The Syrian Refugee Crisis
Amnesty International Release
NEW YORK – Following the federal government’s filing of an appeal to the Supreme Court to uphold President Trump’s Muslim ban, Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA executive director, released the following statement:
“After several rulings against it, the Trump Administration needs to take the hint and drop all defenses of this discriminatory ban. There is no need to prolong the uncertainty of millions of people who fear that they won’t be welcome, or won’t be able to visit a relative abroad, or to return to a country they call home. If they won’t drop their appeals, then Congress must step in and end this unlawful and inhumane ban immediately.”
This statement can be found at: https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/trump-must-drop-defense-discriminatory-ban/
As US President Donald Trump embarks on his first foreign visit to attend the Riyadh summit in Saudi Arabia, counter terrorism and security will dominate his discussions with Gulf and Arab state leaders. The President is also expected to unveil a multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The glaring absence of human rights from Trump’s agenda will only embolden further violations in a region where governments flout the rights of their own people in the name of the fight against terror, and violate international humanitarian law in conflicts fueled on large part by US arms transfers, said Amnesty International.
“Human rights are under continuous attack in the Gulf. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have been using counter terrorism as an excuse to ruthlessly crush and persecute critics, peaceful dissidents and human rights defenders,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA.
Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, blogs from Beirut, Lebanon. Follow Salil on Twitter @SalilShetty
At a time of extreme contestation of what constitutes truth, and an era where “fake news” is almost celebrated, the rule of law based on real evidence is more essential than ever.
International human rights law and humanitarian law are long-established standards and norms, and are critical to be able to distinguish right from wrong.
Human rights give us a framework to interpret and describe why what we see is wrong. And they give us a legal architecture to hold governments to account and demand change.
And what is the alternative to addressing the massive challenges the world faces without international solidarity and accountability, without a shared commitment to uphold the equal and inalienable rights of every person?
Released 00.01 GMT 15 March 2017
As war crimes and crimes against humanity continue to go unpunished in Syria, an Amnesty International campaign marking the sixth anniversary of the crisis calls on world leaders to take immediate action to deliver justice, truth and reparation to the millions of victims of the conflict.
The Justice for Syria campaign calls on governments to end impunity and make accountability a reality for the Syrian people by supporting and funding the investigative mechanism on Syria voted for by the UN General Assembly in December 2016 and by enforcing universal jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute, in their own courts, suspected perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.
“Six harrowing years on, there is no excuse for allowing the horrific crimes under international law that are being committed in Syria to go unpunished,” said Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut Regional Office.
Released 00.01 14 February 2017
The EU-Turkey refugee deal has left thousands of refugees and migrants in squalid and dangerous living conditions, and must not be replicated with other countries, Amnesty International said today ahead of the deal’s one year anniversary.
The deal aimed at returning asylum-seekers back to Turkey on the premise that Turkey is safe for them, has left thousands exposed to squalid and unsafe conditions on Greek islands. In the new briefing “A Blueprint for Despair” Amnesty International also documented unlawful returns of asylum-seekers to Turkey in a flagrant breach of their rights under international law.
“The EU-Turkey deal has been a disaster for the thousands who have been left stranded in a dangerous, desperate and seemingly endless limbo on the Greek islands,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe.
Thank you to the hundreds of thousands of Amnesty International supporters worldwide who took action on the crisis in Syria over the last week. Evacuations from Aleppo are nearly complete and the UN Security Council has agreed to urgently deploy monitors to the ground. We have only been able to do this with your support, every action that was taken has helped ensure that civilians in Aleppo are protected.
We’ve finally seen an important break through on all the work that Amnesty International has been doing on Syria; on December 20th the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution establishing an independent international mechanism to ensure accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity committees in Syria since March 2011. This is the first step towards justice for the thousands of victims in Syrian crisis.
Released 00:01 GMT 15 September 2016
Video footage and satellite images showing makeshift grave sites and burial mounds offer a rare glimpse inside a desert no man’s land between Jordan and Syria where tens of thousands of refugees who have been virtually cut off from humanitarian aid for two months are stranded, said Amnesty International.
Fresh accounts gathered by the organization from people in the area known as the berm, paint a desperate picture of human suffering and highlight the tragic consequences of the world’s failure to share responsibility for the global refugee crisis. Next week, world leaders will gather in New York for two high-level summits to discuss refugees.
