Posted at 0001hrs GMT 14 April 2016
All those abducted by Boko Haram must be released and those whose lives have been devastated by the armed group must receive support and justice, said Amnesty International on the second anniversary of the armed group’s abduction of more than 270 Chibok schoolgirls.
Activists from the organization will join #BringBackOurGirls demonstrations in Abuja and campaigners around the world to mark the anniversary and remember all those abducted, killed and displaced by the armed group.
“Few of us can begin to comprehend the suffering of parents who have not seen their daughters for two years,” said Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, M.K. Ibrahim.
“In addition to the Chibok schoolgirls, today we also remember all those abducted, killed and displaced. Two years on, the Chibok girls have come to symbolize all the civilians whose lives have been devastated by Boko Haram.”
Today’s decision to suspend the Mejlis, a representative body of ethnic Crimean Tatars in Crimea, demolishes one of the few remaining rights of a minority that Russia must protect instead of persecute, said Amnesty International.
The decision – announced by the de facto prosecutor of Crimea, Natalia Poklonskaya – signals a new wave of repression against Crimean Tatar people. It comes after increased attacks to the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine two years ago.
“Anyone associated with the Mejlis could now face serious charges of extremism as a result of this ban, which is aimed at snuffing out the few remaining voices of dissent in Crimea,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia.
“The decision to suspend the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People and ban all its activities under Russia’s anti-extremism legislation is a repugnant punitive step denying members of the Crimean Tatar community the right to freedom of association.”
Amnesty International USA Release
JACKSON, Ga. – The state of Georgia is scheduled to execute Kenneth Fults this evening at 7:00 p.m. despite concerns
about Fults’ mental state, racial bias, and lack of adequate representation during his trial. Fults has an IQ of 74 and several jurors have said that his lawyer was sleeping during the proceedings.
One juror signed a sworn statement eight years after the fact saying:
“I don’t know if he ever killed anybody, but that nigger got just what should have happened.
Once he pled guilty, I knew I would vote for the death penalty because that’s what the nigger deserved.”
“Mr. Fults’ death sentence is tainted by undeniable racism,” said James Clark, senior death penalty campaigner with Amnesty.
“This case shows the fundamental flaws in the death penalty system. Georgia authorities must halt this execution immediately and end the death penalty once and for all.”
Fults was convicted of murdering Cathy Bonds in her home in May 1997.
The release of dozens of student protesters in Myanmar is a step forward for human rights that should pave the way for the new government to release all remaining prisoners of conscience and amend or repeal all laws that fuel arbitrary arrests, Amnesty International said.
The Tharawaddy Court in Myanmar today dropped charges against scores of students facing jail for largely peaceful protests in March 2015. The move came after the new government announced on 7 April that it would work to release all prisoners of conscience as soon as possible.
“Today’s release of most of the student protesters is a huge step forward for human rights in Myanmar, and we are delighted that these men and women will walk free. It sends a strong message about the new government’s intention to end the cycle of political arrest and detention in Myanmar. We are now looking forward to the release of all other prisoners of conscience - including those students who are facing charges in other courts. The new government must ensure that no prisoner of conscience is left in jail,” said Laura Haigh, Amnesty International’s Myanmar Researcher.
Releaed 08:00 BST 8 April 2016
The scheduled execution of a 36-year-old man convicted on drug offences tomorrow, Saturday 9 April, demonstrates the Iranian authorities’ utter disregard for the right to life and their determination to continue with a staggering execution spree that saw nearly 1000 people put to death last year, said Amnesty International.
Family members of Rashid Kouhi received a call from prison authorities yesterday informing them that they should go to Rasht’s Lakan Prison in Gilan Province, Northern Iran, to have a final meeting with him today before his execution tomorrow.
Thousands of refugees and migrants are being held arbitrarily in appalling conditions amid growing uncertainty, fear and despair over their fate under the new EU-Turkey refugee deal, Amnesty International said, after obtaining access to two highly restricted detention centres on the Greek islands of Lesvos and Chios.
On 5 and 6 April, an Amnesty International research team were granted access to two closed detention centres, Moria on Lesvos and VIAL on Chios. A total of around 4,200 people are currently detained at the two sites. Most arrived on the Greek islands after the EU-Turkey deal took effect on 20 March. Some of them have been detained for a fortnight or more.
Among the 89 refugees and migrants Amnesty International’s team interviewed, there were a large number of particularly vulnerable people, including pregnant women, babies, small children and people with disabilities, trauma and serious illnesses.
The vicious killing of another secular activist in Bangladesh is a grave reminder that the authorities are failing to protect people exercising their right to freedom of expression, Amnesty International said.
Four masked men attacked Nazimuddin Samad, 28, with a machete in Dhaka late last night before shooting him dead. No one has claimed responsibility, but the killing fits the pattern of other similar attacks on secular activists by radical Islamist groups over the past year.
