http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report_abstract en International Migrants Day: Rights of migrants under attack across the globe http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/international-migrants-day-rights-migrants-under-attack-across-globe-2014-12-18 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> International Migrants Day: Rights of migrants under attack across the globe </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">18 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>The rights of migrants are being trampled across the globe, as some of the world’s most vulnerable people face economic exploitation, discrimination and racism in a range of countries, Amnesty International said on International Migrants Day.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“Political decision-makers need to show leadership by ensuring the human rights of migrants are protected, instead of taking cheap shots through scaremongering tactics,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of Refugee and Migrants Rights at Amnesty International.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“Poor migrants are the perfect political scapegoats – they have no money, no influence and they can’t vote. So if you’re a government whose policies are letting people down, you can blame it all on immigration.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span><strong>Economic exploitation&nbsp;</strong><br /><br /></span><span>Over the past years, Amnesty International has highlighted how many migrant workers – who leave their countries in the hope of earning better salaries – face appalling economic exploitation in many countries.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>In Qatar, authorities are lagging severely behind in their efforts to address the rampant abuse of migrant workers’ rights. Despite promises of reform to tackle exploitation ahead of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar has only made minimal progress. Practices such as delays in payments of migrants’ wages, harsh and dangerous working conditions, poor living conditions, forced labour and physical and sexual violence against domestic workers continue unchecked&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>In Hong Kong and Indonesia, there has been insufficient action by authorities to address systemic failures that foster the exploitation of migrant domestic workers. These failures allow unscrupulous agencies and employers to abuse migrant domestic workers, with Amnesty International documenting cases that amount to modern-day slavery.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span><strong>SOS Europe</strong>&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>This year saw a sharp rise in anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe, with the far right gaining traction in European Union (EU), national and local elections. It also saw the rise in people fleeing wars, instability and poverty, and embarking on dangerous journeys in an attempt to reach Europe.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“As Fortress Europe builds ever higher walls with border security driving its response to migration people are increasingly taking dangerous routes in search of safety and dignity,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Last week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees pointed to a “record high” of almost 350,000 sea crossings by migrants worldwide this year. The Mediterranean was the “deadliest route of all”, with at least 3,419 people losing their lives since January 2014.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“Tens of thousands of migrants and refugees make the dangerous sea journey to Europe each year. The fact that thousands of them die along the way should be a wake up call for EU member states that they need to prioritize saving lives over closing borders.”.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span><strong>Migrant detentions&nbsp;</strong><br /><br /></span><span>In many countries, people can be held in detention for months and sometimes years just for being irregular migrants.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>In the USA, Amnesty International has found that the dramatic increase in the use of detention as an immigration enforcement mechanism results in a number of human rights violations.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>More than 350,000 men, women and children are now detained by US immigration authorities each year. Migrants can be detained for months or years without any form of meaningful judicial review of their detention, in contravention of international human rights standards.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>The conditions under which migrants are held violate both US and international standards on the treatment of detainees. Amnesty International documented pervasive problems including inappropriate and excessive use of restraints and inadequate access to healthcare including mental health services. Many individuals have limited or no access to family and to legal or other assistance throughout their detention.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Between October 2013 and July 2014, at least of 52,193 unaccompanied migrant children were apprehended in the USA, nearly twice as many as during the previous 12-month period. The US government estimated that the total number of apprehended unaccompanied children would could exceed 90,000 by the end of November 2014 in border states such as Texas, Arizona and California.&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The rights of migrants are being trampled across the globe as they face economic exploitation, discrimination and racism in a range of countries.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/197820_Foreign_laborers_work_in_Doha (1).jpg?1418913122" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/51636">Qatar workers</a> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Poor migrants are the perfect political scapegoats – they have no money, no influence and they can’t vote. So if you’re a government whose policies are letting people down, you can blame it all on immigration.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s Sherif Elsayed-Ali </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://livewire.amnesty.org/2014/12/18/7-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-migrants/">7 things you probably didn’t know about migrants</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Blog, 18 December 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Hong Kong Indonesia Qatar Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants USA Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:34:10 +0000 Amnesty International 51637 at http://www.amnesty.org International Migrants Day: Rights of migrants under attack across the globe http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/international-migrants-day-rights-migrants-under-attack-across-globe-2014-12-18 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> International Migrants Day: Rights of migrants under attack across the globe </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">18 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>The rights of migrants are being trampled across the globe, as some of the world’s most vulnerable people face economic exploitation, discrimination and racism in a range of countries, Amnesty International said on International Migrants Day.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“Political decision-makers need to show leadership by ensuring the human rights of migrants are protected, instead of taking cheap shots through scaremongering tactics,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of Refugee and Migrants Rights at Amnesty International.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“Poor migrants are the perfect political scapegoats – they have no money, no influence and they can’t vote. So if you’re a government whose policies are letting people down, you can blame it all on immigration.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span><strong>Economic exploitation&nbsp;</strong><br /><br /></span><span>Over the past years, Amnesty International has highlighted how many migrant workers – who leave their countries in the hope of earning better salaries – face appalling economic exploitation in many countries.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>In Qatar, authorities are lagging severely behind in their efforts to address the rampant abuse of migrant workers’ rights. Despite promises of reform to tackle exploitation ahead of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar has only made minimal progress. Practices such as delays in payments of migrants’ wages, harsh and dangerous working conditions, poor living conditions, forced labour and physical and sexual violence against domestic workers continue unchecked&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>In Hong Kong and Indonesia, there has been insufficient action by authorities to address systemic failures that foster the exploitation of migrant domestic workers. These failures allow unscrupulous agencies and employers to abuse migrant domestic workers, with Amnesty International documenting cases that amount to modern-day slavery.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span><strong>SOS Europe</strong>&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>This year saw a sharp rise in anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe, with the far right gaining traction in European Union (EU), national and local elections. It also saw the rise in people fleeing wars, instability and poverty, and embarking on dangerous journeys in an attempt to reach Europe.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“As Fortress Europe builds ever higher walls with border security driving its response to migration people are increasingly taking dangerous routes in search of safety and dignity,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Last week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees pointed to a “record high” of almost 350,000 sea crossings by migrants worldwide this year. The Mediterranean was the “deadliest route of all”, with at least 3,419 people losing their lives since January 2014.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“Tens of thousands of migrants and refugees make the dangerous sea journey to Europe each year. The fact that thousands of them die along the way should be a wake up call for EU member states that they need to prioritize saving lives over closing borders.”.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span><strong>Migrant detentions&nbsp;</strong><br /><br /></span><span>In many countries, people can be held in detention for months and sometimes years just for being irregular migrants.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>In the USA, Amnesty International has found that the dramatic increase in the use of detention as an immigration enforcement mechanism results in a number of human rights violations.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>More than 350,000 men, women and children are now detained by US immigration authorities each year. Migrants can be detained for months or years without any form of meaningful judicial review of their detention, in contravention of international human rights standards.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>The conditions under which migrants are held violate both US and international standards on the treatment of detainees. Amnesty International documented pervasive problems including inappropriate and excessive use of restraints and inadequate access to healthcare including mental health services. Many individuals have limited or no access to family and to legal or other assistance throughout their detention.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Between October 2013 and July 2014, at least of 52,193 unaccompanied migrant children were apprehended in the USA, nearly twice as many as during the previous 12-month period. The US government estimated that the total number of apprehended unaccompanied children would could exceed 90,000 by the end of November 2014 in border states such as Texas, Arizona and California.&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The rights of migrants are being trampled across the globe as they face economic exploitation, discrimination and racism in a range of countries.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/197820_Foreign_laborers_work_in_Doha (1).jpg?1418913122" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/51636">Qatar workers</a> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Poor migrants are the perfect political scapegoats – they have no money, no influence and they can’t vote. So if you’re a government whose policies are letting people down, you can blame it all on immigration.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s Sherif Elsayed-Ali </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://livewire.amnesty.org/2014/12/18/7-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-migrants/">7 things you probably didn’t know about migrants</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Blog, 18 December 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Hong Kong Indonesia Qatar Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants USA Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:34:10 +0000 Amnesty International 51637 at http://www.amnesty.org USA-Cuba prisoner swap must spur historic human rights change http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/usa-cuba-prisoner-swap-must-spur-historic-human-rights-change-2014-12-17 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> USA-Cuba prisoner swap must spur historic human rights change </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">17 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>Today’s prisoner exchange between the USA and Cuba presents the best opportunity in more than half a century to forge an agenda for human rights change amid efforts to normalize relations between the two countries, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Alan Gross, an alleged US aid worker imprisoned in Cuba for the past five years after being accused of spying, and the three remaining “Cuban Five” prisoners held in the USA on espionage charges since 1998, had been released and were en route to their respective home countries on Wednesday morning local time.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Today’s prisoner swap is a very welcome opening salvo in a long-awaited overhaul of US-Cuban relations after more than half a century of thorny relations, sanctions and mutual recriminations. Any efforts at political and diplomatic change must now go hand-in-glove with historic human rights change in Cuba,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“If the US embargo on Cuba, and its <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR25/007/2009">negative impact on the economic and social rights of Cuban</a>s, is lifted as part of efforts to normalize relations between the two countries, it will mean Cuban authorities can no longer use the crippling sanctions as an excuse for lagging behind on its international human rights obligations.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>For years, Amnesty International <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/093/2010">campaigned on behalf of the “Cuban Five”</a>. The organization echoed concerns raised by a UN Working Group that the men were not afforded fair trials in Miami, and criticized the USA for not granting visas to allow several of the men’s wives to visit them in prison. Those released today include Gerardo Hernandez, 49, Antonio Guerrero, 56, and Ramon Labañino, 51. Two others, Rene Gonzalez, 58, and Fernando Gonzalez, 51, were previously released.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“This release after more than a decade and a half behind bars in the USA, following proceedings that fell short of international fair trial standards, must come as an immense relief for these three men and their families. Concerns raised by Amnesty International and others over their trial and treatment should have prompted US authorities to grant these men clemency years ago,” said Erika Guevara Rosas.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Today’s prisoner exchange between the USA and Cuba presents the best opportunity in more than half a century to forge an agenda for human rights change amid efforts to normalize relations between the two countries.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/204680_US-CUBA-PROTEST (1).jpg?1418837561" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/51620">Cuba Five</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Cuba</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="21.982273">21° 58' 56.1828" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-78.618164">78° 37' 5.3904" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Today’s prisoner swap is a very welcome opening salvo in a long-awaited overhaul of US-Cuban relations after more than half a century of thorny relations, sanctions and mutual recriminations. Any efforts at political and diplomatic change must now go hand-in-glove with historic human rights change in Cuba. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wed, 17/12/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>This release after more than a decade and a half behind bars in the USA, following proceedings that fell short of international fair trial standards, must come as an immense relief for these three men and their families. Concerns raised by Amnesty International and others over their trial and treatment should have prompted US authorities to grant these men clemency years ago. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Erika Guevara Rosas </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wed, 17/12/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR25/007/2009">Cuba: The US embargo against Cuba: Its impact on economic and social rights</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Report, 2 September 2009 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/093/2010">USA: The Case of the Cuban Five</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Report, 13 October 2010 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Cuba Detention Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Fair Trials Human Rights Standards USA Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:35:13 +0000 Amnesty International 51621 at http://www.amnesty.org Pakistan: Resuming executions ‘not the answer’ to Peshawar school tragedy http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/pakistan-resuming-executions-not-answer-peshawar-school-tragedy-2014-12-17 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Pakistan: Resuming executions ‘not the answer’ to Peshawar school tragedy </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">17 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>The Pakistani government must resist giving in to fear and anger in the wake of the Peshawar school tragedy and maintain its moratorium on executions, Amnesty International said today after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to restart executions for terrorism-related offences.<br /><br /></span><span>“Yesterday’s attack was utterly reprehensible, and it is imperative that those responsible for this unimaginable tragedy are brought to justice. However, resorting to the death penalty is not the answer – it is never the answer,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Asia-Pacific.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Sharif’s announcement came the day after at least 142 people – including 132 children – <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/pakistan-sickening-taliban-school-attack-highlights-vulnerability-civilians-2014-12-16">were killed by Taliban militants</a> at an army-run school in the north-western city.<br /><br /></span><span>“Pakistan is understandably gripped by fear and anger in the wake of the attacks. However, lifting the moratorium on executions appears to be a knee-jerk reaction which does not get at the heart of the problem – namely the lack of effective protection for civilians in north-west Pakistan,” said David Griffiths.<br /><br /></span><span>“This is where the government should focus its energies, rather than perpetuating the cycle of violence with the resumption of executions.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Amnesty International calls for those responsible for indiscriminate attacks and attacks against civilians, including the Peshawar attack, to face investigation and prosecution in proceedings that comply with international fair trial standards, but without resort to the death penalty.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“There is no evidence that the death penalty acts as a particular deterrent in capital crimes compared to other forms of punishment,” said David Griffiths.<br /><br /></span><span>"Capital punishment is not the answer to Pakistan’s law and order situation and would do nothing to tackle crime or militancy in the country.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Pakistan re-imposed a moratorium on executions in October 2013 and has not executed since the hanging of a soldier in November 2012, while the last civilian hanging was in late 2008. There are currently dozens of people sentenced to death for terrorism-related offences in the country.<br /><br /></span><span>Many death sentences in Pakistan are handed down after unfair trials characterized by a lack of access to legal counsel and the acceptance of evidence inadmissible under international law.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“By extending its moratorium on executions last year, Pakistan did the right thing and sent a message of respect for human rights. It chose to align itself with the great majority of countries that have rejected in law or practice the death penalty as the ultimate cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment,” said David Griffiths.<br /><br /></span><span>“At a time when Pakistan’s justice system is struggling to cope with law and order, it can be easy to see the death penalty as a quick-fix. But instead of resuming executions, Pakistan should seek long-term solutions that result in systemic improvements in the administration of criminal justice.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>As of today, 140 countries are abolitionist in law or practice. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Pakistani government must resist giving in to fear and anger in the wake of the Peshawar school tragedy and maintain its moratorium on executions.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/204850_PAKISTAN-UNREST-SCHOOL (1).jpg?1418912499" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/51635">Pak school</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> pakistan </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="29.307956">29° 18' 28.6416" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="72.685547">72° 41' 7.9692" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Pakistan is understandably gripped by fear and anger in the wake of the attacks, but lifting the moratorium on executions appears to be a knee-jerk reaction that does not get at the heart of the problem. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s David Griffiths </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/pakistan-sickening-taliban-school-attack-highlights-vulnerability-civilians-2014-12-16">Pakistan: Sickening Taliban school attack highlights vulnerability of civilians</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News, 16 December 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Abolish the death penalty Death Penalty Pakistan Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:04:03 +0000 Amnesty International 51622 at http://www.amnesty.org Pakistan: Resuming executions ‘not the answer’ to Peshawar school tragedy http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/pakistan-resuming-executions-not-answer-peshawar-school-tragedy-2014-12-17 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Pakistan: Resuming executions ‘not the answer’ to Peshawar school tragedy </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">17 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>The Pakistani government must resist giving in to fear and anger in the wake of the Peshawar school tragedy and maintain its moratorium on executions, Amnesty International said today after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to restart executions for terrorism-related offences.<br /><br /></span><span>“Yesterday’s attack was utterly reprehensible, and it is imperative that those responsible for this unimaginable tragedy are brought to justice. However, resorting to the death penalty is not the answer – it is never the answer,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Asia-Pacific.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Sharif’s announcement came the day after at least 142 people – including 132 children – <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/pakistan-sickening-taliban-school-attack-highlights-vulnerability-civilians-2014-12-16">were killed by Taliban militants</a> at an army-run school in the north-western city.<br /><br /></span><span>“Pakistan is understandably gripped by fear and anger in the wake of the attacks. However, lifting the moratorium on executions appears to be a knee-jerk reaction which does not get at the heart of the problem – namely the lack of effective protection for civilians in north-west Pakistan,” said David Griffiths.<br /><br /></span><span>“This is where the government should focus its energies, rather than perpetuating the cycle of violence with the resumption of executions.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Amnesty International calls for those responsible for indiscriminate attacks and attacks against civilians, including the Peshawar attack, to face investigation and prosecution in proceedings that comply with international fair trial standards, but without resort to the death penalty.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“There is no evidence that the death penalty acts as a particular deterrent in capital crimes compared to other forms of punishment,” said David Griffiths.<br /><br /></span><span>"Capital punishment is not the answer to Pakistan’s law and order situation and would do nothing to tackle crime or militancy in the country.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Pakistan re-imposed a moratorium on executions in October 2013 and has not executed since the hanging of a soldier in November 2012, while the last civilian hanging was in late 2008. There are currently dozens of people sentenced to death for terrorism-related offences in the country.<br /><br /></span><span>Many death sentences in Pakistan are handed down after unfair trials characterized by a lack of access to legal counsel and the acceptance of evidence inadmissible under international law.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“By extending its moratorium on executions last year, Pakistan did the right thing and sent a message of respect for human rights. It chose to align itself with the great majority of countries that have rejected in law or practice the death penalty as the ultimate cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment,” said David Griffiths.<br /><br /></span><span>“At a time when Pakistan’s justice system is struggling to cope with law and order, it can be easy to see the death penalty as a quick-fix. But instead of resuming executions, Pakistan should seek long-term solutions that result in systemic improvements in the administration of criminal justice.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>As of today, 140 countries are abolitionist in law or practice. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Pakistani government must resist giving in to fear and anger in the wake of the Peshawar school tragedy and maintain its moratorium on executions.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/204850_PAKISTAN-UNREST-SCHOOL (1).jpg?1418912499" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/51635">Pak school</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> pakistan </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="29.307956">29° 18' 28.6416" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="72.685547">72° 41' 7.9692" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Pakistan is understandably gripped by fear and anger in the wake of the attacks, but lifting the moratorium on executions appears to be a knee-jerk reaction that does not get at the heart of the problem. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s David Griffiths </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/pakistan-sickening-taliban-school-attack-highlights-vulnerability-civilians-2014-12-16">Pakistan: Sickening Taliban school attack highlights vulnerability of civilians</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News, 16 December 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Abolish the death penalty Death Penalty Pakistan Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:04:03 +0000 Amnesty International 51622 at http://www.amnesty.org USA-Cuba prisoner swap must spur historic human rights change http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/usa-cuba-prisoner-swap-must-spur-historic-human-rights-change-2014-12-17 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> USA-Cuba prisoner swap must spur historic human rights change </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">17 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>Today’s prisoner exchange between the USA and Cuba presents the best opportunity in more than half a century to forge an agenda for human rights change amid efforts to normalize relations between the two countries, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Alan Gross, an alleged US aid worker imprisoned in Cuba for the past five years after being accused of spying, and the three remaining “Cuban Five” prisoners held in the USA on espionage charges since 1998, had been released and were en route to their respective home countries on Wednesday morning local time.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Today’s prisoner swap is a very welcome opening salvo in a long-awaited overhaul of US-Cuban relations after more than half a century of thorny relations, sanctions and mutual recriminations. Any efforts at political and diplomatic change must now go hand-in-glove with historic human rights change in Cuba,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“If the US embargo on Cuba, and its <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR25/007/2009">negative impact on the economic and social rights of Cuban</a>s, is lifted as part of efforts to normalize relations between the two countries, it will mean Cuban authorities can no longer use the crippling sanctions as an excuse for lagging behind on its international human rights obligations.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>For years, Amnesty International <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/093/2010">campaigned on behalf of the “Cuban Five”</a>. The organization echoed concerns raised by a UN Working Group that the men were not afforded fair trials in Miami, and criticized the USA for not granting visas to allow several of the men’s wives to visit them in prison. Those released today include Gerardo Hernandez, 49, Antonio Guerrero, 56, and Ramon Labañino, 51. Two others, Rene Gonzalez, 58, and Fernando Gonzalez, 51, were previously released.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“This release after more than a decade and a half behind bars in the USA, following proceedings that fell short of international fair trial standards, must come as an immense relief for these three men and their families. Concerns raised by Amnesty International and others over their trial and treatment should have prompted US authorities to grant these men clemency years ago,” said Erika Guevara Rosas.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Today’s prisoner exchange between the USA and Cuba presents the best opportunity in more than half a century to forge an agenda for human rights change amid efforts to normalize relations between the two countries.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/204680_US-CUBA-PROTEST (1).jpg?1418837561" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/51620">Cuba Five</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Cuba</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="21.982273">21° 58' 56.1828" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-78.618164">78° 37' 5.3904" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Today’s prisoner swap is a very welcome opening salvo in a long-awaited overhaul of US-Cuban relations after more than half a century of thorny relations, sanctions and mutual recriminations. Any efforts at political and diplomatic change must now go hand-in-glove with historic human rights change in Cuba. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wed, 17/12/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>This release after more than a decade and a half behind bars in the USA, following proceedings that fell short of international fair trial standards, must come as an immense relief for these three men and their families. Concerns raised by Amnesty International and others over their trial and treatment should have prompted US authorities to grant these men clemency years ago. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Erika Guevara Rosas </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wed, 17/12/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR25/007/2009">Cuba: The US embargo against Cuba: Its impact on economic and social rights</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Report, 2 September 2009 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/093/2010">USA: The Case of the Cuban Five</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Report, 13 October 2010 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Cuba Detention Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Fair Trials Human Rights Standards USA Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:35:13 +0000 Amnesty International 51621 at http://www.amnesty.org Chelsea Manning: ‘Why speaking out is worth the risk’ http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/chelsea-manning-why-speaking-out-worth-risk-2014-12-16 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Chelsea Manning: ‘Why speaking out is worth the risk’ </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">16 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><em><a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-chelsea-manning" target="_blank">Chelsea Manning</a> is serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified US government documents to the website WikiLeaks. From her prison cell in Kansas, Chelsea tells us why speaking out against injustice can be a once-in-a-lifetime&nbsp;<span>opportunity.</span></em></p><p><strong><span>Why did you decide to leak documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? &nbsp;</span></strong></p><p>These documents were important because they relate to two connected counter-insurgency conflicts in real-time from the ground. Humanity has never had this complete and detailed a record of what modern warfare actually looks like. Once you realize that the co-ordinates represent a real place where people live; that the dates happened in our recent history; that the numbers are actually human lives – with all the love, hope, dreams, hatred, fear, and nightmares that come with them – then it’s difficult to ever forget how important these documents are.</p><p><strong>What did you think the consequences might be for you personally?</strong></p><p>In 2010, I was a lot younger. The consequences felt very vague. I expected the worst possible outcome, but I didn’t have a strong sense of what that might entail. But I expected to be demonized and have every moment of my life examined and analyzed for every single possible screw-up that I’ve ever made - every flaw and blemish - and to have them used against me in the court of public opinion. I was especially afraid that my gender identity would be used against me.</p><p><strong>What was it like to feel the full force of the US justice system and be presented as a traitor?</strong></p><p>It was particularly interesting to see the logistics involved in the prosecution: the stacks of money spent; the gallons of fuel burned; the reams of paper printed; the lengthy rolls of security personnel, lawyers, and experts – it felt silly at times. It felt especially silly being presented as a traitor by the officers who prosecuted my case. I saw them out of court for at least 100 days before and during the trial and&nbsp;<span>developed a very good sense of who they were as people. I’m fairly certain that they got a good sense of who I am as a person too. I remain convinced that even the advocates that presented the treason arguments did not believe their own words as they spoke them.</span></p><p><strong>Many people think of you as a whistleblower. Why are whistleblowers important?</strong></p><p>In an ideal world, governments, corporations, and other large institutions would be transparent by default. Unfortunately, the world is not ideal. Many institutions begin a slow creep toward being opaque and we need people who recognize that. I think the term “whistleblowers” has an overwhelmingly negative connotation in government and business, akin to a “tattle-tale” or “snitch”. This needs to be addressed somehow. Very often policies that supposedly protect such people are actually used to discredit them.</p><p><strong>What would you say to somebody who is afraid to speak out against injustice?</strong></p><p>First, I would point out that life is precious. In Iraq in 2009-10, life felt very cheap. It became overwhelming to see the sheer number of people suffering and dying, and the learned indifference to it by everybody around me, including the Iraqis themselves. That really changed my perspective on my life, and made me realize that speaking out about injustices is worth the risk. Second, in your life, you are rarely given the chance to really make a difference. Every now and then you do come across a significant choice. Do you really want to find yourself asking whether you could have done more, 10-20 years later? These are the kinds of questions I didn’t want to haunt me.</p><p><strong>Why did you choose this particular artwork to represent you?</strong></p><p>It’s the closest representation of what I might look like if I was allowed to present and express myself the way I see fit. Even after I came out as a trans woman in 2013, I have not been able to express myself as a woman in public. So I worked with Alicia Neal, an artist in California, to sketch a realistic portrait that more accurately represents who I am. Unfortunately, with the current rules at military confinement facilities, it is very unlikely that I will have any photos taken until I am released – which, parole and clemency notwithstanding, might not be for another two decades.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Chelsea Manning&nbsp;<span>is one of 12 cases in Amnesty International's Write for Rights campaign. Take action <a href="http://writeforrights.amnesty.org/">here</a>.</span></em></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified US government documents to the website WikiLeaks. From her prison cell in Kansas, Chelsea tells us why speaking out against injustice can be a once-in-a-lifetime&nbsp;</span><span>opportunity.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/200748_Chelsea_Manning.jpg?1417623103" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50639">Chelsea Manning main</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-onpagesummary"> <div class="field-label">At a Glance:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><strong>Write a letter, help Chelsea get released </strong></p><p>Please urge President Barack Obama to immediately release Chelsea Manning; to investigate any serious abuses she exposed, and protect people who reveal information that is in the public interest instead of charging them.</p><p>Start your message “Dear President Obama” and send it to: President Barack Obama The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20500, USA Twitter: <a href="@BarackObama" target="_blank">@BarackObama</a> <a href="@WhiteHouse" target="_blank">@WhiteHouse</a></p><p><a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-chelsea-manning" target="_blank">Take action online.</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> WriteForRights </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="40.133049">40° 7' 58.9764" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-101.241996">101° 14' 31.1856" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-chelsea-manning">USA: Release Chelsea Manning immediately</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Take Action! </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://writeforrights.amnesty.org/">Write for Rights</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Write a letter, change a life </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Detention USA Wed, 03 Dec 2014 16:13:36 +0000 Amnesty International 50640 at http://www.amnesty.org Pakistan: Sickening Taliban school attack highlights vulnerability of civilians http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/pakistan-sickening-taliban-school-attack-highlights-vulnerability-civilians-2014-12-16 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Pakistan: Sickening Taliban school attack highlights vulnerability of civilians </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">16 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Today’s Taliban attack on a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar shows a merciless disregard for human life and highlights the urgent need for protection of civilians in the area, Amnesty International said. &nbsp;</span></p><p>At least 126 people, mainly children, were killed when several armed men entered the school and began firing indiscriminately at students and teachers in one of the most shocking Taliban attacks in recent memory.</p><p>“There can be absolutely no justification for targeting children in this way. This unconscionable Taliban attack is a grave reminder that civilians in north-west Pakistan desperately need effective protection from militant groups,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Asia-Pacific.</p><p>“Of prime importance now is that the Pakistani authorities take effective steps to protect civilians and minimize the risk of this type of sickening tragedy being repeated.”</p><p>A Taliban spokesman said the attack was a response to recent Pakistani army operations in nearby North Waziristan, in which hundreds of Taliban fighters were killed. The school, in an area of Peshawar close to a military cantonment, was run by the army and some of the students were children of army members.&nbsp;</p><p>The Taliban have targeted students in Pakistan on numerous occasions, but this is by far their deadliest attack on a school.&nbsp;</p><p>Since 2010, there have been at least four attacks on school buses – including the one in which Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head in Swat in 2012. There have been at least three Taliban attacks on schools this year, with one fatality.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>A Taliban attack on a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar shows a merciless disregard for human life and highlights the urgent need for protection of civilians in the area.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/204333_PAKISTAN-UNREST-NORTHWEST-SCHOOL (1).jpg?1418734615" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/51598">Pakistan school</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> pakistan </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="30.301761">30° 18' 6.3396" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="71.894531">71° 53' 40.3116" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Of prime importance now is that the Pakistani authorities take effective steps to protect civilians and minimize the risk of this type of sickening tragedy being repeated.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s David Griffiths </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Armed Groups Children Pakistan Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:26:51 +0000 Amnesty International 51600 at http://www.amnesty.org Iran: Alleged juvenile offender among 10 hunger strikers threatened with immediate execution http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/iran-alleged-juvenile-offender-among-10-hunger-strikers-threatened-immediate-execution-2014-12- <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Iran: Alleged juvenile offender among 10 hunger strikers threatened with immediate executi </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">16 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>The Iranian authorities’ threat to expedite the execution of 10 men on death row in retaliation for going on hunger strike is deplorable, said Amnesty International as it called for the death sentences to be commuted immediately.&nbsp;</span></p><p>One of the 10, Saman Naseem, was sentenced to death in 2013 for engaging in armed activities against the state after he allegedly participated in a gun battle while he was a child during which a member of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards was killed. The 10 men are among 24 prisoners from Iran’s Kurdish minority who have been on hunger strike since 20 November 2014 in protest at the conditions of Ward 12 of Oroumieh Central Prison, West Azerbaijan Province, where political prisoners are held.&nbsp;</p><p>“It is truly deplorable that the Iranian authorities are playing games with the lives of these men in such a manner. Resorting to death threats and other punitive measures to quell prisoners’ hunger strikes only serves to underscore how rotten Iran’s criminal justice system is,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.&nbsp;</p><p>“Saman Naseem was a child at the time of his alleged offence. He says he has been tortured in detention and forced to “confess”. Now, the authorities are effectively blackmailing him with the prospect of death. Executing him would be a flagrant violation of international law. His sentence must be commuted immediately.”&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International is calling for Saman Naseem’s case to be re-examined fairly without recourse to the death penalty or relying on torture-tainted evidence, and taking into account provisions of Iran’s revised Penal Code that exclude the use of the death penalty for juvenile offenders in certain situations.&nbsp;</p><p>Saman Naseem was arrested on 17 July 2011 when he was just 17 years old. He was held for two months at a Ministry of Intelligence detention centre in Oroumieh, West Azarbaijan Province. While there, he said he was tortured by interrogators who pulled out his fingernails and toenails, and beat him leaving bruises on his back, legs and abdomen. He also said he was forced to sign a written “confession” while blindfolded.&nbsp;</p><p>On 14 December, Saman Naseem was transferred to a prison clinic suffering from low blood pressure and physical weakness, but he refused to break his hunger strike. He was returned to Ward 12 the same day.&nbsp;</p><p>Prisoners in Ward 12 at Oroumieh Central Prison went on hunger strike to protest against a decision to transfer 40 prisoners convicted of serious crimes, such as murder and armed robbery, to their ward leading to a deterioration in their security.&nbsp;</p><p>In addition to execution threats, the prison authorities have also reportedly subjected those on hunger strike to beatings and other punitive practices and threatened them with transfer to remote prisons in the south of the country, so as to force them to end their hunger strike.&nbsp;</p><p>The prisoners, who are all members of Iran’s Kurdish minority, say that they will continue their hunger strike until the authorities put an end to the abuse of prisoners. The hunger strikers who are not on death row are serving prison sentences ranging from six months to 34 years.