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  • Sri Lanka
  • Justice Systems

Journalists in danger in Sri Lanka

A number of journalists in Sri Lanka have received death threats in the wake of knife attacks on two journalists in the past eleven days. Lal Hemantha Mawalage, a leading news producer with the state-run Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), was stabbed in the southern city of Athurugiriya on the night of Friday 25 January. Four days later, the Colombo-based Free Media Movement reported that five persons entered the Colombo home of Suhaib M Kasim, the associate editor of the Sri Lankan state-owned Tamil daily Thinakaran.

Date:
5 February 2008
  • News
  • Bulgaria
  • Justice Systems

Europe moves to protect trafficked people

Europe has taken a further step towards protecting people who have been trafficked with the entry into force of a new convention on Friday. The 14 states that have so far become parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings have committed themselves to ensuring greater respect and protection of the rights of trafficked persons. Amnesty International, Anti-Slavery International and La Strada International welcomed this major step for people trapped in a modern form of slavery, for which Amnesty International has been campaigning for years.

Date:
1 February 2008
  • News
  • Kenya
  • Human Rights Defenders and Activists

Kenyan activists receive death threats

Amnesty International has called for the protection of several Kenyan human rights activists who have received death threats in the last two weeks. All but one of the group are of Kikuyu ethnicity and it is believed fellow Kikuyus have sent the threats, which include accusations that the activists are "traitors" to their ethnicity. The nine people - some of whom are prominent of local human rights organizations - have received a series of anonymous SMS messages, phone calls and emails.

Date:
31 January 2008
  • News
  • Guatemala
  • Justice Systems

War crimes go unpunished in Guatemala

On 31 January 1980, Guatemalan police stormed the Spanish Embassy in Guatemala City where protestors had sought refuge. Thirty-seven people inside the building died as a result. Twenty-eight years on, no one has been held to account. Over a decade after the end of Guatemala's armed conflict, many of those responsible for its most brutal crimes continue to evade criminal prosecution. A ruling releasing two former officers from pre-extradition detention in Guatemala is the latest obstacle to justice for the victims of the 36-year conflict, which ended in 1996.

Date:
31 January 2008
  • News
  • Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories
  • Justice Systems

Egypt blocks Gazans' access to the outside world

More than 1,000 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip have become stuck in the northern Sinai region of Egypt as the Egyptian authorities try to force them back into Gaza. The authorities have prevented the Gazans from travelling abroad to receive medical treatment that is not available in Gaza or to reach their places of work and study in different countries. In the last week, the Egyptian authorities have been stepping up efforts to reseal the border wall, which had been blown open by Palestinian militants on 23 January.

Date:
31 January 2008
  • News

Demonstration marks Musharraf London visit

A group of vocal demonstrators responded to Pakistan's President Musharraf to London on Saturday. Around 40 people, some wearing face masks of the President, gathered outside 10 Downing Street, to voice their criticism of President Musharraf's human rights record. The demonstration, organised by Amnesty International, came ahead of a meeting between President Musharraf and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, part of the Pakistani president's tour of Europe.

Date:
29 January 2008
  • News
  • Kenya
  • Justice Systems

Killings continue in Kenya

Reports from Kenya indicate that up to 70 people have been killed in ethnic killings since Thursday last week. Ten people were killed in Naivasha town west of Nairobi yesterday - six of them were burnt and four were hacked to death. The attacks came as armed members of the Kikuyu community targeted members of the Luo and Kalenjin communities, who are seen as having supported the opposition candidate. Up to 60 people have been killed in similar attacks in Nakuru town, the capital of the Rift Valley Province.

Date:
28 January 2008
  • News
  • Syria
  • Torture and other ill-treatment

The dangers of speaking out in Syria

Being a Syrian political or human rights activist requires courage -- the government is intolerant of dissent. The 45-year-old state of emergency gives the security police wide powers of arrest and detention, which they use against those who dare to speak out for human rights or in opposition to the authorities.   Under the long-running state of emergency, a special court – the Supreme State Security Court (SSSC) – was established to try those who dissent or are accused of offences against state security.

Date:
28 January 2008
  • News
  • Myanmar
  • Detention

Why is Amnesty International in Davos?

