As the latest crisis in Iraq unfolds, here are three basic points for U.S. policymakers to keep in mind:
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?
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.
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.
By Haitham Ghoniem, Egyptian Human Rights Activist and Researcher at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
It was in the first week of this April, before noon prayers, when the doorbell rang. My mother saw a muscular man dressed in a white shirt and trousers standing at the door. She was too scared to open it, especially as he looked like a military man.
He rang the bell several times. When no one answered, he asked our neighbor if someone named Haitham Ghoniem lived here. He questioned her about my whereabouts. Then he proceeded to scour the entire building.
My mother called and warned me not to come home ever again.
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.
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.
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.
One of the most powerful voices for Syrian human rights has been silenced for nearly six months. Iconic activist Razan Zaitouneh and three of her colleagues were abducted Dec. 9 in Douma, a city outside Damascus under the control of a number of armed opposition groups.
The abduction of Zaitouneh, Wa’el Hamada, Samira Khalil, and Nazem Hamadi is clouded in mystery as no group has come forward to claim responsibility. But Amnesty International and 44 other international organizations joined together this week to ask Zahran Alloush, commander of Jaysh al-Islam, one of the most influential groups controlling the Douma area, to help ensure Razan and her colleagues are released safely.
Last week’s mining disaster in Turkey represented more than simply an industrial accident, but raised very real human rights concerns. The government’s response in the last week, however, have only heightened these concerns.