 2013

    The Somali-based Islamist armed group al-Shabab’s blatant disregard for life in its attack on a Nairobi shopping centre on Saturday is a despicable affront to basic human rights, Amnesty International said.

    “Amnesty International stands in solidarity with the people of Kenya in the wake of these callous and despicable attacks,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “Our thoughts and sympathy go out to all those affected by this violence. We welcome President Uhuru Kenyatta’s commitment to investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to account.

    “We urge the Kenyan authorities to ensure that the investigations are prompt, thorough, independent and impartial. Any suspects arrested should be brought to trial in line with international standards.”

    Among those reportedly killed was the renowned Ghanaian poet and former diplomat, Dr. Kofi Awoonor. Amnesty International had campaigned on the poet’s politically motivated trial in the mid-1970s.

    September 23, 2013

    Palestinian Authority must end use of excessive force in policing protests

    Palestinian Authority (PA) police and security forces in the occupied West Bank must cease using unnecessary and excessive force against demonstrators, and must be held accountable when they commit human rights violations, Amnesty International said today.

    A new briefing, published today details how police and security forces have repeatedly carried out unprovoked and unlawful attacks on peaceful protesters. It also accuses the PA authorities of allowing them to do so with impunity.

    “Standards during the policing of demonstrations in the West Bank continue to fall woefully short of those prescribed by international law,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director of Amnesty International. “As a result, the rights to freedom of expression and assembly are being severely eroded.”

    September 19, 2013

    Today’s acquittal of 21 human rights and opposition activists by Zimbabwe’s High Court leaves the authorities with serious questions to answer about police misconduct in the aftermath of a police officer’s murder, Amnesty International said.

    "This acquittal of the 21 activists is a positive development – Amnesty International has always believed that most, if not all, of the accused had been arrested as a result of a politicized investigation into the death of the police officer,” said Noel Kututwa, southern Africa director at Amnesty International.

    "This tragic loss of a police officer’s life could have been professionally investigated without the human rights violations that have now tainted it. Police investigations must be competent, thorough, prompt, and impartial.”

    Seven activists from Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) remain on trial over the murder of police officer Petros Mutedza in the Harare suburb of Glen View in 2011.

    September 12, 2013

    All countries should suspend shipments of tear gas, armoured vehicles and other riot control projectile equipment to Turkey until the Turkish authorities can guarantee protesters’ right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, Amnesty International said.

    The call comes as police have again abusively used large amounts of tear gas and water cannon to disperse protests – some of them violent – in Istanbul and other cities around the country in the past three days. This new round of demonstrations was sparked when a young protester was killed in unclear circumstances as police responded to a demonstration in the southern province of Hatay early on Tuesday.

    “The Turkish police’s return to the abusive use of force in response to demonstrations underscores the need for all countries to suspend shipments of tear gas and other riot control projectile equipment and armoured policing vehicles to Turkey, until steps are taken to prevent such deaths and injuries,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher.

    September 05, 2013

    Indonesia: Kopassus conviction small step towards ending impunity

    The conviction of eight Kopassus (Special Forces Command) soldiers today is a step towards ending impunity In Indonesia, but also highlights how military courts are not fit to try its own soldiers for human rights violations, Amnesty International said.

    Three Kopassus soldiers were convicted of the premeditated murder of four unarmed detainees at Cebongan prison outside Yogyakarta on 23 March this year and sentenced to between six and 11 years’ in prison. The men will be appealing their sentences.

    Another five soldiers were given shorter sentences for assisting the main perpetrators, with sentences against four more soldiers expected tomorrow.

    “While today’s verdict provides some justice for the families of the victims, much more needs to be done to address ongoing impunity and reform the military,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    September 02, 2013

    Amnesty International urges the Iraqi authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into violence at Camp Ashraf that reportedly left at least 47 dead on 1 September.

    “On previous occasions the Iraqi authorities have failed to conduct effective investigations into attacks on camps housing Iranian exiles. This has meant that no one has been held accountable for these incidents, and that residents live in constant fear for their safety,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    “The authorities must ensure that an inquiry into yesterday’s violence is promptly carried out and that it is independent, transparent and in full conformity with international standards.”  

    The circumstances of the event are disputed. Residents claim that Iraqi security forces attacked the camp and killed several residents. Several victims were allegedly arrested and hand-cuffed before being shot dead. However, Iraqi officials have provided different accounts of what happened, including blaming infighting among camp residents.

    August 31, 2013

             

    Sri Lankan leaders must address the persistent climate of fear in the country, Amnesty International said as the UN human rights chief Navi Pillay concluded her visit to the island.

    Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, made her first official visit to Sri Lanka from 25-31 August. It comes just before the UN andCommonwealth review the country’s human rights situation in September

    At her concluding press conference today, Pillay stressed that many who met or wanted to meet her during the visit had been threatened by security forces, and that critical voices in Sri Lanka are “quite often attacked or even permanently silenced”.

    “Navi Pillay’s take on the human rights situation during her visit very much echoes our own findings. Being critical of government policy in Sri Lanka is highly risky, and the extent to which people are being harassed into silence is shocking”, said Polly Truscott Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    August 28, 2013

    Video footage apparently showing Angolan prison guards and fire fighters repeatedly beating and whipping prisoners is shocking and must be investigated, Amnesty International said today.

    The footage, recorded on a mobile phone and distributed via social media, is 5 minutes and 39 seconds long and is believed to have been recorded earlier this month. It shows a group of prisoners sitting on the ground as law enforcement officials and fire fighters drag them from the group one-by-one, kick them and beat them with sticks and leather straps.

    The footage appears to have been taken in Viana Prison, in the country’s capital Luanda, where similar footage had previously been uncovered.

    “This appalling incident involving apparent ill-treatment of prisoners, the second in under a year, is the latest in an increasingly disturbing pattern of brutal conduct by Angolan prison authorities,” said Muluka-Anne Miti, Amnesty International’s Angola Researcher.

    August 27, 2013

    Evidence strongly suggests that three men who were shot dead with live ammunition during an arrest raid on a Palestinian refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on Monday were unlawfully killed by Israeli forces, Amnesty International said today. 

    Another 19 people, including six children, were injured by live ammunition fired during the raid on Qalandia refugee camp, the highest number of casualties in a single Israeli operation in the West Bank this year. Five of those wounded, including three children, had injuries to the upper body.

    “The intentional lethal use of firearms – such as firing live ammunition at individuals’ upper bodies – is only permissible if strictly unavoidable to protect life,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    “The loss of life and high number of casualties in this incident raise serious questions as to whether heavily armoured Israeli troops acted according to international standards.”

    August 26, 2013

    Posted at 0001hrs (GMT) 27 August 2013

    The UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) singularly failed to investigate the abduction and murders of Kosovo Serbs in the aftermath of the 1998-1999 conflict, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

    It comes on the eve of a UN Security Council debate on Kosovo on 29 August.

    “UNMIK’s failure to investigate what constituted a widespread, as well as a systematic, attack on a civilian population and, potentially, crimes against humanity, has contributed to the climate of impunity prevailing in Kosovo,” said Sian Jones, Amnesty International’s expert on Kosovo.

    “There is no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity. They must be investigated and the families of the abducted and murdered must receive redress. The UN should not be allowed to shirk its responsibility any longer.”

    August 23, 2013

    Warring parties in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo must step up efforts to protect civilians from attacks, Amnesty International urged after a small child and a woman were killed and nearly two dozen wounded amid shelling on Thursday.

    The shelling attack hit three areas of the eastern town of Goma on 22 August, resulting in 21 civilians and one soldier being treated for injuries. An eight-year-old child and a woman among the wounded later died. The origin of the attack is not yet known.

    “Such loss of life is tragic and a violation of international humanitarian law,” said Lucy Freeman, Deputy Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.  

    August 23, 2013

    The killing of at least 1,089 people over the past weekunderscores the urgent need for Egypt’s security forces to comply with international standards on the use of force and firearms, Amnesty International said.

