Big Brother in Practice: An Overview of Unlawful Surveillance

By Thomas Rozanov 

What George Orwell once fantasized in his novel ‘1984,’ is an actual threat today. Individuals are confronted with surveillance that interferes with private lives, and human rights. Big Brother tyranny is set into practice with modern widespread technology. “Telescreens” used by Oceania’s ruling party to constantly surveil citizens and prevent conspiracies and “thoughtcrimes” are now being replaced with unlawful access to online accounts, phone surveillance, cyberattacks, and hacking.

What once seemed like a dystopian plot, is now a reality. I suspect this dimension will play out more in the future, as individuals are becoming more technologically integrated and dependent. We should be warned to not only protect our physical human rights, but also the privacy of our virtual spaces and communication via technology. I draw attention to recent cases of unlawful surveillance and cyberattacks by governments targeting individuals in Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Belarus. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Abductions and Forcible Returns from Russia to Uzbekistan continue

By Ella Shen

A few weeks ago, Amnesty International, along with other international organizations, has expressed heavy concern over the possibility of danger, including torture amongst other human rights violations, to journalist Khudoberdi Nurmatov (also known as Ali Feruz), if forcibly returned to Uzbekistan. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Crimea: In the International Blind Spot

 

Russian security forces attempt to block the way of Crimean Tatars crossing a checkpoint in May 2014. REUTERS/STRINGER

By Viachaslau “Slava” Bortnik

Amnesty International recently released a public statement raising the worsening human rights situation in Crimea marking three years under Russian rule since the Peninsula’s unlawful annexation in March 2014.

Despite Amnesty’s call for human rights in last year’s briefing ‘Crimea in the dark: the silencing of dissent’, Russian and Crimean de facto authorities continue to intensify their persecution of political activists, dissenting voices, and ethnic Crimean Tatars. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Three Concerns the Senate Committee Should Raise with David Friedman

(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Ambassadors are on the front lines of diplomacy, where they can head off conflict or be the cause of the next war.  They must not have any conflicts-of-interest or appearance of conflict and definitely not be involved in unlawful activities, especially not a war crime.

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer, as his advisor on Israel and to be U.S. Ambassador to the State of Israel. David Friedman’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set for this Thursday, February 16, at 10 am. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Ethiopia: Zone 9

By Adotei Akwei and Miho Mitobe

At the end of 2016 Amnesty International published a report titled Ethiopia Offline: Evidence of Social Media Blocking and Internet Censorship in Ethiopia. This report documented how social media and networks in Addis Ababa and the Oromia region were being blocked by the Ethiopian government. Among the more alarming findings is that AI and the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), who co-authored the report, detected the use of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology, which can be used to monitor and filter internet traffic. The Ethiopian government appears to be using the technology for “mass surveillance internet censorship.” The government’s actions constitute a violation of Ethiopia’s obligations to protect freedom of expression under the African Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and also drastically restricts access to information for the Ethiopian people. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Trump’s Global Gag Rule a blow for women’s rights and lives.

A mere two days after millions of people marched around the word with and in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, President Donald J. Trump announced the “Global Gag Rule,” a major blow to women’s rights and human rights worldwide.

Trump’s Global Gag Rule prohibits U.S. international aid to groups that so much as educate their communities on safe abortion. Even if an organization is using non-U.S. funding for such activities, they will lose their U.S. funding if they offer counseling, advocate for legal reform, provide abortions, or even provide referrals at any time. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Human Rights, Justice and Nigeria’s Security Sector: Will 2017 see the change that is needed?

Protestors gather in Nkpor, Onitsha on 30 May 2016, Nigeria.

By Adotei Akwei and Miho Mitobe

In late November AI released a report on human rights violations committed by Nigerian security forces in the southeast of the country. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had conducted largely peaceful marches as part of an effort to establish an independent state, and the response was brutal and depressing in its familiarity.  SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Trump’s CIA Pick Must Disavow Torture – and Commit to Upholding the Law

By Ann Burroughs, Chair of AIUSA’s Board of Directors

Donald Trump has made it clear he wants bring back torture. “We should go much stronger than waterboarding,” he said last year, calling it “your minor form” of torture.

Now he’s picked Rep. Mike Pompeo to head the CIA – an individual who called the CIA’s program of torture and disappearing under the Bush administration “within the law” and “within the Constitution.”

We can’t let Trump bring back the CIA torture program. Trump’s pick for CIA chief must reject torture – and commit to upholding the law. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Posted in USA

Amnesty International: Shareholder Activist

Emergildo Criollo, a leader from the Cofan tribe in Ecuador and Rita Maldonado, a Guanta community member at the demonstration outside the Chevron shareholder meeting. Behind them, an activist holds bottles of contaminated water. Photo: Amazon Watch

Emergildo Criollo, a leader from the Cofan tribe in Ecuador and Rita Maldonado, a Guanta community member at the demonstration outside the Chevron shareholder meeting. Behind them, an activist holds bottles of contaminated water. Photo: Amazon Watch

By Simon Billenness, Business and Human Rights Thematic Specialist and Paz y Miño, Andean Countries Specialist

Did you know Amnesty International USA is a long-time shareholder activist?

This week, Amnesty International USA joined the New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, in filing a shareholder resolution at Chevron Corporation. The resolution asks the company to appoint a board member with expertise in the impact on communities and the environment of its oil and gas extraction operations. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Defending Human Rights & the Trump Administration: The Front Line Moves to Washington, DC

cabinet_r3

Next month Congress will get to interview nominees for the incoming Trump administration. These cabinet nominees are important indicators as to whether his administration will be uphold and protect human rights or whether the inflammatory rhetoric from the campaign will become policy. The implications for human rights – here in the United States and internationally could not be more stark and hard as it may be to remember the incoming administration will have a huge impact globally as well as here in the United States.

So far President-elect Trump’s nominees to lead foreign policy raise more alarm than confidence. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST