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Human Rights Abuses

    May 15, 2019

    In response to the discussion of proposed legislation in the Political Commission of El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly, which could have implications for access to justice for victims of the armed conflict, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “El Salvador’s legislators cannot turn their backs on the victims of crimes under international law and grave human rights violations committed during the armed conflict. The Salvadoran authorities are obliged to bring to justice anyone suspected of being responsible for the extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances that took place during the armed conflict. To do otherwise would risk becoming complicit in heinous crimes.”

    May 14, 2019
    Nabi Saleh demonstrations, 2013

    Palestinians living in the occupied territories cannot get to work or school, or see their friends and family without feeling the disruptive effect of Israel’s military rule. It restricts the ability to farm their land, attend a protest, improve their homes, raise families, travel for medical purposes, or access essential services such as electricity and clean water.

    A Palestinian prisoner’s experience is even more dire: they must not only withstand all the above, but also arbitrary detention from Israeli and Palestinian forces, cruel and unlawful treatment, the repression of fundamental human rights, and the ongoing unlawful detention of children.

    For both, life is made all the more insufferable by Israel’s ever-expanding settlement operation.

    April 15, 2019

    Indonesia’s next government must put human rights at the center of its policies after the serious abuses that have marred the country in recent years, Amnesty International said ahead of polling day on 17 April.

    With nearly 200 million registered voters expected to cast their ballots in Indonesia’s general elections, Amnesty International have published a Human Rights Agenda targeting 7,968 parliamentary candidates and the two presidential candidates.

    “Our agenda puts forward a concrete action plan that the next government and parliament must deliver to improve the human rights situation in Indonesia, after the deteriorating environment experienced by so many people in the past four and half years – especially minorities and other marginalized groups,” said Usman Hamid, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director. “The next government has an opportunity to turn the tide and prevent Indonesia from squandering the vital human rights progress made since 1998.”

    April 09, 2019

    If the last couple weeks have shown us anything, it’s that now, more than ever, we need the human courage to stand up for what is right. We need the bravery to speak out, to support threatened communities, to build a society based on equality, compassion and unity.

    It’s been inspiring to see how many people have channelled their love and hope towards our grieving Muslim whānau these past weeks. New Zealanders have flatly rejected the Christchurch gunman’s hate-filled ideology. But as powerful as this national outpouring of solidarity has been, it’s not enough on its own.

    Christchurch did not happen in a vacuum. The atrocity was at least partly the result of a creeping normalisation of white supremacist ideology and the rise of openly Islamophobic world leaders, a devastating reminder that bigotry still simmers below the surface. If we’re serious about solidarity, we need to redouble our efforts to challenge racism and bigotry wherever we see them. Here are some steps you can take:

    Listen to people who experience racism

    March 27, 2019

    Responding to news that Russian security forces in occupied Crimea have conducted extensive searches and detained ethnic community Crimean Tatars, Oksana Pokalchuk, Amnesty International Ukraine’s Executive Director, said:

    “The crackdown on the Crimean Tatar community, whose members are regarded as disloyal to the de facto Russian authorities, has continued unabated for five years.

    “The Russian authorities will use any means to suppress any dissent, real or perceived, casting their net wide to target the Crimean Tatar community and silence dissenting voices. The latest crackdown is one of the biggest acts of brazen intimidation of the whole community in recent months.”

    According to the de facto Crimean Directorate of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the law enforcement agents conducted searches and detentions to investigate the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a religious group banned in Russia as “terrorist” but operating lawfully in Ukraine.

    Background

    March 22, 2019
    A Candelit Prayer is held outside the State Library of Victoria on March 16, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.

    When the global picture is this grim, it’s little wonder that many Muslims feel embattled. Especially when they are also being told that despite these tragic numbers, they are actually the aggressors.

    March 14, 2019

    Speaking to Amnesty is not a crime

    The prosecution of 11 women activists before a Criminal Court in Riyadh for their human rights work and contact with international organizations is an appalling escalation of the Saudi authorities’ crackdown on peaceful activism, Amnesty International said today.

    Some of the women were charged with promoting women’s rights and calling for the end of the male guardianship system. The women were also charged with contacting international organizations, foreign media and other activists, including their contact with Amnesty International

    “The charges against the activists are the latest example of the Saudi authorities abusing legislation and the justice system to silence peaceful activists and deter them from working on the human rights situation in the country. This trial is yet another stain on the Saudi authorities’ appalling human rights record, and shows how empty the government’s claims of reform really are,” said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Campaigns Director.

    March 12, 2019

    President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government took some steps to improve the human rights situation in Mexico during the first 100 days of his administration but has yet to take the kind of emphatic action that would convince the country of his commitment to change, said Amnesty International today.

    “Mexico has a long and disturbing history of human rights violations. In recent years, the country has descended into a serious crisis. After decades of struggle by human rights organizations and victims’ groups, it would be a tragedy to miss this opportunity to change the country’s direction,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “President López Obrador must acknowledge and prioritize the major human rights challenges facing the country. Now is the time to take concrete action to achieve genuine change. Recognition of the work done by human rights defenders and organizations, as well as support for them, must be a priority for the president.”

