http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report_abstract en Azerbaijan: Abysmal record of human rights continues as activist arrested http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/azerbaijan-abysmal-record-human-rights-continues-activist-arrested-2014-07-30 <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"> Azerbaijan: Abysmal record of human rights continues as activist arrested </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>The persecution of human rights activists continues unabated in Azerbaijan, in spite of the obligations the country committed to as a member of Council of Europe and currently a chair of its decision making body, the Committee of Ministers, Amnesty International said today. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The latest human rights defender to be targeted by the Azerbaijani authorities is Leyla Yunus who was detained today on her way to a press conference in the capital Baku. Her husband Arif Yunus was also briefly detained while visiting her in the Baku prosecutor’s office.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Leyla Yunus is yet another independent voice in Azerbaijan who, for a long time, the government has tried to silence through threats and intimidation. Failing to achieve this they have now resorted to trumped up charges and detention in order to punish her for criticizing the government,” said Natalia Nozadze, Amnesty International’s researcher on Azerbaijan.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Later, the a court in Baku placed Leyla Yunus under a three-month pre-trial detention and Arif Yunus with travel restrictions. According to media reports, authorities charged Leyla and Arif Yunus with treason and other charges related to fraud and tax evasion.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International believes that the treason charges against Leyla and Arif Yunus are trumped up and are part of a process of on-going harassment against them in connection with Leyla Yunus’s activism.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Leyla Yunus organized a press conference last week in order to call for a boycott of the first European Games - to be held in Baku in 2015 – in recognition of the regime’s dire human rights record. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Prior to today’s detention, she had regularly been summoned to the prosecutor’s office and interrogated in connection with criminal proceedings against an independent Azerbaijani journalist Rauf Mirgadirov, who had been arrested on what appear to be trumped-up charges of spying for Armenia. She had repeatedly refused to answer police questions unless her passport, which was confiscated on 28 April 2014 along with her husband’s passport, was returned.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Today’s detention is yet another example of the unrelenting suppression of critical voices that is a regular feature of life in the country. Members of the Council of Europe must challenge the Azerbaijani authorities for flouting the principles of the human rights body which Azerbaijan is chairing at the moment,” said Natalia Nozadze.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The list of human rights violations regularly perpetrated by the Azerbaijani authorities is long and includes clamping down on the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association including persecution of activists, arresting them on trumped up charges and denying them the right to a fair trial. Amnesty International currently counts at least 19 prisoners of conscience behind bars solely for peacefully expressing their views.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Background</strong></p><p>Persons in civilian clothing stopped Leyla Yunus’s car en route to the press conference this morning and forced the driver to change course.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Her family and the lawyer did not know her whereabouts for several hours until the Office of the Prosecutor General called Leyla Yunus’s husband, Arif Yunus, notifying him that she had been detained. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The persecution of human rights activists continues unabated in Azerbaijan, in spite of the obligations the country committed to as a member of Council of Europe and currently a chair of its decision making body, the Committee of Ministers, Amnesty International said today. &nbsp;&nbsp;</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="505" height="500" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/64731_Leila_Yunus_director_of_the_Institute_for_Peace_and_Democracy-1.jpg?1406762121" /> </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/48614">Leyla Yunus</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">Azerbaijan</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="40.480381">40° 28' 49.3716" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="49.548340">49° 32' 54.024" 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>Leyla Yunus is yet another independent voice in Azerbaijan who, for a long time, the government has tried to silence through threats and intimidation. Failing to achieve this they have now resorted to trumped up charges and detention in order to punish her for criticizing the government </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"> Natalia Nozadze, Amnesty International’s researcher on Azerbaijan. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Azerbaijan Disappearances And Abductions Freedom Of Expression Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:15:51 +0000 Amnesty International 48615 at http://www.amnesty.org USA: One year after her conviction Chelsea Manning must be released http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/usa-one-year-after-her-conviction-chelsea-manning-must-be-released-2014-07-30 <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"> USA: One year after her conviction Chelsea Manning must be released </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Exactly one year after Chelsea Manning was convicted of leaking classified government material, Amnesty International is renewing its call on the US authorities to grant her clemency, release her immediately, and to urgently investigate the potential human rights violations exposed by the leaks.</p><p>Chelsea Manning has spent the last year as a convicted criminal after exposing information which included evidence of potential human rights violations and breaches of international law. By disseminating classified information via Wikileaks she revealed to the world abuses perpetrated by the US army, military contractors and Iraqi and Afghan troops operating alongside US forces.</p><p>“It is an absolute outrage that Chelsea Manning is currently languishing behind bars whilst those she helped to expose, who are potentially guilty of human rights violations, enjoy impunity,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director Amnesty International.</p><p>“The US government must grant Chelsea Manning clemency, order her immediate release, and implement a thorough and impartial investigation into the crimes she uncovered.”</p><p>After being convicted of 20 separate charges Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison, much longer than other members of the military convicted of charges such as murder, rape and war crimes.</p><p>Before her conviction, Chelsea Manning had already been held for three years in pre-trial detention, including 11 months in conditions which the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture described as cruel and inhumane.</p><p>Chelsea Manning has always maintained that her motivation for releasing the documents to Wikileaks was out of concern for the public and to foster a meaningful debate on the costs of war and the conduct of the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan.</p><p>Notable amongst the information revealed by Private Manning was previously unseen footage of journalists and other civilians being killed in US helicopter attacks.</p><p>Chelsea Manning is now actively engaged with her lawyers in fighting her conviction.</p><p>“The US government appears to have its priorities warped. It is sending a worrying message through its harsh punishment of Chelsea Manning that whistleblowers will not be tolerated. On the other hand, its failure to investigate allegations that arose from Chelsea Manning’s disclosures means that those potentially responsible for crimes under international law, including torture and enforced disappearances, may get away scot-free,” said Erika Guevara.</p><p>“One year after the conviction of Chelsea Manning we are still calling on the US government to grant her clemency in recognition of her motives for acting as she did, and the time she has already served in prison.”&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International has previously expressed concern that a sentence of 35 years in jail was excessive and should have been commuted to time served. The organization believes that Chelsea Manning was overcharged using antiquated legislation aimed at dealing with treason, and denied the opportunity to use a public interest defence at her trial.</p><p>In addition, there is little protection in US law for genuine whistleblowers, and this case underlines the need for the US to strengthen protections for those who reveal information that the public has the right to know.</p><p>It is crucial that the US government stops using the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A year after Chelsea Manning was convicted of leaking classified government material, &nbsp;the US authorities should grant her clemency, release her immediately, and urgently investigate the potential human rights violations exposed by the leaks.</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/178444_Bradley_Manning_trial.jpg?1406698415" /> </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/48586">Manning</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"> USA </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="37.317752">37° 19' 3.9072" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-95.449219">95° 26' 57.1884" 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>It is an absolute outrage that Chelsea Manning is currently languishing behind bars whilst those she helped to expose, who are potentially guilty of human rights violations, enjoy impunity. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director Amnesty International. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Freedom Of Expression USA Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:45:29 +0000 Amnesty International 48587 at http://www.amnesty.org Israel/Gaza: Attack on UN school in Gaza a potential war crime that must be investigated http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israelgaza-attack-un-school-gaza-potential-war-crime-must-be-investigated-2014-07-30 <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"> Israel/Gaza: Attack on UN school in Gaza a potential war crime that must be investigated </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>An attack overnight on the Jabaliya elementary school in Gaza, where more than 3,000 displaced civilians had sought refuge, is a possible war crime and should be independently investigated, said Amnesty International today. The attack killed at least 20 people and injured dozens more at the school, which is located inside the very densely populated Jabaliya Refugee Camp.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>An initial assessment by UNRWA – the UN relief agency for displaced Palestinians and refugees - who analysed fragments and damage at the site, indicates the school was hit by Israeli artillery despite the fact that UNRWA shared its coordinates with the Israeli army 17 times. The strike is the sixth attack on a UN-run school in Gaza since Operation “Protective Edge” began on 8 July.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“If the strike on this school was the result of Israeli artillery fire it would constitute an indiscriminate attack and a likely war crime. Artillery should never be used against targets in crowded civilian areas and its use in such a manner would never be considered a ‘surgical’ strike,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“As the civilian death toll continues to mount at an alarming rate, Israel has an obligation to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from harm. It is appalling that civilians who have heeded Israeli warnings to flee their homes have been killed and injured overnight in the presumed sanctuary of a UN school.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>It is inevitable that the repeated use of artillery in densely populated civilian neighbourhoods will lead to the unlawful killing and injury of civilians and destruction and damage to civilian buildings, regardless of the intended target. Israeli forces have used such reckless tactics before, including in Operation "Cast Lead" in 2008/9, when some 1,400 Palestinians were killed, the majority of them civilians.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On three occasions in recent weeks UNRWA has reported finding stockpiles of Palestinian rockets at schools which were not at the time being used as shelters. Amnesty International calls on Hamas and all Palestinian armed groups not to endanger civilians by storing ammunition in UN facilities and other civilian buildings.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The attack on the UN school came a day after the Gaza Strip’s sole power plant was struck and badly damaged. It is likely to take at least a year to repair. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The strike on the power plant, which cut off electricity and running water to Gaza’s 1.8 million residents and numerous hospitals has catastrophic humanitarian implications and is very likely to amount to a war crime. There can be no justification for targeting a civilian structure that provides crucial services to so many civilians. The scale of the consequences of this attack are devastating and could amount to collective punishment of Gaza’s population,” said Philip Luther.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The UN Human Rights Council last week established a commission of inquiry to investigate violations of international law in the current conflict. In stark contrast to the experience after previous conflicts in Gaza, their work into these and other possible war crimes must, this time, lead to those responsible for crimes under international law being brought to justice.”&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>An attack overnight on the Jabaliya elementary school in Gaza, where more than 3,000 displaced civilians had sought refuge, is a possible war crime and should be independently investigated, said Amnesty International today.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/197953_UN_school_in_Gaza_Strip_caught_in_airstrikes (1).jpg?1406736797" /> </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/48608">UNRWA school shelled</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Israel</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="31.795757">31° 47' 44.7252" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="34.716859">34° 43' 0.6924" 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>If the strike on this school was the result of Israeli artillery fire it would constitute an indiscriminate attack and a likely war crime. Artillery should never be used against targets in crowded civilian areas and its use in such a manner would never be considered a ‘surgical’ strike </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wed, 30/07/2014</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="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/campaigns/us-stop-arming-israel">US government: Stop arming Israel</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://livewire.amnesty.org/2014/07/28/nowhere-in-gaza-is-safe-a-snapshot-of-life-under-the-bombs/">‘Nowhere in Gaza is safe’ – A snapshot of life under the bombs</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, 28 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/israelgaza-conflict-questions-and-answers-2014-07-25">Israel/Gaza conflict: Questions and Answers</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, 25 July 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/israelgaza-attacks-medical-facilities-and-civilians-add-war-crime-allegations-2014-07-21">Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime allegations</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 July 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-4"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israelgaza-prevent-further-war-crimes-after-israeli-ground-assault-2014-07-18">Israel/Gaza: Prevent further war crimes after Israeli ground assault</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 July 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Children Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants United Nations Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:18:42 +0000 Amnesty International 48610 at http://www.amnesty.org Israel/Gaza: Attack on UN school in Gaza a potential war crime that must be investigated http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israelgaza-attack-un-school-gaza-potential-war-crime-must-be-investigated-2014-07-30 <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"> Israel/Gaza: Attack on UN school in Gaza a potential war crime that must be investigated </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>An attack overnight on the Jabaliya elementary school in Gaza, where more than 3,000 displaced civilians had sought refuge, is a possible war crime and should be independently investigated, said Amnesty International today. The attack killed at least 20 people and injured dozens more at the school, which is located inside the very densely populated Jabaliya Refugee Camp.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>An initial assessment by UNRWA – the UN relief agency for displaced Palestinians and refugees - who analysed fragments and damage at the site, indicates the school was hit by Israeli artillery despite the fact that UNRWA shared its coordinates with the Israeli army 17 times. The strike is the sixth attack on a UN-run school in Gaza since Operation “Protective Edge” began on 8 July.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“If the strike on this school was the result of Israeli artillery fire it would constitute an indiscriminate attack and a likely war crime. Artillery should never be used against targets in crowded civilian areas and its use in such a manner would never be considered a ‘surgical’ strike,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“As the civilian death toll continues to mount at an alarming rate, Israel has an obligation to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from harm. It is appalling that civilians who have heeded Israeli warnings to flee their homes have been killed and injured overnight in the presumed sanctuary of a UN school.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>It is inevitable that the repeated use of artillery in densely populated civilian neighbourhoods will lead to the unlawful killing and injury of civilians and destruction and damage to civilian buildings, regardless of the intended target. Israeli forces have used such reckless tactics before, including in Operation "Cast Lead" in 2008/9, when some 1,400 Palestinians were killed, the majority of them civilians.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On three occasions in recent weeks UNRWA has reported finding stockpiles of Palestinian rockets at schools which were not at the time being used as shelters. Amnesty International calls on Hamas and all Palestinian armed groups not to endanger civilians by storing ammunition in UN facilities and other civilian buildings.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The attack on the UN school came a day after the Gaza Strip’s sole power plant was struck and badly damaged. It is likely to take at least a year to repair. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The strike on the power plant, which cut off electricity and running water to Gaza’s 1.8 million residents and numerous hospitals has catastrophic humanitarian implications and is very likely to amount to a war crime. There can be no justification for targeting a civilian structure that provides crucial services to so many civilians. The scale of the consequences of this attack are devastating and could amount to collective punishment of Gaza’s population,” said Philip Luther.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The UN Human Rights Council last week established a commission of inquiry to investigate violations of international law in the current conflict. In stark contrast to the experience after previous conflicts in Gaza, their work into these and other possible war crimes must, this time, lead to those responsible for crimes under international law being brought to justice.”&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>An attack overnight on the Jabaliya elementary school in Gaza, where more than 3,000 displaced civilians had sought refuge, is a possible war crime and should be independently investigated, said Amnesty International today.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/197953_UN_school_in_Gaza_Strip_caught_in_airstrikes (1).jpg?1406736797" /> </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/48608">UNRWA school shelled</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Israel</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="31.795757">31° 47' 44.7252" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="34.716859">34° 43' 0.6924" 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>If the strike on this school was the result of Israeli artillery fire it would constitute an indiscriminate attack and a likely war crime. Artillery should never be used against targets in crowded civilian areas and its use in such a manner would never be considered a ‘surgical’ strike </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wed, 30/07/2014</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="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/campaigns/us-stop-arming-israel">US government: Stop arming Israel</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://livewire.amnesty.org/2014/07/28/nowhere-in-gaza-is-safe-a-snapshot-of-life-under-the-bombs/">‘Nowhere in Gaza is safe’ – A snapshot of life under the bombs</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, 28 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/israelgaza-conflict-questions-and-answers-2014-07-25">Israel/Gaza conflict: Questions and Answers</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, 25 July 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/israelgaza-attacks-medical-facilities-and-civilians-add-war-crime-allegations-2014-07-21">Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime allegations</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 July 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-4"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israelgaza-prevent-further-war-crimes-after-israeli-ground-assault-2014-07-18">Israel/Gaza: Prevent further war crimes after Israeli ground assault</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 July 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Children Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants United Nations Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:18:42 +0000 Amnesty International 48610 at http://www.amnesty.org International Court exposes Guatemalan State role in horrific death of teenage girl http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/international-court-exposes-guatemalan-state-role-horrific-death-teenage-girl-2014-07-30 <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"> International Court exposes Guatemalan State role in horrific death of teenage girl </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ ruling that Guatemalan authorities failed to investigate the tragic murder of a teenage girl sends a strong message to governments around the world that failure to address violence against women will not be tolerated, said Amnesty International ahead of a press conference on the ruling in Guatemala City today.</p> <p>The case was brought by the mother of María Isabel Veliz Franco, a 15-year-old girl who had been sexually assaulted, tortured and brutally murdered in Guatemala in 2001. On Monday 28 July, the court found that not only had Guatemalan authorities failed to properly investigate the murder, but that they had failed to address and resolve the ingrained culture of violence and discrimination against women that permeates Guatemalan society, which led to a flawed investigation.</p> <p>“This is a hugely important moment marking the legal responsibility of a government to create and maintain an environment where women and girls are protected from violence and where there is accountability when violations occur. But María Isabel’s family and supporters can not rest until those responsible for her horrific death are investigated and prosecuted,” said Sebastian Elgueta, Guatemala researcher at Amnesty International.</p> <p>“The lessons of this case will only be learnt once the deaths of all women and girls murdered in Guatemala are taken seriously, and concrete steps are taken to prevent violence against women and create a safe and respectful society for all.”