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Economic and Social Rights

    May 14, 2015

    Amnesty International UK

    Released 12.00HRS BST (GMT+1) THURSDAY 14 MAY 2015

    In response to a survey from a coalition of leading NGOs, sports organisations and trade unions, only one of the four candidates for the FIFA presidency has set out a plan to address human rights, labour rights and corruption issues if successful in their bid for the top job at world football’s governing body.

    The Sport and Rights Alliance (SRA) sent a questionnaire to the candidates - Sepp Blatter, Luis Figo, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein and Michael van Praag - last month. It asked specific questions about abuses linked to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and about the FIFA reform process. The FIFA presidential election takes place on 29 May in Zurich.

    All four candidates responded to the survey, the first time they have been asked to answer for human rights and transparency crises around World Cups and in FIFA’s wider work. Only Michael van Praag made a detailed, personal pledge to address the issues raised by the SRA.

    December 23, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 24 December 2014

    Pro-Kyiv volunteer battalions are increasingly blocking humanitarian aid into eastern Ukraine in a move which will exacerbate a pending humanitarian crisis in the run up to Christmas and New Year, said Amnesty International.

    “As winter sets in, the already desperate situation in eastern Ukraine is being made even worse by the volunteer battalions preventing food aid and medicine from reaching those in need. It is no secret that the region is facing a humanitarian disaster with many already at risk of starvation,” said Denis Krivosheev, acting Director of Europe and Central Asia for Amnesty International.

    “These battalions often act like renegade gangs and urgently need to be brought under control. Denying food to people caught up in a conflict is against international law and the perpetrators must be held to account.”

    Amnesty International has received information that the pro-Kyiv battalions, which include Dnipro-1 and Aidar, have blocked aid entering territories controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR).

    November 14, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 15 November 2014

    Leaders of the G20 states gathering this week-end in Australia must act immediately to ensure all the personnel, equipment and funding required to halt the Ebola outbreak are made available without any discrimination, a number of leading  international non-governmental organisations said today.

    Amnesty International, Oxfam International, Plan International, Save the Children and WaterAid are collectively present in all the three affected countries with a clear analysis of the tremendous needs still to be addressed.

    These five international non-governmental organizations have launched a petition to the world’s 20 largest economies, to take concrete actions to win the fight against the Ebola disease.

    Within a couple of weeks, 165,490 people around the world signed the petition to express solidarity with communities affected by the Ebola outbreak and remind the G20 leaders that the window to stop the outbreak from spiralling out of control is closing fast.

    November 14, 2014

    Survivors and activists have long criticized the Indian government for massively underestimating the number of dead and injured after the Bhopal gas leak. © PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images

    India’s government has today agreed to increase a multi-million dollar compensation claim against Union Carbide over the 1984 gas leak from the company's pesticide plant that poisoned more than half a million people.

    The government promised to revise the numbers of deaths and injuries for which it was seeking compensation in order to end a nil-by-mouth hunger strike by five women, who began their action on 10 November.

    “This is a major victory for survivors of the 1984 gas leak, but subsequent generations of Bhopalis continue to suffer as chemicals abandoned by Union Carbide 30 years ago still leak into the groundwater today,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director for Global Issues.

    November 10, 2014

    By Dr. Shobana Ananth, Health Network Coordinator and Jacqueline Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner

    The Ebola epidemic is spreading rapidly in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and threatens to spread further. Over 13,000 cases have been reported in eight countries this year, and almost 5,000 people have died. Current projections suggest there could be 10,000 cases—and 5,000 deaths—per week by December.

    Health systems in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone were already weak from years of armed conflict. They suffer from shortages in funding, staff, a lack of health care workers, and poor infrastructure. And now they are collapsing under the strain of responding to the Ebola virus. Without financial support and increased humanitarian and medical staff, the epidemic will continue to expand and many more lives will be lost.

    August 05, 2014

    Iraqis displaced by fighting in the north-west of the country must be given urgent humanitarian assistance, Amnesty International said after tens of thousands of civilians fled the town of Sinjar and surrounding areas following an attack by Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham(ISIS) militants.

    Hundreds of civilians from Sinjar and its environs are missing, feared dead or abducted, while tens of thousands are trapped without basic necessities or vital supplies in the Sinjar Mountain area south of the city. Most of those affected are members of the Yezidi minority.

    “The civilians trapped in the mountain area are not only at risk of being killed or abducted by ISIS; they are also suffering from a lack of water, food and medical care. They are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, who is currently in northern Iraq.

    August 04, 2014

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL; CENTRE FOR ENVIRONMENT, HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEVELOPMENT;  ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS ACTION; FRIENDS OF THE EARTH EUROPE;  PLATFORM

    August 04, 2014

    The Dow Chemical Company must stop dodging its responsibility towards the survivors of the Bhopal disaster, Amnesty International said today, after an Indian Court issued a third criminal summons to the company over the catastrophic 1984 gas leak which left thousands dead and many more with chronic and debilitating illnesses.

    “The time has come for Dow to appear in an Indian court and account for the failure of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Union Carbide, to respond to the criminal charges against it,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director for Global Issues.

