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Crimes Against Humanity

    April 02, 2014

    The European Union (EU)’s deployment of up to 1,000 troops must only be the beginning of the international community’s renewed response to the violence and ethnic cleansing in the Central African Republic (CAR), Amnesty International said as a key EU-Africa Summit opened in Brussels today.

    For months now, the ethnic cleansing of Muslims, as well as war crimes and crimes against humanity, being perpetrated in the CAR have demanded a swift and robust response. The EU military operation, EUFOR RCA, is expected to deploy soon and is intended as a “bridging mission” to support the existing 8,000 African Union and French troops until a full-fledged UN peacekeeping force can deploy later this year.

    “The Central African Republic is gripped by a human rights and humanitarian crisis of historic proportions. By failing to respond more robustly and urgently, the international community has shown a callous disregard for the country’s embattled civilians, abandoning them in their moment of need,” said Christian Mukosa, Central Africa Researcher at Amnesty International.

    March 13, 2014

    •        Thousands of people to attend vigils held in more than 40 countries
    •        Banksy creates a #WithSyria reworking of his iconic “girl with a red balloon” image
    •        Nelson’s Column, the Lincoln Memorial and Eiffel Tower to be lit up in message of hope at the vigils
    •        115 humanitarian and human rights groups join prominent names and Syrian voices in demanding immediate action to ensure Syrians in need – including civilians in areas under siege, can access aid
    •        Stunning #WithSyria animation released with exclusive music from Elbow, who have given their song “The Blanket of Night” as the soundtrack

    Across the world from Moscow to Washington thousands of people will mark the 3rd anniversary of the crisis in Syria on Thursday with candlelit vigils, the lighting up of iconic locations and the release of Banksy inspired red balloons carrying messages of hope to Syrians.

    February 28, 2014

    Amnesty International is alarmed by the increase in attacks by unknown gunmen on people in north-east Nigeria and called on the government to take effective measures to protect the people and prevent further human rights abuses.

    Early Thursday morning saw the latest attack, on Shuwa, Kirchinga and Michika villages in Adamawa State, north-east Nigeria, in which at least 40 people were slaughtered.

    “Since the beginning of this year the attacks have intensified. Over 600 people have been killed by gunmen, often suspected to be Boko Haram.” said Makmid Kamara, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International.

    “The Nigerian government’s continued failure to protect ordinary people from attacks and unlawful killings is shocking. The authorities have an obligation to protect people’s lives and properties under all circumstances. All armed groups operating in northern Nigeria must immediately stop these horrific attacks”

    On Monday where at least 29 students and teachers at a college were murdered in Yobe state north-east Nigeria. Some injured students later died in hospital increasing the death toll to over 40.

    February 22, 2014

    The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimous vote to adopt a resolution addressing humanitarian aid and human rights abuses in Syria is a significant step towards alleviating the suffering in Syria, said Amnesty International. 

    “The resolution adopted today is long overdue but it throws a lifeline to more than a quarter of a million people living under siege in Syria and 9.3 million civilians in need of humanitarian aid, by offering a tangible sign of hope for an end to their suffering,” said Jose Luis Diaz, Head of Amnesty International’s UN office in New York.  

    “This is the first resolution to address the abysmal humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country in the nearly there years since the uprising there began. While some sections of the resolution could and should have been much stronger, especially surrounding the issues of accountability and ending impunity, its adoption is an important step.”

    February 21, 2014

    The decision of a Haitian court to allow investigations to continue into crimes against humanity committed during the rule of “president-for-life” Jean-Claude Duvalier is a major boost for the victims in their long quest for truth and justice, Amnesty International said.

    “This much-needed green light to continue the investigations is a victory for the victims of torture, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations committed under the rule of Duvalier and their relatives,” said Javier Zúñiga, Special Advisor for Amnesty International.

    “It also bolsters hopes for a new Haiti, founded upon the rule of law and equality of justice for all.”

    The Court of Appeal in the capital Port-au-Prince on Thursday reversed a January 2012 ruling by an investigative judge. The earlier decision stated that Duvalier could not be charged with crimes against humanity filed by victims of alleged forced disappearances and torture during his rule from 1971-1986 because the time for the prosecution of those offences had elapsed.

    February 17, 2014

    The United Nations Security Council must increase pressure on North Korea to address the horrific human rights situation in the country, Amnesty International said following publication of a damning UN report.

    “The gruesome reality of life in North Korea is laid bare in the Commission’s comprehensive report. The gravity and nature of human rights violations are off the scale,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

    The UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea – tasked with investigating grave, systemic and widespread human rights violations in the country – published its final report on Monday.

    December 24, 2013

    The UN Secretary-General’s request for the UN Security Council to provide additional human and material resources to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reflects the urgent need to protect civilians at risk amid the escalating violence, Amnesty International said.

    On Monday evening UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an additional 5,500 peacekeepers to join the 7,000 UNMISS troops already on the ground with a mandate to protect civilians.

    “The Secretary-General’s proposal shows that the UN is acutely aware of how dire and dangerous the situation is in South Sudan,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director.

    "UNMISS peacekeepers must live up to their mandate to protect civilians, which they have not been able to do effectively in the past. Terrified civilians desperately need protection.”

    The move to expand the peacekeeping mission comes after violent clashes between rival groups of soldiers erupted in the capital Juba on 15 December before spreading to other parts of the country. 

    December 18, 2013

    Posted at 0001 GMT 19 December 2013

    Torture, flogging, and summary killings are rife in secret prisons run by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), an armed group that controls large areas of northern Syria, said Amnesty International in a briefing published today.

