Crimes Against Humanity
Responding to today’s bombing in Kabul that has claimed the lives of 80 people and injured at least 350, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher Horia Mosadiq said:
“The bombing in Kabul is a horrific act of violence and a heartbreaking reminder of the toll that Afghan civilians continue to pay in a conflict where armed groups deliberately target them and the government fails to protect them.
“There must be an immediate, impartial and effective investigation that delivers justice to the victims. Civilians must never be targeted under any circumstances.
“Today’s tragedy shows that the conflict in Afghanistan is not winding down but dangerously widening, in a way that should alarm the international community.
“The International Criminal Court must make good on its promise to investigate war crimes in the country and hold the perpetrators accountable.”
· Hundreds shot, beaten and burned alive
· Satellite pictures reveal site of possible mass grave
Mass slaughter of hundreds of men, women and children by soldiers in Zaria and the attempted cover-up of this crime demonstrates an utter contempt for human life and accountability, said Amnesty International as it publishes evidence gathered on the ground revealing how the Nigerian military burned people alive, razed buildings and dumped victims’ bodies in mass graves.
The report, Unearthing the truth: Unlawful killings and mass cover-up in Zaria, contains shocking eyewitness testimony of large-scale unlawful killings by the Nigerian military and exposes a crude attempt by the authorities to destroy and conceal evidence.
Today’s attacks in Brussels show an utter contempt for human life, Amnesty International said as it condemned them in the strongest possible terms.
“To deliberately target civilian lives is, and always will be, inexcusable. Those responsible for these attacks must be brought to justice. All our thoughts are with the victims of the recent attacks and their families,” said Philippe Hensmans, Managing Director of Amnesty International Belgium-Francophone Section and Han Verleyen, Acting Director of Amnesty International Belgium-Flemish Section.
Amnesty International is calling on the Belgian authorities to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation so that those responsible for these acts are brought to justice.
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The Huthi armed group and forces allied to it are endangering the lives of thousands of civilians in the southern city of Ta’iz by blocking the entry of crucial medical supplies and food over the past three months, in blatant violation of international humanitarian law, said Amnesty International.
Testimony gathered by the organization from 22 residents and medical staff living in Yemen’s third largest city paints an alarming picture of civilian suffering and hardship. Most of the city’s hospitals have shut down and the few that remain open are on the verge of collapse due to a lack of supplies. One resident’s new-born baby died hours after he was born because of severe oxygen shortages at the city’s hospitals.
“The Huthi forces appear to be deliberately barring the entry of civilian goods, including vital medical supplies and food, fuelling a humanitarian crisis with devastating consequences for residents of Ta’iz,” said James Lynch, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
Myanmar should immediately repeal or amend a new law passed today which could grant former presidents blanket immunity for human rights violations and crimes under international law, said Amnesty International.
Myanmar’s outgoing Parliament today voted to pass the Former Presidents Security Law. The original draft had rung alarm bells as it granted former presidents immunity from prosecutions for undefined “actions” committed during their time in office.
However, it now appears that the proviso “in accordance with the laws” has been added to the final version passed today. While an improvement, the law could still be interpreted as granting immunity to former presidents; including for crimes against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under international law.
“This law has been rushed through parliament with minimal debate before the new government takes office, raising concerns that the outgoing government is determined to protect its ranks from any form of prosecution.” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International Interim Director South East Asia and Pacific Office.
The Turkish authorities are failing to respond to the desperate pleas of more than 20 injured residents sheltering for six days in the basement of a building that has been under fire and heavy shelling in the south-east town of Cizre, said Amnesty International today.
“This is a desperate situation: injured individuals, some of whom are apparently bleeding heavily, are at grave risk of dying if they do not urgently receive medical care,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey.
An estimated 23 people are stranded in a building’s basement in the town of Cizre, Şırnak province, where they sought shelter on 23 January amid ongoing clashes between the army and the armed individuals affiliated to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Amnesty International has spoken to one of the people in the basement who said that four people had already died and a further 12 were seriously injured, while the building continued to be hit by shells. Communications have since been cut but it is believed that six people have now died.
Posted at 0001hrs GMT 20 January 2016
Peshmerga forces from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Kurdish militias in northern Iraq have bulldozed, blown up and burned down thousands of homes in an apparent effort to uproot Arab communities in revenge for their perceived support for the so-called Islamic State (IS), said Amnesty International in a new report published today.
The report, Banished and dispossessed: Forced displacement and deliberate destruction in northern Iraq, is based on field investigation in 13 villages and towns and testimony gathered from more than 100 eyewitnesses and victims of forced displacement. It is corroborated by satellite imagery revealing evidence of widespread destruction carried out by Peshmerga forces, or in some cases Yezidi militias and Kurdish armed groups from Syria and Turkey operating in coordination with the Peshmerga.
It is with great sadness that Amnesty International has learned of the tragic death of photographer Leila Alaoui and driver Mahamadi Ouédraogo, as a result of the Al Qaeda attack in Ougadougou on Friday.
Leila was shot twice, in the leg and thorax, but was quickly taken to hospital and was initially in a stable condition following an operation. A medical evacuation was being prepared when she suffered a fatal heart attack.
Leila was a talented French-Moroccan photographer who we had sent to Burkina Faso to carry out a photographic assignment focusing on women's rights.
Mahamadi was killed in his car. A father of four, he was a great friend to Amnesty International having accompanied staff and consultants on missions in the country since 2008. Our thoughts are with his wife, children and family. He will be sorely missed.
Amnesty International's absolute priority is to ensure the best possible support for Mahamadi and Leila's families. The organization’s representatives are at the hospital liaising with her family, doctors and all necessary officials.
A series of bomb blasts and shootings that rocked Jakarta this morning have killed at least seven people, five of whom were suspected attackers. The armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) has reportedly claimed responsibility.
In response to the attacks Josef Benedict, Amnesty International Southeast Asia and Pacific Deputy Campaigns Director, said:
“Today’s attack shows an utter disregard for the right to life. This is sadly not the first time Indonesians have seen their loved ones killed in horrific attacks by extremist groups who use bloodshed to further their despicable aims.
"The Indonesian authorities must conduct a prompt, impartial and thorough investigation into the attack and ensure that all those involved in planning and carrying out this attack are brought to justice in fair trials without the recourse to the death penalty.
Boko Haram must end its campaign of senseless killings and the Nigerian authorities must bring those responsible to justice, said Amnesty International in the wake of the latest bomb attacks which killed dozens and injured more than 180 people.
At least 32 people are reported to have been killed by a bomb blast in the north eastern Nigerian city of Yola on Tuesday 17 November while at least 14 people died following a double suicide bomb attack by two female suicide bombers in a market in the city of Kano on Wednesday 18 November. While Boko Haram has not claimed responsibility for all these attacks, Amnesty International believes, based on analysis of the pattern of attacks as well as information gathered from witnesses and human rights defenders, that the bombings fit the group’s methods and targets.
“These shocking acts of brutality cannot be permitted to continue with impunity. How much longer must people in Nigeria be forced to live in fear as such heinous attacks are committed against them?” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Research and Advocacy Director.
The killing of a 28-year-old Palestinian man by Israeli forces during a raid on al-Ahli hospital in Hebron in the early hours of Thursday morning may amount to an extrajudicial execution, Amnesty International said today.
Eyewitnesses report that a large group of Israeli soldiers and police entered the hospital at 2.43am disguised as Palestinian civilians, with some wearing keffiyehs and fake beards and another being pushed in a wheelchair dressed as a pregnant woman. According to two witnesses Amnesty International spoke to, they entered a room on the third floor of the hospital where 20-year-old Azzam Azmi Shalaldah was a patient, to arrest him on suspicion of stabbing an Israeli civilian on 25 October.
When they entered the room where the patient was in bed, they immediately shot his cousin, Abdullah Azzam Shalaldah, at least three times, including in the head and upper body.
Fires burn in the MSF emergency trauma hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, after it was hit and partially destroyed by missiles 03 October 2015. Photo: MSF
The bombing of a Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Afghanistan today is a deplorable loss of life that must be urgently and impartially investigated, Amnesty International said.
The MSF surgical hospital in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan was this morning hit by repeated airstrikes, killing at least nine staff members and an unknown number of patients. Many are still unaccounted for. It is unclear who was responsible for the bombing, although the US military has admitted that a US airstrike “may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility”. MSF informed all parties earlier this week of the GPS coordinates of its hospital.
Posted at 0001hrs GMT 30 September 2015
Indonesian authorities are abandoning millions of victims and their family members who suffered through one of the worst mass killings in modern times, Amnesty International said on the 50th anniversary of the events that triggered the government-led atrocities of 1965 and 1966.
“Five decades is far too long to wait for justice for one of the worst mass killings of our era. Across Indonesia, victims of the 1965 and 1966 events and their family members have been left to fend for themselves, while those suspected of criminal responsibility walk free,” said Papang Hidayat, Amnesty International’s Indonesia Researcher.
“Indonesian authorities must put an end to this injustice once and for all. Today’s anniversary must be the starting point for a new era where crimes of the past are no longer swept under the carpet.”
In the wake of a failed coup attempt on 30 September 1965, the Indonesian military – led by Major General Suharto – launched a systematic attack against suspected communists and a range of other leftists.
The new wave of violence which has left dozens of civilians dead and at least 100 injured highlights the fragility of the reconciliation process and the urgent need for enhanced protection of civilians, disarmament and an end to impunity in Central African Republic, Amnesty International said today.
Clashes erupted over the weekend in the capital Bangui and have continued today.
“The deadly violence in the capital illustrates that CAR remains in a very fragile state and that immediate action must be taken to enhance the capacity of UN peacekeepers to detect and respond effectively to such incidents before escalation of attacks on civilians,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International regional director for West and Central Africa.
“Small arms have been used by all sides to the conflict to attack civilians. The disarmament of all civilians and armed groups therefore needs to be speeded up to prevent all sides to the conflict using these weapons to commit further crimes under international law, including war crimes.”