    “Refusing to comply with the summons would be to treat the Indian justice system with contempt, undermining Dow’s credibility as an investor in India.”

    July 01, 2014

    Today’s European Court of Human Rights judgment upholding a general ban on wearing full-face veils in public is deeply damaging, warned Amnesty International. It represents a profound retreat for the right to freedom of expression and religion and sends a message that women are not free to express their religious beliefs in public.

    The case was brought before the Strasbourg-based court by S.A.S, a 24-year-old French woman who finds the general ban enacted in France in 2011 to be in violation of her freedom of expression and a range of other rights. Women in France face fines and/or citizenship training for violating the law.

    “The court recognised that arguments based on security and gender equality were specious. But it accepted the argument that wearing full-face veils runs counter to established social norms that are necessary for ‘living together’. This reasoning should be deeply disturbing to all those who value the freedom of expression,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Program Director at Amnesty International.

    June 12, 2014

    A landmark law in Denmark making it easier for transgender people to change their legal gender should set an example to governments across the world, Amnesty International said.

    The Danish parliament yesterday passed a bill allowing transgender people to obtain official documents reflecting their gender identity without needing to be diagnosed with a mental disorder or undergo surgeries resulting in irreversible sterilization.

    “This progressive and courageous step made by Danish MPs should set an example to the rest of Europe and beyond,” said Amnesty International’s Helle Jacobsen.

    “All states should ensure that transgender people can obtain legal recognition of their gender through a quick, accessible and transparent procedure in accordance with their own sense of their gender identity.”

    Previously, Danish transgender people could only change their legal gender after receiving a psychiatric diagnosis of “transsexualism” or undergoing surgeries, irreversible sterilization and other medical treatments including hormone treatments.

    May 14, 2014

    The Turkish government must urgently investigate last night’s catastrophic coal mine explosion and reports of dangerous working practices in the mining sector to stop further tragedies, said Amnesty International.

    “This was a tragedy that should have been avoided. The long history of deaths in mines in Turkey raises chilling questions over workers’ safety. The fact that the government rejected recent calls by parliamentarians to investigate serious work-related accidents is nothing short of shocking. They are playing with people’s lives,” said Andrew Gardner, researcher on Turkey at Amnesty International. 

    Some 245 men are reported to have died with 80 injured after an explosion at a coal mine in Soma, west Turkey, on Tuesday 13 May. The death toll is expected to rise significantly as 800 workers were on site as the explosion occurred.

    The mine is owned by Soma Kömür İşletmeleri A.Ş, a subsidiary of Soma Holding, the largest underground coal producer in Turkey.

    Previous mine disasters in Turkey include an explosion, in 1992, at a coal mine in the black sea province of Zonguldak in which 263 miners died.

    January 13, 2014

    The international community must act now to end the suffering of millions of Syrian civilians, many of whom are at risk of starvation and face severe shortages of medical care and adequate shelter, said Amnesty International ahead of a UN donor conference in Kuwait this week.

    “The world’s response to the Syria crisis so far has been woefully inadequate. At the end of 2013 the UN humanitarian appeal - the largest in the organization’s history - was just 70 per cent funded. This meant that vital aid was cut off to some of the most vulnerable victims of Syria’s brutal conflict who were left to face the bitter winter months with minimal resources,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.
     
    Although some countries have made generous financial contributions, others including the United Arab Emirates, one of the wealthiest countries within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), made promises on aid that failed to fully materialize. Russia, which has shown significant political interest in the Syrian crisis, has only made minimal contributions to the humanitarian effort.

    December 24, 2013

    The South Korean authorities must rein in the police and respect the rights of striking workers, Amnesty International said after a massive police raid on the offices of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) in Seoul on Sunday.

    This police raid violated international human rights and labour standards in many ways – from arresting trade union leaders in retaliation for strike action to the police using unnecessary and excessive force that resulted in workers being injured,” said Polly Truscott, Deputy Asia-Pacific Program Director at Amnesty International.

    “The South Korean authorities must stop unlawful police raids and arrests of trade unionists, and respect the rights of striking workers.”

    Some 130 trade unionists were arrested on Sunday when thousands of police raided the headquarters of the KCTU, in response to a strike by railway workers over fears that large-scale layoffs may be looming. Several workers were injured when police used pepper spray.

    The police raid, which was carried out without a search warrant, was the first on the KCTU’s headquarters since it was given legal status in 1999.

    November 30, 2013

    Posted on Sunday December 1, 2013 00:01 GMT

    Israel must immediately lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip, including by allowing the delivery of fuel and other essential supplies into the territory without restrictions, said Amnesty International today.

    For the last month, all of Gaza’s 1.7 million residents have been living without power for most of the time and in the shadow of a public health catastrophe, after their sole power plant was forced to shut down, causing the failure of several sewerage and water plants.

    “This latest harsh setback has exacerbated the assault on the dignity of Palestinians in Gaza and the massive denial of rights they have experienced for more than six years because of Israel’s blockade, together with restrictions imposed by Egypt,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

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