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Human Rights

    September 19, 2017

    Reacting to today’s speech by Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s State Counsellor and de facto leader, on the crisis in Rakhine State, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “Aung San Suu Kyi today demonstrated that she and her government are still burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine State. At times, her speech amounted to little more than a mix of untruths and victim blaming.

    “There is overwhelming evidence that security forces are engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. While it was positive to hear Aung San Suu Kyi condemn human rights violations in Rakhine state, she is still silent about the role of the security forces in this.

    September 18, 2017

    By Olof Blomqvist, Amnesty International

    The stories I heard from Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, the south-eastern tip of Bangladesh, are haunting. Almost 400,000 people have fled across the border from Myanmar in less than three weeks, and many of them tell you they have seen their family members shot dead or their villages burned to the ground by Myanmar security forces just days before. There is no question that ethnic cleansing is unfolding across the border.

    But amid the tales of horror, there is also incredible humanity on display.

    September 14, 2017
    More than 80 sites set ablaze in orchestrated campaign since 25 August More than 370,000 Rohingya fled across border in less than three weeks Testimonies show attacks were planned, deliberate and systematic

     

    Amnesty International can reveal new evidence pointing to a mass-scale scorched-earth campaign across northern Rakhine State, where Myanmar security forces and vigilante mobs are burning down entire Rohingya villages and shooting people at random as they try to flee.

    The organization’s analysis of active fire-detection data, satellite imagery, photographs and videos from the ground, as well as interviews with dozens of eyewitnesses in Myanmar and across the border in Bangladesh, shows how an orchestrated campaign of systematic burnings has targeted Rohingya villages across northern Rakhine State for almost three weeks.

    September 13, 2017

    The Peruvian government is neglecting the health of hundreds of Indigenous people whose only sources of water are contaminated by toxic metals and who lack access to adequate health care, Amnesty International said in a new investigation published today.

    A Toxic State reveals how the Peruvian government has failed to provide adequate healthcare for Indigenous communities in Cuninico and Espinar, in the country’s Amazonian and Andean regions, respectively. Studies found that their only sources of fresh water were contaminated with toxic metals harmful to human health.

    “For decades, Indigenous Peoples across Peru have been treated like second class citizens,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General at Amnesty International.

    “The fact that the Peruvian authorities choose to do very little in the face of evidence that hundreds of Indigenous people have been exposed to toxic metals is not only cruel, but a violation of their right to health.”

    September 12, 2017

    A quarter of a century after the start of the conflict, more than 20,000, survivors of wartime sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina are still being denied justice, said Amnesty International in a new report.

    “We need support, not pity:” Last chance for justice for Bosnia’s wartime rape survivors reveals the devastating physical and psychological consequences of these crimes and the unjustifiable barriers preventing women from accessing the support they need and the legal redress to which they are entitled.

    “More than two decades after the war, tens of thousands of women in Bosnia are still piecing together their shattered lives with little access to the medical, psychological and financial assistance they desperately need,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director.

    “As each year passes, so does the prospect of ever attaining justice or receiving the support to which they are entitled. These women can not forget what happened to them and neither should we.”

    September 12, 2017

    A young Saudi Arabian Shi’a man who claims he was tortured to “confess” alleged crimes committed when he was 16 years old faces imminent execution, in the latest shocking example of Saudi Arabia’s ruthless clampdown on dissent, said Amnesty International today.

    The family of Abdulkareem al-Hawaj, now 21, were yesterday informed that the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence for his alleged role in anti-government protests. He has now exhausted all his appeals and faces execution as soon as King Salman ratifies his sentence, which could happen at any time.

    Al-Hawaj, who was sentenced to death in July 2016 after a grossly unfair trial, denies participating in any of the acts attributed to him.

    “Saudi Arabia’s vicious crackdown on dissent appears to know no bounds. Its latest victim, a child at the time of his alleged crimes, now faces death at the hands of a repressive regime that uses the death penalty as a tool to crush dissent,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.

    September 12, 2017

    Egyptian authorities should immediately release 24 Nubian activists arrested after the police violently dispersed their peaceful protest in Aswan governorate on 3 September, Amnesty International said today. The detained activists, who had been protesting in support of the Nubian Indigenous people’s cultural rights and to call for their return to their homelands in the south of Egypt, are due to appear in court tomorrow, 13 September.

    Successive Egyptian governments have forcibly displaced Nubians from their traditional lands for development projects, posing a threat to the preservation of their cultural, historical and linguistic identity. In the aftermath of the 2011 uprising, Nubian activists grew more organized and vocal in articulating their demands. Their lobbying resulted in a new provision in the 2014 Egyptian constitution that recognizes their right to return.

    “Egyptian authorities have long since marginalized Nubians, ignoring their demands to return to their historical lands and treating Nubian activism as suspicious on security grounds,” said Najia Bounaim Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director.

    September 11, 2017

    Akhtem Chiygoz, a Crimean Tatar leader should be immediately released, said Amnesty International today as he was handed an eight-year sentence following a 13 month long sham trial.

    “The unfair trial of Akhtem Chiygoz tops a wave of spurious and demonstrably false criminal and administrative cases instigated by the occupying Russian authorities against members of the Crimean Tatar community. It epitomizes the ongoing persecution of these activists whose only ‘crime’ is to vocally oppose Crimea’s annexation by Russia,” said Oksana Pokalchuk, Director for Amnesty International in Ukraine.