</p> <p>In December 2001 María Isabel Veliz Franco was kidnapped in Guatemala City. Days later her body was found. She had been raped, bound with barbed wire on her hands and feet, stabbed, strangled and put in a bag. Her face was disfigured from being punched, her body was punctured with small holes, there was a rope around her neck and her nails were bent back.</p> <p>Witnesses provided evidence that identified prime suspects, but the prosecutor’s office failed to investigate thoroughly.</p> <p>Sadly, the brutal physical and sexual violence inflicted on María Isabel following her abduction is a characteristic common to many of the hundreds of killings of women and girls in Guatemala. Last year, according to state figures, 522 women were killed.</p> <p>The Inter-American Court noted attempts by the Guatemalan authorities to address this atmosphere of violence, but also noted that the country has a high rate of impunity for such crimes, and that the “majority of violent acts that lead to the deaths of women remain unpunished”.</p> <p>Amnesty International is calling on the Guatemalan government to heed and completely implement the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling.</p> <p>“Women and girls like María Isabel must never again have to face the trauma, deaths and injustices created by a society that allows such violence against women,” said Sebastian Elgueta.</p> <p>María Isabel’s mother Rosa Elvira Franco Sandoval has fought long and hard to get authorities to investigate her daughter’s death and has subsequently faced death threats and harassment by unknown individuals.</p> <p>The Guatemalan authorities’ investigations into her daughter’s murder were delayed so many times that Rosa Elvira took her case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2004 and finally to the Inter-American Court.</p> <p>Earlier this week the court found that the Guatemalan State had failed to protect María Isabel’s right to life and personal integrity as well as her family’s right to a fair judicial process and legal remedy.</p> <p>Serious concerns were raised about the investigation into the teenager’s death. The ruling explains that: “Gender stereotypes [in Guatemala] had a negative influence on the investigation in that they laid the blame [for the murder] on the victim and her family, closing off other lines of investigation.”</p> <p>The court ordered the State to conduct an efficient investigation to identify, process and punish those responsible for the death of María Isabel, and to strengthen and develop its legal framework protecting women and girls against violence.</p> <p>Amnesty International campaigned on this case. In 2013 Vice President Roxana Baldetti received more than 1,000 letters from the organization’s members and supporters from all over the world, calling for action in the case.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" width="680" height="500"><param name="movie" value="https://adam.amnesty.org/tools/jwplayer/player.swf" /><param name="flashvars" value="file=https://adam.amnesty.org/images/assets/26801-26900/26867/102697-p1.flv&amp;image=https://adam.amnesty.org/images/assets/26801-26900/26867/7_102697894896-m.jpg&amp;backcolor=000000&amp;frontcolor=EEEEEE&amp;lightcolor=FFFFFF&amp;screencolor=000000&amp;autostart=false&amp;stretching=uniform&amp;provider=video&amp;duration=1318" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="scale" value="default" /><param name="bgcolor" value="111111" /><!--[if !IE]>--><!--[if !IE]>--><object data="https://adam.amnesty.org/tools/jwplayer/player.swf?file=https://adam.amnesty.org/images/assets/26801-26900/26867/102697-p1.flv&amp;image=https://adam.amnesty.org/images/assets/26801-26900/26867/7_102697894896-m.jpg&amp;backcolor=000000&amp;frontcolor=EEEEEE&amp;lightcolor=FFFFFF&amp;screencolor=000000&amp;autostart=false&amp;stretching=uniform&amp;provider=video&amp;duration=1318" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="680" height="500"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="scale" value="default" /><param name="bgcolor" value="111111" /><!--<![endif]--><!--<![endif]--><p>Your browser does not have the necessary plugin to display this content.</p><!--[if !IE]>--><!--[if !IE]>--></object><!--<![endif]--><!--<![endif]--></object></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ ruling that Guatemalan authorities failed to investigate the tragic murder of a teenage girl sends a strong message to governments around the world that failure to address violence against women will not be tolerated.</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/69700_Mar_a_Isabel_Vel_z_Franco_.jpg?1406736816" /> </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/48606">Guatemala</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"> 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">Guatemala</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="16.893916">16° 53' 38.0976" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-91.406250">91° 24' 22.5" 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>This is a hugely important moment marking the legal responsibility of a government to create and maintain an environment where women and girls are protected from violence and where there is accountability when violations occur. But María Isabel’s family and supporters can not rest until those responsible for her horrific death are investigated and prosecuted. </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"> Sebastian Elgueta, Guatemala researcher at Amnesty International. </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/guatemala-s-war-women-2013-01-21">Guatemala’s war on women</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, 21 January 2013. </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/time-end-inaction-over-killings-women-guatemala-2013-01-17">Time to end the inaction over killings of women in Guatemala</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, 17 January 2013. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Guatemala Women Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:15:30 +0000 Amnesty International 48609 at http://www.amnesty.org Azerbaijan: Abysmal record of human rights continues as activist arrested http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/azerbaijan-abysmal-record-human-rights-continues-activist-arrested-2014-07-30 <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"> Azerbaijan: Abysmal record of human rights continues as activist arrested </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>The persecution of human rights activists continues unabated in Azerbaijan, in spite of the obligations the country committed to as a member of Council of Europe and currently a chair of its decision making body, the Committee of Ministers, Amnesty International said today. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The latest human rights defender to be targeted by the Azerbaijani authorities is Leyla Yunus who was detained today on her way to a press conference in the capital Baku. Her husband Arif Yunus was also briefly detained while visiting her in the Baku prosecutor’s office.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Leyla Yunus is yet another independent voice in Azerbaijan who, for a long time, the government has tried to silence through threats and intimidation. Failing to achieve this they have now resorted to trumped up charges and detention in order to punish her for criticizing the government,” said Natalia Nozadze, Amnesty International’s researcher on Azerbaijan.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Later, the a court in Baku placed Leyla Yunus under a three-month pre-trial detention and Arif Yunus with travel restrictions. According to media reports, authorities charged Leyla and Arif Yunus with treason and other charges related to fraud and tax evasion.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International believes that the treason charges against Leyla and Arif Yunus are trumped up and are part of a process of on-going harassment against them in connection with Leyla Yunus’s activism.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Leyla Yunus organized a press conference last week in order to call for a boycott of the first European Games - to be held in Baku in 2015 – in recognition of the regime’s dire human rights record. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Prior to today’s detention, she had regularly been summoned to the prosecutor’s office and interrogated in connection with criminal proceedings against an independent Azerbaijani journalist Rauf Mirgadirov, who had been arrested on what appear to be trumped-up charges of spying for Armenia. She had repeatedly refused to answer police questions unless her passport, which was confiscated on 28 April 2014 along with her husband’s passport, was returned.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Today’s detention is yet another example of the unrelenting suppression of critical voices that is a regular feature of life in the country. Members of the Council of Europe must challenge the Azerbaijani authorities for flouting the principles of the human rights body which Azerbaijan is chairing at the moment,” said Natalia Nozadze.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The list of human rights violations regularly perpetrated by the Azerbaijani authorities is long and includes clamping down on the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association including persecution of activists, arresting them on trumped up charges and denying them the right to a fair trial. Amnesty International currently counts at least 19 prisoners of conscience behind bars solely for peacefully expressing their views.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Background</strong></p><p>Persons in civilian clothing stopped Leyla Yunus’s car en route to the press conference this morning and forced the driver to change course.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Her family and the lawyer did not know her whereabouts for several hours until the Office of the Prosecutor General called Leyla Yunus’s husband, Arif Yunus, notifying him that she had been detained. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The persecution of human rights activists continues unabated in Azerbaijan, in spite of the obligations the country committed to as a member of Council of Europe and currently a chair of its decision making body, the Committee of Ministers, Amnesty International said today. &nbsp;&nbsp;</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="505" height="500" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/64731_Leila_Yunus_director_of_the_Institute_for_Peace_and_Democracy-1.jpg?1406762121" /> </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/48614">Leyla Yunus</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">Azerbaijan</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="40.480381">40° 28' 49.3716" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="49.548340">49° 32' 54.024" 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>Leyla Yunus is yet another independent voice in Azerbaijan who, for a long time, the government has tried to silence through threats and intimidation. Failing to achieve this they have now resorted to trumped up charges and detention in order to punish her for criticizing the government </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"> Natalia Nozadze, Amnesty International’s researcher on Azerbaijan. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Azerbaijan Disappearances And Abductions Freedom Of Expression Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:15:51 +0000 Amnesty International 48615 at http://www.amnesty.org International Court exposes Guatemalan State role in horrific death of teenage girl http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/international-court-exposes-guatemalan-state-role-horrific-death-teenage-girl-2014-07-30 <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"> International Court exposes Guatemalan State role in horrific death of teenage girl </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ ruling that Guatemalan authorities failed to investigate the tragic murder of a teenage girl sends a strong message to governments around the world that failure to address violence against women will not be tolerated, said Amnesty International ahead of a press conference on the ruling in Guatemala City today.</p> <p>The case was brought by the mother of María Isabel Veliz Franco, a 15-year-old girl who had been sexually assaulted, tortured and brutally murdered in Guatemala in 2001. On Monday 28 July, the court found that not only had Guatemalan authorities failed to properly investigate the murder, but that they had failed to address and resolve the ingrained culture of violence and discrimination against women that permeates Guatemalan society, which led to a flawed investigation.</p> <p>“This is a hugely important moment marking the legal responsibility of a government to create and maintain an environment where women and girls are protected from violence and where there is accountability when violations occur. But María Isabel’s family and supporters can not rest until those responsible for her horrific death are investigated and prosecuted,” said Sebastian Elgueta, Guatemala researcher at Amnesty International.</p> <p>“The lessons of this case will only be learnt once the deaths of all women and girls murdered in Guatemala are taken seriously, and concrete steps are taken to prevent violence against women and create a safe and respectful society for all.”</p> <p>In December 2001 María Isabel Veliz Franco was kidnapped in Guatemala City. Days later her body was found. She had been raped, bound with barbed wire on her hands and feet, stabbed, strangled and put in a bag. Her face was disfigured from being punched, her body was punctured with small holes, there was a rope around her neck and her nails were bent back.</p> <p>Witnesses provided evidence that identified prime suspects, but the prosecutor’s office failed to investigate thoroughly.</p> <p>Sadly, the brutal physical and sexual violence inflicted on María Isabel following her abduction is a characteristic common to many of the hundreds of killings of women and girls in Guatemala. Last year, according to state figures, 522 women were killed.</p> <p>The Inter-American Court noted attempts by the Guatemalan authorities to address this atmosphere of violence, but also noted that the country has a high rate of impunity for such crimes, and that the “majority of violent acts that lead to the deaths of women remain unpunished”.</p> <p>Amnesty International is calling on the Guatemalan government to heed and completely implement the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling.</p> <p>“Women and girls like María Isabel must never again have to face the trauma, deaths and injustices created by a society that allows such violence against women,” said Sebastian Elgueta.</p> <p>María Isabel’s mother Rosa Elvira Franco Sandoval has fought long and hard to get authorities to investigate her daughter’s death and has subsequently faced death threats and harassment by unknown individuals.</p> <p>The Guatemalan authorities’ investigations into her daughter’s murder were delayed so many times that Rosa Elvira took her case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2004 and finally to the Inter-American Court.</p> <p>Earlier this week the court found that the Guatemalan State had failed to protect María Isabel’s right to life and personal integrity as well as her family’s right to a fair judicial process and legal remedy.</p> <p>Serious concerns were raised about the investigation into the teenager’s death. The ruling explains that: “Gender stereotypes [in Guatemala] had a negative influence on the investigation in that they laid the blame [for the murder] on the victim and her family, closing off other lines of investigation.”</p> <p>The court ordered the State to conduct an efficient investigation to identify, process and punish those responsible for the death of María Isabel, and to strengthen and develop its legal framework protecting women and girls against violence.</p> <p>Amnesty International campaigned on this case. In 2013 Vice President Roxana Baldetti received more than 1,000 letters from the organization’s members and supporters from all over the world, calling for action in the case.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" width="680" height="500"><param name="movie" value="https://adam.amnesty.org/tools/jwplayer/player.swf" /><param name="flashvars" value="file=https://adam.amnesty.org/images/assets/26801-26900/26867/102697-p1.flv&amp;image=https://adam.amnesty.org/images/assets/26801-26900/26867/7_102697894896-m.jpg&amp;backcolor=000000&amp;frontcolor=EEEEEE&amp;lightcolor=FFFFFF&amp;screencolor=000000&amp;autostart=false&amp;stretching=uniform&amp;provider=video&amp;duration=1318" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="scale" value="default" /><param name="bgcolor" value="111111" /><!--[if !IE]>--><!--[if !IE]>--><object data="https://adam.amnesty.org/tools/jwplayer/player.swf?file=https://adam.amnesty.org/images/assets/26801-26900/26867/102697-p1.flv&amp;image=https://adam.amnesty.org/images/assets/26801-26900/26867/7_102697894896-m.jpg&amp;backcolor=000000&amp;frontcolor=EEEEEE&amp;lightcolor=FFFFFF&amp;screencolor=000000&amp;autostart=false&amp;stretching=uniform&amp;provider=video&amp;duration=1318" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="680" height="500"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="scale" value="default" /><param name="bgcolor" value="111111" /><!--<![endif]--><!--<![endif]--><p>Your browser does not have the necessary plugin to display this content.</p><!--[if !IE]>--><!--[if !IE]>--></object><!--<![endif]--><!--<![endif]--></object></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ ruling that Guatemalan authorities failed to investigate the tragic murder of a teenage girl sends a strong message to governments around the world that failure to address violence against women will not be tolerated.</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/69700_Mar_a_Isabel_Vel_z_Franco_.jpg?1406736816" /> </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/48606">Guatemala</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"> 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">Guatemala</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="16.893916">16° 53' 38.0976" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-91.406250">91° 24' 22.5" 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>This is a hugely important moment marking the legal responsibility of a government to create and maintain an environment where women and girls are protected from violence and where there is accountability when violations occur. But María Isabel’s family and supporters can not rest until those responsible for her horrific death are investigated and prosecuted. </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"> Sebastian Elgueta, Guatemala researcher at Amnesty International. </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/guatemala-s-war-women-2013-01-21">Guatemala’s war on women</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, 21 January 2013. </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/time-end-inaction-over-killings-women-guatemala-2013-01-17">Time to end the inaction over killings of women in Guatemala</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, 17 January 2013. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Guatemala Women Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:15:30 +0000 Amnesty International 48609 at http://www.amnesty.org EU must close all loopholes in the torture trade http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/eu-must-close-all-loopholes-torture-trade-2014-07-29 <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"> EU must close all loopholes in the torture 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">29 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The European Union (EU) must urgently strengthen its laws to enable member states to immediately ban the trade in new devices and technologies that have no practical &nbsp;use other than to torture, ill-treat or execute individuals, said Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation, as experts meet in Brussels today to strengthen current regulations.</p><p>The organizations are also calling on the EU to close current legal loopholes which effectively allow the promotion, brokering and provision of technical training in the use of devices and technologies that can easily be used by law enforcers for acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.</p><p>“The recently reviewed European regulations against the trade in torture tools are ground-breaking and unique in the world but loopholes remain,” said Brian Wood, Arms Control, Security Trade and Human Rights Project Manager at Amnesty International.</p><p>“The range of already banned items comprises a veritable chamber of horrors: thumb-cuffs, restraint chairs, metal batons and even injection systems designed to administer lethal injections to name just a few. However, merely expanding the control lists every few years will not by itself enable the EU to immediately outlaw new torture technologies and devices.”</p><p>“This is an important first step in a long delayed overhaul of EU trade controls. The EU experts meeting today now have an opportunity to better protect people throughout the world from torture and death penalty technologies by closing specific known loopholes in EU law and ensure European companies are not complicit in the despicable abuses that these tools are used for,” said Dr Michael Crowley, Research Associate at the Omega Research Foundation.</p><p>A new legally binding EU regulation adopted on 16 July expands the list of torture tools that must be banned and expands the list of security equipment that must be strictly controlled. This enhances the first EU regulation introduced in June 2005 but EU officials are still discussing further changes to EU trade control mechanisms to prevent businesses in the EU from trading in equipment used for torture or the death penalty. Amongst the expanded range of goods that now cannot be exported by EU businesses or individuals are:</p><p>•<span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>Devices used for executions, including: gallows and guillotines, electric chairs, airtight vaults for the administration of lethal gas, automatic drug-injection systems for the administration of lethal injections and drugs when intended for such executions;</p><p>•<span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>Equipment designed for restraint, including: thumb-cuffs, finger-cuffs, thumbscrews and finger-screws, bar fetters, weighted leg restraints, restraint chairs, shackle boards and beds and cage beds;</p><p>•<span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>Spiked metal batons or shields, whips made of multiple lashes.</p><p>The list of goods whose export is strictly controlled includes an expanded range of security equipment that can be legitimately used for law enforcement but which can easily be misused for torture and ill-treatment such as:</p><p>•<span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>Electroshock stun devices to target a single individual and now also devices that can inflict electric shocks on groups of people;</p><p>•<span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>Equipment designed for discharging chemical incapacitants or irritants for riot control that target individuals as well as those that disseminate such chemicals over wide areas;</p><p>•<span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>Shackles and gang chains.</p><p>Experts are now further reviewing the trade mechanisms in the regulation, and will issue a proposal to the European Parliament and the European Council for consideration in the next three months.</p><p>Specific loopholes identified by Amnesty International and the Omega Foundation potentially allow companies registered in the EU to:</p><p>•<span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>Broker torture tools to third countries outside the EU as long as the devices don’t touch EU soil;</p><p>•<span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>Promote torture tools at EU arms fairs and exhibitions;</p><p>•<span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>Provide technical assistance including training in techniques that can facilitate torture and other ill-treatment;</p><p>•<span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>Introduce new technologies and devices onto the market and offer them to law enforcers even if there is a strong likelihood those items will be used in the death penalty, torture or other ill-treatment. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Background Information</strong></p><p>On 28-29 July, the Council of the EU Working Party of Trade Questions is meeting to consider, amongst other things, proposed amendments to the existing “Council Regulation (1236/2005) concerning trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.</p><p>With the introduction of Council Regulation 1236/2005 in June 2005 the EU introduced unprecedented and binding trade controls regulation on a range of equipment which is often used in capital punishment, torture and other ill treatment (‘tools of torture’), but which has not usually been included by EU member states in their military, dual-use or strategic export control lists.