http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report_abstract en Netherlands: Forced returns of Somalis to al-Shabaab areas can amount to ‘death sentences’ http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/netherlands-forced-returns-somalis-al-shabaab-areas-can-amount-death-sentences-2014-10-23 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Netherlands: Forced returns of Somalis to al-Shabaab areas can amount to ‘death sentences’ </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 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>The Netherlands’ repeated attempts to argue for the forcible return of Somalis to areas controlled by the Islamist armed group al-Shabaab exposes them to grave risks of human rights abuses and would be a blatant violation of international law, Amnesty International said in a <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR52/005/2014/en">new briefing published today</a>.</span></p><p><span>The Dutch government has insisted that Somalis can be forcibly sent to the most perilous areas of the country, including those where al-Shabaab is responsible for unlawful killings, torture and ill-treatment.</span></p><p><span>“For some Somalis, being returned to al-Shabaab-controlled areas is akin to being handed a death sentence,” said L. Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.</span></p><p><span>“By sending Somalis to volatile areas where their lives are in danger, the Dutch government is also responsible for the human rights abuses they face on their return.”</span></p><p><span>International law requires that states do not return people to areas where their lives or freedoms are at real risk, such as certain situations of armed conflict.</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International has called on other governments including Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Norway and Saudi Arabia to end their policy of returning Somalis to south and central Somalia.</span></p><p><span>The briefing <em><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR52/005/2014/en">Forced returns to south and central Somalia, including to Al-Shabaab areas: a blatant violation of international law</a></em> highlights the grave risks faced by civilians in Somalia.</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International has received numerous reports of Somalis being accused of spying by armed groups, leading in many cases to retribution - including killings. Many Somalis fear returning to areas not only controlled by al-Shabaab, but also to areas where the armed group has a presence, including Mogadishu.</span></p><p><span>The briefing includes testimonies of human rights violations people have faced upon return, such as Fartuun, 25, whose uncle was killed in August 2013 shortly after returning from Yemen.</span></p><p><span>“He was captured the day he returned home. Al-Shabaab soldiers took him away and held him captive. After five days, they brought him in front of the stadium and beheaded him in front of people. After, they left him outside with his head on his stomach. He was there for one week,” Fartuun told Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>In Mogadishu and other areas of south and central Somalia, people continue to be killed and wounded in crossfire during armed clashes and by suicide attacks, grenade attacks and by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Ongoing military operations throughout 2014 have led to an increase in violence against civilians.</span></p><p><span>In November 2013, the Netherlands flouted international law and forcibly returned 26-year-old Ahmed Said, who had left Somalia more than 20 years earlier, to Mogadishu - a city he said he had never visited.</span></p><p><span>Three days later he was wounded along with numerous others in a suicide attack that killed at least six people.</span></p><p><span>“All countries have a responsibility to protect people who are at risk of serious human rights abuses if returned to their countries, rather than sending them back into the lion’s den,” Wanyeki said.</span></p><p><span>“Not only is it dangerous and irresponsible to put people’s lives at risk in this way, but states are in flagrant violation of their obligations when they do.”</span></p><p><span>The Netherlands recently scheduled a meeting of its Parliament and Migration Minister to discuss its policy of returning failed asylum seekers to areas under al-Shabaab control.</span></p><p><span>In May 2014, the United Nations Secretary-General urged all countries providing refuge to Somalis fleeing conflict to comply with their obligations under international law and not to return them forcibly to Somalia, where their lives could be at risk.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Netherlands’ repeated attempts to argue for the forcible return of Somalis to areas controlled by the Islamist armed group al-Shabaab exposes them to grave risks of human rights abuses and would be a blatant violation of international law.</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/179825_Women_and_children_in_IDP_camps_in_Mogadishu.jpg?1413979923" /> </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/49903">Somalia</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"> AFR52/005/2014 </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">Somalia</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="6.673564">6° 40' 24.8304" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="47.287154">47° 17' 13.7544" 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>For some Somalis, being returned to al-Shabaab-controlled areas is akin to being handed a death sentence.</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"> L. Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes. </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/AFR52/005/2014/en">Forced returns to south and central Somalia, including to Al-Shabaab areas: a blatant violation of international law</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Read the briefing </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/AFR52/001/2014/en">Somalia: No place like home: Returns and relocations of Somalia’s displaced</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, 19 February 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR52/008/2013/en">Returns to South and Central Somalia: A Violation of International Law</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Report, 15 May 2013. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Groups Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants Somalia Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:16:32 +0000 Amnesty International 49904 at http://www.amnesty.org Viet Nam: Freedom for all peaceful activists must follow blogger’s release http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/viet-nam-freedom-all-peaceful-activists-must-follow-blogger-s-release-2014-10-22 <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"> Viet Nam: Freedom for all peaceful activists must follow blogger’s release </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 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The release from prison of one of Viet Nam’s most high profile prisoners of conscience is a positive step, but authorities must now free the scores of other peaceful activists behind bars, said Amnesty International today.</p><p><span>Nguyen Van Hai, better known by his pen name Dieu Cay (“peasant’s pipe”), was released from prison yesterday, having served four years of a 12-year prison sentence. Immediately after his release he was taken to the airport and put on a plane, eventually bound for the USA.</span></p><p><span>A popular blogger on social justice issues, Dieu Cay was charged under the vaguely worded Article 88 of Viet Nam’s Penal Code for “conducting propaganda” against the state. He was sentenced to prison in September 2012 after an unfair trial.</span></p><p><span>“We’re delighted that Dieu Cay, a courageous voice for human rights in Viet Nam, has been released, but he should never have been imprisoned in the first place. He was a prisoner of conscience, and his only crime was to peacefully express opinions that the Vietnamese authorities didn’t want aired,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.</span></p><p><span>“His reportedly deteriorating health and the harsh prison conditions in Viet Nam makes his release even more welcome. But we hope that he has the opportunity to return to his country should he wish to do so."</span></p><p><span>“Dieu Cay is far from an isolated case. Viet Nam must now follow up and release the scores of other prisoners of conscience still behind bars. The government must also end its harsh crackdown on freedom of expression, stop targeting peaceful activists and allow civil society a voice. ”</span></p><p><span><strong>Background</strong>&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International is campaigning for the release of all prisoners of conscience in Viet Nam. In November 2013 the organization published a report, <em><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA41/007/2013/en%20">Silenced Voices</a></em>, detailing the cases of 75 individuals jailed in the country for the peaceful exercise of their human rights.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The release from prison of one of Viet Nam’s most high profile prisoners of conscience is a positive step, but authorities must now free the scores of other peaceful activists behind bars.</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="300" height="185" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/154836_Nguyen_Hoang_Hai_blogging_name_Dieu_Cay_the_peasant_s_pipe_ (1).jpg?1413974470" /> </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/49900">Viet nam</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">Vietnam</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="14.413398">14° 24' 48.2328" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="108.370140">108° 22' 12.504" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>We’re delighted that Dieu Cay, a courageous voice for human rights in Viet Nam, has been released, but he should never have been imprisoned in the first place. He was a prisoner of conscience, and his only crime was to peacefully express opinions that the Vietnamese authorities didn’t want aired. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. </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/ASA41/007/2013/en">Silenced Voices</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, November 2013. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Freedom Of Expression Viet Nam Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:43:04 +0000 Amnesty International 49901 at http://www.amnesty.org Pakistan bans TV channel amid increased attempts to control freedom of expression http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/pakistan-ban-ary-tv-2014-10-20 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Pakistan bans TV channel amid increased attempts to control freedom of expression </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">20 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>A politically motivated ban imposed on a Pakistani TV channel critical of the government constitutes a violation of the right to freedom of expression, said Amnesty International.</p><p><span>The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) today suspended transmissions of private network ARY TV for 15 days. It has been accused of ostensibly “maligning” the country’s judiciary after it aired an interview with a man currently the subject of a high-profile trial before the Lahore High Court.</span></p><p><span>“ARY TV must be immediately allowed back on air. There is simply no justification for the Pakistani authorities to silence sections of the media solely because of their political leanings,” said Mustafa Qadri, Pakistan researcher at Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>“The ban on ARY is a sobering reminder of the threat of criminal prosecution on the basis of overly broad contempt of court or anti-state provisions. Journalists in Pakistan are under attack from all sides, facing harassment, even abduction and killings for carrying out their work.”</span></p><p><span>The decision and trial come against the background of an increasingly confrontational political tussle between the elected government, the military and some opposition political groups.</span></p><p><span>In June PEMRA suspended Geo TV, one of the country’s major TV networks and ARY’s main competitor, for 15 days – reportedly under pressure from the military – after the channel accused a senior intelligence official of orchestrating the attempted killing of one of its journalists.</span></p><p><span>Although Geo TV is now back on air its distribution has been significantly restricted. Many of its staff have complained of harassment and attacks from unknown individuals they believe are security officials, as well as members of the public angered at its perceived anti-military bias.</span></p><p><span>“Journalism is an incredibly dangerous profession in Pakistan. Instead of trying to control what journalists say, the Pakistani authorities should do more to protect them so they can carry out their legitimate work,” said Mustafa Qadri.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>A politically motivated ban imposed on a Pakistani TV channel critical of the government constitutes a violation of the right to freedom of expression, said Amnesty International.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/194012_Attacks_against_journalists_Pakistan_0.jpg?1413818571" /> </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/49871">Pakistan</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Pakistan </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="30.562242">30° 33' 44.0712" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="69.084032">69° 5' 2.5152" 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>ARY TV must be immediately allowed back on air. There is simply no justification for the Pakistani authorities to silence sections of the media solely because of their political leanings. </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"> Mustafa Qadri, Pakistan 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/pakistan-ban-major-private-tv-network-attack-press-freedom-2014-06-06">Pakistan: Ban of major private TV network is ‘attack on press freedom’</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, 6 June 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/pakistan-must-investigate-inter-services-intelligence-attacks-against-journalists-2014-05-29">Pakistan must investigate Inter-Services Intelligence over attacks against journalists</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, 29 May 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/pakistan-journalists-under-siege-threats-violence-and-killings-2014-04-30">Pakistan: Journalists under siege from threats, violence and killings</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Report, 30 April 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Freedom Of Expression Pakistan Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:25:22 +0000 Amnesty International 49872 at http://www.amnesty.org Pakistan bans TV channel amid increased attempts to control freedom of expression http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/pakistan-ban-ary-tv-2014-10-20 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Pakistan bans TV channel amid increased attempts to control freedom of expression </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">20 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>A politically motivated ban imposed on a Pakistani TV channel critical of the government constitutes a violation of the right to freedom of expression, said Amnesty International.</p><p><span>The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) today suspended transmissions of private network ARY TV for 15 days. It has been accused of ostensibly “maligning” the country’s judiciary after it aired an interview with a man currently the subject of a high-profile trial before the Lahore High Court.</span></p><p><span>“ARY TV must be immediately allowed back on air. There is simply no justification for the Pakistani authorities to silence sections of the media solely because of their political leanings,” said Mustafa Qadri, Pakistan researcher at Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>“The ban on ARY is a sobering reminder of the threat of criminal prosecution on the basis of overly broad contempt of court or anti-state provisions. Journalists in Pakistan are under attack from all sides, facing harassment, even abduction and killings for carrying out their work.”</span></p><p><span>The decision and trial come against the background of an increasingly confrontational political tussle between the elected government, the military and some opposition political groups.</span></p><p><span>In June PEMRA suspended Geo TV, one of the country’s major TV networks and ARY’s main competitor, for 15 days – reportedly under pressure from the military – after the channel accused a senior intelligence official of orchestrating the attempted killing of one of its journalists.</span></p><p><span>Although Geo TV is now back on air its distribution has been significantly restricted. Many of its staff have complained of harassment and attacks from unknown individuals they believe are security officials, as well as members of the public angered at its perceived anti-military bias.</span></p><p><span>“Journalism is an incredibly dangerous profession in Pakistan. Instead of trying to control what journalists say, the Pakistani authorities should do more to protect them so they can carry out their legitimate work,” said Mustafa Qadri.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>A politically motivated ban imposed on a Pakistani TV channel critical of the government constitutes a violation of the right to freedom of expression, said Amnesty International.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/194012_Attacks_against_journalists_Pakistan_0.jpg?1413818571" /> </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/49871">Pakistan</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Pakistan </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="30.562242">30° 33' 44.0712" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="69.084032">69° 5' 2.5152" 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>ARY TV must be immediately allowed back on air. There is simply no justification for the Pakistani authorities to silence sections of the media solely because of their political leanings. </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"> Mustafa Qadri, Pakistan 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/pakistan-ban-major-private-tv-network-attack-press-freedom-2014-06-06">Pakistan: Ban of major private TV network is ‘attack on press freedom’</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, 6 June 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/pakistan-must-investigate-inter-services-intelligence-attacks-against-journalists-2014-05-29">Pakistan must investigate Inter-Services Intelligence over attacks against journalists</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, 29 May 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/pakistan-journalists-under-siege-threats-violence-and-killings-2014-04-30">Pakistan: Journalists under siege from threats, violence and killings</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Report, 30 April 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Freedom Of Expression Pakistan Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:25:22 +0000 Amnesty International 49872 at http://www.amnesty.org France: Bobigny forced eviction set to leave Roma families homeless http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/france-bobigny-forced-eviction-set-leave-roma-families-homeless-2014-10-20 <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"> France: Bobigny forced eviction set to leave Roma families homeless </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">20 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Dozens of families will be left homeless if French authorities go ahead with the forced eviction of a Roma camp in a Paris suburb this week, Amnesty International warned today.</span></p><p>More than 200 Roma living in an informal settlement near Bobigny will be forcibly evicted from their homes within the next 48 hours, but many have not have been offered alternative housing.</p><p>“This forced eviction would leave families – including children, the sick and the elderly – living on the streets, deprived of their human rights,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director.&nbsp;</p><p>“The French authorities must halt the forced eviction until they can offer suitable alternative housing solutions that have been accepted by the Roma community after proper consultation.”&nbsp;</p><p>According to international human rights standards, evictions should not render people homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations.</p><p>The eviction is set to take place imminently despite Bobigny’s High Court decision in July that the eviction would constitute a violation of the right to family and private life. &nbsp;The court also contested the municipality’s claim that the eviction was urgently needed.</p><p>Around two thirds of the residents of the camps – mostly families with children that attend school in Bobigny - have so far been provided with alternative accommodation. Other residents, including families with very young children as well as elderly or ill members, will be made homeless.</p><p>Even the alternative housing proposed by the authorities is inadequate for the Roma families. It consists of flats not designed for families, some of which are beyond the outskirts of Paris and at a great distance from the schools currently attended by the Bobigny children.</p><p>The eviction was planned after a social assessment of the Bobigny camp was carried out in August at the request of the authorities.</p><p>Alternative accommodation was only offered to families with children of school age. However, many of these families were away at the time of the assessment because of school holidays and were not consulted or offered accommodation.&nbsp;</p><p>“The forced eviction will have disastrous consequences for the Bobigny Roma and ruin the progress made in recent months to integrate these families into the community,” said John Dalhuisen.</p><p>“The Bobigny eviction, if carried out in the absence of genuine consultation and without the provision of adequate alternative housing, will result in a forced eviction which is prohibited under international human rights law.”&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Dozens of families will be left homeless if French authorities go ahead with the forced eviction of a Roma camp in a Paris suburb this week.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/181361_Roma_informal_settlement_in_Bobigny_France (1).jpg?1413825183" /> </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/49877">romas</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"> france </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="48.343472">48° 20' 36.4992" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="3.515625">3° 30' 56.25" 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 forced eviction will have disastrous consequences for the Bobigny Roma and ruin the progress made in recent months to integrate these families into the community.</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 John Dalhuisen </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Discrimination Forced Eviction France Housing Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:14:52 +0000 Amnesty International 49879 at http://www.amnesty.org Eastern Ukraine conflict: Summary killings, misrecorded and misreported http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/eastern-ukraine-conflict-summary-killings-misrecorded-and-misreported-2014-10-20 <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"> Eastern Ukraine conflict: Summary killings, misrecorded and misreported </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">20 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>An Amnesty International investigation into allegations of execution-style and other deliberate killings by pro-Russian separatists and pro-Kyiv forces has found evidence of isolated incidents attributable to both sides, but not on the scale reported by Russian media and authorities.