&nbsp;</p><p>“The death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment under any circumstances. Instead of dealing out threats of execution against these prisoners the authorities must commute their death sentences and ensure they are treated humanely,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Background&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Saman Naseem was sentenced to death on charges of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) and “corruption on earth” (ifsad fil-arz) for allegedly carrying out armed activities against Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.&nbsp;</p><p>He was first sentenced to death in January 2012 by the Revolutionary Court of Mahabad but the sentence was overturned by Branch 32 of the Supreme Court in August that year for lack of jurisdiction by the Revolutionary Court and because Saman Naseem was under 18 at the time of the alleged offence. His case was reverted to Branch 2 of the Criminal Court of West Azerbaijan Province for re-trial.&nbsp;</p><p>In April 2013 he was sentenced to death again by Branch 2 of the Criminal Court of West Azerbaijan Province. The judgement made no mention of the issue that Saman Naseem was under 18 at the time of the alleged the crime. Branch 32 of the Supreme Court subsequently upheld his death sentence in December 2013. He could be executed at any time as his death sentence has been sent to the Office of the Implementation of Sentences.&nbsp;</p><p>Under Iran’s revised Islamic Penal Code, passed into law in May 2013, the execution of offenders under the age of 18 is allowed under qesas (retribution-in-kind) and hodoud crimes under Islamic law, unless the juvenile offender is found to have not understood the nature of the crime or its consequences, or if there are doubts about their mental capacity.&nbsp;</p><p>In 2014, Amnesty International received reports of the execution of at least 14 individuals for crimes allegedly committed while they were under 18 years of age. The use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders is strictly prohibited under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of a Child, which Iran is a party to.&nbsp;</p><p>The names of the other nine prisoners on death row are, in alphabetical order: Ali Afshari, Habib Afshari, Behrouz Alkhani, Mohammad Abdollahi, Sayed Sami Hosseini, Sayed Jamal Mohammadi, Sirvan Nejavi, Ebrahim Rezapour, Ali Ahmad Soleiman.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The Iranian authorities’ threat to expedite the execution of 10 men on death row in retaliation for going on hunger strike is deplorable, said Amnesty International.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="350" height="305" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/snip_0.JPG?1418748267" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/47989">DP noose</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> iran </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="34.166363">34° 9' 58.9068" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="56.777344">56° 46' 38.4384" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>It is truly deplorable that the Iranian authorities are playing games with the lives of these men in such a manner.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Abolish the death penalty Death Penalty Iran Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:00:53 +0000 Amnesty International 51604 at http://www.amnesty.org India: Authorities must release Irom Sharmila following government decision to decriminalize suicide http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/india-authorities-must-release-irom-sharmila-following-government-decision-decriminalize-suicid <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> India: Authorities must release Irom Sharmila following government decision to decriminali </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">16 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Authorities in India must build on the central government’s decision to decriminalize suicide by dropping all charges of attempted suicide against Prisoner of Conscience Irom Sharmila and releasing her immediately and unconditionally, Amnesty International India said today.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Irom Sharmila has been held in detention in Manipur for over 14 years on repeated charges of attempted suicide. She has been on a hunger strike since November 2000 demanding the repeal of the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>On 10 December, India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs stated in the upper house of Parliament that the central government had decided to repeal Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, which makes attempting to commit suicide punishable with imprisonment for up to one year.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“The Indian government’s decision to decriminalize suicide is in line with an increasing global trend. This move should lead to the immediate release of Irom Sharmila, who has been held in detention merely for exercising her freedom of expression in a peaceful manner,” said Shailesh Rai, Programme Director at Amnesty International India.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Irom Sharmila has never been convicted of attempting to commit suicide. She has been regularly released after completing a year in judicial custody, only to be re-arrested shortly after as she continues her fast.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>In August 2014, a Manipur court had ruled that there were no grounds to charge Irom Sharmila with attempted suicide and instead described her protest as a ‘political demand through lawful means’, a belief thousands of her supporters have long held. Irom Sharmila was released after the verdict but she was re-arrested in farcical circumstances just two days later on the same charges. &nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“Irom Sharmila should not have been arrested in the first place. Now that authorities have acknowledged that attempting to commit suicide should not be considered a crime, authorities in Manipur and Delhi should drop all charges against her, and start to engage with the issues this remarkable activist is raising,” said Shailesh Rai.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span><strong>Background&nbsp;</strong><br /><br /></span><span>Irom Sharmila has been on a prolonged hunger strike for over 14 years, demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA). She was arrested by the Manipur police shortly after she began her hunger strike on 2 November 2000, and charged with attempting to commit suicide – a criminal offence under Indian law. In March 2013, a Delhi court also charged Sharmila with attempting to commit suicide in October 2006, when she staged a protest in Delhi for two days.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>In February 2012, the Supreme Court of India observed in its ruling in the Ram Lila Maidan Incident case that a hunger strike is “a form of protest which has been accepted, both historically and legally in our constitutional jurisprudence.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>The British Medical Association, in a briefing to the World Medical Association, has clarified that, “[a] hunger strike is not equivalent to suicide. Individuals who embark on hunger strikes aim to achieve goals important to them but generally hope and intend to survive.” This position is embodied by the World Medical Association in its Malta Declaration on Hunger Strikers.&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Authorities in India must build on the central government’s decision to decriminalize suicide by dropping all charges of attempted suicide against prisoner of conscience Irom Sharmila.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/186683_Irom_Sharmila (1)_0.jpg?1418732519" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/51596">irom sharmila</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> india </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="22.273847">22° 16' 25.8492" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="77.695313">77° 41' 43.1268" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>The Indian government’s decision to decriminalize suicide should lead to the immediate release of Irom Sharmila.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s Shailesh Rai </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> India Prisoners Of Conscience Tue, 16 Dec 2014 12:25:19 +0000 Amnesty International 51597 at http://www.amnesty.org South Korea: Stop tear gas supply or risk fuelling repression in Turkey http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/south-korea-stop-tear-gas-supply-or-risk-fuelling-repression-turkey-2014-12-15 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> South Korea: Stop tear gas supply or risk fuelling repression in Turkey </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">15 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>The South Korean authorities must immediately stop the planned shipment of massive amounts of tear gas to Turkey, where the security forces have frequently abused riot control equipment amid repression of peaceful protests, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A credible source has tipped off the organization about a planned export to Turkey of nearly 1.9 million tear gas cartridges and gas grenades. The first batch of riot control equipment is scheduled for delivery by a South Korean company to the Turkish government in mid-January 2015.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“All shipments of tear gas and other riot control equipment to Turkey must be suspended immediately or they risk fuelling further repression and abuses,” said Marek Marczynski, Head of Military, Security and Police at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The South Korean authorities need to send a clear and urgent message that no arms will be supplied to a country where abusive and arbitrary force is being used against protesters. The Turkish government’s failure to guarantee the right to peaceful protest is completely contrary to international standards on policing and human rights.&nbsp;</p><p>“Turkey has a woeful record of misusing tear gas during demonstrations, frequently firing gas canisters directly at protesters. No responsible government should be fuelling abuses on this scale.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>According to Amnesty International’s source, the planned transfer from South Korea to the Turkish government includes 1,898,515 “less lethal” chemical irritants. These include four sizes of tear gas cartridges, totalling 1,509,015 items, and 389,500 gas grenades. The first shipment of some 550,000 items is scheduled for mid-January 2015, with the rest to follow by mid-May.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The type and quantities of equipment are consistent with what the Turkish security forces used against demonstrations in the past year and what they would need to replenish their stockpiles in 2015. The South Korean arms manufacturer has previously supplied riot control equipment to the authorities in Turkey as well as Bahrain.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Repression of demonstrations<br /><br /></strong><span>Between 28 May and mid July 2013, demonstrations known as the Gezi Park protests took place in all but two of Turkey’s 81 provinces, ranging between crowds of a few hundred to tens of thousands. Security forces across Turkey repeatedly <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/turkey-must-halt-brutal-police-repression-and-investigate-abuses-istanbul-protest-2013-05-31">used abusive and arbitrary force against peaceful protesters</a>, sometimes with fatal consequences. At least four protesters died as a direct result of police use of excessive force, including 15-year-old Berkin Elvan and 22-year-old Abdullah Cömert, who were hit in the head by tear gas canisters fired at close range. More than 8,000 people were injured, some very seriously, during the wave of protests.&nbsp;</span></p><p>In 2014, <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/turkey-reprehensible-riot-police-crackdown-peaceful-may-day-protest-2014-05-01">police used excessive force against peaceful May Day demonstrators</a> near Istanbul’s central Taksim Square.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On multiple occasions, Amnesty International has documented how Turkish police and security forces used tear gas and water cannon in excessive, unwarranted and arbitrary ways to disperse protesters, and fired at unarmed protesters using rubber bullets and plastic bullets, killing and seriously wounding some. Thousands more have been beaten by police and security forces. Protesters, human rights activists and journalists have been arrested and detained.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Right now, no government should be supplying the Turkish authorities with the tools to crush further peaceful demonstrations. All transfers of tear gas and other riot control equipment must be suspended until the Turkish authorities can ensure such repression will not be repeated, and commit to carrying out thorough, impartial and independent investigations into past abuses by the security forces,” said Marek Marczynski.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Background&nbsp;</strong></p><p>As a participant of the Wassenaar Arrangement – an association of 41 of the world's largest arms exporters – South Korea has committed to upholding the group’s guidelines and principles. This includes a requirement that states avoid authorizing the export of arms, including chemical irritants and launchers, to contexts where they are likely to be used to commit human rights violations. Under the Wassenaar Arrangement, the conventional arms control lists agreed should include the strict regulation of the export of items used for force in riot control.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The abusive and unlawful use of force by Turkish security forces against protesters also underscores the urgency of the rapid and effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which enters into force on 24 December 2014. South Korea has signed but not yet ratified the treaty, which calls on states to carry out a rigorous a risk assessment prior to licensing the exports of conventional arms. When there is a substantial risk the arms would be used to violate international human rights or humanitarian law, the license shall not be granted.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The South Korean authorities must immediately stop the planned shipment of massive amounts of tear gas to Turkey, where the security forces have frequently abused riot control equipment amid repression of peaceful protests.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/180047_Riot_police_use_tear_gas_and_water_canons_to_disperse_protestors_at_Taksim_square_in_central_Istanbul_31_May_2013 (1)_0.jpg?1418411824" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/51577">Turkey tear gas</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">South Korea</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="36.441173">36° 26' 28.2228" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="127.705078">127° 42' 18.2808" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Right now, no government should be supplying the Turkish authorities with the tools to crush further peaceful demonstrations</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Marek Marczynski, Head of Military, Security and Police at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Mon, 15/12/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/turkey-reprehensible-riot-police-crackdown-peaceful-may-day-protest-2014-05-01">Turkey: Riot police in reprehensible crackdown on peaceful May Day protest</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News story, 1 May 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/turkey-fresh-protest-death-underscores-urgent-need-halt-tear-gas-shipments-2013-09-10">Turkey: Fresh protests spark fears over pending tear gas shipments</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News story, 12 September 2013 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/turkey-must-halt-brutal-police-repression-and-investigate-abuses-istanbul-protest-2013-05-31">Turkey must halt brutal police repression and investigate abuses at Istanbul protest</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News story, 31 May 2013 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Business And Human Rights Freedom Of Expression Law Enforcement Military, Security And Police Equipment South Korea Turkey Arms control and human rights Fri, 12 Dec 2014 19:18:03 +0000 Amnesty International 51578 at http://www.amnesty.org Russia: End persecution of activists in Chechnya http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/russia-end-persecution-human-rights-activists-chechnya-2014-12-15 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Russia: End persecution of activists in Chechnya </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">15 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Russian authorities should act to end a campaign of intimidation and harassment against human rights defenders in Chechnya, Amnesty International and <a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/12/14/russia-end-persecution-activists-chechnya">Human Rights Watch </a>said today after the office of a local human rights group was burned down. They should also offer genuine protection to all activists threatened for doing their work.&nbsp;</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In the evening of December 13 the Joint Mobile Group (JMG) a human rights organization that works with non-governmental organizations from other Russian regions, was destroyed in a fire in the Chechen capital, Grozny, in a suspected arson attack.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“These acts of intimidation are part of an ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression in the region. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov appears to be waging a personal campaign against the Joint Mobile Group and its leader Igor Kalyapin,” said Anna Neistat, Senior Director of Research at Amnesty International&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Earlier on December 13, 2014, at a demonstration against armed groups operating in the area, banners appeared labelling the NGO as “supporters of terrorism”. On the same day, members of the group were followed by armed masked men in a car believed to belong to Chechen law enforcement officials.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On December 14, police entered the apartment rented by JMG in Grozny and, without providing any explanation or a search warrant to the two JMG staff members present, ransacked the building, confiscated mobile phones, several photo cameras, lap-top computers, and other electronic equipment. They also conducted body searches of the two JMG staff members and a search of their car. The two members, Sergei Babinets and Dmitry Dimitriev, were held by police for several hours before being released without charge.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called on the Russian authorities to investigate the suspected arson, ensure protection is provided to JMG staff and honor Russia’s commitment to foster a normal working climate for human rights defenders.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“This is not the first time the Chechen authorities have unleashed a campaign of harassment against those working to protect human rights in Chechnya,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. <br /><br />“These latest acts against human rights defenders suggest they are taking it to a new level of abuse.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch urged Russian authorities to promptly and thoroughly investigate the attacks and threats and hold accountable those responsible.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Background&nbsp;</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On 4 December, 11 members of an armed group launched an attack against law enforcement officials in central Grozny. In the ensuing fighting, all were killed, along with 14 law enforcement officers and at least one civilian. The following day the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, said the families of the armed group members would be expelled from Chechnya and their houses demolished. Within days, <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/russia-burning-down-homes-after-chechnya-clashes-appears-be-collective-punishment-2014-12-09-0">at least nine houses in five different towns were set on fire </a>by unknown men and burnt down. There has been no attempt to investigate these incidents.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On 9 December, Kalyapin, head of the JMG, called on Russian authorities to investigate whether Kadyrov’s call to expel insurgents’ families and destroy their houses would constitute a criminal offence under Article 286 of the Russian Criminal Code “Abuse of authority”. The following day, through his social media account, Kadyrov claimed that “a certain Kalyapin” was assisting insurgents in Chechnya, including by providing them with money.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On 11 December, several prominent human rights defenders held a joint press conference in Moscow to highlight the unlawful practice of collective punishment in Chechnya. Kalyapin, one of the speakers, was attacked during the press conference by several men, who shouted abuse and pelted him with eggs. For several days since, Kalyapin has been receiving threatening phone calls and text messages.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Russian authorities should act to end a campaign of intimidation and harassment against human rights defenders in Chechnya, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today after the office of a local human rights group was burned down.&nbsp;</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/204162_Ramzan_Kadyrov (1).jpg?1418640196" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/51583">Ramzan Kadyrov</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Russia</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="43.323305">43° 19' 23.898" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="45.700378">45° 42' 1.3608" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>These acts of intimidation are part of an ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression in the region. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov appears to be waging a personal campaign against the Joint Mobile Group and its leader Igor Kalyapin. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Anna Neistat, Senior Director of Research at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Mon, 15/12/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>This is not the first time the Chechen authorities have unleashed a campaign of harassment against those working to protect human rights in Chechnya. These latest acts against human rights defenders suggest they are taking it to a new level of abuse. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Mon, 15/12/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/russia-burning-down-homes-after-chechnya-clashes-appears-be-collective-punishment-2014-12-09-0">Russia: Burning down homes after Chechnya clashes appears to be collective punishment</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News story, 9 December 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Russian Federation Mon, 15 Dec 2014 10:44:53 +0000 Amnesty International 51584 at http://www.amnesty.org Yemen: Investigate killing of activist at peaceful protest http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/yemen-investigate-killing-activist-peaceful-protest-2014-12-15 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Yemen: Investigate killing of activist at peaceful protest </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">15 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>The Yemeni authorities must investigate the killing of a political activist shot dead by security forces during a peaceful protest in the southern city of Aden today, Amnesty International said.<br /><br /></span><span>Khaled Al-Junaidi, a leading activist in Yemen’s separatist Southern Movement, was leading a strike in the district of Crater when he was ordered out of his car by five masked security officers and shot in the chest.<br /><br /></span><span>“This shocking, deliberate killing appears to be an extrajudicial execution prompted by Khaled Al-Junaidi’s peaceful activism promoting independence for southern Yemen,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.<br /><br /></span><span>“The Yemeni authorities have an obligation under international law to ensure that an independent, impartial and prompt investigation into this killing is conducted, and that all those responsible are brought to justice, including anyone who ordered the killing.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Khaled Al-Junaidi, who had previously been arrested and tortured by the security forces on account of his political activism, was overseeing the peaceful strike in Crater in Aden. His role included documenting the protest from his car and taking photos.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>The car was stopped by the five masked officers, who wore official security forces uniforms and drove a security forces vehicle, in a location where officers were firing tear gas at the crowd.<br /><br /></span><span>One of the officers shot and critically injured Khaled Al-Junaidi, who was then driven by the officers to a nearby hospital and left at the door, where he died.<br /><br /></span><span>Khaled Al-Junaidi was last released from detention on 13 November, along with fellow activist Anwar Ismail, after being held without charge for three weeks.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>It was the fourth time he had been arrested over his involvement with the Southern Movement - also known as al-Hirak, a short form of its name in Arabic.<br /><br /></span><span>Khaled Al-Junaidi and Anwar Ismail had both previously been tortured during detention. Khaled said that, on one occasion, he had spent a week hung by his wrists with handcuffs for 23 hours a day.<br /><br /></span><span><strong>Background&nbsp;</strong><br /><br /></span><span>The Southern Movement is a coalition of political opposition groups in southern Yemen that has been demanding secession from the north.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Largely peaceful protests have been taking place sporadically since 2007 when retired soldiers from the south complained that they were not receiving the same treatment in employment, salary and pensions as soldiers from the north of the country.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Since then, protests over discrimination against southerners evolved into demands for secession, which continued after the ousting of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011.<br /><br /></span><span>The government’s response to these protests has been heavy-handed, with dozens of demonstrators killed. In many cases, they appear to have been shot dead despite posing no threat to security forces or others.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Since 2007, the security forces have arrested and detained, in many cases arbitrarily, thousands of demonstrators and bystanders, as well as activists.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The Yemeni authorities must investigate the killing of a political activist shot dead by security forces during a peaceful protest in the southern city of Aden.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="100" height="100" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/183679_Khaled_al-Junaidi (4).jpg?1418654852" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/51588">yemen</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> yemen </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="14.181849">14° 10' 54.6564" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="45.878906">45° 52' 44.0616" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>This shocking, deliberate killing appears to be an extrajudicial execution prompted by Khaled Al-Junaidi’s peaceful activism.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s Said Boumedouha </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Extrajudicial Executions And Other Unlawful Killings Freedom Of Expression Yemen Mon, 15 Dec 2014 15:11:47 +0000 Amnesty International 51589 at http://www.amnesty.org Woman and girls in Mkhondo, South Africa: Force for change http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/woman-and-girls-mkhondo-south-africa-force-change-2014-12-15 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Woman and girls in Mkhondo, South Africa: Force for change </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">15 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Maria Shongwe has overcome obstacles that many women and girls in South Africa face - including poverty and living with HIV - to become an inspirational community activist.</p><p>Maria was the first person in the small town of Amsterdam, near the Swaziland border, to openly reveal she was living with HIV. She also broke new ground by setting up a local branch of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) – a prominent national organization pushing for HIV healthcare services. Maria’s determination secured anti-retroviral treatment (ART) for 50 people when they couldn’t get it through the public health system, and recently got lottery funding to set up a home for orphans.</p><p>She now works for TAC in <a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-mkhondo-municipality" target="_blank">Mkhondo Municipality</a>, where health services are among the worst in the country. In her own words, she gives an insight into her life and work:</p><p><strong>‘He raped me’</strong></p><p>I was born in Swaziland. We had to walk 70km to and from school every day. There was a guy - like an uncle. One day he gave me a lift on a bicycle. He went in the forest and he raped me. It was my first time, and I fell pregnant. But there was nothing I can do. Because maybe if you are a girl and you report something to your parents, they say: “That can’t be. It means that you are in love with that guy”.</p><p><strong>‘The law doesn’t care about us as women’</strong></p><p>‘When I grew up, I was married here in South Africa. After [my husband] passed away, his family took everything, even my furniture. I was in and out of court fighting. I take another step - I don’t want to hear about any women being abused. Because the law doesn’t care about us as women. I decided to leave everything and move to Amsterdam.</p><p><strong>‘Don’t tell anybody’</strong></p><p>I spoke to the lady [at the clinic] and disclosed my [HIV] status. She say: “No, don’t tell anybody you have tested positive.” I say I want to be helped because I don’t know what this virus will do to my body. She didn’t understand.</p><p><strong>Becoming an activist</strong></p><p>My daughter started to be sick. After six months, she tested positive for HIV. There was no medication in this area, so she passed away. She was 19. I started to do the [TAC] support groups. People started to talk about living with this virus but the medication was nowhere to be seen. I went to [the private] Iswepe Clinic, 56 km from here, and talked with the nurse.</p><p>She said: “People from Amsterdam can start the [ART] programme because people here don’t want to take the medication.” But it was difficult because we don’t have money to go there. Some of those taking the medication can’t walk. I brought them to [my] house until they were better. I cared for them. And I was going door-to-door. Without any stipend - I was getting nothing. If I found someone who was sick, I do the counselling to that person and take them to the clinic. Now I am a [paid] mentor, looking after TAC branches in the whole of Mkhondo Municipality.</p><p><strong><span>Girls selling themselves</span></strong></p><p>We are on the road to Swaziland and from Nelspruit to Durban - many people pass through. You can see the [young] girls in town going to sell themselves to the drivers. There are many taverns, poverty. The parents die and the children stay alone. If men give them R20 (US$2), they think it is a lot of money. They start sleeping with boys at an early age. Now I have started a group for these girls, educating them about how to keep themselves healthy.</p><p><em>The woman and girls in Mkhondo South Africa are&nbsp;<span>one of 12 cases in Amnesty International's Write for Rights campaign. Take action <a href="//writeforrights.amnesty.org/">here</a>.</span></em></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Maria Shongwe has overcome obstacles that many women and girls in South Africa face - including poverty and living with HIV - to become an inspirational community activist.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/200757_Women_and_girls_in_Mkhondo_Mpumalanga.jpg?1417622316" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50636">Mkhondo main</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-onpagesummary"> <div class="field-label">At a Glance:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><strong>Write a letter, change their lives</strong></p><p>Please tell the South African government to prioritize better health care for women and girls in Mkhondo Municipality.</p><p>Start your letter “Dear Minister” and send it to Pravin Gordhan, Chair of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Service Delivery Private Bag X802, Pretoria 0001 South Africa Fax: +27 12 326 4478 Email:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:minreg@treasury.gov.za" target="_blank"><span>minreg@treasury.gov.za</span></a></p><p><a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-mkhondo-municipality" target="_blank"><span>Take action online.</span></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> WriteForRights </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">South Africa</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="-30.990496">30° 59' 25.7856" S</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="22.677779">22° 40' 40.0044" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>I spoke to the lady [at the clinic] and disclosed my [HIV] status. She say: “No, don’t tell anybody you have tested positive.” I say I want to be helped because I don’t know what this virus will do to my body. She didn’t understand.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Maria Shongwe. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-mkhondo-municipality">South Africa: Mkhondo Municipality - Pregnancy shouldn&#039;t kill</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Take Action! </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://writeforrights.amnesty.org/">Write for Rights</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Write a letter, change a life </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Children Demand Dignity Discrimination Economic, Social and Cultural Rights South Africa Women Wed, 03 Dec 2014 16:01:50 +0000 Amnesty International 50637 at http://www.amnesty.org Daniel Quintero: ‘We should be free of this now’ http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/daniel-quintero-we-should-be-free-now-2014-12-13 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Daniel Quintero: ‘We should be free of this now’ </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">13 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><em><a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-daniel-quintero">Daniel Quintero</a>, a 21-year old student from Venezuela, never imagined that he would end up&nbsp;<span>being tortured after going to an anti-goverment demonstration. He tells us what happened, and how he is doing now.</span></em></p><p><span>“I decided to go out on to the streets to protest in February 2014 simply because there is a group of people in our country who don’t respect other people’s way of thinking. “The atmosphere felt like a war - you could feel the danger, too much adrenaline. There were 100 security officers in the street in front of me with shields, just because we think differently. </span></p><p><span>“Some people felt frightened like me, others were too angry or wanted to go crazy like the military, who were screaming at us. I was hoping the situation would calm down but that didn’t happen.” Instead, Daniel was arrested by members of Venezuela’s national guard: “They kicked and punched me in the face and ribs, and hit me on the forehead with the butts of their guns.”</span></p><p><span>He was forced to strip down to his underwear, handcuffed and forced to spend nine hours doubled up with his hands touching his ankles. If he moved, they beat him.</span></p><p><span>At one point, the commanding officer told Daniel they were going to burn him. “He had a can of petrol, wires and matches. The whole army surrounded me while he hit me nine times with his baton.” Daniel was also threatened with rape.</span></p><p><span>“You’d never expect something like this to happen to you, that this could come out of humanity. These archaic methods from eras gone - this physical harm that’s done for no reason – it is inhumane. We should be free of this now”.</span></p><p><span>“The torture and aggression affected me physically, but spiritually, it has strengthened me. It gives you more tools to continue fighting, and no hate. On the contrary, it gives you a new understanding. If I could say something to my torturers I would say: I forgive you”. “To come out of this experience to know I have the backing of many people through Amnesty, is magnificent. I don’t know how to show my gratitude except to say thanks, many thanks.</span><span>”</span></p><p><span>Daniel is one of many who have reported being tortured in Venezuela. The authorities appear to have targeted people who they believe took part in the mass protests across the country in February 2014.</span></p><p><em>Daniel Quintero is one of 12 cases in Amnesty International's Write for Rights campaign. Take action <a href="http://writeforrights.amnesty.org/">here</a>.</em></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Daniel Quintero, a 21-year old student from Venezuela, never imagined that he would end up&nbsp;</span><span>being tortured after going to an anti-goverment demonstration. He tells us what happened, and how he is doing now.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/200750_Daniel_Quintero.jpg?1417621373" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50628">Daniel Quintero main</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/multimedia/video/daniel-quintero-vid-">Daniel Quintero vid</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-onpagesummary"> <div class="field-label">At a Glance:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><strong>Write a letter, help Daniel get justice</strong></p><p>Urge the Venezuela’s President to order a full, independent investiation into Daniel’s torture allegations and bring those responsible to justice.</p><p>Start your letter “Dear President” and send it to:&nbsp;<span>Sr. Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of Venezuela, Final Avenida Urdaneta, Esq. De Bolero, Palacio de Miraflores, Caracas, Distrito Capital, Venezuela</span></p><p>Salutation: Señor Presidente/Dear President Twitter: <a href="@NicolasMaduro" target="_blank">@NicolasMaduro</a></p><p><a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-daniel-quintero" target="_blank">Take action online</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> WriteForRights </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Venezuela</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="8.624940">8° 37' 29.784" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-70.223609">70° 13' 24.9924" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>You’d never expect something like this to happen to you, that this could come out of humanity. These archaic methods from eras gone - this physical harm that’s done for no reason – it is inhumane. We should be free of this now.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Daniel Quintero. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-daniel-quintero">Venezuela: Tortured for going to a public protest</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Take Action! </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://writeforrights.amnesty.org/">Write for Rights</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Write a letter, change a life </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Detention Freedom Of Expression Impunity Law Enforcement Torture And Ill-treatment Venezuela Wed, 03 Dec 2014 15:44:05 +0000 Amnesty International 50632 at http://www.amnesty.org Dr Mohammed al-Roken - It takes an extraordinary person ... http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/dr-mohammed-al-roken-it-takes-extraordinary-person-2014-12-12 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dr Mohammed al-Roken - It takes an extraordinary person ... </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">12 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><em><span>Lawyer <a href="Lawyer%20Mohammed%20al-Roken%20was%20jailed%20for%2010%20years%20in%20July%202013,%20following%20a%20huge%20crackdown%20on%20political%20and%20human%20rights%20activists%20in%20the%20United%20Arab%20Emirates.%20We%20talked%20to%20three%20people%20who%20have%20worked%20alongside%20him%20and%20know%20him%20as%20a%20courageous,%20extraordinary%20defender%20of%20human%20rights.%20">Mohammed al-Roken</a> was jailed for 10 years in July 2013, following a huge crackdown on political and human rights activists in the United Arab Emirates. We talked to three people who have worked alongside him and know him as a courageous, extraordinary defender of human rights.&nbsp;</span></em></p><p><strong>Jennie Pasquarella&nbsp;</strong></p><p><em><span>US lawyer who worked with Mohammed al-Roken in 2011 during a trial of human&nbsp;</span><span>rights activists (known as the ‘UAE 5’). </span></em></p><p><span>You hear about the glitz and glamour of Dubai, but when you scratch beneath the surface it’s pretty ugly. The UAE is an insane surveillance state, where everyone is&nbsp;</span><span>watched, especially those deemed dangerous to the country in some way. </span></p><p><span>It’s a&nbsp;</span><span>place that does not respect the rule of law – they lock people up for political gain. </span></p><p><span>During the trial we met with Dr al-Roken every day – he was our total guide to the human rights situation there, and talked us through all the court shenanigans. He was extraordinarily generous with his time – he really believed in the cause of human rights, democracy, and creating a more open society. We’d meet him in public places, and there were almost always people watching him. </span></p><p><span>He’d sometimes say: ‘we have to move cos those guys are listening’. But he never stopped working on the case – even when lawyers like him were getting death threats. It takes an extraordinary person to work in an environment like that. I feel very disheartened and sad about his arrest. He’s the one person in the world who least deserves it. I hope there’s a huge army fighting for him as he has&nbsp;</span><span>defended so many people.</span></p><p><strong>Ahmed Mansoor</strong></p><p><em>High-profile human rights activist Mohammed al-Roken defended during the UAE 5 trial in 2011.</em></p><p>When we drew up a petition calling for a parliament to be elected on the basis of universal suffrage, we particularly valued Dr al-Roken’s input. He’s so prominent in the field of human rights, and knows the ups and downs of what’s happening in the region.</p><p>He’s a very trusted person. He has defended human rights in the UAE for many years. In some cases, people are being harassed simply because of their intellectual background, and they end up being transferred or forced to retire. He’s the one person taking on these cases, not for money but because he believes in human rights.</p><p><span>Arresting him is an awful thing to do. A person like him should be an advisor to the highest authority in the country. He shouldn’t spend a day in jail. Just a few weeks before his arrest, a high member of the royal family in Abu Dhabi consulted him on a domestic issue. So how can they flip-flop like that? It’s a big loss to the UAE to not have this guy available for us. With him in jail, we have nobody to defend these cases. I want him released today – no, yesterday. </span></p><p><strong><span>Lamri Chriouf</span></strong></p><p><em>Worked with Mohammed over many years in his role as Amnesty International.</em></p><p>researcher for Saudi Arabia.At Amnesty, you couldn’t go to Dubai and not visit Dr al-Roken. He was one of the pioneers of our work in the Gulf. Whenever we asked for his opinion on some aspect of the law, he would always give it to us free of charge. Without people like him Amnesty wouldn’t be known in the Gulf.He was such a helpful person – whenever we organised any activities in the region,</p><p>he was always there. We had a big project on women’s rights in the Gulf, and he&nbsp;<span>was instrumental in getting support. You can’t fault him. He is just so active, always writing, attending seminars, taking action. He’s a very dynamic man. And he has a great sense of humour, too. I hope he still has that humour now even though he has been in prison for a long time already.</span></p><p><em><span>Dr Mohammed al-Roken&nbsp;</span>is one of 12 cases in Amnesty International's Write for Rights campaign. Take action <a href="http://writeforrights.amnesty.org/">here</a>.</em></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Lawyer Mohammed al-Roken was jailed for 10 years in July 2013, following a huge crackdown on political and human rights activists in the United Arab Emirates. We talked to three people who have worked alongside him and know him as a courageous, extraordinary defender of human rights.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/200758_Dr_Mohammed_al-Roken.jpg?1417458905" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-readmore"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><strong>United Arab Emirates: quick facts</strong></p><p><strong>Founded:</strong> 2 December 1971</p><p><strong>A federation of seven semi-autonomous ‘emirates’ (territories)</strong> – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Un al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Capital:</strong> Abu Dhabi. Dubai is the UAE’s other cultural and commercial hub.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Population:</strong> Nine million. Only 10% are UAE nationals. The majority are migrants, mostly from South Asia, many of whom work on large construction projects.</p><p><strong>President:</strong> Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, also Ruler of Abu Dhabi, came to power in November 2004, after his father died.</p><p><strong>Democracy:</strong> The government is not elected.</p><p><strong>Media:</strong> Restrictive press laws mean censorship is common and criticising UAE’sruling families is risky.</p><p><span><strong>Human rights:</strong> Civil society organisations are not allowed to operate freely, leaving little space for open public debate.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span><strong>Crackdown:</strong> A 2011 petition in March 2011 calling for democratic reform, signed by 133 prominent citizens, including Mohammed al-Roken, led to scores of arrests, reports of torture, and grossly unfair trials. </span></p><p><span><strong>Football and flights:</strong> Etihad Airways – sponsor of English Premier League football team Manchester City – is based in Abu Dhabi and owned by members of the UAE ruling family. Emirates Airlines – sponsor of some of the world’s biggest football&nbsp;</span><span>clubs, including Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and AC Milan – is owned by the government of Dubai.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50569">Dr Mohammed al-Roken Main</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-onpagesummary"> <div class="field-label">At a Glance:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><strong>Write a letter, change his life</strong></p><p>Urge the President of the UAE to release Mohammed al-Roken immediately and unconditionally.</p><p>Write to: His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Abu Dhabi PO Box 280, United Arab Emirates</p><p><a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-mohammed-al-roken">Take Action online.