U.S. Corporations in Myanmar Asked to Come Clean

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Villagers shout slogans as they protest against a Chinese-backed copper mine project, in Monywa northern Myanmar on March 13, 2013.  Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi urged protesters on March 13 to accept a controversial Chinese-backed mine that was the scene of a violent crackdown last year, or risk hurting the economy.   AFP PHOTO/ Soe Than WIN        (Photo credit should read Soe Than WIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Villagers shout slogans as they protest against a copper mine project, in Monywa northern Myanmar (Soe Than WIN/AFP/Getty Images)

By Larry Dohrs and Simon Billenness, Business and Human Rights Group, Amnesty International USA

For many people around the world, their most direct contact with the United States is through the operations of American corporations. So it is in our interest that these companies respect human rights, generating good will towards the United States and its people. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Will President Obama Respect Indian Judiciary?

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US President Barack Obama speaks on US - India relations during a townhall event at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi on January 27, 2015. US President Barack Obama warned January 27 that the world does not "stand a chance against climate change" unless developing countries such as India reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama speaks on US – India relations during a townhall event at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

By T. Kumar, International Advocacy Director for Amnesty International USA

As President Obama is about to host Indian Prime Minister Modi on June 7th to discuss series of issues, one issue is not going to be on the table. The case in point is the summons served by an Indian court to a US based multinational company for the deaths of thousands as a result of a poisonous gas leak in Bhopal in India over thirty years ago. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

If We Fail Our Environment, We Fail to Protect Our Human Rights

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“If we fail our environment, we fail to protect our human rights.” -Ban Ki-moon

Human rights, dignity, livelihood, health and wellbeing are directly correlated with the health of the environment. We have seen time and time again that corporate actions often have devastating effects on the human rights of individuals around the world. From the Bhopal chemical disaster to the oil spills in the Niger Delta, failures to protect our environment impact the lives of millions and have ongoing and devastating consequences for future generations. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Angola’s Activist to Prison Pipeline

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Angola is an oil rich country on the Southwestern coast of Africa. It’s made untold billions since its civil war ended in 2003, pumping oil from the Cabinda province, located at the northern tip of the country and bordering the Republic of the Congo. Cabinda is also known for a separatist movement that has at times engaged in violence. The recent slump in oil prices has had serious repercussions across Angola. Citizens are suffering and the government is increasingly intolerant of dissent. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

What’s the State of Human Rights Around the World?

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In 2015, Amnesty International investigated the human rights situation in 160 countries and territories worldwide. Progress continued in some areas, but many people and communities faced grave human rights abuses.

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At least 113 countries arbitrarily restricted freedom of expression and the press. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

What do you know about your batteries?

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By Dr. Rebecca DeWinter-Schmitt, Director, Human Rights in Business Program, Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, American University Washington College of Law 

Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. They are in your mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and cameras, and even power electric cars. But did you know that cobalt is a key component of those batteries? Where does cobalt come from? More than half of the world’s cobalt is supplied by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The DRC and conflict minerals probably rings a bell. It’s well-known that the global trade in the 3Ts (tin, tungsten, tantalum) and gold has financed abusive armed groups in the DRC and fueled conflict. While cobalt is not a conflict mineral, artisanal miners mine cobalt in the southern part of the country under extremely dangerous and abusive work conditions, which are similar to the conditions in eastern DRC where conflict minerals are extracted. A new Amnesty report, This is What We Die For, traces the cobalt supply chain from the artisanal miners to the big brands selling electronic devices, and exposes all the governments and companies along the way that have turned a blind eye to the human rights violations suffered by the miners. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Child Labor Behind Smartphones Exposed

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Cobalt Mining in the DRC

Major electronics brands, including Apple, Samsung and Sony, are failing to do basic checks to ensure that cobalt mined by child laborers has not been used in their products, said Amnesty International and Afrewatch in a report published today.

The report, This is What We Die For: Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Power the Global Trade in Cobalt, traces the sale of cobalt, used in lithium-ion batteries, from mines where children as young as seven and adults work in perilous conditions.

“The glamorous shop displays and marketing of state of the art technologies are a stark contrast to the children carrying bags of rocks, and miners in narrow manmade tunnels risking permanent lung damage,” said Mark Dummett, Business & Human Rights Researcher at Amnesty International. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Angola: Journalist Rafael Marques Convicted for Writing a Book

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There is a short distance between freedom and conviction in Angola. For journalist and human rights activist Rafael Marques de Morais, it was one week.

Rafael went to court last Thursday and thought he reached a settlement agreement on charges of criminal defamation. Today, he received a 6 month prison sentence suspended for two years. Amnesty had called for all charges to be dropped.

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Diamonds Last Forever, Humans Rights Abuses Must Not: 4 Reasons You Should Care Rafael Marques Is On Trial

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Rafael. trial. March 23-2015

Contributed by Amnesty USA’s Angola Country Specialist Paula Paixao.

Amnesty is urging the Angolan government drop all charges against journalist Rafael Marques de Morais. Rafael’s work is seen as a potential threat to the security of the regime. Read below to see how you raise your voice with us by joining our Twitter storm. But first, here’s why you should: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Tech and Human Rights: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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As someone whose job it is to take advantage of technological progress for human rights research and advocacy, I am a strong proponent of using new tools and methods to advance Amnesty International’s goals. There is a proven track record of how technology can help human rights researchers and defenders in their daily work. However, any debate on this topic should not overlook the increasing challenges and threats that new technologies and digital networks pose for our profession. I am increasingly interested in exploring this undeniable tension, and I am fortunate enough to moderate a panel related to this topic Amnesty International USA’s Annual General Meeting in Brooklyn this weekend (full details below). SEE THE REST OF THIS POST