</p><p><span><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR50/042/2014/en"><em>Summary killings during the conflict in eastern Ukraine</em>,</a> presents the findings of research conducted in eastern Ukraine (Donbass) in late August and late September 2014 and interviews with victims of human rights abuses and their families, eyewitnesses, local officials in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, medical personnel and combatants on both sides.</span></p><p><span>“There is no doubt that summary killings and atrocities are being committed by both pro-Russian separatists and pro-Kyiv forces in Eastern Ukraine, but is difficult to get an accurate sense of the scale of these abuses. It is likely that many have not yet been exposed and that others have been deliberately misrecorded. It is also clear that some of the more shocking cases that have been reported, particularly by Russian media, have been hugely exaggerated,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>“Rather than speculatively accusing each other of abuses, both sides should concentrate on investigating and eliminating execution-style killings by forces they control”.</span></p><p><span><strong>The discovery of ‘mass graves’ in the Donetsk region</strong>&nbsp;</span></p><p>On 23 September Russian media reported the discoveries of “mass graves” in Komunar and Nyzhnya Krynka, two adjacent villages in the Donetsk Region, which until two days previously, had been held by Kyiv-controlled forces. They described the discovery of women’s bodies with signs of torture and the body of a pregnant woman. Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, was reported later as saying that more than 400 bodies had been discovered in the graves in this area and calling for international investigations.</p><p><span>An Amnesty International delegation visited the area on 26 September. The delegation found strong evidence implicating Kyiv-controlled forces in the extrajudicial executions of four men buried in two graves near the village of Komunar. Five further bodies buried in a single grave nearby were revealed to belong to separatist fighters. Amnesty International spoke to members of their unit who said they had been killed in the course of hostilities.</span></p><p><span>“The reality behind Russian claims of ‘mass graves’ in Nyzhnya Krynka is grizzly enough. It points to extra-judicial killing of four local residents by either regular Ukrainian armed forces or volunteer battalions operating in the area. These must now be investigated thoroughly. But it also shows the extent to which accusations of abuses are being inflated, particularly by the Russian authorities, in the parallel propaganda war,” said John Dalhuisen.</span></p><p><span><strong>Killings of detainees by pro-Russian insurgent groups</strong>&nbsp;</span></p><p>Amnesty International has received a growing number of allegations of execution-style and other deliberate killings in eastern Ukraine by separatist forces since the start of the conflict in April 2014. Victims have included pro-Ukrainian activists and suspected sympathisers, local criminals and detained combatants.</p><p><span>The first apparent confirmation of these allegations was the discovery of two bodies on 19 April 2014 near the town Raigorodok in Donetsk Region. They were later identified as Volodymyr Rybak, a local pro-Ukrainian activist and MP from Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party, and Yury Popravko, a student from Kyiv. The bodies bore signs of torture.</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International found compelling evidence of the killing of two captives on 22 July. Both were held by separatist fighters in the police detention facility they had taken over in Severodonetsk, Luhansk Region.</span></p><p><span>A Severodonetsk businessman detained in the facility at the time for suspected links with the Batkivshchyna party, told Amnesty International:</span></p><p><em><span>At 4.30 am a fighter woke us, shouting “Up! Evacuation!” They opened three or four cell doors, and in all I heard six to eight gunshots. It was like roulette – some were shot, some released, some taken away.</span></em></p><p><span>“Amnesty International has not found or been presented with any compelling evidence of mass killings or graves. What we have seen are isolated incidents of summary executions that in some cases constitute war crimes. These abuses must stop. All suspected cases should be effectively investigated and those responsible from both sides prosecuted,” said John Dalhuisen.</span></p><p><strong><span>Background&nbsp;</span></strong></p><p>Conflict in eastern Ukraine started after pro-Russian separatists occupied local administration buildings and security services installations in different towns in Donetsk and Luhansk Regions in April and May 2014, following the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation. In response the Ukrainian authorities embarked on a “counter terrorist operation”. The conflict intensified after the separatist forces left the town of Slavyansk in early July and the Ukrainian forces began retaking territory.</p><p><span>This advance was slowed down and rolled back in late August, when the separatist forces made a successive counter attack, allegedly with the help of the Russian military. A cease-fire agreement was signed on September 5, but it did not stop the fighting.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>An Amnesty International investigation into allegations of execution-style and other deliberate killings by pro-Russian separatists and pro-Kyiv forces has found evidence of isolated incidents attributable to both sides, but not on the scale reported by Russian media and authorities.</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/201917_Ukraine.jpg?1413805624" /> </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/49832">Ukraine</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"> EUR50/042/2014 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 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> </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>There is no doubt that summary killings and atrocities are being committed by both pro-Russian separatists and pro-Kyiv forces in Eastern Ukraine, but is difficult to get an accurate sense of the scale of these abuses. It is likely that many have not yet been exposed and that others have been deliberately misrecorded. It is also clear that some of the more shocking cases that have been reported, particularly by Russian media, have been hugely exaggerated. </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 Director 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>At 4.30 am a fighter woke us, shouting “Up! Evacuation!” They opened three or four cell doors, and in all I heard six to eight gunshots. It was like roulette – some were shot, some released, some taken away. </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"> Businessman detained in a police facility in Severodonetsk. </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/EUR50/042/2014/en">Summary killings during the conflict 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"> Read the report. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/ukraine-forces-must-stop-firing-civilians-after-nine-killed-donetsk-2014-10-01">Ukraine: Forces must stop firing on civilians after nine killed in Donetsk</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 October 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/ukraine-must-stop-ongoing-abuses-and-war-crimes-pro-ukrainian-volunteer-forces-2014-09-08">Ukraine must stop ongoing abuses and war crimes by pro-Ukrainian volunteer forces</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 September 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Armed Groups Ukraine Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:34:12 +0000 Amnesty International 49833 at http://www.amnesty.org France: Bobigny forced eviction set to leave Roma families homeless http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/france-bobigny-forced-eviction-set-leave-roma-families-homeless-2014-10-20 <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"> France: Bobigny forced eviction set to leave Roma families homeless </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">20 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Dozens of families will be left homeless if French authorities go ahead with the forced eviction of a Roma camp in a Paris suburb this week, Amnesty International warned today.</span></p><p>More than 200 Roma living in an informal settlement near Bobigny will be forcibly evicted from their homes within the next 48 hours, but many have not have been offered alternative housing.</p><p>“This forced eviction would leave families – including children, the sick and the elderly – living on the streets, deprived of their human rights,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director.&nbsp;</p><p>“The French authorities must halt the forced eviction until they can offer suitable alternative housing solutions that have been accepted by the Roma community after proper consultation.”&nbsp;</p><p>According to international human rights standards, evictions should not render people homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations.</p><p>The eviction is set to take place imminently despite Bobigny’s High Court decision in July that the eviction would constitute a violation of the right to family and private life. &nbsp;The court also contested the municipality’s claim that the eviction was urgently needed.</p><p>Around two thirds of the residents of the camps – mostly families with children that attend school in Bobigny - have so far been provided with alternative accommodation. Other residents, including families with very young children as well as elderly or ill members, will be made homeless.</p><p>Even the alternative housing proposed by the authorities is inadequate for the Roma families. It consists of flats not designed for families, some of which are beyond the outskirts of Paris and at a great distance from the schools currently attended by the Bobigny children.</p><p>The eviction was planned after a social assessment of the Bobigny camp was carried out in August at the request of the authorities.</p><p>Alternative accommodation was only offered to families with children of school age. However, many of these families were away at the time of the assessment because of school holidays and were not consulted or offered accommodation.&nbsp;</p><p>“The forced eviction will have disastrous consequences for the Bobigny Roma and ruin the progress made in recent months to integrate these families into the community,” said John Dalhuisen.</p><p>“The Bobigny eviction, if carried out in the absence of genuine consultation and without the provision of adequate alternative housing, will result in a forced eviction which is prohibited under international human rights law.”&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Dozens of families will be left homeless if French authorities go ahead with the forced eviction of a Roma camp in a Paris suburb this week.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/181361_Roma_informal_settlement_in_Bobigny_France (1).jpg?1413825183" /> </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/49877">romas</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"> france </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="48.343472">48° 20' 36.4992" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="3.515625">3° 30' 56.25" 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 forced eviction will have disastrous consequences for the Bobigny Roma and ruin the progress made in recent months to integrate these families into the community.</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 John Dalhuisen </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Discrimination Forced Eviction France Housing Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:14:52 +0000 Amnesty International 49879 at http://www.amnesty.org South Korea: End rampant abuse of migrant farm workers http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/south-korea-end-rampant-abuse-migrant-farm-workers-2014-10-19 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> South Korea: End rampant abuse of migrant farm workers </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">19 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The South Korean government must end the exploitation and widespread use of forced labour of migrant agricultural workers, Amnesty International said, as it published a new report that reveals how the country’s farming industry is rife with abuse.&nbsp;</p><p>Bitter Harvest exposes the true face of South Korea’s Employment Permit System (EPS) that directly contributes to the serious exploitation of migrant agricultural workers. The government-run work scheme is designed to provide migrant labour to small and medium-sized enterprises that struggle to hire a sufficient number of national workers.</p><p>“The exploitation of migrant farm workers in South Korea is a stain on the country. The authorities have created a shameful system that allows trafficking for exploitation and forced labour to flourish,” said Norma Kang Muico, Asia-Pacific Migrant Rights Researcher at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>“If South Koreans were trapped in a similar cycle of abuse, there would rightly be outrage.”</p><p>There are approximately 20,000 migrant agricultural workers in South Korea, with many arriving from Cambodia, Nepal and Vietnam under the EPS migrant workers scheme. The majority take on huge debts equivalent to two years’ salary in their home country to get a job in South Korea.</p><p>Significant numbers of migrant agricultural workers have been trafficked for exploitation and forced labour. Incidents of contractual deception were recorded in all the cases Amnesty International investigated. The report shows that migrants are compelled to work in conditions that they did not agree to, under threat of some form of punishment, which amounts to forced labour.&nbsp;</p><p>The report, based on interviews with migrant agricultural workers across South Korea, documents a range of exploitation. This includes intimidation and violence, squalid accommodation, excessive working hours, no weekly rest days and unpaid overtime.</p><p>The EPS is heavily loaded in favour of employers, leaving migrants trapped and vulnerable to abuse. Agricultural workers, of which many are migrant workers, are excluded from key legal protections afforded to most of the country’s workforce.</p><p>While an EPS employer can terminate a migrant’s contract without having to justify the decision, migrants who want to leave their job must obtain a release form signed by their employer, without which they risk being reported to the immigration authorities by their employer as “runaways”, subjecting them to arrest and deportation. Changing jobs can severely jeopardize a migrant’s chance of being able to extend their employment in South Korea after their initial contract– potentially denying a migrant worker additional years of work in the country. &nbsp;</p><p>“The EPS leaves migrant workers at the mercy of unscrupulous employers who take advantage of the system’s severe restrictions on migrants’ ability to change jobs. For many migrants saddled with huge debts, staying with an abusive boss appears the only option,” said Norma Kang Muico.</p><p>A 26-year-old Vietnamese woman described how her employer tried to use the system to control her after she complained to a government-run job centre about unpaid wages: “My boss told me that he will never release me and will use me for three years and not allow me to extend my contract.”</p><p><strong>Abusive conditions</strong></p><p>Amnesty International found cases of migrant workers who were physically attacked by their employers. One Cambodian man recalled how he had sat down in a field because his back was hurting so much only to be beaten by his supervisor: “The manager became furious and grabbed me by the collar. The manager’s younger brother held me by the neck while the manager beat me. They both then punched me all over my body and kicked me.”</p><p>The report sheds light on how migrants are also forced to live in squalid accommodation, often with no toilet facilities. The food provided by their employers is insufficient and of poor quality. One Vietnamese man told Amnesty International how his boss told him to drink from a tank of water that was dirty and full of pesticide.&nbsp;</p><p>Many migrants face destitution in the winter months. Despite signing three-year continuous labour contracts, employers only paid for the days worked during the harvest seasons.</p><p>Migrants interviewed by Amnesty International also complained of excessive working hours with no guarantee of a break or rest days. Most typically worked between 250–364 hours a month averaging more than 10 hours a day. Such hours exceeded those stipulated in their contracts but nearly all the migrants interviewed did not receive overtime payments. Those that complained risked being dismissed by their employers.&nbsp;</p><p>“Farming is hard physical labour. It is inexcusable to force migrants to work excessive hours and to deny them adequate food, shelter and rest,” said Norma Kang Muico.&nbsp;</p><p>Migrants also had to carry out their work despite inadequate protection from harmful pesticides. &nbsp;Many of the migrants Amnesty International interviewed expressed concern about the harmful effect of frequent use of pesticide on their health.</p><p>Another man from Cambodia told Amnesty International: “I had to spray pesticide on the fields every day during a two-month period, which gave me a headache. &nbsp;I wasn’t trained on how to do it properly and safely – my employer just told me to do it. He only gave me a cloth mask, which didn’t protect me at all... &nbsp;the pesticide still entered my mouth and nose.”</p><p>Although illegal under the terms of the EPS, Amnesty International found that employers frequently subcontracted workers to other farms. Half of the migrants interviewed had been illegally subcontracted and said they had little choice but to accept as they risked losing their job if they did not go.</p><p>“Many farm owners appear to treat migrants as a commodity, to be traded at a whim, having little or no regard for the migrants’ well-being or rights,” said Norma Kang Muico.</p><p><strong>Government complicity</strong></p><p>The research found that when migrants did seek help from the authorities to address unfair treatment, they were actively discouraged from taking the issues forward. Often they were told to go back to their employers and apologize or to ask them to sign a release form.&nbsp;</p><p>Employers responsible for exploiting migrant agricultural workers, including through trafficking and forced labour, rarely face any sanctions. This is because the EPS discourages migrants from changing jobs and labour officials from filing complaints.&nbsp;</p><p>“The Korean authorities have effectively cornered the migrant workers into abusive conditions by turning a blind eye to the blatantly exploitative work practices and letting the perpetrators off scot-free,” said Norma Kang Muico.</p><p>Amnesty International urges the South Korean government to:&nbsp;</p><ul><li><span>Ratify International Labour Organization Convention No. 29 on Forced or Compulsory Labour and the UN Trafficking Protocol;</span></li><li><span>Extend the rights in respect to work hours, daily breaks and weekly paid rest days to all workers, including migrant workers, irrespective of which sector they work in;&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Where EPS workers have filed a complaint against their employer, they must be free to take up another job while their case is being investigated;</span></li><li><span>Permit all EPS workers to change jobs without having to obtain a release form from their employer; &nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Remove all restrictions on the number of job changes allowed to EPS workers.</span></li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The South Korean government must end the exploitation and widespread use of forced labour of migrant agricultural workers, Amnesty International said in a new report that reveals how the country’s farming industry is rife with abuse.&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="560" height="400" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/skmigrantworkersimages_0.jpg?1413694431" /> </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/49848">S Korea Migrant Farm Workers </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"> asa25/004/2014 </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">South Korea</span> <div class="country-name">South Korea</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="36.195525">36° 11' 43.89" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="128.320313">128° 19' 13.1268" 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 exploitation of migrant farm workers in South Korea is a stain on the country.The authorities have created a shameful system that allows trafficking for exploitation and forced labour to flourish.</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"> Norma Kang Muico, Asia-Pacific Migrant Rights Researcher at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Mon, 20/10/2014</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/ASA25/004/2014/en">Bitter Harvest: Exploitation and forced labour of migrant agricultural workers in South Korea</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Read the full report </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> South Korea Sun, 19 Oct 2014 04:57:46 +0000 Amnesty International 49849 at http://www.amnesty.org South Korea: End rampant abuse of migrant farm workers http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/south-korea-end-rampant-abuse-migrant-farm-workers-2014-10-19 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> South Korea: End rampant abuse of migrant farm workers </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">19 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The South Korean government must end the exploitation and widespread use of forced labour of migrant agricultural workers, Amnesty International said, as it published a new report that reveals how the country’s farming industry is rife with abuse.&nbsp;</p><p>Bitter Harvest exposes the true face of South Korea’s Employment Permit System (EPS) that directly contributes to the serious exploitation of migrant agricultural workers. The government-run work scheme is designed to provide migrant labour to small and medium-sized enterprises that struggle to hire a sufficient number of national workers.</p><p>“The exploitation of migrant farm workers in South Korea is a stain on the country. The authorities have created a shameful system that allows trafficking for exploitation and forced labour to flourish,” said Norma Kang Muico, Asia-Pacific Migrant Rights Researcher at Amnesty International.&nbsp;</p><p>“If South Koreans were trapped in a similar cycle of abuse, there would rightly be outrage.”</p><p>There are approximately 20,000 migrant agricultural workers in South Korea, with many arriving from Cambodia, Nepal and Vietnam under the EPS migrant workers scheme. The majority take on huge debts equivalent to two years’ salary in their home country to get a job in South Korea.</p><p>Significant numbers of migrant agricultural workers have been trafficked for exploitation and forced labour. Incidents of contractual deception were recorded in all the cases Amnesty International investigated. The report shows that migrants are compelled to work in conditions that they did not agree to, under threat of some form of punishment, which amounts to forced labour.&nbsp;</p><p>The report, based on interviews with migrant agricultural workers across South Korea, documents a range of exploitation. This includes intimidation and violence, squalid accommodation, excessive working hours, no weekly rest days and unpaid overtime.</p><p>The EPS is heavily loaded in favour of employers, leaving migrants trapped and vulnerable to abuse. Agricultural workers, of which many are migrant workers, are excluded from key legal protections afforded to most of the country’s workforce.