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Human Rights Abuses

    August 02, 2013

    The Iranian authorities must seize the opportunity presented by a change of leadership to fulfil the aspirations of many Iranians and undertake a complete overhaul of human rights in the country, said Amnesty International ahead of the inauguration of the new President this weekend.  
     
    Hassan Rouhani, the 64-year old cleric who has been described as a moderate, will be sworn in as President on Sunday 4 August 2013. Amnesty International has published a set of recommendations to the Iranian authorities, setting out a road map to address the abysmal human rights situation in the country.

    "For too long Iran has failed to live up to its human rights obligations under domestic and international law. After years of repression and international isolation, the Iranian authorities must stop posturing and acknowledge the severity of human rights violations in the country,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    August 01, 2013

    A ruling by Thailand’s Supreme Court shows how the authorities have failed to provide justice for 85 people that died at the hands of the security forces in Tak Bai, Amnesty International said.

    “Today’s ruling ignores the actions of security forces and officials involved in events that led to deaths of 85 people. Their actions were either intentional or negligent and therefore those involved should be brought to court. Families have been waiting for more than eight years for justice,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    On 25 October 2004 security forces opened fire on protesters demonstrating outside Tak Bai police station in the southern province of Narathiwat.

    Seven were shot dead, and a further 78 were suffocated or crushed to death in army vans transporting them to a military detention camp. Some 1,200 people were also held in military custody for days without medical attention, many of whom were severely injured.

    July 31, 2013

    The Egyptian government’s decision to mandate security forces to end all pro-Morsi sit-ins in Greater Cairo, considering recent violence against protesters, is a recipe for further bloodshed, Amnesty International said.

    “Given the Egyptian security forces' record of policing demonstrations with the routine use of excessive and unwarranted lethal force, this latest announcement gives a seal of approval to further abuse,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International,.

    “The authorities as well as the security forces should start with an approach that avoids the use of force and is based on ‘methods of persuasion, negotiation and mediation’, as recommended by international standards.”

    Earlier today, the Egyptian cabinet said, in a televised statement, that pro-Morsi sit-ins in Greater Cairo are now considered a "threat to national security".

    However, they failed to specify what measures they would take to minimise violent confrontation and the potential loss of life and serious injury.  

    July 30, 2013

    Attempts by the Kenyan government to water-down key reforms to regulate the country’s police force will allow human rights violations to continue and officers to act with impunity, Amnesty International warned today.

    Amendments to a police reform package are likely to be debated in Parliament this week. It was originally introduced to ensure that serious human rights violations committed by the Kenyan police force during the 2007/2008 post-election violence could never be repeated.

    However amendments proposed by the Inspector General of Police, and endorsed by the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Co-ordination, would severely weaken the reforms and eliminate many of the safeguards created to discipline and regulate the police force.

    “These reforms are vital for Kenya and it would be disastrous if they get diluted at the eleventh hour,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Africa.

    July 29, 2013

    Evidence that the security forces have once again used unwarranted live fire and other excessive force underlines the crucial need for police reform, said Amnesty International after a weekend of violence left 90 dead.

    Security forces used live rounds and tear gas to disperse supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi during demonstrations on Saturday, leaving 80 people dead. A further 10 people were killed by gunfire during clashes in Alexandria.

    “The latest bloodshed should serve as a wake-up call to the Egyptian authorities over the urgency of police reform,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    The Interior Ministry has denied using live ammunition to disperse protests on 27 July. However, testimonies from injured protesters and eyewitnesses as well as medical and video evidence collected and examined by Amnesty International casts serious doubts on the Ministry of Interior’s version of events.

    July 29, 2013

    The government of Cote d’Ivoire has failed to properly investigate evidence of human rights abuses linked to the killings at Nahibly displacement camp in the west of the country just over a year ago, says Amnesty International.

    In a report published today the organization gives details of bodies thrown in several wells that have not been excavated by the authorities despite repeated calls for an investigation. Amnesty International is calling on Cote d’Ivoire to establish an international commission of inquiry into this atrocity.

    “One year on, and despite repeated promises to ensure justice, the Ivorian government has made no substantial progress in investigating the crimes committed during this attack,” said Salvatore Saguès, Amnesty International’s Researcher on West Africa.

    July 25, 2013

    The Malaysian authorities must take immediate steps to end the alarming rate of reported deaths in custody, some as a result of torture or other ill-treatment, Amnesty International and Malaysian rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) said in an open letter today.

    Twelve people are known to have died in police custody since January 2013 compared to nine in the whole of 2012.

    “The rising number of reported deaths in custody is shocking, and sends a chilling message to all those at risk of arrests by police. They point to the lack of adequate systems in place to monitor and prevent such deaths,” said Hazel Galang, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Malaysia.

    “The Malaysian authorities must commit time and resources to tackle this problem at once. They must ensure that there are appropriate safeguards so that the police cannot simply go on committing abuses, including torture and other ill-treatment, with impunity.”

    More than 230 deaths in custody have been recorded since 2000, according to the Malaysian Parliament.

    July 24, 2013

    Every year police in Brazil are responsible for around 2,000 deaths, Amnesty International said today as it marked the 20th anniversary of the infamous Candelária massacre in Rio de Janeiro.

    “Our police still have blood on their hands, and are allowed to act with impunity as extra-judicial killings remain rife in Brazil’s major cities,” said Atila Roque, Amnesty International Brazil office director.

    On the night of 23 July 1993, eight young men and women died after a gang of hooded men opened fire on a group of some 50 street children sleeping on the steps of Rio de Janeiro’s Candelária church.

