http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report_abstract en Search and rescue operations in the central Mediterranean: Facts and Figures http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/search-and-rescue-operations-central-mediterranean-facts-and-figures-2014-09-30 <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"> Search and rescue operations in the central Mediterranean: Key Facts </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">30 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>Deaths at sea</strong></p><p><span>Between 1988 and 15 September 2014, 21,344 people are estimated to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach Europe. In 2011 the number of deaths was around 1,500; in 2012, around 500; in 2013, more than 600.</span></p><p><span>More than 2,500 people died at sea in 2014 up to 15 September, including in excess 2,200 since the start of June. Nearly two per cent of the people who had attempted the journey in 2014 drowned.</span></p><p><strong><span>Rescue operations&nbsp;</span></strong></p><p>Between 18 October 2013 (the start of Operation Mare Nostrum) and 18 September 2014, the Italian Navy has rescued 138,866 people.</p><p><span>The area patrolled by Operation Mare Nostrum, about 43,000 km², extends 400 nautical miles south of Lampedusa and 150 nautical miles to the east and overlaps with the Maltese and Libyan search and rescue zones.</span></p><p><span>Italy is reportedly spending over 9 million euros per month on the operation. As it rescued 138,866 people during its first 11 months, saving each life costs around 712 euros.</span></p><p><span>As of the end of August 2014, 565 individuals were rescued and brought to Malta by the Armed Forces of Malta since the start of the year.</span></p><p><strong><span>Sea crossings&nbsp;</span></strong></p><p>Between 1998 and 2013, 623,118 refugees and migrants are estimated to have reached the shores of the EU irregularly: An average of almost 40,000 people a year.</p><p><span>As of 15 September 2014, the number of those who reached Italy was more than 118,000 out of the 130,000 who crossed Europe’s southern border.&nbsp;</span></p><p><strong><span>Reasons for the increased influx by sea&nbsp;</span></strong></p><p>Conflicts and persecution in the Middle East and Africa, economic deprivation and the sealing of land borders.</p><p><span>In 2013, the number of the detained irregular migrants on the borders of Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus fell from 37,224 to 24,799, or by 33 per cent. Along this route, the decrease in the detection of irregular crossings on the land border was 61% from 32,854 to 12,986, whereas the detection of irregular sea crossings along the same route increased by 171% from 4,370 to 11,831.</span></p><p><strong><span>Nationality of people crossing&nbsp;</span></strong></p><p>In 2013, 48% of all irregular entrants and 63% of all those arriving irregularly by sea to the EU came from Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Somalia: Countries torn by conflict and widespread human rights abuses.</p><p><span>In the first eight months of 2014 about 40% of people reaching Europe irregularly through the Central Mediterranean route were Eritreans (23%) and Syrians (17%).</span></p><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/199965_Boat_Migrants_Risk_Everything_for_a_New_Life_in_Europe_African_asylum_seekers_rescued_off_boats_and_taken_aboard_an_Italy_navy_ship_June_8_2014..jpg?1411989393" /> </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/49489">SOS Europe F+F</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"> EUR05/006/2014 </div> <div class="field-item even"> EUR05/007/2014 </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"> SOSEurope </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">Italy</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="41.392545">41° 23' 33.162" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="14.766125">14° 45' 58.05" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </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="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/death-toll-mediterranean-rises-while-europe-looks-other-way-2014-09-30">The death toll in the Mediterranean rises while Europe looks the other way</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, 30 September 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/library/info/EUR05/006/2014/en">Lives adrift: Refugees and migrants in peril in the central Mediterranean</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, 30 September 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/library/info/EUR05/007/2014/en">Lives adrift: Refugees and migrants in peril in the central Mediterranean - Summary</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"> Summary, 30 September 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.sos-europe-amnesty.eu/stop-people-from-suffering-and-dying-at-our-borders-actions">Stop people from suffering and dying at our borders!</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"> Sign the petition! </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Europe And Central Asia Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:19:53 +0000 Amnesty International 49490 at http://www.amnesty.org Opinion: An avoidable tragedy http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/avoidable-tragedy-2014-09-30 <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"> An avoidable 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">30 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>By Salil Shetty, Secretary General at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</em></p><p>Friday 11 October 2013 was a fateful day for Hassan Wahid. He had been living in Libya where he worked as a doctor. A Syrian, he was beaten up and received death threats after being accused of supporting the Assad regime.&nbsp;</p><p>Hassan tried to go to Egypt, but the country did not allow Syrians in. He applied for a visa to Tunisia, but his application was turned down. Hassan applied for a visa to Malta, but that was also rejected. He had no choice but to embark, with his wife and four daughters, on a dangerous boat journey across the Mediterranean.&nbsp;</p><p>Their boat was one of two shipwrecks that month, in which more than 500 people drowned. Hassan and his wife survived; their daughters have never been found.</p><p>Hassan and the tens of thousands who cross the Mediterranean each year know the dangers that await them. The risks they are compelled to take speak of their sheer desperation -- as refugees fleeing conflict and persecution, or as migrants seeking a life with dignity.</p><p>The majority of those reaching Europe by sea are Syrians, Eritreans, Somalis and Afghans -- countries where conflict and persecution are causing massive displacement.&nbsp;</p><p>More than 2,500 people have died in the Mediterranean so far this year. Nearly one in every 50 people who attempted to reach the European Union from North Africa has died or disappeared at sea. It is a tragedy that can be avoided.&nbsp;</p><p>In the aftermath of the World War II, world leaders came together to create the UN Refugee Convention, a legal instrument that has protected tens of millions of people from human rights abuses across the globe. But the Convention is no longer up to the task.&nbsp;</p><p>The vast majority of the world’s refugees are – and will remain – in developing countries. Of more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees, only 130,000 have reached Europe. Lebanon, a country of four million people, is hosting 1.2 million refugees from Syria, a third of Lebanon’s pre-crisis population.&nbsp;</p><p>The economic burden on host countries, the impact on local communities and above all the suffering of refugees in countries that are unable to fulfil their needs call for a global solution.</p><p>For Europe, this means, first and foremost, creating legal routes for a significant number of vulnerable refugees to reach the continent. Until last year, the European Union as a whole only resettled a few thousand refugees every year; this number has been boosted in 2014 by nearly 30,000 places offered by Germany for refugees from Syria.&nbsp;</p><p>Other EU countries must follow Germany’s lead. The EU should resettle tens of thousands &nbsp;of refugees every year, not only from Syria but wherever the need is greatest. Globally, richer countries should aim to resettle 5-10 per cent of refugees.&nbsp;</p><p>That would still leave the vast majority of refugees in poorer countries close to conflict areas. Resettlement must also be supplemented by greater financial contributions to humanitarian assistance programmes.&nbsp;</p><p>Secondly, the European Union must collectively invest in greater search and rescue capabilities to patrol the Mediterranean and promptly respond to boats in distress. In the past year, the Italian Navy has rescued well over 100,000 people, through operation Mare Nostrum.&nbsp;</p><p>Italy has taken the lead but this should be a shared responsibility. The EU must continue, and build on, Mare Nostrum.</p><p>Thirdly, the EU must reform the current “Dublin system”, which assigns responsibility for processing asylum claims to the first EU country of entry, discouraging coastal states from carrying out search and rescue operations. A fairer responsibility sharing mechanism is required.</p><p>The international community has recognized that issues like the financial crisis, climate change and the Ebola epidemic can only be solved with concerted global action. With the number of those forcibly displaced globally exceeding 50 million people for the first time since World War II, this too has become a global crisis. The EU, and other countries, must take their share of the responsibility to solve it.</p><p>We are calling on world leaders to make a courageous choice: to place the values of humanity, solidarity and compassion before political interest in order to stem the yearly tragedy in the Mediterranean. We are calling on them to stand by people who are risking their lives to escape conflict, persecution and poverty in the face of the forces of isolationism and xenophobia.&nbsp;</p><p>The choices are clear, and so are the consequences.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>In October 2013 Hassan Wahid</span><span>&nbsp;had no choice but to embark, with his wife and four daughters, on a dangerous boat journey across the Mediterranean.&nbsp;</span><span>Their boat was one of two shipwrecks that sank that month. Hassan and his wife survived; their daughters have never been found.</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/198762_Italian_Navy_vessel_Virginio_Fasan_performing_search_and_rescue_activities_in_the_Central_Mediterranean_as_part_of_the_Mare_Nostrum_operation_August_2014.jpg?1412099695" /> </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/49538">SOS Europe Oped</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"> SOSEurope </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">Italy</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="42.265484">42° 15' 55.7424" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="13.272483">13° 16' 20.9388" 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 are calling on world leaders to make a courageous choice: to place the values of humanity, solidarity and compassion before political interest in order to stem the yearly tragedy in the Mediterranean. </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, Amnesty International&#039;s Secretary General. </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/2014/09/30/four-young-daughters-lost-in-a-mediterranean-shipwreck/">Four young daughters lost in a Mediterranean shipwreck</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, 30 September 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/library/info/EUR05/006/2014/en">Lives adrift: Refugees and migrants in peril in the central Mediterranean</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, 30 September 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/news/search-and-rescue-operations-central-mediterranean-facts-and-figures-2014-09-30">Search and rescue operations in the central Mediterranean: Facts and Figures</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"> Facts and Figures, 30 September 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/death-toll-mediterranean-rises-while-europe-looks-other-way-2014-09-30">The death toll in the Mediterranean rises while Europe looks the other way</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, 30 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.sos-europe-amnesty.eu/stop-people-from-suffering-and-dying-at-our-borders-actions">Stop people from suffering and dying at our borders!</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"> Sign the petition! </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Europe And Central Asia Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:59:16 +0000 Amnesty International 49539 at http://www.amnesty.org Opinion: An avoidable tragedy http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/avoidable-tragedy-2014-09-30 <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"> An avoidable 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">30 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>By Salil Shetty, Secretary General at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</em></p><p>Friday 11 October 2013 was a fateful day for Hassan Wahid. He had been living in Libya where he worked as a doctor. A Syrian, he was beaten up and received death threats after being accused of supporting the Assad regime.&nbsp;</p><p>Hassan tried to go to Egypt, but the country did not allow Syrians in. He applied for a visa to Tunisia, but his application was turned down. Hassan applied for a visa to Malta, but that was also rejected. He had no choice but to embark, with his wife and four daughters, on a dangerous boat journey across the Mediterranean.&nbsp;</p><p>Their boat was one of two shipwrecks that month, in which more than 500 people drowned. Hassan and his wife survived; their daughters have never been found.</p><p>Hassan and the tens of thousands who cross the Mediterranean each year know the dangers that await them. The risks they are compelled to take speak of their sheer desperation -- as refugees fleeing conflict and persecution, or as migrants seeking a life with dignity.</p><p>The majority of those reaching Europe by sea are Syrians, Eritreans, Somalis and Afghans -- countries where conflict and persecution are causing massive displacement.&nbsp;</p><p>More than 2,500 people have died in the Mediterranean so far this year. Nearly one in every 50 people who attempted to reach the European Union from North Africa has died or disappeared at sea. It is a tragedy that can be avoided.&nbsp;</p><p>In the aftermath of the World War II, world leaders came together to create the UN Refugee Convention, a legal instrument that has protected tens of millions of people from human rights abuses across the globe. But the Convention is no longer up to the task.&nbsp;</p><p>The vast majority of the world’s refugees are – and will remain – in developing countries. Of more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees, only 130,000 have reached Europe. Lebanon, a country of four million people, is hosting 1.2 million refugees from Syria, a third of Lebanon’s pre-crisis population.&nbsp;</p><p>The economic burden on host countries, the impact on local communities and above all the suffering of refugees in countries that are unable to fulfil their needs call for a global solution.</p><p>For Europe, this means, first and foremost, creating legal routes for a significant number of vulnerable refugees to reach the continent. Until last year, the European Union as a whole only resettled a few thousand refugees every year; this number has been boosted in 2014 by nearly 30,000 places offered by Germany for refugees from Syria.&nbsp;</p><p>Other EU countries must follow Germany’s lead. The EU should resettle tens of thousands &nbsp;of refugees every year, not only from Syria but wherever the need is greatest. Globally, richer countries should aim to resettle 5-10 per cent of refugees.&nbsp;</p><p>That would still leave the vast majority of refugees in poorer countries close to conflict areas. Resettlement must also be supplemented by greater financial contributions to humanitarian assistance programmes.&nbsp;</p><p>Secondly, the European Union must collectively invest in greater search and rescue capabilities to patrol the Mediterranean and promptly respond to boats in distress. In the past year, the Italian Navy has rescued well over 100,000 people, through operation Mare Nostrum.&nbsp;</p><p>Italy has taken the lead but this should be a shared responsibility. The EU must continue, and build on, Mare Nostrum.</p><p>Thirdly, the EU must reform the current “Dublin system”, which assigns responsibility for processing asylum claims to the first EU country of entry, discouraging coastal states from carrying out search and rescue operations. A fairer responsibility sharing mechanism is required.</p><p>The international community has recognized that issues like the financial crisis, climate change and the Ebola epidemic can only be solved with concerted global action. With the number of those forcibly displaced globally exceeding 50 million people for the first time since World War II, this too has become a global crisis. The EU, and other countries, must take their share of the responsibility to solve it.</p><p>We are calling on world leaders to make a courageous choice: to place the values of humanity, solidarity and compassion before political interest in order to stem the yearly tragedy in the Mediterranean. We are calling on them to stand by people who are risking their lives to escape conflict, persecution and poverty in the face of the forces of isolationism and xenophobia.&nbsp;</p><p>The choices are clear, and so are the consequences.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>In October 2013 Hassan Wahid</span><span>&nbsp;had no choice but to embark, with his wife and four daughters, on a dangerous boat journey across the Mediterranean.&nbsp;</span><span>Their boat was one of two shipwrecks that sank that month. Hassan and his wife survived; their daughters have never been found.</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/198762_Italian_Navy_vessel_Virginio_Fasan_performing_search_and_rescue_activities_in_the_Central_Mediterranean_as_part_of_the_Mare_Nostrum_operation_August_2014.jpg?1412099695" /> </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/49538">SOS Europe Oped</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"> SOSEurope </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">Italy</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="42.265484">42° 15' 55.7424" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="13.272483">13° 16' 20.9388" 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 are calling on world leaders to make a courageous choice: to place the values of humanity, solidarity and compassion before political interest in order to stem the yearly tragedy in the Mediterranean. </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, Amnesty International&#039;s Secretary General. </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/2014/09/30/four-young-daughters-lost-in-a-mediterranean-shipwreck/">Four young daughters lost in a Mediterranean shipwreck</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, 30 September 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/library/info/EUR05/006/2014/en">Lives adrift: Refugees and migrants in peril in the central Mediterranean</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, 30 September 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/news/search-and-rescue-operations-central-mediterranean-facts-and-figures-2014-09-30">Search and rescue operations in the central Mediterranean: Facts and Figures</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"> Facts and Figures, 30 September 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/death-toll-mediterranean-rises-while-europe-looks-other-way-2014-09-30">The death toll in the Mediterranean rises while Europe looks the other way</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, 30 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.sos-europe-amnesty.eu/stop-people-from-suffering-and-dying-at-our-borders-actions">Stop people from suffering and dying at our borders!</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"> Sign the petition! </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Europe And Central Asia Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:59:16 +0000 Amnesty International 49539 at http://www.amnesty.org The death toll in the Mediterranean rises while Europe looks the other way http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/death-toll-mediterranean-rises-while-europe-looks-other-way-2014-09-30 <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"> The death toll in the Mediterranean rises while Europe looks the other way </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">30 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>A year on from the Lampedusa shipwrecks, which claimed more than 500 lives, a <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR05/006/2014/en">new report</a> by Amnesty International highlights how the shameful inaction of European Union (EU) countries has contributed to a spiralling death toll with thousands of refugees and migrants losing their lives in a desperate bid to reach European shores.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">Amnesty International’s report, <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR05/006/2014/en"><em>Lives adrift: Refugees and migrants in peril in the central Mediterranean</em></a>, details the findings of recent visits to Italy and Malta, including a research trip on an Italian Navy vessel. Interviews with survivors of shipwrecks, experts and authorities expose the reality of the dangers faced by those fleeing war, persecution and poverty, and the pitiful response of most European states.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">“As the EU builds its walls higher and higher, refugees and migrants are increasingly taking to the Mediterranean in a desperate bid to reach European shores. Placed on rickety boats by ruthless smugglers, every week hundreds of them sway between life and death, between hope and despair,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">“More than 2,500 people have drowned or gone missing in the Mediterranean on their way from North Africa since the start of the year. Europe cannot ignore the tragedy unfolding on its doorstep. More search and rescue vessels in the central Mediterranean, with the clear mandate of saving lives in the high seas and resources adequate to the task – that’s what the EU and its members must urgently provide.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">Conflicts and persecution in the Middle East and Africa, economic deprivation and the sealing of land borders in south-eastern Europe have pushed desperate people towards the sea.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">In 2014, more than 130,000 refugees and migrants irregularly crossed Europe’s southern borders by sea. Nearly all of them have been rescued by the Italian Navy. &nbsp;The vast majority of these people took to the sea from war-torn Libya.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">The report identifies structural weaknesses in the search and rescue services in the central Mediterranean and calls for more safe and legal routes to Europe for people fleeing conflict and persecution. This can be done through resettlement, humanitarian admission programmes and facilitation of family reunification. It also makes the case for a review of the Dublin regulations governing the processing of asylum applications in the EU.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;"><strong>Dangers at sea</strong>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>In Italy and Malta, Amnesty International spoke to more than 50 refugees and migrants. Many had a similar story about the dangers they faced, during their journey at sea, including beatings and overcrowding. Some survived a shipwreck or other deadly incidents.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">Mohammed, a 22-year old from Damascus, Syria, told Amnesty International: “When we left Libya, we were 400 people with maybe 100 more children. We had to go on rowing boats to reach the bigger boat. At first I could not see the big boat, but when I saw it, it was bad. I did not want to board it, but the smuggler threatened me with a firearm. &nbsp;It took two hours to board everybody. At about 2am I heard gunfire. [A boat with armed men] placed themselves in front of our boat. They kept trying to stop the boat for about four hours. They shot from many sides. When it dawned, they left. The damaged boat was swaying. We threw all our bags in the sea, including the life jackets – we wanted to live!”</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">A lack of coordination between coastal states, especially Malta and Italy, is further exacerbating the dangers of the journey. Long-standing disputes between Italy and Malta over their respective search and rescue obligations may have cost the lives of hundreds of refugees and migrants on 11 October 2013, when a trawler carrying over 400 people sank in the Maltese search and rescue zone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">The international outcry to do more to save lives at sea was not followed by any meaningful action by EU leaders. Italy was the only EU country to respond by launching Operation Mare Nostrum, deploying a significant part of its navy for search and rescue operations in the Central Mediterranean.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">However, even Italy’s best efforts have been insufficient to prevent the dramatic loss of life that occurred over the summer months of 2014. &nbsp;And Italy has recently indicated that the operation is not sustainable in the long run.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">“Mare Nostrum has saved tens of thousands of lives at sea, but it is not a long-term solution. A concerted EU effort is needed to meet a shared EU responsibility,” said John Dalhuisen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">“The recent proposal for Frontex, the EU agency for monitoring borders, to step in will be a positive step only if sufficient assets are deployed in high seas by the EU member states and its mandate clearly stresses its search and rescue functions.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;"><strong>The need to reform the EU asylum system</strong>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Amnesty International also argues that the EU Dublin Regulation, where the EU member state of first arrival is responsible for processing asylum claims, places an unfair strain on countries involved in the rescue operations as they carry the longer term responsibility of meeting their needs.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">The lack of responsibility sharing among EU countries is discouraging Southern European states, particularly Malta, from taking refugees and migrants to their ports. Operation Mare Nostrum has temporarily papered over this problem, but should it come to an end without an adequate replacement, delays and disputes over search and rescue obligations will place lives at risk once again.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">“Regardless of the dangers and of EU measures to keep them out, refugees and migrants will continue to risk their lives and the lives of their children fleeing their war-torn, rights violating or economically struggling countries of origin. EU states cannot channel them into the world’s most dangerous sea route and then abandon them to their fate,” said John Dalhuisen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><a href="http://adam.amnesty.org/asset-bank/action/viewAsset?id=200546"><img src="https://adam.amnesty.org/images/assets/200501-200600/200546/21_SOS_SM_graphics_sep_20142-l1.jpg" width="500" height="375" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A year on from the Lampedusa shipwrecks, which claimed more than 500 lives, a new report highlights how the shameful inaction of EU countries has contributed to the deaths of thousands. &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/199964_Boat_Migrants_Risk_Everything_for_a_New_Life_in_Europe_African_asylum_seekers_rescued_off_boats_and_taken_aboard_an_Italy_navy_ship_June_8_2014..jpg?1411987722" /> </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/49486">SOS Europe</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/multimedia/video/sos-europe-">SOS Europe</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"> <ul><li><span>Between 1988 and 15 September 2014, 21,344 people are estimated to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach Europe.&nbsp;</span><span><br /></span></li><li><span>Nearly two per cent of the people who had attempted the journey in 2014 drowned.</span></li><li><span>Between 18 October 2013 and 18 September 2014, the Italian Navy has rescued 138,866 people.</span></li><li><span>Italy is reportedly spending over 9 million euros per month on the operation -- saving each life costs around 712 euros.</span></li><li><span>Between 1998 and 2013, 623,118 refugees and migrants are estimated to have reached the shores of the EU irregularly.</span></li><li><span>Conflicts and persecution in the Middle East and Africa, economic deprivation and the sealing of land borders.</span></li><li><span>In the first eight months of 2014 about 40% of people reaching Europe irregularly through the Central Mediterranean route were Eritreans (23%) and Syrians (17%).