    In the bloodiest incident since the dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-ins last week, 97 were killed in Cairo on 16 August when protests by supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi culminating around Ramsis Square quickly plunged into violence. A child as young as seven and a number of teenagers were among those killed or wounded.

    “Security forces failed to take control of the situation or respond to violence used against them in a measured and responsible way to minimize loss of life. Many bystanders also lost their lives,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa for Amnesty International.

    August 19, 2013

    There must be a full, impartial and effective investigation into the shocking loss of life that has taken place in Egypt over the last week, with full accountability for whoever committed or ordered the unwarranted lethal crackdown, said Amnesty International’s leaders from across the globe as they came together in Berlin today.


    The interim government has already stained its human rights record – first by breaking its promises to use non-lethal weapons to disperse pro-Morsi sit-ins and allow for the safe exit of wounded and then by justifying their actions despite the tragic loss of lives.

    Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “The interim government has already stained its human rights record – first by breaking its promises to use non-lethal weapons to disperse pro-Morsi sit-ins and allow for the safe exit of wounded and then by justifying their actions despite the tragic loss of lives,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    August 16, 2013

    There must be a full and impartial investigation into the violent dispersal of sit-in protests in Cairo this week, where security forces used unwarranted lethal force and broke promises to allow the wounded to exit safely, Amnesty International said today on the basis of its research on the ground.


    Based on the initial testimonies and other evidence we’ve gathered, there seems to be little doubt the security forces have been acting with blatant disregard for human life, and full investigations that are both impartial and independent are urgently needed.

    Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International

    Unprecedented levels of violence have left more than 600 dead around Egypt. The Ministry of Interior reported 43 fatal casualties among security forces. The death toll is expected to climb further as bodies are transferred to official hospitals and morgues.

    August 15, 2013

    The Government of South Africa must ensure that the Commission of Inquiry into the killings at Marikana does not fail to deliver fair access to justice, said Amnesty International today.

    Nearly a year after the large-scale human rights abuses at Lonmin’s Marikana mine, the vital task of achieving accountability for these abuses is incomplete and at risk.

    The Commission of Inquiry, the main official vehicle set up to establish the facts and make recommendations to government, is currently in crisis. 

    “By anyone’s measure, the outcome of the police operation at Marikana was absolutely catastrophic,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s Deputy Program Director for Africa. 

    “The long-term consequences for the respect and protection of human rights in South Africa will be severe should the authorities fail in taking all necessary steps to achieve accountability for what happened in Marikana on 16 August 2012.”

    Thirty-four striking miners died in Marikana after police opened fire on them. More than 80 other miners sustained serious injuries. 

    August 14, 2013

    Security forces must take urgent steps to avoid further bloodshed as a pro-Morsi sit-in is dispersed in Cairo today, said Amnesty International. The organization is working on the ground to verify any abuses that may have been carried out.

    “Promises by the authorities to use lethal methods only as a last resort to disperse protesters appear to have been broken. All too often in the past the Egyptian security forces have used excessive force against demonstrators with catastrophic consequences,” said Philip Luther, Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    “Security forces have a duty to prevent further loss of life. This must be an immediate priority.”

    Access to the main hospital in the area near the sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya is also reported to be restricted.

    August 09, 2013

    With the potential for mass demonstrations rising following Cambodia’s disputed election and the government moving hundreds of security forces into Phnom Penh, Amnesty International is calling for Cambodian authorities and other political leaders to prevent violence.

    “Cambodian authorities and other political leaders in Cambodia must ensure that the post-election tension does not erupt into violence,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    “Many Cambodians have called for changes – political leaders should do all they can to ensure that these are achieved peacefully and with full respect for human rights,” she said.

    August 06, 2013

    The Hungarian authorities must do more to protect minority groups from hate crimes, Amnesty International urged today after four people were found guilty over the racially motivated murders of six Roma in 2008 and 2009.

    A Budapest court today handed life sentences to three of the convicted quartet, all known for supporting a far-right ideology, over a spate of attacks between March 2008 and August 2009 in the northeast of the country. The fourth man received 13 years in prison for collusion.

    However, research by Amnesty International suggests hate crimes against Roma remain a serious concern in Hungary, while police lack the guidelines to thoroughly and effectively investigate them.

    "Five years after these cold-blooded killings, Roma in Hungary still do not receive adequate protection from hate crimes," said Jezerca Tigani, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia Program.

    "This horrific case should have been a wake-up call about the continuous, often violent discrimination faced by the Roma community, but the perpetrators of such acts are still not being brought to justice."

    August 06, 2013

    The Pakistani authorities must hold former military ruler Pervez Musharraf accountable for all human rights violations committed during his rule, Amnesty International said ahead of a key trial today.

    Musharraf is today expected to be formally charged at an Anti-Terrorism Court in Islamabad with criminal conspiracy and murder related to the December 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

    There are a number of other cases pending against Musharraf, including in relation to the 2006 killing of the Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti, with trials for these expected to follow later in the year.

    “It is encouraging to see the courts take the unprecedented step of bringing a former Army Chief to account for his alleged involvement in past human rights violations and crimes under international law. But Musharraf must be held accountable for all violations committed under his rule, not just a select few,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

    August 05, 2013

    The Sri Lankan authorities must not allow the army to investigate itself over allegations of excessive use of force by its members after three protesters demonstrating over access to drinking water were killed over the weekend, Amnesty International said.  

    “The Sri Lankan army should have never been policing unarmed demonstrators in the first place, and having them investigate their own alleged abuses is simply ridiculous,” said Polly Truscott, Deputy Asia Pacific Director at Amnesty International.

    “Sri Lankan authorities must urgently initiate an effective investigation into this tragic incident. The investigation must be independent, impartial and conducted with the professionalism, resources and powers necessary to unearth the truth about this incident. The army cannot be seen to investigate itself. Anything less will send the message that using excessive force against protesters is permitted.”

    Sri Lanka is legally bound by international human rights treaties to respect and protect the right to life, and provide effective remedy when this right is violated.

    August 02, 2013

    The Iranian authorities must seize the opportunity presented by a change of leadership to fulfil the aspirations of many Iranians and undertake a complete overhaul of human rights in the country, said Amnesty International ahead of the inauguration of the new President this weekend.  
     
    Hassan Rouhani, the 64-year old cleric who has been described as a moderate, will be sworn in as President on Sunday 4 August 2013. Amnesty International has published a set of recommendations to the Iranian authorities, setting out a road map to address the abysmal human rights situation in the country.

    "For too long Iran has failed to live up to its human rights obligations under domestic and international law. After years of repression and international isolation, the Iranian authorities must stop posturing and acknowledge the severity of human rights violations in the country,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    August 01, 2013

    A ruling by Thailand’s Supreme Court shows how the authorities have failed to provide justice for 85 people that died at the hands of the security forces in Tak Bai, Amnesty International said.

    “Today’s ruling ignores the actions of security forces and officials involved in events that led to deaths of 85 people. Their actions were either intentional or negligent and therefore those involved should be brought to court. Families have been waiting for more than eight years for justice,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    On 25 October 2004 security forces opened fire on protesters demonstrating outside Tak Bai police station in the southern province of Narathiwat.

    Seven were shot dead, and a further 78 were suffocated or crushed to death in army vans transporting them to a military detention camp. Some 1,200 people were also held in military custody for days without medical attention, many of whom were severely injured.

    July 31, 2013

    The Egyptian government’s decision to mandate security forces to end all pro-Morsi sit-ins in Greater Cairo, considering recent violence against protesters, is a recipe for further bloodshed, Amnesty International said.

    “Given the Egyptian security forces' record of policing demonstrations with the routine use of excessive and unwarranted lethal force, this latest announcement gives a seal of approval to further abuse,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International,.

    “The authorities as well as the security forces should start with an approach that avoids the use of force and is based on ‘methods of persuasion, negotiation and mediation’, as recommended by international standards.”

    Earlier today, the Egyptian cabinet said, in a televised statement, that pro-Morsi sit-ins in Greater Cairo are now considered a "threat to national security".

    However, they failed to specify what measures they would take to minimise violent confrontation and the potential loss of life and serious injury.  

    July 30, 2013

    Attempts by the Kenyan government to water-down key reforms to regulate the country’s police force will allow human rights violations to continue and officers to act with impunity, Amnesty International warned today.

    Amendments to a police reform package are likely to be debated in Parliament this week. It was originally introduced to ensure that serious human rights violations committed by the Kenyan police force during the 2007/2008 post-election violence could never be repeated.

    However amendments proposed by the Inspector General of Police, and endorsed by the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Co-ordination, would severely weaken the reforms and eliminate many of the safeguards created to discipline and regulate the police force.

    “These reforms are vital for Kenya and it would be disastrous if they get diluted at the eleventh hour,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Africa.

    July 29, 2013

    Evidence that the security forces have once again used unwarranted live fire and other excessive force underlines the crucial need for police reform, said Amnesty International after a weekend of violence left 90 dead.

    Security forces used live rounds and tear gas to disperse supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi during demonstrations on Saturday, leaving 80 people dead. A further 10 people were killed by gunfire during clashes in Alexandria.

    “The latest bloodshed should serve as a wake-up call to the Egyptian authorities over the urgency of police reform,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    The Interior Ministry has denied using live ammunition to disperse protests on 27 July. However, testimonies from injured protesters and eyewitnesses as well as medical and video evidence collected and examined by Amnesty International casts serious doubts on the Ministry of Interior’s version of events.

    July 29, 2013

    The government of Cote d’Ivoire has failed to properly investigate evidence of human rights abuses linked to the killings at Nahibly displacement camp in the west of the country just over a year ago, says Amnesty International.

    In a report published today the organization gives details of bodies thrown in several wells that have not been excavated by the authorities despite repeated calls for an investigation. Amnesty International is calling on Cote d’Ivoire to establish an international commission of inquiry into this atrocity.

    “One year on, and despite repeated promises to ensure justice, the Ivorian government has made no substantial progress in investigating the crimes committed during this attack,” said Salvatore Saguès, Amnesty International’s Researcher on West Africa.

    July 25, 2013

    The Malaysian authorities must take immediate steps to end the alarming rate of reported deaths in custody, some as a result of torture or other ill-treatment, Amnesty International and Malaysian rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) said in an open letter today.

    Twelve people are known to have died in police custody since January 2013 compared to nine in the whole of 2012.

    “The rising number of reported deaths in custody is shocking, and sends a chilling message to all those at risk of arrests by police. They point to the lack of adequate systems in place to monitor and prevent such deaths,” said Hazel Galang, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Malaysia.

    “The Malaysian authorities must commit time and resources to tackle this problem at once. They must ensure that there are appropriate safeguards so that the police cannot simply go on committing abuses, including torture and other ill-treatment, with impunity.”

    More than 230 deaths in custody have been recorded since 2000, according to the Malaysian Parliament.

    July 24, 2013

    Every year police in Brazil are responsible for around 2,000 deaths, Amnesty International said today as it marked the 20th anniversary of the infamous Candelária massacre in Rio de Janeiro.

    “Our police still have blood on their hands, and are allowed to act with impunity as extra-judicial killings remain rife in Brazil’s major cities,” said Atila Roque, Amnesty International Brazil office director.

    On the night of 23 July 1993, eight young men and women died after a gang of hooded men opened fire on a group of some 50 street children sleeping on the steps of Rio de Janeiro’s Candelária church.

    Four of them died at the scene, another was gunned down as he escaped, two more were bundled into a car and then executed, and one girl died from her injuries several days later. Two of the victims were 18 years old while six were still children.

    July 23, 2013

    Security forces stood by and failed to intervene during a brutal attack on Coptic Christians in Luxor, Amnesty International said in a briefing published today. During the sectarian violence, security forces left six besieged men –four of whom were then killed and one hospitalized – to the mercy of an angry crowd.

    In an attack lasting 18 hours on 5 July, four Coptic Christian men were killed and four others were seriously injured. An angry mob armed with metal bars, knives, tree branches and hammers attacked Christian homes and businesses in Nagah Hassan, 18 km west of Luxor, after the dead body of a Muslim man was discovered near the homes of Christian families. Despite local residents’ and religious leaders’ repeated calls for help, security forces on the scene made only half-hearted attempts to end the violence and sufficient reinforcements failed to arrive.

    July 22, 2013

    The Indian authorities must ensure an urgent, full and independent investigation into the killing of four demonstrators and the alleged use of live ammunition against protesters in Jammu and Kashmir, Amnesty International said today.

    “It is of vital urgency that the authorities launch swift, thorough and independent investigations into the killings and the other reports that police used excessive force against the ensuing protests across Jammu and Kashmir,” said Shashikumar Velath, Programs Director at Amnesty International India.

    The protests erupted in numerous towns and cities after paramilitary forces killed four demonstrators in Gool, Ramban district on 18 July.

    Dozens of people have subsequently been injured in widespread clashes between the police and protesters across the northern Indian state.

    Protesters in several towns and cities defied curfews put in place over the weekend, with some holding violent demonstrations. Security forces have reportedly used excessive force in response, including firing live ammunition against protesters.

    July 22, 2013

    California prison authorities have again breached international human rights obligations by taking punitive measures against prisoners on hunger strike over conditions for thousands held in solitary confinement in the state’s prisons, Amnesty International said today.

    “Prisoners seeking an end to inhumane conditions should not be subjected to punitive measures for exercising their right to engage in peaceful protest,” said Angela Wright, Amnesty International’s USA researcher.

    “Prolonged isolation under conditions which can only be described as cruel and inhumane treatment is prohibited under international law.”

    More than 1,000 inmates in prisons acrossCalifornia remained on hunger strike as the protest enters its third week .

    This is down from approximately 30,000 prisoners in more than 24 prisons who began their hunger strike on 8 July to protest the state’s policy of long-term solitary confinement in Security Housing Units (SHU).

    July 17, 2013

    Hundreds of pro-Morsi supporters arrested by the Egyptian authorities have been denied their legal rights, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today. The organization has gathered testimonies from detainees who said that they were beaten upon arrest, subjected to electric shocks or hit with rifle butts.

    The Egyptian authorities must respect the right to due process for those who have been rounded up and are facing accusations of inciting or participating in violence in the last two weeks. Allegations of ill-treatment must be investigated urgently.

    “At this time of extreme polarization and division, it is more important than ever that the office of the Public Prosecutor demonstrates that it’s truly independent and not politicized,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International. “These cases risk being seen as mere retribution rather than justice.”

    July 05, 2013

    Amnesty International is warning against a crackdown on supporters of Mohamed Morsi, after documenting a new wave of arrests of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, raids on media and an incident in which a protester was killed by army live fire.

    Since former President Mohamed Morsi was deposed on 3 July, Amnesty International has spoken to eyewitnesses who were fired on by the army in a street near Rabaa Aladaweya Square in Cairo’s Nasr City that evening. Live ammunition was used on the pro-Morsi protest, and at least one demonstrator was killed.
     
    “We fear that the violence of the last few days could spiral into a new wave of human rights abuses,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme, amid reports that more pro-Morsi protesters were shot today as they marched on the headquarters of the Republican Guard in Cairo. “It also resurrects fears of the army’s abysmal record on human rights.”

    July 05, 2013

    Authorities in the state of Odisha, India, must provide immediate remedy and reparation to families forcibly evicted in Jagatsinghpur district for a project proposed by South Korean steel company POSCO, Amnesty International India said today.

    "These evictions were unlawful and have devastated the livelihoods of thousands of people," said Shashikumar Velath, Director of Programmes at Amnesty International India.

    "Authorities acquired land without engaging in genuine consultation with affected persons, or providing adequate notice or adequate compensation. They have been violating the rights of these villagers for years. They must now ensure that the affected families receive effective remedies."

    Officials from the Odisha government and police resumed forced evictions on 28 June 2013 in continuing efforts to acquire land for the project.  On the same day, police personnel baton-charged protestors, injuring at least 20 people.

    July 04, 2013

    Amnesty International has accused the Israeli authorities of bullying and judicial harassment of Nariman Tamimi, a Palestinian rights activist who was placed under partial house arrest today to prevent her taking part in peaceful protests while she awaits trial next week. 

    “This is an unrelenting campaign of harassment, the latest in a litany of human rights violations against Nariman Tamimi, her family, and her fellow villagers. These arbitrary restrictions should be lifted immediately and the charges should be dropped,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director. 

    Tamimi was arrested along with another activist Rana Hamadi on Friday 28 June, when villagers of Nabi Saleh walk towards a nearby spring in protest against the loss of their land.  In 2009 Israeli settlers occupied the Al-Qaws spring near Nabi Saleh village where Tamimi lives. The illegal settlement now enjoys the protection of the military.

    July 03, 2013

    Egyptian police and security forces are failing to protect protesters and bystanders from violence amid the country’s political strife, Amnesty International said today, on the brink of the army’s threatened intervention to resolve the crisis.

    According to evidence gathered by Amnesty International researchers in Egypt, security forces have not been intervening or have been despatched too late to stop violence during the clashes. Violence between opponents and supporters of President Morsi erupted across the country on 28 June.

    “The security forces should have been more than ready to prevent and stop the kinds of deadly clashes that we’ve seen in the past three days,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.  

    June 27, 2013

    United Arab Emirates state security officers have subjected detainees to systematic mistreatment, including torture, say hand-written letters from detainees smuggled out of jails, Alkarama, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. 

    The groups obtained 22 statements written by some of the 94people on trial for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government. The mistreatment described in the letters is consistent with other allegations of torture at UAE state security facilities, and indicates that torture is a systematic practice at these facilities. 

    The statements describe conditions in pre-trial detention in varying levels of detail.  Several detainees describe mistreatment that clearly meets the definition of torture as outlined in article 1 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the UAE ratified in July 2012. “I was beaten with a plastic tube all over my body,” one detainee said. “I was tied to a chair and threatened with electrocution if I didn’t talk. I was insulted and humiliated.”

    June 24, 2013

    Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi must urgently tackle the unprecedented level of sectarian violence against Shi’a Muslims and ensure they are protected from further attacks, Amnesty International said after four Shi’a men were killed in south Cairo during a violent attack on Sunday.

    “The Egyptian authorities must immediately order an independent and impartial investigation into the killing of the four men, and send a clear message that carrying out attacks and inciting violence against Shi’a Muslims will not be tolerated,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    “Investigations must look at why security forces yet again failed to stop the bloodshed, as well as whether advocacy of hatred and incitement to violence played a role.”

    On 23 June, a large group of villagers surrounded the house of local Shi’a Muslim resident, Farahat Ali Mohamed, in the Zawiyat Abu Musalam village in Giza, where a religious ceremony was being held.

    The villagers demanded that visiting Shi’a Sheikh Hassan Shahata hand himself over to them.

    June 24, 2013

    Amnesty International is deeply concerned that for the second year in a row, the Canadian government’s required report to Parliament about human rights and the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) fails to contain any analysis about human rights realities in Colombia.

    The Canadian government report fails to acknowledge widespread, grave human rights violations in Colombia – including ongoing threats and deadly attacks on trade unionists and community leaders seeking the return of stolen lands, as well as Indigenous peoples, Afro-descendent communities and rural farmers living in areas coveted for their natural resources.

    Notably, the report also excludes any information about Canadian investment in Colombia in the mining and oil and gas sectors.

    June 21, 2013

    A North Korean government ministry’s latest threat of harsh punishment against people leaving North Korea without permission renews concerns about freedom of movement in a country with a deplorable human rights record, Amnesty International said.

    On 19 June the state news agency published a statement by the Ministry of People’s Security of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea), vowing to “take substantial measures to physically remove despicable human scum” who leave the country without permission – an act the government views as treason. The statement added “Sordid human scum will never be able to look up to the sky nor be able to find an inch of land to be buried after their death”.

    “Nobody should be detained, prosecuted or punished in any way simply for exercising their right to freedom of movement by leaving North Korea,” said Catherine Baber, Director of the Asia-Pacific Programme at Amnesty International.

    June 19, 2013

    The trial of 12 Kopassus (Special Forces Command) soldiers accused of the extrajudicial execution of four detainees is likely to be little more than a sham warned Amnesty International as the military hearing opens on Thursday.

    “These courts should never be used to try those accused of human rights violations. They are biased, and they create an intimidating environment for witnesses to testify,” said Isabelle Arradon, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Programme.

    Kopassus forces have been accused of a range of serious human rights violations in the past but the vast majority have never been tried in an independent court for these crimes.

    “This horrific case is a stark reminder of how reforms of the military and the justice system have been stalled for years in Indonesia. Perpetrators of past crimes run free and new abuses can be committed with apparent impunity. There has to be immediate changes in law and practice so that human rights violators can be effectively tried before independent, civilian courts, and to send a clear message that no one is above the law,” said Arradon.

    June 19, 2013

    Afghanistan: Talks with the Taliban must focus on justice and human rights

    Human rights, including women’s rights, must be integral to any peace deal with the Taliban said Amnesty International today as the USA announced that it was to start direct peace talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban armed group.

    The call comes as Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai announced that his country would boycott the peace talks unless they were “Afghan-led”, and on the heels of NATO handing over responsibility for security in the country to Afghan forces.

    The first meeting is due to take place imminently in Doha, Qatar, where the Taliban have recently set up an office.
    “Any agreement with the Taliban must include clear red-line commitments that they will guarantee the rights of all Afghan women, men and children,” said Polly Truscott, deputy Asia-Pacific Programme Director at Amnesty International.
    “The peace process must not allow members of the Taliban or anyone else to be granted immunity from prosecution for serious human rights abuses and war crimes.”

    June 17, 2013

    The victory of Hassan Rouhani, a 64-year-old cleric, in Iran’s presidential election, presents a new opportunity to address human rights abuses in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    Hassan Rouhani, described as a moderate and a pragmatist, made a number of pledges to improve Iran’s dire human rights record during his electoral campaign, for which he must be held accountable in the coming months.

    He plans to issue a “civil rights charter” which calls for equality for all citizens without discrimination based on race, religion or sex. It also calls for greater freedom for political parties and minorities, as well as ensuring the right to fair trial, freedom of assembly and legal protection for all.  

    “The proposed charter – if delivered and implemented - presents the potential for a decisive first step forward for human rights in Iran,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Program Director.

    June 17, 2013

    The Spanish authorities are not investigating crimes under international law committed during the Civil War and Franco period, sending the message that impunity for human rights abuses is allowed, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    Time passes, impunity remains examines how the Spanish authorities have refused to investigate tens of thousands of killings and disappearances committed during the Civil War by both parties to the conflict and under Francisco Franco’s rule (1936-1975). It is also not cooperating with other countries, such as Argentina, that have opened their own investigations into Spain’s historical abuses.

    “The fact that Spain is neither investigating nor cooperating with proceedings relating to crimes committed during the Civil War by both parties to the conflict or under Franco is a slap in the face of all the relatives of those who were abused and disappeared at the time,” said Esteban Beltrán, Director of Amnesty International Spain.

    June 13, 2013

    Southern African leaders must ensure human rights are prioritized in the run-up to elections in Zimbabwe, Amnesty International said ahead of a key summit on the country.

    The Southern African Development Committee (SADC) meets Saturday in Maputo, Mozambique to review the electoral process in Zimbabwe, where a general election will be held before 31 July.

    “The SADC has played a critical role in easing the tension in Zimbabwe since the political violence of 2008. Now it has the duty to ensure that the coming elections are held in an environment free from human rights violations, including violence,” said Noel Kututwa Amnesty International's Africa Deputy Program Director.

    “Specifically, the SADC should immediately deploy human rights monitors to Zimbabwe to oversee the period before, during and after the elections."

    On 31 May, Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court ruled that elections must be held before the end of July.

    June 12, 2013

    A Yemeni man held by the US military has become the third person to seek victim status in an ongoing investigation by the Polish Prosecutor’s Office into Poland’s involvement in the US-led rendition and secret detention programmes.

    This morning Mariusz Paplaczyk, the Polish lawyer of Yemeni national Walid bin Attash, announced that yesterday he submitted an application requesting the Prosecutor's Office to grant his client with "injured person" (victim) status. After his arrest in Pakistan in 2003, Bin Attash passed through a number of CIA “black sites”, including one in Poland, before being taken to Guantánamo, where he currently awaits trial by military commission.

    The announcement came during a news conference in Warsaw to launch Amnesty International’s new report, Unlock the truth: Poland's involvement in CIA secret detention.

    June 12, 2013

    Members of Colombia ’s Congress should reject a proposed law whose purpose is to give greater powers to the military justice system and which will shield members of the armed forces and the police from justice for crimes under international law, Amnesty International said today.

    The law, due to be debated soon, will entrench impunity for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by Colombia ’ssecurity forces.
    The security forces, either acting alone or in collusion with paramilitaries, and guerrilla groups continue to be responsible for serious abuses, including unlawful killings, forced displacement, torture, abductions or forceddisappearances, and sexual violence.

    Very few people have been brought to justice for these human rights breaches, and the proposed law will insulate Colombia ’s security forces from prosecution before civilian courts.

    June 12, 2013

    Iran’s authorities have intensified the clampdown on dissidents ahead of the country’s presidential election on 14 June, Amnesty International said in a new briefing published today.

    The briefing, Iran: Repression of dissent intensifies in run-up to presidential elections, documents dozens of arbitrary arrests and other human rights abuses in the run-up to election day, targeting journalists, political activists, trade unionists, advocates of greater rights for Iran’s religious and ethnic minorities, and students.

    “The escalation in repression is an outrageous attempt by the Iranian authorities to silence critics ahead of the presidential election,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    “The surge in recent violations underlines Iran’s continued and brazen flouting of human rights standards through its persecution of political dissidents and betrays the glaring absence of a meaningful human rights discourse in the election campaign.”

    June 06, 2013

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  7 June 2013  

    Civilians are among dozens of people who have been tortured, killed and disappeared, including while in detention, since the launch of the French army’s intervention in the country five months ago, Amnesty International said in a new briefing published today.

    The briefing Mali: Preliminary findings of a four-week mission. Serious human rights abuses, issued in the run-up to the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in Mali next month, is the result of a research mission carried out in May and June in the country.

    “The Malian security forces’ human rights record since January is, simply, appalling. They continue to violate human rights with apparently no fear of being held accountable,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, Amnesty International researcher and member of this research mission.

    During the visit, Amnesty International documented dozens of cases of detainees being tortured or ill-treated after being arrested for having alleged links with armed groups. The organization also documented more than 20 cases of extrajudicial-executions or enforced disappearances.

    June 05, 2013

    Human rights violations in China and Colombia are on the agenda at two public events on Saturday June 8th as activists from across Canada meet at Saint Paul University for the Annual General Meeting of Amnesty International Canada’s English branch from June 7 - 9.

    The struggle to bring democracy and human rights protection in China will be the topic for a keynote address by Michel Cormier at the Annual General Meeting of Amnesty International Canada at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. Michel Cormier will give a talk in the auditorium of the university on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

    June 05, 2013

    Pakistan’s new government must not surrender respect for human rights in any potential peace talks with the Taliban or other armed groups, Amnesty International said.

    The organization also urged the new government, which takes office today (5 June), to make human rights a top priority during its term, starting with investigating election-related killings and other abuses that occurred over the last three months.

    “Pakistan has just passed a historic political milestone by seeing through this democratic transition. The new administration must now seize the opportunity to tackle the many human rights challenges facing the country,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

    The transition to the new government, led by incoming Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (N) party, marks the first time in Pakistan’s history that one elected civilian government is replaced by another, after seeing out a full term in office.

    June 01, 2013

    Urgent steps must be taken by the Turkish authorities to prevent further deaths and injuries and allow protestors access to their fundamental rights , as well as ensuring the security of all members of the public, Amnesty International said.

    Amnesty International kept its office, which is close the Taksim area, open as a safe haven for protestors escaping police violence throughout the night. 20 doctors are currently in the office and treating injured protestors. Other civil society organizations have taken similar actions.

    “Excessive use of force by police officers can be routine in Turkey but the excessively heavy-handed response to the entirely peaceful protests in Taksim has been truly disgraceful. It has hugely inflamed the situation on the streets of Istanbul where scores of people have been injured,” said John Dalhusien, Director of Amnesty International for Europe.

    Amnesty International observers at the protests witnessed the use of water cannon against peaceful protestors as well as those throwing stones at police.  

    May 23, 2013

    Nigerian authorities must not use the state of emergency imposed in the north of the country as an excuse to commit human rights violations, Amnesty International urged today as the military continued its assault on Islamist armed group Boko Haram.

    Several people have reportedly been killed and hundreds arrested since a state of emergency was declared in the northern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe on 14 May. The military reportedly claim those targeted are suspected members of Boko Haram.

    Some 2,400 people have fled the region for neighbouring Niger, according to a statement released on Tuesday by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

    "Issues of national security and the state of emergency do not give the military carte blanche to do whatever they want," said Lucy Freeman, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for Africa.

    “The onus is on the state to prove that they are not using an emergency as justification to run roughshod over people’s human rights.”

    May 22, 2013

    (London) Global inaction on human rights is making the world an increasingly dangerous place for refugees and migrants, Amnesty International said today as it launched its annual assessment of the world’s human rights.

    The organization said that the rights of millions of people who have escaped conflict and persecution, or migrated to seek work and a better life for themselves and their families, have been abused. Governments around the world are accused of showing more interest in protecting their national borders than the rights of their citizens or the rights of those seeking refugee or opportunities within those borders.

    “The failure to address conflict situations effectively is creating a global underclass. The rights of those fleeing conflict are unprotected. Too many governments are abusing human rights in the name of immigration control – going well beyond legitimate border control measures,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    May 22, 2013

    Zimbabwe’s new constitution presents a golden opportunity for the country to break away from a culture of impunity for human rights violations, Amnesty International said today.

    President Robert Mugabe today signed into law a new constitution, following a three-year constitution-making process to replace the Lancaster House constitution adopted at independence in 1980.

    “The new constitution is a positive development with the potential to increase ordinary people’s enjoyment of their basic rights,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International's Africa deputy director.

    “Not only is the world watching whether the country has truly turned the corner on this historic day, but millions of people in Zimbabwe hope that this new constitution will usher in a new political order where human rights are respected and protected.”

    The constitution-making process suffered ongoing delays and controversy, but March's referendum on the new constitution passed off relatively peacefully and resulted in an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote.

    May 15, 2013

    Today’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on Syria is a positive step but it does little to address the immense ongoing human rights and humanitarian crisis in the country, Amnesty International said.

    The non-binding resolution – which 107 states voted to adopt – encourages, among other things, the UN Security Council to “consider appropriate measures” that would ensure accountability for the ongoing violence and human rights violations in Syria. Russia was among the 12 countries who voted against the measure, while 59 abstained.

    The resolution contains the UNGA’s strongest call yet for independent and impartial investigations of all suspected violations of human rights and international humanitarian law since the outbreak of the Syrian uprising in March 2011. Russia and China have three times vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on the situation in Syria.

    May 10, 2013

    The detention of a female lawyer in Sudan, whose whereabouts are still unknown, is the latest in the authorities’ brutal campaign against human rights activists in the context of the conflict in the Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, Amnesty International said.

    Asma Ahmed, a lawyer and member of the banned opposition party the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), was arrested on 4 May when she reported to the office of the Sudanese National Security Services (NSS) in Khartoum.

    Two days earlier, NSS officers had gone to her house demanding that she report to them.

    Asma Ahmed has been held incommunicado since her arrest, without charge, placing her at high risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment. She is diabetic and requires medical care and a special diet.

    “The arrest of Asma Ahmed is yet another example of the Sudanese authorities’ determination to stifle freedom of association and the work of human rights activists in the country,” said said Lucy Freeman, Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    May 08, 2013

    Posted at 0001 GMT  9 May 2013

    Twenty years after its independence, Eritrea’s prisons are filled with thousands of political prisoners, locked up without ever being charged with a crime, many of m are never heard from again, Amnesty International said in a report released today.

    Twenty years of independence but still no freedom details how throughout the past two decades government critics, journalists and people practising an unregistered religion, as well as people trying to leave the country or avoid indefinite conscription into national service have been detained without charge in unimaginably atrocious conditions.

    “The government has systematically used arbitrary arrest and detention without charge to crush all opposition, to silence all dissent, and to punish anyone who refuses to comply with the repressive restrictions it places on people’s lives,” said Claire Beston, Amnesty International’s Eritrea researcher.

    “Twenty years on from the euphoric celebrations of independence, Eritrea is one of the most repressive, secretive and inaccessible countries in the world.”

    May 07, 2013

    The Bangladeshi authorities must immediately set up an independent and impartial investigation into police use of force after at least 44 people died in violent clashes between protesters and the police, Amnesty International said.

    Tens of thousands of supporters of the Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam took to the streets in the capital Dhaka and elsewhere in Bangladesh on 5 May and the early hours of 6 May.

    They demanded the introduction of stricter religious laws, including the introduction of a blasphemy law and restrictions on women’s human rights, including their freedom of movement.

    The demonstrations turned violent as protesters clashed with police in Dhaka.

    “There is considerable confusion about what really happened, and why the deaths occurred. There must urgently be an immediate independent and impartial investigation into the events, including the police use of force. The perpetrators must be brought to justice,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

    May 07, 2013

    Serious human rights violations and denial of fundamental freedoms in Equatorial Guinea are casting a shadow over campaigning ahead of the May 26, 2013 legislative elections, Amnesty International, EG Justice, and Human Rights Watch said in a statement released today.

    The organizations expressed concern over several incidents of politically motivated arrests in recent months. They also cited ongoing harassment of the country’s political opposition, reports of voter intimidation, and the denial of free speech and other rights in the lead-up to the election. Human Rights Watch and EG Justice also expressed concern about biased electoral processes and restrictive conditions for international observers.

    “President Obiang often says that Africans should demand a voice in global affairs, but he denies one to the people of Equatorial Guinea,” said Tutu Alicante, executive director at EG Justice, which presses for human rights and the rule of law in Equatorial Guinea. “The sad truth is that Equatoguineans have never experienced a free and fair election.”

    April 23, 2013

    Human rights for Canada’s most vulnerable groups will be under scrutiny this week in Geneva at the United Nations Human Rights Council. On Friday 26 April the Council will examine Canada’s human rights record in the second UN Universal Periodic Review.  The first review of all UN Member States, in the process that began in 2006, was completed in 2011. In advance of the second review Amnesty International has submitted a detailed submission outlining concerns about Canada’s record.

    “This important review of Canada’s record must address human rights issues for Indigenous Peoples,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of the English branch of Amnesty International Canada.  “The rising inequality of women and trends in sexual violence, arbitrary detention and forced return of migrants, concerns regarding torture, plus excessive policing during protests also demand scrutiny. A positive and constructive attitude from Canada would help improve human rights protection in Canada and set a positive example for other countries to follow.”

    April 22, 2013

    The conviction of 23 Brazilian police officers for killing inmates in a prison massacre two decades ago is a "vital" step towards justice, Amnesty International has said.

    The officers were sentenced yesterday to 156 years each in jail for their role in the deaths of 13 inmates during bloody riots at São Paulo's Carandiru prison in 1992, in which more than 100 inmates died.

    "The victims, their families and survivors of this brutal, shocking crime have waited 20 years for justice," said Atila Roque, Director of Amnesty International in Brazil.

    "This vital, if long overdue, ruling will hopefully kickstart a process that brings all those responsible for the killings to justice, including those in command."

    The Carandiru case has become emblematic of the flaws in São Paulo’s criminal justice system and its inability to deal with human rights violations.

    The authorities have failed to investigate the role of senior state government officials, while the conviction of the military operation’s commanding officer Colonel Ubiratan Guimarães was controversially overturned in 2006.

    April 15, 2013

    Brazil: Carandiru massacre trial must end long legacy of impunity

    A court trial this week over police responsibility for a Brazilian prison massacre two decades ago must signal the beginning of the end for a long legacy of impunity, Amnesty International said today.

    According to the human rights organization, the failure of Brazilian authorities in bringing anyone to justice for the Carandiru killings has reinforced longstanding abuses that have characterized Brazil’s detention system.

    More than 20 years after São Paulo state police repressed a jail riot in Carandiru prison, killing 111 prisoners, 26 rank and file police officers who allegedly took part on the deadly operation are due to face trial – the first of four trials opens today after being adjourned last week.

    “This trial must be a turning point”, said Atila Roque, Amnesty International’s Brazil Office director. “For years, the delay in bringing those responsible for the Carandiru massacre to justice has been a dark cloud hanging over the whole country – we hope that now this impunity is finally coming to an end.”

    April 04, 2013

    Israel’s military response to protests in the West Bank is failing to respect the human rights of Palestinians, Amnesty International said today as the number of Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli fire in the area since the beginning of 2013 reached eight.

    Ongoing Palestinian protests against the Israeli occupation have further escalated this week following renewed anger over detention conditions of Palestinian political detainees and prisoners, including the death in custody of Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, a Palestinian prisoner with cancer held by Israel since 2002.

    The protests look set to continue following the deaths of two Palestinian teenagers who were killed by Israeli forces at a military post near the settlement of Enav in the northern West Bank on Wednesday.

    “For years we and other human rights organizations have documented how the Israeli army has used excessive force against protesters in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, often resulting in unlawful killings and injuries,” said Ann Harrison, Amnesty |nternational’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    April 04, 2013

    The winner of Venezuela’s presidential elections on April 14 must implement policies that ensure the full protection of human rights in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    "Even though there has been some important human rights progress in Venezuela - particularly in terms of economic and social rights for the most vulnerable sectors - there are significant challenges ahead for the new president if the country is to step up to its full responsibilities," said Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International’s Americas Program Director.

    In a letter sent to all the presidential candidates, Amnesty International highlighted the urgency for Venezuela to rescind its withdrawal from the American Convention on Human Rights and, consequently, the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

    "Failure to respect the American Convention on Human Rights is an affront to Venezuela’s victims of human rights who are denied the possibility of turning to this important body of international legal protection," said Marengo. “The new Venezuelan President must reverse this decision as soon as possible.”

    March 28, 2013

    A Syrian university located in a government-controlled area has been hit with mortar rockets, reportedly killing up to 15 and injuring many more in what Amnesty International branded a serious violation of the laws of war.

    The attack on the Architecture Faculty of Damascus University came amid escalating fighting in the area in recent days.

    “Those who endure the worst atrocities in this brutal conflict are civilians. All sides must abide by international humanitarian law and avoid attacks which indiscriminately kill and injure civilians,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “It’s not yet clear who was responsible for firing the mortars in this attack, which landed in a government-controlled area, but one thing is obvious, they are being fired into areas with a large civilian population. Mortars are completely inappropriate for use in civilian areas. Even if the intended target was a military objective, the choice of mortars to attack a target in proximity to civilians displays a callous disregard for their fate and the rules of international humanitarian law.”

    March 28, 2013

    Elements of government forces, along with armed militias, are carrying out multiple large-scale attacks against civilians in North Darfur in what represents the worst instance of violence in recent years, Amnesty International says in a briefing today.

    Border Guards, who are under the authority of the Sudanese Military Intelligence, have been involved in attacks that have reportedly killed more than 500 people so far this year.

    According to the UN, roughly 100,000 people have been displaced since violence broke out on 5 January when an officer of the Border Guards and leader of the Rizeigat tribe both laid claim to a gold-rich piece of land in Jebel ‘Amer.

    Amnesty International is calling upon the Sudanese government to ensure a prompt, impartial and effective investigation into these allegations.

    “Any member of the Border Guards who is reasonably suspected of involvement in committing such attacks must be immediately suspended from their posts,” says Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Director.

    March 26, 2013

    Global pressure must be applied to all parties in the Syrian conflict to abide by international humanitarian and human rights law, Amnesty International said as the League of Arab States gathered in Qatar for a summit and BRICS nations met at a separate event in South Africa.

    The Arab League gathering – where the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces has been given Syria’s seat after the suspension of the Syrian government in November 2011 – should see a tough message emerge against abuses perpetrated by armed groups.

    “The opposition must not waver - it has both a duty and an opportunity to denounce abuses carried out by armed opposition groups and stand in line with international humanitarian law - paying lip service to it is not enough” said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director.

    March 21, 2013

    The North Korean government must co-operate fully with a new UN investigation - the Commission of Inquiry - into grave, systematic and widespread human rights violations in the country, Amnesty International said.

    The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva passed without a vote a resolution to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations in North Korea.
    Rajiv Narayan, North Korea Researcher for Amnesty International, said:

    “The Commission of Inquiry is a positive step towards addressing the dire human rights situation in North Korea. UN Member States have today sent a clear message to the North Korean authorities that those responsible for crimes against humanity will ultimately be held to account.

    “Millions of people in North Korea suffer extreme forms of repression. Hundreds of thousands, including children, remain in political prison camps and other forms of detention where forced hard labour, torture and other ill treatment is systemic.

    March 21, 2013

    The Turkish authorities must act on today’s announcement of ceasefire by the imprisoned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdulah Ocalan, Amnesty International said today.  

    “The Turkish authorities must seize the opportunity created by PKK chief Abdulah Ocalan’s call for a truce and work for a lasting peace based on justice for victims of human rights abuses committed by both sides during  the decades of conflict,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director.

    “The road to peace will throw up challenges but an atmosphere of openness and free exchange of opinion will provide the surest foundation for the negotiations the Turkish authorities have been having with the PKK in recent months.”

    “Amnesty International has repeatedly called for an end of the violence, an impartial investigation into human rights violations and for the promotion of the economic social and cultural rights of the Kurdish minority.”

    March 21, 2013

    A new UN resolution does a good job of highlighting past and ongoing human rights violations in Sri Lanka, but regrettably fails to establish an independent and international investigation into alleged crimes under international law, Amnesty International said.

    The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva this morning passed a resolution on the need to promote reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka following the country’s armed conflict, which ended in 2009.

    Yolanda Foster, Amnesty International’s Sri Lanka expert, said:

    “This is a positive development. UN Member States have sent a clear signal to the Sri Lankan government that crimes of the past cannot simply be ignored, but need to be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.

    “The text also crucially highlights the still very worrying human rights situation in Sri Lanka today, and calls for regular UN reporting on the implementation of the resolution, including of ongoing human rights violations.

    March 20, 2013

    Prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa must be immediately and unconditionally released, Amnesty International said after she was denied bail in a court appearance on Wednesday.

    Mtetwa was arrested on Sunday 17 March when she responded to a client whose home was being searched by police in Harare. She remained in custody despite a High Court order for her immediate release being issued at around 1am Monday morning.

    “Beatrice Mtetwa is the unfortunate victim of arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention and must be released immediately,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s southern Africa director.

    “It’s staggering that while Zimbabwe is in the process of adopting a new constitution which provides a stronger bill of human rights, lawyers in the course of their lawful duty are being so blatantly harassed and intimidated.”

    Beatrice Mtetwa responded to the call of a client, Thabani Mpofu, who is a staff member in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office, on Sunday morning during a police search of his home. When she arrived at the premises police were already conducting the search.

    March 15, 2013

    As Zimbabwe heads to the polls this weekend to vote on a proposed new constitution, Amnesty International urges the authorities to allow eligible civil society organizations to observe the process without harassment and intimidation.

    Recent months have seen a clampdown on dissent as a number of civil society organizations have been raided by police and charged with spurious offences ranging from ‘causing malicious damage to property’ and ‘smuggling’ radios into the country.

    An announcement last week by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission stated that organizations facing police investigations would be prevented from monitoring the referendum.

    “The Zimbabwean authorities must stop this game playing and allow the referendum to take place in a context that ensures the internationally guaranteed rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s southern Africa director.

    “Previous polls in Zimbabwe have been marred by political violence and human rights abuses. Saturday offers the country a chance to prove it can make a break with the past.”

    March 14, 2013

    Two years after Syrians rose in peaceful protest against their government, the country is mired in a bloody conflict with both sides responsible for war crimes, Amnesty International found in two briefings released today.

    Research carried out inside Syria in the last fortnight confirms that government forces continue to bomb civilians indiscriminately often with internationally banned weapons, flattening entire neighbourhoods. Detainees held by these forces are routinely subjected to torture, enforced disappearances or extra-judicial executions.

    Armed opposition groups have increasingly resorted to hostage taking, and to the torture and summary killing of soldiers, pro-government militias and civilians they have captured or abducted.

    “While the vast majority of war crimes and other gross violations continue to be committed by government forces, our research also points to an escalation in abuses by armed opposition groups,” said Ann Harrison, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.  

    March 11, 2013

    Ten years after the US-led invasion that toppled the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein, Iraq remains enmeshed in a grim cycle of human rights abuses, including attacks on civilians, torture of detainees and unfair trials, said Amnesty International in a new report out today.

    A decade of abuses exposes a chronology of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees committed by Iraqi security forces and by foreign troops in the wake of the 2003 invasion. 

    It highlights the Iraqi authorities’ continuing failure to observe their obligations to uphold human rights and respect the rule of law in the face of persistent deadly attacks by armed groups, who show callous disregard for civilian life.

    “Ten years after the end of Saddam Hussein’s repressive rule, many Iraqis today enjoy greater freedoms than they did under his Ba’athist regime, but the fundamental human rights gains that should have been achieved during the past decade have signally failed to materialize,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    March 07, 2013

    Analysis of new satellite images shows the North Korean government is blurring the lines between its political prison camps and the surrounding population, Amnesty International said on Thursday, as it reiterated its call for UN Member States to establish an independent Commission of Inquiry into grave, systematic and widespread human rights violations in North Korea—including crimes against humanity. 

    Responding to reports of the possible construction of a new political prison camp, Kwan-li-so, adjacent to Camp No. 14 in Kaechon, South Pyongan Province, Amnesty International USA’s (AIUSA) Science for Human Rights program commissioned satellite imagery and analysis of the area from the commercial provider DigitalGlobe. 

    Analysts found that from 2006 to February 2013, North Korea constructed 20km of perimeter around the Ch’oma-Bong valley -- located 70km north-northeast of Pyongyang -- and its inhabitants, new controlled access points and a number of probable guard towers.  Analysts also found construction of new buildings that appear to house workers, likely associated with an expansion of mining activity in the region.

    March 06, 2013

    A wave of violent attacks against Bangladesh’s minority Hindu community shows the urgent need for authorities to provide them with better protection, Amnesty International said.

    Over the past week, individuals taking part in strikes called for by Islamic parties have vandalised more than 40 Hindu temples across Bangladesh.

    Scores of shops and houses belonging to the Hindu community have also been burned down, leaving hundreds of people homeless.

