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Human Rights Abuses

    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

      >> DONATE: Text AMNESTY to 45678 to donate $10 or give using our secure online donation page

    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.

    July 19, 2016

    US-led coalition forces carrying out airstrikes in Syria must redouble efforts to prevent civilian deaths and investigate possible violations of international humanitarian law, Amnesty International urged amid growing reports that scores of men, women and children were killed in their homes in al-Tukhar village, near Manbij, on 18 July.

    Since June, more than 100 civilians are reported to have been killed in suspected coalition attacks on the Manbij area of northern Syria, which has been controlled by the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS).

    “The bombing of al-Tukhar may have resulted in the largest loss of civilian life by coalition operations in Syria. There must be a prompt, independent and transparent investigation to determine what happened, who was responsible, and how to avoid further needles loss of civilian life. Anyone responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be brought to justice and victims and their families should receive full reparation,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    July 18, 2016

    Authorities must investigate the gruesome attack on Saturday on a woman with albinism and bring those suspected of the crime to justice, Amnesty International said today following the latest in a series of such attacks.

    According to media reports, unidentified men targeted 51-year-old woman in Chitipa District in the northern region, chopping off her right hand with a machete after forcing their way into her home in the early hours of 16 July 2016.

    “The authorities’ inaction puts people with albinism in Malawi at constant risk of violent attack,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

    “Just last month, the Malawian authorities assured Amnesty International that they are stepping up their efforts to prevent and punish these superstition-based attacks. It is time to go beyond words and to take effective measures to protect this vulnerable group.”

    Background

    July 18, 2016

    As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, begins his four-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo today, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Michelle Kagari said:

    “We are witnessing a crackdown of dissenting voices in the DRC ahead of elections supposed to be held in November. Arrests of activists and harassment of civil society are becoming commonplace.”

    “The High Commissioner’s visit should mark a turning point away from this repression. He should call on the authorities to honour their international obligations to uphold human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”

    Amnesty International requests that the High Commissioner makes the following calls on the DRC authorities:

    July 18, 2016

    Iran’s authorities are callously toying with the lives of prisoners of conscience and other political prisoners by denying them adequate medical care, putting them at grave risk of death, permanent disability or other irreversible damage to their health, according to a new report by Amnesty International published today.

    The report, Health taken hostage: Cruel denial of medical care in Iran’s prisons, provides a grim snapshot of health care in the country’s prisons. It presents strong evidence that the judiciary, in particular the Office of the Prosecutor, and prison administrations deliberately prevent access to adequate medical care, in many cases as an intentional act of cruelty intended to intimidate, punish or humiliate political prisoners, or to extract forced “confessions” or statements of “repentance” from them.

    July 08, 2016

    “Last night’s shootings are a devastating reminder that gun violence in the U.S. is a human rights crisis that impacts everyone.
    Our thoughts are with the victims and their families,” said Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA interim executive director.
    “Killings both by and of police demand justice. The right to life is universal and everyone – both civilians and officers alike – should be able live free from fear and feel safe in their communities."

    “We must remember that the public’s response to the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile
    and Jerry Williams have been overwhelmingly peaceful. Last night’s tragedy should not affect
    the ability and the safety of those who will continue to exercise their right to protest peacefully.
    We call on law enforcement officers to facilitate that right.”

     

    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations

    416-363-9933 ext 332 Email: bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

     

    July 07, 2016

    “I cannot understand how a crime that took place in view of cameras, where the whole world saw how boys playing on the beach were massacred mercilessly, can pass like that without any criminals held to account.” Sobhi Bakr, relative of four boys killed in an Israeli air strike on 16 July 2014.

    Tomorrow, 8 July 2016, marks the second anniversary of the start of a 50-day Israeli military offensive which brought unprecedented death and destruction to the Gaza Strip.

    In a new briefing issued today, Amnesty International asks why no genuine criminal investigations have been launched, and why no one has yet been held to account for atrocities in spite of war crimes being committed by both sides.

    “During 50 days of attacks, Israeli forces wreaked massive death and destruction on the Gaza Strip, killing close to 1,500 civilians, more than 500 of whom were children,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme Director.

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