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The Human Rights Impact of Less Lethal Weapons and Other Law Enforcement Equipment

April 20, 2015 Comments off

The Human Rights Impact of Less Lethal Weapons and Other Law Enforcement Equipment
Source: Amnesty International

Law enforcement agencies around the world regularly misuse so-called “less-lethal” weapons and equipment for torture and their use can also have deadly consequences, Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation said as they launched a new briefing at the United Nations Crime Congress in Doha, Qatar.

The Human Rights Impact of Less Lethal Weapons and Other Law Enforcement Equipment details the medical and other risks associated with a wide range of weaponry and equipment used in policing, including crowd control during demonstrations, as well as in prisons. And it recommends stricter controls or, in some cases, bans to stem future abuses.

Amnesty International and Omega acknowledge the importance of developing less-lethal weapons, equipment and technologies, to reduce the risk of death or injury inherent in police use of firearms and other existing weapons.

When used responsibly by well-trained and fully accountable law enforcement officials, less-lethal weapons can prevent and minimize deaths and injuries to assailants, suspects and detainees, as well as protect the police and prison officers themselves.

But such equipment can have damaging and even deadly effects if it is not used in compliance with international human rights law and standards.

You Shall Procreate: Attacks on Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Iran

March 19, 2015 Comments off

You Shall Procreate: Attacks on Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Iran
Source: Amnesty International

Women in Iran could face significant restrictions on their use of contraceptives and be further excluded from the labour market unless they have had a child if two proposed laws are approved, says a new report by Amnesty International.

You Shall Procreate: Attacks on Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Iran details the extreme lengths the Iranian authorities are going to in order to encourage repeated childbearing in a misguided attempt to boost the country’s declining population figures.

The Bill to Increase Fertility Rates and Prevent Population Decline (Bill 446) outlaws voluntary sterilization, which is believed to be the second most common method of modern contraception in Iran, and blocks access to information about contraception, denying women the opportunity to make informed decisions about having children. Coupled with the elimination of state funding for Iran’s family planning program, which had, up until 2012, provided millions of women in the country with access to affordable modern contraception, the move would undoubtedly result in greater numbers of unwanted pregnancies, forcing more women to seek illegal and unsafe abortions. Lack of access to condoms, which were previously dispended through urban clinics and rural health houses funded by Iran’s Family and Population Planning Programme, would also lead to a rise in sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Amnesty International — State of the World 2014/2015

March 18, 2015 Comments off

State of the World 2014/2015
Source: Amnesty International

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones.

Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world’s politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

International humanitarian law – the law that governs the conduct of armed conflict – could not be clearer. Attacks must never be directed against civilians. The principle of distinguishing between civilians and combatants is a fundamental safeguard for people caught up in the horrors of war.

And yet, time and again, civilians bore the brunt in conflict. In the year marking the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, politicians repeatedly trampled on the rules protecting civilians – or looked away from the deadly violations of these rules committed by others.

15 Minutes to Leave: Denial of the Right to Adequate Housing in Post-Quake Haiti

March 2, 2015 Comments off

15 Minutes to Leave: Denial of the Right to Adequate Housing in Post-Quake Haiti
Source: Amnesty International

Five years on from a devastating earthquake in Haiti, tens of thousands of people remain homeless as government policy failures, forced evictions and short-term solutions have failed many who lost everything in the disaster.

The new report, “15 Minutes to Leave” – Denial of the Right to Adequate Housing in Post-Quake Haiti, documents worrying cases of people being forcibly evicted from temporary, make-shift camps. The report also explores how the influx of development aid that came in the wake of the disaster failed to be transformed into long-term, secure housing solutions.

According to the latest data, 123 camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) remain open in Haiti, housing 85,432 people. While the number of those in camps has reduced significantly since 2010, more than 22,000 households are still without adequate housing.

Conditions in many IDP camps are dire. A third of all those living in camps do not have access to a latrine. On average 82 people share one toilet.

Forced evictions from camps are a serious and ongoing problem. More than 60,000 people have been forcibly evicted from their shelters in makeshift camps since 2010. The vast majority were not offered any alternative locations where they could resettle, pushing them again into poverty and insecurity.

Escape from Hell: Torture, Sexual Slavery in Islamic State Captivity in Iraq

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Escape from Hell: Torture, Sexual Slavery in Islamic State Captivity in Iraq
Source: Amnesty International

Torture, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, suffered by women and girls from Iraq’s Yezidi minority who were abducted by the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS), highlights the savagery of IS rule.

Escape from Hell – Torture, Sexual Slavery in Islamic State Captivity in Iraq provides an insight into the horrifying abuse suffered by hundreds and possibly thousands of Yezidi women and girls who have been forcibly married, “sold” or given as “gifts” to IS fighters or their supporters. Often, captives were forced to convert to Islam.

The women and girls are among thousands of Yezidis from the Sinjar region in north-west Iraq who have been targeted since August in a wave of ethnic cleansing by IS fighters bent on wiping out ethnic and religious minorities in the area.

“There is No Freedom Here” — Silencing Dissent in the United Arab Emirates

November 20, 2014 Comments off

“There is No Freedom Here” — Silencing Dissent in the United Arab Emirates
Source: Amnesty International

Scores of activists in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been harassed, arrested and in some cases tortured in custody according to a new report by Amnesty International that sheds light on the repressive tactics widely used by the government to silence its critics.

“There is No Freedom Here:” Silencing Dissent in the UAE lifts the lid on the climate of fear that has taken hold in the country since 2011, with the authorities going to extreme lengths to stamp out any sign of dissent, criticism or calls for reform in the wake of the mass popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

Those targeted include lawyers, university professors, students and civil society activists, some of whom are linked to the Reform and Social Guidance Association (al-Islah), a peaceful grassroots organization that the government claims has links to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. The clampdown has also targeted their family members.

Left in the Dark: International Military Operations in Afghanistan

August 18, 2014 Comments off

Left in the Dark: International Military Operations in Afghanistan
Source: Amnesty International

Thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed since 2001 by international forces, and thousands more have been injured. This report examines the record of accountability for civilian deaths caused by international military operations in the five-year period from 2009 to 2013. In particular, it focuses on the performance of the US government in investigating possible war crimes and in prosecuting those suspected of criminal responsibility for such crimes. Its overall finding is that the record is poor.

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