“There can be no justification for the brutal killing of Nazimuddin Samad, who has apparently paid with his life for nothing but being brave enough to speak his mind. This is not just a senseless murder, it is a blatant attack on the right to freedom of expression,” said Champa Patel, South Asia Director from Amnesty International.
Nazimuddin Samad was a student activist who had organised campaigns for secularism on social media. He was named on a “hit list” of 84 bloggers published by a group of radical Islamists in 2013.
Released Wednesday 6 April 2016 00.01GMTDramatic surge in executions globally– highest number recorded by Amnesty International in more than 25 years Three countries – Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – responsible for almost 90% of all recorded executions For the first time ever, the majority of the world’s countries were abolitionist for all crimes after four more countries abolished the death penalty in 2015
A dramatic global rise in the number of executions recorded in 2015 saw more people put to death than at any point in the last quarter-century. The surge was largely fuelled by Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International found in its review of the global use of the death penalty.
Today’s decision to drop charges against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang must not derail efforts to ensure justice for victims of the 2007/8 post-election violence, said Amnesty International. The two had faced charges of crimes against humanity.
In its decision, a Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) declared the charges vacated. However, it held that the charges were dropped “without prejudice to the Prosecutor’s right to re-prosecute the case in the future.” The decision may also be the subject of an appeal by the Office of the Prosecutor.
“This decision could be seen as a major setback by thousands of victims who have waited so long for justice,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
Chile’s outrageous two-tier justice system is allowing police officers to beat, ill-treat and in some cases even kill peaceful demonstrators and other individuals and only face a miniscule sanction at best, said Amnesty International in a new report today.
'I didn't know there were two kinds of justice' : Military jurisdiction and police brutality in Chile reveals that Chile’s military courts, which deal with cases of human rights violations committed by members of the security forces, regularly fail to adequately investigate and prosecute officers that are suspected of having committed a crime. Trials in these courts usually lack the most basic levels of independence and impartiality.
“Chile’s military courts should not be allowed to investigate, prosecute and punish members of its own ranks – that is simply a no-brainer. It is akin to courts allowing criminals to be judged by their own families,” said Ana Piquer, Director at Amnesty International Chile.
A historic ruling by a Philippines court this week in which a police officer was convicted of torturing bus driver Jerryme Corre plants a seed of hope that the tide may be turning against impunity for perpetrators of torture, Amnesty International said today.
It is first under the country’s 2009 Anti-Torture Act, and follows a three-year campaign by Amnesty International. The organization took up Jerryme Corre’s case in December 2013 – one year after his arrest – in its global Stop Torture campaign.
“Jerryme has spent more than four years in prison while under trial on trumped-up charges against him, after suffering horrific torture at the hands of the police. The conviction of the officer involved sends a clear message that the torture must stop and that the perpetrators will be brought to book,” said Champa Patel, Director at Amnesty International’s South East Asia Regional Office.
Released 00:01 GMT on Friday 1 April 2016
Large-scale forced returns of refugees from Turkey to war-ravaged Syria expose the fatal flaws in a refugee deal signed between Turkey and the European Union earlier this month, Amnesty International revealed today.
New research carried out by the organization in Turkey’s southern border provinces suggests that Turkish authorities have been rounding up and expelling groups of around 100 Syrian men, women and children to Syria on a near-daily basis since mid-January. Over three days last week, Amnesty International researchers gathered multiple testimonies of large-scale returns from Hatay province, confirming a practice that is an open secret in the region.
All forced returns to Syria are illegal under Turkish, EU and international law.
“In their desperation to seal their borders, EU leaders have wilfully ignored the simplest of facts: Turkey is not a safe country for Syrian refugees and is getting less safe by the day,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.
Released 00.01 BST (01:01 GMT) 31 March 2016
First evidence of migrant exploitation on 2022 World Cup site
Migrant workers building Khalifa International Stadium in Doha for the 2022 World Cup have suffered systematic abuses, in some cases forced labour, Amnesty International reveals in a new report published today.
The report, “The ugly side of the beautiful game: Labour exploitation on a Qatar 2022 World Cup venue”, blasts FIFA’s shocking indifference to appalling treatment of migrant workers. The number of people working on World Cup sites is set to surge almost ten-fold to around 36,000 in the next two years.
“The abuse of migrant workers is a stain on the conscience of world football. For players and fans, a World Cup stadium is a place of dreams. For some of the workers who spoke to us, it can feel like a living nightmare,” said Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty.
“Despite five years of promises, FIFA has failed almost completely to stop the World Cup being built on human rights abuses.”
Justice for the many victims of human rights abuses and violations amid Colombia’s five-decade armed conflict must lie at the heart of peace talks announced today between the government and the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN), Amnesty International said.
The government and the ELN, the country’s second largest guerrilla group, said that official peace negotiations between the two sides are soon to begin in Ecuador.
The country’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC) are expected to sign a peace agreement with the government in the coming weeks or months after more than three years of talks.
“The talks between the ELN and the government, coupled with an imminent peace deal with the FARC, bring hope that more than half a century of conflict in Colombia might soon be over,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.