    September 11, 2017

    Two new landmine incidents today, including a blast blowing off a young man’s leg, bring to three the number of known sites where Myanmar authorities have mined border crossings used by Rohingya fleeing violence, Amnesty International said.

    A Bangladeshi farmer in his early 20s stepped on a landmine near the Bangladeshi village of Baish Bari this morning when he was herding cattle in a buffer zone along the border with Myanmar. Witnesses told the organization of a Rohingya man being rushed to medical treatment in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh today, after a separate landmine blast near the Bangladeshi village Amtali, another known border crossing point.

    “All indications point to the Myanmar security forces deliberately targeting locations that Rohingya refugees use as crossing points. This a cruel and callous way of adding to the misery of people fleeing a systematic campaign of persecution,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty international's Crisis Response Director, who is currently on the Bangladeshi side of the border.

    September 09, 2017

    Myanmar’s security forces planted internationally banned antipersonnel landmines along its border with Bangladesh which have seriously injured at least three civilians, including two children, and reportedly killed one man in the past week, Amnesty International confirmed today.

    Based on interviews with eyewitnesses and analysis by its own weapons experts, Amnesty International has documented what seems to be targeted use of landmines along a narrow stretch forming part of the north-western border of Rakhine State, where the United Nations estimates 270,000 people have fled a major military operation in the past fortnight.

    “This is another low in what is already a horrific situation in Rakhine State. The Myanmar military’s callous use of inherently indiscriminate and deadly weapons at highly trafficked paths around the border is putting the lives of ordinary people at enormous risk,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director, who is currently near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

    September 07, 2017

    The decision to charge Palestinian human rights defender Issa Amro using a controversial Electronic Crimes Law marks a dramatic escalation in the Palestinian authorities’ onslaught against freedom of expression, said Amnesty International today.

    Issa Amro, coordinator of Youth Against Settlements, a peaceful group that documents violations and organizes protests against Israeli policies in Hebron, was arrested on 4 September for posting comments on Facebook critical of the Palestinian authorities. In a closed hearing today the Hebron district court extended his detention for four days and charged him with disturbing “public order” under the recently adopted Electronic Crimes Law, as well as “causing strife” and “insulting the higher authorities” under the 1960 Jordanian Penal code which is still enforced in the West Bank.

    August 30, 2017
    Nathan VanderKlippe

    By Nathan VanderKlippe

    Amnesty note: On August 23 Nathan VanderKlippe called Amnesty in Toronto to contact a member of the Uighur Society in Canada. A few minutes later he was arrested.

    Late in the evening of Aug. 23, I drove a rented car to Elishku township in Yarkand County. Within 15 minutes of arrival, police began to arrive. Local villagers, I believe, had reported my presence. I was escorted to a local government office, where I was questioned by the local party secretary, police chief, officials from the propaganda department and local waiban, as well as agents from the Ministry of State Security. When police demanded to look through my photographs, I called my contact at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who after a lengthy phone call said the local officials would only heed his intervention if he sent a formal document. As it was midnight by this time, this was not a feasible option. My MFA contact, however, said the local officials had agreed to only look at and not delete photographs. I showed them my pictures. They did not delete any, largely because there were none to delete.

    August 14, 2017
      The Kenyan authorities must investigate reports that police shot dead demonstrators protesting against the outcome of the presidential election last night, said Amnesty International today as protesters started gathering again in opposition strongholds. As celebrations began in pro-government areas after Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of the presidential election, supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga poured onto the streets in parts of Nairobi and Kisumu to protest the outcome.   “The Independent Policing and Oversight Authority (IPOA) must immediately launch an independent and effective investigation into reported killings and where there is credible evidence of crimes, those responsible must be brought to justice,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.   “Everyone has a right to peaceful protest and they must not be hurt, injured or killed for exercising that right.”  
    July 31, 2017
      Reacting to the murder of Chris Msando, head of information technology at Kenya’s independent election monitoring body, Amnesty International’s Kenya researcher, Abdullahi Halakhe said:   “This gruesome murder, just a week before hotly contested elections, should sound alarm bells for the Kenyan government and highlight the need for them to up their game in terms of ensuring the safety of key officials at this tense time.   “Next week’s vote will be extremely close and there is a very real danger that the situation will erupt if the authorities do not ensure that the Kenyan people are able to cast their votes free from intimidation, threats and violence.   “Chris Msando’s death must be urgently investigated and those found responsible brought to justice.”    
    July 31, 2017
      ·         Amnesty International launches new campaign to defend human rights in Brazil ·         Proposed changes would reduce legal protections for children, women, LGBTI individuals and Indigenous Peoples ·         ‘Human Rights Are Not For Sale’ campaign launches with public stunt outside National Congress on 31 July   Amnesty International today launches a new campaign to fight back against a raft of changes currently being discussed by Congress which could reduce legal protections for marginalized groups, impose a total ban on abortion, put an end to sex education, and ease gun licensing laws.   “Human rights are under critical attack in Brazil and in response Amnesty International is stepping up to the front line,” said Jurema Werneck, Amnesty International Brazil’s Executive Director.  

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