Journalists Silenced in Myanmar: Free the Unity Five

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By Laura Haigh, Amnesty International Myanmar team

Journalists critical of the authorities in Myanmar pay dearly for their stories. Five journalists at the Unity newspaper paid with their freedom. On World Press Freedom Day we remind the government of their promises to foster a free press and demand freedom for the ‘Unity Five’.

“What I want is more media freedom.” These are the words of Tint San, Chief Executive Officer at the Unity newspaper in Myanmar during his trial. His crime? Doing his job. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Kazakhstan: Reject Anti-LGBT “Propaganda” Law

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Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev  (Sean Gallup/Getty Images))

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev (Sean Gallup/Getty Images))

Following in the steps of Russia’s draconian 2013 anti-LGBT law, Kazakhstan’s Senate has passed a similar law banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation.”

This new legislation – the Law on the Protection of Children from Information Harming their Health and Development – now awaits President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s signature.

Amnesty International calls on President Nazarbayev to reject this discriminatory law. While the legislation’s complete text has not been made available to the public, and while Kazakhstani authorities have not responded to Amnesty International’s request for a copy of the full law, the local media have quoted members of Parliament referring to provisions that clearly discriminate against LGBT people in Kazakhstan. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

There were at least 607 executions in 2014. So what?

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By Chiara Sangiorgio, Death Penalty Researcher at Amnesty International

The numbers behind our latest overview of the global use of the death penalty, released today, tell a chilling story: 607 people were executed in 22 countries and at least 2,466 men and women were sentenced to death in 55 countries in 2014 alone.

But, alarming as they are, the figures paint a partial picture of the true extent to which people are hanged, shot or given the lethal injection across the world.

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Torture Is More “Fun” in the Philippines

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Anyone arrested on suspicion of criminal activity in the Philippines risks being tortured or ill-treated in police custody. Many victims are children and almost all are from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Anyone arrested on suspicion of criminal activity in the Philippines risks being tortured or ill-treated in police custody. Many victims are children and almost all are from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Nerve Macaspac, Country Specialist for the Philippines, Amnesty International USA

Torture not only remains prevalent in the country but has also become a form of entertainment for its police.

In January 2014, Amnesty International revealed the discovery of a secret torture cell in a police intelligence facility in Laguna, Philippines. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

What’s behind the arrests in Turkey?

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Over two dozen people were arrested in raids against media critical of Turkish president. (OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

Over two dozen people were arrested in raids against media critical of Turkish president. (OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

A wave of arrests Sunday morning shook Turkey and made headline news throughout the world.  The arrests, which are part of a broad campaign against the Gülen Movement, were hardly a surprise.  A twitter user had leaked information about it some days in advance, it was preceded by some typically fire-breathing speeches by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the Istanbul Prosecutor’s office issued a press release before the arrests were made.  In total 27 people were arrested, including a number of journalists and media figures.

Along with other human rights organizations, Amnesty has called on Turkish authorities to release those arrested yesterday unless authorities can produce “credible evidence that they have committed a recognizably criminal offense.” SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Father Demands Justice for Son Spending his 5th Consecutive Birthday in Prison

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Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Prisoners of Conscience in Viet Nam

Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Prisoners of Conscience in Viet Nam

By Huong Nguyen, AIUSA Country Specialist on Viet Nam

How did you spend your last birthday? Did you do something fun to celebrate?
On November 29, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, a Vietnamese prisoner of conscience, had to spend his 5th consecutive birthday in prison.

Thuc was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment followed by five years’ house arrest on 20 January 2010 for blogging about political and economic issues in Viet Nam. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

My Mom is in Prison for Standing up for Human Rights in China

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An act of kindness transformed Liu Ping from a factory worker into a passionate anti-corruption activist in China. Her daughter, 22-year-old Liao Minyue, tells their story.

LiuPingDaughter

My mother, Liu Ping, was just an ordinary Chinese woman with a kind heart.

We were very close. I chose to live with her after my parents divorced about 10 years back. We never fought, not even once. We used to go to the markets to collect old and unwanted vegetables for food. It never once struck me as anything to be ashamed of. On the contrary, those were warm and intimate times, because we were together.

But one night, everything changed. My mom was moonlighting as a street vendor in the evenings to supplement her monthly income of RMB 800 (130 US Dollars) as an iron and steel plant worker.  SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Good News! Afghan Authorities Commit to Ensure Brishna’s Safety

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(FARSHAD USYAN/AFP/Getty Images)

(FARSHAD USYAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Victory! Following the sentencing of Brishna’s rapist, Afghan authorities have now committed to ensuring Brishna’s protection.

In May 2014, Brishna, a 10-year-old girl from Kunduz province, was raped by a local mullah.  She was able to receive medical treatment and protection thanks to the assistance of the organization Women for Afghan Women, but members of her family and community threatened to kill her and “dump her in the river” simply because she was a victim of this crime. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

One of the World’s Worst Industrial Disasters Exposed on the Big Screen

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Bhopal

Bhopal – A Prayer for Rain releases in the US on November 7th.

My name is Ravi Kumar, director and co-writer of the film Bhopal-A Prayer For Rain. I want you to take a second and imagine what your life would be like today if your parents not only died in an industrial disaster that could have been avoided, but those responsible had evaded punishment for 30 years.

What is an impossible thought for me, is a horrifying reality for the families of more than 20,000 women, men, and children who have died following the 1984 toxic gas leak at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Hong Kong: I have not seen anything like this in decades

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Pro-democracy protesters put their hands up in the air in front of the police in Hong Kong on September 28, 2014. Police fired tear gas as tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators. (Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)

Pro-democracy protesters put their hands up in the air in front of the police in Hong Kong on September 28, 2014. Police fired tear gas as tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators. (Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)

By Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International in Hong Kong.

The streets of Hong Kong are hard to recognize these days. The exhilarating energy filling the city’s main roads, crowded with hopeful protesters, is something I have not seen since I was a young student back in 1989, when we took to the streets in solidarity with the Tiananmen protesters.

But not even then had so many people taken to the streets in Hong Kong – nor had the police’s response been so brutal. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST