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Human Rights Abuses

    August 11, 2016

    Responding to today’s High Court ruling that Kenyan human rights lawyer Willie Kimani and two others were subject to enforced disappearance and later executed by police, Victor Odero, Amnesty International’s East Africa Campaigner said:

    “The court’s determination is a watershed moment in the history of justice in Kenya as it sheds the spotlight on the common but under-reported scourge of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the country.”

    “The ruling is a fitting tribute to Willie Kimani, Josphat Mwendwa and Joseph Muiruri, as well as hundreds of other Kenyans who have been executed or disappeared at the hands of the police, and a victory for everyone who protested and demanded justice for them.”

    The court also ruled that Willie Kimani should be recognised as a champion of justice.

    August 08, 2016

    An apparently pre-planned suicide attack, which killed at least 63 people and wounded more than 50 others in a hospital in Quetta, south-western Pakistan, today is the latest in a series of horrific attacks by armed groups targeting ordinary people in Pakistan, said Amnesty International.

    “This is an absolutely senseless targeting of dozens of people, including patients and mourners. It has led to a devastating loss of life, and is an example of the string of attacks in recent years in Pakistan on schools, hospitals and other ‘soft targets’, which must cease immediately,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director for South Asia, South East Asia and Pacific Regional Offices.

    “A full, independent and transparent investigation must be carried out into how and why this bombing took place, and whoever is responsible should be brought to justice as soon as possible in fair trials, without recourse to the death penalty.”

    August 08, 2016

    At least 97 people were killed and hundreds more injured when Ethiopian security forces fired live bullets at peaceful protesters across Oromia region and in parts of Amhara over the weekend, according to credible sources who spoke to Amnesty International.

    Thousands of protesters turned out in Oromia and Amhara calling for political reform, justice and the rule of law. The worst bloodshed - which may amount to extrajudicial killings - took place in the northern city of Bahir Dar where at least 30 people were killed in one day.

    “The security forces’ response was heavy-handed, but unsurprising. Ethiopian forces have systematically used excessive force in their mistaken attempts to silence dissenting voices,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “These crimes must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated and all those suspected of criminal responsibility must be brought to justice in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts without recourse to death penalty.”

    August 05, 2016

    Thailand’s referendum on a draft constitution takes place this Sunday against a backdrop of pervasive human rights violations that have created a chilling climate, Amnesty International said today.

    In the context of the referendum, the authorities have arbitrarily arrested scores of people, have cancelled or disrupted peaceful assemblies and took off the air a television station in recent weeks, marking just the most recent undue restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

    “If people cannot speak their minds freely or take part in political activities without fear, how can they meaningfully engage in this referendum?” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    “What we are seeing are not temporary measures that create peace and order as the authorities have argued, but a constant criminalisation of peaceful dissent designed to silence views that the authorities do not like. Immediate and long overdue steps must be taken to lift restrictions and guarantee rights.”

    August 02, 2016

    Responding to a speech today by Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in which he criticized Amnesty International’s findings that some people detained in connection with Turkey’s failed coup attempt had been beaten and tortured, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

    “From day one, Amnesty International has repeatedly condemned the appalling violence committed by those behind the 15 July failed coup attempt. The organization has called for the Turkish government to bring the coup plotters to justice.

    “At the same time Amnesty International has urged Turkish authorities to respect the rule of law and the rights of all those detained. The government must release all detainees unless there is a reasonable suspicion that they have committed a recognisable criminal offence.

    “The serious human rights violations documented by an Amnesty International team on the ground in Turkey are alarming. These findings are based on detailed interviews with lawyers, doctors, family members and an eyewitness to torture in a detention facility.

    August 02, 2016

    A shocking 103% percent increase in police killings in Rio de Janeiro between April and June of 2016 and 2015 has shattered any chance of a positive legacy to the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, said Amnesty International three days before the opening ceremony.

    According to the Institute for Public Security of the State of Rio de Janeiro, police in the city killed 49 people in June 2016, 40 in May and 35 in April – more than one every single day.

    Since 2009, when Rio won the bid to host the Olympic Games, police have killed more than 2,600 people in the city.

    July 29, 2016

    An aerial attack which struck and partially destroyed a maternity hospital in rural Idlib province, north-western Syria, this afternoon appears to be part of a despicable pattern of unlawful attacks deliberately targeting medical facilities, Amnesty International said.

    The number of casualties in today’s attack is not yet clear, but a spokesperson from Save the Children, which supports the hospital, told media there were at least two fatalities. It is unclear who carried out the attack, but it was in an area under the control of armed groups where Syrian and Russian armed forces had been launching airstrikes.

    July 28, 2016

    Unfettered and impartial humanitarian assistance is urgently needed to alleviate the suffering of thousands of civilians in Aleppo city on the verge of running out of food and other essential supplies, said Amnesty International today.  