</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> WriteForRights </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Arab Emirates</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="8.205526">8° 12' 19.8936" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="45.880905">45° 52' 51.258" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>He’d sometimes say: ‘we have to move cos those guys are listening’. But he never stopped working on the case – even when lawyers like him were getting death threats. It takes an extraordinary person to work in an environment like that. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jennie Pasquarella, US lawyer who worked with Mohammed al-Roken in 2011. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-mohammed-al-roken">UAE: Release Human Rights Activist Mohammed Al-Roken</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Take Action! </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://writeforrights.amnesty.org/">Write for Rights</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Write a letter, change a life </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Fair Trials Individuals at Risk Prison Conditions Trials And Legal Systems UAE Mon, 01 Dec 2014 18:38:52 +0000 Amnesty International 50570 at http://www.amnesty.org Afghanistan: ‘Reprehensible’ attacks underscore urgent need to protect civilians http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/afghanistan-attacks-against-civilians-2014-12-12 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Afghanistan: ‘Reprehensible’ attacks underscore urgent need to protect civilians </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">12 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>The recent wave of attacks on civilians by the Taliban and other armed groups in Afghanistan are reprehensible acts which underscore the new Afghan government’s urgent responsibility to protect the right to life, Amnesty International said today.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The most recent assault, a suicide bombing at Isteqlal High School Theatre in Kabul on Thursday evening, killed one and injured around a dozen civilians who were watching a play. It added to the rising toll of lives lost and hundreds of injuries in armed attacks in different parts of the country in recent weeks.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Targeting civilians for attack is reprehensible and a clear violation of international humanitarian law (IHL), amounting to war crimes. It is crucial that those responsible are brought to justice,” said Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan Researcher at Amnesty International. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“One of the core responsibilities of the Afghan authorities is protecting civilians against such violent attacks. The onus is now on the new administration to bolster the security response and regain the trust of the Afghan people.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The assaults have become more frequent as the majority of international troops stationed in Afghanistan wind down their operations and prepare to pull out later this month.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The Taliban and other armed groups refer selectively to IHL whenever it suits them. But the targets of the recent string of attacks show a clear and ongoing disregard for fundamental IHL rules that are binding on these groups,” said Horia Mosadiq.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International has been calling on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the situation in Afghanistan for possible war crimes committed by all parties to the conflict.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The organization is also calling on the United Nations to make sure that the protection of civilians and respect for IHL and international human rights law are high on the agenda in any possible future peace talks with the Taliban, among other human rights priorities.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The recent wave of attacks on civilians by the Taliban and other armed groups in Afghanistan are reprehensible acts which underscore the new Afghan government’s urgent responsibility to protect the right to life.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/204088_AFGHANISTAN-FRANCE-UNREST-BLAST.jpg?1418403069" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/51574">Afghanistan</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="29.752237">29° 45' 8.0532" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="70.489280">70° 29' 21.408" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Targeting civilians for attack is reprehensible and a clear violation of international humanitarian law, amounting to war crimes. It is crucial that those responsible are brought to justice. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan Researcher at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Fri, 12/12/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Afghanistan Armed Groups Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes Law Enforcement Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:52:09 +0000 Amnesty International 51575 at http://www.amnesty.org John Jeanette Solstad Remø: Open secret http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/john-jeanette-solstad-rem-open-secret-2014-12-11 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> John Jeanette Solstad Remø: Open secret </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">11 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Submarine captain <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/john-jeanette-solstad-rem-open-secret-2014-12-11" target="_blank">John Remø</a> was careful to hide all the evidence, stashing the women’s clothes in the cellar. It would take another 30 years before the secret was out in the open.</p><p><span>John was a wild card as a kid. He swore, got into fights, played in a rock band. He joined the navy, reaching the rank of submarine Captain aged 27. One night the vessel’s phone rang for John. It was his wife. She had found a bag of women’s clothes in the cellar.</span></p><p><span> John realized he’d been caught, but it was too risky to talk over a military line. He promised to write her a letter. The next morning John's submarine left to patrol the northern Barents Sea, at the height of the Cold War. His wife was left waiting for the truth about her husband to be unravelled by post.</span></p><p><strong><span>O</span><span>n dangerous ground</span></strong></p><p>The story starts over 20 years earlier in a small Norwegian coastal town. John, aged about four, was discovered by his mother wearing a dress. She was furious: this was unheard of and forbidden. “We both got scared. I realized this was dangerous ground, but I’ve always felt like a girl, wanted to look like one and be part of girls’ play.”</p><p>Growing up in the conservative 1950s, John learned that pretending to be a boy got him the love he needed. A conditional love. “I started acting, but by trying so hard, I overcompensated and became rather charmless. I quickly learned the nastiest swear words and how to fight.”</p><p><span>John may have been a bad boy as a teenager, but he also loved music. This opened a door to continue exploring his supressed female side. His aunt had a guitar and gave him the keys to her house to practice. </span></p><p><span>“She had beautiful clothes, silky underwear and high heeled shoes. It was such a feeling of freedom and happiness to go there, try it all on, and be myself. But I felt sad that I couldn’t show anyone.” Most likely the aunt knew, but she never said a word. “My aunt was a tiny woman, and I still remember the sadness I felt when I grew out of her shoes.” John left home aged 17 and got married in his early 20s. They had a son. As a father with a rugged beard and a macho job, he fulfilled the expectations of his gender.</span></p><p><strong>The truth comes out</strong></p><p><span>John’s wife was strangely relieved when she finally received the letter. Her first thought had been that John had murdered someone and hidden her clothes in the bag. But once the truth was out, it was clear that their relationship was based on a lie and couldn’t continue. </span></p><p><span>“I loved her, and was scared of losing her. I was hoping that my need to be a woman would go away - that by being married to her I could live without it. But that only lasted for a month before I went back to dressing up in secret.” Thirty years after that bag of clothes turned up in the cellar, the time was finally right to let the secret out and walk openly down Oslo’s busiest shopping street as a woman: “It was such an exhilarating feeling of freedom.” A passer-by would never know that this tall, stylishly dressed and confident woman in her 60s still has a man’s body.</span></p><p><strong>Gender: M</strong></p><p>She changed her legal name relatively easily. To her friends, she is just Jeanette now. But in public she uses John Jeanette to highlight the discrimination she and other transgender people in Norway still face. &nbsp;</p><p>Because changing her legal gender – to appear as female on identity papers such as a driving license or passport – was a different story. Norwegian law demands that she undergoes a compulsory ‘real sex conversion’ based on a crude practice from the 1970s. It involves having your reproductive organs removed – and therefore becoming sterile. It also requires a psychiatric diagnosis, forcing you to accept that you suffer from a mental disorder. John Jeanette refuses to put herself through any of this.</p><p>“The hormones change your body and mind – it’s like going through a new puberty,” she explains. All her official documents therefore still refer to her male. Her transgender identity is humiliatingly public, and often commented on whenever she checks into a hotel, picks up a prescription or borrows a book from the local library.</p><p>“I sit in a waiting room as a woman, only to have my male name called out. I’m prepared for it, but I still feel humiliated and frustrated every time.” John Jeanette doesn’t want to be forced to trade having surgery for female ID papers. She says she was extremely surprised to hear that Amnesty activists worldwide will be supporting her stance this December.</p><p>“I think it means a lot to people in my situation,” she said. “Together, we can change things.”</p><p><em>John Jeanette Solstad Remø&nbsp;<span>is one of 12 cases in Amnesty International's Write for Rights campaign. Take action <a href="http://writeforrights.amnesty.org/">here</a>.</span></em></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Submarine captain John Remø was careful to hide all the evidence, stashing the women’s clothes in the cellar. It would take another 30 years before the secret was out in the open.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/200754_John_Jeanette_Solstad_Rem_.jpg?1417620076" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50621">John Jeanette Solstad Remø</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/multimedia/video/john-jeanette-vid-">John Jeanette vid</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-onpagesummary"> <div class="field-label">At a Glance:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><strong>What does being transgender mean?</strong></p><p>It describes people whose gender identity is different from the legal gender that they were assigned at birth. Transgender people are often assumed to be gay, but gender identity has nothing to do with sexual orientation.</p><p><strong>Why is John Jeanette's situation a human rights issue?</strong></p><p>Making transgender people choose between irreversible sterilization surgery, or not having their&nbsp;<span>gender legally recognized, violates their right to live free from discrimination and inhumane, cruel or degrading treatment.</span></p><p><strong>Why is now a good opportunity for change?</strong></p><p>Denmark recently passed a landmark law allowing transgender people to change their gender legally without being diagnosed with a mental disorder or having surgery. Only Argentina has similar laws. By changing its law too, Norway will live up to its image as a human rights and equality champion.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Write a letter, change her life</strong></p><p>Please urge the Norwegian government to change the law so John Jeanette can change her legal gender without compulsory medical treatment.</p><p>Start your letter “Dear Minister” and send it to: Minister Bent Høie, Ministry of Health and Care Services, PO Box 8011 Dep, 0030 Oslo, Norway <a href="mailto:postmottak@hod.dep.no" target="_blank">Email</a>&nbsp;<a href="@helse_og_omsorg" target="_blank">Twitter</a> &nbsp;</p><p><a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-john-jeanette-solstad-remo" target="_blank">Take action online&nbsp;</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> WriteForRights </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="62.145431">62° 8' 43.5516" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="8.263720">8° 15' 49.392" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>I sit in a waiting room as a woman, only to have my male name called out. I’m prepared for it, but I still feel humiliated and frustrated every time.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> John Jeanette Solstad Remø. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-john-jeanette-solstad-remo">Norway: Fix the law for transgender people</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Take Action! </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://writeforrights.amnesty.org/">Write for Rights</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Write a letter, change a life </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Discrimination Norway Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Wed, 03 Dec 2014 15:29:14 +0000 Amnesty International 50625 at http://www.amnesty.org CAR: Failure to effectively investigate war crimes fuels further atrocities and fear http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/car-failure-effectively-investigate-war-crimes-fuels-further-atrocities-and-fear-2014-12-11 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CAR: Failure to effectively investigate war crimes fuels further atrocities and fear </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">11 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>The failure of the Central African Republic authorities and the United Nations to effectively investigate war crimes is perpetuating the cycle of violence and fear in the country, Amnesty International said in a report today.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Central African Republic: Impunity is fuelling violence</em>, based on a mission to CAR by Amnesty International researchers, details how some leaders and members of armed groups have continued to commit further atrocities and defy the rule of law. This is despite Amnesty International publishing evidence last July that raised reasonable suspicion of the involvement of a number of them in serious abuses including war crimes and crimes against humanity.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The failure to hold accountable those implicated in the killing of civilians, the use of child soldiers and the burning of villages means they are not only able to walk free, but also to continue terrorising the population without fear of repercussions,” said Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In its July 2014 report, Amnesty International published a dossier naming 20 individuals, including anti-balaka and Seleka commanders, against whom it had credible evidence to suspect that they were responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights abuses committed in CAR since December 2013.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The organization called for investigations to be launched and for a special ‘hybrid court’- bringing together national and international judges - to be established to try those suspected of the most serious crimes. It also called for the strengthening of national courts and investigations by the International Criminal Court.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Now the organisation can reveal that some of these men have been implicated in interference with the administration of justice and further crimes under international law in Bangui and other parts of the country between September and October 2014.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Among those documented by Amnesty International researchers who continue to benefit from CAR’s climate of impunity include:&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Patrice- Edouard Ngaïssona</strong>, a former Government minister and self-proclaimed coordinator of the anti-balaka armed groups. According to multiple sources, Ngaïssona continues to coordinate activities of many anti-balaka in CAR, including a number involved in the killing of civilians and attacks on international forces during a significant increase in violence in October 2014. Anti-balaka armed groups under his control were suspected of committing serious human rights abuses including killings of civilians in Bangui. Ngaïssona also used his position to seek concessions from the transitional authorities, including demanding the release of four high-profile anti-balaka prisoners. Although the transitional authorities initially accepted this demand, pressure from the judiciary and members of the international community prevented this from happening.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Ngaïssona had previously been accused by the transitional authorities of “being part of an illegal armed group, and illegal detention of firearms” and was briefly arrested in April 2014 before being released. Despite a mandate for his arrest for “crimes against humanity and incitation to genocide” issued by the previous government, and confirmed by the current transitional authorities, he continues to play a high-profile role in political negotiations with the authorities.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>“Colonel Douze Puissances”</strong>, an anti-balaka commander who, according to a range of sources including witnesses and survivors, led a group of fighters who killed three civilians, badly injured at least 20 more, and burnt down 28 houses and a church in the Nguingo neighbourhood of Bangui on 14 October 2014.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Colonel Douze Puissances” has previously been named by Amnesty International as suspected of having been involved in human rights abuses in December 2013, when he was in charge of groups of anti-balaka fighters in the Boy-Rabe area of Bangui.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alfred Yekatom, alias “Rambo”</strong>, is another anti-balaka commander who continues to be active around the Bimbo area of Bangui and, according to multiple local sources, attacked the Bimbo gendarmerie on 29 October 2014, stealing equipment and freeing at least five prisoners. Amnesty International is concerned that this attack demonstrates his ability to interfere with the law enforcement agencies that have the obligation to investigate allegations of his criminal responsibility for crimes under international law. Amnesty International had previously named ‘Rambo’ as being suspected of the killing of civilians and recruitment of child soldiers in Mbaiki, 105 km from Bangui, between December 2013 and May 2014.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Rather than fearing prosecution or punishment, those suspected of war crimes too often see violence as a way of achieving power, resources or protection from justice. Unless there is an end to impunity in CAR, serious human rights violations will continue unabated,” said Steve Cockburn.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>While some progress has been made with the agreement of the UN and CAR authorities to set up a Special Criminal Court along the lines of the ‘hybrid court’ recommended by Amnesty international in July 2014, it is yet to become functional due to a lack of funding. The enabling legislation that establishes this court must meet international standards and ensure that the court is in practice independent, impartial and effective. Both the UN and the CAR authorities must consult widely, including with civil society organizations, on the enabling legislation and the composition of the proposed “Special Criminal Court” to ensure that these standards are met.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The UN and the CAR authorities must act urgently to ensure all those suspected of committing crimes under international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, are promptly, independently and effectively investigated. To make this happen, the international community needs to get behind the promised Special Criminal Court and ensure it is operational without delay,” said Steve Cockburn.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Although those named in Amnesty International’s report published today are predominantly linked to anti-balaka groups, armed men linked to Seleka continue to commit serious human rights violations too, and must also be investigated. Amnesty International researchers documented massacres committed in October 2014 by both Seleka and anti-balaka in and around the towns of Dekoa and Bambari, in the central region of the country and called for prompt investigations.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The failure of the Central African Republic authorities and the United Nations to effectively investigate war crimes is perpetuating the cycle of violence and fear in the country, Amnesty International said in a report today.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/202465_Central_African_Republic_.jpg?1418222556" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50836">CAR impunity</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-ai-index-number"> <div class="field-label">Amnesty International Index Number:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> AFR19/011/2014 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CARcrisis </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Central African Republic</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="5.539455">5° 32' 22.038" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="21.181641">21° 10' 53.9076" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>The failure to hold accountable those implicated in the killing of civilians, the use of child soldiers and the burning of villages means they are not only able to walk free, but also to continue terrorizing the population without fear of repercussions. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thu, 11/12/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Central African Republic Conflict in the Central African Republic Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes Impunity Wed, 10 Dec 2014 14:51:07 +0000 Amnesty International 50838 at http://www.amnesty.org Juan Mendez: The torturers’ worst nightmare http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/juan-mendez-torturers-worst-nightmare-2014-12-10 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Juan Mendez: The torturers’ worst nightmare </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">10 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>On the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention against Torture, the man in charge of pushing states to stamp out the despicable practice, a torture survivor himself, looks back at his harrowing experience and the challenges facing the global fight against torture.</em></p><p><span>When one cold morning in 1975, young Argentinean human rights lawyer Juan Mendez saw two police officers vigorously walking towards him on a quiet street in Buenos Aires, he immediately knew he was in great danger.</span></p><p><span>It was a time of upheaval. As the violent military junta was in the process of taking power by force his work on behalf of political prisoners was a dangerous, life-threatening business.</span></p><p><span>Without uttering a word, the officers grabbed Juan, blindfolded him, shoved him into a car and took him to a police station. A few hours later they handed him over to the intelligence services.</span></p><p><span>“At the time I knew full well that all those accused of being ‘subversives’ were tortured ruthlessly. The first thing that came to my mind when the police took me is that I had to stay strong and not reveal anything that could lead to the detention and torture of other colleagues,” said Juan Mendez.