</p><p>While an EPS employer can terminate a migrant’s contract without having to justify the decision, migrants who want to leave their job must obtain a release form signed by their employer, without which they risk being reported to the immigration authorities by their employer as “runaways”, subjecting them to arrest and deportation. Changing jobs can severely jeopardize a migrant’s chance of being able to extend their employment in South Korea after their initial contract– potentially denying a migrant worker additional years of work in the country. &nbsp;</p><p>“The EPS leaves migrant workers at the mercy of unscrupulous employers who take advantage of the system’s severe restrictions on migrants’ ability to change jobs. For many migrants saddled with huge debts, staying with an abusive boss appears the only option,” said Norma Kang Muico.</p><p>A 26-year-old Vietnamese woman described how her employer tried to use the system to control her after she complained to a government-run job centre about unpaid wages: “My boss told me that he will never release me and will use me for three years and not allow me to extend my contract.”</p><p><strong>Abusive conditions</strong></p><p>Amnesty International found cases of migrant workers who were physically attacked by their employers. One Cambodian man recalled how he had sat down in a field because his back was hurting so much only to be beaten by his supervisor: “The manager became furious and grabbed me by the collar. The manager’s younger brother held me by the neck while the manager beat me. They both then punched me all over my body and kicked me.”</p><p>The report sheds light on how migrants are also forced to live in squalid accommodation, often with no toilet facilities. The food provided by their employers is insufficient and of poor quality. One Vietnamese man told Amnesty International how his boss told him to drink from a tank of water that was dirty and full of pesticide.&nbsp;</p><p>Many migrants face destitution in the winter months. Despite signing three-year continuous labour contracts, employers only paid for the days worked during the harvest seasons.</p><p>Migrants interviewed by Amnesty International also complained of excessive working hours with no guarantee of a break or rest days. Most typically worked between 250–364 hours a month averaging more than 10 hours a day. Such hours exceeded those stipulated in their contracts but nearly all the migrants interviewed did not receive overtime payments. Those that complained risked being dismissed by their employers.&nbsp;</p><p>“Farming is hard physical labour. It is inexcusable to force migrants to work excessive hours and to deny them adequate food, shelter and rest,” said Norma Kang Muico.&nbsp;</p><p>Migrants also had to carry out their work despite inadequate protection from harmful pesticides. &nbsp;Many of the migrants Amnesty International interviewed expressed concern about the harmful effect of frequent use of pesticide on their health.</p><p>Another man from Cambodia told Amnesty International: “I had to spray pesticide on the fields every day during a two-month period, which gave me a headache. &nbsp;I wasn’t trained on how to do it properly and safely – my employer just told me to do it. He only gave me a cloth mask, which didn’t protect me at all... &nbsp;the pesticide still entered my mouth and nose.”</p><p>Although illegal under the terms of the EPS, Amnesty International found that employers frequently subcontracted workers to other farms. Half of the migrants interviewed had been illegally subcontracted and said they had little choice but to accept as they risked losing their job if they did not go.</p><p>“Many farm owners appear to treat migrants as a commodity, to be traded at a whim, having little or no regard for the migrants’ well-being or rights,” said Norma Kang Muico.</p><p><strong>Government complicity</strong></p><p>The research found that when migrants did seek help from the authorities to address unfair treatment, they were actively discouraged from taking the issues forward. Often they were told to go back to their employers and apologize or to ask them to sign a release form.&nbsp;</p><p>Employers responsible for exploiting migrant agricultural workers, including through trafficking and forced labour, rarely face any sanctions. This is because the EPS discourages migrants from changing jobs and labour officials from filing complaints.&nbsp;</p><p>“The Korean authorities have effectively cornered the migrant workers into abusive conditions by turning a blind eye to the blatantly exploitative work practices and letting the perpetrators off scot-free,” said Norma Kang Muico.</p><p>Amnesty International urges the South Korean government to:&nbsp;</p><ul><li><span>Ratify International Labour Organization Convention No. 29 on Forced or Compulsory Labour and the UN Trafficking Protocol;</span></li><li><span>Extend the rights in respect to work hours, daily breaks and weekly paid rest days to all workers, including migrant workers, irrespective of which sector they work in;&nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Where EPS workers have filed a complaint against their employer, they must be free to take up another job while their case is being investigated;</span></li><li><span>Permit all EPS workers to change jobs without having to obtain a release form from their employer; &nbsp;</span></li><li><span>Remove all restrictions on the number of job changes allowed to EPS workers.</span></li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The South Korean government must end the exploitation and widespread use of forced labour of migrant agricultural workers, Amnesty International said in a new report that reveals how the country’s farming industry is rife with abuse.&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="560" height="400" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/skmigrantworkersimages_0.jpg?1413694431" /> </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/49848">S Korea Migrant Farm Workers </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"> asa25/004/2014 </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">South Korea</span> <div class="country-name">South Korea</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="36.195525">36° 11' 43.89" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="128.320313">128° 19' 13.1268" 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 exploitation of migrant farm workers in South Korea is a stain on the country.The authorities have created a shameful system that allows trafficking for exploitation and forced labour to flourish.</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"> Norma Kang Muico, Asia-Pacific Migrant Rights Researcher at Amnesty International </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Mon, 20/10/2014</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/ASA25/004/2014/en">Bitter Harvest: Exploitation and forced labour of migrant agricultural workers in South Korea</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Read the full report </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> South Korea Sun, 19 Oct 2014 04:57:46 +0000 Amnesty International 49849 at http://www.amnesty.org Italy: Ending Mare Nostrum search and rescue operation would ‘put lives at risk’ http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/italy-ending-mare-nostrum-search-and-rescue-operation-would-put-lives-risk-2014-10-17 <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"> Italy: Ending Mare Nostrum search and rescue operation would ‘put lives at risk’ </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">17 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Italy’s proposal to end its Mare Nostrum search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea would put the lives of thousands of migrants and refugees attempting to reach Europe at risk, Amnesty International said today.</span></p><p>Italy’s Minister of Interior Angelino Alfano has proposed that Mare Nostrum, which was launched a year ago today and has saved tens of thousands of lives at sea, should end when Frontex’s new border operation Triton starts on 1 November.&nbsp;</p><p>“Frontex’s Triton operation does not begin to meet the needs of thousands of migrants and refugees, including those forced to flee war and persecution in the Middle East and Africa. The suggestion that it could replace Mare Nostrum could have catastrophic and deadly consequences in the Mediterranean,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director.</p><p>“Triton is a border operation and does not have a search and rescue mandate. It will only operate close to Italian waters and not beyond, where it is most needed. Even Frontex have said that Triton does not have the resources to carry out the work of Mare Nostrum.</p><p>“Italy must continue the Mare Nostrum search and rescue operation until there is a better-equipped alternative supported by other European countries – and Triton is certainly not it.</p><p>“If Italy follows through on this proposal, the disturbing prospect of ‘Frontex plus’ turning into ‘Mare Nostrum minus’ is in danger of becoming a reality.”</p><p>The decision to end Mare Nostrum will be on the agenda of one the Italian government’s next cabinet meetings.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Italy’s proposal to end its Mare Nostrum search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea would put the lives of thousands of migrants and refugees attempting to reach Europe at risk.</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/199068_Immigration_ship_frigate_Espero_patrol_Mediterranean_Sea (3).jpg?1413556638" /> </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/49839">mare n</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"> italy </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>Italy&#039;s suggestion that Triton could replace Mare Nostrum could have catastrophic and deadly consequences in the Mediterranean.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s John Dalhuisen </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/death-toll-mediterranean-rises-while-europe-looks-other-way-2014-09-30">The death toll in the Mediterranean rises while Europe looks the other way</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News, 30 September 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Italy Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:40:19 +0000 Amnesty International 49840 at http://www.amnesty.org Egypt: Security forces use excessive force to crush student protests http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/egypt-security-forces-use-excessive-force-crush-student-protests-2014-10-17 <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"> Egypt: Security forces use excessive force to crush student protests </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 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Testimonies gathered by Amnesty International indicate that Egyptian security forces used excessive force to crack down on student demonstrations at Alexandria University this week, injuring at least 35 students and leaving three other students in a critical condition. Two security officers were injured during the clashes according to official figures.&nbsp;</span></p><p>Students interviewed by Amnesty International described how protests that started peacefully on university grounds later descended into violence. Security forces stationed outside the university’s main gate fired tear gas and shotgun pellets at a crowd of students, some of whom hurled ‘hmarich’ (fireworks), Molotov cocktails and stones. It is not clear how the clashes began but as they intensified, security forces broke down the main gate storming the university premises, chasing students and continuing to fire at them.&nbsp;</p><p>“The Egyptian security forces have a bleak record of using arbitrary and abusive force against protesters including students. The lack of accountability for such violations, including unlawful killings, gives them the green light to carry on brutalizing protesters,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.&nbsp;</p><p>The demonstrations at Alexandria University began in the early afternoon on 14 October when around 500 students gathered to protest against security measures introduced by the university’s new security agency ‘Falcon’. The agency has been contracted by the Ministry of Higher Education to maintain security in 15 universities across Egypt. The new security measures imposed include searches at the university gates, stricter policies on male and female students mixing and the power to stop and search students on the university campus at any time. The students were also protesting against the unfair trials and prolonged detention of fellow students arrested during previous demonstrations.&nbsp;</p><p>One student told Amnesty International how security forces stationed outside the main gate had shot at students protesting on campus nearby. “They started firing tear gas followed by shotgun pellets. The pellets were raining down on us and I could see students around me getting injured. We were suffocated by the tear gas and ran away moving further inside the university campus,” he said.&nbsp;</p><p>Another student recounted how security forces who had broken down the main gate chased students who sought refuge in the Mechanical Engineering department building.&nbsp;</p><p>“They were even following us with their armoured vehicles inside the university campus,” he said. “They started to shoot pellets and I saw my friend Abdel Rahman Abdel Aziz shot in his mouth and eye, I carried him inside the Mechanical Engineering building with the help of other colleagues to seek protection, but the security forces followed us and continued to shoot tear gas and pellets inside the building.”&nbsp;</p><p>Another student who was inside the building told Amnesty International: “We were inside on the ground floor of the Mechanical Engineering department building. Security forces were shooting pellets and tear gas inside the building, they broke the glass of the windows of the ground floor and continued firing tear gas. They also fired pellets through gaps in the iron bars of the door to the building.”&nbsp;</p><p>Evidence collected by Amnesty International indicates that the security forces shot tear gas inside the building and used firearms and pellets, randomly against students when it was not necessary. One of the students injured during the incident, Omar Abdelwahab, is in a critical condition after sustaining pellet shots in his neck and both eyes.&nbsp;</p><p>“The government must act urgently to rein in the security forces,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.&nbsp;</p><p>Any use of force in the policing of demonstrations, even when they have turned violent or are regarded by the authorities as illegal, must comply with international law. The use of force by security forces is prohibited by international law except as strictly necessary and to the extent required for them to perform their duty. Firearms may only be used as a last resort in self-defence or to protect others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury. Tear gas should not be fired at protesters inside buildings.&nbsp;</p><p>Widespread student protests against the repressive practices of the current government have rocked Egypt since the academic year began on 11 October and have been met by a fierce response from the authorities. At least 200 students across the country have been arrested during demonstrations and 90 have been injured according to Marsad Tolab Horreya (Student Freedom Observatory), an Egyptian student group that has been documenting violations during university protests.&nbsp;</p><p>At least 150 students were arrested during the protests at Alexandria University. Twenty-two remain in detention on vague or groundless charges including participating in protests without authorization.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;All those arrested merely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, must be released immediately and unconditionally with all charges against them dropped.&nbsp;</p><p>“Across the world, universities have provided a fertile ground for debates and dissent. This should be praised as a sign of a vibrant youth activism rather than crushed,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.&nbsp;</p><p>Where there is sufficient evidence of violent criminal activity against any protester, they must be tried only on recognizably criminal charges in proceedings that conform to international standards on fair trials.&nbsp;</p><p>Sixteen of the detained students have been accused of attempting to murder two students who were injured during the protests. The 16 students are also facing charges such as injuring two police officers, protesting without authorization, destroying public property and belonging to a banned group. These are felony crimes under Egyptian law and may be punished by up to 15 years in prison.&nbsp;</p><p>The six other students detained are accused of belonging to a banned group, protesting without authorization, possessing weapons and destroying public property. These are considered misdemeanours punishable by up to three years in prison. &nbsp;The prosecutor ordered the detention of the two groups on 16 October for 15 days. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Testimonies gathered by Amnesty International indicate that Egyptian security forces used excessive force to crack down on recent student demonstrations at Alexandria University.</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/201893_EGYPT-POLITICS-UNREST (1).jpg?1413565411" /> </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/49844">students</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"> egypt </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 Egyptian security forces have a bleak record of using arbitrary and abusive force against protesters including students.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Egypt Law Enforcement Fri, 17 Oct 2014 17:06:08 +0000 Amnesty International 49846 at http://www.amnesty.org Mexico: Release of tortured prisoner of conscience comes years too late http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/mexico-release-tortured-prisoner-conscience-comes-years-too-late-2014-10-17 <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"> Mexico: Release of tortured prisoner of conscience comes years too late </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 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Prisoner of conscience and torture victim Ángel Amílcar Colón Quevedo has been released from prison after five years in pre-trial detention, in a move that is welcome but long overdue, said Amnesty International.</p><p><span>Ángel Colón was arrested by police in Tijuana, northern Mexico, while travelling from his home in Honduras to the United States in March 2009. He was then tortured by police and soldiers: beaten, asphyxiated and racially abused. He was forced to sign a false statement which was used to implicate him in criminal activity. He retracted the statement when brought before a judge and reported his torture to the authorities who failed to take any action.</span></p><p><span>The Mexican Federal Attorney General has now agreed to drop charges against Ángel Colón and he has been released unconditionally.</span></p><p><span>“Ángel Colón suffered torture at the hands of the Mexican authorities and has had years of his life wasted in pre-trial detention. This is an outrage,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>“The Mexican authorities can and must do more to ensure torture is never used by police or military officials, and that any reports of torture are swiftly and thoroughly investigated. They cannot allow the injustices inflicted on Ángel Colón to ever be repeated.”</span></p><p><span>Ángel Colón is an Afro-descent Garífuna, and Amnesty International believes his torture, detention and prosecution were the result of discrimination: based on his ethnical origin and his status as undocumented migrant.</span></p><p><span>After being picked up by the police in 2009 he was struck in the ribs, forced to walk on his knees, kicked, and punched in the stomach. He was then blindfolded and taken to a military base where he could hear the screams of other detainees. He was threatened that the same would happen to him and was hit repeatedly. 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”).</span></p><p><span>“I’d like that the people who committed these acts are brought to justice”, said Ángel Colón to Amnesty International when representatives visited him in prison.</span></p><p><span>“My message to all those who are showing me their solidarity, and are against torture and discrimination, is don’t drop your guard. A new horizon is dawning. I feel happy about what is happening.”</span></p><p><span>“Ángel’s release is the first step that the Mexican government has taken to restore his dignity, his freedom and his life. Now they acknowledge that he is innocent – but in 2009 they paraded him as a criminal in front of TV cameras. He deserves justice and full reparation,” said Mario Ernesto Patrón, head of Ángel’s legal team and director of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Centre (Centro Prodh) in Mexico.</span></p><p><span>Although the Federal Attorney General’s Office recorded Angel’s torture complaint in 2009, no steps were tak-en to investigate it. Official forensic medical examinations, which are mandatory according to national and international human rights standards, only took place four years later and were left unfinished.</span></p><p><span>I</span><span>n addition to investigating the allegations of torture and ensuring that Ángel Colón receives effective remedies and adequate reparation, Amnesty International is also calling on the Mexican government to overhaul its cur-rent approach to forensic medical examinations of alleged torture victims in order to comply fully with interna-tional standards set out in the 1999 Istanbul Protocol. In Angel’s case, the role of independent forensic experts was central to demonstrating he had suffered torture.</span></p><p><span>“Ángel’s case is a clear example of the failure of the Federal Attorney General’s Office to document torture cases properly. In most cases official forensic medical examinations are never carried out. If they are, they take place too late. They tend to re-traumatise victims and discourage them from pursuing their complaints. Also, official forensic experts often reach unfounded conclusions which prosecutors use to cover up torture, instead of carrying out proper investigations,” said Erika Guevara.</span></p><p><span>“The Mexican authorities need to recognise more widely the evidential value of examinations conducted by independent experts. This would be the first step to improve the country’s dismal record of impunity for torture and other ill-treatment.”</span></p><p><strong><span>Background</span></strong></p><p>Amnesty International has been campaigning for Ángel Colón’s freedom since July 2014 when it named him a prisoner of conscience.</p><p><span>On 4 September Amnesty International published a report, <em><a href="//www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR41/020/2014/en">Out of control: Torture and other ill-treatment in Mexico</a> </em>which noted that reports of torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of police and soldiers had risen by 600 per cent over a decade. The report is part of the organization's global Stop Torture campaign, launched in early 2014.</span></p><p><span>Sixty-four per cent of Mexicans said they were afraid of being tortured if detained by the police or other authori-ties, according to a survey conducted by Amnesty International.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Prisoner of conscience and torture victim Ángel Amílcar Colón Quevedo has been released from prison after five years in pre-trial detention, in a move that is welcome but long overdue.</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/199428_Angel_Colon_ngel_Col_n.jpg?1413539406" /> </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/49823">Angel Colon</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">Mexico</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="22.523643">22° 31' 25.1148" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-101.072212">101° 4' 19.9632" 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>Ángel Colón suffered torture at the hands of the Mexican authorities and has had years of his life wasted in pre-trial detention. This is an outrage. </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> </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>My message to all those who are showing me their solidarity, and are against torture and discrimination, is don’t drop your guard. A new horizon is dawning. I feel happy about what is happening.</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"> Ángel Colón </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/mexico-shocking-rise-reports-torture-and-ill-treatment-authorities-turn-blind-eye-2014-09-04">Mexico: Shocking rise in reports of torture and ill-treatment as authorities turn a blind eye</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News Story, 4 September 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR41/020/2014/en">Torture in Mexico in fourteen facts</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Facts and Figures, 4 September 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Mexico Stop Torture Torture And Ill-treatment Fri, 17 Oct 2014 09:53:14 +0000 Amnesty International 49824 at http://www.amnesty.org Pakistan: Upholding blasphemy death sentence against Christian woman 'a grave injustice' http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/pakistan-upholding-blasphemy-death-sentence-against-christian-woman-grave-injustice-2014-10-16 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Pakistan: Upholding blasphemy death sentence against Christian woman &#039;a grave injustice&#039; </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">16 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>A Pakistani court’s decision to uphold the death sentence against a Christian woman convicted on blasphemy charges is a grave injustice, Amnesty International said.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>The Lahore High Court today rejected the appeal against the death sentence imposed on Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death in 2010 for allegedly making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad during an argument with a Muslim woman.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“This is a grave injustice. Asia Bibi should never have been convicted in the first place – still less sentenced to death – and the fact that she could pay with her life for an argument is sickening,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“There were serious concerns about the fairness of Asia Bibi’s trial, and her mental and physical health has reportedly deteriorated badly during the years she has spent in almost total isolation on death row. She should be released immediately and the conviction should be quashed.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Asia Bibi’s lawyer said after today’s verdict that he will file an appeal to the Supreme Court.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>On 4 January 2011, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was killed by one of his security guards after campaigning for Asia Bibi and criticizing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, an outspoken critic of the blasphemy laws, was killed by the Pakistani Taliban on 2 March 2011.&nbsp;<br /></span><span><br />“The laws are often used to settle personal vendettas – both against members of minority religious groups and Muslims – while individuals facing charges are frequently targeted in mob violence. Those who speak out against the laws face terrible reprisals. However, the blasphemy laws violate international law and must be repealed or reformed immediately to meet international standards,” said David Griffiths.&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>A Pakistani court’s decision to uphold the death sentence against a Christian woman convicted on blasphemy charges is a grave injustice.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="350" height="305" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/snip.JPG?1413475353" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-medianode"> <div class="field-label">Media Node:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/47989">DP noose</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-twittertag"> <div class="field-label">Twitter Tag:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> pakistan </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="29.386962">29° 23' 13.0632" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="70.488281">70° 29' 17.8116" 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>Asia Bibi should never have been convicted in the first place – still less sentenced to death – and the fact that she could pay with her life for an argument is sickening.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s David Griffiths </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Abolish the death penalty Death Penalty Pakistan Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:01:10 +0000 Amnesty International 49818 at http://www.amnesty.org Uganda: Discriminatory legislation fuels repression and abuse http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/uganda-discriminatory-legislation-fuels-repression-and-abuse-2014-10-16 <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"> Uganda: Discriminatory legislation fuels repression and abuse </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 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Repressive and discriminatory legislation enacted over the last 18 months in Uganda has led to increasing state repression, violence and homophobic and gender-based discrimination, according to a <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR59/006/2014/en">new report</a> published by Amnesty International today.</p><p><span><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR59/006/2014/en"><em>“Rule by Law” – Discriminatory Legislation and Legitimized Abuses in Uganda</em></a>, launching today in Uganda’s capital city Kampala, details how three pieces of legislation have violated fundamental human rights, fuelled discriminatory abuses and left individuals unable to seek justice.</span></p><p><span>“Repression in Uganda is increasingly state sanctioned through the use of blatantly discriminatory legislation that erodes rights guaranteed in the country’s Constitution,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa.</span></p><p><span>“The government must act now to revise these toxic laws, which threaten the core of human rights in Uganda.”</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International’s report documents the cumulative human rights impact of the Public Order Management Act, the Anti-Pornography Act and the now nullified Anti-Homosexuality Act. These Acts were passed by Uganda’s Parliament and signed into law between August 2013 and February 2014.</span></p><p><strong><span>Freedom of assembly and association&nbsp;</span></strong></p><p>The report details how the right to freedom of assembly has come under attack through the Public Order Management Act, which imposes wide-ranging restrictions on public meetings.</p><p><span>This legislation has led to police suppressing gatherings involving political opposition groups and crackdowns on activists.</span></p><p><span>While the police’s use of the Public Order Management Act has lessened since early 2014, it has a pervasive chilling effect.</span></p><p><span>“The Public Order Management Act has had a devastating effect on the ability of civil society to organize, even stymying attempts to challenge the laws themselves,” said Sarah Jackson.</span></p><p><span>“It essentially reverses the basic premise on which the right to freedom of assembly is based. Instead of facilitating peaceful demonstrations, it imposes wide restrictions on them.”</span></p><p><span><strong>Legitimizing abuses</strong>&nbsp;</span></p><p>While the Anti-Homosexuality Act was in force people who identified as – or were perceived to be – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) were arbitrarily arrested, including when reporting crimes against them. Some were beaten and groped by police and other detainees in custody.</p><p><span>In the days after the Anti-Pornography Act was signed, women were harassed by the police, and one lawyer was threatened with arrest because of her clothing.</span></p><p><span>The Anti-Homosexuality Act also led to LGBTI people being evicted from their homes and losing their jobs.</span></p><p><span>LGBTI people and women were subject to mob attacks in the streets while the Anti-Homosexuality Act was in force and immediately after the Anti-Pornography Act was signed.</span></p><p><span>“The vague wording of these laws has caused them to be interpreted by the public in a dangerous way. Many have taken the law into their own hands through mob justice and abuses against women and LGBTI people,” said Sarah Jackson.</span></p><p><span>“The government’s failure to properly clarify the laws makes it complicit in the abuses taking place.”</span></p><p><span>After several women deemed to be “dressed indecently” were stripped in the street in mob attacks, the police publicly stated that the Anti-Pornography Act did not give the public “authority to undress women”. However, authorities failed to issue a statement in response to homophobic attacks.</span></p><p><span>The government committed to reviewing the Anti-Pornography Act, though eight months later the review is yet to take place.</span></p><p><strong><span>Impact on healthcare&nbsp;</span></strong></p><p><span>The Anti-Homosexuality Act was also invoked to restrict certain assistance to refugees. Most services of the Refugee Law Project (RLP), an organization that supports asylum seekers and refugees, have been suspended by the authorities since March 2014 following trumped-up allegations that it was “promoting homosexuality”.</span></p><p><span>The Anti-Homosexuality Act also compromised access to healthcare. A police raid on the Walter Reed Project, a HIV-research project, in April 2014 made some LGBTI individuals too scared to access healthcare.</span></p><p><span>In June 2014, the Ministry of Health issued a directive affirming non-discrimination in access to healthcare. Despite these positive commitments, overall the ability of organizations to provide healthcare has been negatively affected by the Anti-Homosexuality Act.</span></p><p><strong><span>Nowhere to turn&nbsp;</span></strong></p><p>Victims of abuses by the public have been scared to report them to the police leaving them unable to seek redress.</p><p><span>“The police’s failure to investigate abuses has led to impunity being tolerated and propagated by the state,” said Sarah Jackson.</span></p><p><span>“Even though the Anti-Homosexuality Act has been nullified its effects are still felt and the fundamental issues have not been dealt with. People who would normally speak out in defence of others have been stigmatized and silenced.”</span></p><p><span>The Anti-Homosexuality Act was overturned by Uganda’s Constitutional Court in August 2014 on the grounds that Parliament passed it without quorum. Constitutional challenges to the Anti-Pornography Act and Public Order Management Act are pending.</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International is calling on the Ugandan government to repeal discriminatory legislation and ensure the government is not complicit in human rights abuses. It must protect all Ugandans, including women, LGBTI people and political activists, from discrimination, harassment and violence.</span></p><p><strong><span>Background: Report methodology&nbsp;</span></strong></p><p><span>This report is based on research conducted by Amnesty International in Uganda in March, April and August 2014. Part of the field research was carried out in conjunction with Human Rights Watch.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International carried out one-on-one interviews with 42 affected individuals and held group discussions with an additional 57 individuals comprising of staff and representatives of 30 civil society organizations. Interviews took place in Kampala, Entebbe and Mbarara.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Repressive and discriminatory legislation enacted over the last 18 months in Uganda has led to increasing state repression, violence and homophobic and gender-based discrimination.</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="594" height="396" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/200563_UGANDA-POLITICS-GAY-DEMO.jpg?1413382598" /> </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/49789">Uganda</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"> AFR59/006/2014 </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"> Uganda </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">Uganda</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="0.903845">0° 54' 13.842" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="32.697312">32° 41' 50.3232" 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>Repression in Uganda is increasingly state sanctioned through the use of blatantly discriminatory legislation that erodes rights guaranteed in the country’s Constitution. </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"> Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa. </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/AFR59/006/2014/en">“Rule by Law” – Discriminatory Legislation and Legitimized Abuses in Uganda</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Read the report </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/uganda-anti-homosexuality-act-overturned-2014-08-01">Uganda: Anti-Homosexuality Act struck down in step towards ending discrimination</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 August 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/uganda-anti-homosexuality-act-prompts-arrests-attacks-evictions-flight-2014-05-15">Uganda: Anti-Homosexuality Act prompts arrests, attacks, evictions, flight</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, 15 May 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://livewire.amnesty.org/2014/01/16/living-for-love-dying-because-of-hate-the-rising-tide-of-homophobia-in-africa/">Living for love, dying because of hate: the rising tide of homophobia in Africa</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, 16 January 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Discrimination Freedom Of Expression Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Uganda My Body My Rights Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:24:16 +0000 Amnesty International 49790 at http://www.amnesty.org Hong Kong: Police officers must face justice for attack on protester http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/hong-kong-police-officers-must-face-justice-attack-protester-2014-10-15 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Hong Kong: Police officers must face justice for attack on protester </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">15 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hong Kong police officers involved in the beating and kicking of a detained pro-democracy protester on Wednesday must face justice, Amnesty International said.</p><p><a href="http://bit.ly/1sfEm8B">Local TV news footage </a>shows social worker Ken Tsang Kin Chiu being taken away by six police officers in the early hours of Wednesday, his hands tied behind his back. &nbsp;The police officers then appear to carry Tsang around a corner and put him on the ground. The publicly available video shows that some officers proceed repeatedly to kick and punch Tsang, who is seen curled-up in a ball, while other police officers stood by.</p><p>Amnesty International spoke to a lawyer assisting Tsang who confirmed the details of the attack, and that the victim was taken by police to a local hospital to receive medical treatment. Police have since said they will conduct an investigation into the incident.&nbsp;</p><p>“This appears to be a vicious attack against a detained man who posed no threat to the police. Any investigation into this incident must be carried out promptly and all individuals involved in unlawful acts must be prosecuted,” said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.&nbsp;</p><p>“It is stomach-churning to think there are Hong Kong police officers that feel they are above the law.”</p><p>According to the lawyer, Tsang was initially arrested for assaulting a police officer. The charges against Tsang were then changed to unlawful assembly and obstructing police officers from carrying out their duties. He remains in police custody and will be interviewed after receiving medical treatment.&nbsp;</p><p>The incident occurred at around 3am on Wednesday morning as police attempted to remove pro-democracy protesters who had occupied a road just off the main protest site in downtown Hong Kong. Police used pepper-spray against scores of protesters. According to police 45 people were arrested. &nbsp;</p><p>“All those being held solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly must be immediately and unconditionally released,” said Mabel Au.&nbsp;</p><p>“Amnesty International urges the Hong Kong police to show restraint and avoid any unlawful use of force.”&nbsp;</p><p>Police have stepped-up operations this week to remove barricades set up by pro-democracy protesters in an effort to reduce the areas occupied by demonstrators.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Hong Kong police officers involved in the beating and kicking of a detained pro-democracy protester on Wednesday must face justice.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="560" height="400" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/201700_ADDITION_-HONG_KONG-CHINA-DEMOCRACY_0.jpg?1413348793" /> </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/49781">Hong Kong Police Attack</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"> occupycentral </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn">Hong Kong</span> <div class="country-name">Hong Kong S.A.R., China</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="22.717924">22° 43' 4.5264" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="116.411133">116° 24' 40.0788" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>This appears to be a vicious attack against a detained man who posed no threat to the police. It is stomach-churning to think there are Hong Kong police officers that feel they are above the 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"> Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date-popup"> <div class="field-label">Date:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wed, 15/10/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/hong-kong-women-and-girls-attacked-police-fail-protect-peaceful-protesters-2014-10-04">Hong Kong: Women and girls attacked as police fail to protect peaceful protesters</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, 3 October 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/china-release-supporters-hong-kong-protests-2014-10-01">China: Release supporters of Hong Kong protests</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, 1 October 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Hong Kong Wed, 15 Oct 2014 04:58:42 +0000 Amnesty International 49782 at http://www.amnesty.org Bahrain: Release activist detained for ripping up photo of King http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/bahrain-release-pregnant-activist-detained-ripping-photo-king-2014-10-15 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Bahrain: Release activist detained for ripping up photo of King </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">15 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>A human rights activist detained for “insulting” Bahrain’s King after she tore up a photograph of the monarch in court yesterday is a prisoner of conscience and must be released, Amnesty International said today.</span></p><p>Zainab Al-Khawaja, who was appealing against two previous convictions for ripping up photos of Bahrain’s head of state, is now being held for seven days while authorities investigate the incident. If convicted, she could face up to seven years in prison.</p><p>“The detention of Zainab illustrates the Bahraini authorities’ growing intolerance of any criticism and their harsh methods of dealing with dissent,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director for Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.</p><p>“They must immediately and unconditionally release Zainab and all others who are detained for peacefully expressing their views.”&nbsp;</p><p>Zainab Al-Khawaja, who is more than eight months pregnant, was previously handed four-month jail sentences for destroying government property when she ripped photos of King Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa on two occasions in May 2012.</p><p>The activist appeared today before Bahrain’s Public Prosecution, which ordered her detention pending an investigation on more serious charges of “insulting the King, the national flag or emblem”.</p><p>Laws that prohibit insults or the disrespect of heads of state or other public figures are contrary to international human rights law and standards.</p><p>Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Bahraini authorities to repeal articles in its Penal Code that criminalize freedom of expression.</p><p>“The Bahraini authorities are resorting to these oppressive laws in order to silence outspoken and critical voices,” said Said Boumedouha.&nbsp;</p><p>“Their persistent persecution of human rights activists and other government critics highlights their failure to deliver on promised reforms.”&nbsp;</p><p>Zainab Al-Khawaja is the daughter of prominent activist and prisoner of conscience Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who is currently serving a life sentence for his peaceful role in anti-government protests in 2011.</p><p>She previously spent almost a year in prison on an array of other charges before being released in February this year.</p><p>These included destroying government property, insulting a policewoman, illegal gathering and rioting and inciting hatred against the regime. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>After ripping the photo yesterday she reportedly told the court: “I am the daughter of a proud and free man. My mother brought me into this world free, and I will give birth to a free baby boy even if it is inside our prisons. It is my right, and my responsibility as a free person, to protest against oppression and oppressors.”</p><p>After she handed in the torn picture to the judge, the court session was suspended and she was taken into detention.</p><p>Other activists in Bahrain have faced similar persecution.</p><p>Nabeel Rajab will appear before a criminal court on 19 October on charges of publicly insulting official institutions following two tweets he posted last month about members of Bahrain’s security forces who had joined the ”Islamic State” armed group.&nbsp;</p><p>Maryam Al-Khawaja, Zainab’s sister, is on trial on a charge of “assaulting police officers” at Bahrain International Airport, though she was released on bail.&nbsp;</p><p>Nader Abdulemam is currently detained in Dry Dock Prison after comments he posted on Twitter were interpreted as derogatory towards Khalid bin al-Waleed, a companion of the prophet Muhammad and a renowned Islamic commander. He is charged with “publicly insulting a religious figure of worship”.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>A human rights activist detained for “insulting” Bahrain’s King after she tore up a photograph of the monarch in court yesterday is a prisoner of conscience and must be released.</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/154468_Khadija_Sayed_Habib_Ebrahim_Musawi_right_and_her_daughter_Zainab_al-Khawaja (2).jpg?1413387447" /> </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/49792">zain</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/multimedia/video/zainab-video-">zainab video</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"> bahrain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="25.723210">25° 43' 23.556" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="50.361328">50° 21' 40.7808" 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 detention of Zainab illustrates the Bahraini authorities’ growing intolerance of any criticism.