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    April 29, 2019

    The Iranian authorities have flogged and secretly executed two boys under the age of 18, Amnesty International has learned, displaying an utter disdain for international law and the rights of children.

    Mehdi Sohrabifar and Amin Sedaghat, two cousins, were executed on 25 April in Adelabad prison in Shiraz, Fars province, southern Iran. Both were arrested aged 15 and convicted on multiple rape charges following an unfair trial.

    According to information received by Amnesty International, the teenagers were unaware that they had been sentenced to death until shortly before their executions and bore lash marks on their bodies, indicating that they had been flogged before their deaths. Their families and lawyers were not informed about the executions in advance and were shocked to learn of the news.

    April 28, 2019

    An Amnesty International investigation has exposed sexual violence against children and women by security agents and inmates at two high-security prison facilities in Borno State, Nigeria.

    The harrowing violations took place at Maiduguri Maximum Security Prison and Giwa Barracks, where thousands of civilians arrested due to claimed links to the Boko Haram armed group are being held. Amnesty’s research also found that scores of children are being unlawfully detained alongside adults in Maiduguri prison.

    “This is another sad and disturbing case of human rights violations against civilians caught up in the Boko Haram crisis in Northeast Nigeria,” said Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International’s Nigeria Director.

    “It is inexcusable that children are subjected to such vile treatment under government care, and likewise it is intolerable that women are once again bearing the brunt of abuse by the Nigerian security forces that are meant to protect them.”

    Children detained and abused at Maiduguri Prison

    April 28, 2019

    A Dutch court will this week (Wednesday 1 May) rule on an historic case against Shell, in which the oil giant stands accused of instigating a raft of horrifying human rights violations committed by the Nigerian government against the Ogoni people.

    Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula are suing Shell over what they say is its role in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of their husbands by the Nigerian military, following a brutal crackdown on Ogoni protests against Shell’s devastating pollution of the region in the 1990s.

    “This decision will hopefully mark an important step towards justice for the Ogoni Nine,” said Mark Dummett, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International.

    “These women believe their husbands would still be alive today were it not for Shell’s relentless pursuit of profit, which encouraged the Nigerian government’s bloody crackdown on protesters even when it knew the human cost.

    April 26, 2019

    The Sri Lankan government should ensure that all communities are protected and that there is accountability for the heartrending crimes that resulted in more than 250 people being killed on Easter Sunday, Amnesty International said today.

    The human rights organization also called for leaders in Sri Lanka and across the world to demonstrate their solidarity with the victims and show unity against the forces of hatred behind this tragedy.

    “Our thoughts are first and foremost with the victims of last Sunday’s horrific attacks, many of whom were targeted because of their Christian faith while they were praying in church on one of their holiest days. They have been forced to lower loved ones into early graves, including children as young as a few months old,” said Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    This tragedy comes just weeks after attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand saw 50 Muslims killed at Friday prayers.

    April 26, 2019

    Responding to the news that Mozambique has been hit by another catastrophic storm, Cyclone Kenneth, Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

    “It is just five weeks since Cyclone Idai, one of the worst weather-related disasters in Southern Africa, hit Mozambique and the country has far from recovered. Now its people are experiencing the shock of yet another life-changing storm, one that is expected to bring yet more devastating rainfall, storm surges and flooding.

    “While Cyclone Kenneth has been downgraded after its winds weakened, it has already claimed three people’s lives in the island nation of Comoros. The government has rightly called for the swift evacuation of people, with about 30,000 of 700,000 people affected already evacuated from high risk areas, but the dangers to people’s lives and other human rights can continue in the aftermath of the storm, with the significantly heightened risk of flooding and disease. 

    April 25, 2019
    Amnesty International and Airwars launch interactive website documenting hundreds of civilian casualties Most comprehensive investigation into civilian deaths in modern warfare US, UK and French forces still in denial, admitting to 10% of killings

    The US-led military Coalition must end almost two years of denial about the massive civilian death toll and destruction it unleashed in the Syrian city of Raqqa, Amnesty International and Airwars said today as they launched a new data project on the offensive to oust the armed group calling itself “Islamic State” (IS).

    April 25, 2019

    Amnesty International will today (Thursday April 25) legally challenge the French government’s decision to donate six boats to the Libyan Navy, which includes the Libyan Coast Guard.  

    Amnesty International is one of eight NGOs demanding that delivery of the boats is suspended, believing they would be used to intercept refugees and migrants and force them back to Libya, where they suffer serious human rights violations. 

    “Delivering boats to the Libyan Coast Guard was an unlawful and reckless decision - but doing it now, as the armed conflict in Libya escalates, is even more callous and irresponsible,” said Massimo Moratti, Regional Director for Research at Amnesty International.  

    “The donation would make French authorities complicit in trapping thousands of women, men and children in a country where they suffer extortion and are arbitrarily detained and tortured. 

    April 24, 2019

    Thousands of people continue to languish in Malagasy prisons without having been found guilty of any crime due to the excessive use of pre-trial detention, Amnesty International said on Africa Pretrial Detention Day.

    Six months after an Amnesty report exposed the alarming use of pre-trial detention in the island nation, the situation has worsened, and earlier this month a student was found dead after spending a night in police custody.

    “The excessive use of pre-trial detention in Madagascar is unjust and abusive, and it has now reached crisis levels with up to 14,000 people held,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    “Pre-trial detention is mostly used against poor people who cannot afford lawyers to get them out of prison. The Malagasy authorities cannot continue keeping thousands of people who have not been found guilty of any crime in jail.”

    April 24, 2019

    A violent attack by fighters who opened fire on refugees and migrants at a detention centre on the outskirts of Tripoli highlights the urgent need to ensure civilians are protected and perpetrators are held to account, said Amnesty International after speaking to eye witnesses.

    Armed men raided the Qasr Ben Ghashir detention centre, south of Tripoli on 23 April and shot a number of the people being held there. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at least 12 people were hospitalized as a result of their injuries.

    Video footage reviewed by Amnesty International shows distressed refugees and migrants in the aftermath of the shooting, some of them screaming. In one of the videos, three people are shown with apparent gunshot wounds. Another video shows several injured people lying on the floor, their bandages soaked with blood.

    April 24, 2019

    Four leaders of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests jailed today for their role in the 2014 peaceful protests must be immediately and unconditionally set free and have their convictions overturned, Amnesty International said.

    The pro-democracy activists were given jail terms ranging from eight to 16 months in prison at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts.

    Among the eight protesters sentenced were the co-founders of the “Occupy Central” campaign – legal scholar Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting and sociologist Professor Chan Kin-man, who each received 16 months’ imprisonment. The other two activists jailed are political party leader Raphael Wong and lawmaker Shiu Ka-chun, each sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment.

    April 23, 2019

    South Africa’s post-election government must put human rights at the centre of its policies or risk shackling people to the chains of unemployment, poverty and inequality for decades to come, said Amnesty International South Africa as it published 25 Years On: A Human Rights Manifesto for South Africa today.

    “Although progress has been made since the first free elections 25 years ago, especially in developing a robust Constitution and progressive legislation to promote and protect human rights, compliance and implementation is often lacking. This keeps people bound to the triple burdens of unemployment, poverty and inequality, with escape impossible,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “The government-elect as well as all political parties must comply with South Africa’s Constitution as well as domestic and international human rights laws to ensure that the rights of all those in South Africa are upheld.”

    April 23, 2019

    Responding to the decision by Myanmar’s Supreme Court to uphold the conviction and seven year prison sentence of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Nicholas Bequelin Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia said:

    “The Supreme Court’s rejection of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo’s appeal compounds a grave injustice and marks a dark day for press freedom in Myanmar. This case shows the authorities’ resolve to ensure there can be no independent reporting on the military’s atrocities in Rakhine State – even at the cost of debasing the country’s judicial system.

    “Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are not isolated cases. In recent weeks, we have seen a disturbing surge in the number of people being arrested on politically motivated charges, most of them for criticism of the military.

    “Ahead of the 2020 general election, the international community must put much more pressure on the government to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience and amend or repeal the oppressive laws that are being used to curtail freedom of expression.”

    April 18, 2019

    Iranian authorities must stop harassing, arresting and imprisoning women’s rights defenders peacefully protesting against Iran’s degrading and discriminatory forced veiling laws, and release those detained on this basis immediately and unconditionally, said Amnesty International today. 

    The organization has confirmed that two women’s rights defenders, Yasmin Aryani and Monireh Arabshahi, have been detained in the past week and that a third activist, Vida Movahedi, who has been detained since October 2018, was sentenced to one year in prison last month for peacefully protesting against forced veiling.

    Iran’s intelligence and security bodies have also subjected several other women’s rights defenders to threatening telephone calls, warning them that they will be arrested if they continue to campaign against forced veiling. Some have been summoned for questioning and fear imminent arrest.

    April 17, 2019

    Following the attorney general’s decision that individuals who seek asylum after crossing between ports of entry and pass their initial credible fear test will not be eligible for bond and could be detained indefinitely if not released on humanitarian parole, Charanya Krishnaswami, Americas advocacy director for Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:

    “Seeking asylum is a human right, not a crime, and families forced to flee for their lives shouldn’t be treated like criminals. This appalling decision could also force parents to decide to either be locked up with their children indefinitely, or relinquish custody of them for the duration of their approval process, which could take months or years. This is both a heartless punishment against vulnerable people, and a potential back-door way for the administration to  separate families. This decision must be reversed.”  

    April 15, 2019

    Responding to a news report that more than 700 refugees and migrants in Libya were trapped in a detention centre in Qasr bin Ghasher in close proximity to intense armed clashes in Tripoli, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi, said:

    “The Libyan government must immediately release all migrants and refugees from these horrific detention centres where they are held illegally and face appalling abuse and torture. The authorities must do everything to ensure the safety of these men, women and children, left without access to food, water and other essentials amid the escalating violence in and around Tripoli.

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