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Human Rights Abuses

    June 22, 2018

    In response to the government of President Daniel Ortega’s outright rejection of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ report on grave human rights violations committed in the context of the recent protests in Nicaragua, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “It’s shameful that the government of President Ortega is denying the undeniable. There is a wealth of evidence, including thousands of testimonies, to show that the Nicaraguan state has committed terrible human rights violations and continues to do so on a daily basis. This has to stop before more lives are lost.

    “The government’s reaction to today’s findings by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights demonstrates that the rhetoric of denial and division form part of its strategy of repression of the

    Nicaraguan people. We remind the state that it has an obligation under international law to protect the human rights of everyone, without distinction or discrimination.”

    June 05, 2018

    The decision of a federal court to order the creation of an investigative commission for truth and justice in the Ayotzinapa case is an important precedent which could, subject to certain conditions, bring about a substantial change in the way in which serious human rights violations in Mexico are investigated, Amnesty International said today.

    “Following four years of continuous failings in the investigation of the case, this decision represents an important advance in the search for truth, justice and reparation for the 43 students who were forcibly disappeared on the night of 26 September 2014,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    The ruling of the First Collegiate Court of the Nineteenth District in Tamaulipas, made public on 4 June, acknowledges that in Mexico there is no independent public prosecution service, and that the investigation into the enforced disappearance of the 43 students has been deeply flawed and has not taken the pertinent lines of investigation into consideration.

    June 01, 2018

    State officials were complicit in recent mob attacks against the Ahmadiyya religious minority in East Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, that left six homes destroyed and forced dozens to flee their villages, Amnesty International Indonesia said today.

    The finding comes after the organization interviewed Ahmadis living in the affected neighborhoods of Montongtangi and Gerengeng. They described how state officials including police tried to force them to “return to the true teaching of Islam”, warning they would otherwise be killed. The Ahmadiyya are a religious group who consider themselves Muslims. However, Indonesian law and majority of Muslims in Indonesia do not recognize them as part of Islam.

    “This is a clear example of the state being party to discrimination and violence against a religious minority. For refusing to give up their beliefs, people saw their homes destroyed and their possessions looted,” said Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid.

    May 31, 2018

    The Ethiopian government must immediately withdraw and disband the Liyu police unit of the Somali regional state, whose members are unlawfully killing the Oromo people, Amnesty International said today.

    Members of the unit, set up by the Somali state as a counter-terrorism special force, this week burnt down 48 homes belonging to Oromo families who were living in Somali, forcing them to flee to Kiro in the regional state of Oromia.

    “The Ethiopian authorities must immediately demobilize the Liyu police and replace them with police that abide by international human rights law. These rogue officers must not be allowed to brutalize people at will,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    On 23 and 24 May the unit also attacked four neighborhoods in the Chinaksen district of East Oromia, killing five farmers and burning down around 50 homes. These attacks caused residents to flee their homes looking for safety.

    May 31, 2018
      A new attack against a massive demonstration led by the mothers of those who have lost their lives as a result of the violent state repression in Nicaragua demonstrates the systematic “shoot-to-kill” policy of President Ortega’s government, said Amnesty International today after participating in the march.   The Amnesty International delegation accompanied the Mother’s Day march and witnessed the chaos caused by the detonation of firearms. The organization has been able to verify that the attacks against demonstrators were led by police and pro-government armed groups known as “Sandinista mobs” in the vicinity of the National University of Engineering and the Central American University. The possible use of snipers firing from the Dennis Martínez Stadium has also been reported.  
    May 31, 2018

    Reacting to the Bangkok South Criminal Court’s decision to overturn its conviction of Andy Hall, a British migrant rights worker found guilty of criminal defamation in September 2016 for his work on a report into the abuse of migrant workers’ rights in Thailand, Katherine Gerson, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Thailand, said:

    “This successful appeal is very welcome, and it underlines how the original conviction against Andy Hall was an abuse of justice that should never have been allowed.

    “Unless followed by legislative and policy changes, however, this decision will do little to compensate for a system that allows for the targeting of human rights activists who dare to stand up against companies involved in abusive practices.

    “The Thai government must work to repeal all criminal defamation laws and take measures to protect both the rights of migrant workers and the freedom of expression of those who are defending their rights.”  

    Background

    May 28, 2018

    Students from the National University of Engineering who were defending their campus in Managua, Nicaragua, were attacked with firearms today, confirmed Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, in a live broadcast from her Facebook account.

    Erika Guevara-Rosas broadcast two videos of the attacks carried out first by pro-government armed groups known as “turbas sandinistas” (Sandinista mobs) and then by riot police:

    https://www.facebook.com/erikaguev/videos/10155309685356021/

    https://www.facebook.com/erikaguev/videos/10155309827286021/

    Violence against students has been increasing since 18 April, when protests against social security reforms began. Since then, Amnesty International has carried out in-depth research in Nicaragua in order to confirm the reports of human rights violations.

    May 28, 2018
    Saeed Malekpour

    By: Nazila Nik

    On June 5, web programmer Saeed Malekpour will turn 43 behind bars in Iran. This will be the 10th birthday he has spent in Evin Prison. He was 33 when arrested and has now spent almost a decade in prison.  Almost a decade. Let it sink in for a minute: A decade without even a single day of furlough.