An Amnesty International delegation, led by Secretary General Irene Khan, arrived in Davos on for the World Economic Forum 2008, this year entitled The Power of Collaborative Innovation. Among the sessions Irene Khan will be attending are: The Role of Women in the Business Environment of the 21st Century, Political Islam and Democracy and Tackling Global Issues through Corporate Global Citizenship.   Judit Arenas, advisor to the Secretary General gives an insight into the real conversations happening in Davos, which occur outside the meetings, in coffee shops and corridors: "The World Economic Forum in Davos is by now well underway and the key question Amnesty International keeps getting is 'why are you here?' "The answer is simple: we firmly believe in talking to those that can take steps to improve human rights.

Date:
25 January 2008
  • News
  • United Kingdom
  • Human Rights Defenders and Activists

London demonstration to mark Musharraf visit

Amnesty International activists and lawyers will lead a demonstration outside Downing Street in London on Saturday to protest against the serious human rights abuses in Pakistan while President Pervez Musharraf is in London. Pakistan's President begins a four-day visit to the UK on Friday. He is due to meet Gordon Brown on Monday. The demonstration is being organised by Amnesty International together with the Society of Asian Lawyers and the Solicitors’ International Human Rights Group.

Date:
25 January 2008
  • News
  • Myanmar
  • Killings and Disappearances

Arrests of political activists increase in Myanmar

Political activists continue to be imprisoned in Myanmar, according to new research by Amnesty International. There have been 96 arrests since 1 November 2007. Amnesty International's research completely contradicts the assurance that arrests had stopped and that no more would take place given to UN Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari in early November by Myanmar's Prime Minister Thein Sein. “Four months on from the violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, rather than stop its unlawful arrests the Myanmar government has actually accelerated them,” said Catherine Baber, director of Amnesty International Asia-Pacific programme.

Date:
25 January 2008
  • News
  • Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories
  • Justice Systems

Gaza must not be cut off from the world

The Egyptian authorities began efforts to reclose the country's border with Gaza on Friday morning. Their actions come three days after Palestinian militants blew open breaches in the Gaza-Egypt border wall, allowing hundreds of thousands of Gazans to cross into Egypt to buy food, medicines, fuel and other basic necessities. The Gaza-Egypt border had been sealed since June 2007, virtually imprisoning the 1.

Date:
25 January 2008
  • News
  • Belarus
  • Human Rights Defenders and Activists

Belarusian youth activist freed

The Belarusian youth activist, Zmitser Dashkevich, has been released early from Sklou prison in Belarus. Zmitser was the subject of a global Amnesty International action last year calling for his release. In an interview shortly after his release, Zmitser said that he thought his early release was due to international pressure. The first Zmitser's friends knew about his release was when he phoned them from Sklou post office on Wednesday.

Date:
25 January 2008
  • News
  • Zimbabwe
  • Torture and other ill-treatment

Zimbabwean police arrest and assault opposition demonstrators

Police assaulted several supporters of Zimbabwe's political opposition en route to a rally outside Harare city centre on Wednesday. Police used teargas against the demonstrators who were travelling from the city centre to the venue for the rally, organised by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).   The MDC rally at Glamis Stadium had been authorised by the Magistrates Court. It has been reported that between 1,000 and 3,000 MDC supporters attended the rally.

Date:
24 January 2008
  • News
  • Pakistan
  • International Organizations

World leaders urged to tackle Musharraf at World Economic Forum

Irene Khan has written to world political and business leaders, calling on them to raise the issue of Pakistan's human rights situation with President Musharraf at the World Economic Forum (WEF). In the letter, Amnesty International's Secretary General urges them to make human rights and rule of law in Pakistan a central theme in their discussions with the President. President Musharraf is due to travel Davos, Switzerland, today for the WEF Annual Meeting and is expected to stay until the meeting ends on Sunday.

Date:
23 January 2008
  • News
  • Bangladesh
  • Human Rights Defenders and Activists

Ending the downward spiral in Bangladesh

by Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International As British Airways flight BA144 takes off from Zia International Airport in the darkness of the night, I look out of the window of the airplane and think of the metaphorical darkness from which the people of this country are seeking to escape. For decades, Bangladesh has been caught in a downward spiral of corruption, insecurity, political violence and organized crime in which human rights and the rule of law have been the first casualties.

Date:
23 January 2008