Released 05:30GMT/12:00 noon MMT on 14 June 2017
Civilians from minority ethnic groups suffer appalling violations and abuses, including war crimes, at the hands of Myanmar’s military and ethnic armed groups in the country’s Kachin and northern Shan states, Amnesty International said today in a new report based on three recent trips to the conflict area.
‘All the Civilians Suffer’: Conflict, Displacement and Abuse in Northern Myanmar details how soldiers from the Tatmadaw, as Myanmar’s Armed Forces are known, mete out torture and extrajudicial executions, shell civilian villages indiscriminately and place punitive restrictions on movement and humanitarian access.
Meanwhile, some ethnic armed groups at times abduct civilians seen to support an opposing party, forcibly recruit men, women and children into their fighting forces and impose “taxes” on impoverished villagers trapped in the conflict.
By Syria campainger Leen Hashem
Today, ministers and representatives of over 70 countries and humanitarian organisations are attending the “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region” conference in Brussels. The conference focuses on gathering additional funds and assistance for Syrians inside Syria and in neighboring countries and discussing the reconstruction of Syria “once a genuinely inclusive political transition is firmly underway”.
It is reassuring to see the international community come together to support Syrians who fled the violence in Syria and sought refuge in neighboring host countries. However, Syrian refugees continue to face serious challenges including restrictive access to health services, employment and protection. The international community should ensure the rights of Syrian refugees through meaningful responsibility-sharing by guaranteeing funding for refugee protection; and by significantly increasing the number of resettlement places and other admission pathways.
Senior Crisis Adviser Donatella Rovera blogs from Mosul, Iraq. Follow Donatella on Twitter @ DRovera.
When they heard that there would be airstrikes on their neighborhood in eastern Mosul, Wa’ad Ahmad al-Tai and his family did exactly as they were told.
“We followed the instructions of the government, which told us, ‘Stay in your homes and avoid displacement,’” he said. “We heard these instructions on the radio. … Also leaflets were dropped by planes. This is why we stayed in our homes.”
Shortly afterward, the bombs came raining down. As the terrified al-Tai family huddled together, the house next door collapsed on them. Six people were killed there on the morning of Nov. 7, 2016, including Wa’ad’s 3-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son.
As I traveled through eastern Mosul earlier this month, I heard versions of this story again and again from families who had lost relatives in airstrikes carried out by the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State. Filled with rage and grief, Mosul residents described how they were expressly told to stay in their homes and were then bombed inside them.
The Sudanese government must end politically-motivated and sometimes deadly attacks on Darfuri students at universities across the country, said Amnesty International today as it released a report covering a wave of attacks spanning three years.
“Dozens of students have been killed, injured and expelled from universities since 2014 for organizing around and speaking out against human rights violations in Darfur,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
“This continues an appalling pattern that continues to see Darfuri students being subject to arrest, detention, as well as torture and other ill-treatment, since the conflict in Darfur broke out in 2003, often compromising their continued access to higher education.”
“These deliberate and shameful attacks on students are totally unacceptable and must be brought to a speedy end.”
In response to the United Nations General Assembly resolution establishing an independent international mechanism to ensure accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria since March 2011, Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Research said:
“With this resolution, the General Assembly helps overcome the Security Council's deadlock on accountability and is the first step toward justice for thousands of victims.
“The situation in Syria continued to be one of the most heart-breaking tragedies of our time. It is also a clear example of the failure of the broken international system that was established – with the Security Council at its centre -- to prevent the atrocities that shock the conscience of humanity.
“By passing this resolution, the international community is standing up against the Security Council’s utter inability to act in the face of gruesome atrocities being committed before the eyes of the entire world. This is a crisis that, over five years, has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and caused unimaginable suffering to the people of Syria."
Shocking reports from the UN that scores of civilians have been extrajudicially executed by advancing Syrian government forces in eastern Aleppo point to apparent war crimes, said Amnesty International. The organization is making an urgent plea for all parties to the conflict to protect the civilian population.
The UN human rights office said it had reliable evidence that up to 82 civilians were shot on the spot by government and allied forces who entered their homes, or at gunpoint in the streets, over the past few hours.
“The reports that civilians - including children - are being massacred in cold blood in their homes by Syrian government forces are deeply shocking but not unexpected, given their conduct to date. Such extrajudicial executions would amount to war crimes,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at the Beirut Regional office.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s decision to make Gen. Wiranto Indonesia’s most powerful security official a mere day after Indonesia ordered the execution of 14 death row prisoners shows contempt for human rights, Amnesty International said today.
“This is adding insult to injury. A day after ordering a fresh round of executions, Jokowi has now decided to hand control of the country’s security apparatus to someone was indicted for crimes against humanity by a UN sponsored tribunal,” said Josef Benedict, Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.
On 27 July 2016, Gen. Wiranto was appointed to the position of Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security Affairs.
Gen. Wiranto was also publicly named as a suspect in the inquiry initiated in 1999 by Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia, Komnas HAM), but was never charged in Indonesia.
