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Human Rights Abuses

    June 01, 2017

    (Geneva, June 1, 2017) – The United Nations Human Rights Council should urgently establish a commission of inquiry into the situation in the central Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a coalition of 262 Congolese and 9 international nongovernmental organizations said today

    June 01, 2017

    The desecration of a mass grave site in Ahvaz, southern Iran that contains the remains of at least 44 people who were extrajudicially executed would destroy vital forensic evidence and scupper opportunities for justice for the mass prisoner killings that took place across the country in 1988, said Amnesty International and Justice for Iran.

    Photo and video evidence obtained by the NGO Justice for Iran and reviewed by Amnesty International shows bulldozers working on a construction project directly alongside the mass grave site at Ahvaz, as well as piles of dirt and construction debris surrounding the grave. Although the Iranian authorities have made no official announcements about Ahvaz, families learned through a construction worker that the plan is to ultimately raze the concrete block marking the grave site and build over the area.

    May 30, 2017

    In response to the launch today in Bangui of an extensive United Nations report mapping 620 incidents involving serious human rights violations and abuses, as well as crimes under international law committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) between 2003 and 2015, Erica Bussey, Amnesty International’s Senior Legal Advisor said:

    “This report provides a systematic and comprehensive account of hundreds of horrendous human rights violations and abuses committed over 12 years, and clearly demonstrates the need for accountability to ensure justice and peace in the country.”

    “This report will be of critical importance to the newly-appointed Special Prosecutor of the Special Criminal Court, particularly in determining a prosecutorial strategy, given the vast scale of the crimes committed and the need to prioritize amongst them.”

    “The report comes at an important point in the fight against impunity. Several important steps have recently been taken to establish the Special Criminal Court and nominate magistrates, and this report should help advance efforts to ensure justice for victims of the conflict.”

    May 30, 2017

    The Nigerian security forces must exercise restraint when policing demonstrations marking the 50th Anniversary of the end of the Biafra War on 30 May, and avoid a repetition of the bloodbath caused by their heavy-handed response last year when more than 60 people were gunned down, said Amnesty International today.

    “Last year’s heavy-handed response against pro-Biafra activists further stirred up tensions in the south east of Nigeria. The reckless approach to crowd control favoured by the security forces when policing peaceful pro-Biafra protests has left more than 150 dead since August 2015, not to mention cases of enforced disappearance and unlawful detention,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

    “We urge the Nigerian security agencies to conduct themselves in a manner that will ensure public order without resorting to force.”

    May 26, 2017

    In response to the Lusaka Magistrate Court’s decision to adjourn the case of United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema and five of his employees until 12 June, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa said:

    “Hakainde Hichilema and his five employees are currently undergoing persecution through prosecution and the charge against them must be dropped. Their arrest and detention is part of a cynical ploy to silence all political opposition in Zambia.

    “This treason charge is designed to intimidate Hichilema and stop him and others in the opposition from taking part in public affairs. The Zambian authorities must stop misusing the criminal justice system to target and harass the political opposition.”

    Background

    Hakainde Hichilema is the president of the main opposition political party, the United Party for National Development (UPND) in Zambia.

    The six were arrested on 11 April after they allegedly failed to give way to a Presidential convoy in Mongu district. They claim they were beaten, teargassed and pepper sprayed on their genitals by the police.

    May 25, 2017

    As the Pentagon reports on its findings following the investigation into the US-led coalition airstrike that killed at least 100 civilians in West Mosul’s Jadida neighbourhood on 17 March 2017, Amnesty International said:

    “The attack on the Jadida neighbourhood was a tragedy that alerted the world to the horrors being inflicted upon Iraqi civilians. Entire families are being killed inside their homes, where they are stuck between ground fighting and airstrikes.

    “As the battle for Mosul draws to an end, there is no doubt that, once uncovered, the civilian death toll will raise alarm bells about the conduct of hostilities on all sides. Recent field visits to Mosul by Amnesty International have revealed that, Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition did not refrain from using explosive munitions in heavily populated areas, where civilians were being used as human shields by the group calling itself the Islamic State.

    “While we welcome the US investigation into the Jadida airstrike, we are curious to know whether any lessons were learned and what steps were taken to ensure such horrors do not occur again.

    May 11, 2017
    Members of armed groups who committed rapes and killings remain at large CAR public demands accountability for crimes Amnesty International and CAR civil society call for justice and reparation for victims in #CARJustice campaign Amnesty International and civil society organisations in Central African Republic (CAR) are today launching a national campaign urging authorities in CAR to tackle a deeply entrenched culture of impunity which has prevented thousands of victims of human rights abuses and crimes under international law from receiving any form of justice.   The campaign Justice Now! Towards lasting peace in CAR calls on authorities to commit to a tougher stance against impunity by holding those responsible for serious crimes to account and for CAR’s technical and financial partners to support the government’s efforts, including by funding the country’s new Special Criminal Court.  
    May 10, 2017
    The use of military courts to try civilians in Venezuela undermines the rule of law in the country, violating the Venezuelan constitution and international laws, said Amnesty International today.   “The increasing use of military courts to try civilians is proof of the resolute determination of the Venezuelan authorities to stifle the increasing protests and terrorize anyone who even considers expressing their opinions,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.   “With this practice, the Venezuelan government is moving yet further away from the realm of legality. International law clearly establishes that it is unacceptable to treat civilians in the same way as the military, and is a total infringement on the exercise of human rights.”   According to official data, more than 250 people are currently deprived of their liberty and were brought before military judges and prosecutors. They were all prosecuted for crimes such as “association with intent to incite rebellion” and “attacking a sentinel”, under military jurisdiction.  
    May 09, 2017

    The conviction and imprisonment of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as “Ahok”, will tarnish Indonesia’s reputation for tolerance, Amnesty International said today.