</span></li></ul> </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"> EUR05/006/2014 </div> <div class="field-item even"> EUR05/007/2014 </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">Italy</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="40.481663">40° 28' 53.9868" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="15.644781">15° 38' 41.2116" 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>As the EU builds its walls higher and higher, refugees and migrants are increasingly taking to the Mediterranean in a desperate bid to reach European shores. Placed on rickety boats by ruthless smugglers, every week hundreds of them sway between life and death, between hope and despair. </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, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director. </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/EUR05/006/2014/en">Lives adrift: Refugees and migrants in peril in the central Mediterranean</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 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/library/info/EUR05/007/2014/en">Lives adrift: Refugees and migrants in peril in the central Mediterranean - Summary</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 summary </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/search-and-rescue-operations-central-mediterranean-facts-and-figures-2014-09-30">Search and rescue operations in the central Mediterranean: Facts and Figures</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"> Facts and figures, 30 September 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.sos-europe-amnesty.eu/stop-people-from-suffering-and-dying-at-our-borders-actions">Stop people from suffering and dying at our borders!</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"> Sign the petition! </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="https://www.qzzr.co/quiz/sos-europe-is-this-on-your-radar">Is this on your radar?</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 the Quiz! </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Europe And Central Asia Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:55:25 +0000 Amnesty International 49488 at http://www.amnesty.org Fiji: Investigate military’s alleged beating of 60-year-old man over texts to Prime Minister http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/fiji-investigate-military-s-alleged-beating-60-year-old-man-over-texts-prime-minister-2014-09-3 <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"> Fiji: Investigate military’s alleged beating of 60-year-old man </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">30 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Fiji authorities must urgently investigate allegations that a man was severely beaten by army officers after he had sent a series of angry text messages to Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International has received credible information that four army officers turned up at the home of the 60-year-old teacher in a town outside the capital Suva on 27 September, dragged him to a nearby alleyway and assaulted him. Earlier on the same day, the man had an angry exchange of text messages with Bainimarama alleging that his songs were used without permission during the recent election campaign.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“It is shocking that someone should be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment by military officers just for sending text messages to the Prime Minister. This case must be urgently and independently investigated, and those responsible brought to justice,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The investigation should cover not only the physical perpetrators but those, if any, who gave the orders to attack the man.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“This case points to the wider culture of violence among Fiji’s security forces, which authorities have shown little interest in addressing. Fiji’s military government has to date failed to properly investigate almost all past allegations of torture, other ill-treatment and excessive use of force by security forces.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The 60-year old man remains in hospital recovering from his injuries.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>This incident comes just weeks after robbery suspect Vilikesa Soko died in police custody shortly after his arrest in August 2014. Soko was arrested in connection with a robbery, and an autopsy report revealed that he suffered multiple organ failure as a result of serious assault injuries. While four police officers have been suspended, no one has so far been charged over his death.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>It also follows the circulation of a video in March last year, showing Fijian security forces torturing a recaptured prisoner, repeatedly and severely hitting him with sticks and batons, while another man was dragged along the ground by a dog. In reference to the video, Bainimarama reportedly said he would “stand by his men”.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“There must be clear public assurances that show Fiji’s government will not tolerate torture and other ill-treatment by military, police or prison officers, under any circumstances,” said Kate Schuetze.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Prime Minister Bainimarama and his government should act now to address the impunity of security forces that continues to plague his government.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>This latest allegation of torture and other ill-treatment by security forces comes just weeks before Fiji’s human rights record will be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 29 October 2014.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Fiji authorities must urgently investigate allegations that a man was severely beaten by army officers after he had sent a series of angry text messages to Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, Amnesty International said.&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/189166_FIJI-POLITICS-VOTE-COUP-BAINIMARAMA (1).jpg?1412088888" /> </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/49533">Fiji beating</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">Fiji</div> </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>It is shocking that someone should be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment by military officers just for sending text messages to the Prime Minister. This case must be urgently and independently investigated, and those responsible 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"> Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher </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, 30/09/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Fiji Freedom Of Expression Stop Torture Torture And Ill-treatment Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:55:37 +0000 Amnesty International 49534 at http://www.amnesty.org The death toll in the Mediterranean rises while Europe looks the other way http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/death-toll-mediterranean-rises-while-europe-looks-other-way-2014-09-30 <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"> The death toll in the Mediterranean rises while Europe looks the other way </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">30 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>A year on from the Lampedusa shipwrecks, which claimed more than 500 lives, a <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR05/006/2014/en">new report</a> by Amnesty International highlights how the shameful inaction of European Union (EU) countries has contributed to a spiralling death toll with thousands of refugees and migrants losing their lives in a desperate bid to reach European shores.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">Amnesty International’s report, <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR05/006/2014/en"><em>Lives adrift: Refugees and migrants in peril in the central Mediterranean</em></a>, details the findings of recent visits to Italy and Malta, including a research trip on an Italian Navy vessel. Interviews with survivors of shipwrecks, experts and authorities expose the reality of the dangers faced by those fleeing war, persecution and poverty, and the pitiful response of most European states.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">“As the EU builds its walls higher and higher, refugees and migrants are increasingly taking to the Mediterranean in a desperate bid to reach European shores. Placed on rickety boats by ruthless smugglers, every week hundreds of them sway between life and death, between hope and despair,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">“More than 2,500 people have drowned or gone missing in the Mediterranean on their way from North Africa since the start of the year. Europe cannot ignore the tragedy unfolding on its doorstep. More search and rescue vessels in the central Mediterranean, with the clear mandate of saving lives in the high seas and resources adequate to the task – that’s what the EU and its members must urgently provide.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">Conflicts and persecution in the Middle East and Africa, economic deprivation and the sealing of land borders in south-eastern Europe have pushed desperate people towards the sea.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">In 2014, more than 130,000 refugees and migrants irregularly crossed Europe’s southern borders by sea. Nearly all of them have been rescued by the Italian Navy. &nbsp;The vast majority of these people took to the sea from war-torn Libya.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">The report identifies structural weaknesses in the search and rescue services in the central Mediterranean and calls for more safe and legal routes to Europe for people fleeing conflict and persecution. This can be done through resettlement, humanitarian admission programmes and facilitation of family reunification. It also makes the case for a review of the Dublin regulations governing the processing of asylum applications in the EU.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;"><strong>Dangers at sea</strong>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>In Italy and Malta, Amnesty International spoke to more than 50 refugees and migrants. Many had a similar story about the dangers they faced, during their journey at sea, including beatings and overcrowding. Some survived a shipwreck or other deadly incidents.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">Mohammed, a 22-year old from Damascus, Syria, told Amnesty International: “When we left Libya, we were 400 people with maybe 100 more children. We had to go on rowing boats to reach the bigger boat. At first I could not see the big boat, but when I saw it, it was bad. I did not want to board it, but the smuggler threatened me with a firearm. &nbsp;It took two hours to board everybody. At about 2am I heard gunfire. [A boat with armed men] placed themselves in front of our boat. They kept trying to stop the boat for about four hours. They shot from many sides. When it dawned, they left. The damaged boat was swaying. We threw all our bags in the sea, including the life jackets – we wanted to live!”</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">A lack of coordination between coastal states, especially Malta and Italy, is further exacerbating the dangers of the journey. Long-standing disputes between Italy and Malta over their respective search and rescue obligations may have cost the lives of hundreds of refugees and migrants on 11 October 2013, when a trawler carrying over 400 people sank in the Maltese search and rescue zone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">The international outcry to do more to save lives at sea was not followed by any meaningful action by EU leaders. Italy was the only EU country to respond by launching Operation Mare Nostrum, deploying a significant part of its navy for search and rescue operations in the Central Mediterranean.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">However, even Italy’s best efforts have been insufficient to prevent the dramatic loss of life that occurred over the summer months of 2014. &nbsp;And Italy has recently indicated that the operation is not sustainable in the long run.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">“Mare Nostrum has saved tens of thousands of lives at sea, but it is not a long-term solution. A concerted EU effort is needed to meet a shared EU responsibility,” said John Dalhuisen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">“The recent proposal for Frontex, the EU agency for monitoring borders, to step in will be a positive step only if sufficient assets are deployed in high seas by the EU member states and its mandate clearly stresses its search and rescue functions.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;"><strong>The need to reform the EU asylum system</strong>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Amnesty International also argues that the EU Dublin Regulation, where the EU member state of first arrival is responsible for processing asylum claims, places an unfair strain on countries involved in the rescue operations as they carry the longer term responsibility of meeting their needs.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">The lack of responsibility sharing among EU countries is discouraging Southern European states, particularly Malta, from taking refugees and migrants to their ports. Operation Mare Nostrum has temporarily papered over this problem, but should it come to an end without an adequate replacement, delays and disputes over search and rescue obligations will place lives at risk once again.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">“Regardless of the dangers and of EU measures to keep them out, refugees and migrants will continue to risk their lives and the lives of their children fleeing their war-torn, rights violating or economically struggling countries of origin. EU states cannot channel them into the world’s most dangerous sea route and then abandon them to their fate,” said John Dalhuisen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><a href="http://adam.amnesty.org/asset-bank/action/viewAsset?id=200546"><img src="https://adam.amnesty.org/images/assets/200501-200600/200546/21_SOS_SM_graphics_sep_20142-l1.jpg" width="500" height="375" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A year on from the Lampedusa shipwrecks, which claimed more than 500 lives, a new report highlights how the shameful inaction of EU countries has contributed to the deaths of thousands. &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/199964_Boat_Migrants_Risk_Everything_for_a_New_Life_in_Europe_African_asylum_seekers_rescued_off_boats_and_taken_aboard_an_Italy_navy_ship_June_8_2014..jpg?1411987722" /> </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/49486">SOS Europe</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/multimedia/video/sos-europe-">SOS Europe</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"> <ul><li><span>Between 1988 and 15 September 2014, 21,344 people are estimated to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach Europe.&nbsp;</span><span><br /></span></li><li><span>Nearly two per cent of the people who had attempted the journey in 2014 drowned.</span></li><li><span>Between 18 October 2013 and 18 September 2014, the Italian Navy has rescued 138,866 people.</span></li><li><span>Italy is reportedly spending over 9 million euros per month on the operation -- saving each life costs around 712 euros.</span></li><li><span>Between 1998 and 2013, 623,118 refugees and migrants are estimated to have reached the shores of the EU irregularly.</span></li><li><span>Conflicts and persecution in the Middle East and Africa, economic deprivation and the sealing of land borders.</span></li><li><span>In the first eight months of 2014 about 40% of people reaching Europe irregularly through the Central Mediterranean route were Eritreans (23%) and Syrians (17%).</span></li></ul> </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"> EUR05/006/2014 </div> <div class="field-item even"> EUR05/007/2014 </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">Italy</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="40.481663">40° 28' 53.9868" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="15.644781">15° 38' 41.2116" 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>As the EU builds its walls higher and higher, refugees and migrants are increasingly taking to the Mediterranean in a desperate bid to reach European shores. Placed on rickety boats by ruthless smugglers, every week hundreds of them sway between life and death, between hope and despair. </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, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director. </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/EUR05/006/2014/en">Lives adrift: Refugees and migrants in peril in the central Mediterranean</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 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/library/info/EUR05/007/2014/en">Lives adrift: Refugees and migrants in peril in the central Mediterranean - Summary</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 summary </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/search-and-rescue-operations-central-mediterranean-facts-and-figures-2014-09-30">Search and rescue operations in the central Mediterranean: Facts and Figures</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"> Facts and figures, 30 September 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.sos-europe-amnesty.eu/stop-people-from-suffering-and-dying-at-our-borders-actions">Stop people from suffering and dying at our borders!</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"> Sign the petition! </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="https://www.qzzr.co/quiz/sos-europe-is-this-on-your-radar">Is this on your radar?</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 the Quiz! </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Europe And Central Asia Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:55:25 +0000 Amnesty International 49488 at http://www.amnesty.org Fiji: Investigate military’s alleged beating of 60-year-old man over texts to Prime Minister http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/fiji-investigate-military-s-alleged-beating-60-year-old-man-over-texts-prime-minister-2014-09-3 <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"> Fiji: Investigate military’s alleged beating of 60-year-old man </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">30 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Fiji authorities must urgently investigate allegations that a man was severely beaten by army officers after he had sent a series of angry text messages to Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International has received credible information that four army officers turned up at the home of the 60-year-old teacher in a town outside the capital Suva on 27 September, dragged him to a nearby alleyway and assaulted him. Earlier on the same day, the man had an angry exchange of text messages with Bainimarama alleging that his songs were used without permission during the recent election campaign.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“It is shocking that someone should be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment by military officers just for sending text messages to the Prime Minister. This case must be urgently and independently investigated, and those responsible brought to justice,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The investigation should cover not only the physical perpetrators but those, if any, who gave the orders to attack the man.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“This case points to the wider culture of violence among Fiji’s security forces, which authorities have shown little interest in addressing. Fiji’s military government has to date failed to properly investigate almost all past allegations of torture, other ill-treatment and excessive use of force by security forces.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The 60-year old man remains in hospital recovering from his injuries.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>This incident comes just weeks after robbery suspect Vilikesa Soko died in police custody shortly after his arrest in August 2014. Soko was arrested in connection with a robbery, and an autopsy report revealed that he suffered multiple organ failure as a result of serious assault injuries. While four police officers have been suspended, no one has so far been charged over his death.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>It also follows the circulation of a video in March last year, showing Fijian security forces torturing a recaptured prisoner, repeatedly and severely hitting him with sticks and batons, while another man was dragged along the ground by a dog. In reference to the video, Bainimarama reportedly said he would “stand by his men”.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“There must be clear public assurances that show Fiji’s government will not tolerate torture and other ill-treatment by military, police or prison officers, under any circumstances,” said Kate Schuetze.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Prime Minister Bainimarama and his government should act now to address the impunity of security forces that continues to plague his government.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>This latest allegation of torture and other ill-treatment by security forces comes just weeks before Fiji’s human rights record will be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 29 October 2014.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Fiji authorities must urgently investigate allegations that a man was severely beaten by army officers after he had sent a series of angry text messages to Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, Amnesty International said.&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/189166_FIJI-POLITICS-VOTE-COUP-BAINIMARAMA (1).jpg?1412088888" /> </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/49533">Fiji beating</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">Fiji</div> </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>It is shocking that someone should be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment by military officers just for sending text messages to the Prime Minister. This case must be urgently and independently investigated, and those responsible 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"> Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher </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, 30/09/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Fiji Freedom Of Expression Stop Torture Torture And Ill-treatment Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:55:37 +0000 Amnesty International 49534 at http://www.amnesty.org Iran must halt imminent execution of 26-year-old woman http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/Iran-must-halt-imminent-execution-of-26-year-old-woman-2014-09-29 <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 must halt imminent execution of 26-year-old woman </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">29 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Iranian authorities have today confirmed that a woman convicted of killing a man whom she said tried to sexually abuse her will be hanged tomorrow morning at a prison west of Tehran, Amnesty International said.</p><p><span>Reyhaneh Jabbari was sentenced to death in 2009 after a deeply flawed investigation and trial which failed to examine all of the evidence.</span></p><p><span>“This abhorrent execution must not be allowed to take place, particularly when there are serious doubts about the circumstances of the killing,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>“Instead of continuing to execute people, authorities in Iran should reform their judicial system, which dangerously relies on processes which fail to meet international law and standards for fair trial.”</span></p><p><span>“Under international human rights standards people charged with crimes punishable by death are entitled to the strictest observance of all fair trial guarantees.”</span></p><p><span>Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, was arrested in 2007 for the murder of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. She was placed in solitary confinement for two months, where she did not have access to a lawyer or her family. Reyhaneh Jabbari was sentenced to death under qesas (“retribution-in-kind”) by a criminal court in Tehran in 2009.</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International understands that although Reyhaneh Jabbari admitted to stabbing the man once from the back, she said another man who was also in the house killed Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi. Her claim is believed to have never been properly investigated.</span></p><p><span>“Authorities in Iran must immediately halt Reyhaneh Jabbari’s execution. It is unacceptable that she was not provided with a lawyer during questioning and the failure to investigate the presence of another man in the house leaves too many questions unanswered,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.</span></p><p><span>Reyhaneh Jabbari’s mother said today in a Facebook post that authorities in Evin prison told her she would have to go to the facility to “collect the body” tomorrow.</span></p><p><span>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, because the death penalty violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.</span></p><p><strong><span>Background Information</span></strong></p><p>On 14 September 2014, the judicial authorities reportedly pressured Reyhaneh Jabbari to remove her lawyer Mohammad Ali Jedari Foroughi from her case and retain an inexperienced lawyer in his place. This was done in an apparent bid to disrupt the lawyer’s efforts to guarantee an investigation into the presence of another man in the house.</p><p><span>Amnesty International understands that before being removed from her case, Mohammad Ali Jedari Foroughi’s repeated requests to meet with his client, and access her court file had been denied.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Iranian authorities have today confirmed that a woman convicted of killing a man whom she said tried to sexually abuse her will be hanged tomorrow morning at a prison west of Tehran.</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/148084_Noose_11.jpg?1412015478" /> </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/49497">Iran</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">Iran</div> </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 abhorrent execution must not be allowed to take place, particularly when there are serious doubts about the circumstances of the killing. </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"> Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Abolish the death penalty Death Penalty Iran Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:32:00 +0000 Amnesty International 49499 at http://www.amnesty.org Hong Kong: Police response to student pro-democracy protest an alarming sign http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/hong-kong-police-response-student-pro-democracy-protest-alarming-sign-2014-09-27 <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"> Hong Kong: Alarm over police response to student 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">27 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The quick use of pepper spray and arrests by Hong Kong police during pro-democracy demonstrations last night and today has renewed fears the authorities will fail to uphold the rights to peaceful assembly and free expression at larger protests planned for next week, Amnesty International said.</p><p>On Friday night, a week-long sit-in by thousands of students culminated in a group of protesters entering the fenced-off Civic Square in front of the local government’s headquarters, while thousands continued to demonstrate outside.&nbsp;</p><p>The police reacted by using pepper spray inside and outside of the square and carrying out arrests. Around 70 people remained boxed-in by police in the square overnight and were arrested on Saturday afternoon.&nbsp;</p><p>"The police response to events on Friday night is a disturbing sign that the Hong Kong authorities will take a tough stance against any peaceful protest blocking the financial district," said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.</p><p>“The quick use of pepper spray, deployment of riot police in full gear and arrests at government headquarters does not bode well for the potentially massive protests expected this week. All those being held solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly must be immediately and unconditionally released.”&nbsp;</p><p>Organizers of the Occupy Central movement have called for up to 10,000 protesters to block the financial district in the centre of Hong Kong on 1 October, China's National Day. &nbsp;The protesters are angry about Beijing's recent decision on how “universal suffrage” is to be implemented in the territory, which they fear will rule out fully democratic elections in 2017.</p><p>"Any decision to disperse a peaceful demonstration must be taken as a last resort. It is a violation of international law to arrest and detain people solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly," said Mabel Au.