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Human Rights Abuses

    January 19, 2018

    Ahead of massive popular mobilization and protests announced to take place as of 20 January, Amnesty International calls on the Honduran authorities to respect and protect the right to peaceful assembly life and physical integrity of protestors. The opposition has called for a week of protests at national level to reject the investiture ceremony scheduled to take place on 27 January.

    “The excessive use of force that led to fatal victims and serious injuries since 29 November, is unacceptable and should not be repeated. Honduran authorities have the responsibility to protect people’s lives and rights; security forces must refrain from using firearms to control or disperse crowds. People must be allowed to exercise their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    The use of force is an exception only for cases where non-violent measures are ineffective in preventing violence or other lawbreaking, and authorities must ensure it is strictly proportionate to the harm it seeks to prevent.

    January 19, 2018

    New satellite imagery analysis by Amnesty International gives the first comprehensive view of how thousands of structures, including several schools, were demolished in sudden forced evictions that left more than 4,000 families homeless on the outskirts of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu in late December.

    No warning was given before armed men accompanied bulldozers to raze the sites on 29 and 30 December 2017, according to UNICEF and Save the Children. UN agencies have said the forced evictions left more than 24,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) homeless, including 3,000 children.

    January 17, 2018

    Reacting to the police shooting dead at least eight protesters in Mrauk-U in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “These shocking killings are yet another example of Myanmar security forces’ contempt for human life. Even if protesters were throwing stones and bricks, nothing can justify police apparently firing into a crowd of thousands. This is a clear case of excessive use of force in violation of the right to life.

    “The lethal use of force must be independently investigated, and those responsible held to account. Far too often, police in Myanmar are allowed to escape unpunished after committing violations, allowing the cycle of impunity and abuse to continue.

    “The Myanmar authorities have a long and chequered history of using any means necessary to curb expressions of dissent. It is high time the Myanmar police better train and equip their staff in non-violent methods of crowd control. In particular, the authorities need to ensure that police have non-lethal means of force at their disposal to use where unavoidable.”

     

    January 11, 2018

    While families were celebrating Christmas holidays at home, police in the city of Chilpancingo forcibly disappeared 5 young men, using chilling tactics that mirror those used by organized crime, said Amnesty International.

    “Tragically, the enforced disappearance of these young men is the latest of a long line of horrors have befallen Guerrero state. The warning signs of corruption and terrible human rights violations have been there for all to see, and those officials that negligently ignored them are themselves complicit,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    The organization recently carried out field research in Chilpancingo that confirmed the enforced disappearance of Alán Alexis along with two teenagers under 18, on the 27 December 2017, as well as the enforced disappearance, of Jorge Vázquez Campos and Marco Catalán Cabrera on the 30 December 2017 in the local city fair.

    December 28, 2017

    Reacting to the deadly attack on Afghan Voice, a news agency, that has killed at least 40 people and wounded 30 others, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, Biraj Patnaik, said:

    “This gruesome attack underscores the dangers faced by Afghan civilians. In one of the deadliest years on record, journalists and other civilians continue to be ruthlessly targeted by armed groups. With the Afghan capital hit once again, no one can credibly claim that Kabul safe. The European governments who insist on this dangerous fiction by forcibly returning Afghans are putting their lives in danger.”

     

    December 13, 2017

    Responding to the Philippine Congress’ approval of President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law in the southern region of Mindanao until the end of 2018 in order to “eradicate” Islamist militants, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez, said:

    “Civilians in Mindanao have faced unlawful killings, destruction of their homes, ill-treatment and numerous other human rights abuses at the hands of Philippine armed forces and Islamist militants since the imposition of martial law. The length of this latest extension, until the end of 2018, is an ominous move that almost certainly signals further abuses in the months ahead.

    “Violations in the battle of Marawi, in northern Mindanao, have been carried out with impunity, while there has been a disturbing rise in killings of human rights defenders and political activists across the region in recent months.

    “President Duterte, who is already responsible for thousands of unlawful killings in his so-called ‘war on drugs’, must not use martial law as a pretext to commit further violations in Mindanao without any accountability.

    December 11, 2017
    Military in Honduras - Photo by Sean T. Hawkey

    By Kathy Price

    It was less than a month ago that I visited Honduras with an Amnesty delegation that travelled to Intibucá and La Paz to meet with threatened defenders of human rights, Indigenous territory and the environment. We also met with other courageous rights activists in the capital, Tegucigalpa.

    It was dangerous then, amidst smear campaigns, arbitrary arrests, threats of sexual violence against women, armed attacks and the fear generated by assassinations of beloved leaders like Berta Cáceres.

    But make no mistake. Disturbing developments during the past turbulent weeks in Honduras have significantly increased the risks for anyone who speaks out against injustice and abuse of power.

    Photo: President Juan Orlando Hernández via Twitter

    December 08, 2017

    The Honduran government is deploying dangerous and illegal tactics to silence any dissenting voices in the aftermath of one of the country’s worst political crisis in a decade, including preventing lawyers and human rights activists from visiting detained demonstrators, Amnesty International said after a visit to the country following contested presidential elections on 26 November.

    “Honduras seems to be on a very dangerous free fall where ordinary people are the victims of reckless and selfish political games,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Evidence shows that there is no space for people in Honduras to express their opinions. When they do, they come face to face with the full force of the government’s repressive apparatus.”

    “Halting all use of illegitimate or excessive force against protesters by security forces, ending arbitrary detentions, and investigating all instances of human rights violations would be a good start to undo some of the many wrongs we have documented in recent days.”

    December 05, 2017

    Responding to the recent video circulating on social media, apparently showing the aftermath of an alleged killing of a young man by the country’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria said:

    “The scale of the reaction to this incident shows that the concerns of the Nigerian people are reaching boiling point. All incidents of violence meted out by this notorious police unit must be independently investigated, and those found to be responsible must be prosecuted in fair trials.”

    “The #EndSARS hashtag is rightly gaining the attention of the police and Nigerian government and now officials must do more to end these horrendous abuses of power. Amnesty International highlighted such abuses more than a year ago and yet these shocking incidents still continue. Restructuring SARS is not enough, the government must take concrete steps to protect Nigerians.”

    Background

    December 05, 2017

    Responding to the news that President Duterte has ordered the police to resume their role in supporting his administration’s so-called “war on drugs,” James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “In returning police to his anti-drug operations yet again, President Duterte has consigned the poorest and most marginalised people in the Philippines to another catastrophic wave of violence, misery and bloodshed.

    “Since the police were withdrawn from anti-drug operations in October, there has been a marked decline in the number of deaths resulting from these operations. We can only expect that to reverse, as the police have the opportunity to pick up where they left off and resume their indiscriminate killing with impunity.

    September 29, 2017

    A resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council today, mandating a group of international experts to investigate abuses by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, is a momentous breakthrough that will pave the way for justice for countless victims of human rights abuses and grave violations of international law, including war crimes, said Amnesty International.

    The resolution was passed today by consensus, after intensive negotiations. It is the result of years of campaigning and lobbying by Yemeni human rights organizations as well as Amnesty International and other international organizations.

    “This resolution is a victory for Yemenis whose suffering at the hands of all parties to the conflict in Yemen has been overlooked by the international community. The resolution offers hope for those seeking justice and can serve as a stepping stone towards accountability,” said Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research.

    September 28, 2017

    UPDATE 28 September 2017: Scroll down for an open letter to the UN from 87 civil society organizations urging immediate action on the crisis in Myanmar.

    The UN Security Council must do everything it can to end the crimes against humanity and ongoing ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya civilian population in Myanmar, including by imposing a comprehensive arms embargo on the country, Amnesty International said.

    The Council is holding a public session on the situation in Myanmar on Thursday, when Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will brief members on the current crisis in Rakhine state.

    “The Myanmar military is forcibly displacing and killing Rohingya, a campaign of crimes against humanity that amounts to ethnic cleansing. When they meet on Thursday, UN member states must ask themselves what side of history they want to be on and do everything they can do end this nightmare. Together, they do have the power to pressure Myanmar to end the violence,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director.

    September 07, 2017

    A wave of brutal attacks in the Central African Republic, including the systematic rape and murder of civilians, highlights the urgent need for stronger UN action to protect civilians, Amnesty International said today.

    On-the-ground research by the organization in August 2017 also uncovered a horrifying surge in torture, pillage, and forced displacement by a Seleka off-shoot, the Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC).

    “Communities living in Basse-Kotto have been left at the mercy of the UPC. Women have been raped, men murdered, villages destroyed, and the region’s UN peacekeeping force has proved ineffective in stemming these abuses,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.

    “Civilians are not accidental victims in this conflict; they are direct targets. If the UN’s mandate in the Central African Republic is to mean anything, civilians must be better protected.”

    September 07, 2017

    Responding to news that outspoken government critic Tanzanian parliamentarian Tundu Lissu has been shot and wounded by unidentified attackers in the capital Dodoma, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “This cowardly attack on one of Tanzania’s most fearless and prominent politicians raises concerns about the safety of all dissident voices in the country, at a time when space for dissent is quickly shrinking.

    “This heinous crime must not be swept under the carpet. The Tanzanian authorities must immediately launch an effective and impartial investigation into the shooting and ensure that those responsible are held to account.

    “The authorities must take steps to reassure Tanzanians and the world that this shooting was not politically motivated.”

    Background

    Tundu Lissu, who also heads up the lawyer’s association, the Tanganyika Law Society, is a fierce and outspoken critic of President John Pombe Magufuli.

    September 05, 2017
      Prime Minister Narendra Modi should use his official visit to Myanmar to urge authorities there to take urgent steps to protect civilians in violence-hit Rakhine State and lift restrictions on international humanitarian aid to Rakhine, Amnesty International India said today. Thousands of people, mainly Rohingya, are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign in Rakhine.

    “Prime Minister Modi needs to tell Myanmar’s leadership that they are not doing enough to protect all communities in the state, whether it is stopping military abuses targeting the Rohingya or restricting crucial humanitarian access for people in need,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India.

    “As a historic friend of Myanmar, India can play an important role in defusing tensions and saving civilian lives. Prime Minister Modi must urge the Myanmar authorities to address the long-standing and systematic discrimination against Rohingya and other Muslims in Rakhine State, which has left people trapped in a cycle of violence and deprivation.”

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