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
Protestors, activists, and community members listen to speeches at a candlelight vigil held for Jamar Clark on November 20 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
One year ago today, on the evening of November 24, 2014, I remember watching one of the most anticipated legal decisions since the O.J. Simpson verdict. This was the night that St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the shooting of Mr. Michael Brown.
One year later, my thoughts are 550 miles away in Minneapolis, MN, dealing with another police shooting of an unarmed black man. As in Ferguson, the community is protesting the targeting of black lives and the shooting of Mr. Jamar Clark. Community members are being arrested for expressing their constitutional right to peacefully assemble while the victim is being demonized as a criminal without the opportunity to defend himself, and the officers protected from the scrutiny of the citizens that they are sworn to protect. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Rasha Abdul Rahim, Advocate/Adviser on Arms Control, Security Trade & Human Rights at Amnesty International
Governments are meeting today in Geneva to discuss what to do about “Killer Robots”. Amnesty International is calling for the creation of a formal negotiation process with a view to establishing a new global ban on lethal and less-lethal “Killer Robots”, both on the battlefield and in policing operations. Here are 10 reasons why such a ban is essential. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
“They’ve already taken my husband. I’m not going to succumb to fear,” wife of disappeared Lao agriculture specialist tells audience.
How does one suddenly disappear from a busy city street?
In 2005, in recognition of his community leadership, Sombath Somphone won the Ramon Magsaysay Award, considered Asia’s Nobel Prize. Sombath has played a key role in supporting the development of civil society in Laos. Sombath founded the Participatory Development Training Centre in 1996 to promote education, leadership skills and sustainable development in Laos.
As we tick past the one-year anniversary of Mike Brown’s death, we find ourselves in the midst of yet another state of emergency in St. Louis, protestors again lining the streets of West Florissant Avenue, and seemingly a new name added every day to the list of people -mostly people of color- killed at the hands of police.
I’m seeing this all from a room in St. Louis, and I can’t help but wonder: Why am I here? Has progress been made or is history repeating itself? SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Demonstrators march through the Manguinhos favela to protest against police killings of blacks on August 22, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Every year, Brazil’s police are responsible for around 2,000 deaths, one of the highest rates in the world. Many of the deaths in Rio involve blacks killed in favelas, also known as slums. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Here in the United States, we know the names. Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. Walter Scott. Freddie Gray. Rekia Boyd. All African Americans killed by police.
But we don’t know the names of Eduardo de Jesus Ferreira — 10 years old and shot by police who mistook a phone for a gun. Or Alan de Souza Lima — who at 15 was filming his friends laughing and joking and unwittingly captured his own death seconds later in a hail of bullets. Or Claudia da Silva Ferreira, a 38-year-old mother who was wounded in a police shootout, tossed out of the unsecured back door of a police vehicle and fatally dragged 1,000 feet.
Memorial for Michael Brown on August 22, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Joshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images
Since Darren Wilson fatally shot unarmed Michael Brown last August in Ferguson, Missouri, we have been bombarded with images across the country of police officers using unnecessary or excessive force. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
After months of anticipation by the global community, the Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014 finally arrived on June 25, a mere six months into 2015. This beguiling page-turner, which provides us with a summary of the state of human rights around the world, highlights virtually every country yet somehow manages to gloss over, or omit altogether, the human rights violations occurring in the United States (#closeGuantanamo).
Amnesty International USA, along with several other human rights groups, continues towelcome the reports as a potentially valuable roadmap to guide U.S. foreign policy. They offer a detailed look at the human rights situation in particular countries and often indicate developing political and human rights crises, but sadly, they have historically been ignored by the very government that produces them.
The Obama administration has repeatedly stated that human rights are a priority of its foreign policy. If that is the case, then we urge the administration to look at the reports of the countries flagged below and assess whether those countries should be receiving security or financial assistance, or whether supporting governments that treat people so poorly is a sensible investment of U.S. taxpayers’ dollars.
Destroyed home of al-Akwa family in which five civilians were killed in two consecutive airstrikes on 13 June 2015. (Credit: Amnesty International)
By Ali Azizi, Yemen Country Specialist for Amnesty International USA
Despite more than 100 days of heavy fighting, the impoverished country of Yemen is facing a humanitarian crisis that you most likely haven’t heard of.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates there are more than 21 million people – 80 percent of the population — in need of aid throughout the country. All essential supplies, from food to fuel to medical supplies, are in severe shortage.