The UN Sustainable Development Goals: Let’s Step it Up For Gender Equality!

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UNPhoto/Sylvain Lietchti

UNPhoto/Sylvain Lietchti

By Nicole Van Huyssteen, Women’s Human Rights Co-group

Sixteen years ago, 189 world leaders gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to adopt the Millennium Declaration, which set out a series of eight time-bound targets with an overall goal of reducing extreme poverty in its many dimensions by the year 2015. These targets — which became known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — formed a blueprint which committed all nations and leading development institutions to a new global partnership to galvanize unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Australian Refugee Processing Centers Aren’t ‘Border Control’ — They’re Torture

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In the last few months, the tiny pacific island nation of Nauru has exploded back onto the international news circuit. This time, it isn’t for the lucrative strip mining of fossilized bird droppings, it’s news of the Australian Government using the island as a detention center for intercepted refugees and asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia and New Zealand by boat. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

On International Day of the Girl, Stand in Solidarity with Yazidi Women and Girls!

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A girl in Khakhe camp who was a victim of Islamic State abuse. This anonymous woman A girl was a victim of abuse by the armed group calling itself Islamic State. Hundreds of Yezidi women and girls have had their lives shattered by the horrors of sexual violence and sexual slavery in IS captivity,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Advisor, who spoke to more than 40 former captives in northern Iraq. “Many of those held as sexual slaves are children – girls aged 14, 15 or even younger. IS fighters are using rape as a weapon in attacks amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity.” 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. The horrors endured in IS captivity have left these women and girls so severely traumatized that some have been driven to end their own lives. Nineteen-year-old Jilan committed suicide while being held captive in Mosul because she feared she would be raped, her brother told Amnesty International.

A girl in Khakhe camp who was a victim of Islamic State abuse.

By Alice Dahle, AIUSA’s Women’s Human Rights Co-chair

In early August 2014, extremist fighters, who were attempting to create a new Islamic caliphate, the so-called Islamic State (IS), attacked towns and villages in the Mt. Sinjar region of northern Iraq. These combatants are known by various names, including ISIS, ISIL and Da’esh. Their plan began with an ethnic cleansing of the non-Muslim population in the area, with a particular focus on the Yazidi (also spelled as Yezidi) people who had lived there for thousands of years. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Ongoing Crimes: Chemical Weapons & Crimes Against Humanity in Darfur

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By Scott Edwards, Senior Adviser for Amnesty International’s Crisis Response 

Today, Amnesty International is releasing an expansive report on violations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in Jebel Mara, Darfur, committed this year by Sudanese government forces and allied militia. One of the most troubling findings in this report is the use of chemical weapons, and it is almost certainly the finding that will capture the most media headlines. In many ways, this is desirable: the use of these weapons is an affront to humanity itself and its aspiration to limit the cruelty and devastation of warfare. Their use should capture headlines, as they have most recently in Syria. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Troy Davis’s Legacy

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By Savannah Fox, Field Organizer

Five years ago today, on September 21st, I became an activist. I didn’t sign my first petition or attended my first rally. I found my passion, my anger and my hope as an activist, all things which keep me in the fight for justice every day.

It was a late summer evening and I was standing under the outstretched arm of Tom Watson’s statue in front of the Georgia State Capital in Atlanta, Georgia. I was surround by hundreds of activists holding signs stating “Not In My Name” and “I am Troy Davis” in bold letters. Troy Davis. Troy was the reason hundreds of us came together to huddle in anticipation and hope. Troy Davis was a black man from Savannah, Georgia who spent 20 years on death row. Seven of nine key witnesses in the case against him, which rested primarily on witness testimony, recanted or changed their testimony, and some alleged that they were coerced by police. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

While Slaughter in the Philippines Continues, President Obama is Notably Silent

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte walks past honour guards before Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald Bato Dela Rosa's Assumption of Command Ceremony at the Camp Crame in Manila on July 1, 2016.  Authoritarian firebrand Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as the Philippines' president on June 30, after promising a ruthless and deeply controversial war on crime would be the main focus of his six-year term. / AFP / NOEL CELIS        (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

( NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

By T. Kumar, International Advocacy Director, Amnesty International USA

Media reports indicate that in the Philippines number of people killed by the police could be as high as 400 to 800 in the last few weeks. These cold blooded murders are committed by the police and vigilantes by the active encouragement and support of the President Duterte and his “shoot to kill” directive.  In essence President Duterte has become the “Cheer Leader” for these killings.


Just Off-Screen in Rio, a Community’s Homes Vanish in Olympic Shadow

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By Robyn Shepherd, Deputy Press Secretary, AIUSA

When you watch the Olympics this week, you will see plenty of Postcard Rio in between events. You’ll see the stunning natural beauty of the mountains that shoot dramatically up from the sugar sands of the coast. You’ll see people strolling the tiled seaside sidewalks in Copacabana. You’ll see shots of carefree Cariocas – residents of Rio – dancing to samba music or perusing colorful marketplaces.

Were those postcard camera views to pan out just a bit more, you would see a fence dividing the tennis and aquatics complexes from what looks like a weedy patch of ground on a lagoon dotted with a few homes – some intact, some gouged apart by bulldozers. The gleaming Olympic media center literally throws a shadow over the area. Welcome to the once-thriving community of Vila Autodrómo. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

10 Killings: The Tragic Story of the Barrios Family in Venezuela

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By Alex Roche, writer and campaigner

Imagine that one day your brother is at home with his two sons. Police enter his house, beat him and take him away, handcuffed. Imagine that later that day, he is taken to hospital, already dead, with gunshot wounds to his chest and stomach.

Now imagine that five years later another brother of yours is shot several times in the head and killed by the police, in the presence of your nephew. The following year, yet a third brother of yours is shot and killed, after having been threatened earlier that day by a policeman.

Hard to imagine, right? Well, this is not all. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Fighting the Demonization of Ordinary American Muslims—Like Me

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By Ali Albassam, Security with Human Rights volunteer

Newt Gingrich recently proposed that American Muslims be tested and questioned on their religious beliefs—and face deportation.

Gingrich told Fox News:

“The first step is you have to ask them the questions. The second step is you have to monitor what they’re doing on the Internet. The third step is, let me be very clear, you have to monitor the mosques.”

Gingrich’s comments are the latest in this trend: After horrific terrorism attacks, pundits take to cable news to offer discriminatory, anti-Muslim proposals and rhetoric. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

5 Things I Learned at Argentina’s #NiUnaMenos March against Femicide

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Credit: Trak Producciones

by Magdalena Medley, Thematic Specialist – Women’s Human Rights Co-Group at Amnesty International USA

On June 3, 2016, Argentinians took to the streets for a second time to tell their government “ni una menos” – meaning “not even one less (woman)” – demanding an end to femicide and increasing levels of violence against women in the country.

In 2015, when the first Ni Una Menos demonstration took place in my homeland of Argentina, I covered it from New York City. I wanted to be a part of this important time in my country’s history, even if only from overseas. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST