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    March 02, 2018

    Responding to the overnight suspected enforced disappearance of human rights lawyer and director of the NGO Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, Ezzat Ghonim, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director, Najia Bounaim, said:

    “Given the highly charged political climate in Egypt and the clampdown on dissent in the lead up to the presidential elections, we are deeply concerned that Ezzat Ghonim may have been forcibly disappeared.

    “The Egyptian authorities have a notorious reputation for the use of enforced disappearances to silence human rights defenders and members of the opposition. This appears to be yet another shameless attack on the right to freedom of expression and association. It is a reminder of the incredible obstacles faced by those who are striving to defend the basic rights of the Egyptian people.

    “Instead of abducting those who stand up for the rights of others, the Egyptian authorities must protect these activists and facilitate their work. They must disclose any information they have about the whereabouts of Ezzat Ghonim and release him immediately if he is in state custody.”


    March 01, 2018

    The Ethiopian parliament must ensure the new state of emergency does not further constrict the already narrowing freedom of expression, assembly and association in the country, Amnesty International said as MPs prepared to debate the new emergency measures on Friday.

    In an open letter to MPs, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty said, “I have noted with concern the recent escalation, in gravity and magnitude, of human rights violations in Ethiopia, especially in Amhara, Oromia and Somali Regional States of Ethiopia.

    “Some aspects of the current state of emergency proclamation tabled before you violate international human rights law obligations that Ethiopia is bound to respect.”

    During the country’s last state of emergency, which lasted for 10 months from October 2016, Amnesty International documented a series of grave human rights violations including unlawful killings, forced displacement, arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as torture and other ill-treatment of detainees.

    March 01, 2018

    Analysis of a Video released by the Egyptian Armed Forces proves beyond doubt that banned cluster munitions have been used in recent airstrikes in North Sinai, Amnesty International said today.

    On 21 February, the Egyptian military released a video on its official twitter account of what it claimed were improvised explosive devices planted by “terrorist elements”. However, Amnesty International has analysed this video and confirmed it shows an unexploded US made Mk 118 cluster munition, which could only have been dropped by the Egyptian air force.

    “Cluster bombs are among the vilest weapons in modern warfare, inherently indiscriminate and capable of killing and maiming civilians for years after their deployment. This new video confirms our worst fears, that the Egyptian Armed Forces are using cluster bombs in North Sinai. This shows a horrifying disregard for human life and international law,” said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    February 28, 2018

    The Kabul Process conference must put the protection of Afghan civilians and accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity at the heart of its discussions this week, Amnesty International said.

    Leaders and representatives of 23 governments, the United Nations, the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are meeting in the Afghan capital for three days of talks centred on the themes of security and counter-terrorism.

    “The greatest security issue in Afghanistan is the safety of Afghan civilians. In recent weeks, we have seen the horrors of previous years unfold on the streets of Kabul, with civilians ruthlessly targeted in attacks that amount to war crimes,” said Omar Waraich, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director.

    “We keep hearing of the Afghan government and the international community’s concern for the civilian lives, but there has been a failure to put the protection of those lives at the heart of their policies.”

    Civilian casualties

    February 28, 2018

    Reacting to a New York Times article alleging that an unpublished United Nations report reveals that from 2012 to 2017 North Korea secretly shipped supplies to Syria that could be used to produce internationally banned chemical weapons, Lynn Malouf, Director of Research for the Middle East at Amnesty International, said:

    “Supplying any state with the means to produce these horrific weapons is utterly deplorable. But to help the Syrian government – which has repeatedly used chemical weapons against civilians – replenish its supplies would be a particularly egregious betrayal of humanity.

    “The UN should publish its report. If the report is accurate, it would represent an ominous marker of how far the crimes and violations committed by the Syrian government have eroded respect for long-established prohibitions.

    February 28, 2018

    Turkish military, and to a lesser extent Kurdish forces, are carrying out indiscriminate attacks in the embattled Syrian towns of Afrin and Azaz respectively in northern Aleppo, killing scores of civilians, according to eyewitness testimonies obtained and verified by Amnesty International.

    The organization interviewed 15 people living in - or recently displaced from – cities and villages in Afrin and Azaz who painted a grim picture of indiscriminate shelling allegedly carried out by both sides. Amnesty’s Digital Verification Corps was able to corroborate many of these claims by video analysis.

    “The fighting in Afrin between Turkish and US-backed Kurdish forces has already caused numerous civilian deaths and is putting the lives of hundreds more at risk,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director.

    “Reports of shelling of villages and residential areas in cities are deeply troubling. The use of artillery and other imprecise explosive weapons in civilian areas is prohibited by international humanitarian law and all parties should cease such attacks immediately.”

    February 27, 2018

    The Maldivian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all people who have been arbitrarily detained under the state of emergency solely for exercising their human rights and halt attacks on peaceful protestors, Amnesty International said today.

    The human rights organization has documented several arbitrary detentions on the island nation under state of emergency laws, mainly of peaceful protestors and journalists. Members of the judiciary and political opponents have also been held arbitrarily since the state of emergency was imposed on 5 February, and the organization has called for their immediate release unless promptly charged with a recognizable criminal offence.

    “Those who were peacefully protesting against the state of emergency should never have been detained in the first place and must be released immediately and unconditionally. The Maldivian government is using the state of emergency as a licence for repression, targeting members of civil society, judges and political opponents,” said Dinushika Dissanayake, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director.

    February 27, 2018

    A warning by Iranian police that women could be jailed for up to a decade for joining protests against compulsory veiling has put dozens at immediate risk of unjust imprisonment and represents an alarming escalation of the authorities’ violent crackdown on women’s rights, said Amnesty International.

    More than 35 women have been violently attacked and arrested in Tehran alone since December 2017 for taking part in ongoing peaceful protests against the discriminatory and abusive practice of compulsory veiling. In an official statement on 23 February, the police warned that women would now be charged with “inciting corruption and prostitution,” which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. One of the protestors, Narges Hosseini, was today put on trial before an Ershad (Moral Guidance) court in Tehran on charges that include this new charge.

    February 23, 2018

    In response to allegations that Zimbabwean police shot and killed two people during clashes that were sparked by a government ban on minibus drivers entering Harare’s financial district, Amnesty International’s Zimbabwe Director, Cousin Zilala, said:

    “The Zimbabwean government must immediately instruct the police to show restraint and refrain from using excessive force, in particular against unarmed protesters. The authorities must promptly order an independent and impartial investigation into the killings, and prosecute any police officers proven responsible for unlawful actions or human rights violations.

    “Zimbabweans have a right to go about their daily lives without the threat of unnecessary or excessive force from the police, who have a duty to act with caution in all confrontational situations, in order to protect lives.

    “Under international law and standards, law enforcement officials must only resort to the use of force where unavoidable, in a manner that is proportionate to the seriousness of the situation. Firearms may only be used in self-defence or the defence of others from imminent threat or serious injury.”

    February 23, 2018

    Responding to today’s UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan report detailing horrific human rights violations committed by soldiers in South Sudan, Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “The report’s findings of yet more acts of shocking brutality, including men being castrated, women gang raped, children forced to watch their mothers being raped and boys forced to rape their family members, should jolt the world into speedy action to address the horrific human rights violations that have continued unabated for four years of conflict in South Sudan,

    “They demonstrate the critical need to establish the Hybrid Court for South Sudan and to renew the UN Commission on Human Rights’ mandate, which is due to expire in March. The human rights catastrophe in South Sudan must remain firmly on the world’s radar if a solution is to be found.”

    The report is a culmination of months of research by UN investigators into gross human rights violations and abuses in South Sudan.

    February 23, 2018

    The Philippines authorities must immediately drop all charges and release prisoner of conscience Senator Leila de Lima, an outspoken critic of President Duterte who has been jailed on politically motivated drug charges, Amnesty International said ahead of the anniversary of her arrest.

    Senator Leila de Lima was arrested on 24 February 2017 on three separate spurious charges under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. In the lead up to her arrest, President Duterte and other supporters had led a vicious campaign of harassment and intimidation against the Senator and falsely tried to implicate her in the drug trade.

    "The charges against Senator Leila de Lima are pure fiction. She has been singled out and targeted for nothing but her courageous opposition to President Duterte's appalling policies. We consider her to be a prisoner of conscience and urge the authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally," said James Gomez, Amnesty International's Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    February 21, 2018

    The sentencing of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab to five years in prison today for peacefully expressing his opinions online illustrates the Bahraini authorities’ utter contempt for freedom of expression, said Amnesty International.

    The sentence relates to posts on his Twitter account in 2015 as well as retweets about alleged torture in Bahrain’s Jaw prison, and the killing of civilians in the Yemen conflict by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.

    “The conviction of Nabeel Rajab today is a slap in the face to justice. This sentence demonstrates the authorities’ ruthless determination to crush all forms of dissent and leaves no room for doubt about the extreme lengths to which they are willing to go to in order to silence peaceful critics,” said Heba Morayef, MENA Regional Director at Amnesty International.

    “This shameful verdict must be quashed and the authorities must drop all pending charges and immediately release Nabeel Rajab. It is absolutely outrageous that he be forced to spend a further five years in jail simply for daring to voice his opinions online.”

    February 20, 2018

    Responding to the news of the escalating bombing campaign by the Syrian government and its ally Russia in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus Countryside which has left scores dead and hundreds injured in the past month, Amnesty International’s Diana Semaan, Syria researcher, said:

    “The Syrian government, with the backing of Russia, is intentionally targeting its own people in Eastern Ghouta. People have not only been suffering a cruel siege for the past six years, they are now trapped in a daily barrage of attacks that are deliberately killing and maiming them, and that constitute flagrant war crimes.

    “For six years, the international community has stood by as the Syrian government has committed crimes against humanity and war crimes with total impunity.

    “The United Nations Security Council must enforce its own resolutions which call for an end to sieges of civilian areas and attacks on civilians, and for unimpeded humanitarian access. Permanent members, including Russia, should not block measures to end and redress mass atrocities.

    February 19, 2018

    The decision not to apply the grace granted by President Kuczynski to Alberto Fujimori constitutes an important advance in the fight against impunity for the crimes that occurred in Pativilca, and reinforces the obligation of the Peruvian state to guarantee the right of victims to truth, justice and reparation, said Amnesty International.

    Today Court B of the National Criminal Court of Peru decided not to apply the grace granted by President Kuczynski on 24 December, clearing the way for Alberto Fujimori to be finally tried for his alleged responsibility for the murders of six people in the town of Pativilca, considered crimes against humanity.

    “Today the victims’ families and Peruvian society have achieved an important step towards justice and preserving the memory of the victims of these crimes. We will continue to support the demands for justice until the truth about the crimes that occurred in Pativilca is established and the rights of the victims and their families are guaranteed”, said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.


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