    ISIS, which claims to apply strict Shari’a (Islamic law) in areas it controls, has ruthlessly flouted the rights of local people. In the 18-page briefing, entitled Rule of fear: ISIS abuses in detention in northern Syria, Amnesty International identifies seven detention facilities that ISIS uses in al-Raqqa governorate and Aleppo.

    “Those abducted and detained by ISIS include children as young as eight who are held together with adults in the same cruel and inhuman conditions,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    December 01, 2013

    Released  0:01 GMT on Monday 2 December 2013

    The UN Security Council has no time to waste to authorize a robust peacekeeping force for deployment to the Central African Republic to protect civilians from the violence and chaos engulfing the country, Amnesty International said today.

    This week, the Security Council is expected to give French and African Union troops on the ground an initial mandate to rein in the armed groups responsible for spiralling human rights abuses. But a full-fledged UN peacekeeping operation may be necessary to overcome the current crisis.

    October 29, 2013

    The security forces in the Central African Republic (CAR) are out of control and urgent action is needed by the national authorities and the international community to establish law and order, Amnesty International said in a report released today.

    CAR: Human rights crisis spiralling out of control highlights the unprecedented scale of human rights violations committed across the country by Seleka, the coalition of armed groups, which launched an offensive against former President Francois Bozizé in early December 2012 and seized power in March 2013.

    “Seleka forces have attacked civilians across the country, executing and torturing civilians, indiscriminately shelling communities, raping women and forcefully conscripting children,” says Godfrey Byaruhanga, Amnesty International’s CAR researcher.

    “The level of hopelessness and despair has reached a new high as a result of these persistent, large scale human rights violations, which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

    October 22, 2013

    New evidence indicates that the USA has carried out unlawful killings in Pakistan through drone attacks, some of which could even amount to war crimes, Amnesty International said in a major new report released today.

    The report, “’Will I be next?’ US drone strikes in Pakistan”, is one of the most comprehensive studies to date of the US drone program from a human rights perspective.

    It documents recent killings in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas and the almost complete absence of transparency around the US drone program.

    “Secrecy surrounding the drones program gives the US administration a license to kill beyond the reach of the courts or basic standards of international law. It’s time for the USA to come clean about the drones program and hold those responsible for these violations to account,” said Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International’s Pakistan Researcher.

    “What hope for redress can there be for victims of drone attacks and their families when the USA won’t even acknowledge its responsibility for particular strikes?”

    October 07, 2013

    A wave of suicide bombings targeting school children and Shi’a pilgrims over the weekend marks a deplorable turn in the current surge in violence, said Amnesty International.

    In the latest attacks at least 22 people were killed today in a fresh wave of explosions in Baghdad.

    "Deliberately killing civilians can never be justified. These latest attacks are war crimes and are part of a widespread attack against civilians in Iraq that amounts to crimes against humanity,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Program Director.

    The attacks, which included suicide bombings in a school playground in northern Iraq and on Shi’a pilgrims in the capital, left scores of people dead, including at least 12 children.

    The violence in various parts of the country has been surging to levels not seen in several years. No armed group has yet claimed responsibility for the latest series of attacks, but they bear the hallmarks of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), an al-Qa'ida affiliate.

    September 30, 2013

    Authorities in Nigeria must take urgent measures to protect schools and students in the north-east of the country following a fresh attack by unknown gunmen that left dozens dead, Amnesty International said.

    “Since 2012, we have seen an escalation of lethal attacks against students and schools. On top of the tragic loss of life children are being prevented from accessing education. It is high time for the authorities not only to investigate these deplorable incidents and take those responsible to justice but to take measures to prevent them,” said Lucy Freeman, Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    The attack took place at around 1:00 am on Sunday when gunmen entered the compound of the College of Agriculture in Yobe state and opened fire on students.

    Several individuals told Amnesty International the attackers ordered students to assemble and then opened fire on them.

    One resident of Damaturu said that on Sunday they counted 62 bodies at the Sani Abacha General Hospital mortuary in Damaturu, Yobe state.

    August 15, 2013

    Calls for truth, justice and reparation by victims of the devastating Aceh conflict are gathering momentum despite serious remaining challenges, Amnesty International said as it published a briefing to mark the eighth anniversary of the conflict’s end.

    The briefing, No Peace without Justice, examines how countless victims and family members in Aceh are still left without knowing the truth about the conflict, and highlights a number of cases of human rights violations by the security forces.

    At the same time there have been some positive developments in addressing the conflict’s legacy, such as a new, potentially key investigation by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) into human rights violations by security forces in Aceh.

    August 07, 2013

    “All my extended family lived here, we had 10 houses. My mother was badly injured and is now in hospital in Turkey. She does not know that her sons are dead. My uncle, Mohamed Ali, lost 27 members of his family. He has lost his mind; he doesn’t know anything anymore. He is in the countryside; everyone who survived has gone to stay with relatives or friends somewhere. Here, there is only rubble left. ” - Hussein al-Saghir, 15-year-old boy telling Amnesty International about his 16 relatives killed in a ballistic missile strike in the Jabal Badro district of Aleppo on February 18, 2013.

    “Yousef, 7, Mohammed, 5, Ali, 2, Hamza, 12, Zahra, 10, Husna, 8, Fatima, 10, Ahmad, 7, Abdel Karim, 2, Hassan, 18 months…..Why did they bomb here? … There were only civilians here.  Our quarter was full of life, children playing everywhere.  Now we are all dead, even those of us who are alive are dead inside, we have all been buried under this rubble.” - Sara al-Wawi, who lost some 20 relatives in an air strike in the al-Marje’s area of Aleppo on   March 18, 2013 telling Amnesty International about some of the children killed in the attack.


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