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Amnesty International&#039;s Said Boumedouha </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <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/bahrain-outspoken-activist-fears-re-arrest-days-after-her-release-2014-02-18">Bahrain: Outspoken activist fears re-arrest days after her release</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, 18 February 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Bahrain Freedom Of Expression Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:48:18 +0000 Amnesty International 49794 at http://www.amnesty.org Saudi Arabia: Appalling death sentence against Shi’a cleric must be quashed http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/saudi-arabia-appalling-death-sentence-against-shi-cleric-must-be-quashed-2014-10-15 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Saudi Arabia: Appalling death sentence against Shi’a cleric must be quashed </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">15 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>A death sentence passed today against a dissident Shi’a Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia for “disobeying the ruler”, “inciting sectarian strife” and “encouraging, leading and participating in demonstrations” after a deeply flawed trial is appalling and must be immediately quashed, said Amnesty International.</p><p><span>“The death sentence against Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr is part of a campaign by the authorities in Saudi Arabia to crush all dissent, including those defending the rights of the Kingdom’s Shi’a Muslim community,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.</span></p><p><span>Sheikh al-Nimr’s brother, Mohammad al-Nimr, was reportedly arrested after the sentence was passed at the Specialised Criminal Court in Riyadh.</span></p><p><span>The reasons for Mohammad al-Nimr’s arrest and his whereabouts remain unknown – although it is believed he was detained after tweeting about his brother’s death sentence.</span></p><p><span>“The shocking death sentence against Sheikh al-Nimr followed by the arrest of his brother in court today illustrate the lengths Saudi Arabia will go to in their quest to stop Shi’a activists from defending their rights. Sheikh al-Nimr must be released and Saudi Arabia must end its systematic discrimination and harassment of the Shi’a community,” said Said Boumedouha.</span></p><p><span>Sheikh al-Nimr, a vocal critic of the Saudi Arabian authorities’ harassment of Shi’a Muslims, was initially charged with banditry and other offences after security agents claimed he had opened fire on them when he was arrested on 8 July 2012. The sheikh was shot and wounded during the arrest.</span></p><p><span>Evidence for all the other charges he was convicted of came from religious sermons and interviews attributed to the cleric. Amnesty International’s review of these texts confirms that he was exercising his right to free expression and was not inciting violence. Some of the charges, such as disobeying the ruler, should not be offences as they criminalize the right to freedom of expression. Other charges are vague and have been used simply to punish him for his peaceful activities.</span></p><p><span>“Sheikh al-Nimr’s trial has been seriously flawed. Eyewitnesses, whose testimonies were the only evidence used against him, were not brought to court to testify. This violates the country’s own laws. The Sheikh was denied the most basic means to prepare for his defence and was not represented by legal counsel for some of the proceedings because the authorities did not inform his lawyer of some dates of the hearings,” said Said Boumedouha.</span></p><p><span>Sheikh al-Nimr, who is the Imam of al-Awamiyya mosque in al-Qatif, eastern Saudi Arabia, also suffered from ill-treatment throughout his two-year detention, most of which he spent in solitary confinement in military hospitals and at the al-Ha’ir prison in Riyadh.</span></p><p><span>Access to his family and lawyers – including during interrogations -- has been irregular. He was also denied surgery to remove a bullet in his back.</span></p><p><span>Treatment for his right leg, which remains paralyzed since he was shot during his arrest, has also been refused.</span></p><p><span>Saudi Arabians in the Kingdom’s predominantly Shi’a Eastern Province have been calling for reforms since before February 2011, when the “Arab Spring” uprisings swept through the Middle East and North Africa.</span></p><p><span>Saudi authorities have responded by cracking down on those suspected of taking part in or supporting protests or expressing views critical of the state.</span></p><p><span>Members of the Shi’a community have been arrested, imprisoned and harassed for holding collective prayer meetings, celebrating Shi’a religious festivals and for breaching restrictions on building mosques and religious schools.</span></p><p><span>In May and June 2014 at least five Shi’a Muslims detained in connection with the 2011 and 2012 protests were sentenced to death on trumped-up charges related to their activism.</span></p><p><span>Amongst the five was Sheikh al-Nimr’s nephew Ali al-Nimr who was 17 at the time of his arrest. He reported that he was tortured into “confessing.”&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>A death sentence passed today against a dissident Shi’a Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia for “disobeying the ruler”, “inciting sectarian strife” and “encouraging, leading and participating in demonstrations” after a deeply flawed trial is appalling and must be immediately quashed.</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="382" height="382" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/201720_Sheikh_Nimr_al-Nimr.jpg?1413389347" /> </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/49795">Saudi Arabia</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"> SaudiArabia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="25.168795">25° 10' 7.662" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="42.541063">42° 32' 27.8268" 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 death sentence against Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr is part of a campaign by the authorities in Saudi Arabia to crush all dissent, including those defending the rights of the Kingdom’s Shi’a Muslim community. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/saudi-arabia-scheduled-beheading-reflects-authorities-callous-disregard-human-rights-2014-08-22">Saudi Arabia: Scheduled beheading reflects authorities’ callous disregard to human rights</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News Story, 22 August 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/saudi-arabia-four-family-members-executed-hashish-possession-amid-disturbing-surge-executions-2">Saudi Arabia: Four relatives executed for hashish possession amid &#039;disturbing&#039; surge in executions</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 August 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Abolish the death penalty Death Penalty Saudi Arabia Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:12:48 +0000 Amnesty International 49796 at http://www.amnesty.org Iraq: Evidence of war crimes by government-backed Shi’a militias http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/iraq-evidence-war-crimes-government-backed-shi-militias-2014-10-14 <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"> Iraq: Evidence of war crimes by government-backed Shi’a militias </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">14 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Shi’a militias, supported and armed by the government of Iraq, have abducted and killed scores of Sunni civilians in recent months and enjoy total impunity for these war crimes, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><strong><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE14/015/2014/en"><em>Absolute Impunity: Militia Rule in Iraq</em></a></strong><span> provides harrowing details of sectarian attacks carried out by increasingly powerful Shi’a militias in Baghdad, Samarra and Kirkuk, apparently in revenge for attacks by the armed group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS). Scores of unidentified bodies have been discovered across the country handcuffed and with gunshot wounds to the head, indicating a pattern of deliberate execution-style killings.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“By granting its blessing to militias who routinely commit such abhorrent abuses, the Iraqi government is sanctioning war crimes and fuelling a dangerous cycle of sectarian violence that is tearing the country apart. Iraqi government support for militia rule must end now,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>The fate of many of those abducted by Shi'a militias weeks and months ago remains unknown. Some captives were killed even after their families had paid ransoms of $80,000 and more to secure their release.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Salem, a 40-year-old businessman and father of nine from Baghdad was abducted in July. Two weeks after his family had paid the kidnappers a $60,000 ransom, his body was found in Baghdad’s morgue; with his head crushed and his hands still cuffed together.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>The growing power of Shi’a militias has contributed to an overall deterioration in security and an atmosphere of lawlessness. The relative of one victim from Kirkuk told Amnesty International:&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“I have lost one son and don’t want to lose any more. Nothing can bring him back and I can’t put my other children at risk. Who knows who will be next? There is no rule of law, no protection.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Among the Shi’a militias believed to be behind the string of abductions and killings are: ‘Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, the Badr Brigades, the Mahdi Army, and Kata’ib Hizbullah.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>These militias have further risen in power and prominence since June, after the Iraqi army retreated, ceding nearly a third of the country to IS fighters. Militia members, numbering tens of thousands, wear military uniforms, but they operate outside any legal framework and without any official oversight.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“By failing to hold militias accountable for war crimes and other gross human rights abuses the Iraqi authorities have effectively granted them free rein to go on the rampage against Sunnis. The new Iraqi government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi must act now to rein in the militias and establish the rule of law,” said Donatella Rovera.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“Shi’a militias are ruthlessly targeting Sunni civilians on a sectarian basis under the guise of fighting terrorism, in an apparent bid to punish Sunnis for the rise of the IS and for its heinous crimes.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>At a checkpoint north of Baghdad, for instance, Amnesty International heard a member of the ‘Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militia say: “If we catch ‘those dogs’ [Sunnis] coming down from the Tikrit area we execute them…. They come to Baghdad to commit terrorist crimes, so we have to stop them.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Meanwhile, Iraqi government forces also continue to perpetrate serious human rights violations. Amnesty International uncovered evidence of torture and ill-treatment of detainees, as well as deaths in custody of Sunni men detained under the 2005 anti-terrorism law.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>The body of a 33-year-old lawyer and father of two young children who died in custody showed bruises, open wounds and burns consistent with the application of electricity. Another man held for five months was tortured with electric shocks and threatened with rape with a stick before being released without charge.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“Successive Iraqi governments have displayed a callous disregard for fundamental human rights principles. The new government must now change course and put in place effective mechanisms to investigate abuses by Shi’a militias and Iraqi forces and hold accountable those responsible,” said Donatella Rovera. &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Shi’a militias backed by the government of Iraq have abducted and killed scores of Sunni civilians in recent months and enjoy total impunity for these war crimes.</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/201595_Shiite_Muslim_fighters_from_the_Saraya_al-Salam_Peace_Brigades_a_group_formed_by_Iraqi_Shiite_Muslim_cleric_Moqtada_al-Sadr (1).jpg?1413217216" /> </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/49770">shia</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"> MDE14/015/2014 </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"> iraq </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="33.436026">33° 26' 9.6936" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="52.558594">52° 33' 30.9384" 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>By granting its blessing to militias, the Iraqi government is sanctioning war crimes and fuelling a dangerous cycle of sectarian violence that is tearing the country apart.</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 Donatella Rovera </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/MDE14/015/2014/en">Absolute Impunity: Militia Rule in Iraq</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Briefing, 14 October 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Armed Conflict Armed Groups Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes Detention Extrajudicial Executions And Other Unlawful Killings Impunity Iraq Mon, 13 Oct 2014 16:21:12 +0000 Amnesty International 49771 at http://www.amnesty.org ‘My freedom defends yours’: Propaganda and truth about homophobia in Russia http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/my-freedom-defends-yours-propaganda-and-truth-about-homophobia-russia-2014-10-11 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> ‘My freedom defends yours’: Propaganda and truth about homophobia in Russia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">11 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>The scene evoked the standoff between David and Goliath.&nbsp;</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Except that in Kirill Kalugin’s case, he was surrounded by around half a dozen towering foes – muscle-bound men dressed in Russian paratrooper regalia, who locked elbows and cornered him as they hurled verbal abuse and shoved him around. They made it clear they didn’t like him or his message.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The reason they set upon the slender, red-haired activist and university student is he dared to stand in St. Petersburg’s cobblestoned, neoclassical Palace Square and break one of Russia’s biggest social taboos.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>You see, Kirill is gay. But, because of a law passed in June 2013, he’s not supposed to feel free to mention it in public. Or do anything, really, that might violate the incredibly vague offence of “promoting homosexuality”. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>So, when he braved Palace Square on 2 August 2013 – during the annual paratroopers’ day celebrations – and unfurled a rainbow flag with the words “This is propagating tolerance” painted across the front, he knew he was likely to be putting himself in harm’s way.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Police separated Kirill from his attackers. But then they arrested him.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Unfazed, Kirill returned to the same square on 2 August this year, with another rainbow flag bearing the message “My freedom defends yours”. Again, he was promptly arrested.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>‘Propaganda of homosexuality’&nbsp;</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The<a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/russia-dark-day-freedom-expression-2013-06-11"> June 2013 law</a> – which is aimed at “protecting” children from “harmful influences” – breezed through the Duma, with only one lawmaker abstaining from voting.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>But the so-called harmful influences are actually just ordinary Russians who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) – or individuals who work on related human rights issues.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Propaganda of homosexuality” has no legal definition. What the law actually does in practice is punish people merely for expressing and being themselves. &nbsp;<br /><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p>“‘Propaganda of homosexuality’ isn’t a thing, so it’s very hard to know what it means. If you are gay and open about it, basically that’s considered ‘propaganda’,” Polina Andrianova, director of the <a href="http://www.comingoutspb.ru/en/en-home">St. Petersburg-based LGBT group “Coming Out”</a>, told Amnesty International.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Seething homophobia</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Police in Russia have struggled to implement the law, and it has led to relatively few prosecutions. But that’s not to say its impact hasn’t been felt.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Out of the courts, the consequences of the law are the most serious,” cautioned Polina. “The gravest result is it justifies a homophobic attitude and gives a green light to homophobic violence.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The law seems to give legs to a seething homophobia that was already alive and kicking in some quarters of Russian society.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“In Soviet times, it was taboo to speak about sexuality at all, and homosexuality was prohibited,” explained Gulya Sultanova, organizer of <a href="http://www.bok-o-bok.ru/default.asp?lan=1">“Side by Side” (<em>Bok o Bok</em>)</a>, an international LGBT film festival in St. Petersburg.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The lingering effects of this historical taboo, coupled with the vague and sinister-sounding new law, has brought fresh stigma and fear for the LGBT community. Many are left questioning what activities or actions will be denounced as “propaganda” – forcing some people back into the closet even if they were previously open about their sexual orientation or gender identity.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Same-sex couples with children face a particularly hard time, as there has been public debate in Russia about separating such families – the warped logic being that children in such homes are constantly subjected to “propaganda” from their own parents.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>For many in the LGBT community, there is the constant threat of assault or unrest. Angry mobs of counter-protesters often show up at LGBT gatherings and events, using the “propaganda” law as cover for disrupting the proceedings, sometimes violently.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Frequently, police stand by and do nothing. Sometimes they even detain the victims, rather than the perpetrators.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Seeking justice for discriminatory attacks is also difficult, since Russian hate crime legislation fails to cover crimes committed against people because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The <a href="http://livewire.amnesty.org/2014/09/18/a-time-to-grieve-and-a-time-to-dance/">killing of an openly lesbian tango instructor </a>in St. Petersburg last month illustrates the difficulties in seeking justice – police originally attempted to fob it off as a suicide, even though she was found with her throat slit in her car with the engine still running.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>‘A fight for survival’</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Faced with such ongoing homophobic attacks and the ineffective response from law enforcement, Polina describes her organization’s work as a “fight for survival”.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Coming Out” activists recently spent months planning <a href="http://queerfest.ru/en/">St. Petersburg’s QueerFest</a>. Since 2008, this key annual event includes a 10-day series of talks, seminars and performances aimed at creating a safe, tolerant environment for debate and increasing visibility of the city’s small but active LGBT community.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>When this year’s festival kicked off on 18 September, Polina had high hopes that it would not be marred by the threats and cancellations of the past. But sadly, from the opening night, it turned into a constant battle between the organizers on the one hand, and the police, homophobic mobs, and unreliable venues on the other.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A week into the festival, “Coming Out” issued a press release documenting a litany of attacks and attempts to shut QueerFest down. Festival-goers and others – including the regional Ombudsman’s office – filed 24 separate complaints with the police.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Two hours before the opening ceremony, the main venue pulled out, citing a safety hazard in the building. When the event was moved to a back-up location, it was attacked by around 20 right-wing activists accompanied by St. Petersburg politician Vitaly Milonov, a virulent homophobe who backed an earlier regional version of the “propaganda of homosexuality” law. They shouted homophobic slurs and sprayed a noxious green antiseptic liquid and an unidentified gas.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Another evening was curtailed by a bomb scare. And, in an Orwellian twist, police attempted to shut down a press conference titled “Who’s trying to shut down QueerFest?”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“In the six years of organizing the festival, there has never been such a consistent and organized attack on our freedom of assembly and expression. Instead of ensuring public order by providing protection, the police use it as a pretext to shut down events. Instead of bringing the perpetrators to justice, the authorities look the other way,” Polina said.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Every means is used to push us into the ‘ghetto.’ Yet, the festival is about dialogue and being open in society, and our best defence right now is to stay visible.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Defending LGBTI rights is a key and complementary part of defending wider human rights in Russia. All Russians should be free to be who they are and have loving, consensual relationships with the person of their choice, without fear of being attacked or accused of engaging in “propaganda”.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em><strong>Despite the rapidly shrinking space for freedom of expression, many people in Russia are speaking out. Between 6 and 12 October Amnesty International activists stand with them in solidarity during a week of action to make sure Russia’s leaders know that the rest of the world will not be silent. Take action and find out more on <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/Speak-Out-Russia">www.amnesty.org/Speak-Out-Russia</a></strong></em></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Activists in St. Petersburg explain how a history of seething homophobia and a sinister new "propaganda of homosexuality" law have brought fresh stigma and fear.