</p><p>"Any use of force by the police is unnecessary if it is a peaceful demonstration and no legitimate reasons to use force are apparent. It is important to remember that a peaceful assembly does not lose its peaceful character even if some individuals behave unlawfully.”</p><p>“Police have a responsibility to actually facilitate peaceful protests rather than target people who have every right to participate in them."</p><p>Amnesty International urges the authorities to uphold their obligations under international and domestic law to respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Authorities must also ensure that all people arrested have prompt access to lawyers, as well as medical attention where requested.</p><p>Hong Kong is bound by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 27 of Hong Kong's “mini-constitution”, the Basic Law, guarantees "freedom of speech, of the press and of publication; freedom of expression, of assembly of procession and demonstration."</p><p>Peaceful protest is a legitimate use of public space, whether that space is a public park or a financial district.&nbsp;</p><p>“Authorities have no right to brand a peaceful protest ‘illegal’ just because traffic is disrupted for some time, or because they did not authorize it in advance," said Mabel Au.</p><p>Hong Kong law requires organizers to apply for permission to hold demonstrations. Under international law, protests do not require approval by the authorities, though advance notice can be requested.&nbsp;</p><p>Background</p><p>Under international law, restrictions on peaceful assemblies are only permissible if they are necessary to protect legitimate public interests or the rights of others. Any legitimate restrictions must be proportionate and the least restrictive available. Police should avoid any use of force, but if they do it must have a legitimate objective recognized under human rights law and be kept to the minimum level required for police to achieve this.&nbsp;</p><p>On 1 July this year, Hong Kong saw one of the largest rallies in recent years, with hundreds of thousands taking part. In the early hours of 2 July following the rally, a student organization staged a pro-democracy sit-in in the heart of Hong Kong’s financial district, which was attended by thousands of protesters.</p><p>Police detained more than 500 of these protesters on charges of ‘illegal assembly’ and ‘obstruction of a public place’. Twenty-five of these have been released on bail but are still subject to criminal investigations.</p><p>During the protests on 26 and 27 September, according to police, 13 people aged 16 to 35 had been arrested by early Saturday on charges ranging from “forcibly entry to government premises”, “obstruction of a public place” and “resisting or obstructing a public officer or other person lawfully engaged in a public duty”; at least 28 protesters and law enforcement officers had reportedly been injured.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The response by Hong Kong police to pro-democracy demonstrations has renewed fears the authorities will fail to uphold the rights to peaceful assembly and free expression at larger protests planned for next week.</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="3000" height="2000" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/HK protest AFP_0.jpg?1411809335" /> </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/49481">HK protest AFP</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">Hong Kong</span> <div class="country-name">Hong Kong S.A.R., China</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="22.465133">22° 27' 54.4788" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="114.394112">114° 23' 38.8032" 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 police response to events on Friday night is a disturbing sign that the Hong Kong authorities will take a tough stance against any peaceful protest blocking the financial district.</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"> Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong </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">Sat, 27/09/2014</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/hong-kong-mass-arrests-disturbing-sign-peaceful-protest-2014-07-02">Hong Kong: Mass arrests a disturbing sign for peaceful 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, 2 July 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Hong Kong Sat, 27 Sep 2014 09:21:37 +0000 Amnesty International 49482 at http://www.amnesty.org EU action against Czech Republic for discrimination in schools is a victory for rights, justice, and Roma http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/eu-action-against-czech-republic-discrimination-schools-victory-rights-justice-and-roma-2014-09 <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"> EU action against Czech Republic school discrimination a victory for 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">25 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International today welcomed the European Commission’s announcement that it would use its powers to initiate infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic for breaching European Union (EU) anti-discrimination legislation.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“For years, Amnesty International has documented systemic discrimination against Roma children in Czech schools. Yet the Czech government has so far failed to take effective measures to prevent, address and remedy this,” said Nicolas J. Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. <br /><br />“In agreeing to launch infringement proceedings, the Commission has sent a clear message to the Czech Republic and other member states - systemic discrimination towards Roma cannot and will not be tolerated.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The pre-litigation mechanism enables the Commission to hold the Czech government accountable for, and publicly and politically put pressure on it to end, the ongoing, systemic and unlawful practice of discrimination against Romani children in Czech schools.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The announcement comes one and a half years after Amnesty International and other civil society organisations <a href="http://www.amnesty.eu/content/assets/doc2013/czech_roma_submission_190413_final.pdf">called on the Commission</a> to engage with the Czech government through infringement proceedings to tackle education discrimination against Romani children. The organisation presented a petition with nearly 100,000 signatures gathered in under three months calling on the Commission to take stronger action against EU member states failing to implement EU anti-discrimination legislation to protect Roma. These calls were based on evidence, gathered over a decade, of widespread unlawful discrimination against Romani children in Czech education, notably through segregation into schools for pupils with ‘mild mental disabilities’ or Roma-only schools, or classes offering lower educational standards.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Education is a human right that must be guaranteed to all children. Discrimination through segregated education is unlawful. It leads to poorer education and limits future employment opportunities, trapping Romani children in a vicious cycle of marginalisation and exclusion,” added Beger.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A 2013 survey by the Czech Schools Inspectorate (the national body responsible for ensuring schools comply with national legislation) exposed the disproportionately high number of Romani children in schools for pupils with ‘mild mental disabilities’. The monitoring of 483 schools with five or more pupils with this diagnosis found that a staggering 28.2% of them were Roma. However, Roma make up less than three percent of the total population. The Czech Ombudsperson (responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with anti-discrimination legislation) found this to be discriminatory in 2012.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The prospects for Romani children that do make it to ‘main-stream’ education are not much better. Many are segregated into schools and classes with lower educational standards. &nbsp;In 2014, Amnesty International has continued to collect evidence of Roma-only mainstream schools in which the educational programmes followed differed very little from those of schools for pupils with ‘mild mental disabilities’.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;“Today the Commission has lived up to its role as ‘guardian of the EU Treaties’, upholding EU law, and challenging member states for violating fundamental rights,” &nbsp;said Beger. “The Commission’s words must now be followed by swift, concrete, and consistent action to hold the Czech Republic accountable and stop discrimination. This will be essential to protect not only the current and future generations of Roma in the Czech Republic, but across the EU, where they continue to face routine discrimination.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Background</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Infringement proceedings as established by Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provide the Commission with an effective legislative tool to engage with the 28 European EU member states to ensure compliance with EU law. Member states found to be in breach of EU law may be brought to the Court of Justice for the European Union. If the Court finds a member state has failed to fulfil an obligation under the Treaties, it will require the state to take the necessary measures to comply.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The decision to launch the proceedings against the Czech Republic was announced today, 25 September, following a meeting of the College of Commissioners. The proceedings call into question the Czech Republic’s compliance with: Article 21 (1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, which prohibits discrimination based on any ground such as race or ethnic origin; and the Race Equality Directive (2000/43/EC (RED)) Articles 2.2a, 2.2b, 2.3, 3.1.g, which prohibit discrimination in access to education on the grounds of race or ethnicity.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Commission will now send a formal notice with its assessment of the situation to the Czech government which will be given a deadline to submit its observations. After that, the Commission will conclude whether the Czech Republic is indeed failing to comply with EU law. In case of an infringement, the Commission may bring the matter before the Court of Justice of the European Union.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The European Commission has sent a clear message to the Czech Republic that discrimination against Roma will not be tolerated.&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/161471_Czech_Republic_-_Ostrava_June_2012_ (1).jpg?1411651744" /> </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/49461">EU Czech Roma decision</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"> Roma </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">Czech Republic</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="50.047267">50° 2' 50.1612" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="17.226563">17° 13' 35.6268" 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>In agreeing to launch infringement proceedings, the Commission has sent a clear message to the Czech Republic and other member states - systemic discrimination towards Roma cannot and will not be tolerated.</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"> Nicolas J. Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office </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, 25/09/2014</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/czech-republic-action-not-words-needed-end-discrimination-against-roma-schools-2012-11-09">Czech Republic: Action not words needed to end discrimination against Roma in schools</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/report, 9 November 2012 </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/EUR71/003/2009/en">Injustice renamed: Discrimination in education of Roma persists in the Czech Republic</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, 31 December 2009 </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/wake-call-giant-eu-must-end-discrimination-against-roma-2013-04-04">Wake-up call for a giant: The EU must end discrimination against Roma</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, 4 April 2013 </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/Roma">Roma: Demanding equality and human 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"> More on discrimination against Roma </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Czech Republic Discrimination Roma Rights Thu, 25 Sep 2014 13:31:05 +0000 Amnesty International 49463 at http://www.amnesty.org Twelve facts about the abortion ban in El Salvador http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/twelve-facts-about-abortion-ban-el-salvador-2014-09-25 <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"> Twelve facts about the abortion ban in El Salvador </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">25 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>El Salvador has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. Abortion is totally banned in all circumstances and harsh prison sentences befall those accused of terminating a pregnancy.&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International’s new report, <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR29/003/2014/en"><em>On the brink of death: Violence against women and the abortion ban in El Salvador</em></a>, charts how these restrictive laws are destroying the lives of women and girls. It finds:&nbsp;</p><p>1. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Women and girls found guilty of having an abortion face a <strong>prison sentence of two to eight years</strong>. Health care providers who assist them face up to 12 years in prison.&nbsp;</p><p>2. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Women who have had miscarriages have been charged with <strong>aggravated homicide</strong>, a charge which can bring a sentence of up to 50 years in prison. Amnesty International has documented the cases of many women who have been sentenced to decades in prison after having a miscarriage.&nbsp;</p><p>3. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;El Salvador <strong>banned abortion in all circumstances</strong> in 1998.&nbsp;</p><p>4. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Last year the National Civil Police recorded that <strong>16 women and girls</strong> were charged with the crime of abortion, six of them were under 17 years old at the time of the alleged offences.&nbsp;</p><p>5. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Because of the ban, <strong>clandestine abortions</strong> are common. According to the Ministry of Health, there were 19,290 abortions in El Salvador between 2005 and 2008. More than a quarter of them were undergone by girls under 18. The actual figure is likely to be much higher.&nbsp;</p><p>6. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Common <strong>methods</strong> used by women and girls to terminate a pregnancy include: ingesting rat poison or other pesticides, and thrusting knitting needles, pieces of wood and other sharp objects into the cervix, and the use of the ulcer treatment drug misoprostol, which has become widely used to induce abortions.&nbsp;</p><p>7. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;According to the latest World Health Organisation figures, <strong>11 per cent of women and girls</strong> who underwent a clandestine abortion in El Salvador died as a result. &nbsp;However, due to the secrecy surrounding the practice the true figure is likely to be much higher.&nbsp;</p><p>8. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Suicide</strong> accounts for 57 per cent of the deaths of pregnant females aged 10 to 19 in El Salvador, though it is likely many more cases have gone unreported.&nbsp;</p><p>9. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; A newspaper poll in 2013 revealed <strong>74 per cent of people</strong> polled in El Salvador favoured an abortion when a woman’s life is at risk.&nbsp;</p><p>10. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;El Salvador has the <strong>highest rate of teenage pregnancy</strong> in Latin America. According to the National Family Health Survey, more than one-fifth (23 per cent) of all teenagers aged between 15 and 19 in El Salvador have been pregnant at least once. Nearly half of them were under 18 and didn’t intend to get pregnant.&nbsp;</p><p>11. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Last year the National Civil Police registered <strong>1,346</strong> <strong>rapes</strong> of women and girls. Nearly two-thirds were aged under 15 or classified as “mentally incapacitated” and unable to give informed consent either because they were rendered unconscious or because of their mental health.&nbsp;</p><p>12. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;There is only one <strong>women’s refuge</strong> in El Salvador. It can accommodate just 35 women and children.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>El Salvador has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. Abortion is totally banned in all circumstances and harsh prison sentences befall those accused of terminating a pregnancy.&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/193305_Mural_in_San_Bartolom_Perulap_a..jpg?1411556754" /> </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/49426">El Salvador facts</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"> MyBodyMyRights </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">El Salvador</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="14.925952">14° 55' 33.4272" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-90.350562">90° 21' 2.0232" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </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="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR29/003/2014/en">On the brink of death: Violence against women and the abortion ban in El Salvador</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 report </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Discrimination El Salvador Poverty Women My Body My Rights Wed, 24 Sep 2014 11:06:52 +0000 Amnesty International 49427 at http://www.amnesty.org UN: Landmark Arms Trade Treaty to become reality with 50th ratification http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/un-landmark-arms-trade-treaty-become-reality-50th-ratification-2014-09-25 <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"> UN: Landmark Arms Trade Treaty to become reality with 50th ratification </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">25 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Protection for the millions of people whose lives are devastated by the poorly regulated global arms trade is set to take a giant leap forward today, Amnesty International said with the historic </span><span></span><a href="http://www.un.org/disarmament/ATT/">Arms Trade Treaty</a><span> expected to surpass the 50 ratifications needed to trigger a 90-day countdown to entry into force.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Argentina, the Bahamas, Czech Republic, Portugal, Saint Lucia, Senegal and Uruguay are expected to be the latest states to confirm ratification of the treaty at a ceremony at the UN in New York. The ATT now looks set to become international law on 25 December 2014 binding all the countries that have ratified it by then.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“This is a milestone in the fight to end the human suffering caused by the irresponsible flow of arms. By the end of this year, there will be robust global rules to stop arms going to human rights abusers,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“This remarkable progress would not have been possible without the support of more than a million people who helped keep up the pressure on governments and said ‘enough is enough, the supply of arms for atrocities and abuses must stop’. But the campaign does not stop here, all states need to urgently bite the bullet and commit to the Arms Trade Treaty.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International has <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/long-journey-towards-arms-trade-treaty-2013-03-27">lobbied and campaigned relentlessly since the mid-1990s</a> for an Arms Trade Treaty. At least half a million people die every year on average and millions more are injured, raped and forced to flee from their homes as a result of the poorly regulated global trade in weapons. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The ATT includes a number of rules to stop the flow of weapons to countries when it is known they would be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or other serious violations of human rights.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Five of the top 10 arms exporters – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK have already ratified the ATT. &nbsp;While the USA is yet to ratify it has signed the treaty. There has been resistance to ratification from other major arms producers like China, Canada, Israel and Russia.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“If political leaders are serious about ending the flow of arms used to commit crimes against humanity, war crimes and persistent gun violence that denies people their human rights then governments must join the Arms Trade Treaty and start implementing it effectively. There can be no excuses for inaction or double-talk when it comes to this lifesaving treaty,” said Salil Shetty.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Background</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International has <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/long-journey-towards-arms-trade-treaty-2013-03-27">campaigned since the early 1990s</a> with <a href="http://controlarms.org/en/">NGO partners</a> to achieve robust, legally binding, global rules on international arms transfers to stem the flow of conventional arms and munitions that fuel atrocities and human rights abuses. More than a million people around the world have called on governments to agree a strong Arms Trade Treaty with robust rules to protect lives.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On 2 April 2013, a total of <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/un-puts-human-rights-heart-historic-arms-trade-treaty-2013-04-02">155 states voted in the UN General Assembly to adopt the ATT</a> and 119 states have since signed the treaty, indicating their willingness to bring it into their national law. Although 41 states that supported the adoption of the treaty last year have yet to sign the treaty, international momentum to make the treaty a reality is still growing.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International has continued to document and expose irresponsible arms transfers that facilitate grave abuses. This includes a massive shipment of arms from China to South Sudan where both sides to the armed conflict have been committing horrific acts, and recent arms supplies to Egypt from the USA, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Turkey despite a substantial risk those arms would be used by Egyptian security forces to commit or facilitate serious human rights violations.<br /><br /></p><p>Russia is now positioning itself to be a major exporter of military equipment to Egypt. According to press reports, Egypt has signed a deal for $US2 billion worth of military equipment, including military helicopters. The deal, reportedly finalized during General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s state visit to Moscow in February, is said to be financed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Protection for the millions of people whose lives are devastated by the poorly regulated global arms trade is set to take a giant leap forward, with the historic Arms Trade Treaty expected to surpass the 50 ratifications needed to trigger its entry into force.</p><p>&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/200620_Arms_Trade_Treaty (1).jpg?1411562244" /> </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/49433">ATT 50th ratification</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/multimedia/video/att-50th-ratification-">ATT 50th ratification</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"> ArmsTreaty </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="40.750213">40° 45' 0.7668" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-73.967546">73° 58' 3.1656" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.com?q=40.750213+-73.967546+%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 is a milestone in the fight to end the human suffering caused by the irresponsible flow of arms. By the end of this year, there will be robust global rules to stop arms going to human rights abusers. </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 of 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">Thu, 25/09/2014</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/global-arms-trade-treaty-beginners-guide-50th-ratification-update-2014-09-25">Global Arms Trade Treaty – a beginners’ guide: 50th ratification update</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"> Q&amp;A, 25 September 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="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/it-s-time-to-bite-the-bullet-stop-arms-for-atrocities">It’s time to bite the bullet: Stop arms for atrocities</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-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/long-journey-towards-arms-trade-treaty-2013-03-27">The long journey towards an Arms Trade Treaty</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, 5 June 2013 </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/un-puts-human-rights-heart-historic-arms-trade-treaty-2013-04-02">UN puts human rights at heart of historic Arms Trade Treaty</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, 2 April 2013 </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/campaigns/control-arms">Arms control and human 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"> Campaign </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Armed Conflict Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes Human Rights Standards Military, Security And Police Equipment United Nations USA Arms control and human rights Wed, 24 Sep 2014 12:41:53 +0000 Amnesty International 49435 at http://www.amnesty.org El Salvador: Total ban on abortion is killing women and girls and condemning others to decades behind bars http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/el-salvador-total-ban-abortion-killing-women-and-girls-and-condemning-others-decades-behind-bar <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"> El Salvador: Total ban on abortion is killing women and girls </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">25 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The government’s repressive and outdated total ban on abortion is blighting the lives of women and girls in El Salvador, pushing them to unsafe, clandestine abortions or forcing them through dangerous pregnancies, Amnesty International said today. Those terminating their pregnancies could face years in prison.</p><p><span>Amnesty International’s recent report, <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR29/003/2014/en"><em>On the brink of death: Violence against women and the abortion ban in El Salvador</em></a>, charts how the country’s restrictive law results in the deaths of hundreds of women and girls who seek clandestine abortions. The criminalization of the practice has also resulted in those suspected of undertaking an abortion facing long prison sentences.</span></p><p><span>“The horrific repression that women and girls in El Salvador face is truly shocking and akin to torture. They are denied their fundamental right to make decisions about their own bodies and are severely punished if they dare to do so,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, who launched the report in San Salvador today.</span></p><p><span>“Shockingly, the ban extends even to cases where the life of the pregnant woman is at risk, meaning those too ill to safely carry a pregnancy to term face an impossible choice: trapped between potential jail if they have an abortion or a death sentence if they do nothing.”</span></p><p><span>The country’s restrictive laws mean women and girls found guilty of having an abortion face between two to eight years in jail.</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International’s report documents how in some cases women who had natural miscarriages found themselves prosecuted and jailed for decades. Under homicide laws, they face a potential sentence of up to 50 years in prison.</span></p><p><span>That was the case for María Teresa Rivera who is currently serving a 40-year prison sentence after having a miscarriage.</span></p><p><span>María Teresa Rivera, who already had a five-year-old child, did not know she had fallen pregnant again until she was taken ill at the garment factory where she worked. She was found by her mother-in-law, bleeding on the bathroom floor and was rushed to hospital where a member of staff reported her to the police. Police officers arrived and began questioning her without a lawyer present.</span></p><p><span>In July 2012 she was tried and found guilty of aggravated homicide, despite serious flaws in the evidence against her. Her young son will be 45 years old by the time she is freed.</span></p><p><span>María Teresa Rivera is one of scores of women imprisoned on pregnancy-related grounds, including abortion and miscarriage. Some of the women have already served more than 10 years in prison. She, like most of the women in Amnesty International’s report, comes from the poorest sector of society.</span></p><p><span>The ban on abortion even extends to children who have been raped. The law forces everyone to carry a pregnancy to term, even though this can have devastating effects, both physically and psychologically.</span></p><p><span>A doctor who treated a ten-year-old rape survivor told Amnesty International: “It was a very difficult case … she didn’t understand what was happening to her… She asked us for colouring pencils and it broke all of our hearts. We said: ‘She’s still just a girl, just a little girl.’ She didn’t understand that she was expecting [pregnant].” The girl was forced to continue her pregnancy.</span></p><p><span>The repressive anti-abortion laws in El Salvador are indicative of much wider discrimination against women and girls in the country. Gender stereotyping extends even to judicial decision-making with judges sometimes questioning the credibility of women. Discriminatory attitudes towards women and girls also means access to sex education and contraceptives are near impossible.</span></p><p><span>“The failure of the Salvadoran government to address discrimination against women severely restricts the lives of women and girls. Their refusal to properly address the insurmountable barriers to contraception and effective sex education means that generations of young women are at risk of a future shaped by inequality, discrimination, limited choices and restricted freedoms,” said Salil Shetty.</span></p><p><span>“The world cannot sit idly by and watch women and girls in El Salvador suffer and die. Amnesty International is calling on the government of El Salvador to decriminalise abortion on all counts. The government must provide women and girls with access to safe and legal abortion services at least when the pregnancy is a risk to their lives, health, or when the pregnancy is a result of rape or in cases of severe foetal impairment.”</span></p><p><span>El Salvador is one of seven countries in Latin America where abortion is totally banned by law; Chile, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Surinam. Some of those countries, like Chile, are already taking steps to rectify their laws.</span></p><p><span>The case of <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/el-salvador-beatriz-update-2013-06-04%20">Beatriz</a>, a 22-year-old woman from a rural part of El Salvador, became widely known last year. Beatriz has a history of lupus and other serious medical conditions. She became pregnant but the foetus she was carrying was anencephalic (lacking a large part of the brain and skull), a fatal condition which mean it would not survive more than a few hours or days beyond birth. She was denied an abortion even after taking her case to the Supreme Court. On 3 June 2013, after intervention from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and international press attention, the Salvadoran government finally permitted Beatriz to have an early caesarean section. The newborn died hours later.</span></p><p><strong><span>Individual stories</span></strong></p><p><span><strong>María Teresa Rivera</strong> is serving a 40-year prison sentence for having a miscarriage. She was a 28-year-old single parent, working in a garment factory when one day she felt the urgent need to use the toilet. She was later found by her mother-in-law, bleeding on the bathroom floor. She had not known she was pregnant.</span></p><p><span>María Teresa was rushed to hospital where a member of staff reported her to the police. Police officers arrived and began questioning María Teresa without a lawyer present.</span></p><p><span>She was tried and found guilty of aggravated homicide, despite the fact that much of the evidence used against her was seriously flawed. The judge declared that María Teresa’s assertion that she had not known she was pregnant – a key point in the case – was not credible because the court had evidence that in January 2011 she told her employer that she thought she might be pregnant. A pregnancy which began in January 2011 and ended in November 2011 would mean María Teresa had been pregnant for 11 months.</span></p><p><span>María Teresa told Amnesty International: “On the day of the hearing, I only felt pain. When they passed sentence on me I asked God for strength. ‘Lord,’ I said, ‘my son will be 45 years old by the time I get out of this place.’”</span></p><p><span>“What are my hopes for the future? Freedom. I often feel sad at night, because I want to be with my son, to sleep beside him… I want them [women outside prison] to value all that they have outside, because they don’t realize what they’ve got. Water, one cent… they should value everything, everything”.</span></p><p><span>She is now one of a group of 17 women imprisoned, some on pregnancy-related grounds, including abortion and miscarriage, whose cases are being petitioned for a pardon from the President. All of the cases have exhausted all other legal avenues for their release.</span></p><p><span><strong>Cristina</strong> reported having a miscarriage when she was 18 years old. One day she felt a searing pain and rushed to the bathroom where she lost consciousness. She was found by her family, haemorrhaging and covered in blood. Cristina was rushed to hospital where, far from being treated as a patient in distress, she was accused of being a criminal and asked “why did you kill your child?”</span></p><p><span>Hospital staff reported Cristina to the police on suspicion of having an abortion. She was charged with aggravated homicide which was dismissed in October 2004 on grounds of insufficient evidence. However, the Attorney General’s Office appealed and Cristina was subsequently convicted in August 2005 and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.</span></p><p><span>Cristina told Amnesty International: “The cause of death was undetermined, they didn’t know why the baby had died, so how is it possible that they accused me of aggravated homicide for the death of my child when they didn’t even have this basic evidence? This is negligence on the part of the judges, and it is completely obvious. …How do these people, who are supposed to be such professionals, make this kind of mistake?”</span></p><p><span>The prosecutor had argued that Christina had an obligation to do more to save her child. However it is understood that a doctor from the Institute of Forensic Medicine gave evidence telling the court Cristina had suffered shock and had lost consciousness at the time of birth.</span></p><p><span>“How was I, passed out unconscious on the floor, supposed to go running to the hospital with my baby?” asked Cristina.</span></p><p><span>The Ministry of Justice and Public Security eventually commuted her sentence on the grounds that it had been excessive, severe and disproportionate.</span></p><p><span>Cristina was released from prison in August 2009, but not before having served four years in prison.&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The government’s repressive and outdated total ban on abortion is blighting the lives of women and girls in El Salvador, pushing them to unsafe, clandestine abortions or forcing them through dangerous pregnancies.</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/193297_Street_scene_in_Suchitoto..jpg?1411557235" /> </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/49428">El Salvador Story</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"> <ul><li><span>Women and girls found guilty of having an abortion face a prison sentence of two to eight years.</span></li><li><span>Health care providers who assist them face up to 12 years in prison.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Women who have had miscarriages have been charged with aggravated homicide, a charge which can bring a sentence of up to 50 years in prison.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>El Salvador banned abortion in all circumstances in 1998.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Last year the National Civil Police recorded that 16 women and girls were charged with the crime of abortion, six of them were under 17 years old at the time of the alleged offences.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Because of the ban, clandestine abortions are common. According to the Ministry of Health, there were 19,290 abortions in El Salvador between 2005 and 2008. The actual figure is likely to be much higher.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Common methods used by women and girls to terminate a pregnancy include: ingesting rat poison or other pesticides, and thrusting knitting needles, pieces of wood and other sharp objects into the cervix, and the use of the ulcer treatment drug misoprostol, which has become widely used to induce abortions.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>According to the latest World Health Organisation figures, 11 per cent of women and girls who underwent a clandestine abortion in El Salvador died as a result. &nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Suicide accounts for 57 per cent of the deaths of pregnant females aged 10 to 19 in El Salvador, though it is likely many more cases have gone unreported.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>A newspaper poll in 2013 revealed 74 per cent of people polled in El Salvador favoured an abortion when a woman’s life is at risk.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>El Salvador has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Latin America.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Last year the National Civil Police registered 1,346 rapes of women and girls. Nearly two-thirds were aged under 15 or classified as “mentally incapacitated” and unable to give informed consent.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>There is only one women’s refuge in El Salvador. It can accommodate just 35 women and children.&nbsp;</span></li></ul> </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"> AMR29/003/2014 </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"> MyBodyMyRights </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">El Salvador</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="14.353414">14° 21' 12.2904" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-88.849418">88° 50' 57.9048" 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 horrific repression that women and girls in El Salvador face is truly shocking and akin to torture. They are denied their fundamental right to make decisions about their own bodies and are severely punished if they dare to do so. </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 of Amnesty International. </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>How was I, passed out unconscious on the floor, supposed to go running to the hospital with my baby?</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"> Cristina, who served for years in prison after having had a miscarriage. </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/AMR29/003/2014/en">On the brink of death: Violence against women and the abortion ban in El Salvador</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 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/news/twelve-facts-about-abortion-ban-el-salvador-2014-09-25">Twelve facts about the abortion ban in El Salvador</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"> Facts and Figures, 25 September 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="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/campaigns/end-abortion-ban-el-salvador">End abortion ban in El Salvador</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> Activists Detention Economic, Social and Cultural Rights El Salvador Poverty Women Security with Human Rights Wed, 24 Sep 2014 11:21:40 +0000 Amnesty International 49429 at http://www.amnesty.org Cambodia: New deal with Australia signs away refugee rights http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/cambodia-new-deal-australia-signs-away-refugee-rights-2014-09-25 <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"> Cambodia: New deal with Australia signs away refugee 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">25 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>A new low in Australia’s deplorable and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers has been reached with a deal to apparently ship refugees to Cambodia, where respect for their human rights cannot be guaranteed, said Amnesty International.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>An agreement between the Australian and Cambodian governments to relocate refugees to the South-East Asian state is to be signed tomorrow, 26 September, in Phnom Penh by Cambodia’s Minister of Interior and Australia’s Minister of Immigration and Border Protection.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“This agreement is putting the short-term political interests of the Australian government ahead of the protection of some of the world's most vulnerable people – refugees,” said Rupert Abbott, Deputy Asia-Pacific Director at Amnesty International.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“It makes Cambodia complicit in Australia’s human rights breaches and seriously flawed offshore processing system.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The lack of transparency over the terms of the agreement has been a major cause of concern in both countries. There has been no opportunity for civil society to contribute to discussions or to formally raise objections on the basis of international human rights standards.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International and other international rights groups have questioned Cambodia’s suitability as a host country for refugees relocated by Australia.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The human rights situation in the country is troubling. There has been a marked deterioration of respect for freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, including a violent crackdown by security forces on striking workers and activists in January, while forced evictions, land disputes and land grabbing affect thousands of people.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“In January the Australian Government condemned Cambodia's human rights record at a UN human rights hearing, but will now relocate vulnerable refugees, possibly including children, to the country,” said Rupert Abbott.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Providing appropriate services to ensure successful settlement of refugees requires considerable expertise and a coordinated approach for the various services required, especially for children.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International cannot envisage how this will be possible given the lack of required services in Cambodia.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Background</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Many of the refugees who will apparently be relocated as part of the agreement between Cambodia and Australia have already been held unlawfully in harsh, humiliating conditions in Australia’s offshore detention centres.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International has documented how asylum seekers offshore <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA12/002/2013/en">have been subjected to a host of human rights violations and abuses</a>, including violent assault, as they wait in legal limbo.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Ultimately, the international refugee protection system obliges Australia to allow these individuals to obtain international protection in Australia.&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 new low in Australia’s deplorable and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers has been reached with a deal to apparently ship refugees to Cambodia, where respect for their human rights cannot be guaranteed, said Amnesty International.</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/200727_Australia_Edges_Closer_To_Cambodia_Refugee_Transfer_Deal (1).jpg?1411639870" /> </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/49447">Cambodia refugee deal</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">Australia</div> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.com?q=%2C+%2C+%2C+%2C+au">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 agreement is putting the short-term political interests of the Australian government ahead of the protection of some of the world&#039;s most vulnerable people – refugees </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"> Rupert Abbott, Deputy Asia-Pacific 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">Thu, 25/09/2014</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.au/news/comments/35642/">Australia’s Cambodia refugee deal: “Inappropriate, immoral and likely illegal”</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"> Joint NGO statement, 25 September 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/australia-cambodia-scrap-asylum-seeker-deal-2014-05-01">Australia and Cambodia should scrap asylum seeker deal</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-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/library/info/ASA12/002/2013/en">Australia: This is breaking people: Human rights violations at Australia’s asylum seeker processing centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea</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, 11 December 2013 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Australia Cambodia Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:15:31 +0000 Amnesty International 49448 at http://www.amnesty.org El Salvador: Total ban on abortion is killing women and girls and condemning others to decades behind bars http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/el-salvador-total-ban-abortion-killing-women-and-girls-and-condemning-others-decades-behind-bar <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"> El Salvador: Total ban on abortion is killing women and girls </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">25 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The government’s repressive and outdated total ban on abortion is blighting the lives of women and girls in El Salvador, pushing them to unsafe, clandestine abortions or forcing them through dangerous pregnancies, Amnesty International said today. Those terminating their pregnancies could face years in prison.</p><p><span>Amnesty International’s recent report, <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR29/003/2014/en"><em>On the brink of death: Violence against women and the abortion ban in El Salvador</em></a>, charts how the country’s restrictive law results in the deaths of hundreds of women and girls who seek clandestine abortions. The criminalization of the practice has also resulted in those suspected of undertaking an abortion facing long prison sentences.</span></p><p><span>“The horrific repression that women and girls in El Salvador face is truly shocking and akin to torture. They are denied their fundamental right to make decisions about their own bodies and are severely punished if they dare to do so,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, who launched the report in San Salvador today.</span></p><p><span>“Shockingly, the ban extends even to cases where the life of the pregnant woman is at risk, meaning those too ill to safely carry a pregnancy to term face an impossible choice: trapped between potential jail if they have an abortion or a death sentence if they do nothing.”</span></p><p><span>The country’s restrictive laws mean women and girls found guilty of having an abortion face between two to eight years in jail.</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International’s report documents how in some cases women who had natural miscarriages found themselves prosecuted and jailed for decades. Under homicide laws, they face a potential sentence of up to 50 years in prison.</span></p><p><span>That was the case for María Teresa Rivera who is currently serving a 40-year prison sentence after having a miscarriage.</span></p><p><span>María Teresa Rivera, who already had a five-year-old child, did not know she had fallen pregnant again until she was taken ill at the garment factory where she worked. She was found by her mother-in-law, bleeding on the bathroom floor and was rushed to hospital where a member of staff reported her to the police. Police officers arrived and began questioning her without a lawyer present.</span></p><p><span>In July 2012 she was tried and found guilty of aggravated homicide, despite serious flaws in the evidence against her. Her young son will be 45 years old by the time she is freed.</span></p><p><span>María Teresa Rivera is one of scores of women imprisoned on pregnancy-related grounds, including abortion and miscarriage. Some of the women have already served more than 10 years in prison. She, like most of the women in Amnesty International’s report, comes from the poorest sector of society.</span></p><p><span>The ban on abortion even extends to children who have been raped. The law forces everyone to carry a pregnancy to term, even though this can have devastating effects, both physically and psychologically.</span></p><p><span>A doctor who treated a ten-year-old rape survivor told Amnesty International: “It was a very difficult case … she didn’t understand what was happening to her… She asked us for colouring pencils and it broke all of our hearts. We said: ‘She’s still just a girl, just a little girl.’ She didn’t understand that she was expecting [pregnant].” The girl was forced to continue her pregnancy.</span></p><p><span>The repressive anti-abortion laws in El Salvador are indicative of much wider discrimination against women and girls in the country. Gender stereotyping extends even to judicial decision-making with judges sometimes questioning the credibility of women. Discriminatory attitudes towards women and girls also means access to sex education and contraceptives are near impossible.</span></p><p><span>“The failure of the Salvadoran government to address discrimination against women severely restricts the lives of women and girls. Their refusal to properly address the insurmountable barriers to contraception and effective sex education means that generations of young women are at risk of a future shaped by inequality, discrimination, limited choices and restricted freedoms,” said Salil Shetty.</span></p><p><span>“The world cannot sit idly by and watch women and girls in El Salvador suffer and die. Amnesty International is calling on the government of El Salvador to decriminalise abortion on all counts. The government must provide women and girls with access to safe and legal abortion services at least when the pregnancy is a risk to their lives, health, or when the pregnancy is a result of rape or in cases of severe foetal impairment.”</span></p><p><span>El Salvador is one of seven countries in Latin America where abortion is totally banned by law; Chile, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Surinam. Some of those countries, like Chile, are already taking steps to rectify their laws.</span></p><p><span>The case of <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/el-salvador-beatriz-update-2013-06-04%20">Beatriz</a>, a 22-year-old woman from a rural part of El Salvador, became widely known last year. Beatriz has a history of lupus and other serious medical conditions. She became pregnant but the foetus she was carrying was anencephalic (lacking a large part of the brain and skull), a fatal condition which mean it would not survive more than a few hours or days beyond birth. She was denied an abortion even after taking her case to the Supreme Court. On 3 June 2013, after intervention from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and international press attention, the Salvadoran government finally permitted Beatriz to have an early caesarean section. The newborn died hours later.</span></p><p><strong><span>Individual stories</span></strong></p><p><span><strong>María Teresa Rivera</strong> is serving a 40-year prison sentence for having a miscarriage. She was a 28-year-old single parent, working in a garment factory when one day she felt the urgent need to use the toilet. She was later found by her mother-in-law, bleeding on the bathroom floor. She had not known she was pregnant.</span></p><p><span>María Teresa was rushed to hospital where a member of staff reported her to the police. Police officers arrived and began questioning María Teresa without a lawyer present.</span></p><p><span>She was tried and found guilty of aggravated homicide, despite the fact that much of the evidence used against her was seriously flawed. The judge declared that María Teresa’s assertion that she had not known she was pregnant – a key point in the case – was not credible because the court had evidence that in January 2011 she told her employer that she thought she might be pregnant. A pregnancy which began in January 2011 and ended in November 2011 would mean María Teresa had been pregnant for 11 months.</span></p><p><span>María Teresa told Amnesty International: “On the day of the hearing, I only felt pain. When they passed sentence on me I asked God for strength. ‘Lord,’ I said, ‘my son will be 45 years old by the time I get out of this place.’”</span></p><p><span>“What are my hopes for the future? Freedom. I often feel sad at night, because I want to be with my son, to sleep beside him… I want them [women outside prison] to value all that they have outside, because they don’t realize what they’ve got. Water, one cent… they should value everything, everything”.</span></p><p><span>She is now one of a group of 17 women imprisoned, some on pregnancy-related grounds, including abortion and miscarriage, whose cases are being petitioned for a pardon from the President. All of the cases have exhausted all other legal avenues for their release.</span></p><p><span><strong>Cristina</strong> reported having a miscarriage when she was 18 years old. One day she felt a searing pain and rushed to the bathroom where she lost consciousness. She was found by her family, haemorrhaging and covered in blood. Cristina was rushed to hospital where, far from being treated as a patient in distress, she was accused of being a criminal and asked “why did you kill your child?”</span></p><p><span>Hospital staff reported Cristina to the police on suspicion of having an abortion. She was charged with aggravated homicide which was dismissed in October 2004 on grounds of insufficient evidence. However, the Attorney General’s Office appealed and Cristina was subsequently convicted in August 2005 and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.</span></p><p><span>Cristina told Amnesty International: “The cause of death was undetermined, they didn’t know why the baby had died, so how is it possible that they accused me of aggravated homicide for the death of my child when they didn’t even have this basic evidence? This is negligence on the part of the judges, and it is completely obvious. …How do these people, who are supposed to be such professionals, make this kind of mistake?”</span></p><p><span>The prosecutor had argued that Christina had an obligation to do more to save her child. However it is understood that a doctor from the Institute of Forensic Medicine gave evidence telling the court Cristina had suffered shock and had lost consciousness at the time of birth.</span></p><p><span>“How was I, passed out unconscious on the floor, supposed to go running to the hospital with my baby?” asked Cristina.</span></p><p><span>The Ministry of Justice and Public Security eventually commuted her sentence on the grounds that it had been excessive, severe and disproportionate.</span></p><p><span>Cristina was released from prison in August 2009, but not before having served four years in prison.&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The government’s repressive and outdated total ban on abortion is blighting the lives of women and girls in El Salvador, pushing them to unsafe, clandestine abortions or forcing them through dangerous pregnancies.</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/193297_Street_scene_in_Suchitoto..jpg?1411557235" /> </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/49428">El Salvador Story</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"> <ul><li><span>Women and girls found guilty of having an abortion face a prison sentence of two to eight years.</span></li><li><span>Health care providers who assist them face up to 12 years in prison.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Women who have had miscarriages have been charged with aggravated homicide, a charge which can bring a sentence of up to 50 years in prison.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>El Salvador banned abortion in all circumstances in 1998.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Last year the National Civil Police recorded that 16 women and girls were charged with the crime of abortion, six of them were under 17 years old at the time of the alleged offences.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Because of the ban, clandestine abortions are common. According to the Ministry of Health, there were 19,290 abortions in El Salvador between 2005 and 2008. The actual figure is likely to be much higher.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Common methods used by women and girls to terminate a pregnancy include: ingesting rat poison or other pesticides, and thrusting knitting needles, pieces of wood and other sharp objects into the cervix, and the use of the ulcer treatment drug misoprostol, which has become widely used to induce abortions.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>According to the latest World Health Organisation figures, 11 per cent of women and girls who underwent a clandestine abortion in El Salvador died as a result. &nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Suicide accounts for 57 per cent of the deaths of pregnant females aged 10 to 19 in El Salvador, though it is likely many more cases have gone unreported.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>A newspaper poll in 2013 revealed 74 per cent of people polled in El Salvador favoured an abortion when a woman’s life is at risk.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>El Salvador has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Latin America.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Last year the National Civil Police registered 1,346 rapes of women and girls. Nearly two-thirds were aged under 15 or classified as “mentally incapacitated” and unable to give informed consent.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>There is only one women’s refuge in El Salvador. It can accommodate just 35 women and children.&nbsp;</span></li></ul> </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"> AMR29/003/2014 </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"> MyBodyMyRights </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">El Salvador</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="14.353414">14° 21' 12.2904" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-88.849418">88° 50' 57.9048" 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 horrific repression that women and girls in El Salvador face is truly shocking and akin to torture. They are denied their fundamental right to make decisions about their own bodies and are severely punished if they dare to do so. </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 of Amnesty International. </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>How was I, passed out unconscious on the floor, supposed to go running to the hospital with my baby?</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"> Cristina, who served for years in prison after having had a miscarriage. </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/AMR29/003/2014/en">On the brink of death: Violence against women and the abortion ban in El Salvador</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 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/news/twelve-facts-about-abortion-ban-el-salvador-2014-09-25">Twelve facts about the abortion ban in El Salvador</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"> Facts and Figures, 25 September 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="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/campaigns/end-abortion-ban-el-salvador">End abortion ban in El Salvador</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> Activists Detention Economic, Social and Cultural Rights El Salvador Poverty Women Security with Human Rights Wed, 24 Sep 2014 11:21:40 +0000 Amnesty International 49429 at http://www.amnesty.org Global Arms Trade Treaty – a beginners’ guide: 50th ratification update http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/global-arms-trade-treaty-beginners-guide-50th-ratification-update-2014-09-25 <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"> Global Arms Trade Treaty – 50th ratification update </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">25 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>On 2 April 2013, after <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/long-journey-towards-arms-trade-treaty-2013-03-27">20 years of determined lobbying and campaigning</a> by Amnesty International and partner NGOs, the <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/un-puts-human-rights-heart-historic-arms-trade-treaty-2013-04-02">UN General Assembly voted decisively to adopt the Arms Trade Treaty</a> (<a href="http://www.un.org/disarmament/ATT/">ATT) text</a>. Now the treaty is on the cusp of becoming international law which could change the lives of millions.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International’s arms expert Brian Wood explains how the uncontrolled flow of arms is ruining millions of lives and decimating entire communities, as well as why this treaty is so historic.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>How did the idea of the Arms Trade Treaty come about?&nbsp;</strong></p><p>The idea started in late 1993 in an Amnesty International office in central London, where three other UK NGO representatives and I developed ideas for a legal instrument to stop arms trading that contributes to human rights violations.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In the 1920s and 1930s the imperial powers proposed an arms trade treaty but without any common rules for protecting human rights, so their efforts collapsed in the lead up to the Second World War.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>With help from lawyers at Cambridge and Essex Universities and from Nobel Peace Laureates, especially Oscar Arias, our NGO advocacy efforts spread from Europe to the Americas, attracting the support of John Kerry in the US Congress.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>From 2003 the civil society campaign initiated by Amnesty, Oxfam and IANSA, a network of hundreds of NGOs working on small arms, went increasingly global. The call for an Arms Trade Treaty or ATT with a “golden rule” to protect human rights began to be debated in the United Nations.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>What does the international arms trade look like now?</strong></p><p>The trade details are often shrouded in secrecy, but recorded value of international transfers of conventional arms is approaching USD$100 billion annually; in 2010 it was around $80 billion, so it’s growing fast.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>And if you add on all the related services, including military and construction for example, it’s worth is of around 120 billion US dollars.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>At the moment there are around 40 countries with larger-scale defence production capabilities and another 60 or so countries manufacturing arms on a smaller scale – over half of the 193 UN member states make and supply weapons and military equipment.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>This trade in deadly or dangerous products is still not controlled strictly and carefully, so millions of people are getting killed, maimed and abused.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>So, how many people are dying each year due to arms?</strong></p><p>It is estimated that roughly half a million people are killed every year with firearms. People are killed in the battlefield as well as by state repression and criminal gangs.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Many other millions around the world die because they are being denied access to health care, water or food as they are trapped in conflicts fuelled by the poorly controlled flow of arms. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, it is estimated more than five million people died indirectly because of the armed conflict since 1998.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>And for every person who is killed in armed conflict and armed violence, we have to consider the many more people that are injured and tortured, abused, forcibly disappeared, taken hostage or otherwise denied their human rights at the point of a gun.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The problem is absolutely massive and on-going as seen now in Syria, Iraq, Libya and South Sudan. Irresponsible arms trading can sooner or later in many parts of the world destroy every area of people’s lives and livelihoods.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Who is particularly affected by the uncontrolled flow of arms?</strong></p><p>Women are greatly affected in ways that often are invisible and not talked about very much.&nbsp;</p><p>In Guinea, for example, we heard the story of a woman who was raped by a soldier while another one was holding a gun to her head. This sort of violence can happen on a massive scale.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>You can also see a disproportionate effect on children, young people and refugees. In some countries, children are recruited into the armed forces and to armed groups and forced to fight.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Who is responsible for this situation?</strong></p><p>The five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the United States of America, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom – are the world’s largest arms traders. Germany, Israel, Italy, Sweden, South Africa, Spain, Belgium and Ukraine are also large arms traders.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The largest importers of arms include India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries in Asia and the Middle East.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>What about businesses, aren’t they responsible too?&nbsp;</strong></p><p>It’s true that most of the arms trade is carried out by commercial entities, by manufacturing and trading companies, military service providers, arms brokers and dealers as well as those who transport the arms and finance them.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>But the primary responsibility for the trade rests with governments who claim the right of self-defence and have a duty to protect their populations. Only states can regulate the trade through granting or refusing licenses, and only states can prohibit certain inhumane types of arms and impose arms embargoes and suspensions.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The key problem is that the design and enforcement of arms trade laws have simply not kept pace with global arms markets, and the will by political leaders to address this has been sorely lacking.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>What is the Arms Trade Treaty and how can it make a difference?</strong></p><p>The ATT is an international treaty that sets out for the first time robust global rules to stop arms going to human rights abusers.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The ATT includes a number of rules to stop the flow of weapons, munitions and related items to countries when it is known they would be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or other serious violations of human rights. Each state must assess if there is a substantial risk that a proposed arms export to another country will contribute to serious human rights abuses, and if so those arms must not be sent.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Is the Arms Trade Treaty international law?&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Nearly. To become legally binding, the treaty must first be ratified by 50 states. Over the past year, 119 states have signed the treaty. This week we have reached the magic 50 ratifications so the treaty will soon become international law.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>What is ratification?&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Ratification is when a state declares its consent to abide by the rules of a treaty, and this is done in two steps. Firstly, the state incorporates the rules of the treaty into its national laws, which is usually done after parliamentary approval. Secondly, it declares its consent to abide by the rules of the treaty internationally, by submitting official paperwork to the United Nations.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>What does ‘enters into force’ actually mean?&nbsp;</strong></p><p>This is when the rules of the treaty come into effect, and it becomes binding international law on all countries that have ratified the ATT.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The ATT enters into force 90 days after its <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/un-landmark-arms-trade-treaty-become-reality-50th-ratification-2014-09-25">50th ratification</a>. Since this happened on 25 September 2014, the treaty will become international law on 25 December 2014.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Once the treaty enters into force, the challenge will be to ensure proper implementation so that no state authorizes arms transfers to those committing crimes against humanity or war crimes, or turns a blind eye to dealers supplying arms likely to be used to commit serious human rights violations.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>What about those states that have yet to sign or ratify the ATT?&nbsp;</strong></p><p>The campaign doesn’t stop here. Amnesty International and its NGO partners are keeping up the pressure on states by exposing cases of blatantly irresponsible arms transfers and pressing governments to bring the ATT rules into their own national laws by ratifying the treaty. Amnesty International will also be ensuring that states effectively and robustly implement the ATT and will monitor how states do this.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>You can <a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/it-s-time-to-bite-the-bullet-stop-arms-for-atrocities">find out more about how you can help to pressure governments here</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Have the world’s major arms exporters adopted the treaty in their law?&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Five of the top 10 arms exporters – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK have already ratified the ATT. &nbsp;While the USA is yet to ratify it has signed the treaty. There has been resistance to ratification from other major arms producers like China, Canada, Israel and Russia.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>While it’s important that all the world’s largest arms exporting countries are part of the treaty, it is important to stress that well over half of all states have already signed the ATT and over a quarter have ratified the treaty in little over a year, which is a fast pace for such a global treaty touching on security and human rights issues. Global civil society and champion governments will continue to pile on the pressure on other states to sign too, and it’s important that activists like you contribute to that as much as possible.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>How would it be possible to ensure governments will respect the treaty?</strong></p><p>Under the treaty all governments must submit annual reports on their arms trading. They will meet regularly where they can put pressure on each other to find out whether they are acting responsibly. If they accuse each other of violating the treaty, they can submit to arbitration or mediation. So far the treaty does not have a system for independent verification, but the treaty can in time be strengthened through amendments.&nbsp;</p><p>For the first time, the ATT will set an international standard that governments and civil society can use to hold accountable those who sell weapons or munitions irresponsibly. It will also prevent the flow of arms into places plagued by human rights abuses by closing the many loopholes arms dealers and unscrupulous governments use to navigate with impunity.&nbsp;</p><p><span><strong>THE WORLD’S FIVE BIGGEST ARMS DEALERS</strong></span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>China</strong></p><p>Trade data is kept secret but thought to account for perhaps five per cent of the global conventional arms trade.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Key customers</em></p><p>Often developing countries with poor human rights records, including Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, DRC, Guinea, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Sudan and Zimbabwe.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Irresponsible arms transfers</em></p><p>China supplies ammunition and small arms to Sudan, where it is used by security forces and militia in Darfur, as well as to South Sudan and to the DRC. Supplied rockets and anti-vehicle mines to Libya under Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi, and ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades, mortar bombs and mortar launchers to Zimbabwe.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>France</strong></p><p>The value of France’s conventional arms exports ranks third to fifth globally alongside the UK and Germany - behind the USA and Russia.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Key customers</em></p><p>Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Greece, other NATO partners, Middle Eastern, North African and other Francophone countries. France and Russia started co-operating on defence and naval equipment.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Irresponsible arms transfers</em></p><p>France is generally supportive of strict arms transfer criteria, but has supplied arms to countries where serious human rights violations could be committed, including Libya under al-Gaddafi, Egypt, Israel and Chad, and Syria between 2005 and 2009.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Russia</strong></p><p>Russia is the world’s second largest arms trader by value of exports, and an influential ATT negotiator.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Key customers</em></p><p>India, Syria, Algeria, Myanmar, Venezuela, Sudan and many African states. Having fallen behind in key technologies, it is now seeking sophisticated partners and new markets.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Irresponsible transfers</em></p><p>Ten per cent of all Russian arms exports are believed to go to Syria, making it Syria’s largest arms supplier. Transfers include anti-tank missiles and MIG jet fighters. Russia supplies helicopter gunships to Sudan, used to attack civilians in Darfur and Southern Kordofan. Russia is now positioning itself to be a major exporter of military equipment to Egypt. According to press reports, Egypt has signed a deal for $US2 billion worth of military equipment, including military helicopters. The deal, reportedly finalised during General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s state visit to Moscow in February, is said to be financed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>UK</strong></p><p>The value of the UK’s conventional arms exports consistently ranks third, fourth or fifth globally alongside France and Germany.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Key customers</em></p><p>The USA, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, other NATO partners, other countries in the Middle East, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Irresponsible transfers</em></p><p>The UK generally supports strict criteria for arms transfers, but has supplied arms to countries with a high risk of serious human rights violations, including Sri Lanka. UK national legislation is being reviewed following evidence that it supplied small arms, ammunition, munitions and armoured vehicle equipment to Libya under al-Gaddafi, small arms to Bahrain and law enforcement equipment to Yemen.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>USA&nbsp;</strong></p><p>The USA is by far the world’s largest arms trader, accounting for around 30 per cent of conventional arms transfers in terms of value. Its position on the ATT is therefore key.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Key customers</em></p><p>The USA supplies arms to more than 170 countries. It has restricted arms transfers to Myanmar, China, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe and countries subject to UN arms embargoes. However, it has supplied arms to countries including Iraq, Israel, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen, where they have risked being used for serious human rights violations.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Irresponsible transfers</em></p><p>The USA is Egypt’s and Israel’s main arms supplier, selling major weapons as well as small arms, ammunition and chemical agents for riot control, despite the violent crackdown on protesters. The USA also supplied Yemen with small arms, chemical agents and armoured vehicles, and Bahrain with small arms. It provided Colombia’s security forces with arms, military aid and training, despite their persistent human rights violations.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Amnesty International’s arms expert Brian Wood explains how the uncontrolled flow of arms is ruining millions of lives and how it can be stopped.</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/139335_Favela_violence (1).jpg?1411644462" /> </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/49452">ATT Q&amp;A</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/multimedia/video/att-50th-ratification-">ATT 50th ratification</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"> ArmsTreaty </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/it-s-time-to-bite-the-bullet-stop-arms-for-atrocities">It’s time to bite the bullet: Stop arms for atrocities</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://www.amnesty.org/en/news/un-landmark-arms-trade-treaty-become-reality-50th-ratification-2014-09-25">UN: Landmark Arms Trade Treaty to become reality with 50th ratification</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, 25 September 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/news/long-journey-towards-arms-trade-treaty-2013-03-27">The long journey towards an Arms Trade Treaty</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, 5 June 2013 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Armed Conflict Armed Groups Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes Military, Security And Police Equipment United Nations Arms control and human rights Thu, 25 Sep 2014 11:31:01 +0000 Amnesty International 49453 at http://www.amnesty.org European companies allowed to reap rewards from deadly conflict mineral trade http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/europeancompanies-allowed-reap-rewards-deadly-conflict-mineral-trade-2014-09-24 <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"> European companies allowed to reap rewards from deadly conflict mineral trade </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">24 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The European Union is failing to stifle a deadly trade in conflict minerals, a coalition of rights groups including Global Witness and Amnesty International warned today, ahead of weak <a href="http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/press/index.cfm?id=1032">new legislation</a> being discussed in Parliament.</p><p><span>A new analysis by Global Witness shows that companies are bringing billions of euros worth of minerals into Europe without having to disclose if their purchases finance armed groups or human rights violations in countries ravaged by conflict.</span></p><p><span>“At the moment we have no way of knowing what European companies are doing to avoid funding conflict or human rights abuses,” said Michael Gibb of Global Witness.</span></p><p><span>“The European commission has proposed legislation it claims will tackle the problem, but the draft law only goes so far as to suggest companies voluntarily check and declare the source of their minerals. Studies show companies simply don’t check their supply chains, unless they are required to. Putting it starkly, this legislation will not meaningfully reduce the trade in conflict minerals.”</span></p><p><span>The analysis reveals the extent of the EU’s role in the trade of minerals, which if sourced without proper checks from conflict-affected and high-risk areas, can be used to pay for armed groups and security forces who inflict insufferable violence on local communities.</span></p><p><span>The minerals can end up in products such as mobile phones, laptops, cars or light bulbs. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia and Central African Republic, the trade has fuelled deadly conflicts that have displaced over 9.4 million people and led to egregious human rights abuses. &nbsp;In Colombia, the mining companies themselves have been associated with human rights violations.</span></p><p><span>The EU accounted for almost a quarter (€28.5 billion) of the global trade in tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold ores and metals last year, according to the new research. In the same year, 240 million mobile phones and over 100 million laptops were imported into the EU, all of which also contain these minerals. Currently, companies are not required to ensure that the proceeds from this trade do not end up in the wrong hands.</span></p><p><span>Huge volumes of products are brought unchecked into countries like Germany, the UK and France. Germany is the largest importer of mobile phones and laptops in the EU, bringing in around 9.6 million laptops and 28.6 million mobile phones in 2013, worth €18.2 billion. The UK is the second largest importer of mobile phones and laptops, the Netherlands is third, and France is fourth.</span></p><p><span>“There’s good reason to believe European companies are profiting from mineral trades that are filling the pockets of abusive armed groups inresource-rich countries like Congo and Colombia,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director for Global Issues.</span></p><p><span>“The EU needs to come up with a meaningful law that effectively tackles the link between European trade and violent human rights abuses overseas.”</span></p><p><span>The U.S. and a dozen central African countries have measures in place requiring companies to investigate their mineral supply chains, but the EU has none. As the global demand for natural resources increases, the EU is at risk of becoming a major conflict minerals trading hub.</span></p><p><span>The new analysis is revealed as the NGO coalition publicly calls on MEPs and EU Member States to overhaul the proposed law and create something that will give consumers confidence that their purchases do not contribute to harm overseas. Supporters such as Blood Diamond director, Ed Zwick, have backed the campaign.</span></p><p><span>Specifically, the coalition is calling for:</span></p><p>• &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; The voluntary proposal to be replaced by binding requirements, compelling European companies to source minerals responsibly.</p><p>• &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; The proposal to cover morecompanies. The current scheme targets only a paltry 0.05% of Europe-based companies involved in the trade. It doesn’t currently cover companies that import consumer goods, such as laptops, mobile phones and cars, which contain the minerals in question.</p><p>• &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; The proposal to include other natural resources at risk of funding armed groups or abusive security forces or linked to serious human rights abuses, such as diamonds, coal and chromite.</p><p>MEPs and Member States have a responsibility to ensure that companies in Europe do not profit at the expense of local communities in producingcountries. They should give consumers that assurance through robust, meaningful legislation. &nbsp;The introduction of new legislation could be a landmark opportunity to get this right.</p><p>"With lives at stake, this law can’t afford to be short-sighted in scope," said Audrey Gaughran.</p><p><span>"European lawmakers must put mandatoryobligations for companies to source responsibly at the heart of this bill then expand the law’s scope to cover more companies and natural resources. We say to them - put the brakes on this deadly trade or have blood on your conscience."</span></p><p><span>Comments from experts:</span></p><p>Gautier Muhindo Misonia, coordinator of the Centre for Research and Investigation into the Environment, Democracy and Human Rights, in DRC, said: “Weurgently need a strong law in the EU which stops companies ignoring the harms their purchases fuel in countries like the Congo. The artisanal mining sector in the Congo faces huge challenges. Armed groups and military control mines and trading routes. Labour conditions can be very poor. But international scrutiny of the sector has triggered real progress which the EU’s voluntary scheme would undermine. It would allow European companies to profit at the expense of local people.”&nbsp;</p><p>Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, said: "It isvitally important that the EU and the UK pass binding legislation requiring companies to adhere to human rights standards. Currently too many of our corporations are sourcing minerals through supply chains that are actually underwriting conflicts across Africa, enabling wholesale rape and murder. This is a campaign which urgently needs our support."</p><p>Ed Zwick, director of Blood Diamond, and member of Global Witness’ advisory board, hasbacked the campaign. He said:"In Europe, our manufacturers purchase minerals that could be funding the conflicts our aid money hopes to alleviate. And all the while, we risk buying products containing these conflict minerals, blithely unaware of theimplications… This is a landmark opportunity to help put this right. "&nbsp;</p><p>Prof. John Ruggie, the author of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, stated the following in a letter to Commission President Barroso: "[The Guiding Principles] make clear that those companies whose operations or operating contexts pose risks of severe human rights impacts should report formally on how they address them. &nbsp;Where minerals or metals mined in conflict situations through forced labor, child labor and similarly abusive practices may be part of a company’s value chain, this naturally becomes a relevant issue for formal reporting…A move to make reporting entirely optional risks leaving the most responsible companies exposed while those least attentive to their human rights responsibilities continue their current practices undeterred.”