    The attacks come in the context of large scale violent protests that have been raging across Bangladesh for weeks over the country’s ongoing war crimes tribunal, the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT).

    “The Hindu community in Bangladesh is at extreme risk, in particular at such a tense time in the country. It is shocking that they appear to be targeted simply for their religion. The authorities must ensure that they receive the protection they need,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

    March 05, 2013

    The arrest of former President Mohamed Nasheed is an example of selective justice from the Maldives authorities and highlights their failure to investigate other serious human rights abuses in the country, Amnesty International said.

    Nasheed, who resigned as President in February 2012 under disputed circumstances, was arrested in the Maldivian capital Male today.

    He is accused of illegally ordering the arrest of a judge while in office, and on Wednesday will face trial for “unlawfully arresting an innocent person” under Maldivian law.

    “Of course political leaders, including Nasheed, should be held to account - but the targeting of Nasheed is an example of selective justice,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Maldives Researcher.

    “Amnesty International, and many others, have documented a wide range of human rights violations committed by security forces following Nasheed’s resignation. These include police violence against peaceful protesters and the deliberate targeting of Nasheed’s supporters.

    March 05, 2013

    As President Enrique Peña Nieto completes 100 days in office, the few measures his government has taken on human rights simply do not match the gravity of the situation that Mexico is experiencing.

    “There are worrying signs that this government is failing to give sufficient priority to the protection of human rights. It must make a clear break with the previous administration’s empty human rights promises and deliver on ending impunity for abuses,” said Javier Zúñiga, Amnesty International special adviser.

    In December, Amnesty International’s Secretary General wrote to the new president to ask for immediate action on a range of serious issues - to date there has not been a substantive response.

    The organization called for a radical change to public security policy to ensure the end of grave abuses such as torture, ill-treatment and enforced disappearances and for perpetrators to face justice.

    Peña Nieto made commitments to implement the recommendations of the UN Committee on Torture in November 2012, but so far there is little evidence of the actions needed.

    March 01, 2013

    Footage of South African police tying a Mozambican man to the back of a police vehicle and dragging him down the road has been making headlines across the world.

    The man is reported to have died later in a police cell from head injuries.

    “This footage is shocking,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s southern Africa director.

    “This appalling incident involving excessive force is the latest in an increasingly disturbing pattern of brutal police conduct in South Africa.”

    Amnesty international has been documenting an increasing trend by police to resort to excessive force in response to social protests and ordinary crime for nearly ten years. Torture and other ill-treatment, primarily in context of criminal investigations, have become habitual practices. 

    The killing by heavily armed police of 34 striking mine workers at Marikana last August, and the alleged ill-treatment of some injured and arrested miners in the aftermath, is one extremely concerning example of this trend.

    February 14, 2013

    The deaths of two men while in police custody in the Bahamas last weekend highlights the urgent need for greater accountability for police abuses, Amnesty International said today.

    33-year-old Jamie Smith and 20-year-old Aaron Rolle died while detained at two different police stations in the capital, Nassau, last Friday and Saturday respectively.

    The circumstances of the men’s deaths and the reasons for their original detention are still unclear. Authorities said the incident would be investigated by the Coroner’s Court, a judicial body which suffers from serious backlogs due to lack of resources

    Their deaths are the latest examples of alleged human rights abuses by police – including similar fatalities in police custody or alleged unlawful fatal shootings -- have occurred in recent years.

    In the vast majority of the cases, those responsible did not face justice.

    February 08, 2013

    Authorities in Papua New Guinea (PNG) must take urgent action to prevent 'sorcery'-related killings, Amnesty International said after the brutal murder of a woman accused of using witchcraft to kill a young boy.

    Twenty-year-old Kepari Leniata was stripped, tied up, doused in petrol and burned alive by relatives of the dead boy in the city of Mount Hagen, local media reported.

    "Those responsible for the shocking torture and killing of this woman must be brought to justice," said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International's Pacific researcher.

    "But there is far more to be done to tackle this endemic problem in Papua New Guinea, where 'sorcery' is still considered a criminal offence."

    There have been several reports in recent years of people accused of 'sorcery', in most cases women, being murdered.

    In July 2012, police reportedly arrested 29 members of a witch-hunting gang who were allegedly murdering and cannibalizing people they suspected of 'sorcery'.

    February 01, 2013

    The Haitian authorities must urgently move to prevent illegal and violent evictions of people living in make shift camps and take meaningful steps to provide them with appropriate housing, said Amnesty International today, after a new wave of evictions affected hundreds of families across Port-au-Prince.

    Many of the 350,000 people still living in makeshift camps following the 2012 earthquake are also at risk.

    On 22 January, police officers violently evicted 84 families from camp Fanm Koperativ, in the municipality of Port-au-Prince.

    According to information gathered by Amnesty International, families were not given any notice of the eviction and were forced out of their make-shift tents by the police accompanied by a group of men armed with machetes and hammers.

    Suze Mondesir, a member of the camp committee, recounted their ordeal: "Around 10am a group of police officers accompanied by men armed with machetes and knives arrived at the camp. They insulted us and began to demolish our tents. The men pushed us around and the police waved their guns at us to prevent us from reacting."

    January 25, 2013

    Iraq must immediately investigate the killings of protestors in accordance with international standards, Amnesty International said today after several people died when troops in the city of Fallujah fired on anti-government demonstrators who had reportedly thrown stones at them.


    Several others were said to be seriously injured during Friday's protest, the latest in an ongoing and largely peaceful campaign protesting against the government and its abusive treatment of detainees.

    
"The Iraqi authorities must ensure that the investigation they have announced into these killings is independent, impartial and that the methods and findings are made public.  Anyone found responsible for abuses – including anyone found to have used excessive force against protestors – must be brought to justice,” said Ann Harrison, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    January 24, 2013

    People in Cameroon are being subjected to a raft of abuses including unlawful killings and torture as the authorities seek to use the criminal justice system to clamp down on political opponents, human rights defenders and journalists and as a weapon to attack lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, Amnesty International said in a new report.

    “It’s time to put an end to such blatant violations of human rights,” says Godfrey Byaruhanga, Amnesty International’s central Africa researcher who has recently returned from the country.

    “The government needs to make it clear to security forces that human rights violations will not be tolerated – that the perpetrators will be brought to justice and reparations paid to victims.”

    In the report, Amnesty International documents a series of cases where fear, intimidation and imprisonment have been used to clamp down on political opposition to President Paul Biya.

    January 18, 2013

    Overnight police raids in several Turkish cities have resulted in the arrest of 15 human rights lawyers known for defending individuals’ right to freedom of speech and victims of police violence, Amnesty International said.
     
    The police operation, which was reportedly aimed at clamping down on a banned left-wing group, included arrests in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir and targeted residential addresses as well as law offices. Headquarters and branches of the Contemporary Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) and the Peoples’ Law Office in Istanbul were among the addresses included in the raids.

    According to information received by Amnesty International, police searched the People’s Law Office without having a prosecutor and bar association representative present, as required by law. 

    “The detention of prominent human rights lawyers and the apparent illegal search of their offices add to a pattern of prosecutions apparently cracking down on dissenting voices,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey.

    January 10, 2013

    Concrete measures are needed to back up a new law aimed at guaranteeing the rights of victims of crime and human rights abuses in the ongoing violence resulting from the struggle against organized crime in Mexico, Amnesty International said.

    Mexico’s new President Enrique Peña Nieto signed the General Victims’ Law (Ley General de Víctimas) into effect on Wednesday.

    Since 2006, more than 60,000 people have been killed and thousands have disappeared in the violence by organized crime and as a result of security force operations. The victims and their relatives have frequently been ignored and are routinely denied access to justice.

    The efforts of Mexican NGOs – including victims of the violence themselves – have been crucial to the measure’s passage, and they are hopeful it will ensure victims are treated with respect, crimes are investigated and compensation is paid to help stop similar abuses from being repeated in the future.

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