How Many More Will Die For Saying ‘I Love You’?

By Anna Bacciarelli, Assistant Editor at Amnesty International

‘I’m very much in love with you.’

In 2011, Roger Jean-Claude Mbede texted someone to tell them he loved them. Because he was texting in Cameroon, and because it was to another man, Roger was arrested. The police interrogated him for days, stripping him naked and beating him.

After a trial where he was denied legal representation, Roger was jailed for three years on charges of ‘homosexuality and attempted homosexuality’ and locked in an overcrowded prison where he was sexually assaulted, refused vital medical treatment and beaten by prison guards.

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THIS EXISTS: Country Where A Teenager Was Arrested For Ordering T-Shirts

Angolan riot policemen stand in front of hundreds of demonstrators protesting against the killings of two young opposition activists in Luanda (Photo Credit: Estelle Maussion/AFP/Getty Images).

Angolan riot policemen stand in front of hundreds of demonstrators protesting against the killings of two young opposition activists in Luanda (Photo Credit: Estelle Maussion/AFP/Getty Images).

The rights to freedom of assembly and expression are guaranteed in the Angolan Constitution. Nevertheless, the Angolan government has become increasingly oppressive against peaceful protesters, journalists, and opposition politicians.

A new generation of young Angolans have come together to speak out against the regime and call for political change. A wave of protests that began in early 2011 continues to thrive in the face of government restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression.

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What It’s Like on the Ground in the Central African Republic

A man holds a rifle as he walks in a street of Bangui, Central African Republic (Photo Credit: Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images).

A man holds a rifle as he walks in a street of Bangui, Central African Republic (Photo Credit: Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images).

By Susanna Flood, Amnesty International’s Director of Media 

On the surface, everything is quiet in Bangui, the tiny capital city of the Central African Republic. Strangely quiet. But behind this silence, stories of devastation are emerging. The city is calm, but people are afraid.

There are virtually no cars on the road and an eerie silence is hanging over the city.  And then you hear a short burst of gunfire coming from one of the various quartiers which have been beset by fighting since early yesterday or French fighter jets do a sudden and unexpected fly-pass, making their presence in the city known.

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The Greatest Way to Honor Nelson Mandela’s Legacy

Nelson Mandela poses after receiving the Amnesty International "Ambassador of Conscience" Award in Johannesburg on November 1, 2006 (Photo Credit: Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images).

Nelson Mandela poses after receiving the Amnesty International “Ambassador of Conscience” Award in Johannesburg on November 1, 2006 (Photo Credit: Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images).

Sarah Hager, Chair of the Southern Africa Co-Group, contributed to this post.

A few hours ago, the world learned of the passing of Nelson Mandela. There are few people in the world who inspired so much reverence and devotion. Through all he did to advance human rights issues, Mandela became a living symbol of love and forgiveness, perseverance and redemption.

Mandela’s courage helped change our entire world. His life of political struggle and self-sacrifice became, and remains, an example to millions around the globe. His name is now synonymous with the struggle of people everywhere for freedom, equality and justice and is a reminder that we must stay determined to confront injustice.

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What Everyone Should Know About Rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo

A ten-year-old girl who was raped twice in  ten days surrounded by other raped victims and a counselor (Photo Credit:  ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

A ten-year-old girl who was raped twice in ten days surrounded by other raped victims and a counselor (Photo Credit: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images).

By Rebecca Landy, Women’s Human Rights Coordination Group with the Democratic Republic of Congo Country Specialists

For almost two decades, armed conflict has ravaged the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). During this time, civilians have faced persistent human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, including unlawful killings, rape, and sexual violence.

An October 2013 report by the Ministry of Gender stressed the high rates of sexual violence in areas of armed conflict – citing approximately 7,000 cases of sexual violence in North Kivu province in 2011 alone. As sexual violence is usually largely under-reported, the actual number is likely even higher.

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