Families Torn Apart in the Name of Security

On World Refugee Day, we’re highlighting just some of the stories of millions of refugees around the world (Photo Credit: Reinnier Kaze/AFP/Getty Images).

On World Refugee Day, we’re highlighting just some of the stories of millions of refugees around the world (Photo Credit: Reinnier Kaze/AFP/Getty Images).

This piece was originally published by Daily Nation. To watch and read the testimonies of other refugees torn away from their families during Usalama Watch, visit www.tamuka.org and follow #1FamilyKenya on social media.

By Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa.

Last month, 18-year-old Ayaan suddenly found herself at the head of her household. Her mother and father had been arrested in Nairobi as part of the counter-terrorism operation dubbed ‘Usalama Watch.’

They were detained in Kasarani stadium before being forcibly relocated to Kakuma refugee camp over 500 miles away, leaving Ayaan alone to look after her seven brothers and sisters – all under the age of 10.

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UPDATE: Formal Ruling on Egypt’s Mass Death Sentences Set for Tomorrow

Relatives of the defendants react after an Egyptian court sentenced 638 Morsi backers to death in a mass trial in Egypt (Photo Credit: Ahmed Ismail/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

Relatives of the defendants react after an Egyptian court sentenced 638 Morsi backers to death in a mass trial in Egypt (Photo Credit: Ahmed Ismail/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

Lives are always at stake when the death penalty is involved. But when the new el-Sisi government is preparing to execute 683 Egyptians, something even more is at stake: the future of the Egyptian judiciary.

On Saturday, an Egyptian court will formally rule on the initial 683 death sentences handed out in April in a case involving the death of a police officer in the August 2013 protests that followed the removal of President Muhamad Morsi. The sentence followed only by a matter of days a second, similar case in which 528 Egyptians were given the death penalty.

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Iraq’s Crisis: 3 Quick Points for U.S. Policymakers

Kurdish Peshmerga forces stand guard in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on June 17 (Photo Credit: Onur Coban/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

Kurdish Peshmerga forces stand guard in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on June 17 (Photo Credit: Onur Coban/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

As the latest crisis in Iraq unfolds, here are three basic points for U.S. policymakers to keep in mind:

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A Wife Speaks: 10 Years in Prison and 1,000 Lashes for a Blog

Raif Badawi, co-founder of the

Raif Badawi, co-founder of the “Saudi Arabian Liberals” website, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals by Jeddah’s Criminal Court (Photo Credit: Private).

By Ensaf Haidar, Wife of Imprisoned Saudi Arabian Activist Raif Badawi

I still pursue that mirage…two years have passed and I am still faced with a scorching emptiness and a series of agonizing questions.

When will he be back, and in what condition? What will I put on, and how will I react? Should I hug him, kiss him, or should I cry?

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I Am Proof: Torture Exists in the United States

Darrell Cannon (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).

Darrell Cannon (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).

By Darrell Cannon, Torture Survivor and Activist 

My name is Darrell Cannon. I’m here to share the story of more than 100 people who were tortured by Chicago police under the command of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge.

I am a survivor. And I need your help.

On Nov. 2, 1983, a contingent of police officers burst into my family’s apartment and arrested me for murder.

On the way to Chicago’s Area 2 headquarters, they warned me that they had “a scientific way of interrogating n******.”

They later drove me to a secluded location, where they forced a shotgun in my mouth and pulled the trigger over and over again, making me believe it was loaded each time. They pulled my pants down and shocked me with a cattle prod on my genitals.

I confessed.

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Boko Haram: Now What?

Women hold banners during a march of Nigeria women and mothers of the kidnapped girls of Chibok, calling for their freedom (Photo Credit: Philip Ojisua/AFP/Getty Images).

Women hold banners during a march of Nigeria women and mothers of the kidnapped girls of Chibok, calling for their freedom (Photo Credit: Philip Ojisua/AFP/Getty Images).

Johanna Lee contributed to this post. 

In mid-April, Islamist armed group Boko Haram abducted 276 schoolgirls aged 15-18 from the village of Chibok in northeast Nigeria. The abductions triggered outrage, protests and a social media campaign criticizing the response of the Nigerian authorities and demanding a major effort to secure the freedom of the girls.

Yet, almost two months later, little, if any, progress has been made in freeing the kidnapped girls and the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and his security forces have failed to communicate a plan or even convince the families of the girls that they are doing all that they can to get the girls released.

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Can Angelina Jolie and the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict Help Stop This Crisis?

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie arriving at the airport in Sarajevo to visit Bosnia ahead of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 27, 2014 (Photo Credit: Samir Yordamovic/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie arriving at the airport in Sarajevo to visit Bosnia ahead of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 27, 2014 (Photo Credit: Samir Yordamovic/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

When a violent conflict emerges, it is women and girls who bear the brunt of the conflict in some of the most horrific ways imaginable.

For example, from 2006 to 2007, faced with a civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 400,000 girls and women between the ages of 15 and 49 were raped. In other words, every five minutes in the DRC, four women and girls were raped. These are human rights abuses perpetrated at an astounding rate.

These abuses have touched conflict zones across the world: from Bosnia to Syria to Colombia, and have become a prominent feature of modern armed conflict.

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Have You Seen What’s Happening in Thailand?

Protester raise three fingers representing liberty, brotherhood and equality during an anti-coup demonstration in Bangkok (Photo Credit: Piti A Sahakorn/LightRocket via Getty Images).

Protester raise three fingers representing liberty, brotherhood and equality during an anti-coup demonstration in Bangkok (Photo Credit: Piti A Sahakorn/LightRocket via Getty Images).

By Claudia Vandermade, Amnesty USA Southeast Asia Co-Group Chair and Action Network Coordinator

Despite the sunny resorts and hot weather, current events in Thailand are far from a Thai Spring.

The Thai military declared martial law on May 20. A military junta, calling itself the National Council on Peace and Order (NCPO), led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, announced on May 22 that it was taking over the administration of the country. Thai Winter descends.

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Amnesty Goes On the Ground as Repression Worsens in Turkey

A man protects a woman as they face a police officer dispersing protesters who gathered near Taksim square in Istanbul as the police blocked access to the square during the one year anniversary of the Gezi park and Taksim square demonstrations (Photo Credit: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images).

A man protects a woman as they face a police officer dispersing protesters who gathered near Taksim square in Istanbul as the police blocked access to the square during the one year anniversary of the Gezi park and Taksim square demonstrations (Photo Credit: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images).

On the first anniversary of the Gezi Protests and their brutal suppression in Turkey, central Istanbul resembled nothing so much as a city under occupation. Public transportation into the city center was cancelled. Ferry service from the Asian to the European side of the metropolis was ended by the late afternoon. You could leave, but you couldn’t come back.

This is the image of the new Turkey, where dissent is stifled with overwhelming force and massive police presence.

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