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    September 14, 2016

    Released  00:01 GMT 15 September 2016

    Video footage and satellite images showing makeshift grave sites and burial mounds offer a rare glimpse inside a desert no man’s land between Jordan and Syria where tens of thousands of refugees who have been virtually cut off from humanitarian aid for two months are stranded, said Amnesty International.

    Fresh accounts gathered by the organization from people in the area known as the berm, paint a desperate picture of human suffering and highlight the tragic consequences of the world’s failure to share responsibility for the global refugee crisis. Next week, world leaders will gather in New York for two high-level summits to discuss refugees.

    September 13, 2016

    The abject failure of a United Nations summit to tackle the deepening global refugee crisis is a missed opportunity that will affect millions of the world’s most vulnerable people unless leaders find alternative solutions to help them reach safety, Amnesty International said ahead of two high-profile refugee summits next week.

    UN member states are set to adopt an ineffective refugee deal on 19 September. On 20 September, US President Barack Obama will appeal to leaders to make specific commitments that will help end the suffering of refugees across the world – a call that has so far been wilfully ignored.

    “Faced with the worst refugee crisis in 70 years, world leaders have shown a shocking disregard for the human rights of people who have been forced to leave their homes due to conflict or persecution,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “We already know the UN summit is doomed to abject failure, while the Obama summit looks unlikely to pick up the pieces.”

    July 04, 2016

    Armed groups operating in Aleppo, Idleb and surrounding areas in the north of Syria have carried out a chilling wave of abductions, torture and summary killings, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today.

    The briefing ‘Torture was my punishment’: Abductions, torture and summary killings under armed group rule in Aleppo and Idleb, Syria offers a rare glimpse of what life is really like in areas under the control of armed opposition groups. Some of them are believed to have the support of governments such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the USA despite evidence that they are committing violations of international humanitarian law (the laws of war). It also sheds light on the administrative and quasi-judicial institutions set up by armed groups to govern in these areas.

    June 28, 2016

    Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release the owner of The Post newspaper, Fred M’membe, his wife Mutinta M’membe and the newspaper’s Deputy Managing Editor, Joseph Mwenda, Amnesty International said today.

    The three of them were arrested in the early hours of 28 June and are currently being held at the Lusaka Central Police Station without any charges.

    “The continued persecution of Fred M’membe, his newspaper and staff is a disturbing attack on independent media and contrary to the rights to freedom of expression and association,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International's Director for Southern Africa.

    “Fred M’membe and his newspaper are victims of an attempt by the state to silence critical media and those who speak truth to power. It is unacceptable and must be brought to an end.”

    The arrests followed their return to the newspaper’s premises after a court ruled against the Zambia Revenue Authority to allow the newspaper to continue publishing. The newspaper was shut down last week by the authorities, alleging it owed taxes.

    June 21, 2016

    The Eritrean foreign minister’s confirmation that all politicians and journalists arbitrarily arrested in 2001 are alive is welcome news but they must now be immediately and unconditionally released, said Amnesty International.

    In a Radio France Internationale (RFI) interview broadcast on 20 June, Foreign Minister Osman Saleh referred to the detainees as political prisoners and said “all of them are alive” and will be tried “when the government decides”. The detainees, who were arrested in September 2001, included 11 politicians and 10 journalists. Until now the Eritrean authorities have refused to disclose their whereabouts or their health status to their families.

    “Amnesty International considers all 21 prisoners of conscience and has campaigned for their release since they were arrested 15 years ago. It is a travesty of justice that they have been held incommunicado for so long without charge or trial,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    June 02, 2016

    Released 00:01 GMT 3 June 2016

    The European Union (EU) must immediately halt plans to return asylum-seekers to Turkey on the false pretence that it is a “safe country” for refugees, said Amnesty International in a briefing published today.

    The briefing, No safe refuge: Asylum-seekers and refugees denied effective protection in Turkey, (attached) details the short-comings in Turkey’s asylum system and the hardships refugees face there that would render their return under the EU-Turkey Agreement of 18 March illegal – and unconscionable.

    The briefing shows that Turkey’s asylum system is struggling to cope with more than three million asylum-seekers and refugees. As a result, asylum-seekers face years waiting for their cases to be dealt with, during which time they receive little or no support to find shelter and sustenance for themselves and their families, with children as young as nine working to support families.

    June 02, 2016

    The life of a wrongfully imprisoned Iranian Kurdish human rights defender and journalist rests in the Iranian authorities’ hands, said Amnesty International. He is gravely ill in hospital nearly a month into an ongoing hunger strike.

    The 54-year old prisoner of conscience Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, who is approaching the end of a decade-long prison sentence on fabricated charges, has been on hunger strike since 8 May. He is protesting against the authorities’ efforts to condemn him to a further prison sentence on a spurious charge of ‘spreading propaganda against the system’ from inside the prison.

    “Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand has already spent close to a decade in prison simply for doing his legitimate human rights work and journalism. The fact that the authorities are building a fresh case against him so close to his release date suggests they are plumbing new depths in their efforts to keep this resolute defender of human rights behind bars,” said James Lynch, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

    May 31, 2016

    The Danish Parliament has ushered in a historic victory in the struggle for transgender rights by today adopting a decision to no longer stigmatize transgender identities as mental disorders, said Amnesty International.

    “This very encouraging move from Denmark sets a strong example internationally towards destigmatizing transgender people and paving the way for quick and transparent processes for legal gender recognition,” said Leda Avgousti, Amnesty International’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Advisor.

    “It is disgraceful that globally the norm is for transgender people to be placed under the category of mental disorders because of their gender identity. This label means that transgender people are forced to undergo traumatizing and humiliating psychiatric evaluations in order to legally change their gender or even to be able to access gender reassignment treatment.”

    May 30, 2016

    Today’s judgment convicting former Chadian president Hissène Habré marks a significant moment for international justice and a huge relief for the tens of thousands of victims who have waited for this day for over 25 years, said  Amnesty International.

    Following a trial which began in July last year, the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) in Dakar sentenced Habré  to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture committed in Chad between 1982 and 1990. He was found to have personally committed rapes. The chambers rejected the seizure of his property frozen during the trial.

    “This verdict is a victory for those victims who fought tirelessly to ensure Hissène Habré could not get away with crimes under international law. It demonstrates that when there is enough political will states can work together effectively to end impunity in even the most entrenched situations,” said Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International West Africa researcher.

    May 30, 2016

    In a shocking attack on the right to freedom of expression Bahrain’s authorities today upheld the conviction of opposition leader Sheikh  ‘Ali Salman and increased his prison sentence from four to nine years for giving speeches in which he criticized the government, said Amnesty International.

    “Sheikh ‘Ali Salman’s conviction is clearly politically motivated and is designed to send a message to others that even legitimate and peaceful demands for reform will not go unpunished. He is a prisoner of conscience and should never have been put on trial in the first place. He must be immediately and unconditionally released,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    May 29, 2016

    Saudi Arabia’s authorities today continued their relentless efforts to stamp out independent human rights activism by sentencing another key activist to eight years in prison, Amnesty International said today.

    Abdulaziz al-Shubaily, is the only active founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), an independent human rights organization, who is not behind bars. He was tried at the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) and sentenced under a repressive counter-terrorism law. He faced a number of different charges which included “communicating with foreign organizations” and providing information to Amnesty International for use in two of its reports. He also faces an eight-year travel ban, during which time he is forbidden from writing on social media.

    May 29, 2016

    An Egyptian military court has sentenced eight individuals, all civilians, to death and another 18 to lengthy prison terms, after a grossly unfair military trial that relied on “confessions” extracted under horrific torture including defendants being whipped with a burning cloth, said Amnesty International today.

    “This verdict is an affront to justice and must be quashed immediately,” said Magdalena Mughrabi-Talhami, Amnesty International’s Regional Deputy Programme Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “Sentencing to death men who were tortured into ‘confessions’ is an egregious injustice, even by the degraded standards of Egypt’s justice system. They must receive a fair trial before an ordinary civilian court that meets international standards and excludes torture-tainted evidence, without the recourse to the death penalty.”

    May 27, 2016

    Released 00:01 GMT, 28 May 2016

           Rohingya refugees are being kept in indefinite detention        Failure to properly investigate criminal gangs responsible for abuse

    Hundreds of refugees who survived the 2015 boat crisis in South East Asia have been locked up in poor conditions in Malaysia ever since, Amnesty International said, following a visit to the country to investigate the fate of people one year on.

     

    After harrowing footage of desperate refugees and migrants stranded at sea was beamed around the world last May, Malaysia agreed to accept 1,100 people. Almost 400 of those were identified as Rohingya refugees – people fleeing persecution in Myanmar. One year on, the majority of the Rohingya remain in Malaysia’s Belantik detention centre.

     

    May 26, 2016

    Dozens of detainees held in dire conditions in poorly ventilated metal shipping containers, fed only once or twice a week and given insufficient drinking water are at risk of death, warned Amnesty International today. 

    According to information obtained by the organisation, these conditions have apparently resulted in the deaths of multiple detainees at the Gorom detention site, located about 20km south of the capital Juba. Soldiers also periodically take them out of the containers and beat them.

    “Detainees are suffering in appalling conditions and their overall treatment is nothing short of torture,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “This egregious disregard for human life and dignity must stop and for that to happen, the detention site should be immediately shut down until conditions are brought into compliance with human rights standards.”

    May 24, 2016

    Released: 00:01 GMT on 25 May 2016
     
    Almost half of European Union (EU) member states have flouted an EU-wide suspension on arms transfers to Egypt, risking complicity in a wave of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and torture, Amnesty International said today.
     
    Despite the suspension imposed after hundreds of protesters were killed in a show of grossly excessive force by security forces in August 2013, 12 out of 28 EU member states have remained among Egypt’s main suppliers of arms and policing equipment. It is feared that EU Foreign Ministers could soon decide to scrap the current, already insufficient, suspension.

    “Almost three years on from the mass killings that led the EU to call on its member states to halt arms transfers to Egypt, the human rights situation has actually deteriorated,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

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