</p><p class="MsoNormal"><a name="_GoBack"></a><strong><span>Country by country: Supplementary data on major EU importers</span></strong></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>The table shows the top five importers of laptops and mobile phones into the EU. Both these products contain tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold. <strong>Currently, it is impossible for consumers to tell whether the minerals contained in these products have funded conflict and human rights abuses overseas.</strong> </span></p><table class="MsoNormalTable" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"><tbody><tr><td valign="top" width="101"><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>Germany</span></strong></p></td><td valign="top" width="514"><p class="MsoNormal"><span>Germany is the third largest importer of laptops and mobile phones in the world, and the <strong>largest </strong>in the EU.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>Germany imported 64 million mobile phones and 15 million laptops, worth €14.4bn (US$18.7bn), in 2013.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>In 2013, Germany imported €7.6bn (US$9.8bn), or 52 per cent, of its mobile phones and laptops, from China. (See the section on China’s imports below).</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" width="101"><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>UK</span></strong></p><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>&nbsp;</span></strong></p></td><td valign="top" width="514"><p class="MsoNormal"><span>The UK is the fourth largest importer of laptops and mobile phones in the world, and the <strong>second largest</strong> in the EU.</span><span> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>The UK imported 20 million laptops and over 44.5 million mobile phones, worth £11.2bn (US$18.2bn), in 2013.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>In 2013, the UK imported £4.4bn (US$7.2bn), or 40%, of its mobile phones and laptops, from China. (See the section on China’s imports below). </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" width="101"><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>Netherlands</span></strong><span> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>&nbsp;</span></strong></p></td><td valign="top" width="514"><p class="MsoNormal"><span>The Netherlands is the fifth largest importer of laptops and mobile phones in the world, and the <strong>third largest</strong> in the EU. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>The Netherlands imported 14.8 million mobile phones and 20 million laptops, worth €9.5bn (US$12.3bn), in 2013.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>In 2013, the Netherlands imported €7.1bn (US$9.2bn), or 74 per cent of its mobile phones and laptops, from China. (See the section on China’s imports below).</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>&nbsp;</span></strong></p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" width="101"><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>France</span></strong></p><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>&nbsp;</span></strong></p></td><td valign="top" width="514"><p class="MsoNormal"><span>France is the sixth largest importer of laptops and mobile phones in the world, and the <strong>fourth largest</strong> in the EU.</span><span> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>France imported 16 million laptops and almost 36 million mobile phones, worth €9bn ($11.6bn), in 2013.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>In 2013, France imported €6.2bn (US$8bn), or 69 per cent, of its mobile phones and laptops from China.(See the section on China’s imports below).</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>&nbsp;</span></strong></p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" width="101"><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>Italy</span></strong></p><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>&nbsp;</span></strong></p></td><td valign="top" width="514"><p class="MsoNormal"><span>Italy is the 11th largest importer of laptops and mobile phones in the world, and the <strong>fifth largest</strong> in the EU. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>Italy imported 9.6 million laptops and 28.6 million mobile phones, worth €6.1bn (US$7.9bn), in 2013.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>In 2013, Italy imported €1.9bn (US$2.5bn), or 33 per cent, of its mobile phones and laptops from China. (See the section on China’s imports below).</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>&nbsp;</span></strong></p></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" width="101"><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>China’s Imports</span></strong><span> </span></p></td><td valign="top" width="514"><p class="MsoNormal"><span>A significant proportion of the EU’s mobile phone and laptop imports come from China, as detailed above. China imports significant quantities of ores and metals for use in the manufacture of these products. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>In 2013, China imported over <strong>4,000 tons</strong> of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold ores and concentrates, worth in excess of <strong>€106.6m</strong> (US$138m), from Colombia, the DRC, Rwanda, and Burundi.</span><span> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>This is equivalent in weight to importing <strong>333 double-decker buses</strong> that, if sourced without proper checks from high-risk areas, could have funded war.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span>In 2013 China sourced <strong>23 per cent</strong> of its tantalum ores and concentrates (by weight) from these four countries.</span><span> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><strong><span>&nbsp;</span></strong></p></td></tr></tbody></table><p>&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The European Union is failing to stifle a deadly trade in conflict minerals, a coalition of rights groups including Global Witness and Amnesty International warned today.</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/200619_FRANCE-EU-FLAG.jpg?1411561425" /> </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/49432">EU</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="48.680407">48° 40' 49.4652" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="9.148629">9° 8' 55.0644" 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 EU needs to come up with a meaningful law that effectively tackles the link between European trade and violent human rights abuses overseas.</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"> Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director for Global Issues. </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.globalwitness.org/conflictminerals/">Conflict minerals campaign</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"> Learn more. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Armed Groups Business And Human Rights Europe And Central Asia Wed, 24 Sep 2014 12:40:54 +0000 Amnesty International 49434 at http://www.amnesty.org Malaysia: Sedition investigation into opposition leader politically motivated http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/malaysia-sedition-investigation-opposition-leader-politically-motivated-2014-09-23 <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"> Malaysia: Sedition investigation into opposition leader politically motivated </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">23 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Malaysian authorities’ sedition investigation into opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is blatantly politically motivated and the latest move in a widespread crackdown on dissent using the colonial-era Sedition Act, Amnesty International said today.</p><p><span>Police in Malaysia this morning announced that they are re-opening a sedition investigation relating to &nbsp;a speech given by Anwar Ibrahim, criticizing the government, made during a political rally in March 2011. He will be questioned by police on Friday 26 September 2014 and is, according to one of his lawyers, likely to be charged under the Sedition Act.</span></p><p><span>“This case is clearly political and smacks of persecution – the investigation should be dropped immediately. Anwar Ibrahim has been a favourite target of the authorities for more than a decade, and this appears to be the latest attempt to silence and harass a critical voice,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.</span></p><p><span>Over the past months, Malaysian authorities have intensified their use of the Sedition Act, a colonial-era law that criminalizes criticism of the government, to target peaceful dissidents.</span></p><p><span>Two student activists have been sentenced under the Sedition Act in recent weeks. On 19 September, Adam Adli was sentenced to one year in prison, while Safwan Anang was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment on 5 September. In February, prominent human rights lawyer Karpal Singh was also found guilty of sedition. He passed away in a road traffic accident pending an appeal against his conviction.</span></p><p><span>At least 15 individuals – including activists, opposition politicians, journalists, students and academics – are currently facing charges under the Sedition Act and could face fines or imprisonment. Anwar Ibrahim’s lawyer, Padang Serai MP N Surendran, is among those facing charges.</span></p><p><span>“The Sedition Act is an outdated and repressive piece of legislation that the authorities are using to target anyone who speaks out against those in power. It must be repealed immediately,” said Rupert Abbott.</span></p><p><span>“There has been a disturbing increase in the use of the Sedition Act over the past few months against individuals who have done nothing but peacefully express their opinions. This crackdown is creating a climate of fear in Malaysia and must end.”</span></p><p><span>In 2012, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak publically committed to repealing the draconian law stating that it represented “a bygone era”, but two years later his promise remains unfulfilled.</span></p><p><span><strong>Additional information</strong>&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International has long expressed concerns about the 1948 Sedition Act. The law criminalizes a wide array of acts, including those “with a tendency to excite disaffection against any Ruler or government” or to “question any matter” protected by Malaysia’s Constitution. Those found guilty can face three years in jail, be fined up to MYR 5,000 (approximately USD 1,570) or both. It does not comply with international human rights law, and violates the right to freedom of expression, which is enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and also guaranteed in Article 10 of the Constitution.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The Malaysian authorities’ sedition investigation into opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is blatantly politically motivated and the latest move in a widespread crackdown on dissent using the colonial-era Sedition Act.</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/188822_MALAYSIA-POLITICS-COURT-ANWAR_0.jpg?1411488988" /> </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/49412">Malaysia</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"> Malaysia </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">Malaysia</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="3.706787">3° 42' 24.4332" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="102.481468">102° 28' 53.2848" 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 case is clearly political and smacks of persecution – the investigation should be dropped immediately. Anwar Ibrahim has been a favourite target of the authorities for more than a decade, and this appears to be the latest attempt to silence and harass a critical voice. </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"> Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director. </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://aimalaysia.org/content/adam-adli-verdict-another-attempt-silence-dissent-says-amnesty">Adam Adli verdict another attempt to silence dissent</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"> Press Release, 19 September 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/library/info/ASA28/009/2014/en">Malaysia: Crackdown on freedom of expression</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"> Public Statement, 17 September 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Freedom Of Expression Malaysia Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:19:15 +0000 Amnesty International 49413 at http://www.amnesty.org China: Deplorable life sentence for Uighur academic http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/china-deplorable-x-year-jail-sentence-uighur-scholar-2014-09-17 <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"> China: Deplorable life sentence for Uighur academic </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">23 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The life sentence handed down by a Chinese court to prominent Uighur academic Ilham Tohti on charges of “separatism” is an affront to justice, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;</p><p>“This shameful judgement has no basis in reality. Ilham Tohti worked to peacefully build bridges between ethnic communities and for that he has been punished through politically motivated charges,” said William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>“Tohti is a prisoner of conscience and the Chinese authorities must immediately and unconditionally release him.”&nbsp;</p><p>Through his work as an academic and writer, Tohti has tried to build mutual understanding between Uighurs and Han Chinese in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), amid rising ethnic tensions in the region. He founded the website Uighur Online and is an outspoken critic of Beijing’s policies in the XUAR.&nbsp;</p><p>Police arrested Tohti, along with seven Uighur students, in January this year. &nbsp;He has been tortured in detention, was denied food for 10 days and shackled for more than 20 days.&nbsp;</p><p>His trial has been marked by a series of legal shortcomings. His legal team were refused access to evidence and they were unable to meet Tohti for six months. One of Tohti’s lawyers was also forced to quit the case following political pressure.&nbsp;</p><p>The seven Uighur students face a similar charge of “separatism”, although it is unclear when their trials will take place or whether they have been allowed legal representation.</p><p>“These criminal charges make a mockery of President Xi’s calls for a greater understanding and solidarity between the Uighur and Han communities. Instead of targeting peaceful activists like Tohti the Chinese authorities must end the systemic discrimination and suppression Uighurs face,” said William Nee.&nbsp;</p><p>“It is appalling that seven young Uighurs are caught up in the authorities’ desire to persecute Tohti. It is emblematic of the Chinese authorities prioritization of ‘stability above all else’ above justice and the rule of law.”&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Background</strong></p><p>Uighurs face widespread discrimination in employment, education, housing, and curtailed religious freedom as well as political marginalization.&nbsp;</p><p>The authorities have ratcheted up restrictions on public displays of Islam; long beards have been banned, as have veils, hijabs, and T-shirts with the Islamic crescent moon and star.&nbsp;</p><p>During the month of Ramadan, several government websites in the XUAR put students under extreme pressure by banning fasting and insisting that all Communist Party members and government employees adhere to atheism.</p><p>Tohti’s sentencing comes after a wave of violent attacks and suppression of protests in the region. One of the most violent incidents occurred on 28 July, with state media reporting 37 civilians were killed when a ‘knife wielding mob’ stormed government offices in the town of Shache. Security forces are reported to have shot dead 59 attackers during the incident.&nbsp;</p><p>Uighur groups dispute this account, saying as many as 2,000 Uighurs were killed when police opened fire on hundreds of people protesting against severe restrictions placed on Muslims during Ramadan.&nbsp;</p><p>In May, the authorities launched an anti-terrorism “strike hard” campaign that has seen mass arrests and hundreds of people, mostly Uighurs, rounded up and imprisoned after unfair trials.&nbsp;<span>&nbsp;</span></p><p>This followed a spate of violent attacks in which mostly Han-Chinese were killed. Three died and 79 were injured in a bomb and knife attack at a train station in Urumqi - the region’s capital - on 1 May; followed by bombs being hurled out of cars in the town’s busy market a few weeks later, killing 39 and injuring 94 passers-by.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The life sentence handed down by a Chinese court to prominent Uighur academic Ilham Tohti on charges of “separatism” is an affront to justice.</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="560" height="400" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/200405_University_professor_blogger_and_membe_0.jpg?1411025250" /> </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/49311">Tohti </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">Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region </span> <div class="country-name">China</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="38.308258">38° 18' 29.7288" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="110.478516">110° 28' 42.6576" 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 shameful judgement has no basis in reality. Ilham Tohti worked to peacefully build bridges between ethnic communities and for that he has been punished through politically motivated charges.</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"> William Nee, China 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">Tue, 23/09/2014</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://amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA17/038/2014/en/284ca235-b508-4419-a844-96885e877c2f/asa170382014en.html">Uighur scholar deprived food and shackled: Ilham Tohti</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"> Urgent Action, 27 June 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/china-secret-trial-prominent-uighur-academic-makes-mockery-justice-2014-06-18">China: Secret trial of prominent Uighur academic makes a mockery of 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"> News, 19 June 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> China Wed, 17 Sep 2014 02:39:01 +0000 Amnesty International 49312 at http://www.amnesty.org Dropped anti-abortion bill must usher in better protection of women’s rights in Spain http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/dropped-anti-abortion-bill-must-usher-better-protection-women-s-rights-spain-2014-09-23 <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"> Dropped anti-abortion bill must usher in better protection of women’s rights in Spain </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">23 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>The abandoning of a draconian anti-abortion bill that threatened the health, dignity and lives of women and girls in Spain is a step in a positive direction, Amnesty International said today.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“We’re glad that the Spanish Prime Minister has finally scuppered this retrogressive anti-abortion bill, but the fact remains it should never have been on the legislature’s books in the first place,” said Esteban Beltrán, Director at Amnesty International Spain.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The government must not control decisions women and girls make about their lives and health, and fully implement the recommendations by international human rights bodies.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/spain-proposed-abortion-limits-would-endanger-lives-and-health-women-and-girls-2014-02-21">proposed bill </a>presented a series of obstacles to accessing a safe and legal abortion. For example, a woman or girl seeking an abortion would have to obtain two certificates from doctors at different centres, confirming any risks to the life and health of the woman and the foetus. She would also be obliged to receive counselling and information on non-medical issues, and then to wait seven days during a “reflection” period.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A woman or girl who became pregnant as a result of rape would have been forced to report the crime to the police in order to access abortion services. This would be particularly problematic for victims of incest and migrant women and girls with irregular status who would in some cases risk being expelled from the country if they went to the authorities to report the rape.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The introduction of the bill provoked uproar from international and Spanish civil society groups, health professionals and women and girls in Spain who were vociferous in their opposition to the bill. Amnesty International delivered to the government a letter demanding withdrawal of the draft bill signed by 176 human rights, health and women’s rights organisations and a petition signed by over 130,000 people.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>While the dropping of the bill is an important step, threats to the health and autonomy of women and girls’ in Spain remain. The government is still proposing to require parental consent for adolescent girls aged 16 to 18 seeking to access abortion services. This would be a retrogressive step which contradicts the recent recommendations from the United Nations’ Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that advised Spain to further remove barriers to abortion services, with particular attention to adolescents and migrants.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The end of this bill shouldn’t mean looking for new ways to add barriers to women and girls accessing safe abortions, it must mean looking for ways to dismantle them,” &nbsp;said &nbsp;Esteban Beltrán.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In 2010 Spain adopted Law 2/2010 that relaxed restrictions on abortion services. The law was a welcome legislative development at a time when Spain had some of the most restrictive legislation on abortion in Europe. &nbsp;In 2012, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights urged the government to ensure the full implementation of Law 2/2010.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Instead of complying with this recommendation, the government proposed a bill that would have restricted access further and introduced humiliating obstacles putting at risk the health and lives of women and girls.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International gathered more than 133,400 signatures from around the world opposing this bill. The action was the latest in a series of activities forming part of <a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/campaigns/my-body-my-rights">‘My Body My Rights’</a>, Amnesty International's global campaign to stop the control and criminalization of sexuality and reproduction by governments on others.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Over 2014-2015, the campaign is working for change in people's lives in a number of countries. This campaign aims to remind world leaders of their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil sexual and reproductive rights. For more information see: <a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/campaigns/my-body-my-rights" title="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/campaigns/my-body-my-rights">https://campaigns.amnesty.org/campaigns/my-body-my-rights</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The abandoning of a draconian anti-abortion bill that threatened the health, dignity and lives of women and girls in Spain is a step in a positive direction, Amnesty International said today.</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/187907_SPAIN-POLITICS-ABORTION-LAW (1).jpg?1411499317" /> </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/49417">Spain abortion bill</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"> MyBodyMyRights </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">Spain</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="40.048643">40° 2' 55.1148" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-4.394531">4° 23' 40.3116" 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>We’re glad that the Spanish Prime Minister has finally scuppered this retrogressive anti-abortion bill, but the fact remains it should never have been on the legislature’s books in the first place </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"> Esteban Beltrán, Director at Amnesty International Spain </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, 23/09/2014</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/ireland-s-new-abortion-guidelines-endanger-lives-and-rights-women-and-girls-2014-09-19-0">Ireland’s new abortion guidelines endanger the lives and rights of women and girls</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, 19 September 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/spain-proposed-abortion-limits-would-endanger-lives-and-health-women-and-girls-2014-02-21">Spain: Proposed abortion limits would endanger lives and health of women and girls</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, 21 February 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="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/campaigns/my-body-my-rights">My Body My 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"> Global Campaign </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Spain Women My Body My Rights Tue, 23 Sep 2014 19:12:51 +0000 Amnesty International 49418 at http://www.amnesty.org China’s booming torture trade revealed http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/china-s-booming-torture-trade-revealed-2014-09-23 <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"> China’s booming torture trade revealed </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">23 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The flourishing trade, manufacture and export of tools of torture by Chinese companies is fuelling human rights violations across Africa and Asia, new research by Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation reveals.&nbsp;</p><p>The new report - <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA17/042/2014/en/7dcccd64-15c2-423a-93dd-2841687f6655/asa170422014en.pdf"><em>China’s Trade in Tools of Torture and Repression</em></a> - shows there are now more than 130 Chinese companies involved in the production and trade of potentially dangerous law enforcement equipment – compared to only 28 Chinese companies a decade ago. &nbsp;</p><p>Some of the devices openly marketed by these companies – including electric shock stun batons, metal spiked batons, and weighted leg cuffs – are intrinsically cruel and inhumane and therefore should immediately be banned.&nbsp;</p><p>Other equipment - that can have legitimate use in policing - such as tear gas and plastic projectiles or riot control vehicles – is being exported from China even when there is a substantial risk of serious human rights violations by the receiving law enforcement agencies.</p><p>“Increasing numbers of Chinese companies are profiting from the trade in tools of torture and repression, fuelling human rights abuses across the world,” said Patrick Wilcken, security trade and human rights researcher at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>“This trade – which causes immense suffering – is flourishing because the Chinese authorities have done nothing to stop companies supplying these sickening devices for export or to prevent policing equipment falling into the hands of known human rights abusers.”&nbsp;</p><p>Chinese companies – most of which are state-owned – have an increasingly strong presence in the global market for law enforcement equipment.&nbsp;</p><p>China is the only country known to manufacture spiked batons – which have metal spikes along the entire length of the baton or are plastic batons with a spiked metal head. These are specifically designed as implements of torture and can cause significant pain and suffering.&nbsp;</p><p>Seven Chinese companies openly advertise these inhumane sticks for export. Chinese-manufactured spiked batons have reportedly been used by police in Cambodia and exported to security forces in Nepal and Thailand.</p><p>The research found 29 Chinese companies involved in the export trade were advertising inherently cruel electric stun batons. These devices make it easy for security officials to apply extremely painful multiple shocks by hand to sensitive areas of the body including the genitals, throat, groin or ears without long-lasting physical traces.&nbsp;</p><p>Scores of Chinese companies manufacture and trade abusive restraint devices including heavy weighted leg cuffs and rigid restraint chairs; one company manufactures neck combination cuffs. These neck devices can endanger an individual’s life by restricting breathing, blood circulation and nerve communication between the body and the brain.&nbsp;</p><p>A review of several of the companies’ marketing materials reveals this equipment is being sold to various law enforcement agencies across the world, including agencies that persistently abuse human rights. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;“There is no excuse whatsoever for allowing the manufacture and trade in equipment for which the primary purpose is to torture or inflict cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment on people. These heinous acts are totally banned under international law and Chinese authorities should immediately place a ban on the production and trade in such cruel and inhumane devices,” said Patrick Wilcken.</p><p>One company – China Xinxing Import / Export Corporation – which has advertised equipment including thumb cuffs, restraint chairs, electric shock stun guns and batons – stated in 2012 that it has links with more than 40 African countries and its trade with Africa was worth more than US$100 million.</p><p>Amnesty International and Omega found evidence of what appear to be Chinese manufactured electric shock batons being carried by police in Ghana, Senegal, Egypt and Madagascar.</p><p>Chinese companies also continue to export equipment that can only have a legitimate use in law enforcement if its use is consistent with international standards and &nbsp;officers are well trained and fully accountable. However, the report cites cases of exports of potentially dangerous law enforcement equipment from China to countries where there is a substantial risk the equipment will contribute to serious human rights violations.&nbsp;</p><p>One example highlighted in the report is a large consignment of Chinese “anti-riot” equipment exported to Uganda in February 2011, despite concerns that torture and ill treatment by police was widespread in the country.&nbsp;</p><p>Two months later, Chinese made riot control equipment was used by Ugandan security officials to harshly suppress protests against the rising cost of living in the country. Chinese manufactured armoured vehicles were used throughout the violent crackdown in which at least nine people were shot dead, over 100 injured and 600 detained.&nbsp;</p><p>Chinese anti-riot equipment was also used to suppress dissent in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the 2011 election, which resulted in violence with at least 33 dead and 83 injured. The export went ahead despite evidence of widespread human rights violations by DRC security officials.</p><p>The report shows that China’s export controls for law enforcement equipment are weak, lack transparency and do not appear to assess the human rights record of the recipient country.</p><p>“China’s flawed export system has allowed the trade in torture and repression to prosper. There is an urgent need for the Chinese authorities to fundamentally reform its trade regulations to end the irresponsible transfer of law enforcement equipment to agencies who will likely use it to violate human rights,” said Patrick Wilcken.&nbsp;</p><p>China’s export system is not the only one that is failing to effectively control the transfer of law enforcement equipment to ensure respect for human rights. The worldwide trade in such equipment is poorly controlled, and even those countries with more refined regulations such as in the EU and the USA need to make improvements and close gaps as new products and technologies enter the market.</p><p>The growth in China’s international trade in tools of torture and repression has taken place against a backdrop of continuing human rights violations at home. Torture and ill-treatment as well as the use of arbitrary force remain widespread in detention and in suppressing protests in the country. Amnesty International has documented a wide range of physical torture in China including through the use of electric shock batons.</p><p>One Chinese torture survivor told Amnesty International: “They [police] used an electric baton on my face – it’s a kind of torture the police call “bengbao popcorn” because your face splits open and looks like popped corn. It smelled horrible, the smell of burning skin.”</p><p>The report also highlights the widespread misuse of mechanical restraint devices on detainees in China. Many detainees complained of being bound by the wrists and ankles, suspended from a ceiling or kept in stress positions.&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International and Omega are urging the Chinese authorities and those of all other countries to:</p><p>-<span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>impose an immediate ban on the production and trade of inherently abusive equipment&nbsp;</p><p>-<span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>immediately suspend or deny &nbsp;trade licences for the supply of other equipment to law enforcement agencies and forces where there is a substantial risk the equipment will be used to commit or facilitate serious human rights violations&nbsp;</p><p>-<span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>establish export control regulations and practices for the control of security and police equipment that can have a legitimate use but is easy to abuse</p><p>-<span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>end all torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, as well as the use of arbitrary force, and investigate all allegations of such acts to bring the perpetrators to justice.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The flourishing manufacture and export of tools of torture by Chinese companies is fuelling human rights violations across Africa and Asia, new research by Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation reveals.&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="560" height="400" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/198775_China_Holds_Show_On_Police_Equipment_And_Anti-Terrorism_Technology_0.jpg?1411369375" /> </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/49368">China Tools of Torture Getty Image</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/node/49369">China Tools of Torture Spiked Stick</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/49370">China Tools of Torture - neck cuff</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/node/49371">CHINA - TOOLS TORTURE - ELECTRIC SHOCK </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"> <ul><li><span>More than 130 Chinese companies are involved in the production and trade of potentially dangerous law enforcement equipment – compared to only 28 a decade ago. &nbsp;</span></li><li><span>28 Chinese companies involved in the export trade were advertising inherently cruel electric stun batons.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>7 Chinese companies openly advertise inhumane spiked batons for export.</span></li><li><span>28 Chinese companies export &nbsp;abusive restraint devices including heavy weighted leg cuffs and rigid restraint chairs.</span></li></ul> </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"> ASA17/042/2014 </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"> 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">China</span> <div class="country-name">China</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="39.660685">39° 39' 38.466" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="116.872559">116° 52' 21.2124" 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 Chinese authorities have done nothing to stop companies supplying these sickening devices for export or to prevent policing equipment falling into the hands of known human rights abusers</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"> Patrick Wilcken, security trade and human rights 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">Tue, 23/09/2014</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/ASA17/042/2014/en/7dcccd64-15c2-423a-93dd-2841687f6655/asa170422014en.pdf">China’s Trade in Tools of Torture and Repression </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 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/news/eu-must-close-all-loopholes-torture-trade-2014-07-29">EU must close all loopholes in the torture trade</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, 29 July 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/news/china-s-re-education-through-labour-camps-replacing-one-system-repression-another-2013-12-17">China’s &#039;Re-education Through Labour&#039; camps: Replacing one system of repression with another?</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, 17 December 2013. </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/asset/ACT30/062/2012/en/66235abe-7eb8-4e6d-9516-04fb494e50d6/act300622012en.pdf">No more delays: Putting an end to the EU trade in &quot;tools of torture&quot;</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, 29 June 2012. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> China Stop Torture Mon, 22 Sep 2014 07:00:56 +0000 Amnesty International 49372 at http://www.amnesty.org Turkey: Closing border crossings with Syria will put lives in jeopardy http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/turkey-closing-border-crossings-syria-will-put-lives-jeopardy-2014-09-22 <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"> Turkey: Closing border crossings with Syria will put lives in jeopardy </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">22 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Turkish authorities must ensure that the country’s borders are kept open to those fleeing conflict and human rights abuses in Syria and Iraq, said Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>Turkey began to close some of its border crossings with Syria after 130,000 Kurdish refugees poured into the country in recent days fleeing the advance of the armed group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS).&nbsp;</p><p>“The latest influx of refugees has undoubtedly placed even further strain on Turkey’s already stretched resources, but this cannot be used as an excuse for denying safe sanctuary to anyone who is fleeing the horrors of war,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>“With more and more desperate refugees arriving at the border in search of safety it is crucial that the international community acts now to strengthen its support to Turkey and other countries neighbouring Syria to avert further suffering.”</p><p>Turkey, which before this weekend was already hosting more than one million refugees from Syria, has largely been left to deal with the crisis on its own.&nbsp;</p><p>“World leaders have been quick to condemn the atrocities committed by the armed group that calls itself the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria. Now they must assist those who have fled from the group,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International is urging countries to come together at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ Executive Committee (ExCom) meeting next week in Geneva to jointly address this global crisis.</p><p>“We must see a comprehensive response to the displacement crisis in the Middle East, including from Syria and Iraq. This must include humanitarian assistance, a plan to help host countries deal with the educational, health and housing needs of the refugee population, and the resettlement of tens of thousands of refugees over the coming years,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali.&nbsp;</p><p>The conflict in Syria has resulted in the largest forced displacement crisis in the world. There are currently more than 3.3 million refugees from Syria, the vast majority of them have sought refuge in Syria’s neighbouring countries; another 6.5 million people are displaced within Syria’s borders.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Turkey began to close some of its border crossings with Syria after 130,000 Kurdish refugees poured into the country in recent days fleeing the advance of the armed group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS).</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/200544_TURKEY-SYRIA-KURDS-REFUGEES (1).jpg?1411395009" /> </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/49383">Turkey refugees</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="36.721824">36° 43' 18.5664" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="37.023926">37° 1' 26.1336" 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>With more and more desperate refugees arriving at the border in search of safety it is crucial that the international community acts now to strengthen its support to Turkey and other countries neighbouring Syria to avert further suffering</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"> Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights 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, 22/09/2014</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/for-media/press-releases/mediterranean-migrant-boat-shipwrecks-highlight-need-eu-action-2014-09-15">Mediterranean migrant boat shipwrecks highlight need for EU action</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"> 15 September 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/killing-steven-sotloff-tip-iceberg-war-crimes-syria-and-iraq-2014-09-03">Killing of Steven Sotloff is ‘tip of the iceberg’ of IS war crimes in Syria and Iraq</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"> 3 September 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/library/info/MDE14/011/2014/en">Iraq: Ethnic cleansing on historic scale: the Islamic State’s systematic targeting of minorities in northern Iraq</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"> 2 September 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants Syria Turkey Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:16:08 +0000 Amnesty International 49384 at http://www.amnesty.org Egypt: Critically ill hunger-striker denied crucial medical care http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/egypt-critically-ill-hunger-striker-denied-crucial-medical-care-2014-09-19 <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"> Egypt: Critically ill hunger-striker denied crucial medical care </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">19 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Egyptian authorities are putting at risk the life of a jailed activist, whose health has sharply deteriorated after more than 230 days on hunger strike, by denying him sustained medical care and placing him in solitary confinement, said Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>Mohamed Soltan, a dual US-Egyptian national, is among 86 jailed activists who are on hunger strike in prisons and police stations across Egypt in protest at the dire conditions in which they are held, or in some cases, their prolonged pre-charge or pre-trial detention and unfair trials. They are also protesting against the repressive protest law that many are accused of breaching. &nbsp;</p><p>Mohamed Soltan’s family have warned that his health is in a critical state and he is at imminent risk of organ failure. &nbsp;</p><p>“Denying medical care to someone who is critically ill is not just callous and cruel, but blatantly unlawful,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa programme.&nbsp;</p><p>“The authorities have an obligation to ensure that all detainees in their custody are granted access to adequate medical care.”</p><p>Mohamed Soltan has been placed in solitary confinement in al-Aqrab maximum security prison as punishment for his hunger strike. According to his lawyer, prison authorities only transfer him to the prison medical unit when he loses consciousness. He is returned to his cell each time he comes round. &nbsp;</p><p>Mohamed Soltan was arrested in August 2013 during the crackdown against pro-Morsi supporters at Rabaa Al Adeweya Square. He had been working with a media committee which reported violations by the security forces against pro-Morsi supporters since his ousting.</p><p>Mohamed Soltan has been charged with “funding the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in” and spreading “false information” to destabilize the country. The security forces raided Mohamed Soltan’s home in Cairo on 25 August 2013, looking for his father, Salah Soltan, a Muslim Brotherhood figure. The security forces arrested Mohamed Soltan and three of his friends when they did not find his father.</p><p>“Mohamed Soltan should not have been in jail in the first place and what he is accused of should not be a criminal offence. &nbsp;Now, the authorities are toying with his life in this manner,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui. "He should be released without delay."</p><p>According to official statistics, the Egyptian authorities continue to hold at least 16,000 detainees, in prisons and police stations since the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi. Their conditions of detention frequently fall far short of international human rights standards and may amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Often the detainees face trumped up or politically motivated charges and trials that fall far short of international standards.</p><p>The Egyptian authorities must abide by their international obligations, including by carrying out fair trials that meet international standards and immediately and unconditionally release all those detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly.&nbsp;</p><p><span>In another case illustrating the inhumane treatment of hunger-strikers, security forces attempted to force Ibrahim El Yamany to end his hunger strike by placing him in solitary confinement for 20 days and tying his arms and legs to the bars of his cell door for several hours in Wadi al Natroun Prison. &nbsp;He has been on hunger strike for more than 150 days. He was detained for his work in a field hospital during protests in Ramsis Square, in Cairo on 16 and 17 August 2013. He is charged with belonging to a banned group, protesting without authorization and using violence, among other charges.</span></p><p>“The authorities have an obligation to ensure the right to health of all detainees, including hunger strikers,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.&nbsp;</p><p>“Punishing detainees to force them to end their hunger strike is a violation of their right to freedom of expression. Such treatment in Egypt’s notorious prisons must end now.”</p><p>There are other prisons across Egypt where detainees held in harsh detention conditions are on hunger strike. According to “Freedom for the Brave Campaign” a support group for prisoners, at least 57 detainees are on hunger strike in Abu Zabaal Prison in Cairo and at least 15 are on hunger strike in Tora Prison.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Background:</strong></p><p>Other prominent detainees on hunger strike include the well-known blogger <strong>Ahmed Douma,</strong> who is serving a three year prison sentence for defying Egypt’s draconian protest law. Also among them is<strong> Sanaa Seif</strong>, a well-known activist who has been on hunger strike since 28 August 2014. Her father, the tireless human rights lawyer, Ahmed Seif al-Islam, passed away last month. She is on hunger strike in protest at the authorities’ refusal to allow her to spend some time with her father in his final days.&nbsp;</p><p>Outside of prison, at least 54 activists and human rights defenders are on hunger strike in solidarity with those in detention including Sanaa’s sister, <strong>Mona Seif</strong> and <strong>Aida Seif El Dawla</strong>, executive director at al Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Egyptian authorities are putting at risk the life of a jailed activist, whose health has sharply deteriorated after more than 230 days on hunger strike, by denying him sustained medical care and placing him in solitary confinement.</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/200469_EGYPT-TRIAL-SULTAN (1).jpg?1411138530" /> </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/49359">Egypt hunger strike</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="28.314053">28° 18' 50.5908" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="27.773438">27° 46' 24.3768" 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>Denying medical care to someone who is critically ill is not just callous and cruel, but blatantly unlawful</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"> Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme </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/MDE12/050/2014/en">Egypt: 25 activists on trial, three released on bail</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"> Urgent Action, 17 September 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/for-media/press-releases/egypt-release-women-s-rights-defender-protesters-arrested-challenging-draco">Egypt: Release women’s rights defender, protesters arrested for challenging draconian protest law</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"> Press release, 12 September 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/news/bad-worse-looming-deadline-compounds-egyptian-ngos-woes-2014-08-31">From bad to worse: Looming deadline compounds Egyptian NGOs’ woes</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"> Press release, 31 August 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Egypt Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:40:05 +0000 Amnesty International 49360 at http://www.amnesty.org Ireland’s new abortion guidelines endanger the lives and rights of women and girls http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/ireland-s-new-abortion-guidelines-endanger-lives-and-rights-women-and-girls-2014-09-19 <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"> Ireland’s dangerous new abortion guidelines </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">19 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Ireland’s latest guidelines on abortion are mere window-dressing that will confuse health professionals and endanger women’s lives and rights, said Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>“The only thing these guidelines really clarify is the incredibly restrictive and unworkable nature of the existing law,” said Elisa Slattery, sexual and reproductive rights researcher at Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>“Drawing up burdensome guidelines to implement a highly restrictive law that is out of kilter with international human rights standards is an exercise in futility. Issuing guidelines to poor legislation isn’t enough; we need a completely different approach.”&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>The guidelines issued today by the Department of Health are intended to ensure that a pregnant woman or girl can access a lawful abortion when there is a “real and substantial risk” to her life.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>This is the only exception permitted under the Irish law known as Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act 2013 (the Act).&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>But instead of clarifying the Act for the health professionals tasked with implementing it, the guidelines reflect and exacerbate its many shortcomings.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>They fail miserably to address the most pressing issue of the Act – how exactly medical professionals are to assess when a pregnancy poses a “real and substantial” risk to the life of a woman or girl.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>“The guidelines literally relegate the well-being of women and girls to a footnote,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>“And they still require health professionals to engage in a constitutional balancing act when making decisions about whether a woman qualifies for an abortion.”&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>“Rather than piecemeal measures which provide illusory access to abortion to save a woman or girl’s life, Amnesty International calls on Ireland to fully decriminalize abortion.”&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>The Act, and Ireland’s underlying legal framework on abortion, have been repeatedly condemned for not adhering to international human rights standards on abortion.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>Most recently, the UN Human Rights Committee issued a scathing criticism of Ireland’s abortion laws.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>The Committee voiced particular concern about how the Act criminalizes abortion, including in cases of rape, incest, serious risks to the health of the pregnant woman or girl, and fatal foetal abnormality.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>It also voiced concern at how the law’s requirements of excessive scrutiny of pregnant and suicidal women lead to further mental distress.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Ireland’s latest guidelines on abortion are mere window-dressing that will confuse health professionals and endanger women’s lives and rights.</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/197615_Thousands_rally_over_abortion_law_in_Dublin (1)_0.jpg?1411147597" /> </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/49363">Ireland abortion</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="53.137992">53° 8' 16.7712" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-8.085938">8° 5' 9.3768" 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>Rather than piecemeal measures which provide illusory access to abortion to save a woman or girl’s life, Amnesty International calls on Ireland to fully decriminalize abortion</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"> Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland </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/EUR29/001/2014/en">Ireland: Submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee</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"> Public statement, 1 June 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="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/campaigns/my-body-my-rights">My Body My 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"> Campaign website </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Ireland Medical And Health Women My Body My Rights Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:30:28 +0000 Amnesty International 49364 at http://www.amnesty.org Guatemala stokes conflict around mining by failing to consult communities http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/guatemala-stokes-conflict-around-mining-failing-consult-communities-2014-09-19 <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"> Guatemala stokes conflict around mining by failing to consult communities </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">19 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>The Guatemalan government is fuelling the fires of conflict by failing to consult local communities before awarding mining licences to companies, effectively raising the risk of bloodshed and bulldozing over the rights of its people, said Amnesty International today.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>The report, </span><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR34/002/2014/en"><em>Mining in Guatemala: Rights at Risk</em></a><span>, published today, exposes significant gaps in protection for communities affected by mining projects. New legislation put forward by the Guatemalan government not only fails to address widespread concerns among Indigenous and rural communities about a lack of consultation, but includes measures that may exacerbate existing tensions.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“The proposed legislation effectively side-steps the concerns of communities. It does not address the issue of consultation in any meaningful way. If enacted it would essentially mean that communities’ views and concerns continue to be ignored. This is a significant missed opportunity,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director of Amnesty International.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Reforms to the Mining Law are currently before Congress having been drafted in 2012. However, the proposed reforms will simply replicate the current loopholes allowing just 10 days for challenges to licence applications, exacerbating the problem of lack of consultation.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Tensions over a lack of fair process and proper consultation have previously led to violent confrontations, with protesters clashing with security guards and police over the proposed mine site.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>International human rights standards require that those potentially affected by mining projects must be consulted and adequately informed, and that projects on Indigenous peoples’ land should only proceed with their free, prior and informed consent.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“Analyzing the implications of any mining project takes time, and 10 days to respond to a licence application is not realistic for communities who might be affected and therefore need to examine the proposal carefully,” said Erika Guevara Rosas.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“We’re concerned that the violence seen in the past will continue if a fair and balanced consultation process is not introduced. We are also aware that the rights of Indigenous peoples are not being respected,” said Erika Guevara Rosas.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>In many cases, the authorities have failed to thoroughly investigate the death and injury of those protesting against mining projects.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>On 13 June 2012, activist Yolanda Oquelí was shot and seriously injured by two unknown assailants. She was returning from a protest over mining when two men on a motorbike cut across her path and fired at her with a pistol. She was hit by one bullet which lodged close to her liver. She survived the attack and went into hiding with her family.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered the Guatemalan government to provide protection to Yolanda Oquelí and her family. Although the Public Ministry opened an investigation into the attack, to date no one has been brought to justice.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“The violence and repression that has taken root around mining in Guatemala cannot continue. The Guatemalan government must ensure that they implement and respect legislation to facilitate dialogue and decision-making between mining companies, state authorities and affected people. Communities must be provided with full and objective information about the benefits and risks of mining in a clear and culturally appropriate manner,” said Erika Guevara Rosas.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“We are also calling on the home governments of foreign-owned mining companies in Guatemala to monitor and hold their companies to account for the human rights impact of their activities, wherever they operate.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><strong>Additional information&nbsp;<br /><br /></strong><span>Many of the high-profile companies currently operating in Guatemala are subsidiaries of Canadian companies.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Guatemala is still struggling to deal with the legacy of past human rights abuses from the internal armed conflict (1960-1996) when over 200,000 people were killed, including an estimated 40,000 who were forcibly “disappeared”.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Today, Indigenous peoples remain economically and socially marginalised. Land tenure is a particular problem, with Indigenous communities bearing the brunt of acute inequality in the distribution of land.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>In Guatemala approximately 30 per cent of the population lives in extreme poverty.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Amnesty International is presenting the report Mining in Guatemala: Rights at risk in Guatemala City today with a delegation comprised of Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, Sebastian Elgueta, Central America Researcher, and Tara Scurr, Amnesty International Canada’s Business and Human Rights Campaigner.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The Guatemalan government is fuelling the fires of conflict by failing to consult local communities before awarding mining licences to companies.</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="336" height="448" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/174024_Private_property_sign_Las_Flores (1).jpg?1410876621" /> </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/49307">guate</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"> AMR34/002/2014 </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"> guatemala </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">Reino Unido</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="14.607505">14° 36' 27.018" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-89.824219">89° 49' 27.1884" 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>We&#039;re concerned that the violence seen in the past will continue if a fair and balanced consultation process is not introduced.</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 Erika Guevara Rosas </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/AMR34/002/2014/en">Mining in Guatemala: Rights at risk</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> Corporations, Human Rights and Poverty Business And Human Rights Guatemala Indigenous peoples Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:16:43 +0000 Amnesty International 49308 at http://www.amnesty.org Ireland’s new abortion guidelines endanger the lives and rights of women and girls http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/ireland-s-new-abortion-guidelines-endanger-lives-and-rights-women-and-girls-2014-09-19-0 <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"> Ireland’s dangerous new abortion guidelines </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">19 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Ireland’s latest guidelines on abortion are mere window-dressing that will confuse health professionals and endanger women’s lives and rights, said Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>“The only thing these guidelines really clarify is the incredibly restrictive and unworkable nature of the existing law,” said Elisa Slattery, sexual and reproductive rights researcher at Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>“Drawing up burdensome guidelines to implement a highly restrictive law that is out of kilter with international human rights standards is an exercise in futility. Issuing guidelines to poor legislation isn’t enough; we need a completely different approach.”&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>The guidelines issued today by the Department of Health are intended to ensure that a pregnant woman or girl can access a lawful abortion when there is a “real and substantial risk” to her life.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>This is the only exception permitted under the Irish law known as Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act 2013 (the Act).&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>But instead of clarifying the Act for the health professionals tasked with implementing it, the guidelines reflect and exacerbate its many shortcomings.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>They fail miserably to address the most pressing issue of the Act – how exactly medical professionals are to assess when a pregnancy poses a “real and substantial” risk to the life of a woman or girl.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>“The guidelines literally relegate the well-being of women and girls to a footnote,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>“And they still require health professionals to engage in a constitutional balancing act when making decisions about whether a woman qualifies for an abortion.”&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>“Rather than piecemeal measures which provide illusory access to abortion to save a woman or girl’s life, Amnesty International calls on Ireland to fully decriminalize abortion.”&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>The Act, and Ireland’s underlying legal framework on abortion, have been repeatedly condemned for not adhering to international human rights standards on abortion.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>Most recently, the UN Human Rights Committee issued a scathing criticism of Ireland’s abortion laws.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>The Committee voiced particular concern about how the Act criminalizes abortion, including in cases of rape, incest, serious risks to the health of the pregnant woman or girl, and fatal foetal abnormality.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>It also voiced concern at how the law’s requirements of excessive scrutiny of pregnant and suicidal women lead to further mental distress.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Ireland’s latest guidelines on abortion are mere window-dressing that will confuse health professionals and endanger women’s lives and rights.</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/197615_Thousands_rally_over_abortion_law_in_Dublin (1)_0.jpg?1411147597" /> </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/49363">Ireland abortion</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">المملكة المتحدة</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="53.137992">53° 8' 16.7712" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-8.085938">8° 5' 9.3768" 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>Rather than piecemeal measures which provide illusory access to abortion to save a woman or girl’s life, Amnesty International calls on Ireland to fully decriminalize abortion</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"> Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland </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/EUR29/001/2014/en">Ireland: Submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee</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"> Public statement, 1 June 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="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/campaigns/my-body-my-rights">My Body My 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"> Campaign website </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Ireland Medical And Health Women My Body My Rights Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:30:37 +0000 Amnesty International 49366 at http://www.amnesty.org Thailand: Release activist imprisoned for allegedly insulting the monarchy http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/thailand-release-activist-imprisoned-allegedly-insulting-monarchy-2014-09-19 <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: Release activist imprisoned for allegedly insulting the monarchy </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">19 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>A Thai court’s decision to uphold a 10-year prison sentence given to an editor and social activist for allegedly insulting the royal family continues the relentless erosion of free speech in the country, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Appeals Court upheld the sentence against Somyot Prueksakasemsuk for publishing two articles about a fictional monarch that allegedly defamed the Thai monarchy. He did not write the articles in question. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“This is another regressive decision by the Thai courts – Somyot has been imprisoned for nothing other than peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. He should never have been prosecuted and must be released immediately,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Somyot, who turns 53 tomorrow, has been detained since 30 April 2011, and the authorities have turned down his request for bail and temporary release 15 times. His lawyers and relatives were not notified of this morning’s Appeals Court hearing.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Somyot’s sentence should be expunged and all criminal proceedings against him dropped. The Thai authorities should immediately and unconditionally release him and all other prisoners of conscience. As a minimum first step, authorities must allow him his right under Thai law to temporary release on bail,” said Rupert Abbott.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Authorities in Thailand have in recent years increasingly used legislation, including the lèse majesté law, to silence peaceful dissent and jail prisoners of conscience. There has been a significant increase in lèse majesté cases since the 22 May coup. This draconian law should immediately be suspended and revised so that it complies with Thailand’s international human rights obligations.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The lèse majesté law prohibits any word or act which “defames, insults, or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent, or the Regent” and carries up to 15 years of imprisonment for each offence. It violates the right to freedom of expression as provided for in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Thailand ratified in 1996.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Thailand’s authorities are <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA39/011/2014/en">increasingly silencing dissent</a> and penalizing those who voice opposition against military rule. Somyot’s sentencing comes just a day after a Bangkok military court <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/thailand-military-trial-peaceful-protesters-affront-justice-2014-09-18">convicted four peaceful protesters </a>for violating a ban on public gatherings.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A Thai court’s decision to uphold a 10-year prison sentence given to an editor and social activist for allegedly insulting the royal family continues the relentless erosion of free speech in the country.</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/200468_Somyot_Prueksakasemsuk (1).jpg?1411128008" /> </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/49347">Somyot</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">Thailand</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="15.924356">15° 55' 27.6816" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="100.986328">100° 59' 10.7808" 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 is another regressive decision by the Thai courts – Somyot has been imprisoned for nothing other than peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. He should never have been prosecuted and must be released immediately.</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"> Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director </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, 19/09/2014</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/thailand-military-trial-peaceful-protesters-affront-justice-2014-09-18">Thailand: Military trial of peaceful protesters an “affront to 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"> News story, 18 September 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/thailand-no-let-spiral-repression-100-days-after-military-takeover-2014-09-11">Thailand: No let-up in spiral of repression 100 days after military takeover</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, 11 September 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/library/info/ASA39/011/2014/en">Thailand: Attitude adjustment: 100 days under martial law</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, 11 September 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Freedom Of Expression Prisoners Of Conscience Thailand Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:03:35 +0000 Amnesty International 49348 at http://www.amnesty.org Thailand: Military trial of peaceful protesters an “affront to justice” http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/thailand-military-trial-peaceful-protesters-affront-justice-2014-09-18 <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"> Thailand: Military trial of protesters an “affront to justice” </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 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The conviction of four peaceful protesters by a Thai military court today is an affront to justice and another sign of repression under military rule, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;</p><p>The Bangkok Military Court today sentenced four individuals to three months’ imprisonment and 5,000 Bhat (US$150) fines for violating the ban on public gatherings of more than five people, imposed by the military under Martial Law. As the four pleaded guilty, the jail terms are suspended by two years.</p><p>“This is another attempt by the Thai authorities to silence dissent and make an example of those who voice opposition against military rule. These individuals have done nothing but peacefully express their opinions – they should never have had to face trials, and their convictions and sentences should be quashed immediately,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.</p><p>“The four were convicted for acts that must never constitute offences in a court that must never try civilians.”</p><p>Shortly after seizing power in May 2014, the National Council for Peace and Order – Thailand’s military administration – extended the jurisdiction of the military courts to try civilians for breaching military orders and offences relating to “national security”. Dozens more individuals are set to face military trials for voicing opposition to the military over the coming weeks.</p><p>Amnesty International opposes the use of military courts to try civilians in all countries and in all circumstances, as it violates fair trial rights. Civilians convicted in a military court in Thailand have no right of appeal to a higher court.</p><p>“No civilian should be tried in a military court in any circumstance – authorities should move all such cases to civilian courts and stop prosecuting people for acts which are not internationally recognized as offences,” said Rupert Abbott</p><p>“Trying civilians in military courts with no right to appeal violates Thailand’s commitments to protect the right to a fair trial. The Thai authorities should also immediately reinstate the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly – the current sweeping restrictions on these rights are creating a climate of fear.”</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The conviction of four peaceful protesters by a Thai military court today is an affront to justice and another sign of repression under military rule.&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/200460_THAILAND-POLITICS-PROTEST.jpg?1411037118" /> </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/49327">Thailand: Military trial of peaceful protesters an “affront to justice”</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"> ThaiCoup </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">Thailand</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="14.822681">14° 49' 21.6516" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="100.634766">100° 38' 5.1576" 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 is another attempt by the Thai authorities to silence dissent and make an example of those who voice opposition against military rule. These individuals have done nothing but peacefully express their opinions – they should never have had to face 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"> Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International&#039;s Deputy Asia Pacific Director </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/thailand-no-let-spiral-repression-100-days-after-military-takeover-2014-09-11">Thailand: No let-up in spiral of repression 100 days after military takeover</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, 11 September 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Thailand Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:50:47 +0000 Amnesty International 49329 at http://www.amnesty.org Iran ‘Happy’ dancers sentenced to jail and flogging in flagrant assault on freedom of expression http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/iran-happy-dancers-sentenced-jail-and-flogging-flagrant-assault-freedom-expression-2014-09-18 <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"> Iran ‘Happy’ dancers sentenced to jail and flogging </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 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Iranian authorities’ sentencing of seven people for making a homemade <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YX3t6wW-IJA">video</a> of the Pharrell Williams’ song, “Happy”, reveals the authorities’ contempt for freedom of expression, said Amnesty International.</p><p>Six of those who appear in the video have been sentenced to six months’ imprisonment each and a seventh to one year, one of their lawyers said in a media interview. All seven have also been sentenced to 91 lashes. The sentences are suspended for three years.&nbsp;</p><p>“With these sentences, the absurd meets the unjust. If confirmed, it would be a ludicrous outcome; these individuals will have been convicted and branded criminals purely for making a music video celebrating happiness. The youths should never have been paraded before state TV to ‘confess’ nor brought to trial,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa programme.&nbsp;</p><p>“These convictions flagrantly flout Iran’s obligation to respect the right to freedom of expression. If the sentences are ultimately carried out, these individuals will be prisoners of conscience.”</p><p>Suspended sentences are generally not carried out in Iran unless the individual is convicted of certain crimes, such as qesas (retribution in kind) or hodoud (fixed offences and punishments in Islamic law), during the period of time specified by the court – in this case three years. &nbsp;However, individuals still remain under the threat of imprisonment. Flogging violates the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishments.</p><p>The sentences have not yet been communicated in writing to the lawyers. &nbsp;</p><p>The seven Iranians – three women and four men– were convicted of “participating in the production of a vulgar video clip” and of “illicit relations between group members” following their trial on 9 September. Their lawyer has stated that he does not know whether they will appeal the verdict.&nbsp;</p><p>The seven were arrested in May 2014 after appearing in the video dancing and miming to “Happy”, an upbeat anthem that has inspired hundreds of similar video tributes worldwide. The video is filmed on the streets and rooftops of Tehran. The women appear unveiled; veiling has been compulsory in Iran since 1981.</p><p>Police said the “vulgar” video offended “public chastity”. Shortly after the arrests, Iran’s state-run TV featured apparent “confessions” from the defendants in which they claimed to have been tricked into making the video, believing it was for an audition.</p><p><strong>Background:</strong></p><p>The seven have been named as Sassan Soleimani, Reyhaneh Taravati, Neda Motameni, Afshin Sohrabi, Bardia Moradi and Roham Shamekhi.&nbsp;</p><p>Sassan Soleimani was additionally convicted of directing the video. Reyhaneh Taravati was also convicted of possessing alcohol in her home, and of uploading and distributing the video clip on YouTube.</p><p>The arrests prompted a Twitter campaign for the release of the seven with the hashtag #freehappyiranians.</p><p>On 21 May 2014, the semi-official Twitter account of President Hassan Rouhani quoted a 2013 statement by him, “#Happiness is our people's right. We shouldn't be too hard on behaviors caused by joy". The Tweet was interpreted by many to have made a reference to the arrests.&nbsp;</p><p>&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’ sentencing of seven people for making a homemade video of the Pharrell Williams’ song, “Happy”, reveals the authorities’ contempt for freedom of expression.</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/200467_Iran_happy_video (4).jpg?1411062866" /> </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/49339">Iran happy video</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="31.512996">31° 30' 46.7856" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="58.007813">58° 0' 28.1268" 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>These convictions flagrantly flout Iran’s obligation to respect the right to freedom of expression. If the sentences are ultimately carried out, these individuals will be prisoners of conscience</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"> Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme </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/MDE13/048/2014/en">Iran: Jailed for women’s right to watch sports: Ghoncheh Ghavami</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"> Urgent Action, 10 September 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/library/info/MDE13/047/2014/en">Iran: Prisoner of conscience faces death threats: Mohammad Ali Taheri</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"> Urgent Action,22 August 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Iran Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:00:13 +0000 Amnesty International 49340 at http://www.amnesty.org Qatar: New cybercrimes law endangers freedom of expression http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/qatar-new-cybercrimes-law-endangers-freedom-expression-2014-09-18 <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"> Qatar: New cybercrimes law endangers freedom of expression </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 September 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>A controversial new cybercrimes law that criminalizes the spreading of “false news” on the internet poses a serious threat to freedom of expression in Qatar, said Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>Under the new law, the authorities may ban websites that they consider threatening to the “safety” of the country and punish anyone who posts or shares online content that “undermines” Qatar’s “social values” or “general order”, though the law fails to define the meaning of these terms.&nbsp;</p><p>“The new cybercrimes law is a major setback for freedom of expression in Qatar,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.&nbsp;</p><p>“It contains broad and vaguely-worded provisions that fly in the face of international standards. They effectively grant the government extensive powers to punish anyone who posts or shares content that officials consider harmful to Qatar’s “social values” or national interests.&nbsp;</p><p>“There is a real danger that legitimate, peaceful expression could be seriously undermined by this new law by facilitating arbitrary crackdown on peaceful dissent.” &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The law addresses hacking, forgery, intellectual property rights and other acts that are recognizably criminal under international law but also requires telecommunications providers to block access to websites or supply evidence or records at the request of the authorities.&nbsp;</p><p>Freedom of expression in Qatar <a href="http://amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE22/002/2014/en/2d351f00-1076-49a1-a128-06c3280a760e/mde220022014en.pdf">is strictly controlled</a> and the local press routinely exercizes self-censorship. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><span>In one case that demonstrates the extent of the authorities grasp on freedom of expression, well-known Qatari poet Mohammed Rashid al-Ajami is serving a 15-year prison sentence for writing and reciting a poem that was considered critical of the ruling family. It did not incite hatred, sectarianism or violence. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience and has repeatedly called for his immediate and unconditional release.&nbsp;</span></p><p>“Mohammed al-Ajami’s case is a perfect example of how the Qatari authorities have flouted the rules on freedom of expression at their whim in the past,” said Said Boumedouha.&nbsp;</p><p><span>“Despite Qatar’s attempts to portray itself of as a progressive country committed to the respect of international human rights standards, we are seeing the authorities rolling back freedoms instead of taking steps to ensure freedom of expression is protected.”&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>In recent years the government has also sought to tighten its control over freedom of expression through a new draft media law. If approved, the new media law would require all publications to be approved by a government-appointed “competent authority” empowered to remove content or prevent printing.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>The right to freedom of expression in Qatar is also restricted by the 2004 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism, which GCC countries adopted in November 2012.&nbsp;</span></p><p>Based on flawed legislation relating to expression and association in each of the six GCC states, one of its 20 provisions is a vaguely worded commitment to suppress “interference in the domestic affairs” of other GCC countries. This could be used to criminalize criticism of the actions of other GCC states or public figures. Other provisions provide for GCC states’ sharing of citizens’ and residents’ personal data without this being subject to judicial challenge.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>A controversial new cybercrimes law that criminalizes the spreading of “false news” on the internet poses a serious threat to freedom of expression in Qatar.</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/179834_Doha_s_financial_district_March_2013 (1).jpg?1411030702" /> </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/49319">Qatar</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="25.564743">25° 33' 53.0748" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="50.097656">50° 5' 51.5616" 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>There is a real danger that legitimate, peaceful expression could be seriously undermined by this new law by facilitating arbitrary crackdown on peaceful dissent</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"> Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme </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/MDE22/008/2014/en">Qatar: Further information: UK nationals released</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"> Public Statement, 9 September 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/library/info/MDE22/002/2014/en">Qatar: Human rights concerns linger</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"> Public Statement, 1 April 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/for-media/press-releases/qatar-release-poet-sentenced-15-years-prison-2013-10-21">Qatar: Release poet sentenced to 15 years in prison</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"> Press release, 21 October 2013 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Freedom Of Expression Qatar Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:23:50 +0000 Amnesty International 49322 at http://www.amnesty.org