&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/200951_Kirill_Kalugin (1).jpg?1412252603" /> </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/49563">Kirill Kalugin assault</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/node/49562">Kirill Kalugin</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/49564">&quot;Coming Out&quot;</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/node/49565">Bok o Bok</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"> SpeakOutRussia </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="59.946827">59° 56' 48.5772" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="30.393677">30° 23' 37.2372" 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>‘Propaganda of homosexuality’ isn’t a thing, so it’s very hard to know what it means. If you are gay and open about it, basically that’s considered ‘propaganda’. </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"> Polina Andrianova, director of the St. Petersburg-based LGBT group “Coming Out” </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>In Soviet times, it was taboo to speak about sexuality at all, and homosexuality was prohibited</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"> Gulya Sultanova, organizer of “Side by Side” LGBT film festival </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/Speak-Out-Russia">Speak Out Russia</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Campaign </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset 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/2014/09/18/a-time-to-grieve-and-a-time-to-dance/">A time to grieve and a time to dance</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Blog, 18 September 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/campaigns/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> Activists Discrimination Freedom Of Expression Russian Federation Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity My Body My Rights Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:04:37 +0000 Amnesty International 49528 at http://www.amnesty.org Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi are true inspirations for standing up for children's rights http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/malala-yousafzai-and-kailash-satyarthi-are-true-inspirations-standing-childrens-rights-2014-10- <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi are true inspirations for standing up for children&#039; </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">10 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Following the announcement that Pakistani schoolgirl and education rights campaigner Malala Yousafzai and Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“The work of Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai represents the struggle of millions of children around the world. This is an award for human rights defenders who are willing to dedicate themselves entirely to promoting education and the rights of the world's most vulnerable children.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“The Nobel Prize Committee has recognized the fundamental importance of child rights for the future of our world. The choice of winners shows that this is an issue that matters to us all, no matter what our age, gender, country or religion.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“Malala sets a powerful example that has inspired people all over the world, and which has been deservedly recognized by the Nobel Committee. The courage she has shown in the face of such adversity is a true inspiration. &nbsp;Her actions are a symbol of what it means to stand up for your rights - with a simple demand to fulfil the basic human right to education.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“Kailash Satyarthi has dedicated his life to helping the millions of children in India who are forced into slavery and work in torrid conditions. His award is an acknowledgement of the tireless, decades-long campaigning by civil society activists on child trafficking and child labour in India.<br /><br /></span><span>“On a personal level, I’m delighted that the prize has gone to two individuals I know and admire. Kailash is an old friend and fellow human rights activist, and it was a privilege to host Malala when she received the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award last year.”&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, praises the two&nbsp;</span><span>human rights defenders declared as winners of the 2014</span><span>&nbsp;Nobel Peace Prize.&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/181287_Malala_Yousafzai.jpg?1412940849" /> </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/49740">malala</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"> NobelPeacePrize </div> </div> </div> Children India Pakistan Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:37:37 +0000 Amnesty International 49741 at http://www.amnesty.org Death Penalty: Countries continue to execute people with mental and intellectual disabilities http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/death-penalty-countries-continue-execute-people-mental-and-intellectual-disabilities-2014-10-10 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Death Penalty: Countries continue to execute people with mental and intellectual disabilit </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">10 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Countries around the world continue to sentence to death or to execute people with mental and intellectual disabilities, in clear violation of international standards, Amnesty International said ahead of the World Day against the Death Penalty (10 October 2014).&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>Amnesty International has <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT51/005/2014/en">documented</a> cases of people who suffer from such disabilities facing execution or being executed in countries including Japan, Pakistan and the USA. Unless these countries urgently reform their criminal justice systems many more people are at risk.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“The international standards on mental and intellectual disability are important safeguards for vulnerable people. They do not seek to excuse horrendous crimes – they set parameters for the nature of the penalty that can be imposed,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Global Issues Director.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“We oppose the death penalty in all circumstances – it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. But in those countries that still execute, international standards, including those prohibiting the use of capital punishment on certain vulnerable groups, must be respected and implemented, pending full abolition.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>For this year’s World Day against the Death Penalty, Amnesty International and the World Coalition against the Death Penalty are putting the spotlight on capital punishment and people with mental or intellectual disabilities.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“International standards clearly require that those suffering from mental and intellectual disabilities should not face the ultimate punishment. But in many cases disabilities are not identified during criminal processes,” said Audrey Gaughran.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“Countries that still execute must ensure that there are resources to carry out independent and rigorous assessments of anyone facing the death penalty, from the time they are charged and continuing after the sentence.”&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>“We urge governments of all countries that still resort to the death penalty to immediately establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition. &nbsp;What we are highlighting today is yet another example of the injustice of this penalty”.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span><span>The following are recent illustrative examples of the use of the death penalty against people with mental or intellectual disabilities:&nbsp;</span></p><ul><li><span>In the <strong>USA</strong>, Askari Abdullah Muhammad was executed in Florida on 7 January 2014 for a prison murder committed in 1980. He had a long history of serious mental illness, including diagnoses of paranoid schizophrenia. On 9 April Mexican national Ramiro Hernandez Llanas was executed in Texas despite evidence that his intellectual disability, as assessed in six different IQ tests over the past decade, rendered his death sentence unconstitutional. In Florida, Amnesty International is highlighting the cases of two death row prisoners -- Frank Walls and Michael Zack -- who both have a background of severe mental trauma and have exhausted their appeals process.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span></li><li><span>In <strong>Japan</strong>, several prisoners suffering from mental illness have already been executed; others remain on death row. Hakamada Iwao, now 78 years old, was sentenced to death for murder following an unfair trial in 1968, and is the world’s longest serving death row prisoner. He developed severe mental problems during his decades of solitary confinement. &nbsp;He was temporarily released in March 2014 pending a possible retrial. Matusmoto Kenji has been on death row for murder since 1993 and could face execution any moment – he has a mental disability as a result of mercury poisoning (Minamata disease), is reportedly paranoid and incoherent as a result of a mental illness he developed during his detention on death row, and his lawyers are seeking a retrial.&nbsp;<br /><br /></span></li><li><span>In <strong>Pakistan</strong>, Mohammad Asghar, who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in the UK in 2010 and who then moved to Pakistan, was convicted of blasphemy in 2014 and sentenced to death.</span></li></ul><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Countries around the world continue to sentence to death or to execute people with mental and intellectual disabilities, in clear violation of international standards.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/148084_Noose (1)_5.jpg?1412860263" /> </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/49714">nosse</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"> deathpenalty </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>International standards clearly require that those suffering from mental and intellectual disabilities should not face the ultimate punishment.</blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Global Issues 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/ACT51/005/2014/en">Protecting people with mental and intellectual disabilities from the use of the death penalty</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 briefing. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Abolish the death penalty Death Penalty Japan Pakistan USA Thu, 09 Oct 2014 13:16:16 +0000 Amnesty International 49716 at http://www.amnesty.org Muzzling dissent: Saudi Arabia’s efforts to choke civil society http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/muzzling-dissent-saudi-arabia-s-efforts-choke-civil-society-2014-10-09 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Muzzling dissent: Saudi Arabia’s efforts to choke civil society </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">09 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Peaceful human rights activists have been routinely harassed, rounded up like criminals and often ill-treated in detention as the Saudi Arabian authorities go to extreme lengths to hound critics into silent submission, said Amnesty International in a campaign briefing published today.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;"><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE23/025/2014/en"><em>Saudi Arabia’s ACPRA: How the Kingdom silences its human rights activists</em></a> profiles 11 members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) - one of the country’s few independent human rights organizations - who have been jailed or are on trial facing imprisonment, in connection with their human rights work over the past three years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">“The Saudi Arabian authorities have consolidated their iron grip on power through a systematic and ruthless campaign of persecution against peaceful activists in a bid to suppress any criticism of the state in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab uprisings,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">The Saudi Arabian authorities have targeted the founding members of ACPRA one by one, in a relentless effort to dismantle the organization and silence its members, as part of a broader crackdown on independent activism and freedom of expression since 2011. Those targeted include prominent activists Dr Abdullah al-Hamid and Dr Mohammad al-Qahtani.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">“Saudi Arabia’s authorities have sought to wipe out all trace of ACPRA, just as they have sought to stamp out all critical voices demanding peaceful reform,” said Said Boumedouha.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">“The convictions of all ACPRA activists in detention should be quashed and they must be released immediately and unconditionally. Any outstanding charges against other ACPRA members must be dropped.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">Two of the group’s members have been detained without trial, three are awaiting re-trial, three are serving prison terms of up to 15 years and three are free pending the outcome of their trials.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">Since it was founded in 2009, ACPRA had been one of the few voices that dared to speak out about human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. As a result, its members have been prosecuted on charges such as “breaking allegiance to and disobeying the ruler”, “inciting public opinion against the authorities”, or similarly vaguely worded charges that have been collated under recent anti-terrorism legislation that effectively criminalizes all forms of peaceful dissent.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">Saudi Arabia has long evaded effective international scrutiny for its dire human rights record. It remains one of the USA’s long-standing allies in the “war on terror” including the recent air strikes against the Islamic State (IS) armed group in Iraq and Syria.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">“Saudi Arabia’s allies must show that international human rights standards apply equally to all. Without international condemnation and concrete pressure on the authorities, Saudi Arabia will continue to flagrantly violate the most basic human rights principles unchecked,” said Said Boumedouha.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">Amnesty International’s campaign briefing also documents the inhuman treatment inflicted on members of ACPRA, some of whom have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment while in detention. Others were held incommunicado for periods ranging from a few days to several months before being brought to trial.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">ACPRA member Saleh al-Ashwan was arrested in July 2012 on his way home from early morning prayers. He was kept in incommunicado detention for two months, interrogated in the absence of a lawyer. He was also reportedly tortured, beaten and stripped and suspended by his limbs from the ceiling of an interrogation room. &nbsp;Another ACPRA member, Sheikh Suliaman al–Rashudi, who was 76 at the time, was detained incommunicado and in solitary confinement for two months before being allowed to have any contact with his family.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">At least four ACPRA prisoners have gone on hunger strike to protest their treatment and poor detention conditions. ACPRA member Mohammed al-Bajadi was force-fed intravenously after going on hunger strike several times.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20.4000015258789px;">Background:&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p>The 11 ACPRA members jailed or on trial in connection with their work are:&nbsp;</p> <p>1. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Abdullah al-Hamid</strong>, 66, currently serving an 11-year prison sentence at al-Ha’ir prison in Riyadh, where he is reported to have been ill-treated. He is a prisoner of conscience.&nbsp;</p> <p>2. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Mohammad al-Qahtani</strong>, 46, currently serving a 10-year prison sentence at al-Ha’ir prison in Riyadh, where he is reported to have been ill-treated. He is a prisoner of conscience. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>3. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Suliaman al-Rashudi</strong>, 78, currently serving a 15-year in prison sentence at al-Ha’ir prison in Riyadh, where he is reported to have been ill-treated. He is a prisoner of conscience.&nbsp;</p> <p>4. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Mohammed al-Bajadi</strong> 36, initially sentenced to four years’ imprisonment, is currently facing a re-trial before the Specialized Criminal Court. He is detained at al-Ha’ir prison in Riyadh where he is reported to have been ill-treated. He is a prisoner of conscience.&nbsp;</p> <p>5. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Abdulkarim al-Khodr</strong>, 48, initially sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment, is currently facing a re-trial before the Specialized Criminal Court. He is detained at Buraydah prison in al-Qassim, where he is reported to have been ill-treated. He is a prisoner of conscience.&nbsp;</p> <p>6. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Omar al-Sa’id</strong>, 22, initially sentenced to four years’ imprisonment, is currently facing a re-trial before the Specialized Criminal Court. He is detained at Buraydah prison in al-Qassim where he is reported to have been ill-treated. He is a prisoner of conscience.&nbsp;</p> <p>7. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Abdulrahman al-Hamid</strong>, 52, currently detained without any charge or trial at Buraydah prison in al-Qassim, where he is reported to have been ill-treated. He is a prisoner of conscience.&nbsp;</p> <p>8. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Saleh al-Ashwan</strong>, 30, currently detained without any charge or trial since his arrest in April 2012. He is reported to have been tortured and ill-treated in detention. He is a prisoner of conscience.&nbsp;</p> <p>9. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Fowzan al-Harbi</strong>, 36, sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. He is currently free pending the outcome of his appeal after having been detained for six months.&nbsp;</p> <p>10. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Abdulaziz al-Shubaily</strong>, 30, is currently on trial before the Specialized Criminal Court.&nbsp;</p> <p>11. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Issa al-Hamid</strong>, 47, is currently on trial before the Specialized Criminal Court.</p> <p><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" width="700" height="418"><param name="movie" value="https://adam.amnesty.org/tools/jwplayer/player.swf" /><param name="flashvars" value="file=https://adam.amnesty.org/images/assets/201301-201400/201324/Final_reversion_for_ADAM-p.mp4&amp;image=https://adam.amnesty.org/images/assets/201301-201400/201324/Final_reversion_for_ADAM-l-m2.jpg&amp;backcolor=000000&amp;frontcolor=EEEEEE&amp;lightcolor=FFFFFF&amp;screencolor=000000&amp;autostart=false&amp;stretching=uniform&amp;provider=video&amp;duration=251" /><param name="allowfullscreen" 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<div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Peaceful human rights activists have been routinely harassed, rounded up like criminals and often ill-treated in detention as the Saudi Arabian authorities go to extreme lengths to hound critics into silent submission.&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="577" height="594" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/saudi square.jpg?1412861900" /> </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/49717">Saudi Arabia</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"> MDE23/025/2014 </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">Saudi Arabia</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>The Saudi Arabian authorities have consolidated their iron grip on power through a systematic and ruthless campaign of persecution against peaceful activists in a bid to suppress any criticism of the state in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab uprisings. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE23/025/2014/en">Saudi Arabia’s ACPRA: How the Kingdom silences its human rights activists</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Read the report </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/end-saudi-arabias-relentless-crackdown-on-acpra-activists">End Saudi Arabia’s relentless crackdown on ACPRA activists</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sign the petition! </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Saudi Arabia Thu, 09 Oct 2014 13:43:44 +0000 Amnesty International 49718 at http://www.amnesty.org Lawfare to destroy ‘enemies within’ – Russian NGOs tagged as ‘foreign agents’ http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/lawfare-destroy-enemies-within-russian-ngos-tagged-foreign-agents-2014-10-09 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Lawfare to destroy ‘enemies within’ – Russian NGOs tagged as ‘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">09 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Socialist.<br /><br /></em><em>“Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Trade Unionist.<br /><br /></em><em>“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.<br /><br /></em><em>“Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A blue banner embossed with Protestant Pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous World War II lament is among the numerous wall hangings in the offices of <a href="http://soldiersmothers.ru/en/about-us/">Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The NGO’s founder Ella Polyakova, an experienced human rights defender and pacifist, sees it as a fitting parallel to the situation she currently faces.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Soldiers’ Mothers is among hundreds of Russian NGOs to be targeted by inspections and other forms of persecution by the authorities under a draconian “foreign agents law” passed in July 2012.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Since <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/russian-ngo-branded-foreign-agent-after-reporting-russian-military-action-ukraine-2014-08-29">28 August this year</a>, it is among those that have been effectively tarred as foreign spies: organizations and their directors have simultaneously been smeared by Russia’s state-run media.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In Russian, the term “foreign agents” has strong associations with Cold War-era espionage, bringing to mind other epithets such as “traitor” or “enemy”.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Polyakova’s offence? She dared to speak publicly about the alleged death of Russian soldiers in Ukraine – in a climate where the Russian authorities have repeatedly denied any involvement the armed conflict.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In today’s Russia, it instantly raises eyebrows and invites increased scrutiny when organizations work on issues out of kilter with the party line.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>According to Polyakova, “The main reason for the law was to prevent human rights organizations having an impact on public opinion.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Besides Soldiers’ Mothers – which defends the human rights of those serving in Russia’s armed forces – NGOs working on issues as disparate as election monitoring, the environment, homophobia and other discrimination are among those the Ministry of Justice accuses of “fulfilling the functions of a foreign agent”.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>‘An open lie’</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Initially, the authorities expected the so-called “foreign agents” to register themselves as such and print the label on all publications.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Instead, the NGOs banded together and railed against the title. They took their fight to the courts after making a pact to never agree to such terms voluntarily.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“‘Agent’ always means a person who is fulfilling the orders of someone else. That’s an open lie. This is unacceptable. No foreign donor ever gave us a specific order; we wouldn’t work like that,” said Oleg Orlov, chairman of the board of Moscow-based <a href="http://www.memo.ru/eng/memhrc/index.shtml">Human Rights Centre Memorial</a>, which is among those targeted and works on a wide range of human rights issues.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The law has two main rationales for labelling an NGO a “foreign agent”: it has to be involved in “political activities”, and it has to receive foreign funding.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The greatest difficulty lies in defining “political activities”. The Russian authorities’ loose interpretation of the term puts a range of organizations on a collision course with state agencies. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Oleg Novikov, spokesman for <a href="http://eng.publicverdict.ru/">Public Verdict</a>, an NGO that works to tackle police abuse, attributes this “primitive logic” to the authorities’ fear that foreign influences will erode their power base.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>His organization has been targeted merely for providing free legal assistance to those detained during and since mass opposition protests at Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square in 2012.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>NGO raids</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Shortly after the law came into force at the end of 2012, the federal Prosecutor’s Office and Ministry of Justice began to inspect NGO offices. Their goal was to find some justification – however minor – to label the organizations as “foreign agents”.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Numerous NGOs described to Amnesty International how these inspections often lasted up to a month or more, and frequently involved a panoply of state bodies. Representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Justice, tax inspectors, labour inspectors, the media regulator and sometimes even fire and sanitation officials took part.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Even reporters from the national NTV channel sometimes accompanied the officials. On one such inspection of Amnesty International’s Moscow office in March 2012, staff were told the reporters’ presence was a “coincidence”. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Some NGOs faced this ordeal more than once. Meanwhile, their legitimate work ground to a halt as they jumped through hoops to comply with these inspections.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Those who were subsequently ordered to register as “foreign agents” faced stiff fines when they refused to do so. The ensuing legal battles and smear campaigns intimidated NGO workers, caused donations to atrophy and, in a few cases, prompted the organizations to close for good.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The genie was out of the bottle, and worse was yet to come.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The second assault</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Deflated by their initial failure to force independent NGOs to register as “foreign agents”, the Russian authorities further tweaked the law in June 2014. The Ministry of Justice was given the authority to unilaterally brand organizations as, effectively, foreign spies.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The affected NGOs have again become mired in lengthy court battles to clear their names. Around a dozen eventually took their case to the European Court of Human Rights, where it is ongoing.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Meanwhile, persecution of the organizations has stepped up.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“A new life started once the law was adopted,” said Polyakova, explaining that her office was broken into and some of her phone lines were cut. Calls to the organization’s hotline decreased, presumably out of fear the information would be monitored.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Memorial had their Moscow offices vandalized twice – someone spray-painted “foreign agents” across the outside wall, and the entrance door was destroyed by unknown hooligans.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Grigory Melkonyants, Deputy Director of <a href="http://www.golosinfo.org/en/articles/257">Golos, Russia’s sole independent election watchdog network</a>, spoke of waning public support: “In general, people’s attitude has changed towards NGOs. Politicians and officials have turned against us because of propaganda.”&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Golos returned €7,000 in prize money from the Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award in 2012, but it didn’t stop them from being labelled “foreign agents” and becoming mired in many months of legal battles.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>There was a brief glimmer of hope last month, when a Moscow City Court ruled that the organization is not a “foreign agent”. But several days later, the Central Election Committee barred Golos observers from monitoring polling stations at Russia’s regional elections.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>There are fears that even harsher restrictions could be in the pipeline. New amendments to the law are already being discussed to stop representatives of any state agency from collaborating with an organization on the list.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>‘Enemies within’</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The “foreign agents law” is at the centre of a raft of repressive legislation brought in since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Taken together, these laws reflect an official perception of civil society as a “fifth column” intent on undermining the state, explained Aleksandr Daniel, a leading historian with <a href="http://www.memorial-nic.org/">Memorial’s St. Petersburg Centre for Historical Research</a>:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“At the moment, the official worldview is being formed. There is a concept of the state as always strong and surrounded by enemies – which operate via enemies within.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>This mind-set has only become more entrenched since March 2014, after Russia’s military intervention in Crimea and the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. Now anyone becomes a target if they question the state’s motivation or actions – and dissent is almost always instantly crushed.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“I still cannot breathe freely considering all that is happening,” said Daniel.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Working towards a better future</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Russian NGOs remain adamant that their activities are aimed only at helping ordinary people in Russia.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>What makes the situation even more incredible is that their work is otherwise respected by the authorities.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Several of the human rights organizations under attack are simultaneously receiving presidential grants for some of their activities.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Ella Polyakova of Soldiers’ Mothers even sits on the President’s Council for Civil Society and Human Rights. She has urged the council to take the matter up directly with President Putin himself.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>And so the struggle continues.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Today we face problems with the government. We have substantially less support in society. But this doesn’t change our course. We have to do what we do – maybe we need to do it more intensely,” said Aleksandr Daniel.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Oleg Orlov agreed: “I’m a patriot – I love my country and want the situation to be better. Our government calls this politics. Though I think it’s a natural desire of any citizen to want to see an improvement.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em><strong>Despite the rapidly shrinking space for freedom of expression, many people in Russia are speaking out. Between 6 and 12 October Amnesty International activists stand with them in solidarity during a week of action to make sure Russia’s leaders know that the rest of the world will not be silent. Take action and find out more on <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/Speak-Out-Russia">www.amnesty.org/Speak-Out-Russia</a></strong></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Russian NGOs labelled as "foreign agents" by the authorities speak out about their fight to end the smear campaign against them and their vital work.</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/198711_Building_of_NGO_Memorial_Moscow_Malyi_Karetnyi_12_with_graffiti_Foreign_agent (1).jpg?1412080437" /> </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/49523">Memorial &quot;foreign agent&quot; graffiti</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/node/49524">Ella Polyakova</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/en/node/49525">Oleg Orlov</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/en/node/49526">Grigory Melkonyants</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"> SpeakOutRussia </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="58.004606">58° 0' 16.5816" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="52.031250">52° 1' 52.5" E</abbr></span> </div> <div class="map-link"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>Today we face problems with the government. We have substantially less support in society. But this doesn’t change our course. We have to do what we do – maybe we need to do it more intensely.</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"> Aleksandr Daniel, historian with Memorial’s St. Petersburg Centre for Historical Research </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>I’m a patriot – I love my country and want the situation to be better. Our government calls this politics. Though I think it’s a natural desire of any citizen to want to see an improvement.</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"> Oleg Orlov, chairman of the board of Moscow-based Human Rights Centre Memorial </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/EUR46/050/2014/en">Joint NGO letter to the President of the Russian Federation to stop clampdown on freedom of 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"> Joint NGO letter, 9 October 2014 </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://medium.com/@AmnestyOnline/lawfare-to-destroy-enemies-within-bcc47bf4b9d4">Lawfare to destroy ‘enemies within’</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 this story on Medium.com </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/Speak-Out-Russia">Speak Out Russia</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Campaign </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Freedom Of Expression Russian Federation Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:49:17 +0000 Amnesty International 49527 at http://www.amnesty.org South Africa: Pregnant women and girls continue to die unnecessarily http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/south-africa-pregnant-women-and-girls-continue-die-unnecessarily-2014-10-09 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> South Africa: Pregnant women and girls continue to die unnecessarily </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">09 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hundreds of pregnant women and girls are dying needlessly in South Africa. In part, this is because they fear their HIV status may be revealed as they access antenatal care services, according to a <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR53/006/2014/en%20">major report</a> published by Amnesty International today.</p><p><span><em><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR53/006/2014/en%20">Struggle for Maternal Health: Barriers to Antenatal Care in South Africa</a></em>, details how fears over patient confidentiality and HIV testing, a lack of information and transport problems are contributing to hundreds of maternal deaths every year by acting as barriers to early antenatal care.</span></p><p><span>“It is unacceptable that pregnant women and girls are continuing to die in South Africa because they fear their HIV status will be revealed, and because of a lack of transport and basic health and sexuality education. This cannot continue,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.</span></p><p><span>“The South African government must ensure all departments work together to urgently address all the barriers that place the health of pregnant women and girls at risk.”</span></p><p><span>South Africa has an unacceptably high rate of maternal mortality. There were 1,560 recorded maternal deaths in 2011 and 1,426 in 2012. More than a third of these deaths were linked to HIV. Experts suggest that 60% of all the deaths were avoidable.</span></p><p><span>Antenatal care is free in South Africa’s public health system. However, Amnesty International’s research found that many women and girls do not attend clinics until the later stages of their pregnancy because they are given to believe that the HIV test is compulsory. They fear testing and the stigma of being known to be living with HIV. Nearly a quarter of avoidable deaths have been linked to late or no access to antenatal care.</span></p><p><span>Worryingly, these fears are not without foundation. Amnesty International’s report, based on field research conducted in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, contains testimonies from women and girls who say that health care workers inappropriately discuss HIV test results with others.</span></p><p><span>“The nurses are talking about people and their status”, a woman from KwaZulu-Natal explained.</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International also found that several clinics it visited use processes for pregnant women and girls living with HIV that disclose their status, including separate queues for antiretroviral medication, different coloured antenatal files and different days for appointments.</span></p><p><span>“[I]f I go for antiretroviral, my line is that side. All the people in this line they know these people are HIV. That’s why people are afraid to come to the clinic,” one woman in Mpumalanga told Amnesty International.</span></p><p><span>“During antenatal care, if women come out of the counsellor’s room with two files, then everyone knows they are HIV positive,” said another woman.</span></p><p><span>Women and girls said they feared discriminatory treatment even from partners and family members as a result of testing positive for HIV and that HIV-related stigma remained a problem in many communities.</span></p><p><span>“While HIV testing is an important public health intervention it must be done in a manner that respects the rights of women and girls and does not expose them to additional harm. It is deeply worrying that the privacy of pregnant woman and girls is not respected in health facilities. The South African government must take urgent steps to correct this,” said Salil Shetty.</span></p><p><span>“It is vital that health care workers in South Africa receive additional training on providing quality care that is both free of judgement and stigma and that women and girls accessing sexual and reproductive health services are able to trust that their confidentiality will be respected.”</span></p><p><strong><span>Lack of information about sexual and reproductive health</span></strong></p><p>Amnesty International’s report also identifies that a lack of information and knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and rights increases risks of unplanned pregnancies and HIV transmission, especially among adolescents. Likewise women and girls are often unaware of the importance of early antenatal checks.</p><p><strong><span>Persistent problems relating to transport</span></strong></p><p><span>The report also documents the lack of progress made in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga to ensure that women and girls can physically access health services. Problems persist relating to shortages of public transport and poor road infrastructure. The roads in some areas visited by Amnesty International are of such poor quality that they become impassable when it rains. Even when it is dry, ambulances will not go beyond a certain point on some roads. Amnesty International had documented the same problems in both provinces in a 2008 report.</span></p><p><span>“The South African government must build better road networks in these rural provinces to guarantee access to healthcare facilities. The government must also ensure that ambulances are always available to transport those who are in need,” said Salil Shetty.</span></p><p><strong><span>Amnesty International is also calling on the government to:</span></strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><ul><li><span>Ensure that all health system procedures uphold patient privacy, particularly for people living with HIV.</span></li><li><span>Improve knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and rights, including through comprehensive sexuality education that involves men and boys.</span></li><li><span>Urgently address the persistent lack of safe, convenient and adequate transport, and the poor condition of transport infrastructure.</span></li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong><span>Additional information</span></strong></p><p><span>This report builds on Amnesty International’s 2008 report, <em><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR53/001/2008/en">‘I am at the lowest end of all’: Rural women living with HIV face human rights abuses in South Africa</a></em>, in which the organisation documented gender, economic and social inequalities as barriers to health care for women living with HIV.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Hundreds of pregnant women and girls are dying needlessly in South Africa. In part, this is because they fear their HIV status may be revealed as they access antenatal care services.&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="559" height="693" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/south africa square posta.jpg?1412868419" /> </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/49721">South Africa new</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"> AFR53/006/2014 </div> <div class="field-item even"> AFR53/007/2014 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">South Africa</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="-85.049753">85° 2' 59.1108" S</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-172.257627">172° 15' 27.4572" 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 is unacceptable that pregnant women and girls are continuing to die in South Africa because they fear their HIV status will be revealed, and because of a lack of transport and basic health and sexuality education. This cannot continue. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR53/006/2014/en">Struggle for Maternal Health: Barriers to Antenatal Care in South Africa</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Read the Report. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-1"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR53/007/2014/en">Struggle for Maternal Health: Barriers to Antenatal Care in South Africa - Summary</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-url-description"> <div class="field-label">Description:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Read the Summary </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-2"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR53/001/2008/en">South Africa: ‘I am at the lowest end of all’. Rural women living with HIV face human rights abuses in South Africa</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, 18 March 2008. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Activists Economic, Social and Cultural Rights South Africa Women My Body My Rights Thu, 09 Oct 2014 10:02:34 +0000 Amnesty International 49695 at http://www.amnesty.org Chad: President must scrap homophobic Bill http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/chad-president-must-scrap-homophobic-bill-2014-10-09 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Chad: President must scrap homophobic Bill </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">09 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The President of Chad, Idriss Deby, has been directly warned that if a homophobic bill currently before parliament is passed, he will be showing a blatant disregard for the country’s human rights obligations.</p> <p>In an <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/LettertoChadianPresidentAmendmentofthePenalCode.pdf">open letter published today</a>, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, calls on the President to scrap the bill which threatens to impose jail sentences of up to 20 years and heavy fines for people “found guilty” of same sex activity.</p> <p>“If this homophobic bill becomes law, President Deby will be blatantly disregarding the country’s international and regional human rights obligations. He will deny people their right to privacy, will institutionalise discrimination and enable the stigmatization, harassment and policing of people who are, or are perceived to be gay - regardless of their sexual behaviour.” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.</p> <p>“President Idriss Deby must immediately intervene and stop this bill to ensure that people are not placed at increased risk of violence and abuse because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity and are instead able to live in equality, dignity and without fear.”</p> <p>The penal code approved in September by the cabinet proposes the criminalisation of same sex conduct in the country. It threatens jail sentences of between 15 and 20 years, and a fine of between CFA francs 50,000 to 500,000 ($100 and $1000.) It is now to be reviewed and possibly adopted by the Parliament.</p> <p>Amnesty International considers the move as a major step backwards for human rights in Chad. It breaches the country’s international and regional human rights obligations. The African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, to which Chad is a state party, provides that every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, colour and sex and that every individual shall be equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of the law.</p> <p>The bill also shows a complete lack of respect for a landmark resolution adopted by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights earlier this year which condemned acts of violence, discrimination and other human rights violations against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The President of Chad, Idriss Deby, has been directly warned that if a homophobic bill currently before parliament is passed, he will be showing a blatant disregard for the country’s human rights obligations.&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="280" height="270" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/chad news landing - square - 09-10-14.jpg?1412869496" /> </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/49720">Chad new pic</a> </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-quotestory"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-text field-field-quote"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-quote-begin">&#8220;</div><blockquote>If this homophobic bill becomes law, President Deby will be blatantly disregarding the country’s international and regional human rights obligations. He will deny people their right to privacy, will institutionalise discrimination and enable the stigmatization, harassment and policing of people who are, or are perceived to be gay - regardless of their sexual behaviour. </blockquote><div class="field-quote-end">&#8221;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-storyfullname"> <div class="field-label">Source:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/LettertoChadianPresidentAmendmentofthePenalCode.pdf">Open Letter to President Idriss Deby</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"> Open Letter, 09 October 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Chad Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Thu, 09 Oct 2014 10:30:17 +0000 Amnesty International 49698 at http://www.amnesty.org Nineteen deaths reported as violent clashes continue across south-east Turkey http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/nineteen-deaths-reported-violent-clashes-continue-across-south-east-turkey-2014-10-08 <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"> Nineteen deaths reported as clashes continue across south-east Turkey </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">08 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Turkish government must act to stop the spiralling violence which continues to rock the predominantly Kurdish south-east of Turkey where 19 people were killed and many injured during protests prompted by the advances of the armed group that calls itself the Islamic State towards Syria’s border with Turkey.</p><p>“It is essential that the Turkish authorities act now to calm tensions with firm but rights-respecting policing and a commitment to investigate promptly the up to 19 deaths and scores of injuries of protesters,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey.</p><p>“Any use of force by the security forces must be strictly in line with international human rights standards, in particular the principles of necessity and proportionality.”</p><p>Protests were sparked by the IS (Islamic State armed group) attack on the city of Kobani/Ayn Al-Arab in Syria, which is held by the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG). Kobani has been held by the YPG since July 2012. It has been under siege and assault by the IS since July 2013, and has come under renewed and more sustained attack since September 2014.</p><p>Protesters siding with the YPG accuse the Turkish government of doing nothing to prevent killings of Kurdish people in Kobani or the advance of the IS.</p><p>Up to 18 people were reportedly shot or beaten to death during violent clashes in the region between the protesters and Islamist groups they claim are sympathetic to the IS.</p><p>In the city of Varto in the eastern province of Muþ, 25 year-old Hakan Buksur was killed after police used live ammunition against stone-throwing protestors. In the city protesters threw stones at police and set public buildings alight.</p><p>Police were joined by the army and military police, and curfews were declared as the authorities attempt to restore order across the region. Protests and clashes with police also took place in Turkey’s three largest cities, the capital Ankara, Istanbul and Ýzmir.</p><p>In the last month up to 200,000 Kurdish refugees from the Kobani area have fled to Turkey since the IS assault near the city. It is thought that up to 5,000 civilians may remain in the Kobani area, where armed clashes are taking place between the IS and YPG.</p><p>Refugees arriving from Kobani and surrounding villages on 25 September told an Amnesty International delegate on the border of widespread killings of Kurdish civilians and other abuses by advancing IS forces.“It is crucial that in this volatile situation, amid reports that the IS is seeking to cut off escape routes from Kobani to Turkey that the border is kept open to refugees from Syria,” said Gardner.</p><p>“Simmering tensions in Turkey have been brought to boiling point by the conflict in Syria. The government’s actions now will have far-reaching consequences. Calming the situation and investigating the deaths during yesterday’s bloody clashes will help bring some stability to a troubled region.”</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Turkish government must act to stop the spiralling violence which continues to rock the predominantly Kurdish south-east of the country.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/201351_TURKEY-SYRIA-CONFLICT-KURDS.jpg?1412802281" /> </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/49687">Turkey</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">Turkey</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="39.504041">39° 30' 14.5476" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="33.925781">33° 55' 32.8116" 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 essential that the Turkish authorities act now to calm tensions with firm but rights-respecting policing and a commitment to investigate promptly the up to 19 deaths and scores of injuries of protesters. </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"> Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Law Enforcement Turkey Wed, 08 Oct 2014 21:07:06 +0000 Amnesty International 49688 at http://www.amnesty.org Afghanistan: Execution of five men an affront to justice http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/afghanistan-execution-five-men-affront-justice-2014-10-08 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Afghanistan: Execution of five men an affront to justice </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-date field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">08 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>The execution of five men in Afghanistan who had been convicted over a gang rape following a series of flawed trials is an affront to justice, Amnesty International said.</p><p><span>Five men convicted of armed robbery and zina (sex outside marriage) in relation to the gang rape of four women in Paghman district outside of Kabul on 22 August were executed today in Pul-e-Charkhi jail. They were first sentenced to death on 7 September, a sentence later upheld in an appeals court (15 September) and by the Supreme Court (24 September), and confirmed by then-President Hamid Karzai.</span></p><p><span>“There is no question that this was an appalling crime and the outcry and anger this case has caused is of course understandable. Amnesty International continues to campaign against rape and other sexual attacks globally and in Afghanistan. But the death penalty is not justice – it only amounts to short-term revenge,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director.</span></p><p><span>“The death penalty is an abhorrent form of punishment and should never be used under any circumstances. The many fair trial concerns in this case only make these executions more unjust. It’s deeply disappointing that new President Ashraf Ghani has allowed the executions to go ahead.”</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International further urges the Afghan government to ensure that all rape is prohibited in law, policy and practice and perpetrators are punished, and to work towards purging any social stigma which attaches to rape victim – all fault for rape lies solely with the perpetrators and it is them alone who should carry the stigma.</span></p><p><span>“This case has highlighted some deep flaws in the Afghan justice system and laws – flaws that the new President Ashraf Ghani himself has vowed to tackle. The trials have been marred by inconsistencies, uninvestigated torture claims and political interference. In charging these men with zina the Afghan authorities have continued a pattern of treating rape in a flawed way,” said David Griffiths.</span></p><p><span>“President Ghani was placed in an unenviable position by the actions of his predecessor in this case, but regrettably failed his first test on upholding human rights and the rule of law. These deaths cannot be undone now, but President Ghani must order an immediate moratorium on all executions as a first step towards total abolition or the death penalty.”</span></p><p><strong><span>Background</span></strong></p><p><span>Today’s executions marked the first executions in Afghanistan in 2014. Under the administration of former President Karzai (December 2001-September 2014), Amnesty International has reported at least 51 executions. There are currently approximately 300 prisoners on death row in the country.</span></p><p><span>Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The death penalty violates the right to life and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>The execution of five men in Afghanistan who had been convicted over a gang rape following a series of flawed trials is an affront to justice.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-photo"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_photo" width="620" height="620" alt="" src="http://www.amnesty.org/sites/impact.amnesty.org/files/148084_Noose (2).jpg?1412768128" /> </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/49675">Afghanistan </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">Afghanistan</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="28.827183">28° 49' 37.8588" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="72.423875">72° 25' 25.95" 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>There is no question that this was an appalling crime and the outcry and anger this case has caused is of course understandable. Amnesty International continues to campaign against rape and other sexual attacks globally and in Afghanistan. But the death penalty is not justice – it only amounts to short-term revenge. </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"> David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Abolish the death penalty Afghanistan Death Penalty Fair Trials Wed, 08 Oct 2014 11:37:10 +0000 Amnesty International 49676 at http://www.amnesty.org Thailand must investigate police torture allegations in tourist murder probe http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/thailand-must-investigate-police-torture-allegations-and-not-violate-rights-tourist-murder-prob <div class="field field-type-text field-field-headline"> <div class="field-label">Headline Title:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Thailand must investigate police torture allegations in tourist murder probe </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">07 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Thailand must ensure an independent and thorough investigation into mounting allegations of torture and other ill-treatment by police and respect fair trial rights during their probe into the murder of two British tourists on the island of Koh Tao, Amnesty International said today.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Following the arrest of two Myanmar nationals for the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller last month, a lawyer on the Myanmar Embassy’s legal team, who met the two, said that one of the men alleged police beat and threatened him with electrocution. &nbsp;</p><p>Numerous sources have reported further acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of other migrant workers from Myanmar arrested by police in connection with the investigation.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The Thai authorities must initiate an independent, effective and transparent investigation into mounting allegations of torture and other ill-treatment by police,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Programme director.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“The pressure to be seen to be solving an appalling crime that has garnered considerable attention should not result in the violation of rights, including to a fair trial.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Tourists Witheridge, 23, and Miller, 24, were murdered in the early hours of September 15 on the tourist island of Koh Tao.</p><p>According to reports, police officers beat Myanmar migrant workers questioned in connection with the murders, threatened them and poured boiling water over them.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The mother of one of the individuals allegedly beaten reportedly said that Thai police had instructed those tortured or ill-treated not to speak to the media and threatened them.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Authorities should provide protection from threats and acts of retaliation to anyone, regardless of their immigration status, reporting or speaking about torture or ill-treatment, and full redress to victims,” said Richard Bennett.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“They must also ensure that any alleged confession or information that has been coerced as a result of torture is not admitted as evidence in court, unless to prove that torture has been carried out.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In May 2014, the UN Committee against Torture expressed serious concern about continuing allegations of widespread torture and other ill-treatment of detainees by Thailand’s military, police and prison officials. The Committee urged authorities to take immediate and effective measures to investigate, prosecute and punish perpetrators.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Any investigation into these torture allegations should be carried out by an independent body, and certainly not by the police itself,” said Richard Bennett.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Authorities have already made suspects take part in a public, televised enactment of the crime, which undermined their right to be presumed innocent.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“All suspects should also be guaranteed their rights to a fair trial – which is of particular importance in a crime that could carry a death sentence,” said Richard Bennett.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Thailand must ensure an independent and thorough investigation into mounting allegations of torture and other ill-treatment by police and respect fair trial rights during their probe into the murder of two British tourists on the island of Koh Tao.</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/201210_THAILAND-BRITAIN-CRIME-TOURISM (1).jpg?1412695091" /> </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/49659">thai</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"> thailand </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-location field-field-storylocation"> <div class="field-label">Story Location:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="location vcard"><div class="adr"> <span class="fn"></span> <div class="country-name">United Kingdom</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="14.777538">14° 46' 39.1368" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="100.107422">100° 6' 26.7192" 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> Myanmar Stop Torture Thailand Torture And Ill-treatment Tue, 07 Oct 2014 15:59:23 +0000 Amnesty International 49660 at http://www.amnesty.org Alejandra Ancheita claims 2014 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/alejandra-ancheita-claims-2014-martin-ennals-award-human-rights-defenders-2014-10-07 <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"> Alejandra Ancheita claims Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders </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">07 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>Alejandra Ancheita&nbsp;has been selected by the International Human Rights Community as the 2014 Martin Ennals Award Laureate.&nbsp;<br /><br /><span>The Award is given to Human Rights Defenders who have shown deep commitment and face great personal risk. The aim of the award is to provide protection through international recognition. Strongly supported by the City of Geneva, the Award will be presented on 7 October.</span><em><br /><br /></em><strong>Alejandra Ancheita</strong><span> (Mexico), Founder and Executive Director of ProDESC. For over 15 years she has worked with migrants, workers and indigenous communities to protect their land and labour rights vis a vis transnational mining and energy companies. These disputes have included violent attacks on those she is trying to protect. She is also one of the pioneers in seeking accountability for transnational companies in Mexican courts when local communities’ rights are not taken into account. In Mexico, there is a clear pattern of attacks, threats, criminalization and murders of human rights defenders. Ms Ancheita and ProDESC have been subjected to surveillance, a defamation campaign in the national media and a break in at their offices.<br /><br /></span><span>Martin Ennals Foundation Chair Micheline Calmy-Rey stated: </span><em>“Alejandra Ancheita’s selection by the Jury highlights the array of forces facing human rights defenders. Local governments and courts in working with powerful economic interests have led to public defamation and physical attacks.”<br /><br /></em><span>The two other finalists received Martin Ennals Prizes:<br /><br /></span><strong>Cao Shunli</strong><span> (China): She died in Chinese custody on 14 March 2014 after being denied medical attention for known health conditions until too late. Since 2008, she advocated for access to information, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly. This is a tragic example of reprisals suffered by human rights defenders who work with international human rights mechanisms.<br /><br /></span><strong>Adilur Rahman Khan</strong><span> (Bangladesh), Since the 1990s, he and his organization Odhikar have worked on human rights issues such as illegal detention, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings. They face closure since donor funds destined for Odhikar are being blocked by the Prime Minister’s Office. Personally he is facing prosecution for documenting the extrajudicial deaths of 61 people during demonstrations.</span><strong><br /></strong></p><p><span>The main award of the human rights movement. The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) is a unique collaboration among 10 of the world’s leading human rights organizations to give protection to human rights defenders worldwide. &nbsp;The Jury is composed of the following NGOs:&nbsp;</span></p><ul><li><span></span><span>Amnesty International</span></li><li><span>Human Rights Watch</span></li><li><span>Human Rights First</span></li><li><span>FIDH - Int’l Federation for Human Rights</span></li><li><span>OMCT - World Organisation Against Torture</span></li><li><span>Front Line Defenders</span></li><li><span>International Commission of Jurists</span></li><li><span>International Service for Human Rights &nbsp;</span></li><li><span>HURIDOCS</span></li><li><span>Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung &nbsp;</span></li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Alejandra Ancheita&nbsp;<span>has been selected by the International Human Rights Community as the 2014 Martin Ennals Award Laureate.&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/201216_Alejandra_Ancheita (1).jpg?1412698951" /> </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/49661">mexico</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"> mexico </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="24.532132">24° 31' 55.6752" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="-104.941406">104° 56' 29.0616" 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>Alejandra Ancheita’s selection by the Jury highlights the array of forces facing human rights defenders.</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"> Martin Ennals Foundation Chair Micheline Calmy-Rey </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 16:31:35 +0000 Amnesty International 49663 at http://www.amnesty.org Sri Lanka: UN review highlights empty rights promises http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/sri-lanka-un-review-highlights-empty-rights-promises-2014-10-07 <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"> Sri Lanka: UN review highlights empty rights promises </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">07 October 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sri Lanka must stop making empty promises to the international community and the Sri Lankan people on improving the country’s still desperate human rights situation, Amnesty International said ahead of a UN review of the country’s rights record.</p><p><span>The UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, will on 7 and 8 October 2014 be reviewing Sri Lanka’s respect for rights enshrined in the key human rights treaty: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This is the first such assessment since 2003.</span></p><p><span>“More than a decade since the last Committee review of Sri Lanka’s record in 2002, it’s disturbing to see how many rights issues raised then still persist in the country – and how the government has ignored promises to address them. Sri Lanka still relies on draconian laws to silence dissent. &nbsp;Torture and enforced disappearances continue unchecked, as do violations of freedom of expression and association. On top of that, Sri Lankan authorities must now answer for escalating attacks against religious minorities,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.</span></p><p><span>“The Sri Lankan authorities have promised time and time again to tackle pressing human rights issues but almost never follow through. The Committee review is an opportunity for the international community to highlight this disconnect, and push the government to take genuine action.”</span></p><p><span>Major changes have occurred in the nature and scale of human rights abuses in Sri Lanka since the last review in 2002. The country transitioned from a lengthy cease-fire to intensive armed conflict with the Tamil Tigers (LTTE). Since fighting ended in 2009, the post conflict period continues to be marked by serious violations of human rights.</span></p><p><span>As Amnesty International highlights in <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA37/011/2014/en%20">its submission to the HRC</a>, the Sri Lankan government continues to use the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to arrest and detain people without due process and silence dissent. The Act has contributed to the persistence of torture and ill-treatment in custody and should be repealed.</span></p><p><span>At the same time, the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has used the 18th amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution to consolidate power by undermining the independence of the judiciary and key bodies critical to the protection of human rights – including the National Human Rights Commission.</span></p><p><span>“The 18th amendment must be repealed. It has eliminated checks on executive power and left key institutions effectively toothless and subject to the whims of the president,” said David Griffiths.</span></p><p><span>Despite official denials and promises to improve the situation at Sri Lanka’s last HRC review, endemic torture and other ill-treatment is persistent in Sri Lankan detention centres. Amnesty International has received numerous reports of former detainees alleging torture, sometimes sexual, in detention centres run by police, the army or intelligence services.</span></p><p><span>The Sri Lankan government has denied the routine use of torture in the country, and has refused to investigate the widespread reports of the practice or to hold those responsible to account.</span></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-strapline"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span>Sri Lanka must stop making empty promises to the international community and the Sri Lankan people on improving the country’s still desperate human rights situation, Amnesty International said ahead of a UN review of the country’s rights record.</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/201198_68th_Session_Of_The_United_Nations_General_Assembly_Begins.jpg?1412685320" /> </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/49649">sri lanka</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">Sri Lanka</div> <span class="geo"><abbr class="latitude" title="7.784217">7° 47' 3.1812" N</abbr>, <abbr class="longitude" title="80.860375">80° 51' 37.35" 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 Sri Lankan authorities have promised time and time again to tackle pressing human rights issues but almost never follow through. The Committee review is an opportunity for the international community to highlight this disconnect, and push the government to take genuine action.</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"> David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> <fieldset class="content-multigroup-group-relatedlinks"><fieldset class="content-multigroup-wrapper content-multigroup-0"><div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">URL:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA37/011/2014/en">Sri Lanka: Ensuring justice: Protecting human rights for Sri Lanka’s future</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, 07 October 2014. </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> </fieldset> Sri Lanka United Nations Tue, 07 Oct 2014 12:36:30 +0000 Amnesty International 49650 at http://www.amnesty.org