Turkmenistan

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China: Scrap Foreign NGO law aimed at choking civil society

The Chinese government must scrap a new law aimed at further smothering civil society, Amnesty International said today. China’s National People’s Congress adopted on 28 April a fundamentally flawed law governing Foreign NGOs and their domestic partners. The new law will have severe consequences for freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, which are already sharply curtailed under existing laws and policies.

Date:
28 April 2016
  • News
  • Asia and The Pacific
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Thailand: Release Facebook commenters now

Thailand’s military government is brazenly seeking to shut down debate ahead of a referendum on a draft constitution, Amnesty International said today. At least a dozen Facebook commenters have been detained or charged on 27 April under a draconian new Order issued by the head of the military government. The arrests come after they commented on the controversial draft of a new constitution Thailand’s military government is seeking to impose.

Date:
27 April 2016
  • News
  • Austria
  • Refugees

Austria: Parliament must overturn proposal to deny refugee protection to thousands

The Austrian National Council must reject changes to its asylum law that would curtail access to protection for thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers and breach its obligations under international law, said Amnesty International ahead of today’s vote. The proposed ‘special measures’ would fast-track procedures, effectively giving police and border guards sweeping powers to arrest, detain and swiftly return or forcibly deport asylum-seekers.

Date:
27 April 2016
  • News
  • Americas
  • Killings and Disappearances

Trigger-happy: Rio’s security forces show their true colours ahead of Olympics

The taxi from Rio’s international airport skirts around the edge of a sprawling favela, where rust-coloured breeze block houses line narrow alleyways, blue plastic water tanks perch on roofs and laundry dances in the breeze under corrugated iron sheets to protect it from the frequent downpours that turn the city’s streets into fast flowing rivers. Children dart in and out of buildings, while vultures scavenge in rubbish piled up along the banks of a river.

Date:
27 April 2016
  • News
  • Americas
  • Torture and other ill-treatment

Brazil: Surge in killings by police sparks fear in favelas ahead of Rio Olympics

Residents in many of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas are living in terror after at least 11 people have been killed in police shootings since the beginning of the month, Amnesty International warned ahead of the 100-day countdown to the Olympic Games. In the city of Rio alone, at least 307 people were killed by the police last year, accounting for one in every five homicides in the city. Meanwhile the authorities have failed to hold those responsible to account and have increasingly taken a hard-line approach against mainly peaceful street protests.

Date:
27 April 2016
  • News
  • Egypt
  • Unlawful Detention

Egypt: Mass arrests in ‘ruthlessly efficient’ bid to block peaceful protest

Security forces arbitrarily arrested hundreds of people in response to planned protests in Egypt yesterday, said Amnesty International, after large numbers of security forces deployed to prevent demonstrators from gathering in Cairo and elsewhere. The Front of Defence for Egyptian Protesters (FDEP) early this morning told Amnesty International that they knew of at least 238 people, including foreign nationals, activists and journalists, who were arrested on 25 April across Egypt.

Date:
26 April 2016
  • News
  • Mexico
  • Killings and Disappearances

Las sillas vacías de Ayotzinapa

Las tres sillas vacías en medio de la sala lo decían todo. En cada una, el nombre de cada funcionario del alto nivel del gobierno Mexicano encargado de velar por los derechos humanos en el país: Eber Omar Betanzos Torres, Roberto Campa Cifrián y Miguel Ruiz Cabañas Izquierdo. Los tres habían sido invitados por el Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos Independientes (GIEI) a la presentación el pasado 24 de abril de su informe final sobre la desaparición forzada de 43 estudiantes de la escuela normal de Ayotzinapa en Septiembre de 2014.

Date:
26 April 2016
  • News
  • Morocco/Western Sahara
  • Discrimination

UN must monitor human rights in Western Sahara and Sahrawi refugee camps

Human rights monitoring by the UN must be at the forefront of discussions this week over the future of its presence in Western Sahara and Sahrawi refugee camps, Amnesty International said today, amid increased restrictions on journalists, peacekeepers and peaceful activists. The Security Council is due to vote on extending the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) on Thursday, 28 April.

Date:
26 April 2016
  • News
  • Burundi
  • Armed Groups

Burundi: One year on, Burundians pay the price of entrenched human rights crisis

One year on from the start of the Burundi crisis, the human rights situation in the country continues to deteriorate and accountability for horrific acts of violence remains elusive, Amnesty International said today. The decision by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open a preliminary examination underlines the gravity of the situation. Burundi has been in a political crisis since President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to stand for a third term in office last April, which many saw as unconstitutional.

Date:
26 April 2016
  • News
  • Burkina Faso
  • Women and Girls

Burkina Faso: Forced and early marriage puts thousands of girls at risk

Early and forced marriage in Burkina Faso is robbing thousands of girls as young as 13 of their childhood, while the cost of contraception and other barriers prevent them from choosing if and when to have children, Amnesty International said in a report published today. Coerced and denied: Forced marriages and barriers to contraception in Burkina Faso exposes how many women and girls are threatened or beaten when they try to make their own decisions about when to marry or have children.

Date:
26 April 2016
  • News
  • Asia and The Pacific
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Bangladesh: Authorities fail to curb brutal killing spree as LGBTI editor hacked to death

"The brutal killing today of an editor of an LGBTI publication and his friend, days after a university professor was hacked to death, underscores the appalling lack of protection being afforded to a range of peaceful activists in the country,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director. “There have been four deplorable killings so far this month alone. It is shocking that no one has been held to account for these horrific attacks and that almost no protection has been given to threatened members of civil society.

Date:
25 April 2016
  • News
  • Americas
  • Killings and Disappearances

Mexico: New Ayotzinapa report reveals official determination to sweep tragedy under the carpet

A damning report by an independent group of experts into the enforced disappearance of 43 Mexican students in September 2014 is yet another dark stain in the Mexican government's atrocious human rights record, said Amnesty International. The report, by an independent group of experts (GIEI) appointed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, contradicts the official version of events and criticizes the Mexican government's investigation to date.

Date:
24 April 2016
  • News
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Censorship and Free Speech

Saudi Arabia: Counter-terror court sentences human rights activist in relentless onslaught against civil society

Photo: Issa al-Hamid, right, with Abdulaziz al-Shubaily, left, fellow founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) The sentencing of human rights activist Issa al-Hamid to nine years in prison and a travel ban of equal duration is the latest evidence of the Saudi Arabian authorities’ resolve to continue their ruthless onslaught against civil society in the Kingdom, said Amnesty International.

Date:
24 April 2016
  • News
  • Europe and Central Asia
  • Refugees

Chios chronicle: Here’s how Europe welcomed a young Afghan man who fled the Taliban

You can’t stop a ship dead in its tracks, but sometimes you can change its course. And that’s what happened recently in the Aegean Sea in a new twist in the evolving refugee crisis my colleagues from Amnesty International and I were researching on the Greek islands of Lesvos and Chios. On 5 April, we were on board a night-time ferry from Mytilene, Lesvos, to Chios, when we were informed that our destination had changed because of “the refugee situation”.

Date:
22 April 2016
  • News
  • Turkey
  • Refugees

EU leaders must not close their eyes to human rights abuses against refugees

The high-level European delegation travelling to Turkey on Saturday must address the catalogue of human rights abuses faced by refugees in the country, not sweep them under the carpet, said Amnesty International today. Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, will visit Gaziantep in southern Turkey. In the weeks since the EU-Turkey migration deal was signed, Amnesty International and other organizations have documented refugees being denied entry to Turkey at the Syrian border, being shot at by security forces and being forcibly returned to their country of origin.

Date:
22 April 2016
  • News
  • Africa
  • Armed Conflict

Nigeria: Military cover-up of mass slaughter at Zaria exposed

Mass slaughter of hundreds of men, women and children by soldiers in Zaria and the attempted cover-up of this crime demonstrates an utter contempt for human life and accountability, said Amnesty International as it publishes evidence gathered on the ground revealing how the Nigerian military burned people alive, razed buildings and dumped victims’ bodies in mass graves. The report, Unearthing the truth: Unlawful killings and mass cover-up in Zaria, contains shocking eyewitness testimony of large-scale unlawful killings by the Nigerian military and exposes a crude attempt by the authorities to destroy and conceal evidence.

Date:
22 April 2016