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Human Rights Abuses

    December 28, 2017

    Reacting to the deadly attack on Afghan Voice, a news agency, that has killed at least 40 people and wounded 30 others, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, Biraj Patnaik, said:

    “This gruesome attack underscores the dangers faced by Afghan civilians. In one of the deadliest years on record, journalists and other civilians continue to be ruthlessly targeted by armed groups. With the Afghan capital hit once again, no one can credibly claim that Kabul safe. The European governments who insist on this dangerous fiction by forcibly returning Afghans are putting their lives in danger.”

     

    December 13, 2017

    Responding to the Philippine Congress’ approval of President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law in the southern region of Mindanao until the end of 2018 in order to “eradicate” Islamist militants, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez, said:

    “Civilians in Mindanao have faced unlawful killings, destruction of their homes, ill-treatment and numerous other human rights abuses at the hands of Philippine armed forces and Islamist militants since the imposition of martial law. The length of this latest extension, until the end of 2018, is an ominous move that almost certainly signals further abuses in the months ahead.

    “Violations in the battle of Marawi, in northern Mindanao, have been carried out with impunity, while there has been a disturbing rise in killings of human rights defenders and political activists across the region in recent months.

    “President Duterte, who is already responsible for thousands of unlawful killings in his so-called ‘war on drugs’, must not use martial law as a pretext to commit further violations in Mindanao without any accountability.

    December 11, 2017
    Military in Honduras - Photo by Sean T. Hawkey

    By Kathy Price

    It was less than a month ago that I visited Honduras with an Amnesty delegation that travelled to Intibucá and La Paz to meet with threatened defenders of human rights, Indigenous territory and the environment. We also met with other courageous rights activists in the capital, Tegucigalpa.

    It was dangerous then, amidst smear campaigns, arbitrary arrests, threats of sexual violence against women, armed attacks and the fear generated by assassinations of beloved leaders like Berta Cáceres.

    But make no mistake. Disturbing developments during the past turbulent weeks in Honduras have significantly increased the risks for anyone who speaks out against injustice and abuse of power.

    Photo: President Juan Orlando Hernández via Twitter

    December 08, 2017

    The Honduran government is deploying dangerous and illegal tactics to silence any dissenting voices in the aftermath of one of the country’s worst political crisis in a decade, including preventing lawyers and human rights activists from visiting detained demonstrators, Amnesty International said after a visit to the country following contested presidential elections on 26 November.

    “Honduras seems to be on a very dangerous free fall where ordinary people are the victims of reckless and selfish political games,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Evidence shows that there is no space for people in Honduras to express their opinions. When they do, they come face to face with the full force of the government’s repressive apparatus.”

    “Halting all use of illegitimate or excessive force against protesters by security forces, ending arbitrary detentions, and investigating all instances of human rights violations would be a good start to undo some of the many wrongs we have documented in recent days.”

    December 05, 2017

    Responding to the recent video circulating on social media, apparently showing the aftermath of an alleged killing of a young man by the country’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria said:

    “The scale of the reaction to this incident shows that the concerns of the Nigerian people are reaching boiling point. All incidents of violence meted out by this notorious police unit must be independently investigated, and those found to be responsible must be prosecuted in fair trials.”

    “The #EndSARS hashtag is rightly gaining the attention of the police and Nigerian government and now officials must do more to end these horrendous abuses of power. Amnesty International highlighted such abuses more than a year ago and yet these shocking incidents still continue. Restructuring SARS is not enough, the government must take concrete steps to protect Nigerians.”

    Background

    December 05, 2017

    Responding to the news that President Duterte has ordered the police to resume their role in supporting his administration’s so-called “war on drugs,” James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “In returning police to his anti-drug operations yet again, President Duterte has consigned the poorest and most marginalised people in the Philippines to another catastrophic wave of violence, misery and bloodshed.

    “Since the police were withdrawn from anti-drug operations in October, there has been a marked decline in the number of deaths resulting from these operations. We can only expect that to reverse, as the police have the opportunity to pick up where they left off and resume their indiscriminate killing with impunity.

    September 29, 2017

    A resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council today, mandating a group of international experts to investigate abuses by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, is a momentous breakthrough that will pave the way for justice for countless victims of human rights abuses and grave violations of international law, including war crimes, said Amnesty International.

    The resolution was passed today by consensus, after intensive negotiations. It is the result of years of campaigning and lobbying by Yemeni human rights organizations as well as Amnesty International and other international organizations.

    “This resolution is a victory for Yemenis whose suffering at the hands of all parties to the conflict in Yemen has been overlooked by the international community. The resolution offers hope for those seeking justice and can serve as a stepping stone towards accountability,” said Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research.

    September 28, 2017

    UPDATE 28 September 2017: Scroll down for an open letter to the UN from 87 civil society organizations urging immediate action on the crisis in Myanmar.

    The UN Security Council must do everything it can to end the crimes against humanity and ongoing ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya civilian population in Myanmar, including by imposing a comprehensive arms embargo on the country, Amnesty International said.

    The Council is holding a public session on the situation in Myanmar on Thursday, when Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will brief members on the current crisis in Rakhine state.

    “The Myanmar military is forcibly displacing and killing Rohingya, a campaign of crimes against humanity that amounts to ethnic cleansing. When they meet on Thursday, UN member states must ask themselves what side of history they want to be on and do everything they can do end this nightmare. Together, they do have the power to pressure Myanmar to end the violence,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director.

    September 07, 2017

    A wave of brutal attacks in the Central African Republic, including the systematic rape and murder of civilians, highlights the urgent need for stronger UN action to protect civilians, Amnesty International said today.

    On-the-ground research by the organization in August 2017 also uncovered a horrifying surge in torture, pillage, and forced displacement by a Seleka off-shoot, the Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC).

    “Communities living in Basse-Kotto have been left at the mercy of the UPC. Women have been raped, men murdered, villages destroyed, and the region’s UN peacekeeping force has proved ineffective in stemming these abuses,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.

    “Civilians are not accidental victims in this conflict; they are direct targets. If the UN’s mandate in the Central African Republic is to mean anything, civilians must be better protected.”

    September 07, 2017

    Responding to news that outspoken government critic Tanzanian parliamentarian Tundu Lissu has been shot and wounded by unidentified attackers in the capital Dodoma, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “This cowardly attack on one of Tanzania’s most fearless and prominent politicians raises concerns about the safety of all dissident voices in the country, at a time when space for dissent is quickly shrinking.

    “This heinous crime must not be swept under the carpet. The Tanzanian authorities must immediately launch an effective and impartial investigation into the shooting and ensure that those responsible are held to account.

    “The authorities must take steps to reassure Tanzanians and the world that this shooting was not politically motivated.”

    Background

    Tundu Lissu, who also heads up the lawyer’s association, the Tanganyika Law Society, is a fierce and outspoken critic of President John Pombe Magufuli.

    September 05, 2017
      Prime Minister Narendra Modi should use his official visit to Myanmar to urge authorities there to take urgent steps to protect civilians in violence-hit Rakhine State and lift restrictions on international humanitarian aid to Rakhine, Amnesty International India said today. Thousands of people, mainly Rohingya, are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign in Rakhine.

    “Prime Minister Modi needs to tell Myanmar’s leadership that they are not doing enough to protect all communities in the state, whether it is stopping military abuses targeting the Rohingya or restricting crucial humanitarian access for people in need,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India.

    “As a historic friend of Myanmar, India can play an important role in defusing tensions and saving civilian lives. Prime Minister Modi must urge the Myanmar authorities to address the long-standing and systematic discrimination against Rohingya and other Muslims in Rakhine State, which has left people trapped in a cycle of violence and deprivation.”

    September 04, 2017

    · At least 381 civilians have been killed by Boko Haram since April 2017 in Cameroon and Nigeria amid a spike in suicide bombings

    · Millions remain in need of urgent humanitarian assistance and protection as attacks and increased insecurity hamper aid efforts

    A major resurgence in Boko Haram attacks and suicide bombings in Cameroon and Nigeria has left at least 381 civilians dead in the five months since the start of April 2017, with casualties more than double the previous five months, Amnesty International said today.

    According to data collected by the organization, a sharp rise in civilian deaths in the Far North region of Cameroon and the Nigerian states of Borno and Adamawa has been driven by the armed group’s increased use of suicide bombers – often using women and girls who are forced to carry explosives into crowded areas.

    August 25, 2017

    An air strike which hit Faj Attan, a residential area of Yemen’s capital Sana’a in the early hours of this morning, destroying three homes, killing ten people and injuring seven more, shows that after more than two years of devastating conflict in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is as brazen as ever in its disregard for international humanitarian law, Amnesty International said today.

    “Last night the Saudi Arabia-led coalition rained down bombs on civilians while they slept, killing five children and leaving three others seriously injured. Locals say that a four-year-old girl was the sole survivor in her family, after the air strike killed the other seven members. Many people were trapped beneath the rubble of their homes until the early hours of this morning”, said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.

    August 24, 2017

    Reacting to the final report issued today by the Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “People in Rakhine State, in particular the Muslim Rohingya minority, have suffered a horrific catalogue of rights abuses for decades. This comprehensive report released by the Commission today clearly outlines many of the steps Myanmar’s authorities must take to end discrimination and segregation in the region.

    “The government has spent the past year playing for time and trying to hide behind the Commission, but has now run out of excuses not to act. Authorities in Myanmar must swiftly move to implement the report’s recommendations for improving the human rights situation and ending discrimination. In particular, they must urgently lift restrictions on movement, allow full access for humanitarian workers and media, and review and amend the country’s discriminatory citizenship laws.

    August 24, 2017
      A hearing today in the Philippines Senate has exposed the abysmal failings of the police to protect children from the deadly consequences of the “war on drugs”, Amnesty International said.   The Senate hearing convened to address last week’s police killing of the 17-year-old student Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a case which has triggered widespread national and international outrage. Although police claim the killing was done in self-defence, CCTV footage and eyewitnesses have seriously called this into question.   “Kian’s death has rightly sparked a national outcry and public trust in the police is at an all-time low. The only way to address this is for the Philippines authorities to end all deadly drug operations, and return to return to an approach anchored on due process and rule of law,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.  

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