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Human Rights Abuses

    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.

    July 03, 2013

    Egyptian police and security forces are failing to protect protesters and bystanders from violence amid the country’s political strife, Amnesty International said today, on the brink of the army’s threatened intervention to resolve the crisis.

    According to evidence gathered by Amnesty International researchers in Egypt, security forces have not been intervening or have been despatched too late to stop violence during the clashes. Violence between opponents and supporters of President Morsi erupted across the country on 28 June.

    “The security forces should have been more than ready to prevent and stop the kinds of deadly clashes that we’ve seen in the past three days,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.  

    June 27, 2013

    United Arab Emirates state security officers have subjected detainees to systematic mistreatment, including torture, say hand-written letters from detainees smuggled out of jails, Alkarama, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. 

    The groups obtained 22 statements written by some of the 94people on trial for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government. The mistreatment described in the letters is consistent with other allegations of torture at UAE state security facilities, and indicates that torture is a systematic practice at these facilities. 

    The statements describe conditions in pre-trial detention in varying levels of detail.  Several detainees describe mistreatment that clearly meets the definition of torture as outlined in article 1 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the UAE ratified in July 2012. “I was beaten with a plastic tube all over my body,” one detainee said. “I was tied to a chair and threatened with electrocution if I didn’t talk. I was insulted and humiliated.”

    June 24, 2013

    Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi must urgently tackle the unprecedented level of sectarian violence against Shi’a Muslims and ensure they are protected from further attacks, Amnesty International said after four Shi’a men were killed in south Cairo during a violent attack on Sunday.

    “The Egyptian authorities must immediately order an independent and impartial investigation into the killing of the four men, and send a clear message that carrying out attacks and inciting violence against Shi’a Muslims will not be tolerated,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    “Investigations must look at why security forces yet again failed to stop the bloodshed, as well as whether advocacy of hatred and incitement to violence played a role.”

    On 23 June, a large group of villagers surrounded the house of local Shi’a Muslim resident, Farahat Ali Mohamed, in the Zawiyat Abu Musalam village in Giza, where a religious ceremony was being held.

    The villagers demanded that visiting Shi’a Sheikh Hassan Shahata hand himself over to them.

    June 24, 2013

    Amnesty International is deeply concerned that for the second year in a row, the Canadian government’s required report to Parliament about human rights and the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) fails to contain any analysis about human rights realities in Colombia.

    The Canadian government report fails to acknowledge widespread, grave human rights violations in Colombia – including ongoing threats and deadly attacks on trade unionists and community leaders seeking the return of stolen lands, as well as Indigenous peoples, Afro-descendent communities and rural farmers living in areas coveted for their natural resources.

    Notably, the report also excludes any information about Canadian investment in Colombia in the mining and oil and gas sectors.

    June 21, 2013

    A North Korean government ministry’s latest threat of harsh punishment against people leaving North Korea without permission renews concerns about freedom of movement in a country with a deplorable human rights record, Amnesty International said.

    On 19 June the state news agency published a statement by the Ministry of People’s Security of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea), vowing to “take substantial measures to physically remove despicable human scum” who leave the country without permission – an act the government views as treason. The statement added “Sordid human scum will never be able to look up to the sky nor be able to find an inch of land to be buried after their death”.

    “Nobody should be detained, prosecuted or punished in any way simply for exercising their right to freedom of movement by leaving North Korea,” said Catherine Baber, Director of the Asia-Pacific Programme at Amnesty International.

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