</span></p><p><span>His suspicions were spot-on. The questioning, which went on for nearly three days, was ruthless. Interrogators electrocuted him while asking him about his work and the people he knew. They did the unthinkable to try and get him to reveal names, addresses, phone numbers and anything that would lead to more arrests and more torture.</span></p><p><span>On one occasion, an officer put a gun inside the Juan’s mouth and pulled the trigger. The gun was empty.</span></p><p><span>“I was very scared during the interrogations. Twice they had to call a doctor to check if they could continue torturing me without killing me. Only then did I realize that I could die. But when you are in that situation you live minute by minute, thinking of the moment when the torturers will get tired and stop so you can have a break,” he explained.</span></p><p><span>On the third day and without warning or an explanation, Juan was transferred to a prison. He was held there for 18 months, without charge, before being released and forced into exile. He was put on a plane and flown to France where he was reunited with his wife and young children, who were already living in exile.</span></p><p><span>“When I arrived in France I had mixed emotions as I knew I was leaving many people behind, in terrible situations. I was lucky to be able to leave but starting over with a young family was very hard,” he said.</span></p><p><span>“All the years I spent abroad I was obsessed with what was happening in Argentina. I moved to Washington and there I was in constant communication with human rights groups and became specialized in the issue of torture.”</span></p><p><span>Over the course of Argentina’s eight year-long violent dictatorship, thousands of people were arbitrarily arrested, taken to secret detention centres and tortured, many as punishment for their legitimate human rights work: 30,000 are still missing.</span></p><p><span>Similar stories of torture and other ill-treatment had been emerging from all corners of the world, but it wasn’t until the publication of Amnesty International’s ground-breaking study in 1973 that the true extent of the use of torture came to light.</span></p><p><span>The 225-page document kick-stated the world’s first ever global campaign against torture. Activists took to the streets demanding government action, celebrities started speaking out about the prevalence of the unlawful practice. It inspired lawyers to develop a convention that would provide concrete tools for preventing and prosecuting torture as an international crime. It was a treaty that would bind those states who had signed up to investigate torture wherever it happened, and bring those responsible to justice.</span></p><p><strong><span>The Convention’s gatekeeper</span></strong></p><p>After years of serious, at times heated debate, the <a href="http://www.hrweb.org/legal/cat.html" target="_blank">Convention against Torture</a> was adopted at the 1984 United Nations General Assembly.</p><p><span>It was a landmark moment. “The Convention against Torture was a very significant milestone in the fight against torture because it incorporates very specific obligations on states to investigate, prosecute and punish every incident of torture,” Mendez said.</span></p><p><span>Among the 33 articles of the treaty, states agreed to create the Committee against Torture to oversee its implementation. In 1985, the post of Special Rapporteur on Torture was set up. Unlike the Convention, the Special Rapporteur’s mandate is not limited to those states that have joined it, but rather covers all UN member states. Any victim of torture or other ill-treatment can complain to the Special Rapporteur, who then writes to the government with questions and at the very least issues implicit demands for action. The Special Rapporteur visits prisons and prisoners all around the world (at states’ invitation) and reports to the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council annually.</span></p><p><span>In 2010, Juan Mendez was appointed as Special Rapporteur on Torture. The effects of &nbsp;the challenge that the USA posed to the prohibition of torture in its response to the atrocities on 9/11 were still felt.</span></p><p><span>“Before 9/11 I think we had a clear consensus, a moral consensus around the world that torture was unacceptable and that there were no circumstance that could justify it. That is still true in legal terms, but in terms of the attitude of the public I think we have lost ground amongst fears of terrorism and common street crime. There is a sense that torture is inevitable, necessary and somehow acceptable,” Mendez explained.</span></p><p><strong><span>David against Goliath</span></strong></p><p>Mendez feels his job as Special Rapporteur on Torture is sometimes impossible.</p><p><span>Mandated with keeping 194 countries in check you would expect to see a well-staffed office with experts and administrative support. It is not. It is just Juan and a part time staff member. Sometimes it is like David fighting against Goliath.</span></p><p><span>“If we had more resources, we could do a lot more. We have a lot of financial restrictions as we can only do a couple of missions a year. But the main problem is the lack of support from governments,” he explained.</span></p><p><span>The lack of political will from governments who often ignore his requests to visit or turn them down without explanation is what frustrates him the most.</span></p><p><span>During his four years in office, Mendez has visited more than a dozen countries – including Mexico, Tajikistan, Morocco, Tunisia and Kyrgyzstan. Many others have shut the door on him – such as Bahrain and Guatemala -- or even failed to respond to his requests.</span></p><p><span>Part of Mendez’s job is to persuade governments to agree to his visits, on his terms. He insists on having unlimited access to all detention facilities and be able to speak to anybody held there, unaccompanied by officials. But many governments do not agree to being inspected.</span></p><p><span>“Some experiences have been very frustrating. For example, I have just returned from a visit to Gambia and after arriving the government changed the terms of the visit which we could not accept so we ended up not visiting the prisons. The US government has also been challenging. I have been asking to visit Guantánamo for three years and they have accepted but say I would not be able to talk to any of the inmates so I was not able to accept that. Also, they have never responded to my request to visit prisons inside US territory.”</span></p><p><span>When visits take place, Mendez puts together a highly qualified team of consultants and volunteers including researchers, lawyers and forensic experts who travel with him.</span></p><p><span>They inspect prisons, pre-trial detention centres, police stations, mental health institutions and immigration detention centres speaking to inmates in private about the treatment they receive. While the visit to the country is coordinated with the government, visits to specific prisons are unannounced so authorities never know where and when the team will knock on their door.</span></p><p><strong><span>30 years of torture</span></strong></p><p>Mendez says the struggle against torture is an uphill one but acknowledged there have been many successes.</p><p><span>Solitary confinement is now widely considered a form of ill-treatment and some countries have adopted laws to ban torture.</span></p><p><span>He says that many challenges remain before torture is truly stamped out.</span></p><p><span>“The only real way to eliminate torture is to ensure those responsible are brought to justice. It is torture’s cycle of impunity that keeps it alive. The Convention was a very positive development but the real challenge is to ensure States take aggressive and decisive action to end torture. It will not happen overnight but it can happen,” Mendez said.&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>On the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention against Torture, the man in charge of pushing states to stamp out the despicable practice, a torture survivor himself, looks back at his harrowing experience and the challenges facing the global fight against torture.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/202274_Illustration_Image_-_Torture_Philippines.jpg?1418205435" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50776">Juan Mendez</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> StopTorture </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>I was very scared during the interrogations. Twice they had to call a doctor to check if they could continue torturing me without killing me. Only then did I realize that I could die. But when you are in that situation you live minute by minute, thinking of the moment when the torturers will get tired and stop so you can have a break. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>The only real way to eliminate torture is to ensure those responsible are brought to justice. It is torture’s cycle of impunity that keeps it alive. The Convention was a very positive development but the real challenge is to ensure States take aggressive and decisive action to end torture. It will not happen overnight but it can happen.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.hrweb.org/legal/cat.html"> UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Read the full text. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/stoptorture">Stop Torture</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s Campaign. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/londoner-s-ordeal-sudan-s-torture-dungeons-2014-12-03">A Londoner’s ordeal in Sudan’s torture dungeons</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Feature, 3 December 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-3"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/surviving-mexico-s-torture-epidemic-2014-11-26">Surviving Mexico’s torture epidemic</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Feature, 26 November 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-4"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/no-safe-haven-torturers-rocky-road-convention-against-torture-2014-11-19">‘No safe haven for torturers’ – The rocky road to the Convention against Torture</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Feature, 19 November 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Stop Torture Torture And Ill-treatment Tue, 09 Dec 2014 17:30:27 +0000 Amnesty International 50779 at http://www.amnesty.org Liu Ping: Jailed for 'picking quarrels and provoking troubles' http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/liu-ping-jailed-picking-quarrels-and-provoking-troubles-2014-12-10 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Liu Ping: Jailed for &#039;picking quarrels and provoking troubles&#039; </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">10 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>An act of kindness transformed Liu Ping from a factory worker into a passionate anti-corruption activist in China. Her daughter, Liao Minyue, tells their story.</p><p>My mother, Liu Ping, was just an ordinary <a href="amnesty.org">Chinese woman</a> with a kind heart.</p><p>We were very close. I chose to live with her after my parents divorced about 10 years back. We never fought, not even once. We used to go to the markets to collect old and unwanted vegetables for food. It never once struck me as anything to be ashamed of. On the contrary, those were warm and intimate times, because we were together.</p><p>But one night, everything changed. My mum was moonlighting as a street vendor in the evenings to supplement her monthly income of RMB 800 (GBP80) as an iron and steel plant worker. Troublemakers turned up at her stall and my uncle tried to help. He was badly beaten up.</p><p>Local authorities ignored the incident, but a group of lawyers stepped in to resolve the case free of charge. The kindness they showed sparked my mum’s activism -- she began actively advocating for workers’ rights.</p><p>That was in 2011 when I was in high school. Our lives changed drastically after that.</p><p><strong>Speeches, flyers, beatings</strong><br />My mum started giving speeches on the streets and distributing flyers. She also tried to run for the local People’s Congress as an independent candidate so she could help workers who had been forced to retire. She was away from home for days at a stretch.</p><p>Strangers whom I now realize were plainclothes police would turn up at our door. I worried about her, especially when I couldn’t reach her -- that usually meant she had been beaten up. I was completely against what she was doing and tried everything to stop her. The police and local party officials would also approach me in a bid to get her to stop what she was doing.</p><p>I had no idea what she was involved in. She protected me by not telling me about it. There was talk in the neighbourhood that she was up to no good, and I started believing what I heard. Our relationship became badly strained as a result.</p><p><strong>Arrested for denouncing corruption</strong></p><p>Then last year, my mum and two other anti-corruption activists, were arrested for holding a small private gathering and displaying a banner demanding that government officials make their assets – like property and investments - public. After that, I lost faith in the Chinese Communist party, and I posted an open letter online announcing my withdrawal from it. I was prepared to face the consequences.</p><p>Mum and the other two activists are said to be linked to the New Citizens’ Movement, a loose network of human rights activists. When she was sentenced to six and a half years in prison in June, I was outraged. I posted another letter online, expressing my deep disappointment.</p><p>Over the past year, I’ve been reflecting on my earlier attitude to my mum’s activism. I deeply regret trying to stop her. What my mum and the rest are facing are the direct consequences of all our apathy and cowardice.</p><p>Now I have no qualms about accepting interviews with the media to talk about her. My passport has been revoked and I faced pressure from the authorities in my previous job, but I’m not afraid if I face a little harassment because of it. After all, I’ve only got one mother.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>An act of kindness transformed Liu Ping from a factory worker into a passionate anti-corruption activist in China. Her daughter, Liao Minyue, tells their story.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/148084_Noose_15.jpg?1418039249" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-onpagesummary"> <div class="field-label">At a Glance:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>factsand figures on xxxx</p><p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> china </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">China</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="37.718590">37° 43' 6.924" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="91.406250">91° 24' 22.5" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>We were very close. I chose to live with her after my parents divorced about 10 years back. We never fought, not even once. We used to go to the markets to collect old and unwanted vegetables for food. It never once struck me as anything to be ashamed of. On the contrary, those were warm and intimate times, because we were together.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> josefina salomon </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> China Mon, 08 Dec 2014 12:04:23 +0000 Amnesty International 50744 at http://www.amnesty.org Brazil: Five decades on, a key step towards truth and justice for dictatorship’s crimes http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/brazil-five-decades-key-step-towards-truth-and-justice-dictatorship-s-crimes-2014-12-10 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Brazil: Five decades on, a key step towards truth and justice for dictatorship’s crimes </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">10 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Today’s presentation of the final report of Brazil’s National Truth Commission (Comissão Nacional da Verdade, CNV) marks an historic step in the country’s efforts to obtain justice for crimes against humanity and other violations during the military dictatorship that took power five decades ago, Amnesty International said.</p><p><span>The commission spent two years investigating the thousands of cases of torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other violations dating back to the period of military rule in Brazil from 1964-1985. </span></p><p><span>Since 1979 an Amnesty Law covering political crimes has been used as a means of protecting members of the former military government from being put on trial for serious human rights violations. </span></p><p><span>“By showing the widespread nature of human rights violations committed by state agents during the military dictatorship and recognizing them as crimes against humanity, the National Truth Commission’s final report paves the way to ensure the Amnesty Law will not be an obstacle to investigating these crimes,” said Atila Roque, Director of Amnesty International Brazil. </span></p><p><span>Unlike many of its South American neighbours, Brazil has not brought to justice those accused of gross human rights violations committed during past periods of military rule. Coming almost three decades after the dictatorship ended, the CNV report is one of the country’s most important transitional justice initiatives so far. </span></p><p><span>“Fifty years after the coup that set up the authoritarian regime, it’s vital that Brazil brings to justice those responsible for the serious human rights violations of the past. We must break the past cycle of impunity that fuels ongoing torture, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances in the present,” said Atila Roque. </span></p><p><span>“Brazil’s armed forces must acknowledge their responsibility for the abuses committed during the military dictatorship. The CNV’s investigations have clearly established that there was an apparatus of repression as part of state policy that spanned several governments and was devised at the highest levels of the armed forces and the executive branch. The commission’s decision to hold the authoritarian regime’s leadership responsible is an important milestone towards obtaining justice for this period.” </span></p><p><span>The CNV’s findings reinforce a 2010 Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling and shine a light on Brazil’s failures to comply with its obligations. It makes important recommendations about the demilitarization of Brazil’s military police, the independence of legal expertise and medical institutes relied on for public security, the strengthening of public defenders and improvements in the prison system to guarantee prisoners’ rights. </span></p><p><span>The report also recommends the further development of Brazilian legislation to codify crimes against humanity and enforced disappearance, important milestones in international law to protect human rights. </span></p><p><span>“The National Truth Commission’s report shows clearly how impunity for past violations has fueled the cycle of violence today and amplifies the country’s collective response of ‘Never Again’ to the mass violations of human rights during the authoritarian regime,” said Atila Roque.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Today’s presentation of the final report of Brazil’s National Truth Commission marks an historic step in the country’s efforts to obtain justice for crimes against humanity and other violations during the military dictatorship.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/203907_Brazil_National_Truth_Commission (1)_1.jpg?1418245023" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50853">Brazil CNV</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Brazil</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="-13.919677">13° 55' 10.8372" S</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-49.913871">49° 54' 49.9356" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.com.br?q=-13.919677+-49.913871+%28%2C+%2C+%2C+%2C+br%29">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Fifty years after the coup that set up the authoritarian regime, it’s vital that Brazil brings to justice those responsible for the serious human rights violations of the past. We must break the past cycle of impunity that fuels ongoing torture, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances in the present. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Atila Roque, Director of Amnesty International Brazil </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wed, 10/12/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://livewire.amnesty.org/2014/11/26/young-black-alive-breaking-the-silence-on-brazils-soaring-youth-homicide-rate/">Young, Black, Alive – Breaking the silence on Brazil’s soaring youth homicide rate</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Blog, 26 November 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://livewire.amnesty.org/2014/04/08/the-military-occupation-of-mare-ahead-of-brazils-world-cup/">The military occupation of Maré ahead of Brazil’s World Cup</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Blog, 8 April 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Brazil Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes Disappearances And Abductions Extrajudicial Executions And Other Unlawful Killings Impunity Stop Torture Torture And Ill-treatment Trials And Legal Systems International Justice Wed, 10 Dec 2014 18:46:36 +0000 Amnesty International 50854 at http://www.amnesty.org Death of Palestinian minister highlights excessive force by Israeli army http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/death-palestinian-minister-highlights-excessive-force-israeli-army-2014-12-10 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Death of Palestinian minister highlights excessive force by Israeli army </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">10 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The death of a Palestinian minister during a protest against land confiscations in the West Bank may have resulted from arbitrary and abusive force by Israeli forces against demonstrators, said Amnesty International.</p><p><span>Ziad Abu Ein, who headed a committee that opposed the West Bank wall and Israeli settlements, died after a confrontation with Israeli forces in the village of Turmus'ayya. Photographs posted online showed Israeli forces grabbing his throat.</span></p><p><span>“This appears to be a tragedy that could have been avoided. The Israeli forces have an abysmal track record when it comes to policing protests and have frequently resorted to the unnecessary or excessive use of force against protesters in the West Bank, resulting in numerous unlawful killings. And they continue to do so with impunity,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>Shortly before his death Ziad Abu Ein told news reporters the protest had been peaceful. "We came to plant trees on Palestinian land, and they launched into an attack on us from the first moment. Nobody threw a single stone," he said.</span></p><p><span>“There must be an independent, impartial investigation into his death. This incident only serves to highlight how crucial it is that Israeli forces who use excessive force, including unnecessary lethal force during protests are held to account for their actions,” said Philip Luther.</span></p><p><span>“Without accountability more lives will be needlessly lost.”</span></p><p><span>Conflicting reports have emerged about the cause of his death with some sources suggesting he was hit in the chest with a tear-gas canister and other sources saying he suffered complications as a result of exposure to tear gas. Witnesses also said he was beaten by Israeli forces.</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International documented the unlawful killing of dozens of Palestinian civilians, including children, in its February 2014 report <em><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/002/2014/en/349188ef-e14a-418f-ac20-6c9e5c8d9f88/mde150022014en.pdf">Trigger-happy:Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank</a> </em>since 2011.</span></p><p><span>In recent months tensions in the West Bank have erupted into full blown violence with several deaths on both sides.