Freedom of Expression
Nobel Prize Winner leaves a lasting legacy for China
Chinese authorities announced today that Liu Xiaobo, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has passed away.
Information on Liu Xiaobo’s ill health, who was suffering from terminal liver cancer, was released only after he became too ill to recover. Several Western countries have previously asked that Mr. Liu be allowed to seek treatment abroad. The request was refused. Worse yet, he was kept under guard in a hospital and kept silenced.
Because of his demand for greater human rights in China, he was branded as a criminal by the Chinese government.
Liu Xiaobo developed a conviction for the cause of democracy and human rights after witnessing the brutal government crackdown of the peaceful protest in Tiananmen Square in 1989. He once said, “as a survivor of the Tiananmen Square Democracy movement, I feel that I have a duty to uphold justice for those who died in the event.”
The government of Tanzania should end its hostile rhetoric toward civil society groups and threats to obstruct their work, 18 national and international nongovernmental organizations said today. The comments have targeted groups helping pregnant girls finish their education and those working to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.
The organizations shared the concerns raised in a joint statement by 25 Tanzanian organizations reaffirming their support for re-entry to school for adolescent mothers.
The Bangladesh authorities must make every effort to trace the whereabouts of and recover a prominent writer who has been abducted and may have been subject to an enforced disappearance, Amnesty International said today.
Farhad Mazhar, a prominent columnist, poet and political analyst, was taken from outside his home at approximately 5am this morning by a group of unidentified people. Half an hour later, his wife, Farida Akhtar, received a haunting phone call from Farhad, when he is reported to have told her: “They are taking me away, I’m afraid they will kill me.”
“The Bangladesh authorities must make every effort to locate Farhad Mazhar, bring him back to safety and hold the perpetrators accountable,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.
“Far too many people have gone missing in Bangladesh over recent years without any further news of their fate. The government must end impunity for these abuses.”
Hong Kong’s political leaders must show they are prepared to fiercely resist pressure from President Xi Jinping to further erode human rights in the city, Amnesty International said, as the Chinese President arrived to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China.
“Hong Kong’s political leaders need to step up and show they won’t bend to Beijing’s pressure. They must be prepared to defend the city’s cherished human rights and freedoms and the rule of law that were guaranteed as part of the handover deal,” said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.
Carrie Lam, who will be sworn in as Hong Kong’s new chief executive this weekend, has so far shown no appetite to stand up to Beijing when it comes to human rights.
There are reports banners critical of the Chinese government will be removed by police during President’s Xi visit to avoid causing “embarrassment”.
Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi was detained on June 17, 2012 and sentenced in 2014 to 10 years in prison for creating an online forum for public debate and accusations that he insulted Islam. He was also sentenced to a cruel and inhuman punishment of 1,000 lashes. On January 9, 2015 he received the first 50 of these in a public square in Jeddah.
#FreeRaif - 5 Years
10 years in prison. 1000 lashes for writing words of peace. Today marks 5 years since Raif Badawi's arrest, and his children have a message for Saudi Arabia. ACT NOW! Join their demand to #FreeRaif >> http://amn.st/61818mLd3
Posted by Amnesty International Canada on Saturday, 17 June 2017
Lesotho’s newly elected government must act swiftly to ensure accountability for past human rights violations and end the spike in abuses recorded in recent years, Amnesty International said today.
The organization is releasing a human rights agenda today for the new government ahead of the inauguration of the incoming Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, on 16 June.
“For the past few years, Lesotho has been characterized by a political and security crisis, resulting in a spike in human rights violations. Since 2014, we have documented a pattern of arbitrary arrests and detentions of opposition party members, journalists, human rights defenders and members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF),” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.
The Egyptian authorities have shifted their onslaught against media freedom to the digital sphere, blocking access to more than 40 news sites without justification in recent weeks, in an attempt to eliminate the country’s last remaining spaces for criticism and free expression, said Amnesty International.
The passing of a law stigmatising non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive foreign funding is the latest in an escalating crackdown on critical voices and will hamper critically important work by civil society groups, said Amnesty international.
The Law on the transparency of organizations funded from abroad will force NGOs receiving more than 24,000 EUR direct or indirect funding from abroad to re-register as “civic organization funded from abroad” and to put this pejorative label on every publication.
“Threadbare attempts to disguise this law as being necessary to protect national security cannot hide its real purpose: to stigmatize, discredit and intimidate critical NGOs and hamper their vital work,” said said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe.
“This latest assault on civil society is aimed at silencing critical voices within the country, has ominous echoes of Russian’s draconian ‘foreign agents’ law, and is a dark day for Hungary.”