    "This verdict demonstrates the inherent injustice of Indonesia's blasphemy law, which should be repealed immediately," said Champa Patel, Amnesty International's Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    "Despite protests of his innocence and evidence that his words were manipulated for political purposes, he has been sentenced to two years in jail. The verdict will tarnish Indonesia's reputation as a tolerant nation."

    Amnesty International calls the Indonesian authorities to repeal blasphemy laws, including Articles 156 and 156(a) of the Criminal Code that have been used to prosecute and imprison people may be imprisoned for “defamation” of religion for as long as five years simply because they have peacefully exercised their right to freedom of expression or to freedom of thought, conscience or religion, which are protected under international human rights law.

    Background

    April 13, 2017

    Israel’s decades-long policy of detaining Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza in prisons inside Israel and depriving them of regular family visits is not only cruel but also a blatant violation of international law, said Amnesty International, ahead of a mass prisoner’s hunger strike beginning next week to mark Palestinian Prisoner’s Day on 17 April.

    Testimonies gathered by the organization from family members and Palestinian prisoners detained in the Israeli prison system shed light on the suffering endured by families who in some cases have been deprived from seeing their detained relatives for many years.

    “Israel’s ruthless policy of holding Palestinian prisoners arrested in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in prisons inside Israel is a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is unlawful and cruel and the consequences for the imprisoned person and their loved ones, who are often deprived from seeing them for months, and at times for years on end, can be devastating,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    March 21, 2017

    An unabated wave of threats, killings and forced displacement of hundreds of peaceful villagers in north-western Colombia is a frightening illustration that the armed conflict is far from over, months after a peace accord was signed, warned Amnesty International on the 20th anniversary of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó.

    “Alarmingly, in large parts of Colombia, the armed conflict is as alive as ever. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country have yet to see any difference in their lives since the peace accords were signed,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “The peace community of San José de Apartadó shows how Colombians have been bravely fighting for justice for decades, virtually alone. They are an example for the fight to protect human rights, so essential to all in Colombia.”

    February 21, 2017

    RELEASED  WEDNESDAY 22 FEBRUARY 2017 (00.01 GMT)

             Amnesty International releases its Annual Report for 2016 to 2017
               Risk of domino effect as powerful states backtrack on human rights commitments
               Salil Shetty, head of the global movement, warns that “never again” has become meaningless as states fail to react to mass atrocities
               Canada is increasingly looked towards as a source of human rights leadership
     

    Politicians wielding a toxic, dehumanizing “us vs them” rhetoric are creating a more divided and dangerous world, warned Amnesty International today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world.

    February 08, 2017

    The killing of six employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in northern Afghanistan is a horrific crime, Amnesty International said today.

    “By targeting the ICRC, who devote their lives to helping people in desperate need, the perpetrators have demonstrated a horrific contempt for human life,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    The killings in the northern Jowzjan province come a day after a suicide bomber killed more than 20 people at the entrance of Afghanistan’s Supreme Court in Kabul.

    Afghanistan is currently reeling from a series of attacks on civilians, including the murder of four women in Herat and Badakhshan provinces over the past week.

    In Herat, the killers left behind a note saying, “This is the punishment for prostitutes.”

    No one has yet claimed responsibility for today’s attack, the bombing of the Supreme Court, or the killings of the ICRC staff.

    January 17, 2017

    Brazil’s chaotic prison system is facing crisis with more than 120 inmate deaths reported since 1 January 2017, Amnesty International said todayafter the confirmation of a further 26 killings inside Alcaçuz prision, Rio Grande do Norte state.

    More than 120 government prison inmates have been killed in the past 16 days during riots in the northern and northeastern states of Amazonas, Roraima and now, Rio Grande do Norte.

    "It is appalling that so many people have been killed in such a short amount of time while in government custody. The crisis that started with the killings in Amazonas State prison on 1st January is worsening and spreading throughout the country,” said Renata Neder, Human Rights Advisor at Amnesty International Brazil.

    “The authorities are playing a dangerous game in underestimating the depth of the emergency in the prison system; and are therefore failing to prevent further gruesome killings.”

    January 17, 2017

    Released 09:00 GMT Wednesday 18 January 2017

    Iran’s persistent use of cruel and inhuman punishments, including floggings, amputations and forced blinding over the past year, exposes the authorities’ utterly brutal sense of justice, said Amnesty International.

    Hundreds are routinely flogged in Iran each year, sometimes in public.

    In the most recent flogging case recorded by Amnesty International, a journalist was lashed 40 times in Najaf Abad, Esfahan Province, on 5 January after a court found him guilty of inaccurately reporting the number of motorcycles confiscated by police in the city.

    “The authorities’ prolific use of corporal punishment, including flogging, amputation and blinding, throughout 2016 highlights the inhumanity of a justice system that legalizes brutality. These cruel and inhuman punishments are a shocking assault on human dignity and violate the absolute international prohibition on torture and other ill-treatment,” said Randa Habib, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. 

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