    Saeed Malekpour was an ordinary immigrant in Canada. He came here, just like thousands of others. Just like me.

    In 2008 he was a permanent resident of Canada, in the prime of his life, with a seemingly bright future in front of him. Then he went back to Iran to see his dying father. It was not the first time that he had travelled back to Iran. But this time, unlike others, he was arrested on street and taken for questioning. That was the beginning of a surreal nightmare that still haunts Saeed and his family a decade later.

    May 04, 2018

    Responding to a decision by the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic to extend the detention of Oyub Titiev, one of Russia’s leading human rights defenders, Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office at Amnesty International said:

    “The decision to extend the detention of Oyub Titiev is a grave injustice that strikes at the heart of Russia’s human rights community. The Russian authorities are hellbent on silencing anyone who speaks out against human rights abuses in Chechnya, and as the head of the human rights group Memorial’s Chechen office, Oyub Titiev has faced years of harassment and intimidation.

    “In January, the sustained campaign of threats and smears against Memorial staff culminated in the arrest of Oyub Titiev on bogus drug charges. Despite the fact that these charges were clearly fabricated as a means of silencing him, Oyub Titiev now faces up to 10 years in jail. This is the price that human rights defenders in Russia pay for their bravery.

    May 02, 2018
     At least 20 civilians killed Two burnt to death in reprisal attacks  Witness: ‘There were dead bodies everywhere’

    ​​​​​​​Those responsible for the killing and injuring of civilians in Central African Republic (CAR) must not be allowed to hide from justice, Amnesty International said today.

    According to reports, at least 20 civilians including a priest were killed and more than 90 injured following fresh sectarian violence which targeted places of worship on 1 May in the capital, Bangui. 

    “In a country where the images from months of horrific violence are still fresh in the memories of people, these renewed tensions could stoke more attacks and bloodshed if those responsible are not stopped once for all,” said Balkissa Ide Siddo, Amnesty International’s Central Africa researcher.

    April 27, 2018

    Israel is carrying out a murderous assault against protesting Palestinians, with its armed forces killing and maiming demonstrators who pose no imminent threat to them, Amnesty International revealed today, based on its latest research, as the “Great March of Return” protests continued in the Gaza Strip.

    The Israeli military has killed 35 Palestinians and injured more than 5,500 others – some with what appear to be deliberately inflicted life-changing injuries – during the weekly Friday protests that began on 30 March.

    Amnesty International has renewed its call on governments worldwide to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel following the country’s disproportionate response to mass demonstrations along the fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel.

    April 22, 2018

    More than 35,000 people are now reported disappeared in Mexico. 

    It’s a staggering number that continues to climb every day. 

    One of the most notorious cases involves 43 students from a teacher-training college in Ayotzinapa who were taken away by police in September 2014 and never seen again.

    The government’s “investigation” has failed to find the students and led to allegations of covering up an extensive web of complicity involving authorities at all levels of the Mexican state.

    This is no isolated case. Systemic incompetence and a complete lack of will by State and Federal authorities in Mexico to properly search for and investigate the disappearance of thousands of people is fuelling a human rights crisis of epidemic proportions. 

    April 20, 2018

    Responding to the caning of several people – including unmarried couples, punished for showing affection in public, and two women sex workers – in Aceh on Friday, Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

    “Caning is an inhuman and degrading form of punishment that may amount to torture which should never be used in any circumstances. The Aceh authorities’ decision to cane unmarried couples, whose only ‘crime’ was showing affection in public, in front of hundreds of spectators, is an act of utmost cruelty.

    “Since January of this year, a total of 47 people have now been caned in public in Aceh, and the list is only getting longer. The provincial administration of Aceh must immediately remove this abhorrent form of punishment from its law books.

    “It is also high time for the international community to press Indonesia to provide a safer environment for everyone in Aceh. The situation risks deteriorating rapidly unless the local administration is pushed to take its obligations to respect human rights seriously.”

    Background

    April 20, 2018

    Responding to the 30-year jail sentence handed to Mohammed Jabateh, a former Liberian war lord known as “Jungle Jabbah” now living in the US, for immigration fraud and perjury due to failure to disclose his involvement in human rights abuses during the Liberian civil war, Amnesty International’s West Africa Researcher Sabrina Mahtani said:

    “While Mohammed Jabateh was not convicted of the crimes he is allegedly responsible for under international law, this is nevertheless the first case to provide some justice for victims of Liberia’s civil war. Such prosecutions send a strong signal that the US does not have to be a safe haven for human rights abusers.

    March 23, 2018

    Responding to reports that an alleged Russian air strike using an incendiary weapon burned to death 37 civilians – mainly women and children – hiding in an air-raid shelter in the Syrian town of Arbin on Friday, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Senior Advisor Rawya Rageh said:

    “We have previously documented how the use of incendiary weapons is burning alive civilians who are literally left with nowhere to hide. This attack would appear to be the latest horrific example in that pattern.

    “In areas besieged by the Syrian government such as Daraya and elsewhere, civilians told us what particularly struck fear into their hearts during the final period of the siege before they were forced out was the use of incendiary weapons.

    “Many told us they stopped going down to shelters for fear of being burned alive. Those fears seem especially poignant today in light of this latest horrifying loss of life.”

    According to Russian state media, Russia's Ministry of Defence denied responsibility for the attack.

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