Secretary of State Kerry embarks today on a trip to Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola. The trip offers a key opportunity to refocus U.S. leadership on the deteriorating respect for human rights by the ruling governments in Addis Ababa and Luanda and on the need for more leadership on good governance by the government of President Kabila in Kinshasa.
In a lightning-fast trial, the same Egyptian judge who originally sentenced 528 Egyptians to death ordered 683 more to be executed – including the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
This new verdict is the largest single batch of simultaneous death sentences Amnesty has recently seen anywhere in the world.
By Nate Smith, Chairperson – Military, Security and Police Transfers Co-Group, Amnesty International USA
When a government violates human rights on a mass scale – jailing opposition activists and journalists on trumped up charges, arresting hundreds of protesters at once, passing draconian laws to suppress public opinion – they should be held accountable. It’s not always a clear-cut or simple task for the international community, but we must identify some simple dos and don’ts.
Do: Provide support for human rights and government accountability.
Don’t: Sell advanced, highly lethal killing machines to a government engaged in a crackdown on personal freedoms.
“We are…troubled by news reports that the police had announced the murder was carried out by someone close to Sr. Mejia Orellana before any investigation had yet begun.”
-Statement by U.S. Representatives James McGovern (MA), Sam Farr (CA), and Janice Schakowsky (IL)
On April 11, unidentified assailants stabbed Carlos Mejía to death in his home in Yoro, Honduras. Mejía was the marketing director of Radio Progreso and a member of the Reflection, Investigation and Communication Team (Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación, ERIC). Both Radio Progeso and ERIC are Jesuit organizations known for their work defending human rights in Honduras.
The first step to ending impunity is a thorough investigation that correctly identifies the culprits so that they can be tried and punished. Why, then, did Honduran police announce that they had decided to pursue a narrow investigation focusing on “someone close to Sr. Mejia?”
An Egyptian court has shocked the world by issuing a mass death sentence to 528 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi for their alleged role in a riot last July that turned violent.
This is the largest number of death sentences handed down in one case Amnesty International has seen in recent years.
This is not justice. It’s the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, and it could be an attempt to wipe out political opposition. But the Egyptian authorities may yield to local and international pressure to overturn the convictions.
In the past couple of weeks, Viet Nam has released 3 prominent prisoners of conscience: Nguyen Tien Trung, Vi Duc Hoi and Cu Huy Ha Vu.
The release of the 3 prisoners seems, at first glance, to be a step in the right direction for human rights. But, is this Viet Nam playing the old “shell game?”
Earlier this month, voters in Afghanistan cast their ballots in what is arguably the most crucial election in the history of Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.The elections represent much more than the appointment of a president. For Afghanistan, which is nearing the end of a critical security transition, it signals the beginning of a new era.
The protection and promotion of human rights, especially those of women and girls, are critical to bringing security and stability to Afghanistan. Despite the challenging situation for women’s human rights in Afghanistan, women have worked hard to regain and advance their rights since the Taliban regime was ousted in late 2001.
By Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty International Zimbabwe Researcher
On Friday, April 18, 2014, Zimbabwe commemorates 34 years of independence. As usual, there will be the official gatherings and speeches to remind us of the journey to independence.
Amid all the pomp and ceremony, I dare remind people that Zimbabwe remains a country where organizing a peaceful protest can land you behind bars.
Two things happened this week reminding us of the many human rights challenges facing the country today.
In Turkey, 29 men and women are about to go on trial for Twitter messages they sent during the Gezi Protests last June. This is another ugly step in the Turkish government’s increasingly intense war on dissent. It is important to let the government – as well as those on trial – know that the whole world is watching.
By Alice Dahle, Amnesty USA’s Women’s Human Rights Coordination Group
Before and during World War II, as the Japanese Imperial Army occupied countries throughout the Asia Pacific region, they deceived, abducted or otherwise forced an estimated 200,000 women and girls, some as young as 12 years old, into a system of sexual slavery.