(Bujumbura) – Burundian authorities should immediately retract an ordinance outlawing the Forum for the Strengthening of Civil Society (FORSC), an umbrella organization representing 146 Burundian civil society associations, said Amnesty International, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, and Human Rights Watch in a joint statement issued today. The government should also end threats and harassment against civil society activists, the groups said.
The Tunisian authorities must immediately release a well known government critic, journalist Taoufik Ben Brik, Amnesty International said today, and drop trumped up charges that could lead to his being imprisoned for up to five years.
Amnesty International today urged the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Huang Qi, a human rights defender who worked with the victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and was sentenced today to three years’ imprisonment.
The Court said the conviction was based on two city level documents found in Huang Qi’s house and found him guilty of “unlawfully holding state secrets”. Several dozen police surrounded the courts this morning, and after negotiation only his wife and mother were allowed to enter. Several local women supporters who requested to enter the court to hear the sentence were beaten and injured. There was only a verbal announcement and no written verdict has given to the family. Huang Qi’s lawyers were not able to come from Beijing to attend due to the short notice. Huang Qi protested immediately and said he will appeal. The judge asked court police taken him away and not allowed him to speak.
Amnesty International condemns the killings of at least 21 civilians, including journalists and members of a politician’s family, in the southern Philippines province of Maguindanao, the first reported killings linked to national elections to be held in May 2010.
A group of about 45 people were ambushed and abducted by about 100 armed men, according to reports. The military recovered the bodies of 13 women and eight men—some of them mutilated.
Amnesty International welcomes the government of Sri Lanka’s promise to lift by 1 December any restrictions on movement of at least 130,000 people displaced by the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam.
Amnesty International has learned that the Danish government has invited Sudanese President al Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, to attend a meeting in Copenhagen on climate change in December.
Chinese authorities must stop the harassment and arbitrary detention of dozens of human rights lawyers and activists who were targeted during US President Obama’s visit to the country earlier this week, Amnesty International said today.
Security forces have kept dozens of lawyers and activists under house arrest or under surveillance during President Obama’s visit and prevented them from having any contact with foreign journalists reporting on the visit.
“It is a very negative sign that the Chinese government now actually steps up its repressive tactics during sensitive public events,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director.
“This is a clear signal to China’s civil society, as well as to the United States, that the Chinese government will not abide by its international human rights obligations even when it knows the whole world is watching.” Said Sam Zarifi.
Amnesty International condemns the failure of Egypt's military appeals court to overturn sentences imposed on leading members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood organization after unfair trials and calls on the authorities to stop trying civilians in military tribunals.