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Human Rights Abuses

    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.

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