      >> TAKE ACTION > Help people struggling to survive in the Syria crisis

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    July 28, 2016

    Amid a fresh outbreak of fighting in South Sudan, a new report by Amnesty International reveals the true horror suffered by civilians at the hands of government forces after the August 2015 peace agreement was signed.

    “We are still running”: War crimes in Leer, South Sudan, details how South Sudanese government forces and allied militia hunted down and killed civilians, raped and abducted women, stole cattle and torched villages in opposition strongholds in Leer County, Unity State, between August and December 2015.

    “These war crimes and other abuses committed across the country are the result of ongoing impunity that continues to fuel conflict in South Sudan, as seen in recent weeks of renewed fighting,” said Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.

    July 27, 2016

    The release yesterday of six youth activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo by way of presidential pardons will be seen as little more than an exercise in window dressing unless all prisoners of conscience and others detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights are freed, said Amnesty International.

    Rebecca Kavugho, Serge Sivyavugha, Justin Kambale Mutsongo, Melka Kamundu, John Anipenda and Ghislain Muhiwa were released from Munzenze Prison with less than a month left to serve on their six-month sentence imposed for charges of “attempting to incite disobedience.”

    “While it is good news that the six are finally free to reunite with their families, their release at the tail-end of an unjust prison term resulting from trumped up charges is nothing to celebrate. They should never have been jailed in the first place,” said Christian Rumu, Amnesty International’s Great Lakes Campaigner.

    July 26, 2016

    Restrictions on the delivery of vital humanitarian aid to civilians in Yemen are exacerbating the country’s humanitarian crisis and endangering lives, said Amnesty International calling on all parties to the conflict to allow full and unfettered access to organizations providing crucial supplies.

    A delegation from the organization visited Huthi-controlled parts of Yemen in May 2016 and spoke to 11 local and international humanitarian aid organizations who described unlawful restrictions on aid by both Huthi and Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces. The organization is urging that the removal of impediments to aid delivery is given top priority at the peace talks currently underway in Kuwait before they conclude this week. 

    “Unlawful impediments to aid in Yemen are causing dreadful suffering, and depriving people of their basic needs in the midst of an active conflict. It is absolutely imperative that negotiators prioritize this issue and take steps to guarantee aid is getting to those who need it most and that aid workers and their operations are not targeted or harassed,” said Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.

    July 24, 2016

    Amnesty International has gathered credible evidence that detainees in Turkey are being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, in official and unofficial detention centres in the country.

    The organization is calling for independent monitors to be given immediate access to detainees in all facilities in the wake of the coup attempt, which include police headquarters, sports centres and courthouses. More than 10,000 people have been detained since the failed coup. 

    Amnesty International has credible reports that Turkish police in Ankara and Istanbul are holding detainees in stress positions for up to 48 hours, denying them food, water and medical treatment, and verbally abusing and threatening them. In the worst cases some have been subjected to severe beatings and torture, including rape.

    July 21, 2016

    Both the Ukrainian government authorities and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine are holding civilians in prolonged arbitrary, and sometimes secret detention and torturing  them, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint report released today.

    The report “‘You Don’t Exist.’ Arbitrary Detentions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture in Eastern Ukraine,” is based on interviews with 40 victims of abuses, their family members, witnesses, victims’ lawyers, and other sources. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch documented nine cases of arbitrary, prolonged detention of civilians by the Ukrainian authorities, including some cases of enforced disappearances, in informal detention sites and nine cases of arbitrary, prolonged detention of civilians by Russia-backed separatists. Most of the cases detailed in the report took place in 2015 and the first half of 2016. 

    July 20, 2016

    A video showing the beheading of a boy by an armed opposition group in northern Syria is the latest abhorrent signal that some such groups are carrying out serious abuses with impunity, said Amnesty International.

    The video, believed to be filmed near Aleppo, shows a man standing on the back of a truck carrying out an execution-style killing of a boy. 

    “This horrific video showing the beheading of a boy suggests some members of armed groups have truly plumbed the depths of depravity. It is yet another gruesome example of the summary killing of captives, which amounts to a war crime,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    July 19, 2016

    The Pakistani authorities must end impunity for so-called ‘honour’ killings and other violence against women, Amnesty International said today. “The tragic killing of Qandeel Baloch, at the hands of her brother, has highlighted the need for urgent action to protect women and men from crimes that are justified as a defence of family honour.”

    Amnesty International welcomes the decision of the Punjab authorities to register Qandeel Baloch’s murder as a crime against the state, and refuse her family the legal right to grant their son clemency. 

    “This needs to become the rule rather than the exception. Pakistan needs to undertake structural reforms that end impunity for so-called ‘honour’ killings,  including by passing legislation that removes the option of clemency for such killings without resorting to the death penalty as a punishment,” said Champa Patel.

    Qandeel Baloch's brother has confessed to strangling his sister to death during her sleep on 15 July, triggering global outrage.

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