Airstrikes by the Libyan National Army are endangering the lives of scores of detainees who are being held captive in Benghazi, said Amnesty International.
The organization raised the alarm as new video evidence emerged showing three men who were among an estimated 130 people abducted by the armed group Ansar al-Sharia from a military prison in Benghazi in October 2014. In the video, the first time they’ve been seen since they went missing, the men call for an end to the airstrikes which they say have injured several people and are putting lives at risk.
“Scores of people who were abducted and are being held captive in Benghazi are trapped under fire with no way out. Carrying out airstrikes in a manner that ignores their presence violates international humanitarian law. Those carrying out attacks must take all feasible precautions to avoid or at least minimise harm to people who are not directly participating in the fighting,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.
This speech was delivered at the World Humanitarian Summit on 24 May 2016 by Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:
When thinking of how best to use my time here today, one option I seriously considered was to observe a three minute silence to mourn the demise of international norms and humanitarian law.
These are arguably the darkest times since the formation of the United Nations. Conflict is driving displacement and wreaking devastating consequences on civilians who are literally caught in the crossfire.
I come to this Summit straight after seeing and hearing first-hand the horrific tales of displaced people in Iraq and south-east Turkey – two windows into a shameful worldwide story.
The stark truth is that from Syria to Nigeria, Afghanistan to South Sudan, Burundi to Ukraine, conflict zones have become a free-for-all. The norms put in place to protect us are treated with complete and utter disdain.
Posted at 0001hrs GMT 19 April 2016
The terrifying reality of the Syrian government’s relentless barrel bombing of the besieged city of Daraya, outside Damascus, is made brutally clear in a new video released by Amnesty International today amid the latest round of peace talks in Geneva.
Warning: Video contains graphic content
The organization hopes the harrowing eyewitness footage will spur the international community to re-double its demands on the Syrian government to grant immediate lifesaving humanitarian access to Daraya and all areas still under siege.
Although no barrel bombs have been dropped on Daraya since the partial “cessation of hostilities” came into effect on 26 February, there have been attacks with other weaponry and thousands of civilians who remain in the city continue to suffer from severe food and medical shortages and no electricity.
Today’s guilty verdict handed down by a UN Court in The Hague against former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadžić for genocide and other crimes under international law marks a major step towards justice for victims of the armed conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, said Amnesty International.
The Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found Karadžić guilty on one count of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of war crimes for his role in the armed conflict, both for his individual responsibility and as part of a joint criminal enterprise.
He was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment. His lawyers have said they will appeal.
“This judgment confirms Radovan Karadžić’s command responsibility for the most serious crimes under international law carried out on European soil since the Second World War,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.
An Israeli soldier has been filmed shooting dead a Palestinian man in Hebron as he lay wounded on the ground following his alleged role in a knife attack earlier today. The man, Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif, was one of two Palestinians believed to have been involved in the stabbing of an Israeli soldier. Footage of the shooting was released by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.
“The shooting of a wounded and incapacitated person, even if they have been involved in an attack, has absolutely no justification and must be prosecuted as a potential war crime,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.
“Israeli forces have a long history of carrying out unlawful killings – including extrajudicial executions – in the Occupied Palestinian Territories with impunity. Amnesty International has documented a number of similar cases during the upsurge in violence that began in October.
Posted at 0001hrs EAT 11 March 2016
South Sudanese government forces deliberately suffocated more than 60 men and boys who were detained in a shipping container before dumping their bodies in an open field in Leer town, Unity State, according to new evidence gathered by Amnesty International.
The organization’s researchers recently visited the grounds of the Comboni Catholic Church where the October 2015 killings took place. They also visited the site, about one kilometer from Leer town, where the bodies were dumped. They found the remains of many broken skeletons still strewn across the ground.The findings are contained in a new briefing South Sudan: 'Their Voices Stopped': Mass Killing in a Shipping Container in Leer.
“The arbitrary arrest, torture, and mass killing of these detainees is just one illustration of the South Sudanese government’s absolute disregard for the laws of war. Unlawful confinement, torture, willfully causing great suffering, and willfully killing are all war crimes,” said Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.
Posted at 0001 GMT 3 March 2016
Russian and Syrian government forces appear to have deliberately and systematically targeted hospitals and other medical facilities over the last three months to pave the way for ground forces to advance on northern Aleppo, an examination of airstrikes by Amnesty International has found.
Even as Syria’s fragile ceasefire deal was being hammered out, Syrian government forces and their allies intensified their attacks on medical facilities.
“Syrian and Russian forces have been deliberately attacking health facilities in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. But what is truly egregious is that wiping out hospitals appears to have become part of their military strategy,” said Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International.
“The latest string of attacks on health facilities north of Aleppo appears to be part of a pattern of attacks on medics and hospitals, a strategy that has destroyed scores of medical facilities and killed hundreds of doctors and nurses since the start of the conflict.”