By Gauri van Gulik
The horrific situation facing Syria’s children, graphically captured by the haunting image of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, shocked and bloodied in the back of an ambulance after being pulled from the rubble of his home, makes it easy to understand why parents would take their children on the desperate, arduous journey to Europe.
But if a child like Omran were to survive the trip and reach Europe’s shores, their ordeal would be far from over.
On a visit to the Greek island of Lesvos, I saw first-hand what awaits them.
In a detention centre on Lesvos I met Ahmed, a one-year-old baby who has been sick for almost all of his short life from what his mother described as a chemical attack. She told me that a bomb destroyed their home soon after Ahmed was born, lodging shrapnel in his neck. Soon after, he developed severe asthma and other symptoms consistent with chlorine gas inhalation. When I met him almost a year after the bombing, I could see his scars and his little body struggled to breathe.
On World Refugee Day, we talk to Ghias Aljundi, who fled to the UK from Syria 18 years ago. He is one of thousands volunteering to help refugees arriving in Greece since last year. But he’d never expected that one day he’d rescue his own family from a rubber boat.
Only after the rescue did Ghias realise that this little girl is his three-year-old niece, Sirin. © Private
Released 00:01 GMT Tuesday 14 June 2016
The EU’s plans to cooperate more closely with Libya on migration risk fuelling the rampant ill-treatment and indefinite detention in horrifying conditions of thousands of refugees and migrants, said Amnesty International.
Last month the EU announced plans to extend its anti-smuggling naval mission in the Mediterranean, Operation Sophia, for another year and to train, build up the capacity of and share information with the Libyan coastguard following a request by the new Libyan government. However, testimonies gathered during visits to Sicily and Puglia in May 2016 reveal shocking abuses by the Libyan coastguard and at immigration detention centres in Libya.
Amnesty International spoke to 90 people who survived the treacherous sea crossing from Libya to Italy, including at least 20 refugees and migrants who described shootings and beatings while being picked up by the coastguard or harrowing torture and other ill-treatment at detention centres. In one case, the Libyan coastguard abandoned a boat leaving some 120 people on board instead of rescuing them.
A Syrian national who arrived on the Greek island of Lesvos has won an appeal against a decision that would have led to his forcible return to Turkey, underscoring the fundamental flaws in the migration deal agreed in March between the European Union and Turkey, Amnesty International said today.
In the first such decision Amnesty International has seen since the deal, an appeals committee in Athens overturned an initial decision considering Turkey a safe third country on the grounds that Turkey does not afford refugees the full protection required under the Refugee Convention. The committee also ruled that Turkey does not guarantee the principle of non-refoulement, which forbids returning someone to a country where he or she is at risk of serious human rights violations.
“This decision goes to the heart of why the EU-Turkey deal was so deeply flawed to begin with,” said Gauri van Gulik, Deputy Europe Director at Amnesty International.
Released 00:01 GMT (01.01 BST) 19 May 2016
The high-level European delegation travelling to Turkey on Saturday must address the catalogue of human rights abuses faced by refugees in the country, not sweep them under the carpet, said Amnesty International today.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, will visit Gaziantep in southern Turkey.
In the weeks since the EU-Turkey migration deal was signed, Amnesty International and other organizations have documented refugees being denied entry to Turkey at the Syrian border, being shot at by security forces and being forcibly returned to their country of origin.
“There is no photo-op that can obscure the deep flaws in the EU-Turkey deal. What Angela Merkel really needs to bring back from Turkey are not smiling photos but cast-iron guarantees that the Turkish authorities will stop sending refugees back to their countries of origin and start implementing its asylum laws effectively,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.
Turkey illegally returning refugees to Syria
By Conor Fortune, News Writer at Amnesty International
You can’t stop a ship dead in its tracks, but sometimes you can change its course.
And that’s what happened recently in the Aegean Sea in a new twist in the evolving refugee crisis my colleagues from Amnesty International and I were researching on the Greek islands of Lesvos and Chios.
On 5 April, we were on board a night-time ferry from Mytilene, Lesvos, to Chios, when we were informed that our destination had changed because of “the refugee situation”. Hundreds of refugees and migrants were camping out in the open on the main dock in Chios harbour.
Because our ferry – a towering mass of metal the length of two football pitches – posed a serious threat to them, we were diverted mid-voyage and docked at another port an hour’s drive away.