    March 11, 2019

    The sentencing of prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and women’s rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes in a new case against her is an outrageous injustice, said Amnesty International today. 

    The sentence, reported on her husband Reza Khandan’s Facebook page, brings her total sentence after two grossly unfair trials to 38 years in prison. In September 2016, she had been sentenced in her absence to five years in prison in a separate case.

    “It is absolutely shocking that Nasrin Sotoudeh is facing nearly four decades in jail and 148 lashes for her peaceful human rights work, including her defence of women protesting against Iran’s degrading forced hijab (veiling) laws. Nasrin Sotoudeh must be released immediately and unconditionally and this obscene sentence quashed without delay,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director.

    March 01, 2019

    A resolution on prisoner transfers adopted today by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) must be followed by concrete steps to ensure that human rights of prisoners are respected while they are in transit, Amnesty International said today. The organization has previously documented the appalling conditions in which prisoners in Russia are transferred, and called on the Russian authorities to implement the PACE recommendations immediately.

    “Prisoner transfers are often deliberately hidden from the public gaze, meaning people are subjected to appalling abuses without scrutiny. In Russia, where prisoners are often sent to remote locations to serve their sentences, people spend weeks or even months in cramped, windowless trains with no access to the outside world. While their families wonder where they are, prisoners suffer the miseries of infrequent toilet access, scant drinking water and severe overcrowding,” said Heather McGill, Researcher in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office of Amnesty International.  

    February 26, 2019

    As efforts to initiate discussion on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan begins, the latest UNAMA`s 2018 report on “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict” declares a record high number of civilian casualty in Afghanistan with a staggering number of 10,993 civilian casualties reported in 2018. 

    Responding to the UNAMA`s report, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner Samira Hamidi said:

    “The UNAMA report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan is deeply alarming. It reports 10,993 civilian casualties, including 3,804 civilian deaths and 7,189 injuries. The shocking number of dead and injured civilians in Afghanistan once again demonstrates the need for victims to access justice and reparations, and the need to create an environment of accountability.”

    February 25, 2019

     

    The Sudanese authorities must end measures taken under the state of emergency to violently crush dissent amid ongoing nationwide protests in the country, Amnesty International said.

    Following the declaration of a state of emergency on Friday, the government has deployed large numbers of security forces – including the army – to target protesters.

    Thousands of Sudanese people are again protesting today in various parts of the country. Security officers today invaded the Ahfad University for Women in Omdurman dispersing students with teargas and beatings.

    “The state of emergency is being used by the Sudanese authorities as a justification to flagrantly increase the use of live ammunition and tear gas against protesters, and to torture detainees without any restraint,” said Joan Nyanyuki Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    February 20, 2019

    Venezuelan security forces under the command of Nicolás Maduro executed and used excessive force against people, and arbitrarily detained hundreds of others, including teenagers, in an escalation of their policy of repression as a means of controlling the people of Venezuela and particularly to punish residents of impoverished neighborhoods that decided to protest between 21 and 25 January 2019, said Amnesty International today.

    “The authorities under Nicolás Maduro are trying to use fear and punishment to impose a repulsive strategy of social control against those who demand change. His government is attacking the most impoverished people that it claims to defend, but instead it murders, detains and threatens them,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    Venezuela has suffered a major crisis of massive human rights violations for years, with shortages of food, medicines, hyperinflation, violence and political repression forcing more than three million people to flee the country since 2015.

    February 19, 2019

    The human rights crisis that has engulfed Venezuela for the past few years has shattered the lives of millions of people. Here’s what you need to know:

    1 - EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE

    Much of the current unrest in Venezuela can be traced back to 29 March 2017, when the Supreme Court of Justice - backed by President Nicolás Maduro - moved to take over the National Assembly, where the opposition holds a majority. This triggered protests that were repressed by the Maduro administration with the unlawful and disproportionate use of force. Between April and July 2017, more than 120 people were killed, around 1,958 were injured and more than 5,000 were detained amid mass protests.

    2 - MASS PROTESTS

    In 2018 there were 12,715 protests across the country, according to the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict. These have continued in 2019 after President of the National Assembly Juan Guaidó called for mass demonstrations against Maduro.

    February 19, 2019

    In response to reports of several deaths during recent days in the context of anti-corruption protests that began earlier this month in Haiti, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “The situation in Haiti is a recipe for disaster, with a stream of reported fatalities during the ongoing protests, hospitals running out of supplies, and people unable to access essential services in the poorest country in the Americas.”

    “The Haitian authorities must not only ensure that people are able to peacefully protest and guarantee the life and physical integrity of those who choose to demonstrate, but also give full consideration to the grievances sparking the protests and meaningfully address the underlying causes of the political and economic crisis.”

    Since 2018, Haiti has seen regular protests demanding transparency in relation to the use of Petrocaribe funds. According to the World Bank, Haiti remains the poorest country in the Americas, with 59% of the population living below the national poverty line, and 24% below the national extreme poverty line.

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