&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The death of a Palestinian minister during a protest against land confiscations in the West Bank may have resulted from arbitrary and abusive force by Israeli forces against demonstrators, said Amnesty International.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/203906_PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT.jpg?1418381349" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/51564">Israel OPT</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Israel</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="32.429706">32° 25' 46.9416" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="35.024914">35° 1' 29.6904" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>This appears to be a tragedy that could have been avoided. The Israeli forces have an abysmal track record when it comes to policing protests and have frequently resorted to the unnecessary or excessive use of force against protesters in the West Bank, resulting in numerous unlawful killings. And they continue to do so with impunity. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Armed Conflict Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories Fri, 12 Dec 2014 10:48:55 +0000 Amnesty International 51565 at http://www.amnesty.org Thailand: Free speech crackdown creating ‘spiral into silence’ http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/thailand-free-speech-crackdown-creating-spiral-silence-2014-12-09 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Thailand: Free speech crackdown creating ‘spiral into silence’ </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">09 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thailand’s military authorities must halt the alarming deterioration in respect for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, including ending the unprecedented use of the lèse-majesté law, Amnesty International said ahead of International Human Rights Day on 10 December.</p><p><span>“We are seeing a spiral into silence in Thailand – ongoing, harsh restrictions that are stifling free speech and suffocating a once vibrant civil society,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.</span></p><p><span>“Denying the space for debate and jailing peaceful critics through the repressive lèse-majesté &nbsp;law will do nothing for the ‘national reconciliation’ that the authorities have promised.”</span></p><p><span>Official sensitivity to perceived criticism is high. Censorship spans from controls on academic seminars to the media – authorities are regularly calling in editors and in recent weeks have threatened them with prosecution should they infringe restrictions on what they can report.</span></p><p><span>Gatherings of more than five people remain banned. Nineteen peaceful protesters have been detained in the past month for flashing the so-called ”Hunger Games salute” and another eight for distributing leaflets.</span></p><p><span>“International Human Rights Day is an opportunity for people around the world to celebrate the progress that has been made in realizing human rights – unfortunately, Thailand has little to celebrate this year,” said Richard Bennett.</span></p><p><span>“Full human rights guarantees – including on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly – should be reinstated in the Constitution and respected in practice.”</span></p><p><span><strong>Lèse-majesté law</strong>&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>Since the military seized power on 22 May this year, at least 24 individuals have been arrested for allegedly violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code – the lèse-majesté law, which bans criticism of royal family.</span></p><p><span>Arrests have rocketed over the past weeks. At least 12 individuals have been arrested on lèse-majesté charges over the past month, and police say dozens more may be arrested and charged before the end of the year.</span></p><p><span>“The abuse of the justice system and unrelenting use of repressive legislation – including the lèse-majesté law – to silence any perceived dissent must end immediately,” said Richard Bennett.</span></p><p><span>“The vaguely worded lèse-majesté law criminalizes the peaceful expression of opinions and violates the right to freedom of expression, which Thailand is obliged to respect under international law. It should be suspended immediately and revised to bring it in line with Thailand’s human rights commitments.”</span></p><p><span>Those arrested under the law face closed-door trials in military courts where observers have been banned and there is no right to appeal – clear violations of the right to a fair trial.</span></p><p><span>In the most recent lèse-majesté conviction – believed to be the eighth since the coup – Prasit Chaisrisa, a former Pheu Thai MP, was sentenced on 3 December to five years, reduced to 30 months in prison for a speech deemed insulting to the King.</span></p><p><span>In another recent case, on 8 December, authorities reportedly summoned a woman in the north-east for interrogation after she posted a picture of herself and friends wearing black on the King’s birthday, 5 December.</span></p><p><span>Lèse-majesté suspects are also routinely denied bail, on the pretext that their cases are matters of “national security”. Since his arrest in 2011, magazine editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, convicted on lèse-majesté charges in January 2013, has been denied 16 separate bail requests, including during his appeal.</span></p><p><span>“Amnesty International considers all those who have been jailed solely for peacefully expressing their opinions to be prisoners of conscience, who should be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Richard Bennett.&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Thailand’s military authorities must halt the alarming deterioration in respect for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, including ending the unprecedented use of the lèse-majesté law.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/203861_Protesters_look_at_newspapers_displayed.jpg?1418134306" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50767">Thailand</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="14.250819">14° 15' 2.9484" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="99.053735">99° 3' 13.446" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>We are seeing a spiral into silence in Thailand – ongoing, harsh restrictions that are stifling free speech and suffocating a once vibrant civil society. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Detention Freedom Of Expression Thailand Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:10:41 +0000 Amnesty International 50768 at http://www.amnesty.org Russia: Burning down homes after Chechnya clashes appears to be collective punishment http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/russia-burning-down-homes-after-chechnya-clashes-appears-be-collective-punishment-2014-12-09 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Russia: Burning down homes after Chechnya clashes appears to be collective punishment </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">09 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Authorities in Russia must urgently investigate the burning down of at least five houses believed to belong to the relatives of 11 men blamed by the authorities of carrying out an armed attack in the Chechen capital, Grozny, Amnesty International said after news emerged today of the “collective punishment” against the families.</p><p><span>The 11 men were killed alongside 14 law enforcement officers during an armed confrontation in Grozny on 4 December. At least one civilian is also believed to have been killed.</span></p><p><span>A day after the attack, Ramzan Kadyrov, the Head of the Chechen Republic, said the families of the armed group members would be expelled from Chechnya and their houses demolished.</span></p><p><span>“Punishing the relatives of those suspected of involvement in crimes is a flagrant violation of international law. Nothing can justify acts of collective punishment. The federal authorities must ensure an independent and impartial investigation is conducted into the burning of the houses and bring those responsible to justice in fair trials,” said John Dalhuisen, Director for the Europe and Central Asia Programme at Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>“By allowing these alleged acts of collective punishment to go unchallenged, the Russian leadership will be sending a dangerous message that such abuses are actually allowed and encouraged.”</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Authorities in Russia must urgently investigate the burning down of at least five houses believed to belong to the relatives of 11 men accused of carrying out an armed attack in the Chechen capital, Grozny.&nbsp;</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/203883_RUSSIA-CHECHNYA-UNREST.jpg?1418216626" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50829">Chechnya</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Russia</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="57.861732">57° 51' 42.2352" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="47.113374">47° 6' 48.1464" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Punishing the relatives of those suspected of involvement in crimes is a flagrant violation of international law. Nothing can justify acts of collective punishment. The federal authorities must ensure an independent and impartial investigation is conducted into the burning of the houses and bring those responsible to justice in fair trials. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> John Dalhuisen, Director for the Europe and Central Asia Programme at Amnesty International. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Russian Federation Trials And Legal Systems Tue, 09 Dec 2014 17:46:58 +0000 Amnesty International 50783 at http://www.amnesty.org Americas: Violence on the rise against those defending human rights http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/americas-violence-rise-against-those-defending-human-rights-2014-12-09 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Americas: Violence on the rise against those defending human rights </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">09 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span style="line-height: 20.3999996185303px;">Campaigners, lawyers, journalists, community leaders and trade unionists, all human rights defenders who put their lives and liberty at risk in the fight for human rights, continue to suffer intimidation, harassment and violence across Latin America and the Caribbean according to a new Amnesty International report published today.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Launching on International Human Rights Defenders Day, <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/es/library/info/AMR01/003/2014/es"><em>Defending Human Rights in the Americas: Necessary, Legitimate and Dangerous</em></a> gives an overview on the situation of human rights defenders in the Americas region. The report focuses primarily on over 200 cases of attacks and abuses on which Amnesty International took action during the last two years.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>“The tragic reality is that many human rights defenders in Latin America and the Caribbean are constantly persecuted and attacked in reprisal for their work. In various countries we have seen a worrying and shameful increase in the rate at which defenders suffer violence and repression just for standing up for human rights and justice,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“It is harrowing to see the type and frequency of cowardly attempts to silence and intimidate those that are working to shine a light on human rights abuses. But these admirable defenders fight on, even in the face of such repression. It is imperative that the leaders of the Americas step up and do more to effectively protect and support human rights defenders.”&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report is based on cases from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The research found a particularly high level of violence and repression suffered by those working on rights related to lands, territory and natural resources, those working on women and girls’ rights, the rights of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) and migrant rights; as well as against journalists and trade unionists who defend human rights.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Death and violence</strong></p> <p>Some countries have seen a meteoric rise in threats and attacks against defenders. Meanwhile state authorities across the region are failing to address the growing problem.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Colombia featured with one of the worst records. At least 40 human rights defenders were killed in the first nine months of 2014 according to the Office of the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights. Between September and October this year more than 100 human rights defenders and activists received a series of email death threats sent by paramilitary groups.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“All too often the killing of human rights defenders could have been avoided if state authorities took proper notice and investigated the threats and acts of intimidation they face. State leaders in the region must do more to address these issues and to effectively protect human rights defenders at risk,” said Nancy Tapias Torrado, Americas Human Rights Defenders Researcher at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Land rights and territory&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Across the region Amnesty International’s research found those working on human rights in relation to land, territory and natural resources paid a heavy price for their work.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In one emblematic case in Honduras, on 27 August 2014, Margarita Murillo was shot dead. She had reported previous threats and intimidation. She was a defender and community leader, who had worked for more than 40 years fighting for rights to improve the lives of peasant communities.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Gender violence and discrimination&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Those working on women and girls’ rights and the rights of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) are also at particular risk.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Amnesty International conducted scores of interviews with women defenders. They not only face repression for their human rights work, but battle inequality, discrimination and endure threats and attacks based on their gender.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In El Salvador, women human rights defenders fighting against the total ban on abortion and its deadly consequences have been repeatedly intimidated and stigmatized. Some have been threatened to be taken to court, if they carry on with their work supporting vulnerable women who have been unjustly imprisoned for miscarriages.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>States are yet to adopt and implement specific and enhanced protection measures for women human rights defenders in order to overcome the particular risks they face.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Likewise LGBTI defenders are often targeted because of their work. It has been a particular problem in the Caribbean.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In August 2014, Javed Jaghai, a member of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), dropped a constitutional challenge against laws criminalizing sex between men, following the receipt of death threats against him and his family.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Punished for defending human rights</strong></p> <p>Amnesty International has also observed judicial systems being used to repress human rights defenders and stop their work.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bettina Cruz Velázquez is a member and co-founder of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Defence of Land and Territory (APIITDTT) in Mexico. She faces unfounded criminal charges of illegal detention of public officials and damage to public property since 2011. Her only “crime” has been to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples in relation to the construction of wind turbines on their land.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Sadly in Latin America and the Caribbean it is increasingly common to see human rights defenders facing unfounded accusations and unfair detentions. It is of the utmost concern that the authorities are failing to stop the misuse of the justice system as a means of repression,” said Nancy Tapias Torrado.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Steps forward</strong></p> <p>The report highlights how progress enshrined in regional and international law are yet to filter through to governments across the Americas.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“While international standards on the protection of human rights defenders have moved forward, there is still a long way to go before those at the very frontline of human rights work are afforded the respect and protection they so clearly need,” said Erika Guevara Rosas. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“We urge governments throughout the region to rise to the challenge and fulfil their obligations to protect those who defend human rights so these inspirational activists can continue their fight for rights.”&nbsp;</p> <h2>Standing up for human rights in the Americas</h2> <p>In the past few years, Amnesty International has documented hundreds of attacks on human rights defenders in the Americas region. In this map you will find 6 real cases of human rights defenders from the North, Central, South America and the Caribbean. They face great risks for stading up for human rights. They show some of the challenges and risks defenders are facing across the region.</p> <div class="mapbackground"><iframe src="https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?msa=0&amp;msid=201230780406170334832.0004c86aec65c64b3f0a5&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;t=h&amp;source=embed&amp;ll=11.178402,-75.058594&amp;spn=57.830678,97.734375&amp;z=3&amp;output=embed" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" width="556" height="450"></iframe><br /><small>View <a href="https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?msa=0&amp;msid=201230780406170334832.0004c86aec65c64b3f0a5&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;t=h&amp;source=embed&amp;ll=11.178402,-75.058594&amp;spn=57.830678,97.734375&amp;z=3" style="color: #0000ff; text-align: left;">Americas EN</a> in a larger map</small></div> <div class="graybackground">&nbsp;</div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Campaigners, lawyers, journalists, community leaders and trade unionists, all human rights defenders who put their lives and liberty at risk in the fight for human rights, continue to suffer intimidation, harassment and violence across Latin America and the Caribbean according to a new Amnesty International report published today.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/203808_Human_rights_defenders (1).jpg?1418045215" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50745">Americas HRDs</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-ai-index-number"> <div class="field-label">Amnesty International Index Number:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> AMR01/003/2014 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Colombia</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="1.450007">1° 27' 0.0252" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-73.828125">73° 49' 41.25" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>The tragic reality is that many human rights defenders in Latin America and the Caribbean are constantly persecuted and attacked in reprisal for their work. In various countries we have seen a worrying and shameful increase in the rate at which defenders suffer violence and repression just for standing up for human rights and justice. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tue, 09/12/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/es/library/info/AMR01/003/2014/es">Defending Human Rights in the Americas: Necessary, Legitimate and Dangerous</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Read the full report </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/campaigns/human-rights-defenders-americas">Transforming pain into hope, Human rights defenders in the Americas</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Campaign page </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Americas Impunity Individuals at Risk Mon, 08 Dec 2014 13:26:15 +0000 Amnesty International 50746 at http://www.amnesty.org 30 years of torture convention - states still failing on obligations http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/30-years-torture-convention-states-still-failing-obligations-2014-12-09-0 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 30 years of torture convention - states still failing on obligations </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">09 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>On the 30th anniversary of the </span><span></span><a href="http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/39/a39r046.htm">UN Convention against Torture</a><span>, Amnesty International is calling upon states not to obstruct efforts to prevent the appalling practice and to uphold their commitments under international law to bring it to an end.&nbsp;</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>While 156 states have ratified the Convention, a host of nations are still carrying out torture and are obstructing efforts to prevent, monitor, investigate and to bring about prosecutions.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“It is an outrage that the abhorrent practice of torture is still alive and well in so many states. Too many governments are going out of their way to hide this practice and to obstruct those who are trying to prevent it,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General, Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“States need to prevent and punish the use of torture and to allow independent and effective monitoring of all places of detention.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Lack of cooperation and access denied&nbsp;</strong></p><p>When the UN Convention against Torture was adopted three decades ago, it included setting up the Committee against Torture, entrusted to monitor states’ compliance with the Convention. States must provide information on measures they have taken to implement the Convention once every four years. While many have responded others have not: 27 have failed to report at all, while 44 others are late in their delivery.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Likewise, only 76 states have ratified a crucial treaty known as the Optional Protocol to the Convention, which paves the way for both the UN and national monitors to visit places of detention.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Last month <strong>Azerbaijan</strong> blocked monitors even though it has signed up to the protocol.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment has also faced difficulties in getting access, among other obstructions and faced obstructions by the authorities. <strong>Uzbekistan</strong>, where torture is pervasive and routine, has ignored repeated requests for an invitation into the country. In 2014, <strong>Thailand</strong> and <strong>Bahrain</strong> postponed two planned visits. During the recent visit to&nbsp;<strong>Gambia</strong>, access to certain parts of a detention facility was denied.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Special Rapporteur had to decline an invitation by the <strong>USA</strong> to visit the Guantánamo Bay detention centre after it imposed conditions that he could not enter certain areas or speak to detainees in private.