    Four of them died at the scene, another was gunned down as he escaped, two more were bundled into a car and then executed, and one girl died from her injuries several days later. Two of the victims were 18 years old while six were still children.

    July 23, 2013

    Security forces stood by and failed to intervene during a brutal attack on Coptic Christians in Luxor, Amnesty International said in a briefing published today. During the sectarian violence, security forces left six besieged men –four of whom were then killed and one hospitalized – to the mercy of an angry crowd.

    In an attack lasting 18 hours on 5 July, four Coptic Christian men were killed and four others were seriously injured. An angry mob armed with metal bars, knives, tree branches and hammers attacked Christian homes and businesses in Nagah Hassan, 18 km west of Luxor, after the dead body of a Muslim man was discovered near the homes of Christian families. Despite local residents’ and religious leaders’ repeated calls for help, security forces on the scene made only half-hearted attempts to end the violence and sufficient reinforcements failed to arrive.

    July 22, 2013

    The Indian authorities must ensure an urgent, full and independent investigation into the killing of four demonstrators and the alleged use of live ammunition against protesters in Jammu and Kashmir, Amnesty International said today.

    “It is of vital urgency that the authorities launch swift, thorough and independent investigations into the killings and the other reports that police used excessive force against the ensuing protests across Jammu and Kashmir,” said Shashikumar Velath, Programs Director at Amnesty International India.

    The protests erupted in numerous towns and cities after paramilitary forces killed four demonstrators in Gool, Ramban district on 18 July.

    Dozens of people have subsequently been injured in widespread clashes between the police and protesters across the northern Indian state.

    Protesters in several towns and cities defied curfews put in place over the weekend, with some holding violent demonstrations. Security forces have reportedly used excessive force in response, including firing live ammunition against protesters.

    July 22, 2013

    California prison authorities have again breached international human rights obligations by taking punitive measures against prisoners on hunger strike over conditions for thousands held in solitary confinement in the state’s prisons, Amnesty International said today.

    “Prisoners seeking an end to inhumane conditions should not be subjected to punitive measures for exercising their right to engage in peaceful protest,” said Angela Wright, Amnesty International’s USA researcher.

    “Prolonged isolation under conditions which can only be described as cruel and inhumane treatment is prohibited under international law.”

    More than 1,000 inmates in prisons acrossCalifornia remained on hunger strike as the protest enters its third week .

    This is down from approximately 30,000 prisoners in more than 24 prisons who began their hunger strike on 8 July to protest the state’s policy of long-term solitary confinement in Security Housing Units (SHU).

    July 17, 2013

    Hundreds of pro-Morsi supporters arrested by the Egyptian authorities have been denied their legal rights, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today. The organization has gathered testimonies from detainees who said that they were beaten upon arrest, subjected to electric shocks or hit with rifle butts.

    The Egyptian authorities must respect the right to due process for those who have been rounded up and are facing accusations of inciting or participating in violence in the last two weeks. Allegations of ill-treatment must be investigated urgently.

    “At this time of extreme polarization and division, it is more important than ever that the office of the Public Prosecutor demonstrates that it’s truly independent and not politicized,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International. “These cases risk being seen as mere retribution rather than justice.”

    July 05, 2013

    Amnesty International is warning against a crackdown on supporters of Mohamed Morsi, after documenting a new wave of arrests of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, raids on media and an incident in which a protester was killed by army live fire.

    Since former President Mohamed Morsi was deposed on 3 July, Amnesty International has spoken to eyewitnesses who were fired on by the army in a street near Rabaa Aladaweya Square in Cairo’s Nasr City that evening. Live ammunition was used on the pro-Morsi protest, and at least one demonstrator was killed.
     
    “We fear that the violence of the last few days could spiral into a new wave of human rights abuses,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme, amid reports that more pro-Morsi protesters were shot today as they marched on the headquarters of the Republican Guard in Cairo. “It also resurrects fears of the army’s abysmal record on human rights.”

    July 05, 2013

    Authorities in the state of Odisha, India, must provide immediate remedy and reparation to families forcibly evicted in Jagatsinghpur district for a project proposed by South Korean steel company POSCO, Amnesty International India said today.

    "These evictions were unlawful and have devastated the livelihoods of thousands of people," said Shashikumar Velath, Director of Programmes at Amnesty International India.

    "Authorities acquired land without engaging in genuine consultation with affected persons, or providing adequate notice or adequate compensation. They have been violating the rights of these villagers for years. They must now ensure that the affected families receive effective remedies."

    Officials from the Odisha government and police resumed forced evictions on 28 June 2013 in continuing efforts to acquire land for the project.  On the same day, police personnel baton-charged protestors, injuring at least 20 people.

    July 04, 2013

    Amnesty International has accused the Israeli authorities of bullying and judicial harassment of Nariman Tamimi, a Palestinian rights activist who was placed under partial house arrest today to prevent her taking part in peaceful protests while she awaits trial next week. 

    “This is an unrelenting campaign of harassment, the latest in a litany of human rights violations against Nariman Tamimi, her family, and her fellow villagers. These arbitrary restrictions should be lifted immediately and the charges should be dropped,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director. 

    Tamimi was arrested along with another activist Rana Hamadi on Friday 28 June, when villagers of Nabi Saleh walk towards a nearby spring in protest against the loss of their land.  In 2009 Israeli settlers occupied the Al-Qaws spring near Nabi Saleh village where Tamimi lives. The illegal settlement now enjoys the protection of the military.

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