Update: Amnesty Observers at Convention Protests

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Amnesty International USA's human rights observers are ensuring that people can peacefully protest at conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia

Amnesty International USA’s human rights observers are ensuring that people can peacefully protest at conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia

Amnesty International USA has deployed a delegation of independent human rights observers to monitor protests at the Republican National Convention. We’ll be in Philadelphia next week doing the same thing at the Democratic National Convention.

This is the first time we’ve deployed human rights observers to political conventions in the U.S. We’re here because we’ve seen the right to peacefully protest being infringed upon at demonstrations around the country in the years and months leading up to the conventions.

Simply put, we’re here to help ensure that all people’s human rights are respected and protected – as only Amnesty can. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Attempts to Interfere with High Profile Trial in Guatemala

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Rosario Godoy de Cuevas speaks into a megaphone at a demonstration at a GAM in Guatemala, 1985.  Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM; Mutual Support Group) support group for families whose relatives had "disappeared".

Rosario Godoy de Cuevas speaks into a megaphone at a demonstration at a GAM in Guatemala, 1985. Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM; Mutual Support Group) support group for families whose relatives had “disappeared”.

Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action in response to the June 21 raid of Impunity Watch’s office in Guatemala. Three armed men forced their way into the office and then blindfolded the organization’s secretary and covered her mouth with duct tape before ransacking the files.

The Dutch NGO has been assisting the family of Marco Antonio Molina Theissen, the victim of an enforced disappearance in 1981. It’s offices were raided two days before the scheduled start of a trial against four high-ranking retired military officers for this crime. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Why Gun Violence is a Human Rights Crisis

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GUNVIOLENCE

Human rights are basic rights and freedoms that all people are entitled to regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, language, or other status.

Human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life, liberty and freedom of expression; and social, cultural and economic rights including the right to participate in culture, the right to food, and the right to work and receive an education. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

President Obama Must Appoint ATF Director to Stop the Flow of Illegal Guns

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US President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting with CNN's Anderson Cooper on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016. Obama announced limited measures two days ago to tackle rampant US gun violence and called on Americans to punish lawmakers who oppose more meaningful reforms.   AFP PHOTO/ NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Last month, President Obama unveiled a number of actions his administration will take to help curb the increasing number of gun violence incidents in the United States. Included in those actions are new guidelines to strengthen background checks, provide increased access to mental health care, explore gun safety technology and implement more aggressive enforcement of current laws.

One of the agencies tasked with helping to enforce those laws is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). As a bureau within the Department of Justice, the ATF plays a key role in stopping the illegal use and trafficking of firearms. This is an issue that doesn’t just impact people in the United States but also individuals around the world; for example, 70 percent of the more than 104,850 guns seized by Mexican authorities from 2009-2014 can be traced back to the United States. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Are U.S. weapons being used to kill Yemeni civilians?

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Watch Amnesty International USA’s Middle East North Africa Advocacy Director, Sunjeev Bery on CNN here.

Saudi Arabia-led coalition continue to indiscriminately bomb and kill civilians in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia-led coalition continue to indiscriminately bomb and kill civilians in Yemen.

It has been over a year since an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the Huthi armed group in Yemen sparking a full-blown armed conflict.

Over the following year, the conflict has spread and fighting has engulfed the entire country. Horrific human rights abuses, as well as war crimes, are being committed throughout the country causing unbearable suffering for civilians. Watch Sunjeev Bery, Advocacy Director for the Middle East North Africa at Amnesty International USA, discuss Yemen’s war and how the US-Saudi alliance makes it worse.

365 Days of War in Yemen

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Diplaced people who fled their homes after start of aerial bombardments by Saudi Arabia-led coalition now in IDPs camp in Khamir (Amran governorate) .

One year ago today, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the Huthi armed group in Yemen sparking a full-blown armed conflict.

Over the following year, the conflict has spread and fighting has engulfed the entire country. Horrific human rights abuses, as well as war crimes, are being committed throughout the country causing unbearable suffering for civilians. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Deadly Force Knows No Borders

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On March 15th, the International Day against Police Brutality will again remind the world of the lives lost and communities changed forever due to the unlawful use of deadly force by police.

Last year, we released our “Deadly Force” report, highlighting the increasing number of individuals killed by police in the United States. One of the most disturbing findings of the report, noted that all 50 states and Washington, D.C. fail to comply with international law and standards on the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers, and with more than 16,000 police departments across the country, the lack of consistency is evident.  SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Turning a Blind Eye on Impunity in Nigeria

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A student stands in a burnt classroom burnt by the Islamist group Boko Haram to keep children away from school in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, May 12, 2012. (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/GettyImages)

A student stands in a burnt classroom burnt by the Islamist group Boko Haram to keep children away from school in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, May 12, 2012. (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/GettyImages)

Last week’s announcement that the US plans to deploy military advisors to assist the Nigerian government fight Boko Haram and is considering restarting the training of an infantry battalion, despite the lack of investigation by Nigerian authorities in to possible war crimes and possible crimes against humanity by the Nigerian military should raise alarm bells. In the absence of concrete action to investigate possible atrocities the Obama administration risks giving its seal of approval to impunity. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

What’s the State of Human Rights Around the World?

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In 2015, Amnesty International investigated the human rights situation in 160 countries and territories worldwide. Progress continued in some areas, but many people and communities faced grave human rights abuses.

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At least 113 countries arbitrarily restricted freedom of expression and the press. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Who Is Responsible for Arming Islamic State?

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Militant Islamist fighters on a tank take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. Militant Islamist fighters held a parade in Syria's northern Raqqa province to celebrate their declaration of an Islamic "caliphate" after the group captured territory in neighbouring Iraq, a monitoring service said. The Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot previously known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), posted pictures online on Sunday of people waving black flags from cars and holding guns in the air, the SITE monitoring service said.  REUTERS/Stringer (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT)

Militant Islamist fighters on a tank take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province on June 30, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer

By Susan Waltz, Military, Security, Police Co-Group, Amnesty International USA

Masked militants dressed head to toe in dark jumpsuits, lifting black flags and brandishing Kalashinov (AK-47) rifles: that is the now-iconic image of the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS). Over the past few years IS has amassed a vast arsenal, which it has deployed to commit a staggering array of atrocities with open disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law. Without hesitation, the IS military campaign has targeted its small arms and artillery at civilians – abducting, torturing, raping, and summarily executing people across Iraqi and Syrian territory. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST