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    July 06, 2016

    The Irish authorities’ planned deportation to Jordan of a man deemed a national security threat would place him at real risk of torture and other serious human rights violations, and is a worrying sign of backsliding on the absolute ban on torture, said Amnesty International today.

    The High Court of Dublin cleared the way for Irish authorities to deport a Jordanian man of Palestinian origin (who cannot be identified for legal reasons) in a hearing on 4 July. The man was notified in 2015 that Irish authorities considered him a national security threat on the basis of an allegation that he had been involved in organizing and facilitating travel of people intending to join the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS).

    July 06, 2016

    In response to today’s publication of the Iraq Inquiry, Sir John Chilcot’s much-awaited report on the UK’s involvement in the 2003 Iraq war, Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

    “In the lead-up to the invasion, Amnesty International urged that the potentially grave consequences of military action be carefully assessed. And on the eve of the US-led invasion we urged full respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

    “Tragically, our fears about the safety of the civilian population were well-founded. Thousands of civilians were killed and injured, including in unlawful attacks; millions of people were forced from their homes; and the whole country was thrown into chaos as the occupation forces failed to fulfil their obligation to maintain security.

    July 06, 2016

    People forced to eat human flesh and to disembowel dead bodies during South Sudan’s civil war that began in 2013 are among thousands suffering from trauma and psychological distress amid a chronic shortage of mental healthcare services in the country, Amnesty International said today as the country marks its fifth anniversary.

    In a new report, “Our hearts have gone dark”: The mental health impact of South Sudan’s conflict, the organisation documents the psychological impact of mass killings, rape, torture, abductions and even a case of forced cannibalism, on the survivors and witnesses of these crimes.

    “While the death and physical destruction caused by the conflict and preceding decades of war are immediately apparent, the psychological scars are less visible and neglected,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    July 05, 2016

    Guinea’s National Assembly vote in favour of a new criminal code abolishing the death penalty is a significant step for human rights in the country, but the code contains provisions which will strengthen the impunity enjoyed by security personnel and repress the expression of dissent, Amnesty International said.

    The new criminal code removes the death sentence from the list of applicable penalties and criminalizes torture for the first time. But some of the most frequently used forms of torture are defined as cruel and inhuman treatment, for which the law carries no explicit penalties.

    “Fifteen years since it last carried out executions, the promulgation of the law will make Guinea the 19th country in Africa to abolish the death penalty for all crimes, putting itself on the right side of history,” said François Patuel Amnesty International West Africa researcher.

    July 05, 2016

    Iraq’s execution of five prisoners is a brazen knee-jerk reaction to the abhorrent weekend Baghdad bombing and a worrying sign that the country is stepping up its use of the death penalty, Amnesty International said today.

    The Iraqi Ministry of Justice said that the five prisoners had been put to death on Tuesday as authorities vowed more executions would be carried out following Saturday night’s attack in Baghdad, which killed at least 213 people and injured a further 200, according to media reports.

    “The Baghdad bombing that targeted civilians in a busy shopping area is an unconscionable attack on the basic right to life and a war crime, and there can be no justification for such odious violence,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    The armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility.

    Amnesty International called for those responsible to be brought to justice in fair trials without resorting to the death penalty.

    July 05, 2016

    Amnesty International is launching a new app to document the use of firearms in Rio de Janeiro before the 2016 Olympic Games.

    Cross-fire will allow people living across Rio de Janeiro to report incidents of gun violence, which have been increasing over the last few years.

    “Brazil has one of the highest levels of homicides across the world, with around 42,000 people killed with guns every year. Those living in the most marginalized areas of the city are disproportionally affected by this crisis,” said Atila Roque, Brazil Director at Amnesty International.

    “The application is a tool to give more visibility to the tragic reality thousands of people across Rio de Janeiro have to live with every day and a way to urge the authorities to take some real steps to tackle this crisis.”

    July 04, 2016

    The five year prison sentence handed down to a prominent union leader is the latest example of how the government is galvanising its attack on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly in South Korea, Amnesty International said today.

    On Monday, the Central District Court in Seoul convicted Han Sang-gyun, the leader of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), for his role as an organizer of a number of demonstrations. The most prominent of which was the largely peaceful ‘People’s Rally’ on 14 November 2015.

    “Han Sang-gyun is the latest victim of South Korea’s increasingly ruthless crackdown on peaceful dissent. His conviction is both unjust and shameful,” said Arnold Fang, East Asia Researcher of Amnesty International.

    “This sentence has a chilling effect on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly by deterring other would-be organizers. Under no circumstances should organizers be held responsible for the acts of those that hijack a peaceful protest.”

    July 04, 2016

    Bodies dumped in river after enforced disappearance

    (Nairobi, July 4, 2016) - Kenyan authorities must urgently investigate the killing last week of three men, including a human rights lawyer, and ensure that those found responsible are held to account in fair trials, 34 Kenyan and international human rights organizations said today.  Human rights activists will today hold demonstrations in Nairobi and other parts of Kenya today to protest the heinous killings.

    The shocking abduction, enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings of lawyer Willie Kimani, as well as his client and their taxi driver that day, whose bodies were recovered from a river 73 kilometres northeast of Nairobi, should be cause for alarm over the state of human rights and rule of law in Kenya, especially in the face of reports suggesting that police officers were involved. 

    July 01, 2016

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the Obama administration disclosed its assessment of the number of individuals killed by U.S. drone strikes since 2009. In response, Naureen Shah, Director of Amnesty International USA’s Security and Human Rights Program, issued the following statement:

    “Today’s disclosure is a crucial shift away from the Obama administration’s longstanding policy of concealing information about civilians killed in drone strikes. It is a vital step in dismantling the dangerous precedent of a global, secret killing program.

    “Amnesty International has consistently called on the United States government not only to be more transparent about its data and policy standards, but about it counts as a civilian. Without information on the administration’s definitions and legal standards for these strikes, any meaningful assessment of the numbers will be incomplete. This is not the end of the public conversation on U.S. drone strikes, but just the beginning.   

    July 01, 2016

    A shocking increase of 135% in the number of people killed by police officers in the city of Rio de Janeiro in the run up to the Olympics lays bare the security services’ chilling disregard to the right of life, said Amnesty International today.

    According to the Instituto de Segurança Pública (ISP), in the city of Rio de Janeiro alone, 40 people were killed by police officers on duty in the month of May: an increase of 135% compared to 17 during the same period in 2015. Across the State as a whole, the numbers rose from 44 to 84, an increase of 90%.

    "The soaring death count ahead of this major sporting event represents an epic failure on the part of the authorities to protect the most fundamental human right–the right to life,” said Atila Roque, Executive Director of Amnesty International's national office in Brazil.

    “It is completely unacceptable that these numbers are increasing despite all the warnings and complaints of Rio inhabitants of the excessive use of force by police. The authorities must act immediately to rein in the worst excesses of the security forces, stem the cycle of violence, and ensure the right to life is assured.”

    June 30, 2016

    Horrifying accounts of sexual violence, killings, torture and religious persecution collected by Amnesty International reveal the shocking range of abuses along the smuggling routes to and through Libya. The organization spoke to at least 90 refugees and migrants at reception centres in Puglia and Sicily, who had made the journey across the Mediterranean from Libya to southern Italy in the past few months, and who were abused by people smugglers, traffickers, organized criminal gangs and armed groups.

    “From being abducted, incarcerated underground for months and sexually abused by members of armed groups, to being beaten, exploited or shot at by people smugglers, traffickers or criminal gangs - refugees and migrants have described in harrowing detail the horrors they were forced to endure in Libya,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    “Their experiences paint a terrifying picture of the conditions many of those who come to Europe are so desperate to escape.”

    June 29, 2016

    Saudi Arabia has committed “gross and systematic violations of human rights” abroad and at home, and used its position on the UN Human Rights Council to effectively obstruct justice for possible war crimes, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint statement today, making a resounding call for the UN General Assembly to suspend the country’s membership of the world’s top human rights body.

    The groups are calling for Saudi Arabia to be stripped of its rights of membership in the Human Rights Council until it ends unlawful attacks by the military coalition it leads in Yemen and these are credibly and impartially investigated.

    June 28, 2016

    An unprecedented Amnesty International investigation of 100 women arrested in Mexico reveals that they are routinely sexually abused by the security forces who want to secure confessions and boost figures in an attempt to show that they are tackling rampant organized crime.

    Read report - Surviving Death: Police and Military Torture of Women Mexico
      Take action - Demand Justice for torture survivor Miriam Lopez

    All of the 100 women held in federal prisons who reported torture or other ill-treatment to Amnesty International said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or psychological abuse during their arrest and interrogation by municipal, state or federal police officers or members of the Army and Navy. Seventy-two said they were sexually abused during their arrest or in the hours that followed. Thirty-three reported being raped.

    June 28, 2016

    Women in prison

    Women make up nearly 7% of the population in federal prisons (Comisión Nacional de Seguridad , 2016)

    The vast majority of women detained in federal prisons are first time offenders, mostly imprisoned for drug-related crimes.

    There is evidence to suggest that torture and other ill-treatment is used frequently against people accused of high-profile crimes that fall within the public security strategy of the so-called “war on drugs.” Of the 100 women interviewed by Amnesty International, 33% had been accused of being part of organized crime groups, 23% had been accused of narcotics crimes, 22% had been accused of kidnapping and 14% with illegal possession of firearms.

    The federal prison population is largely made up by people from low income backgrounds. Data on the federal prison system shows that 60% of women in prison did not complete high school. (CIDE, 2012)

    Of the cases Amnesty International documented for this report, most women earned between 1,000 and 5,000 pesos a month (approximately US$70 to US$300) with some earning much less.

    Torture against women

    June 28, 2016

    Tomorrow’s trial of seven journalists and activists in Morocco for training citizen journalists could set a dangerous precedent for restricting freedom of expression, Amnesty International said.

    Seven defendants face trial in Rabat after running a citizen journalism training programme using smartphones.

    “The trial of these journalists is a worrying test case for press freedom in Morocco. The accusations that journalists and citizens reporting freely in their country are compromising state security, and the risk that they may be imprisoned, are deeply alarming,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.  

    Five of the defendants, including historian Maati Monjib, are accused of “threatening the internal security of the state” through “propaganda” that may threaten “the loyalty that citizens owe to the State and institutions of the Moroccan people” under Article 206 of the Penal Code, according to official court papers. They could be imprisoned for up to five years if found guilty.

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