</p><p>Amnesty International in conjunction with the Omega Research Foundation produced three reports in <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/POL34/001/2007/en/ff4bc11b-d3bc-11dd-a329-2f46302a8cc6/pol340012007en.pdf">2007</a>, <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR01/004/2010/en/fb4ff4cc-9a20-44dc-8212-ebd9f4727f7b/eur010042010en.pdf">2010 </a>and <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ACT30/062/2012/en/66235abe-7eb8-4e6d-9516-04fb494e50d6/act300622012en.pdf">2012</a>, which identified specific loopholes in the EU regulation and omissions in the EU two lists of prohibited and controlled items that have allowed the trade in certain death penalty substances and “tools of torture” to continue.</p><p>Advocacy at the EU level around the 2010 report led to a decision by the European Commission in 2011 to expand the two lists to include other pieces of equipment, for example drugs used in executions, but it was recognised by experts that this was still insufficient to curb the trade and a comprehensive review of the Regulation was undertaken by the Commission.</p><p>On 16th July 2014, the Commission subsequently introduced a Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 775/2014 which further expanded the lists of prohibited and controlled goods covered by the Regulation.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The European Union (EU) must urgently strengthen its laws to enable member states to immediately ban the trade in new devices and technologies that have no practical &nbsp;use other than to torture, ill-treat or execute individuals.</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="360" height="377" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/64891_A_restraint_chair.jpg?1406634218" /> </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/48591">Tools of torture</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> ControlArms </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 recently reviewed European regulations against the trade in torture tools are ground-breaking and unique in the world but loopholes remain. </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"> Brian Wood, Arms Control, Security Trade and Human Rights Project Manager at 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>This is an important first step in a long delayed overhaul of EU trade controls. The EU experts meeting today now have an opportunity to better protect people throughout the world from torture and death penalty technologies by closing specific known loopholes in EU law and ensure European companies are not complicit in the despicable abuses that these tools are used for. </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"> Dr Michael Crowley, Research Associate at the Omega Research Foundation. </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/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 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/asset/EUR01/004/2010/en/fb4ff4cc-9a20-44dc-8212-ebd9f4727f7b/eur010042010en.pdf">Europe: From words to deeds: Making the EU ban on the trade in &#039;tools of torture&#039; a reality </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 March 2010. </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/asset/POL34/001/2007/en/ff4bc11b-d3bc-11dd-a329-2f46302a8cc6/pol340012007en.pdf">European Union: Stopping the Trade in Tools of Torture </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Report, 27 February 2007. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Europe And Central Asia Military, Security And Police Equipment Torture And Ill-treatment Arms control and human rights Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:59:59 +0000 Amnesty International 48593 at http://www.amnesty.org Burundi: Fears mount amid escalating political violence and government crackdown http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/burundi-fears-mount-amid-escalating-political-violence-and-government-crackdown-2014-07-29 <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"> Burundi: Fears mount amid escalating political violence and government crackdown </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Burundi’s ruling party is perpetrating a relentless campaign of intimidation against government critics and its youth wing is carrying out crimes with impunity ahead of next year’s election, warns Amnesty International in a report published today.</p><p><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR16/002/2014/en"><em>‘Locked down: A shrinking of political space’</em></a> explores a crackdown on freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly and a sharp increase in politicized violence in Burundi linked to the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party.</p><p>“The government’s clampdown on free expression and peaceful assembly has serious implications for human rights ahead of next year’s elections,” said Tom Gibson, Amnesty International’s Burundi researcher.</p><p>Political tensions in Burundi have run high as President Nkurunziza looks to be pushing for a third presidential term, perceived by many as in violation of Burundi’s Constitution.</p><p>Opposition groups and civil society have been arbitrarily denied permission by the authorities to meet publicly or hold demonstrations through the use of the Law on Public Gatherings. A Press Law and draft law on non-profit organizations pose a further threat to free expression and peaceful assembly.</p><p>The youth wing of the CNDD-FDD, the Imbonerakure, have been responsible for intimidation, harassment and violence, attacking and even killing members of the political opposition with impunity. The report shows how one opposition member was shot and killed by two soldiers on the orders of a local official and an Imbonerakure member. Another opposition member had his teeth knocked out during a beating.</p><p>“The Imbonerakure have strong links to the security services and are responsible for perpetrating human rights abuses with impunity. &nbsp;This is a cause for major concern,” said Tom Gibson.</p><p>“Allegations that they have been armed and trained need to be investigated, especially in light of reports of attacks and intimidation of opposition members.”</p><p>In April, a leaked internal cable sent by the UN Office in Burundi reported that two members of the military had, in one province, supplied the Imbonerakure and demobilized soldiers with weapons and military and police uniforms. These allegations have been denied by the government which dismissed a proposal by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide to establish an independent investigation commission into their substance.</p><p>A month later, a well-known human rights defender Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, was arrested after claiming on the radio that young men were receiving arms and uniforms and travelling to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo for military training. His imprisonment sends a chilling signal to the rest of civil society that criticism will be dealt with harshly.</p><p>Amnesty International’s report explains how the Imbonerakure are part of mixed security committees which the government is establishing around the country. It also finds that the Imbonerakure are not only involved with security at a local level but also detain suspects and often exert control over the local police and administration. The government has confirmed that the Imbonerakure are supported by the state.</p><p>Allegations of abuses by the Imbonerakure have not been effectively investigated and the group’s members have avoided prosecution.</p><p>Amnesty International is calling on the African Union to consider all threats, including violations of civil and political rights in Burundi, within the framework of the Continental Early Warning System, which aims to anticipate and prevent the outbreak of conflict.</p><p>The organization is also calling on Burundian authorities to respect, protect and fulfil Burundians’ rights to freedom of assembly and expression.</p><p>“The clampdown in Burundi must be reversed, human rights must be restored and impunity must be ended,” said Tom Gibson.</p><p>“Burundi is a nation emerging from a long and troubling history of violent conflict. The government must open up space for legitimate criticism and stop further repression in the build-up to the 2015 elections.”&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Burundi’s ruling party is perpetrating a relentless campaign of intimidation against government critics and its youth wing is carrying out crimes with impunity ahead of next year’s election.</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/197704_PIERRE_NKURUNZIZA_SWEARING_IN_CEREMONY.jpg?1406544724" /> </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/48563">Burundi</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"> AFR16/002/2014 </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"> Burundi </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">Burundi</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="-1.444549">1° 26' 40.3764" S</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="29.311523">29° 18' 41.4828" 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 government’s clampdown on free expression and peaceful assembly has serious implications for human rights ahead of next year’s elections.</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"> Tom Gibson, Amnesty International’s Burundi researcher </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/AFR16/002/2014/en">Locked down: A shrinking of political space</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 Burundi Freedom Of Expression Impunity Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:54:15 +0000 Amnesty International 48564 at http://www.amnesty.org Israel/Gaza conflict: Questions and Answers http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israelgaza-conflict-questions-and-answers-2014-07-25 <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"> Israel/Gaza conflict: Questions and Answers </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>What does Amnesty International think of the resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council on 23 July? What should happen next?</strong></p><p>Amnesty International welcomes resolution S-21/1 to establish a commission of inquiry and notes that the wording allows the commission to investigate violations of international law by all parties to the current conflict. The commission of inquiry represents an important opportunity to break the cycle of persistent impunity for crimes under international law in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). In order to be effective the commission of inquiry must be thorough, independent and impartial, and look into violations by any party to the conflict. It must be adequately resourced and have unrestricted access to all relevant areas. Amnesty International urges all states – including all EU member states, who abstained on the resolution – to co-operate with the commission as required.</p><p><strong>What are the key obligations of the parties to the conflict during the hostilities under international humanitarian law?</strong></p><p>During an armed conflict, all parties – whether state or non-state armed forces – must respect international humanitarian law, which aims to protect civilians by regulating the conduct of all sides in hostilities. States also continue to have an obligation to respect international human rights law during a conflict.</p><p>Under international humanitarian law, all sides in an armed conflict must distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian structures, and direct attacks only at the former. Deliberate attacks on civilians or civilian objects – such as homes, medical facilities, schools, governmental buildings – that are not being used for military purposes are prohibited and are war crimes. Indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks (where the likely number of civilian casualties or damage to civilian property outweighs the anticipated military advantage to be gained) are also prohibited.</p><p>All sides must take necessary precautions in attack to minimize harm to civilians and civilian objects. This includes giving civilians effective warnings ahead of attacks, and cancelling or suspending an attack if it becomes apparent that the target is civilian or that the attack would be disproportionate. They also must take all feasible precautions to protect civilians under their control from the effects of attacks. For example, warring parties should avoid endangering civilians by storing ammunition in, and launching attacks from, populated civilian areas.</p><p><strong>What are the different patterns of violations by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip that Amnesty International has identified since Israel launched Operation “Protective Edge” on 8 July 2014?&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Israeli forces have carried out attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians, using precision weaponry such as drone-fired missiles, as well as munitions such as artillery, which cannot be precisely targeted, on very densely populated residential areas, such as Shuja’iyyeh. They have also directly attacked thousands of homes. Israel appears to consider the homes of people associated with Hamas to be legitimate military targets, a stance that does not conform to international humanitarian law.</p><p>Several medical facilities and non-military governmental buildings across the Gaza Strip have also been destroyed or damaged. The UN has reported that one of its schools sheltering displaced people in the al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza was shelled by Israeli forces on at least two occasions. Another such school sheltering displaced families in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza was struck on 24 July, killing at least 15 civilians and injuring many others, and the UN has called for an immediate investigation.</p><p>Although the Israeli authorities claim to be warning civilians in Gaza, a consistent pattern has emerged that their actions do not constitute an “effective warning” under international humanitarian law. Israeli attacks have also caused mass displacement of Palestinian civilians within the Gaza Strip.</p><p><strong>What is Amnesty International’s position on the firing of indiscriminate rockets and mortars from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian armed groups? Do other actions of Palestinian armed groups in Gaza since 8 July 2014 violate international humanitarian law?</strong></p><p>According to the Israeli army, Hamas’ military wing and other Palestinian armed groups fired over 1,700 rockets into Israel from 8 to 18 July, and scores of rockets continue to be fired every day. Three civilians in Israel have been killed. Homes and other civilian properties in Israel have been damaged. International humanitarian law prohibits the use of weapons that are by nature indiscriminate. The rockets fired from Gaza into Israel cannot be aimed exactly at their objective and their use violates international humanitarian law. The firing of indiscriminate rockets and mortars also endangers Palestinian civilians inside the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank.</p><p>Statements by some leaders of Palestinian armed groups also indicate that they have no qualms about launching attacks against civilians and that they in fact carry out such attacks intending to kill and injure Israeli civilians. Attacks that directly target civilians and indiscriminate attacks that kill or injure civilians constitute war crimes.</p><p><strong>When the Israeli military has warned residents of a specific area in the Gaza Strip to evacuate the area, does that fulfil its obligations to protect civilians under international humanitarian law?</strong></p><p>Effective advance warning to civilians is only one of the prescribed precautions in attack aimed at minimizing harm to civilians. When Israeli forces have given warning in many cases key elements of effective warning have been missing, including timeliness, informing civilians where it is safe to flee, and providing safe passage and sufficient time to flee before an attack. There also have been reports of lethal strikes launched too soon after a warning to spare civilians. In any event, issuing a warning does not absolve an attacking force of its obligations to spare civilians, including by taking all other necessary precautions to minimize civilian casualties and damage to civilian structures. Israel’s continuing military blockade on the Gaza Strip and the closure of the Rafah crossing by the Egyptian authorities since the hostilities began mean that civilians in Gaza cannot flee to neighbouring countries.</p><p><strong>The Israeli authorities claim that Hamas and Palestinian armed groups use Palestinian civilians in Gaza as “human shields”. Does Amnesty International have any evidence that this has occurred during the current hostilities?&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Amnesty International is monitoring and investigating such reports, but does not have evidence at this point that Palestinian civilians have been intentionally used by Hamas or Palestinian armed groups during the current hostilities to “shield” specific locations or military personnel or equipment from Israeli attacks. In previous conflicts Amnesty International has documented that Palestinian armed groups have stored munitions in and fired indiscriminate rockets from residential areas in the Gaza Strip in violation of international humanitarian law. Reports have also emerged during the current conflict of Hamas urging residents to ignore Israeli warnings to evacuate. However, these calls may have been motivated by a desire to minimize panic and displacement, in any case, such statements are not the same as directing specific civilians to remain in their homes as “human shields” for fighters, munitions, or military equipment. Under international humanitarian law even if “human shields” are being used Israel’s obligations to protect these civilians would still apply.</p><p><strong>There are reports that Israeli forces have used flechettes in the current military operation in the Gaza Strip. What is Amnesty International’s position on the use of flechettes? Has the Israeli military used flechettes in Gaza before?&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Flechettes are 3.5cm-long steel darts, sharply pointed at the front, with four fins at the rear. Between 5,000 and 8,000 of these darts are packed into shells which are generally fired from tanks. The shells explode in the air and scatter the flechettes in a conical pattern over an area about 300m by 100m. Flechettes are designed to be used against massed infantry attacks or squads of troops in the open, and obviously pose a very high risk to civilians when fired in densely populated residential areas.</p><p>Local human rights groups have reported cases in which civilians in Gaza have been killed and injured by flechette shells. Amnesty International has not yet been able to verify particular cases during the current hostilities, but has previously documented Israeli forces’ use of flechette rounds, for example during Operation “Cast Lead”, resulting in the killing of civilians, including children.</p><p>Flechettes are not specifically prohibited by international humanitarian law per se, however, they should never be used in densely populated areas.</p><p><strong>What is Amnesty International calling on the international community to do at this point?</strong></p><p>All states (particularly key suppliers, for example USA for Israel) must suspend all transfers of weapons, munitions and other military equipment and technology to all sides until there is no longer a substantial risk that such items will be used for serious violations of international humanitarian law or serious human rights abuses. The suspension should include all indirect exports via other countries, the transfer of military components and technologies and any brokering, financial or logistical activities that would facilitate such transfers.</p><p>States should use the 2009 report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict and the upcoming report of the commission of inquiry mandated this week by the Human Rights Council as a basis to exercise universal jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute crimes under international law before their national courts.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Amnesty International's experts respond to some of the questions raised around the Israel/Gaza conflict.</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/197637_Airstrikes_on_Gaza.jpg?1406297625" /> </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/48553">Israel/Gaza Q&amp;A</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Israel</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="33.507049">33° 30' 25.3764" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="35.947266">35° 56' 50.1576" 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="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/campaigns/us-stop-arming-israel">U.S. government: Stop arming Israel</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/library/info/MDE15/015/2014/en">Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories: United Nations Human Rights Council Twenty-first Special Session 23 July 2014</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, 23 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/israelgaza-attacks-medical-facilities-and-civilians-add-war-crime-allegations-2014-07-21">Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime allegations</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 July 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/israelgaza-prevent-further-war-crimes-after-israeli-ground-assault-2014-07-18">Israel/Gaza: Prevent further war crimes after Israeli ground assault</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 July 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-4"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israelgaza-un-must-impose-arms-embargo-and-mandate-international-investigation-civilian-death-t">Israel/Gaza: UN must impose arms embargo and mandate an international investigation as civilian death toll rises</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 July 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories United Nations Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:17:51 +0000 Amnesty International 48554 at http://www.amnesty.org Swaziland: Deplorable sentences against journalist and lawyer stifle free speech http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/swaziland-deplorable-sentences-against-journalist-and-lawyer-stifle-free-speech-2014-07-25 <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"> Swaziland: Deplorable sentences against journalist and lawyer stifle free speech </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The sentencing of a newspaper editor and a human rights lawyer to two years in prison on charges of contempt of court after a grossly unfair trial in Swaziland is an outrageous attempt to silence dissenting voices, said Amnesty International.</p><p>“With this sentence, Swaziland is sending the message that raising any concerns about judicial independence is out of bounds. It is a deplorable attack on freedom of expression in the country,” said Deprose Muchena, Regional Director for Southern Africa at Amnesty International.</p><p>Bhekithemba Makhubu, editor of Swaziland’s monthly news magazine, The Nation, and human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, were today sentenced to two years in prison without the possibility of paying a fine instead.</p><p>The sentences were backdated to March 2014 when the men were arrested and detained under orders of the Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi. The Nation magazine together with its publishers were fined R100,000 (approximately USD 9,500).</p><p>The contempt of court charges arose from two articles published in The Nation magazine in February 2014 in which the convicted men had raised concerns about judicial independence and integrity in Swaziland.</p><p>Both men, whom Amnesty International regard as prisoners of conscience, &nbsp;were arrested in March under defective warrants, denied access to their lawyers and remanded in custody after summary proceedings behind closed doors.</p><p>During the trial, there was a clear conflict of interest as the presiding judge had been named in one of the articles. Also, prior to the judgment being handed down in court, the Minister of Justice reportedly had a meeting with the judge in his chambers.</p><p>“It is appalling that such a blatant conflict of interest was ignored and that the trial was allowed to continue. This was clearly a politically motivated trial which contravened both domestic legal processes and international human rights standards,” said Deprose Muchena.</p><p>“We consider Bhekithemba Makhubu and Thulani Maseko to be prisoners of conscience, arrested and detained merely for exercising their right to freedom of expression. The authorities in Swaziland must release them immediately and unconditionally.”&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The sentencing of a newspaper editor and a human rights lawyer to two years in prison on charges of contempt of court after a grossly unfair trial in Swaziland is an outrageous attempt to silence dissenting voices.</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/189241_Swaziland_s_judicial_crisis__1.jpg?1406300532" /> </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/48556">Swaziland</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"> Swaziland </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">Swaziland</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="-17.973508">17° 58' 24.6288" S</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="34.628906">34° 37' 44.0616" 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>With this sentence, Swaziland is sending the message that raising any concerns about judicial independence is out of bounds. It is a deplorable attack on freedom of expression in the country. </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"> Deprose Muchena, Regional Director for Southern Africa at Amnesty International. </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/AFR55/002/2014/en">Swaziland: Amnesty International condemns the convictions of editor and human rights lawyer today for exercising 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, 18 July 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/swaziland-free-editor-and-human-rights-lawyer-jailed-after-summary-proceedings-2014-03-18">Swaziland: Free editor and human rights lawyer jailed after summary proceedings</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 March 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Freedom Of Expression Swaziland Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:04:31 +0000 Amnesty International 48557 at http://www.amnesty.org Landmark rulings expose Poland’s role in CIA secret detention and torture http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/landmark-rulings-expose-poland-s-role-cia-secret-detention-and-torture-2014-07-24 <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"> Landmark rulings expose Poland’s role in CIA secret detention and torture </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Poland is the first European Union member state to be found complicit in the USA’s rendition, secret detention, and torture of alleged terrorism suspects, Amnesty International said as it applauded two landmark human rights judgments handed down today. &nbsp;<br /><br />The European Court of Human Rights found that the Polish government colluded with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to establish a secret prison at Stare Kiejkuty, which operated between 2002 and 2005. At the site, 180 km north of Warsaw, detainees were held in secret detention and tortured.<br /><br />“Today’s historic rulings finally unlock the truth about a dark period of Poland’s recent history and mark a milestone against impunity. Poland knowingly became part of the USA’s illegal network of black sites that was used to secretly detain and torture individuals rounded up in counter-terrorism operations,” said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counter-terrorism and human rights. &nbsp;<br /><br />The Court found Poland in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights for, among other things, the lack of an investigation into the men’s claims; their torture and other ill-treatment, secret detention, and transferred to other places where they were at risk of further human rights violations including torture and other ill-treatment. The Court also reaffirmed the victims’ and the public’s right to truth. <br /><br />The two claimants lodged their cases with the European Court in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Both men are currently detained at the US Navy's Guantánamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. <br /><br />The first is Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi Arabian national alleged to have masterminded the bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in 2000. He has claimed that he was questioned in a secret facility in Poland and subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” and other human rights violations, such as “mock execution” with a gun and threats of sexual assault against his family members.<br /><br />The second, Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, also known as Abu Zubaydah, a stateless Palestinian born in Saudi Arabia, is also believed to have been held in Poland, where he says he was subjected to extreme physical pain and psychological suffering. Former US President George W. Bush asserted in his 2010 memoirs that he authorized the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”, including “waterboarding” – mock drowning – against Abu Zubaydah in secret CIA detention.<br /><br />Al-Nashiri faces a capital trial by military commission in Guantánamo. The US authorities have yet to charge Abu Zubaydah with any crime, more than 12 years after taking him into detention.<br /><br />There has been no accountability to date in the USA for the torture and enforced disappearances attendant to the CIA rendition and secret detention programmes.<br /><br />European Parliament resolutions in 2012 and 2013 specifically named Poland as complicit in the CIA programmes, named al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah as victims of torture and enforced disappearance, and called on Poland to provide effective redress. <br /><br />“Poland colluded with the CIA and helped the USA torture and subject these men to enforced disappearance. The Polish authorities must now conduct the effective investigation it has been stalling on and obstructing for all these years,” said Julia Hall. <br /><br />Following the European Court ruling, Amnesty International is calling on the Polish government to conduct an effective investigation and ensure that those responsible for crimes under international law such as torture and enforced disappearance are brought to justice. Other EU member states with an alleged role in the CIA rendition and secret detention programmes must likewise step up their efforts to reveal the truth.<br /><br />“Poland is not alone. Many other EU governments colluded with the USA to abduct, illegally transfer, ‘disappear’ and torture people in the course of rendition operations. While today’s judgments are a significant step forward, much more needs to be done to ensure accountability across Europe,” said Julia Hall. <br /><br />Amnesty International has called for investigations into and accountability for similar allegations in a number of European countries, including Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.<br /><br /><strong>Background<br /><br /></strong>Poland has been in the spotlight since 2005, when it was first identified as having hosted a secret CIA detention facility.<br /><br />In March 2008, the Polish authorities opened a criminal investigation which was repeatedly delayed due to changes in prosecution personnel, a shift in location from Warsaw to Krakow, and claims that cooperation from the US government had not been forthcoming. “National security” was routinely invoked as a justification for the secrecy that shrouded the investigation.<br /><br />The investigation is still under way, but in the meantime the NGOS Open Society Justice Initiative (al-Nashiri) and Interights (Abu Zubaydah), along with the men's Polish lawyers, filed &nbsp;Al Nashiri v. Poland &nbsp;and &nbsp;Husayn (Abu Zubaydah) v. Poland &nbsp;at the European Court of Human Rights. <br /><br />Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists intervened jointly in both cases:&nbsp;</p><ul><li><em>Al Nashiri v Poland</em>: <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR37/002/2012/en">Written submissions</a> on behalf of Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists, 5 November 2012.</li><li><em>Al Nashiri v Poland</em>: <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR37/003/2013/en%20">Written supplementary submissions </a>on behalf of Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists, 15 February 2013.</li><li><em>Husayn (Abu Zubaydah) v. Poland</em>: <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR37/007/2013/en%20">Written submissions</a> on behalf of Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists, 17 October 2013.</li></ul><p><br />In June 2013, a third man who alleges he was held at a secret detention site in Poland in 2003 was granted “injured person” status in Poland’s national investigation into the CIA site. Walid bin Attash, a Yemeni national, is currently detained and awaiting trial by military commission at Guantánamo Bay.<br /><br />In a separate judgment on 13 December 2012, the European Court held unanimously that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was responsible for the unlawful detention, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment of German national Khaled El-Masri.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Poland is the first European Union member state to be found complicit in the USA’s rendition, secret detention, and torture of alleged terrorism suspects, Amnesty International said as it applauded two landmark human rights judgments handed down today. &nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/197572_Poland_secret_CIA_prison (1).jpg?1406193027" /> </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/48537">Poland CIA secret prison</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> StopTorture </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Poland</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>Today’s historic rulings finally unlock the truth about a dark period of Poland’s recent history and mark a milestone against impunity. Poland knowingly became part of the USA’s illegal network of black sites that was used to secretly detain and torture individuals rounded up in counter-terrorism operations. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counter-terrorism and human rights </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thu, 24/07/2014</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/poland-reveal-truth-about-secret-cia-detention-site-2013-06-12">Poland: Reveal the truth about secret CIA detention site</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News story, 12 June 2013 </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/asset/EUR37/002/2013/en/4c2d64c3-efbd-40db-aca6-7d5568efcd80/eur370022013en.pdf">Unlock the truth: Poland’s involvement in CIA secret detention,</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, 12 June 2013 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR01/006/2012/en">Europe: &quot;What is new on the alleged CIA illegal detention and transfers of prisoners in Europe?”</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"> Presentation to European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (27 March 2012) </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-3"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR37/002/2011/en">Poland: Involvement in US-led rendition and secret detention programme</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"> UPR submission, 28 November 2011 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Detention Disappearances And Abductions Poland Stop Torture Torture And Ill-treatment Trials And Legal Systems Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:10:48 +0000 Amnesty International 48538 at http://www.amnesty.org Ireland must amend abortion laws after sharp UN criticism http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/ireland-must-amend-abortion-laws-after-sharp-un-criticism-2014-07-24 <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"> Ireland must amend abortion laws after sharp UN criticism </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Irish authorities must take urgent action to bring the country’s flawed abortion laws in line with its international human rights obligations, Amnesty International said following the UN Human Rights Committee’s strongly worded criticism of the Ireland’s stance on abortion.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The UN Committee, which monitors states’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, found today that Irish abortion laws violate human rights and are in serious breach of the country’s international obligations.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>It stated its concern that terminating a pregnancy is criminalized in most circumstances in the country, carrying a prison sentence of up to 14 years. Women and girls who, for example, have been raped, who are carrying a non-viable pregnancy or whose health is at risk, are forced to either carry the pregnancy to term or travel outside the country to obtain abortions.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>"Today's observations by the UN Human Rights Committee send a crystal clear signal to Ireland that its abortion legislation is completely out of kilter with international human rights law. Criminalizing access to sexual and reproductive health care and information is unlawful and discriminates against women and girls," said John Dalhuisen, Director of Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Programme.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>"Ireland can no longer get away with criminalizing abortion and relying on the fact that some women and girls can travel abroad to access their lawful right to an abortion. This amounts to shirking its obligation to ensure access to safe and legal abortions as required under international human rights law," said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director, Amnesty International Ireland.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The UN body criticized the recently enacted Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act 2013 for its discriminatory impact on women and girls who cannot travel abroad for an abortion, and the excessive scrutiny to which pregnant and suicidal women and girls will be subjected by medical professionals. The law imposes extremely narrow restrictions on access to abortion, and the Committee was critical of the lack of legal and procedural clarity on what constitutes a risk to the life as opposed to the health of the woman or girl.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The Act leaves women and girls in a very vulnerable situation when it comes to these life and death determinations,” said Colm O’Gorman.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Committee’s recommendations also reflected the fear that some healthcare providers in Ireland face criminal sanctions for simply discussing options for abortion abroad with a pregnant woman or girl.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Human Rights Committee called on Ireland to:&nbsp;</p><ul><li>Revise its legislation on abortion, including its Constitution, to provide for additional exceptions in cases of rape, incest, serious risks to the health of the mother, or fatal foetal abnormality;</li><li>Swiftly adopt a national Guidance Document to clarify what constitutes a “real and substantive risk” to the life of the pregnant woman; and</li><li>Consider making more information on crisis pregnancy options available through a variety of channels, and ensure that healthcare providers who share information on safe abortion services abroad are not subject to criminal sanctions. &nbsp;&nbsp;</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Amnesty International calls on Ireland to commit to implementing the Committee’s recommendations, and to the full decriminalisation of abortion,” said Colm O’Gorman.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Separately, the Committee also criticised Ireland’s investigation of institutional abuse of women and children going back decades. It recommended that the Irish authorities conduct prompt, independent and thorough investigations into all allegations of abuse in Magdalene Laundries, children’s institutions and “mother and baby homes”, prosecute and punish the perpetrators and ensure that all victims obtain an effective remedy.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/ireland-mother-and-baby-homes-investigation-robust-comprehensive-2014-06-19">has previously urged </a>the Irish government to ensure that its pending independent Commission of Investigation into “mother and baby homes” results in an effective and comprehensive inquiry that is fully compliant with Ireland’s human rights obligations.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Committee also called on Ireland to ensure that the newly created national human rights institution, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, has a safe and stable budget and sufficient autonomy to carry out its work effectively and independently.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Ireland’s international reputation and standing will suffer if the Irish government does not take steps to ensure that it complies with international law. Those who experienced abuses in mother and baby homes, Magdalene Laundries and other institutions deserve truth justice and reparation. Confronting, acknowledging and dealing with this legacy of past human rights abuses is essential," said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director, Amnesty International Ireland.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Irish authorities must take urgent action to bring the country’s flawed abortion laws in line with its international human rights obligations, Amnesty International said following the UN Human Rights Committee’s strongly worded criticism of the Ireland’s stance on abortion.&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/197615_Thousands_rally_over_abortion_law_in_Dublin (1).jpg?1406207230" /> </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/48541">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">Ireland</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>Today&#039;s observations by the UN Human Rights Committee send a crystal clear signal to Ireland that its abortion legislation is completely out of kilter with international human rights law. Criminalizing access to sexual and reproductive health care and information is unlawful and discriminates against women and girls </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> John Dalhuisen, Director of Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Programme </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, 24/07/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Ireland can no longer get away with criminalizing abortion and relying on the fact that some women and girls can travel abroad to access their lawful right to an abortion. This amounts to shirking its obligation to ensure access to safe and legal abortions as required under international human rights law. </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, Amnesty International Ireland </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, 24/07/2014</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-mother-and-baby-homes-investigation-robust-comprehensive-2014-06-19">Ireland: ‘Mother and baby homes’ investigation must be robust and comprehensive</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 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/library/info/EUR29/002/2013/en">Ireland: Submission to the right to life review of the Irish Human Rights Commission</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"> Submission, 10 January 2013 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/ireland-abortion-issue-must-be-clarified-irish-government-2012-11-17">Ireland: Abortion issue must be clarified by Irish government</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, 17 November 2012 </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="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> Ireland United Nations Women My Body My Rights Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:13:29 +0000 Amnesty International 48542 at http://www.amnesty.org USA: Another ‘botched’ execution, abolition the only solution http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/usa-another-botched-execution-abolition-only-solution-2014-07-24 <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"> USA: Another ‘botched’ execution, abolition the only solution </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The prolonged execution of a prisoner in Arizona yesterday represents another wake-up call for authorities in the USA to abolish the death penalty, said Amnesty International.</p><p>“How many more times do officials need to be reminded of the myth of the ‘humane execution’ before they give up on their experiment with judicial killing?” asked Rob Freer, Amnesty International Researcher on the USA.</p><p>At least three executions have not gone according to plan in the USA this year alone.</p><p>Amnesty International does not believe that there is any such thing as a humane execution, or that the cruelty of the death penalty is confined to what goes on in the death chamber.</p><p>Holding someone under a threat of death – for years or even decades – can hardly be described as the conduct of a state adopting a progressive approach to criminal justice or human rights.</p><p>“However the state chooses to kill the prisoner – and whether the execution goes according to plan or not – does not change the fact that this is a punishment incompatible with fundamental human rights principles,” said Rob Freer.</p><p>The death penalty in the USA is riddled with arbitrariness, discrimination and error. In recent years, death penalty states in the USA have faced problems obtaining drugs for lethal injection and have resorted to questionable sources and secrecy in seeking to continue judicial killing by this method.</p><p>The execution of Joseph Wood, who was convicted of the 1989 murder of his former girlfriend and her father, began at 1.52pm on 23 July.</p><p>The process took so long that his lawyers had time to file an emergency motion in federal court in an attempt to have it stopped while the prisoner was still alive. The judge had not responded by the time Wood was pronounced dead around 3.49pm. The judge has since ordered the state to preserve all physical evidence relate to Wood’s body.</p><p>Arizona’s Governor, Janice Brewer, issued a statement emphasising that the execution was “lawful” and suggesting that Wood “did not suffer”, but ordered a review of why the execution took so long.</p><p>To date, 140 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. The USA is approaching its 1400th execution since resuming judicial killing under revised capital statutes in 1977. Five US states have legislated to abolish the death penalty since 2007.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The prolonged execution of a prisoner in Arizona yesterday represents another wake-up call for authorities in the USA to abolish the death penalty, 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="480" height="600" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/197617_Joseph_Wood_execution.jpg?1406208313" /> </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/48543">USA </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"> USA </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="40.718119">40° 43' 5.2284" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-108.457031">108° 27' 25.3116" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.com?q=40.718119+-108.457031+%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>How many more times do officials need to be reminded of the myth of the ‘humane execution’ before they give up on their experiment with judicial 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"> Rob Freer, Amnesty International Researcher on the USA. </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/AMR51/028/2014/en">USA: Time to do something, Mr President: After Oklahoma’s ‘botched’ execution, a call for human rights leadership</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"> Document, 2 May 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/005/2014/en">USA: Another killing in a long-since failed experiment</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"> Document, 17 January 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/AMR51/058/2011/en">USA: An embarrassment of hitches: Reflections on the death penalty, 35 years after Gregg v. Georgia</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"> Document, 1 July 2011. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Abolish the death penalty Death Penalty USA Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:28:25 +0000 Amnesty International 48544 at http://www.amnesty.org Mexico: Drop unfair charges against tortured prisoner of conscience http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/mexico-scrap-unfair-trial-after-torture-used-extract-false-confession-2014-07-22 <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"> Mexico: Drop unfair charges against tortured prisoner of conscience </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>An undocumented migrant who was arrested and tortured by the Mexican police and army is currently facing an unfair trial solely because of his ethnicity and should be released immediately and unconditionally, said Amnesty International today, as it named him a prisoner of conscience.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In 2009 Ángel Amílcar Colón Quevedo, a member of the Afro-descent Garífuna community, was picked up by police in Tijuana, Mexico, as he attempted to travel from his home in Honduras to the United States. He has been detained since then, charged with being part of a criminal gang.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Ángel Colón’s detention and ongoing trial is purely based on his ethnicity, and as such is a travesty of justice. This is a man who has been tortured and severely mistreated. He must be released immediately and unconditionally”, said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The despicable and inhumane treatment suffered by Ángel Colón at the hands of the Mexican police and army is now being compounded by the fact that federal prosecutors are bringing a case against him using false information extracted under torture."&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Ángel Colón had travelled as an irregular migrant to Tijuana, Baja California state, on his way to the USA. He was hoping to earn money to pay for cancer treatment for his eight-year old son in Honduras. Six months after Ángel Colón’s arrest, his son died.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Once in Tijuana, he met a local people-smuggler (coyote) who promised to help him cross the US border. He was forced to wait in a house for several days with orders to stay silent and not to look around. On 9 March, armed policemen stormed the house. Fearful of the situation, Ángel Colón fled, but the State Preventive Police arrested him nearby.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Ángel Colón was struck in the ribs, forced to walk on his knees, kicked, and punched in the stomach by the police. He was then blindfolded and taken to a military base where he could hear the screams of other detainees. He was hit repeatedly and threatened that the same would happen to him. A plastic bag was put over his head to provoke near asphyxiation. He was stripped and forced to lick clean the shoes of other detainees and perform humiliating acts. He was repeatedly called a “fucking nigger” (“pinche negro”).&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>After 16 hours of such torture and other ill-treatment, Ángel was forced to make a “confessional” statement to the federal public prosecutor. Although he subsequently described his experiences to a judge and said that his earlier statement was false and extracted after torture, it still remains in the case file against him.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>His allegations were later corroborated by independent forensic experts, but no official investigation has been carried out into his treatment, in violation of Mexico’s obligations under international human rights law. Furthermore, the charges against Ángel Colón - belonging to a criminal gang – are being processed on the basis of the information provided under torture.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Mexico’s police and military use torture on a regular basis to extract "confessions" and Ángel Colón suffered particularly because of his ethnic and national origins. It is a shameful truth that in Mexico the widespread use of torture continues to be tolerated by the authorities and virtually no-one is brought to account for these crimes. This cannot be called justice,” said Erika Guevara.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International has found that people who belong to marginalized social groups are often victims of unfounded prosecutions due to structural discrimination in the Mexican criminal justice system. Some languish in prison simply because of their racial or cultural identity.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“As our latest prisoner of conscience we will be supporting and campaigning for Ángel Colón and we urge the Federal Attorney General’s Office to drop these charges and release him immediately and unconditionally.”&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>An undocumented migrant who was arrested and tortured by the Mexican police and army is currently facing an unfair trial solely because of his ethnicity and should be released immediately and unconditionally, said Amnesty International today, as it named him a prisoner of conscience.&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/194774_ngel_Col_n (1).jpg?1406036529" /> </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/48506">Ángel Amílcar Colón Quevedo </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> StopTorture </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Mexico</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>Ángel Colón’s detention and ongoing trial is purely based on his ethnicity, and as such is a travesty of justice. This is a man who has been tortured and severely mistreated. He must be released immediately and unconditionally. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wed, 23/07/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR41/028/2014/en">Mexico: Migrant tortured and charged in Mexico: Ángel Amílcar Colón Quevedo</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, 21 July 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Mexico Prisoners Of Conscience Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants Stop Torture Torture And Ill-treatment Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:42:28 +0000 Amnesty International 48507 at http://www.amnesty.org Indonesia: New President Widodo must make good on human rights pledges http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/indonesia-new-president-widodo-must-make-good-human-rights-pledges-2014-07-22 <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"> Indonesia: New President Widodo must make good on human rights pledges </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo must deliver on campaign promises to improve Indonesia’s dire human rights situation, Amnesty International said.</p><p>Widodo, who today was confirmed as winner of the 9 July presidential elections, has pledged to champion human rights during his time in the office – including addressing serious past human rights abuses, protecting freedom of religion, reforming the police and opening up access to Papua for international observers.</p><p>“It’s encouraging that President Widodo has talked about his commitment to human rights during his election campaign - now he must deliver,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director.</p><p>“The new government has the opportunity to turn a page to an era when human rights are genuinely respected in Indonesia. Widodo’s victory will have raised the hopes of many brave human rights activists and victims who have struggled against impunity for years – those hopes must not be dashed.”</p><p>“As a very first step, we urge the new administration to undertake a thorough assessment of Indonesia’s human rights record over the past decade and formulate a clear action plan. Crucially, this must be done together with civil society and other key actors.”</p><p><strong>Recommendations</strong>&nbsp;</p><p>In April 2014, Amnesty International published a <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/indonesia-s-next-leader-must-prioritize-human-rights-2014-04-29">human rights agenda</a> for Indonesia’s next president, outlining eight pressing issues that must be top of the new administration’s agenda. These include:</p><p><strong>Combat the climate of impunity for past crimes</strong></p><p>The President should instruct the Attorney General Office to complete investigations in relation to crimes under international law, it has received from the National Human Rights Commission and other bodies and bring the perpetrators to justice. Further, a National Truth Commission should be established in line with international law and standards which can also recommend reparation measures to address the suffering of victims.</p><p><strong>Respect for freedom of religion and religious tolerance</strong>&nbsp;</p><p>Respect for freedom of religion and religious tolerance have clearly deteriorated in recent years. The new administration should repeal all laws and regulations that discriminate against religious minorities which have been used to justify harassment and attacks against them.</p><p><strong>Human rights abuses by the police</strong>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International has documented a range of human rights violations committed by the police, including unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment and unnecessary or excessive use for force and firearms. Criminal investigations into human rights violations by the police are all too rare, leaving many victims without access to justice and reparations. The National Police Commission should be made operationally independent of the government, political influence and the police itself. Its mandate should empower it to, among other things, carry out effective investigations and refer cases directly to the Public Prosecutor.</p><p><strong>Release prisoners of conscience</strong>&nbsp;</p><p>Dozens of prisoners of conscience, particularly those from Papua and Maluku, remain behind bars for their peaceful political activism in Indonesia, and must be immediately released. Their ongoing imprisonment highlights the continued lack of respect for freedom of expression in certain parts of Indonesia. Amnesty International also calls on President Widodo to allow free and unimpeded access to Papua for international observers, including NGOs and foreign journalists, as he promised during his visit to Papua during the election campaign.</p><p><strong>Promote and protect human rights in ASEAN</strong>&nbsp;</p><p>Indonesia, which has the region's highest GDP and hosts the Association of South East Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) headquarters in Jakarta, is quickly emerging as a leader in South East Asia. The country’s next president must take this role seriously and set an example for neighbours, and the world, on human rights. Indonesia has already played a positive role in setting up some key ASEAN human rights bodies since 2007 – this commitment must continue under the new administration in particularly to strengthen the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) to be a truly independent and robust body that protects as well as promote human rights in the region.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo must deliver on campaign promises to improve Indonesia’s dire human rights situation, Amnesty International said.</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/197462_Presidential_Candidate_Joko_Widodo.jpg?1406040893" /> </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/48513">Indonesia</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"> Indonesia </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">Indonesia</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="1.938717">1° 56' 19.3812" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="115.136719">115° 8' 12.1884" 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 new government has the opportunity to turn a page to an era when human rights are genuinely respected in Indonesia. Widodo’s victory will have raised the hopes of many brave human rights activists and victims who have struggled against impunity for years – those hopes must not be dashed.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <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/indonesia-s-next-leader-must-prioritize-human-rights-2014-04-29">Human rights agenda for Indonesia</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"> Document, 29 April 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Human Rights Standards Indonesia Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:57:59 +0000 Amnesty International 48514 at http://www.amnesty.org Communities in Sierra Leone turn their backs on female genital mutilation http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/communities-sierra-leone-turn-their-backs-female-genital-mutilation-2014-07-22 <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"> Communities in Sierra Leone turn their backs on female genital mutilation </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>While activists gather in London today to discuss strategies to tackle female genital mutilation, communities across Sierra Leone have been taking an innovative approach towards ending the brutal practice.</em></p><p>As several dozen women sat in a circle in the Chiefdom of Masungbala in North West Sierra Leone, discussing their stories of horror and pain, the male community leaders shared their own views in a separate group.</p><p>The women, one by one, described how their genitals had been cut off as part of rituals of initiation and the almost unbearable pain they were forced to endure.</p><p>Most of them said they regretted having supported the practice and were adamant that their daughters shouldn’t suffer the same.</p><p>A few steps away from them, the male leaders discussed how the community could tackle this problem.</p><p>And then, what was thought impossible, happened.</p><p>After days of discussions and negotiations in the context of a series of workshops run by Amnesty International and local organizations in August 2011, the community signed a Memorandum of Understanding that bans female genital mutilation for girls under 18 years of age. The memorandum also establishes that any woman over that age has to give her consent before the procedure takes place.</p><p>Approximately 600 girls were saved from mutilation in the Masungbala Chiefdom within a month of the Memorandum of Understanding being signed.</p><p>The experience of the workshops was so positive that local activists say hundreds of communities across the country have since followed suit and also banned the harmful practice.</p><p>“Although the 2007 Child Rights Act protects children from harmful practices, there is no law that specifically bans Female Genital Mutilation in Sierra Leone but these communities are giving a great example of what is possible,” said Aminatou Sar, Africa Human Rights Education Manager at Amnesty International.</p><p><strong>Breaking the silence</strong></p><p>“Sierra Leone could become a Female Genital Mutilation free zone,” said Arun Turay, Coordinator of the Advocacy Movement Network (AMNET) who, together with Amnesty International, ran the workshops to raise awareness among targeted communities to bring them to take action to fight FGM.</p><p>The project is part of <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/human-rights-education/projects-initiatives/ahrep">Amnesty International’s Africa Human Rights Education Programme</a> currently running in seven communities in the Kambia District in Sierra Leone. The Programme focuses on a number of human rights issues affecting local communities, including female genital mutilation.</p><p>“It is very difficult for people to talk about these issues but as the communities have a strong tradition of dialogue, we called the community members together to discuss the dangers of female genital mutilation,” explained Arun.</p><p>“It became clear that people knew they wanted to tackle the issue but did not know how to go about it. Now the process has completely changed the lives of many women and girls.”</p><p>Arun is still in regular contact with the communities.</p><p>“Only a few months ago, the leaders told me that the change of practice has now been fully accepted and that attention has now moved onto educating girls,” said Arun.</p><p>The reason the agreements are working, Arun says, is because most community members are committed to them as a result of a process of dialogue initiated by the workshops.</p><p><strong>140 million women and girls</strong></p><p>The World Health Organization estimates that up to 140 million women and girls have been subjected to genital mutilation across the world.</p><p>The procedure can be carried out at a variety of ages, from shortly after birth to when a woman has matured.</p><p>Women and girls who have their external genitalia removed often suffer from severe pain, bleeding, shock, difficulty in passing urine, infections and sometimes even death.</p><p>Many also suffer chronic pain, difficulties during labour - including a higher risk of maternal mortality - decreased sexual enjoyment and post-traumatic stress disorder.</p><p>Community leaders and members who support and practice female genital mutilation say it is necessary to protect women’s so-called “honour”. This reflects widely-held stereotypes about women’s sexuality and the belief that it must be controlled. Additionally, in some societies beliefs persist that regard unmutilated women as unclean and do not allow them to handle food and water.</p><p>The experience in Sierra Leone has made Arun positive about the future.</p><p>“What happened in the communities we worked with in Sierra Leone could happen in other countries in Africa or even across the world. Community dialogue is a powerful human rights education tool and can lead to change,” he said.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>While activists gather in London today to discuss strategies to tackle female genital mutilation, communities across Sierra Leone have been taking an innovative approach towards ending the brutal practice.</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/187337_FGM_Sierra_Leone_0.jpg?1406033317" /> </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/48499">FGM</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-onpagesummary"> <div class="field-label">At a Glance:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><strong>Female Genital Mutilation</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><ul><li>The World Health Organization estimates that up to 140 million women and girls have been subjected to genital mutilation across the world.&nbsp;</li><li>Women and girls who have their external genitalia removed often suffer from severe pain, bleeding, shock, difficulty in passing urine, infections and sometimes even death.&nbsp;</li><li>Many also suffer chronic pain, difficulties during labour - including a higher risk of maternal mortality - decreased sexual enjoyment and post-traumatic stress disorder.</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p> </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">Sierra Leone</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="9.974261">9° 58' 27.3396" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-11.074219">11° 4' 27.1884" 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>It became clear that people knew they wanted to tackle the issue but did not know how to go about it. Now the process has completely changed the lives of many women and girls.</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"> run Turay, Coordinator of the Advocacy Movement Network (AMNET). </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>Although the 2007 Child Rights Act protects children from harmful practices, there is no law that specifically bans Female Genital Mutilation in Sierra Leone but these communities are giving a great example of what is possible. </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"> Aminatou Sar, Africa Human Rights Education Manager at Amnesty International. </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/human-rights-education/projects-initiatives/ahrep">Amnesty International&#039;s Africa Human Rights Education Programme</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 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/human-rights-education">Amnesty International&#039;s Human Rights Education Work</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 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.endfgm.eu/en/">End FGM - European 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> Activists Sierra Leone Women Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:53:04 +0000 Amnesty International 48500 at http://www.amnesty.org The Gambia: Activists mark 20 years of iron-fisted repression http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/gambia-activists-mark-20-years-iron-fisted-repression-2014-07-22 <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"> The Gambia: Activists mark 20 years of iron-fisted repression </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Gambian government must abolish the laws and iron fisted practices that have resulted in two decades of widespread human rights violations, Amnesty International said as it joined forces with other human rights groups for a <a href="http://20yrsoffear.tumblr.com/">global day of action</a> marking 20 years since President Jammeh’s seizure of power.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Activists across the world will hold protests and public events today to raise awareness about the dire human rights situation in The Gambia, where many live in fear of arbitrary arrest, torture and enforced disappearance. In The Gambia, the anniversary is historically celebrated by the authorities as “Freedom Day”.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Today marks 20 years of the rule of fear in The Gambia, where the list of victims of human rights violations grows ever longer,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The Gambian authorities must investigate complaints made by victims of human rights violations and bring the perpetrators to justice. They should also repeal the laws which make this repression possible.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Journalists, human rights defenders, political activists and other Gambians are frequently targeted for exercising their rights to freedom of expression.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A series of laws adopted since President Jammeh came to power in 1994 makes it possible for these violations to take place with almost total impunity and discourages victims from seeking redress.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In 2001, for example, the Indemnity (amendment) Act gave the President power to prevent security forces being prosecuted for any act committed during a state of emergency situation or as part of a process to quell an unlawful assembly.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>More recently, in July 2013, the Gambian government passed the Information and Communication (Amendment) Act, through which journalists, bloggers and internet users can receive jail sentences of up to 15 years and fines of up to $75,000 for ‘spreading false news’.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“President Jammeh’s government must amend these and other laws used to restrict freedom of expression,” said Stephen Cockburn.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The authorities must also release all those detained unlawfully unless they are charged with recognizable criminal offences and subjected to fair trials. They must also release all prisoners of conscience.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The NGOs taking part in the Day of Action alongside Amnesty International include Article 19 West Africa and RADDHO (Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’homme).&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The day of action takes place ahead of a United Nations review of The Gambia’s human rights record in October 2014.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Gambian government must abolish the laws and iron fisted practices that have resulted in two decades of widespread human rights violations, Amnesty International said as it joined forces with other human rights groups for a global day of action marking 20 years since President Jammeh’s seizure of power.&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/86897_Yahya_Jammeh (1).jpg?1405952567" /> </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/48468">Yahya Jammeh</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"> AFR27/008/2014 </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">Gambia</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="13.336175">13° 20' 10.23" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-16.391602">16° 23' 29.7672" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Today marks 20 years of the rule of fear in The Gambia, where the list of victims of human rights violations grows ever longer </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"> Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tue, 22/07/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR27/008/2014/en">Gambia: 20 Years of fear in Gambia: Time for 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"> Briefing, 22 July 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://livewire.amnesty.org/2014/07/22/my-life-is-in-constant-danger-campaigning-on-human-rights-in-the-gambia/">‘My life is in constant danger’ – campaigning on human rights in the Gambia</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, 22 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://20yrsoffear.tumblr.com/">Gambia: 20 years of Fear</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> Death Penalty Detention Freedom Of Expression Gambia Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:24:20 +0000 Amnesty International 48469 at http://www.amnesty.org Russia increases stranglehold on dissent as five more NGOs named ‘foreign agents’ http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/russia-increases-stranglehold-dissent-five-more-ngos-named-foreign-agents-2014-07-21 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Russia increases stranglehold on dissent as five more NGOs named ‘foreign agents’ </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">21 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Russian Ministry of Justice today registered four more Russian human rights organizations and one environmental group as “foreign agents”, a further sign of the authorities’ growing stranglehold on freedom of expression, said Amnesty International.</p><p><span>“The Russian authorities’ determination to decimate independent civil society organizations remains steadfast,” said John Dalhuisen, Director for the Europe and Central Asia Programme at Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>“This blow has been a long-time coming – but it still hits hard. The five NGOs now being branded as foreign agents include some of the biggest and most influential in the country. The question Russians should be asking themselves is: who will protect their rights when they are gone?”</span></p><p><span>Human rights groups Public Verdict, Memorial, Lawyers for Constitutional Rights and Freedoms (Jurix) and Agora, and environmental group Women’s Council (Ekozazchita! – Zhensovet) have been registered as “foreign NGOs” by the Ministry of Justice for supposedly conducting “political activities” while receiving some foreign funding.</span></p><p><span>T</span><span>hree of them, Public Verdict, Memorial and Jurix, are currently challenging the earlier insistence by the authorities that they register as “foreign agents” themselves. Now they have been registered by the Ministry of Justice directly, under recently enacted legislation.</span></p><p><span>Russia’s so-call “foreign agents law” was passed in June 2012 and came into force in November 2012.</span></p><p><span>Since then, hundreds of NGOs have experienced unannounced “inspections” by the authorities; several have been fined and forced to close down. Earlier this year, the law was further amended giving the Ministry of Justice the authority to register NGOs as “foreign agents” without their consent.&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Russian Ministry of Justice today registered four more Russian human rights organizations and one environmental group as “foreign agents”, a further sign of the authorities’ growing stranglehold on freedom of expression.</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/189556_Russia_s_President_Vladimir_Putin_signs_a_law_on_ratification_of_a_treaty_making_Crimea_part_of_Russia_1.jpg?1405962393" /> </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/48471">Russia</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"> Russia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Russia</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="50.392611">50° 23' 33.3996" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="16.701217">16° 42' 4.3812" 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 blow has been a long-time coming – but it still hits hard. The five NGOs now being branded as foreign agents include some of the biggest and most influential in the country. The question Russians should be asking themselves is: who will protect their rights when they are gone? </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> John Dalhuisen, Director for the Europe and Central Asia Programme at Amnesty International. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Freedom Of Expression Russian Federation Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:06:41 +0000 Amnesty International 48472 at http://www.amnesty.org Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime allegations http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israelgaza-attacks-medical-facilities-and-civilians-add-war-crime-allegations-2014-07-21 <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"> Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime allegations </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">21 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>The continuing bombardment of civilian homes in several areas of the Gaza Strip, as well as the Israeli shelling of a hospital, add to the list of possible war crimes that demand an urgent independent international investigation, said Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The third floor of the Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah was struck by Israeli shelling, killing four people and wounding dozens, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health spokesperson.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Today’s attack on the Al-Aqsa hospital is the latest in a series of attacks on and near medical facilities in Gaza, which have been struggling to cope with thousands of injured people since the Israeli offensive began on 8 July,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“There can be no justification for targeting medical facilities at any time. Attacks on medical facilities underline the need for a prompt, impartial international investigation mandated by the UN.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Last week, the al-Wafa rehabilitative hospital in Shuja’iyyeh was severely damaged after being attacked twice by Israeli forces.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>With the Israeli ground invasion in its fourth day and the death toll in Gaza exceeding 550 people, the majority of them civilians, there is an urgent need for the parties to agree to periodic pauses in the fighting to facilitate the evacuation of the dead and wounded. Additionally, with as many as 1.2 million people without water or sewage services, municipal workers and relief organizations need to carry out emergency repair work to prevent a public health catastrophe.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>From Saturday night to Sunday morning, intense Israeli bombardment of Shuja’iyyeh killed more than 60 people, including at least 17 children and 14 women. More than 200 people are reported wounded, and civilians were forced to flee under fire. At least 13 Israeli soldiers were also killed overnight, the majority of them in Shuja’iyyeh.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Hamas has also continued to fire hundreds of indiscriminate rockets into Israel in violation of international law, killing two Israeli civilians and injuring others.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Israeli military said that Shuja’iyyeh, a densely populated area with some 92,000 residents east of Gaza City, had been targeted because it was a “fortress” housing rockets, tunnels and command centres. Israeli military and government officials have repeatedly said that civilians were warned to evacuate the area days before it was attacked.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>However, many civilians in Shuja’iyyeh and other areas did not evacuate because they had nowhere to go. All the UNRWA schools and other facilities opened as shelters are overflowing. Issuing warnings to evacuate entire areas does not absolve Israeli forces of their obligations to protect civilians under international humanitarian law.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The relentless bombardment of Shuja’iyyeh and other civilian areas in the Gaza Strip, as well as the continuing indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel, demand urgent international action to prevent further violations. The UN should impose an arms embargo on all sides, and all states should immediately suspend transfers of military equipment to Israel, Hamas, and other Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip,” said Philip Luther.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The continuing bombardment of civilian homes in several areas of the Gaza Strip, as well as the Israeli shelling of a hospital, add to the list of possible war crimes that demand an urgent independent international investigation, said Amnesty International.&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/197444_PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-GAZA-1.jpg?1405971315" /> </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/48474">Al Aqsa hospital</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">Palestinian Territory</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="31.325487">31° 19' 31.7532" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="34.348755">34° 20' 55.518" 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>Today’s attack on the Al-Aqsa hospital is the latest in a series of attacks on and near medical facilities in Gaza, which have been struggling to cope with thousands of injured people since the Israeli offensive began on 8 July. There can be no justification for targeting medical facilities at any time - they underline the need for a prompt, impartial international investigation mandated by the UN. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <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, 21/07/2014</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/israelgaza-prevent-further-war-crimes-after-israeli-ground-assault-2014-07-18">Israel/Gaza: Prevent further war crimes after Israeli ground assault </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 July 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/israelgaza-un-must-impose-arms-embargo-and-mandate-international-investigation-civilian-death-t">Israel/Gaza: UN must impose arms embargo and mandate an international investigation as civilian death toll rises </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 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/israelgaza-all-sides-must-protect-civilians-conflict-escalates-2014-07-08">Israel/Gaza: All sides must protect civilians as conflict escalates </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, 8 July 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Armed Groups Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories Medical And Health Mon, 21 Jul 2014 19:37:28 +0000 Amnesty International 48475 at http://www.amnesty.org UK government accused of 'scraping legal barrel' in Belhaj rendition case http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/uk-government-accused-scraping-legal-barrel-belhaj-rendition-case-2014-07-21 <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"> UK government accused of &#039;scraping legal barrel&#039; in Belhaj rendition case </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">21 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>Ahead of a legal intervention by Amnesty International and others in the rendition case of the Libyan national Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, Amnesty International is warning that the UK government is “scraping the legal barrel” with its arguments in the case.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The intervention comes in&nbsp;Abdul-Hakim Belhaj's&nbsp;Court of Appeal case - due to start this week - against senior British politicians and officials, including former&nbsp;Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and former MI6 senior intelligence officer Mark Allen, relating to their alleged complicity in his abduction, illegal transfer to Libya and torture and other ill-treatment.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The UK government has argued that Belhaj’s case cannot be heard at all on the grounds that the “act of state” doctrine means that UK courts are precluded from judging the actions of foreign states in their own country. In December a High Court judge accepted this argument, though he expressed his “hesitation” at its use.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Along with the International Commission of Jurists, Justice and Redress, Amnesty International is intervening in&nbsp;the&nbsp;case to warn that the&nbsp;“act of state” doctrine must not be used to shield UK officials from accountability over their alleged complicity in the affair. This would have the effect of denying the claimants access to a legal remedy.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The government is really scraping the legal barrel with this latest attempt to dodge accountability for the UK’s alleged part in one of the most notorious crimes of the rendition programme,"&nbsp;<span>said&nbsp;</span><span>John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International.<br /><br /></span></p><p>“This makes a mockery of the law. How are courts ever to investigate allegations of rendition if governments are simply going to play the ‘act of state’ card?</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“In the past David Cameron and his ministers have talked of getting to the bottom of this and other allegations of UK complicity in torture and rendition.&nbsp;<span>Instead of combing the statute books for get-out clauses, the government should be allowing this important case to run its course.”</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In February&nbsp;Abdul-Hakim Belhaj&nbsp;and his wife&nbsp;<span>Fatima Boudchar</span><span>&nbsp;</span><span>were given permission to appeal the High Court ruling concerning the act of state doctrine, while the UK&nbsp;government cross-appealed contesting that, in addition to this doctrine, state immunity also precluded the claims from being heard. Amnesty is concerned that the High Court’s judgment may act as an absolute bar on litigation against the UK government and its officials in cases where agents from other states are involved, effectively precluding accountability in this and similar cases.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The Belhaj rendition case</strong></p><p>Abdul-Hakim Belhaj - currently head of Libya’s al-Watan Party though formerly a high-ranking opposition commander during the armed conflict in Libya - has been pursuing a claim that British officials were complicit is his alleged abduction, illegal transfer to Libya and torture as part of the CIA’s rendition programme in 2004. During his six-year detention in Libya, he was allegedly beaten, hung from walls, cut-off from human contact and daylight, and sentenced to death. Meanwhile, his wife - Fatima Boudchar - was also rendered to Libya, detained and denied proper medical care despite being pregnant at the time.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The December High Court ruling</strong></p><p>In December the High Court held that the act of state doctrine, a rule of common law, prevented a court from judging the acts of foreign states conducted on their own territory. The court rejected, however, the UK government’s arguments that state immunity (a principle of international law by which a state is protected from being sued in the courts of other states) operated as a bar to the claim.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>High Court judge Mr Justice Simon found “with hesitation” that the case could not go ahead and expressed his concern that “what appears to be a potentially well-founded claim that the UK authorities were directly implicated in the extraordinary rendition of the claimants, will not be determined in any domestic court; and that Parliamentary oversight and criminal investigations are not adequate substitutes for access to, and a decision by, the Court.” &nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Ahead of a legal intervention by Amnesty International and others in the rendition case of the Libyan national Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, Amnesty&nbsp;<span>International</span><span>&nbsp;</span><span>is warning that the UK government is “scraping the legal barrel” with its arguments in the case.&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/197428_Head_of_the_Islamist_Party_al-Watan_Abdul-Hakim_Belhaj_press_conference_on_security_in_Libya (1).jpg?1406120113" /> </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/48459">Abdul-Hakim Belhaj</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="52.846364">52° 50' 46.9104" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-0.966547">0° 57' 59.5692" 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>The UK government is really scraping the legal barrel with this latest attempt to dodge accountability for the UK’s alleged part in one of the most notorious crimes of the rendition programme </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 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, 21/07/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Libya Stop Torture Torture And Ill-treatment UK Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:26:48 +0000 Amnesty International 48460 at http://www.amnesty.org Central African Republic: Brazzaville talks should not lead to amnesties for war crimes http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/central-african-republic-brazzaville-talks-should-not-lead-amnesties-war-crimes-2014-07-21 <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"> Central African Republic: Brazzaville talks should not lead to amnesties for war crimes </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">21 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Amnesty International called on delegates to the Central African Republic (CAR) National Reconciliation talks due to take place in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo on 21-23 July, to ensure that their discussions do not lead to impunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations. Those suspected of involvement in crimes under international law must not be allowed to use this forum to perpetuate the culture of impunity in the country.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>It is understood that a number of people, including anti-balaka and Séléka leaders, have been invited to take part in the CAR National Reconciliation talks. Amnesty International has received credible evidence against a number of these leaders that they have been involved in crimes under international law. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The Brazzaville peace talks must ensure that accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other crimes under international law are at the heart of any discussion to bring peace in CAR. Individuals suspected of these crimes must not be allowed to use these peace talked to secure positions in the government that they may use to enjoy impunity,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Director, Research and Advocacy.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In its report, <em>Central African Republic: Time for Accountability</em>, published 10 July, Amnesty International named members and allies of the anti-balaka and Séléka armed groups suspected of involvement in serious human rights abuses. They include ex-Presidents François Bozizé and Michel Djotodia, anti-balaka coordinators, including Levy Yakété and Séléka commanders, including Noureddine Adam. The report calls for the investigation and prosecution if there is sufficient evidence to bring cases against these individuals.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On 11 July 2014, a Séléka congress held in Birao, in northern CAR, designated former President Michel Djotodia and former commander and Minister Nourredine Adam as the armed group’s President and Vice-president, respectively. These two individuals are named in the Amnesty International report and are under UN and US sanctions for their involvement in the ongoing crisis and in human rights violations and abuses committed in CAR.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International is calling on the CAR transitional authorities , members of the international community including the ECCAS, CAR, the UN and the African Union to ensure that accountability for crimes under international law and other serious violations and abuses of human right in CAR &nbsp;is at the heart of any peace talks. Amnesty International believes that there can be no long lasting peace in CAR if impunity continues.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Background&nbsp;</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Brazzaville conference follows a decision adopted at the 5th Session of the International Contact Group on CAR, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 7 July 2014. It should take place from 21 to 23 July and both the Séléka and the anti-balaka groups are due to attend. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On 17 July Interim President Samba -Panza opened a forum in Bangui in preparation for the Brazzaville talks. Amnesty International learnt from the discussions in Bangui that that around 150 participants should attend the Brazzaville talks. They will include &nbsp;representatives of civil society organizations, political parties, &nbsp;armed groups - including the Séléka, Anti-balaka, RJ APRD, FDPC and UFR- the diasporas as well as "communities at risk", refugees and displaced.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The capital Bangui is relatively calm, but the situation remains tense in many parts of the country. Violence has escalated in the central and eastern and northern &nbsp;part of the country. &nbsp;On 7 July 26 people were killed and 35 seriously wounded during the attack at the St Joseph church and IDP site in Bambari. More than 10,000 who were staying there were forced to flee. A few days before this attck, on 4 July, a mosque was attacked in Paoua in the northern part of the country. According to OCHA 184 violent incidents were recorded between May and June 2014 with 14% more cases in June comparing to May.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Amnesty International called on delegates to the CAR National Reconciliation talks due to take place in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo on 21-23 July, to ensure that their discussions do not lead to impunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations.</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/184169_Seleka_fighters_wait_as_their_commander_General_Yaya_meets_with_Multinational_Force_of_Central_Africa_FOMAC_peacekeepers_at_the_FOMAC_camp_in_Bossangoa (1).jpg?1405942039" /> </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/48455">CAR - Brazzaville talks</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"> CARcrisis </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Central African Republic</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="6.665972">6° 39' 57.4992" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="23.642578">23° 38' 33.2808" 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/car-perpetrators-atrocities-must-have-nowhere-hide-justice-2014-07-10">CAR: Perpetrators of atrocities must have nowhere to hide from 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, 10 July 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/AFR19/006/2014/en">Central African Republic: Time for Accountability</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, 10 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/qa-central-african-republic-s-human-rights-crisis-2014-04-09">Q&amp;A: The Central African Republic’s human rights crisis</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, 9 April 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Armed Groups Central African Republic Conflict in the Central African Republic Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes Impunity International Justice Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:36:35 +0000 Amnesty International 48456 at http://www.amnesty.org UK hearing on mass government surveillance wraps up after 'farcical' week http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/uk-hearing-mass-government-surveillance-wraps-after-farcical-week-2014-07-18 <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"> UK hearing on mass government surveillance wraps up after &#039;farcical&#039; week </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>Today's closure of a week-long hearing into allegations that the UK government has been illegally intercepting millions of communications, including those of Amnesty International, concludes an exercise that often descended into pure farce, the organization said. <br /><br />"This week's hearing descended at times into the realms of farce and fantasy - thanks to the government's insistence they would neither confirm nor deny any of their surveillance activities," said Michael Bochenek, Amnesty International's Senior Director for Law and Policy, speaking at the close of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal hearing. <br /><br />"Without being able to deal with concrete examples, discussing the lawfulness of mass surveillance became an exercise in absurdity. We were pursuing our challenge in a legal black hole." <br /><br />Even as the hearing was taking place, the government rushed through draconian new surveillance laws under the guise of renewing existing ones. <br /><br />“The government has tried to cajole the public into believing the law is just a minor tweak to protect existing powers. They claim it doesn't need proper scrutiny by their elected representatives, but this is in fact an unjustifiable power grab by the security services,"&nbsp;said Michael Bochenek.&nbsp;<br /><br />“Not only does it extend the government's dragnet well beyond UK shores to permit virtually limitless fishing expeditions, but it appears to be an attempt to give a lawful basis to unlawful government activity, before anyone has time to realise what's happened.<br /><br />“It is a lightning strike on the privacy of everyone within the government's ever extending reach."</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Today's closure of a week-long hearing into allegations that the UK government has been illegally intercepting millions of communications, including those of Amnesty International, concludes an exercise that often descended into pure farce, the organization said.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!