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Fiji: A darker side of paradise

Under the military’s dominance, the Pacific island nation of Fiji has seen an ingrained culture of torture take root among its security forces, a new Amnesty International report says today. Famed for white-sand beaches and sweeping views of turquoise water, Fiji is known as a holiday destination. But a decade after the 2006 coup, the military remains in control of key institutions, including the police, with a militarization of the justice system that allows torture and other ill-treatment to go unpunished.

Date:
4 December 2016
  • News
  • Gambia
  • Prisoners of Conscience

Gambia: Championing human rights and justice for all must be a priority

In response to announcement that President Yayah Jammeh has accepted his defeat following the presidential election, Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty International’s Researcher for West and Central Africa currently in Gambia said: “For many years the people of Gambia have suffered numerous abuses, including horrific human rights violations and oppression. ” "The last two weeks have shown how much Gambians of all parties value free speech.

Date:
2 December 2016
  • News
  • United States of America
  • Human Rights Defenders and Activists

Ai Weiwei joins call on Obama to pardon Snowden

World-renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is joining forces with Amnesty International to mobilize hundreds of thousands of supporters around the world to inundate the White House with messages in support of Edward Snowden, as part of the world’s biggest human rights campaign, launched today. The Write for Rights campaign, from 2-16 December, is also taking on 10 other human rights cases, including a jailed Egyptian photojournalist “Shawkan” at risk of execution, Azerbaijani activists tortured after graffitiing a statue, and an Indonesian teacher imprisoned for the simple act of waving a flag.

Date:
2 December 2016
  • News
  • Syria
  • UN

UN: Inaction on Syria is not an option

Ahead of an urgent declaration being issued today by more than 200 civil society groups from around the world, urging the UN General Assembly to take action regarding the war in Syria, Sherine Tadros, Head of Amnesty International’s UN Office, said: “It is becoming clearer every day that the UN Security Council has failed the Syrian people. There have been almost half a million deaths, and each one is a stark rebuke of the Security Council, the supposed guardian of international peace and security, which has allowed a political deadlock to stand in the way of saving lives.

Date:
1 December 2016
  • News
  • Ethiopia
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Ethiopia: Arrest of opposition leader an outrageous assault on freedom of expression

Reacting to news of the arrest of Ethiopian opposition leader Merera Gudina, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Michelle Kagari said: “The arrest of Merera Gudina is an outrageous assault on the right to freedom of expression and should sound alarm bells for anyone with an interest in ending the deadly protests that have rocked Ethiopia over the past year.

Date:
1 December 2016
  • News
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Human Rights Defenders and Activists

Saudi Arabia increases ruthless sentence in unfair trial of human rights defender to 11 years

Saudi Arabian human rights defender, Issa al-Hamid, who received a nine year prison term for his work promoting human rights, had his sentence increased today to 11 years in prison, followed by a travel ban of equal duration as well as a fine of 100,000 Saudi Riyals (around 27,000 US Dollars) following an appeal. Responding to today’s court ruling by the counter-terror court in Riyadh, Samah Hadid, Deputy Director for Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office said: “Today’s ruling by the Saudi Arabian counter-terror court is yet another demonstration of the authorities’ continuous ruthless and relentless crackdown on human rights defenders.

Date:
1 December 2016
  • News
  • Gambia
  • Internet and Social Media

Gambia: Communication blackout shatters illusion of freedom during the election

In response to blocks on the internet and other communications networks in Gambia amid today’s presidential election, Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa said: “This is an unjustified and crude attack on the right to freedom of expression in Gambia, with mobile internet services and text messaging cut off on polling day. ” “Shutting down these communication networks shatters the illusion of freedom that had emerged during the two weeks period of the electoral campaign, when restrictions appeared to have been eased.

Date:
1 December 2016
  • News
  • Qatar
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Qatar: Blocking of Doha News website ‘an outright attack’ on media freedom

In response to the news that access to Doha News, Qatar’s leading independent English language daily news site has been blocked to internet users inside the country, James Lynch, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Global Issues said: “This is an alarming setback for freedom of expression in the country. Deliberately blocking people in Qatar from accessing a legitimate news website would be an outright attack on media freedom.

Date:
1 December 2016
  • News
  • Americas
  • Armed Conflict

Colombia: Peace agreement must open the door to justice

The ratification of the peace agreement marks the beginning of a new and hopeful chapter in Colombia’s history, but the real hard work starts now, Amnesty International said today. Last night, Congress ratified a revised version of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) after the original deal was rejected by a referendum on 2 October.

Date:
1 December 2016
  • News
  • Business and Human Rights

Palm Oil: Global brands profiting from child and forced labour

Unilever, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble among nine household names contributing to labour abuse The world’s most popular food and household companies are selling food, cosmetics and other everyday staples containing palm oil tainted by shocking human rights abuses in Indonesia, with children as young as eight working in hazardous conditions, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

Date:
30 November 2016
  • News
  • Business and Human Rights

Palm Oil and human rights: What you need to know

The rapid expansion of palm oil has led to extensive deforestation, destruction of the rainforests and considerable harm to wildlife species. It has also led to appalling labour rights abuses against workers, according to an Amnesty International investigation. Five key facts about palm oil: 1. Palm oil is used in half of your daily products Palm oil and palm based ingredients are found in approximately 50% of supermarket products.

Date:
30 November 2016
  • News
  • Europe and Central Asia
  • Detention

Hungary: Shameful misuse of terrorism provisions as man involved in border clash jailed for 10 years

In response to the sentencing of Ahmed H, to 10 years in prison on terrorism charges for his involvement in clashes with Hungarian border guards at a Serbia-Hungary border crossing last year, Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Directorwho attended the court hearing said:  “This verdict is based on a blatant misuse of terrorism provisions and reflects a disturbing confluence of two dangerous trends: the misuse of terrorism-related offenses and the appalling treatment of refugees and migrants.

Date:
30 November 2016
  • News
  • Gambia
  • Demonstrations

Gambia: Freedom of expression must not end after votes are counted

Authorities in Gambia must take all appropriate measures to ensure that forthcoming elections – including the period following the results - are held in a climate that is free from violence and which fully respects the right of all people to freely express their views, Amnesty International said today. "The thousands of Gambians who have taken part in rallies for all candidates over the last two weeks is a remarkable sign of how precious the right to freedom of expression is in a country where it has been so rarely permitted,” said Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

Date:
30 November 2016
  • News
  • Europe and Central Asia
  • Death Penalty

Belarus: Three sudden executions point to shameful purge of death row

Note to journalists: B-roll and still images to accompany this story are available for download from our Multimedia Newsroom. As many as three of the four men on death row in the Belarusian capital Minsk have been executed in a shameful purge since 5 November, Amnesty International revealed today after confirming with local activists. Hard on the heels of this news the organization is launching a new online petition and video aimed at stamping out the use of the death penalty in Belarus – the last country in Europe and the former Soviet Union to still carry out executions.

Date:
30 November 2016
  • News
  • Americas
  • Refugees

Looking into the eyes of Central American refugees in a time of hate and fear

Ten years ago I arrived in Mexico for the first time. A heavy backpack strapped around my waist, I toddled over a large, concrete bridge that divides Mexico and Guatemala. When I crossed the border, a man with his shirt unbuttoned down to his belly and sweat pouring down his chest took my passport, glanced at it for no more than two seconds, then stamped it with a smile and cheerily barked to me “welcome to Mexico.

Date:
30 November 2016