Afghan independent civil society activists pay tribute to the victims of Taliban suicide attack on a restaurant in Kabul (Photo Credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images).
By Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International Afghanistan Researcher
As soon as I told my family I was planning to return to Afghanistan at this time of year, they started to worry. Every year around now – Nowruz, when Afghans celebrate the New Year – the Taliban spring offensive starts.
When I landed in Kabul, I heard from different people how the security situation has deteriorated – the driver on the way to my hotel, the shopkeepers, civil society workers and human rights defenders. The biggest worry was that the Taliban are increasingly targeting civilians.
Amnesty staff in India speak to Gnanapragasam, one of the four men sentenced to death in 2002 in south India. All four had their sentences commuted to life on January 21, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).
EDITOR’S NOTE: On Wednesday, Amnesty International will release its 2014 global Death Penalty report. Some believe that using the death penalty is fine as long as the public supports it. But history is littered with human rights violations that were supported by the majority, but were subsequently looked upon with horror, such as slavery, racial segregation and lynching. Here, independent filmmaker and Amnesty India Campaigner Kadambari Gladding, discusses turning the tide of public option in India, where public option increasingly favors the death penalty.
“A murder for murder cannot be justice,” Mani told me as we walked down the corridor of the school he went to with his friend Simon some four decades ago. Mani still lives in the same village, while Simon has been on death row for nearly 10 years. Mani is a quiet person, but some things – like the death penalty – move him to rare, long conversations.
By Rebecca Landy, Women’s Human Rights Coordination Group
Saturday, March 8 is International Women’s Day – a day marking global recognition of women’s rights. International Women’s Day (IWD) was first celebrated in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland as a day of demanding women’s rights to work, hold office, and vote. It wasn’t until 1975 that it was given official U.N. recognition. Every year, the U.N. designates a theme for the day.
Writer/director/producer Joshua Oppenheimer of ‘The Act of Killing’ poses during 2012 Toronto International Film Festival (Photo Credit: Matt Carr/Getty Images).
By Claudia Vandermade, Amnesty USA Southeast Asia Co-Group Chair and Action Network Coordinator and Max White, Amnesty USA Country Specialist for Indonesia and Timor-Lesté
I had every possible appendage crossed as the Oscar for Best Documentary was announced on Sunday evening. The best documentary, film, makeup (just take a look – you’ll see what I mean) and more was The Act of Killing. The Academy chickened out and went with safe; handing the award to one of its own, lest they risk discomfort.
14-year-old Feroze Khan breaks down after hearing his parents talk about his younger brother who died in Malakpur camp due to cold. More than 50 children and many old age people have died because of cold and lack of medical facilities in the relief camps set up for Muzaffarnagar riots victims (Photo Credit: Raj k Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images).
NOTE: This blog has been updated due to changing circumstances on the ground.
By James Mutti, India Country Specialist, Amnesty International USA
The riots that killed over 50 people and engulfed the northern Indian district of Muzaffarnagar in August and September of 2013 have been over for months.
During Hurricane Sandy, NPR posted this image showing soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery guarding the tomb of the unknown soldiers. Though the outlet reported it was taken during the storm, it was actually taken several weeks before (Photo Credit: NPR).
A few days ago, the Afghan government published an investigation into an airstrike by international forces on January 15, 2014, that reportedly killed several Afghan civilians. The investigation relied heavily on photographs and a video showing the aftermath of the strike.
By Natalie Butz, Communications Specialist at Amnesty International USA
It’s rare Amnesty activists get a moment to stop and take a breath. But with the start of a new year comes the opportunity to take stock of the progress we’ve made and the successes we helped accomplish in 2013. There’s still much to be done, but we hope the list below will help inspire all of us in the year to come:
Yorm Bopha was 29 when she was arrested on September 4, 2012 on spurious charges. She is a prominent activist from the Boeung Kak Lake community who is facing up to five years’ imprisonment if found guilty at her trial. She is a prisoner of conscience (Photo Credit: Jenny Holligan).
1. In 52 years, Amnesty International activists have helped free tens of thousands of Prisoners of Conscience around the world. In 2013, we continued that trend. Human rights activists freed this year included Yorm Bopha in Cambodia, Kartam Joga in India, Filipino poet Ericson Acosta, Yemeni journalist Abdul Ilah Haydar Shayi’ and Iranian human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh.
On December 2nd, 1984, a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, began leaking 27 tons of the deadly gas methyl isocyanate. Half a million people were exposed to the gas and 25,000 have died to date as a result of their exposure (Photo Credit: Giles Clarke/Getty Images).
By Joe Westby, Corporate Campaigner at Amnesty International Online
This week marked the 29th anniversary of one of the world’s worst-ever industrial disasters: the infamous gas leak from a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India that, on the night of December 2-3, 1984, killed thousands. Many more have been left to suffer since then, given the abject failure by both the Indian government and the companies involved to provide survivors and their families with an adequate remedy and justice.