-- File not found: sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/184359_Surveillance_-_GCHQ (1).jpg --> </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/48436">GCHQ - IPT hearing</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="53.475624">53° 28' 32.2464" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-1.406250">1° 24' 22.5" 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>This week&#039;s hearing descended at times into the realms of farce and fantasy - thanks to the government&#039;s insistence they would neither confirm nor deny any of their surveillance activities. It is a lightning strike on the privacy of everyone within the government&#039;s ever extending reach. </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"> Michael Bochenek, Amnesty International&#039;s Senior Director for Law and Policy, speaking at the close of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal hearing </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, 18/07/2014</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/uk-rushes-through-invasive-surveillance-laws-intelligence-agencies-go-trial-2014-07-11">UK rushes through invasive surveillance laws as intelligence agencies go on trial</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 July 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/uk-intelligence-forced-reveal-secret-policy-mass-surveillance-residents-facebook-and-google-use">UK intelligence forced to reveal secret policy for mass surveillance of residents’ Facebook and Google use</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, 17 June 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.uk/press-releases/amnesty-international-brings-claim-against-uk-over-gchq-surveillance">Amnesty International brings claim against UK over GCHQ surveillance</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, 9 December 2013 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Human Rights Standards UK Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:47:19 +0000 Amnesty International 48438 at http://www.amnesty.org Massive leap backwards as Singapore resumes executions http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/massive-leap-backwards-singapore-resumes-executions-2014-07-18 <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"> Massive leap backwards as Singapore resumes executions </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Singapore has taken a reprehensible U-turn by executing the first two prisoners since 2011, Amnesty International and the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) said today.</p><p><span>Tang Hai Liang, 36, and Foong Chee Peng, 48, were executed today at Singapore’s Changi Prison Complex. They had been convicted and mandatorily sentenced to death for drug-related offences in January and April 2011 respectively under the Misuse of Drugs Act.</span></p><p><span>“The executions by hanging of Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng represent a massive leap backwards for human rights in Singapore,” said Hazel Galang-Folli, Amnesty International’s Singapore researcher.</span></p><p><span>“It is extremely disappointing that the authorities have taken a U-turn on a moratorium on executions and did not build on their clean record of no executions over the past two years to push for more reforms in the country.”</span></p><p><span>Non-lethal crimes such as drugs offences do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes” for which the death penalty may be imposed under international law.</span></p><p><span>On 14 November 2012, Singapore’s Parliament adopted amendments to abolish the mandatory imposition of the death penalty under certain circumstances in murder and drug trafficking cases. At least nine people had their death sentences reviewed and eventually commuted to life imprisonment and caning since the laws were amended.</span></p><p><span>The Singapore government said that the two men executed today waived their right to a review of their mandatory death sentence, which they were entitled to after legislation was amended.</span></p><p><span>“The executions took place despite an appeal to challenge the validity of section 33B of the Misuse of Drugs Act, which could have ultimately spared the lives of prisoners on death row like Tai Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng who were mandatorily sentenced under this law. &nbsp;We condemn the use of the death penalty as it deprived these men of their right to life,” said Ngeow Chow Ying, ADPAN Secretary.</span></p><p><span>At least 26 people remained on death row in Singapore at the end of 2013.</span></p><p><span>With today’s resumption of executions, Singapore is setting itself against the global trend ending the use of the capital punishment, more than two-thirds of all countries having abolished the death penalty in law or in practice.</span></p><p><span>In the Asia-Pacific region, 17 out of 41 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, 10 are abolitionist in practice and one – Fiji – uses the death penalty only for exceptional military crimes.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Singapore has taken a reprehensible U-turn by executing the first two prisoners since 2011, Amnesty International and the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) 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/148084_Noose_8.jpg?1405943674" /> </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/48450">Singapore</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"> Singapore </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">Singapore</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="1.017179">1° 1' 1.8444" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="104.502203">104° 30' 7.9308" 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>It is extremely disappointing that the authorities have taken a U-turn on a moratorium on executions and did not build on their clean record of no executions over the past two years to push for more reforms in the country. </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"> Hazel Galang-Folli, Amnesty International’s Singapore researcher. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>The executions took place despite an appeal to challenge the validity of section 33B of the Misuse of Drugs Act, which could have ultimately spared the lives of prisoners on death row like Tai Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng who were mandatorily sentenced under this law. We condemn the use of the death penalty as it deprived these men of their right to life. </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"> Ngeow Chow Ying, ADPAN Secretary. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Abolish the death penalty Death Penalty Singapore Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:56:48 +0000 Amnesty International 48457 at http://www.amnesty.org Nigeria: World Bank panel turns its back on forcibly evicted community http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/nigeria-world-bank-panel-turns-its-back-forcibly-evicted-community-2014-07-18 <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"> Nigeria: World Bank panel turns its back on forcibly evicted community </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The decision by a World Bank Inspection Panel to refuse to investigate a complaint about forced evictions linked to a World Bank project in Lagos shows a complete disregard for its responsibilities, Amnesty International said today. <br /><br />On Thursday evening, the Inspection Panel published its decision to halt the process to seek solutions for some of those made homeless in February 2013 when some 9,000 people were forcibly evicted from an informal settlement in the city’s Badia East community. This decision ends the panel’s involvement in this case. <br /><br /> The affected community members were meant to benefit from a World Bank-funded project in the wider Badia area which aimed to increase access to basic services through investment in infrastructure for services such as drainage. But nearly 17 months on, they have been denied alternative housing and have not been adequately compensated for their loss. <br /><br />“This decision is beyond disappointing – it is a slap in the face for the Badia East community members who were forcibly evicted and left homeless for well over a year. What’s particularly incomprehensible is that it was reached after the Inspection Panel met the affected people, heard their stories and saw the situation for themselves,” said Ashfaq Khalfan, Researcher on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at Amnesty International. <br /><br />“The World Bank Board of Directors and President Jim Kim should call an urgent Board meeting to discuss the panel’s decision and uphold its responsibility to the Badia East community.” <br /><br />Amnesty International agrees with the forcibly evicted residents that the Resettlement Action Plan designed for them has been flawed, violates human rights standards and does not comply with the World Bank’s policy on involuntary resettlement. It has not provided any options for alternative housing and concrete livelihood support and was developed without genuine consultation with the community representatives. <br /><br />More than a year after the forced evictions in Badia East, the Lagos state government offered inadequate financial assistance to the affected communities on a “take it or leave it” basis. It was wholly inadequate for the harm and loss they have suffered and most of the affected people were left with no alternative but to live in precarious conditions. <br /><br />Two of the three community members who originally requested the World Bank investigation have, through their lawyer, publicly expressed their extreme discontent to the Inspection Panel about the financial assistance provided and the process of developing the Resettlement Action Plan. Forty-one other community members have backed them in their stance, but in refusing to investigate, the World Bank’s panel has seemingly ignored their views. This is despite the fact that the Inspection Panel has stated itself that many of the affected people it interviewed complained that payments were totally insufficient for them to restore their previous livelihoods. <br /><br />The Inspection Panel’s decision was reached under a new pilot scheme which aims to solve problems facing the complainants before deciding on whether to carry out an investigation. Amnesty International is calling for an independent investigation into how the World Bank inspection panel handled the pilot, and for a suspension of the pilot scheme until that investigation has been completed. Until then, future complainants should carefully consider whether to agree to participate in the pilot scheme. <br /><br />“Based on this case, it seems that the World Bank inspection panel's pilot scheme is little more than a public relations effort that allowed it to wash its hands of its responsibility,” said Ashfaq Khalfan.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The decision by a World Bank inspection panel to refuse to investigate a complaint about forced evictions linked to a World Bank project in Lagos shows a complete disregard for its responsibilities, 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/176909_Badia_East_Forced_Eviction (1)-1.jpg?1405721128" /> </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/48445">Badia East</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">Nigeria</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="6.315299">6° 18' 55.0764" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="6.240234">6° 14' 24.8424" 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 decision is beyond disappointing – it is a slap in the face for the Badia East community members who were forcibly evicted and left homeless for well over a year. What’s particularly incomprehensible is that it was reached after the Inspection Panel met the affected people, heard their stories and saw the situation for themselves </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"> Ashfaq Khalfan, Researcher on Economic, Social and Cultural 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">Fri, 18/07/2014</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://ewebapps.worldbank.org/apps/ip/PanelCases/91-Notice%20of%20Non-Registration%20(English).pdf">Memorandum to the executive directors international development association</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 World Bank Inspection Panel&#039;s decision </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://vimeo.com/100676384">Badia East message to Inspection Panel</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"> Video, 14 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://amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR44/006/2013/en">Nigeria: If you love your life, move out! Forced eviction in Badia East, Lagos State, Nigeria </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, 12 August 2013 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Forced Eviction Nigeria Fri, 18 Jul 2014 22:02:24 +0000 Amnesty International 48446 at http://www.amnesty.org Israel/Gaza: Prevent further war crimes after Israeli ground assault http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israelgaza-prevent-further-war-crimes-after-israeli-ground-assault-2014-07-18 <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"> Israel/Gaza: Prevent further war crimes after Israeli ground assault </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>Israel’s ground assault on the Gaza Strip, which began on 17 July after 10 days of attacks by Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups, accentuates the need for urgent international action to protect civilians in Gaza and Israel from further war crimes by both sides, Amnesty International said today.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Israel’s relentless air assault on Gaza has seen its forces flagrantly disregard civilian life and property, which must be protected under international humanitarian law,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Some 240 Palestinians had already been killed before the ground operation began, at least 171 of them civilians, including 48 children and 31 women, up to 3pm on 17 July, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. One Israeli civilian was killed by mortar fire from Gaza on 15 July.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>At least 30 more Palestinians have reportedly been killed in the Gaza Strip since the ground assault was launched.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Targeting civilians and direct attacks on civilian property cannot be justified. Both sides, which have repeatedly violated international law with impunity, must be held accountable, and the first step towards that is a UN-mandated international investigation,” said Philip Luther.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>More than 1,780 homes have also been completely destroyed or rendered uninhabitable by Israeli attacks, leaving at least 10,600 Gazan residents homeless. Israeli civilian property has also been damaged by indiscriminate rockets fired from Gaza.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Eight members of one family were killed in an air strike in the early hours of 10 July on the home of Mahmoud Lutfi al-Hajj in the Gaza Strip’s Khan Younis refugee camp. More than 20 neighbours were also injured in the attack, which was not preceded by a specific warning.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Yasser Mahmoud Lutfi al-Hajj, one of two surviving members of the family, told Amnesty International: “I saw my uncle coming out of the house with my mother’s body in his arms. He was running, I was yelling that I wanted to see my mother… then I then went to the hospital to see if anyone survived… I found out that Tareq, my brother, was still alive, but he later died. I broke down in panic and they gave me injections to calm me down.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“This is an extremely crowded area, the strike was not on one house but the entire community, and it was total destruction,” Mahmoud Atamneh, a neighbour, told Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Deliberately attacking a civilian home is a war crime, and the overwhelming scale of destruction of civilian homes, in some cases with entire families inside them, points to a distressing pattern of repeated violations of the laws of war,” said Philip Luther.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Israeli authorities have not provided information on specific cases to justify such attacks. Unless they can do so, any such attacks constitute war crimes and amount to collective punishment.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Even if someone in the house is a member of a Palestinian armed group, a strike on a civilian home in which an entire family is present is likely to be a disproportionate attack.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In some cases Israeli forces have launched air strikes on civilian homes without any type of warning whatsoever or not leaving residents enough time to evacuate. In other cases, civilians were struck and killed by Israeli missiles outdoors and when there had been no apparent activity by Palestinian armed groups in the area.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Israeli air strikes and shelling have also caused devastating damage to water and sanitation infrastructure across the Gaza Strip. Three workers have been killed trying to make critical repairs and continuing hostilities have made such work too dangerous in many areas. On 16 July, the UN reported that at least half of Gaza’s population – some 900,000 people – were not receiving water. Damage to sewage and pumping facilities and the resulting potential for contamination of water supplies has created a public health emergency.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Gaza’s infrastructure is on the verge of collapse and the consequences of a continuing lack of clean water could be catastrophic,” said Philip Luther.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Since the conflict began, at least 84 schools in Gaza have been damaged and at least 13 health facilities have been forced to close. When the al-Wafa rehabilitative hospital in Shuja’iyyeh came under fire for a second time on 17 July, staff were forced to evacuate all the patients, reportedly under fire, and then the hospital was destroyed.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Instead of targeting medical facilities in violation of international law, Israeli forces must protect medics and patients, and ensure that people wounded can safely reach medical facilities in Gaza and, when necessary, outside the Strip,” said Philip Luther.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Israel and Egypt must both ensure that urgently needed medical and relief supplies, as well as sufficient amounts of fuel, are allowed into the Gaza Strip on a continual basis.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Hamas and Palestinian armed groups are also disregarding international law and endangering civilians. On 16 July, UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees, discovered around 20 rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip. At least 22,900 civilians are displaced and many are sheltering in 24 schools run by UNRWA across Gaza.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip must not store munitions in or launch attacks from residential areas,” said Philip Luther.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The military wing of Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups in Gaza, which have fired more than 1,500 indiscriminate rockets into Israel, must immediately stop such war crimes,” said Philip Luther.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International again calls on the UN to impose an arms embargo on all parties to the conflict to prevent further serious violations of international law.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Israel’s ground assault on the Gaza Strip, which began last night after 10 days of attacks by Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups, accentuates the need for urgent international action to protect civilians in Gaza and Israel from further war crimes by both sides, Amnesty International said today.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/197417_Israeli_military_ground_offensive_in_Gaza (1).jpg?1405936486" /> </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/48449">Israeli ground offensive</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Israel</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="31.907767">31° 54' 27.9612" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="34.788271">34° 47' 17.7756" 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>Israel’s relentless air assault on Gaza has seen its forces flagrantly disregard civilian life and property, which must be protected under international humanitarian law </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme 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">Fri, 18/07/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>The military wing of Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups in Gaza, which have fired more than 1,500 indiscriminate rockets into Israel, must immediately stop such war crimes </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Philip Luther </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/israelgaza-un-must-impose-arms-embargo-and-mandate-international-investigation-civilian-death-t">Israel/Gaza: UN must impose arms embargo and mandate an international investigation as civilian death toll rises</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 July 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/israelgaza-all-sides-must-protect-civilians-conflict-escalates-2014-07-08">Israel/Gaza: All sides must protect civilians as conflict escalates</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, 8 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/israel-collective-punishment-will-not-bring-justice-murdered-teens-2014-07-01">Israel: Collective punishment will not bring the justice that murdered teens deserve</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 July 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Armed Groups Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes Impunity Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories Mon, 21 Jul 2014 09:59:38 +0000 Amnesty International 48451 at http://www.amnesty.org Ukraine: Tragic loss of life must be impartially investigated http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/ukraine-tragic-loss-life-must-be-impartially-investigated-2014-07-18 <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"> Ukraine: Tragic loss of life must be impartially investigated </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 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The death of nearly 300 people on board a Malaysian Airlines civilian passenger jet, which came down yesterday in an area of intense conflict in eastern Ukraine, must be immediately, impartially and effectively investigated, said Amnesty International.</p><p><span>All sides in the conflict must cooperate to establish the causes of the tragic incident.</span></p><p><span>“It is imperative that an on-site investigation is urgently carried out by independent international experts with the full cooperation of both parties to the conflict, including both the authorities of Ukraine and the separatist armed groups,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for the Europe and Central Asia Programme at Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International’s call comes a week after it <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR50/034/2014/en/c8e25fcd-c791-4edb-ac3f-6b1a1ce12977/eur500342014en.pdf">published a report</a> documenting cases of abduction and torture and ill-treatment against international observers, journalists and civilians in the region of eastern Ukraine where the plane came down. The crash site is in an area currently under the control of pro-Russian separatist armed groups.</span></p><p><span>“Given the current situation in this particular part of Ukraine, the investigation will be challenging. In order for any inquiry to be meaningful, all sides in the conflict must ensure investigators have full and unimpeded access to the crash site and guarantee their personal security,” said Denis Krivosheev.</span></p><p><span>“The probe must look into all credible allegations against both the Ukrainian and the separatist armed groups. It must answer all relevant questions and the findings must be reported in the spirit of full transparency.”</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The death of nearly 300 people on board a Malaysian Airlines civilian passenger jet, which came down yesterday in an area of intense conflict in eastern Ukraine, must be immediately, impartially and effectively investigated.</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="625" height="250" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/197411_Malaysia_Airlines_plane_crashes_in_eastern_Ukraine..jpg?1405693855" /> </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/48434">Ukraine</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"> Ukraine </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">Ukraine</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="46.549232">46° 32' 57.2352" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="34.278343">34° 16' 42.0348" 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>Given the current situation in this particular part of Ukraine, the investigation will be challenging. In order for any inquiry to be meaningful, all sides in the conflict must ensure investigators have full and unimpeded access to the crash site and guarantee their personal security. </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"> Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for the Europe and Central Asia Programme at Amnesty International. </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/ukraine-mounting-evidence-abduction-and-torture-2014-07-11">Ukraine: Mounting evidence of abduction and torture</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News Story, 11 July 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/asset/EUR50/034/2014/en/c8e25fcd-c791-4edb-ac3f-6b1a1ce12977/eur500342014en.pdf">Abductions and Torture in Eastern Ukraine</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Briefing, 11 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/they-made-no-secret-it-they-were-going-kill-me-2014-07-11">&#039;They made no secret of it; they were going to kill me’</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, 11 July 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/he-said-pray-now-i-m-going-kill-you-and-then-he-slit-my-neck-knife-2014-07-11">He said &#039;Pray now, I’m going to kill you&#039; and then he slit my neck with the knife</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, 11 July 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Armed Groups Ukraine Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:34:36 +0000 Amnesty International 48435 at http://www.amnesty.org UN: South Sudan arms embargo crucial after massive Chinese weapons transfer http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/un-south-sudan-arms-embargo-crucial-after-massive-chinese-weapons-transfer-2014-07-17 <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"> UN: South Sudan arms embargo crucial after massive Chinese weapons transfer </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">17 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>The United Nations Security Council must impose a comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudan, Amnesty International urged after receiving reports of Chinese small arms and ammunition proliferation amongst both sides in the conflict.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The organization also has confirmed that China supplied a further 1,000 tonnes of small arms and light weapons worth US$38 million to the country just over two weeks ago.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“China is playing a dangerous diplomatic game with the lives of millions of people in South Sudan. It has pledged to provide peacekeeping troops to protect civilians, and at the same time has sent more than 1,000 tonnes of arms,” said Elizabeth Ashamu Deng, South Sudan Researcher at Amnesty International.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Such arms are likely to fall into the hands of both parties to the conflict and be used to fuel the atrocities threatening civilian lives.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Security Council, of which China is a permanent member, has already condemned violations of international humanitarian law in South Sudan, including extrajudicial executions and ethnically targeted violence.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In May, the Security Council amended the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan (UNMISS) to focus on protection of civilians, supporting the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement, investigating human rights abuses and violations and creating conditions for delivery of humanitarian assistance. China has pledged a full battalion of some 850 troops to join this peacekeeping operation.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A UN arms embargo designed to help stop gross violations of human rights and war crimes would require every state to take all necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms to South Sudan. Pending such an embargo, states should immediately suspend international arms transfers to South Sudan.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The Chinese shipment&nbsp;</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Chinese state-owned defence manufacturer NORINCO sent more than 1,000 tonnes of weapons and munitions worth millions of dollars to the South Sudanese government armed forces in a shipment that arrived last month. It included rocket systems, thousands of automatic rifles and grenade launchers, 20,000 grenades, hundreds of pistols and machine guns, and several million rounds of ammunition.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>According to the shipping documents and related information, the massive arms shipment was loaded onto the Hong Kong-based vessel Feng Huang Song in two batches before leaving the Chinese ports of Dalian on 8 May and Zhanjiang on 15 May 2014. It reached Mombasa, Kenya on 7 June and the cargo was unloaded three days later, destined for the South Sudanese government in Juba in fulfilment of a contract signed on 3 April, 2013.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International is aware of reliable reports that Chinese ammunition manufactured in 2013 for Chinese-made CQ assault rifles has recently been used by armed opposition fighters as well as government-aligned armed groups. CQ 5.56x45 assault rifles were first observed in South Sudan in 2013 with South Sudanese rebel groups, some of whom stated they had been armed by Sudan. In addition, Chinese heavy machine-gun ammunition manufactured in 2013 has been found in the hands of fighters of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a Darfuri rebel group that has fought alongside South Sudanese government forces and committed grave human rights abuses.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“This additional flow and proliferation of deadly equipment from China into South Sudan’s raging war will set the country back decades and pave the way for increased criminality and violence among civilians – even long after the current armed conflict ends,” said Elizabeth Ashamu Deng.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Given the ongoing pattern of atrocities in South Sudan, it is a no-brainer that these weapons and munitions will be used to commit and facilitate further serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The Security Council must roundly condemn any such flows of weapons and impose a comprehensive embargo on all arms transfers to South Sudan.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Ongoing atrocities</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Since the armed conflict erupted on 15 December 2013, the USA and European Union have already suspended military support to South Sudan. The decisions came amid ongoing crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by both South Sudanese government and opposition forces.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>On two recent missions to South Sudan, including one this month, Amnesty International documented how both sides have targeted people, including women and children, based on their ethnicity. They have killed individuals seeking refuge in hospitals and places of worship. These atrocities have generally involved the use of small arms and light weapons.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The rebels shot dead the four people in the beds next to mine,” a civilian patient named John told Amnesty International, referring to a raid on Malakal hospital by forces loyal to former Vice President Dr Riek Machar in mid-February 2014. Individuals have also been shot dead in hospitals in Bor and Bentiu.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In the South Sudanese capital Juba, too, civilians have repeatedly been targeted using small arms and light weapons. A resident of the city’s Jebel Kujur area described to Amnesty International how government soldiers attacked his home on 17 December 2013:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“My house was surrounded with heavy artillery and many soldiers as well. Gun shots were fired at me and my relatives in the house, and three of them were killed on the spot.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Nyaliap witnessed the massacre of 11 men in Pariang County, Unity state by government forces in December 2013. A group of about 20 soldiers “stripped them naked and tied their hands behind their backs. They lined them up…and they [shot] them from behind.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International continues to call for accountability for all those responsible for such actions by government and opposition forces, which constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious human rights violations.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Background&nbsp;</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Bloomberg news agency reported on the Chinese arms transfer on 9 July (“<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-08/norinco-sells-south-sudan-arms-as-chinese-government-talks-peace.html">China Sells South Sudan Arms as Its Government Talks Peace</a>” by Ilya Gridneff) and also released the shipping documents to <em>Jane's Defence Weekly</em> (“South Sudan takes delivery of Chinese ATGWs” by Jeremy Binnie).&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Chinese company NORINCO combines manufacturing, research and trading of arms and related equipment.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Between 2007 and 2008 various large shipments of arms arrived in South Sudan from Ukraine via Mombasa. It is not clear if Ukraine was aware that South Sudan government forces were the intended end-user, and not Kenya, as stated in the documentation.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The United Nations Security Council must impose a comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudan, Amnesty International urged after receiving reports of Chinese small arms and ammunition proliferation amongst both sides in the conflict.&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/197384_South_Sudan_conflict_-_small_arms_proliferation (1).jpg?1405592321" /> </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/48424">South Sudan arms proliferation</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">Soudan</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="8.142980">8° 8' 34.728" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="31.508789">31° 30' 31.6404" 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>China is playing a dangerous diplomatic game with the lives of millions of people in South Sudan. It has pledged to provide peacekeeping troops to protect civilians, and at the same time has sent more than 1,000 tonnes of arms </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"> Elizabeth Ashamu Deng, South Sudan Researcher at Amnesty International. </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/2014/07/14/it-starts-right-here-the-road-ahead-for-south-sudan/">‘It starts right here’ – the road ahead for South Sudan</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, 14 July 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/south-sudan-independence-day-marred-ongoing-war-crimes-and-looming-famine-2014-07-08">South Sudan: Independence Day marred by ongoing war crimes and looming famine</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, 8 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/qa-three-years-south-sudan-locked-cycle-violence-2014-07-08">Q&amp;A - Three years on, South Sudan is locked in a cycle of violence</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, 8 July 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://amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR65/003/2014/en">South Sudan: Nowhere safe: Civilians under attack in South Sudan</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, 8 May 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Armed Groups China Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes South Sudan Arms control and human rights Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:28:39 +0000 Amnesty International 48425 at http://www.amnesty.org Finland: European Court ruling a blow to transgender rights http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/finland-european-court-ruling-blow-transgender-rights-2014-07-16 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Finland: European Court ruling a blow to transgender 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">16 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>A woman from Finland who came out as transgender during her marriage should be allowed to be legally recognized as a female without changing her marital status, Amnesty International said today after the European Court of Human Rights ruled against her.<br /><br />Because of Finland’s prohibition on same-sex marriage, Heli, 49, is not able to obtain legal recognition of her gender unless she converts her 18-year marriage into a civil partnership. <br /><br />She has already had to undergo a psychiatric assessment and sterilization as part of the Finland’s legal requirements for gender recognition. &nbsp;<br /><br />“With this deeply disappointing and unjust ruling, the European Court of Human Rights is condoning Finland’s repressive laws affecting transgender people and reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes,” said Jezerca Tigani, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Programme.<br /><br />“These laws are disproportionate and discriminatory. They are forcing Heli to choose between legal recognition of her gender identity and staying married with her partner. Having to choose one over the other is a violation of her rights.” <br /><br />The European Court of Human Rights has previously recognized that an individual’s ability to obtain recognition of their gender identity is “one of the most basic essentials of self-determination”. <br /><br />“This case highlights the need to overhaul Finland’s laws so that others like Heli can obtain legal recognition and are not forced to undergo such an ordeal,” said Jezerca Tigani.<br /><br />“The discriminatory laws preventing same-sex couples from marrying should not be used to deny Heli the enjoyment of her right to private and family life."<br /><br />Heli told Amnesty International: “I was not reborn as a woman and I am not remarrying my spouse. We have been married since 1996 and in that marriage, a child was born. If I can live with this, society should be able to.”<br /><br />Transgender people are at risk of violations of their right to privacy – as well as discrimination, harassment and even violence – whenever they have to produce documents mentioning a name or other gender-related information that does not reflect their gender identity and expression.<br /><br /><strong>Background<br /><br /></strong>Heli brought her case before the European Court of Human Rights in 2009. On 13 November 2012, the Court ruled against her. The case was referred to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in April 2013, before today’s ruling.<br /><br />Under Finnish law, marriage is allowed only for different-sex partners and civil partnerships are restricted to same-sex partners. <br /><br />The rights protected by the two regimes differ, in relation to adoption and parental rights. For instance, civil partners cannot jointly adopt children.&nbsp;Moreover, if one of the partners gives birth to a child, the other partner is not automatically considered as the other legal parent unless the child is adopted through second-parent adoption. While these differences do not affect their child, it may affect future parental choices.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A woman from Finland who came out as transgender during her marriage should be allowed to be legally recognized as a female without changing her marital status.</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="238" height="329" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/197336_Heli (1).jpg?1405528489" /> </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/48419">heli</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"> finland </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="64.399311">64° 23' 57.5196" 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>The European Court of Human Rights is condoning Finland’s repressive laws affecting transgender people and reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes.</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 Jezerca Tigani </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Discrimination Finland Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity My Body My Rights Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:49:23 +0000 Amnesty International 48420 at http://www.amnesty.org USA: Prisoners held in extreme solitary confinement in breach of international law http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/usa-prisoners-held-extreme-solitary-confinement-breach-international-law-2014-07-16 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> USA: Prisoners held in extreme solitary confinement in breach of international law </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">16 July 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The US government’s callous and dehumanising practice of holding prisoners in prolonged solitary confinement in the country’s only federal super-maximum security prison amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is in violation of international law, said Amnesty International today.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">The new report <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/040/2014/en"><em>Entombed: Isolation in the US Federal Prison System</em></a>, launched today, reveals the severity of conditions that prisoners face in the United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum facility near Florence, Colorado (known as ADX Florence).</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">“You cannot overestimate the devastating impact long periods of solitary confinement can have on the mental and physical well-being of a prisoner. Such harsh treatment is happening as a daily practice in the US, and it is in breach of international law,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Director.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">The report explores the physical and psychological impact of confining inmates to solitary cells for 22-24 hours a day. The severe conditions in ADX have led to some prisoners practising extreme self-harm or committing suicide.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Symptoms resulting from being held in isolation for extended periods include anxiety, depression, insomnia, hypertension, extreme paranoia, perceptual distortions and psychosis.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">The ADX Florence federal facility has a capacity for 490 male inmates. Prisoners spend a minimum of 12 months in solitary confinement before they may become eligible for a reduction in the restrictions of their detention. In reality, many spend much longer in isolation. One study produced by lawyers found the average length of time an inmate would spend in isolation was 8.2 years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Most inmates are held in cells with solid walls and a barred, air-lock style chamber in front of a solid metal door, to ensure they have no contact with other prisoners. One small slit of a window allows them a view of the sky or a brick wall.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Furniture in the cells is made of poured concrete and consists of a fixed bunk, desk and a stool, as well as a shower and a toilet. Meals and showers are taken inside the cells and medical consultations, including mental health checks, are often conducted remotely through teleconferencing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Amnesty International’s report details several examples of a prisoner’s mental health deteriorating dramatically whilst in solitary confinement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">In September 2013 a prisoner with a history of mental illness hanged himself in his cell after reportedly spending more than a decade at ADX with only intermittent mental health care. He suffered psychotic symptoms which had allegedly been ignored in the days before his death.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">There are now worrying signs that the US government plans to expand its use of solitary confinement in federal prisons. Plans for Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois, a new supermax prison, include provisions for solitary confinement, replicating the system at ADX.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">“This is the ultimate form of warehousing prisoners and the idea that the US government is planning to expand the practice in the face of international concern is truly worrying. The use of such forms of solitary confinement goes beyond legitimate correctional measures and strays into cruel and inhuman treatment,” said Erika Guevara.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">“The US government must ensure that solitary confinement is only ever used in exceptional circumstances as a last resort and should never be used for prolonged or indefinite periods of time. No prisoner who has a mental illness or who is at risk of mental illness should ever be held in solitary confinement.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Amnesty International visited the ADX facility in 2001 but since then all visit requests have been denied. Information in the report has been gathered through a range of sources including court documents available through lawsuits and other information provided by attorneys representing ADX inmates, as well as policy directives issued by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">The practice of prolonged solitary confinement is not limited to ADX; Amnesty International’s report notes that other federal facilities also confine prisoners in prolonged isolation in Special Management Units.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">In some cases prisoners are held in isolation even before they have stood trial. The Metropolitan Correction Centre (MCC) in New York, also known as ‘Little Gitmo’, is used to house pre-trial detainees in solitary confinement for months or even years before they face trial. Detainees have little access to natural light and no provision for outdoor exercise.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">In 2011 Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, called on all countries to ban the solitary confinement of prisoners except in very exceptional circumstances and for as short a time as possible, with an absolute prohibition in the case of juveniles and people with mental disabilities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">Most prisoners in ADX have been convicted of serious offences in prison such as assault, murder or attempted escape; others have been convicted of terrorism offences.</span></p> <div id="h5" style="width: 640px; height: 640px;"><iframe style="border: 0; display: block; width: 100%; height: 100%;" src="https://adam.amnesty.org/images/slideshows/common/html5/dist/h5.html?setup={&quot;assets&quot;:&quot;https://adam.amnesty.org/images/slideshows/slideshow5879/slideshow.json&quot;,&quot;config&quot;:&quot;https://adam.amnesty.org/images/slideshows/common/html5/dist/config.json&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;Inside%20ADX&quot;,&quot;displayTime&quot;:5,&quot;onExternalSite&quot;:&quot;on&quot;,&quot;type&quot;:&quot;photoEssay&quot;,&quot;rtlText&quot;:&quot;off&quot;}" frameborder="0"> </iframe></div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The US government’s dehumanising practice of holding prisoners in prolonged solitary confinement in the country’s only federal super-maximum security prison amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and is in violation of international law.&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/197066_Interior_of_a_SHU_cell_at_ADX_prison.jpg?1405437514" /> </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/48405">USA isolation</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/node/48406">Isolation graphic</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>Prisoners in the United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum facility near Florence, Colorado (known as ADX Florence) are held in solitary cells for 22-24 hours a day.</span></li><li><span>Symptoms resulting from being held in isolation for extended periods include anxiety, depression, insomnia, hypertension, extreme paranoia, perceptual distortions and psychosis.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>The ADX Florence federal facility has a capacity for 490 male inmates.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Prisoners spend a minimum of 12 months in solitary confinement before they may become eligible for a reduction in the restrictions of their detention. In reality, many spend much longer in isolation.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Most inmates are held in cells with solid walls and a barred, air-lock style chamber in front of a solid metal door, to ensure they have no contact with other prisoners.&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"> AMR51/040/2014 </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"> USA </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="33.465580">33° 27' 56.088" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-84.548780">84° 32' 55.608" W</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> <div class="location map-link">See map: <a href="http://maps.google.com?q=33.465580+-84.548780+%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>You cannot overestimate the devastating impact long periods of solitary confinement can have on the mental and physical well-being of a prisoner. Such harsh treatment is happening as a daily practice in the US, and it is in breach of international law. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas 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/AMR51/040/2014/en">Entombed: Isolation in the US Federal Prison System</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> Prison Conditions USA Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:38:30 +0000 Amnesty International 48407 at http://www.amnesty.org