Document - Weekly Update Service 38/91

AI Index: NWS 11/38/91

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No. of words: 2540


Amnesty International

International Secretariat

1 Easton Street

London WC1X 8DJ

United Kingdom





Contained in this weekly update are external items on Martin Ennals, Haiti

and Equatorial Guinea.


African Charter - 21 October

An advice to editors on AI's activities to mark the fifth anniversary of

the African Charter on Human and People's Rights coming into force has been

sent to sections. The advice to editors is not embargoed, although it is

intended to encourage specialist media to write about the charter on or

around 21 October, African Human and People's Rights Day. The IS will be

sending the advice to editors to media in Africa and specialist media in

London, and section press officers are encouraged to contact their African

specialist media as well. The IS is also having an informal briefing with

agencies and other African specialists next week. If you want any more

information, please call the IS.

Egypt - 23 October

Egypt - Ten years of torture MDE 12/18/91

News release to go with an external document on torture, including strong

individual cases and photo material.

Peru - 20 or 21 November (date still to be decided)

Peru - Human rights in a climate of terror AMR 46/56/91

News release and feature article to go with research paper, to launch

country campaign on Peru.

Weekly Update NWS 11/38/91

2. NWS 10/01/91 EXTERNAL

6 October 1991


Martin Ennals, the first Secretary General of Amnesty International, died

in Canada on Saturday 5 October. A résumé of his contribution to AI

follows. The family would very much appreciate copies of any obituaries or

articles that appeared in the press following his death. The Secretary

General's office is compiling a file of these and would appreciate your

sending clippings which it will present to the family.

There is to be a memorial service in London later in the year. We

will notify sections in the Weekly Update once details are known. Sections,

groups and individuals wishing to send condolences to his family should

write to: Jackie Ennals, 38 North View, Tufnell Park Road, London N4 0QB,

United Kingdom.


Martin Ennals made one of the foremost contributions in the history

of Amnesty International. He was the movement's first Secretary General,

serving for 12 years from 1968 (when the post of Secretary General was

first created) until 1980.

He was born in Walsall, England, on 27 July 1927. His career in

international relations began with studies at the London School of

Economics where he received a degree in Economics, specializing in

international relations and international law. He joined UNESCO in 1951

and was appointed to administer the UNESCO Arab States Fundamental

Education Centre in Egypt in 1954, returning to Paris in 1956 where he was

attached to the Office of the Director-General.

Martin Ennals returned to the United Kingdom to become the General

Secretary of the British National Council for Civil Liberties from 1960

until 1966. During this period he also helped establish refugee and

community projects in Bechuanaland (now Botswana) and travelled widely in

Southern and East Africa. He was a founder member of the Anti-Apartheid


In 1966 he began full-time work in race relations in Britain joining

the government sponsored National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants

(NCCI). He resigned from the NCCI in protest against the British

government's 1968 Commonwealth Immigrants Act which was designed to stop

citizens of the United Kingdom and colonies in East Africa from exercising

their legal rights to enter the United Kingdom.

In 1968 he was appointed Secretary General of Amnesty International,

at a time when the organization was just beginning to emerge from its first

major public controversy over torture by British forces in Aden (now

Yemen). As part of an organizational review in the same period, the post of

Secretary General had been created and it was under Martin Ennals'

leadership as its first Secretary General that the growing movement first

adopted an international statute to regulate its democratic governance.

Under his period as Secretary General the public impact of Amnesty

International made extraordinary advances, and the movement itself grew at

an astonishing rate. When he joined the organization, its international

budget was less than £20,000. The International Secretariat employed 19

people. There were 27 national sections and 850 groups. By 1980, the

international budget had grown to £1,666,280. There were 150 staff in the

International Secretariat. The movement counted 39 national sections and

2,200 groups.

"In 1970," wrote Martin Ennals in the Amnesty International Report

for his last year in office, "the idea of the growth of Amnesty

International into the type of structure or institution which exists in

1980 was unthinkable or unthought."

"The confirmation of the international standards of human rights

spelled out first in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and later in

the conventions and international covenants which came into effect in the

latter half of the decade confirmed Amnesty International's absolute belief

that despite differences of environment, human rights are universal,"

he said.

"In the definition of human rights there cannot be enemies and

friends, rich or poor: only people."

During his years as Secretary General, and with the international

stature of Amnesty International growing, Martin Ennals followed a

punishing schedule of work, travel and public engagements that brought him

face to face with heads of government and heads of state including the Shah

of Iran and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and

numerous other officials before whom he appealed for the freedom of

prisoners of conscience and fair treatment for political prisoners.

During the Ennals years, Amnesty International was awarded the Nobel

Peace Prize and the United Nations Human Rights Award, in the face of

colourful denunciations of the organization by such figures as

President Idi Amin of Uganda, President Sekou Toure of Guinea, President

Hafizullah Amin of Afghanistan and the Premier of Queensland, Australia,

Johannes Bjelke-Petersen.

Two of the great Amnesty International campaigns that mobilized

hundreds of thousands of people worldwide in this period were the launch,

in 1972, of a worldwide campaign for the Abolition of Torture.

More than a million people signed an appeal circulated in 30 languages

calling on the United Nations "to outlaw immediately the torture of

prisoners throughout the world" -- a goal eventually achieved with the

adoption in 1984 of an international Convention Against Torture. To combat

the practice itself, the International Secretariat devised an Urgent Action

network that could launch thousands of individual appeals on behalf of

prisoners at risk - often within hours of the arrest when the victims were

most at risk. That innovative approach set the tone for an ever-increasing

ability to intervene in desperate cases: in the first six months of this

year the Urgent Action network (now involving more that 50,000 volunteers

in 65 countries) went into action 385 times to help people in 69 countries.

The second major campaign launch in the Ennals years was the Campaign

for the Abolition of the Death Penalty -- a cause he personally championed

as Amnesty International debated becoming an abolitionist movement. The

organization now runs a regular program of opposition to the death penalty

and has published the most comprehensive study of its type on the subject:

"When the State Kills" (1989). It points out that the tide of

international opinion is changing: during the past decade, on average, at

least one country a year has eliminated the death penalty for ordinary

crimes or for all crimes, and today over 40 per cent -- nearly half--

the countries of the world have abolished the death penalty in law or


"When Amnesty International meets the nineties, " wrote Martin Ennals

in 1980, "it should be universally active both in working for prisoners and

identifying prisoners to be assisted. The sophistication of impartiality

must be accepted and appreciated by governments and opposition movements.

Amnesty International is not and should not be a movement of dissidents or

opposition elements in national internal affairs. Instead it should be

working for the recognition that dissidents have rights and governments

have the duty to protect their societies against abuses that result or may

result in imprisonment, torture or death. To convince governments of this

fact, which in principle they accept and to which they have in public

committed themselves, is an amazing ambition."

The extent to which this ambition today seems not only plausible, but

increasingly within reach, is in itself a tribute to the role that Martin

Ennals played in putting human rights firmly on the international agenda.

Following his stint as Secretary General of Amnesty International, he

continued his contribution to human rights, both at home and abroad,

serving as adviser to the Greater London Council's police committee and

then as head of the newly created International Alert. He was in

Saskatoon, Canada, at the time of his death on Saturday 5 October 1991.

Weekly Update Nws 11/38/91

3. AFR 24/WU 01/91 EXTERNAL

9 October 1991


Two prisoners of conscience in Equatorial Guinea were released on 15 August

1991, on the orders of the President on the 12th anniversary of his

accession to power.

Julián Nguema Abogo and Jesús Ntutumu Nsong were among nine people

convicted in August 1988 of attempting to overthrow the government of

Equatorial Guinea. Three were subsequently released.

Their trial was grossly unfair, and the real reason for their arrest

and imprisonment appeared to be their non-violent opposition to government

policies. Amnesty International has welcomed the release of these two

prisoners of conscience while it continues to call for the unconditional

release of the remaining four defendants in the case, who remain prisoners

of conscience: Pedro Bakal Mayé, Joaquín Elema Boringue, Gaspar Manana

Okiri and Francisco Bonifacio Mbá Nguema.

Other political prisoners, including Sergeant Venancio Mikó, who was

sentenced to death at an unfair trial in 1983 for plotting to overthrow the

government, were also released in August 1991.

Despite these releases, there have also been many new arrests of

suspected government opponents.

Equatorial Guinea is a one-party state: the Partido Democrático de

Guinea Ecuatorial (PDGE), Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea, led by

President Obiang Nguema is the only legal political party. Recently, the

government has expressed a willingness to adopt a multi-party political

system but at the same time the authorities have continued to arrest those

who call for the legalization of all political parties.

Between late November 1990 and February 1991 dozens of people who

called for a multi-party system were arrested and either imprisoned or

placed under house arrest. Amnesty International knows of 12 who appear to

have been unlawfully detained or restricted solely on account of their

political views. One, Antonio Ebang Mbele Abang, former Vice-President of

the Cámara de Representantes del Pueblo, the Equatorial Guinea parliament,

was stripped of his functions and placed under house arrest for opposing

the one-party system in November 1990.

In May 1991 Amnesty International learnt that at least 40 people had

been arrested following the appearance of anonymous posters calling for the

legalization of all political parties in the streets of Malabo and Bata .

It seems that those arrested were released after a short period of time in

prison or under house arrest. Amnesty International learnt the names of six

of those detained in May, one of whom, Alfonso Nsué Mokuy, was reportedly

re-arrested in August 1991 and is apparently still detained. He is a

journalist imprisoned previously for expressing his political views.

At least four other people were reportedly arrested in mid-August

1991. They include the former Parliamentary Vice President, Antonio Ebang

Mbele Abang, who is said to have been re-arrested and imprisoned on 16

August while under house arrest, for refusing to set up a political party

allied to the ruling PDGE. These four people are still detained and have

not yet been brought to trial.

Amnesty International is calling for the release of all those

detained for exercising their right to express peacefully their political

views, including both long-term convicted prisoners and recently arrested

untried detainees.

Amnesty International also remains concerned about continuing reports

of torture in Equatorial Guinea, including reports of one death in

detention in early August 1991 as a result of torture. The organization is

investigating these reports.

Weekly Update NWS 11/38/91

4. AMR 36/WU 01/91 EXTERNAL

9 October 1991


Amnesty International is extremely concerned at reports of widespread

human rights violations committed by the Haitian security forces since a

coup d'état that deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Monday 30

September. These violations included a large number of extrajudicial

executions, beatings and mass arrests without warrant.

In a letter to Brigadier General Raoul Cédras, Head of the Haitian

Armed Forces, on 4 October, Amnesty International urged him to send clear

instructions to the security forces to put a stop to human rights

violations, to open thorough investigations into those that have occurred

and to bring the perpetrators to justice. With regard to reports of mass

arrests by the armed forces, Amnesty International has asked General Cédras

to ensure that the physical safety of those arrested be guaranteed while in

custody, that they be given prompt access to families and lawyers, be

brought promptly before a judicial authority, and be released without delay

unless charged with a recognizable criminal offence.

Reports of extrajudicial executions include the killing, on Monday 30

September, of Radio Caraïbe Director Jacques Caraïbe, after a group of

soldiers arrived at his house, severely beat him in the presence of his

family, and took him away to an unknown destination. His dead body was

later found.

According to the information received by Amnesty International,

security force agents have deliberately shot a large number of civilians in

different sectors of Port-au-Prince, resulting in hundreds of dead and

wounded. One such incident is reported to have taken place on 2 October in

Cité Soleil, when soldiers shot and killed at least 30 people and wounded

many more, apparently in reprisal for an earlier attack by a crowd on the

police station in which at least two policemen were killed.

Amnesty International is further concerned at reports of torture and

other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by the security forces.

According to information received by the organization, some of the people

who were at the National Palace with President Aristide on Monday 30

September, including Captain Danny Toussaint, and the Chief of Police

Pierre Chérubin, were subjected to beatings and threatened with death by

the security forces.

Other reports of concern to Amnesty International are those of the

mass arrest without warrant of scores of youths in the districts of

Carrefour and Carrefour Feuille by uniformed military men and armed

civilians. In another reported incident, on the evening of 3 October

soldiers forcibly entered many houses in the Delmas 32 area, taking away

young people.

In a recent incident Evans Paul, mayor of Port-au-Prince, was

arrested and severely beaten at the Maïs Gaté airport on 7 October, where

he sought to meet a delegation of the Organization of American States. He

was subsequently released and has reportedly gone into hiding.

Amnesty International's concerns under the administration of

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide related to the imprisonment and prolonged

detention without due process of political opponents or members of previous

administrations, and the extreme length of judicial proceedings against

political prisoners, such as Serge Beaulieu, director of Radio Liberté,

arrested in January 1991.

Amnesty International was also concerned that the government of

President Aristide may have condoned acts of violence carried out by angry

crowds against those considered to be opposed to the government.

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