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Amnesty International’s Stop Torture Campaign&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Amnesty International has been fighting to stamp out torture for more than 50 years. Earlier this year, it launched a <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/stoptorture">global campaign calling on governments to genuinely implement effective safeguards against torture </a>and other ill-treatment. These safeguards include prompt access of detainees to lawyers, families and courts, monitoring of interrogations, allowing independent checks on all places of detention, independent and effective investigations of torture allegations, the prosecution of suspects, and proper redress for victims.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The campaign focuses on five countries where torture is persistent and Amnesty International believes that developments at the national level make it possible to achieve significant improvement. These are: <strong>Mexico</strong>, the <strong>Philippines</strong>, <strong>Morocco and Western Sahara</strong>, <strong>Nigeria</strong> and <strong>Uzbekistan</strong>.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Positive developments&nbsp;</strong></p><p>While there is a long way to go, we have already seen some positive developments to address outstanding issues.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The <strong>Philippine</strong> Senate opened an enquiry into police torture the day after Amnesty International launched its report “Above the Law: Police Torture in the Philippines” on 4 December.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In November 2014, the <strong>Moroccan</strong> government ratified the Optional Protocol, it now has 12 months to set up an effective national mechanism for monitoring places of detention. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In <strong>Nigeria</strong>, a bill that criminalizes torture has progressed in its legislative process and is now pending in the Senate.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Thanks in part to lobbying by Amnesty International, in October the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on <strong>Uzbekistan</strong> to eliminate torture and allow a visit from the Special Rapporteur.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Since the launch of our Stop Torture campaign in May 2014, Amnesty International has mobilised a million people to take action against torture. We hope that together we can help force governments to fulfil the promises made 30 years ago. We will do all we can to hold the torturers to account and to stop this appalling practice once and for all,” said Salil Shetty.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>On the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention against Torture, Amnesty International is calling upon states not to obstruct efforts to prevent the appalling practice and to uphold their commitments under international law to bring it to an end.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/119078_CAT_Conference_Paris_December_1973. (1).jpg?1418213636" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50822">Torture 30 years</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> StopTorture </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="51.621427">51° 37' 17.1372" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-0.571289">0° 34' 16.6404" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+uk">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>It is an outrage that the abhorrent practice of torture is still alive and well in so many states. Too many governments are going out of their way to hide this practice and to obstruct those who are trying to prevent it. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Salil Shetty, Secretary General, Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wed, 10/12/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/usa-senate-summary-report-cia-detention-programme-must-not-be-end-story-2014-12-09">USA: Senate summary report on CIA detention programme must not be end of story</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News story, 9 December 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/39/a39r046.htm">Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UN Convention </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/stoptorture">Stop Torture</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Global campaign </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Stop Torture Torture And Ill-treatment Tue, 09 Dec 2014 15:57:06 +0000 Amnesty International 50771 at http://www.amnesty.org Russia: Burning down homes after Chechnya clashes appears to be collective punishment http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/russia-burning-down-homes-after-chechnya-clashes-appears-be-collective-punishment-2014-12-09-0 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Russia: Burning down homes after Chechnya clashes appears to be collective punishment </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">09 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Authorities in Russia must urgently investigate the burning down of at least five houses believed to belong to the relatives of 11 men blamed by the authorities of carrying out an armed attack in the Chechen capital, Grozny, Amnesty International said after news emerged today of the “collective punishment” against the families.</p><p><span>The 11 men were killed alongside 14 law enforcement officers during an armed confrontation in Grozny on 4 December. At least one civilian is also believed to have been killed.</span></p><p><span>A day after the attack, Ramzan Kadyrov, the Head of the Chechen Republic, said the families of the armed group members would be expelled from Chechnya and their houses demolished.</span></p><p><span>“Punishing the relatives of those suspected of involvement in crimes is a flagrant violation of international law. Nothing can justify acts of collective punishment. The federal authorities must ensure an independent and impartial investigation is conducted into the burning of the houses and bring those responsible to justice in fair trials,” said John Dalhuisen, Director for the Europe and Central Asia Programme at Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>“By allowing these alleged acts of collective punishment to go unchallenged, the Russian leadership will be sending a dangerous message that such abuses are actually allowed and encouraged.”</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Authorities in Russia must urgently investigate the burning down of at least five houses believed to belong to the relatives of 11 men accused of carrying out an armed attack in the Chechen capital, Grozny.&nbsp;</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/Generic Image - Square_0.jpg?1418147223" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50774">AI candle - Torture Convention</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Russia</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="57.861732">57° 51' 42.2352" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="47.113374">47° 6' 48.1464" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Punishing the relatives of those suspected of involvement in crimes is a flagrant violation of international law. Nothing can justify acts of collective punishment. The federal authorities must ensure an independent and impartial investigation is conducted into the burning of the houses and bring those responsible to justice in fair trials. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> John Dalhuisen, Director for the Europe and Central Asia Programme at Amnesty International. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Russian Federation Trials And Legal Systems Tue, 09 Dec 2014 17:47:17 +0000 Amnesty International 50784 at http://www.amnesty.org Moses Akatugba - 'His heart beats just like mine' http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/moses-akatugba-his-heart-beats-just-mine-2014-12-09 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Moses Akatugba - &#039;His heart beats just like mine&#039; </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">09 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><em><span><span>Tosin Francis is a passionate human rights activist from Nigeria. She tells us why she is supporting Moses Akatugba during Write for Rights, who was just a schoolboy when he was arrested and tortured. Last year he was sentenced to death.</span></span></em></p><p><span><a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-moses-akatugba">Moses Akatugba</a> was 16 when he was arrested. He told Amnesty he was hung up for hours, beaten, shot at and had his fingernails pulled out. He was then forced to sign a pre-written confession for armed robbery. Last year he was sentenced to death, despite the fact that he was a child when he was arrested.</span></p><p>Tosin Francis is a passionate human rights activist from Nigeria. She tells us why she is supporting Moses Akatugba during Write for Rights.</p><p><span>“Moses’ case means everything to me. His story could be mine. He’s a Nigerian like me. He has blood flowing in his veins like me and a heart that beats just like mine. I imagine the anguish he wakes up to every day, thinking about the death sentence that hangs around his neck. I think of his family, not knowing the fate of their child.</span></p><p><span>When I heard about his case, I began to research torture, to understand what it really is and its effect on the lives of its victims. I read books and watched films and found myself able to talk to others about it fearlessly and with compassion. And the response from everyone I’ve spoken to has been great. Supporting Moses gives me the joy of being an advocate of hope, justice, and fairness.</span></p><p><span>As rights activists in Nigeria, we do face challenges in our work: attacks, harassment and smear campaigns. But many are speaking up for their rights; awareness is growing, and we are hopeful. The Governor of the Niger Delta recently responded to pressure from Amnesty supporters and said he is looking into Moses’ case. We're one step closer.</span></p><p><span>Everyone - regardless of their colour, tribe, race, beliefs or sexuality - needs to have their rights defended. No one deserves unjust punishment.</span></p><p><span>My message to Moses is: we all feel and share your pain. We are with you every step of the way - stay strong and don’t give up, despite this dark moment. You are always on our mind and in our prayers. There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, that is what we all see and that is the only thing you should see. We are hopeful for a very positive response and we look forward to rejoicing with you soon.</span></p><p><span>Lots of love from the Amnesty family worldwide.”</span></p><p><em>Moses Akatugba is one of 12 cases in Amnesty International's Write for Rights campaign. Take action <a href="http://writeforrights.amnesty.org/">here</a>.</em></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Tosin Francis is a passionate human rights activist from Nigeria. She tells us why she is supporting Moses Akatugba during Write for Rights, who was just a schoolboy when he was arrested and tortured. Last year he was sentenced to death.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/200753_Moses_Akatugba.jpg?1417543375" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50598">Moses Akatugba main</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/multimedia/video/moses-akatugba-video-">Moses Akatugba video</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-onpagesummary"> <div class="field-label">At a Glance:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><strong>Write a letter, change Moses’ life</strong></p><p>Write to the Governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, and demand that he commute Moses’ death sentence, and fully investigate Moses’ allegations that he was tortured.</p><p>Start your message “His Excellency Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan” Governor of Delta State, Officer of the Governor, Government House, Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria. email: <a href="mailto:info@emmanueluduaghan.com.ng" target="_blank">info@emmanueluduaghan.com.ng</a>&nbsp;Facebook: <a href="facebook.com/euduaghan%20twitter.com/euduaghan" target="_blank">facebook.com/euduaghan twitter.com/euduaghan</a></p><p><a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-moses-akatugba">Take action online</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> WriteForRights </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Nigeria</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="7.755020">7° 45' 18.072" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="7.032248">7° 1' 56.0928" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>“Moses’ case means everything to me. His story could be mine. He’s a Nigerian like me. He has blood flowing in his veins like me and a heart that beats just like mine. I imagine the anguish he wakes up to every day, thinking about the death sentence that hangs around his neck. I think of his family, not knowing the fate of their child.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tosin Francis, Nigerian human rights </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-moses-akatugba">Nigeria: Justice for Moses Akatugba</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Take Action! </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://writeforrights.amnesty.org/">Write for Rights</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Write a letter, change a life </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Nigeria Torture And Ill-treatment Tue, 02 Dec 2014 18:07:07 +0000 Amnesty International 50600 at http://www.amnesty.org USA: Senate summary report on CIA detention programme must not be end of story http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/usa-senate-summary-report-cia-detention-programme-must-not-be-end-story-2014-12-09 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> USA: Senate report on CIA detention must not be end of story </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">09 December 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>A Senate committee report summary detailing torture methods used as part of a secret US detention and interrogation programme is a stark reminder of the ongoing impunity for the many appalling human rights violations perpetrated in the name of “national security”, said Amnesty International today.&nbsp;</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The <a href="http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/study2014/sscistudy1.pdf">Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI)’s summary</a>, released today, provides more details of how the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) resorted to “waterboarding”, mock execution, sexual threats and other forms of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment against detainees who had been forcibly disappeared. The acts were carried out during the rendition and secret detention programmes that followed the crime against humanity committed on 11 September 2001 (9/11).&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The summary report also provides some information of the effects of the interrogation techniques and detention conditions on the detainees themselves, including “hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm and self-mutilation”.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“This report provides yet more damning detail of some of the human rights violations that were authorized by the highest authorities in the USA after 9/11. Despite much evidence having been in the public realm for years, no one has been brought to justice for authorizing or carrying out the acts in these CIA programmes,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Limited US Department of Justice investigations into CIA interrogations were ended in 2012 without anyone being charged. Likewise the CIA’s destruction of videotapes of interrogation sessions – containing possible evidence of crimes under international law – did not result in any charges.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Access to justice for those who endured abuses has been systematically blocked by US authorities, including on the grounds of state secrecy.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The declassified information contained in the summary, while limited, is a reminder to the world of the utter failure of the USA to end the impunity enjoyed by those who authorized and used torture and other ill-treatment. This is a wake-up call to the USA, they must disclose the full truth about the human rights violations, hold perpetrators accountable and ensure justice for the victims. This is not a policy nicety, it is a requirement under international law,” said Erika Guevara.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Interrogation methods used by the CIA included “water-boarding”, mock execution, prolonged sleep deprivation and stress positions. Some of these actions constitute torture under international law in and of themselves, others would amount to torture when combined or applied for a prolonged period, or else are considered cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. All are prohibited absolutely, without exception and in all circumstances. Enforced disappearance also constitutes a crime under international law.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The full SSCI report, which runs to some 6,600 pages, remains classified Top Secret. According to the committee Chairperson Dianne Feinstein, the report contains “details of each detainee in CIA custody, the conditions under which they were detained, [and] how they were interrogated”.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International is calling for release of the full report with as few redactions as possible, and none that obscure evidence of human rights violations.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>International partners in crime</strong></p><p>The CIA and other US authorities did not act alone, but engaged a number of partners around the globe to help facilitate the rendition, torture, and secret detention of those the USA suspected of involvement in terrorism.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On 24 July, the European Court of Human Rights found that the government of Poland colluded with the CIA to establish a secret prison at Stare Kiejkuty, which operated between 2002 and 2005. The applicants in the case, and others, were held in secret detention and tortured while some were then rendered to other places where they were at risk of similar abuse.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In 2012, the European Court had ruled against Macedonia, finding it responsible for complicity in the torture and enforced disappearance to which Khaled El-Masri was subjected in US custody.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Other European countries to have worked with the CIA include Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Sweden, and the UK, amongst others. &nbsp;In 2012 and 2013 the European Parliament called on all implicated EU members and associated states to fully investigate their roles in these operations.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The USA and all the countries that worked with it to transfer, detain and torture suspects, have an international legal obligation to ensure full accountability for crimes under international law, including torture and enforced disappearances. These countries must also facilitate genuine access to justice for all those subjected to them, and must provide the whole truth about the human rights violations committed in and around these operations,” said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s Expert on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Additional information&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Last month, the UN Committee against Torture expressed concerns over the USA’s “ongoing failure to fully investigate allegations of torture and ill-treatment of suspects held in US custody abroad” and urged the USA to ensure that “alleged perpetrators and accomplices are duly prosecuted, including persons in positions of command and those who provided legal cover to torture.”&nbsp;</p><p>This followed a similar call from the UN Human Rights Committee in April. Both Committees also urged the USA to declassify and make public the full SSCI report on the CIA secret detention programme.&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International has been fighting to stamp out torture for more than 50 years. Earlier this year, it launched a global campaign calling on governments to genuinely implement effective safeguards against torture and other ill-treatment. These safeguards include prompt access of detainees to lawyers, families and courts, monitoring of interrogations, allowing independent checks on all places of detention, independent and effective investigations of torture allegations, the prosecution of suspects, and proper redress for victims.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A Senate committee report summary detailing torture methods used as part of a secret US detention and interrogation programme is a stark reminder of the ongoing impunity for the many appalling human rights violations perpetrated in the name of “national security”.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/78400_ _Still_from_The_Stuff_of_Life_ (1).jpg?1418213187" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/50821">CIA torture</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> StopTorture </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United States</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="39.673370">39° 40' 24.132" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-99.492188">99° 29' 31.8768" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.com?q=39.673370+-99.492188+%28%2C+%2C+%2C+%2C+us%29">Google Maps</a></div></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>This report provides yet more damning detail of some of the human rights violations that were authorized by the highest authorities in the USA after 9/11. Despite much evidence having been in the public realm for years, no one has been brought to justice for authorizing or carrying out the acts in these CIA programmes. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tue, 09/12/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>The USA and all the countries that worked with it to transfer, detain and torture suspects, have an international legal obligation to ensure full accountability for crimes under international law, including torture and enforced disappearances. These countries must also facilitate genuine access to justice for all those subjected to them, and must provide the whole truth about the human rights violations committed in and around these operations. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s Expert on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tue, 09/12/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR51/059/2014/en/c417ebfe-a210-41e6-adc3-ad91766261fd/amr510592014en.pdf?linkId=11061080">USA: Turning a page, but torture chapter far from closed</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Briefing, 9 December 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/30-years-torture-convention-states-still-failing-obligations-2014-12-09-0">30 years of torture convention - states still failing on obligations</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News story, 9 December 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/stoptorture">Stop Torture</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Global campaign </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-3"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/046/2014/en">USA: ‘We tortured some folks</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Report, 2 September 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-4"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/035/2014/en">USA: Time for truth and justice</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Report, 24 June 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Impunity Stop Torture Torture And Ill-treatment USA Security with Human Rights Tue, 09 Dec 2014 17:28:11 +0000 Amnesty International 50778 at http://www.amnesty.org