Archive

Archive for the ‘Amnesty International’ Category

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.

About these ads

Entombed: Isolation in the US Federal Prison System

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Entombed: Isolation in the US Federal Prison System
Source: Amnesty International

The USA stands virtually alone in the world in incarcerating thousands of prisoners in longterm or indefinite solitary confinement, defined by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment as “the physical and social isolation of individuals who are confined to their cells for 22 to 24 hours a day”. More than 40 US states are believed to operate “super-maximum security” units or prisons, collectively housing at least 25,000 prisoners. This number does not include the many thousands of other prisoners serving shorter periods in punishment or administrative segregation cells – estimated to be approximately 80,000 on any given day.

While US authorities have always been able to segregate prisoners for their own protection or as a penalty for disciplinary offences, super-maximum security facilities differ in that they are designed to isolate prisoners long-term as an administrative control measure. It is a management tool that has been criticized by human rights bodies, and is being increasingly challenged by US penal experts and others, as costly, ineffective and inhumane.

Silenced, Expelled, Imprisoned: Repression of Students and Academics in Iran

June 9, 2014 Comments off

Silenced, Expelled, Imprisoned: Repression of Students and Academics in Iran
Source: Amnesty International

This report is based on research that Amnesty International conducted using a wide range of private and public sources. This included in-depth interviews with more than 50 individuals, both women and men, with direct knowledge of Iran’s universities and system of higher education, including former students and academic teaching staff. Amnesty International has not been permitted to visit Iran for fact-finding and research on the country since shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and thus was unable to investigate conditions at Iran’s universities first hand. However, its interviewees included students and teaching staff who had recently attended or been employed at Iranian universities before fleeing Iran and seeking asylum in Turkey and other countries.

In addition to the interviews, almost all of which were conducted in Persian, Amnesty International compiled further information using questionnaires.

Among public sources, Amnesty International has drawn on information published by the Iranian government, including in submissions to the UN; reports and findings of UN bodies; statements made by Iranian officials; reports of independent non-governmental human rights organizations; and Iranian and international media reports.

Amnesty International — USA: Another Year, Same Missing Ingredient

May 26, 2014 Comments off

USA: Another Year, Same Missing Ingredient
Source: Amnesty International

For a speech seen as signalling a turning point, the direction travelled since it was delivered has been frustratingly familiar.

It is now one year since President Barack Obama revisited his administration’s framework for the USA’s counter-terrorism strategy, four years after a similar address he had given early in his first term. “From our use of drones to detention of terrorism suspects”, President Obama proclaimed on 23 May 2013, “the decisions that we are making now will define the type of nation – and world – that we leave to our children”.

At the time, Amnesty International expressed some cautious optimism at signs of a possible change for the better heralded by the speech, while noting that international human rights law was the ingredient still missing from the framework. The organization noted:

“Words are one thing, actions another. Despite their positive aspects, President Obama’s words leave a lot to be desired, and it remains to be seen how much will change, and how quickly, after this latest national security speech.”

One year on, little has changed. Why? Because the USA, a country not averse to promoting itself as a, or even the global human rights champion, continues in its singular failure to put respect for human rights at the centre of its counter-terrorism policies, despite a stated commitment to do so by successive administrations.

Torture In 2014: 30 Years of Broken Promises

May 20, 2014 Comments off

Torture In 2014: 30 Years of Broken Promises
Source: Amnesty International

Torture is abhorrent. It is barbaric and inhumane. It can never be justified. It is wrong, self-defeating and poisons the rule of law, replacing it with terror. No one is safe when governments allow its use.

The world’s governments recognized these fundamental truths when, in the aftermath of the atrocities of the Second World War, they adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. This enshrined the basic right of all of us, everywhere, to live free from torture, free from cruelty.
This right – at the heart of our shared humanity – was later enshrined in a legally binding international agreement through an explicit and absolute prohibition against torture and other ill-treatment, in the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

30 years ago this year, this progress was further built upon by the UN Convention Against Torture. The Convention was groundbreaking: it offered a set of concrete steps to make the global ban on torture a reality, by establishing a set of measures, enshrined in law and specifically designed to prevent torture, punish perpetrators and ensure justice and redress to victims. These measures intend not only to end torture and other ill-treatment nationally, but also to ensure that no-one is deported across borders to be tortured, and that there is no safe haven for perpetrators.

Torturers are now international outlaws. A robust international legal framework has been built up and 155 countries are state parties to the UN Convention. This is real and meaningful progress. But many governments are betraying their responsibility. Three decades on from the Convention – and more than 65 years after the Universal Declaration – torture is not just alive and well. It is flourishing.

The outrageous extent of torture today exposes the gulf between what promises governments made 30 years ago and what governments do today.

Death Sentences and Executions 2013

April 7, 2014 Comments off

Death Sentences and Executions 2013
Source: Amnesty International

2013 was marked by some challenging setbacks on the journey to abolition of the death penalty. Four countries – Indonesia, Kuwait, Nigeria and Viet Nam – resumed executions and there was a significant rise in the number of people executed during the year compared with 2012, driven primarily by increases in Iraq and Iran.

Executions were recorded in 22 countries during 2013, one more than in the previous year. As in 2012, it could not be confirmed if judicial executions took place in Egypt or Syria. The overall number of reported executions worldwide was 778, an increase of almost 15% compared with 2012. As in previous years, this figure does not include the thousands of people executed in China; with the death penalty treated as a state secret the lack of reliable data does not allow Amnesty International to publish credible minimum figures for China.

Ethnic Cleansing and Sectarian Killings in the Central African Republic

February 21, 2014 Comments off

Ethnic Cleansing and Sectarian Killings in the Central African Republic
Source: Amnesty International

“Ethnic cleansing” of Muslims has been carried out in the western part of the Central African Republic, the most populous part of the country, since early January 2014. Entire Muslim communities have been forced to flee, and hundreds of Muslim civilians who have not managed to escape have been killed by the loosely organised militias known as anti-balaka.

“They killed my children heartlessly,” said Oure, a Muslim woman whose four sons were killed by anti-balaka fighters on 26 January. She, her two sisters, their 75-year-old mother, and seven of the family’s children had gone out early in the morning, trying to reach a church in the northwest town of Baoro, when they were caught by an anti-balaka militia unit. “The children were slaughtered in front of our eyes,” Oure continued, sobbing: “both my children and my sisters’ children.” One of Oure’s sisters, Aishatu, was wounded on her hand when she tried to protect the children, who were boys ranging in age from 8 to 17 years old.

Amnesty International has documented large-scale and repeated anti-balaka attacks on Muslim civilian populations in Bouali, Boyali, Bossembélé, Bossemptélé, Baoro, Bawi, and the capital, Bangui, in January, and has received credible information regarding additional attacks in Yaloke, Boda, and Bocaranga. Some of these attacks were carried out in revenge for the previous killing of Christian civilians by Seleka forces and armed Muslims.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 939 other followers