I am sure that many of you have recently heard or read about the armed conflicts and humanitarian crises in Syria and the Sudan (the latter thanks to some serious attention from celebrity actors and journalists). Less attention is being given to a country that is facing its worst human rights crisis in half a century: Mali.
The regional organization ECOWAS has been very invested in mitigating the crisis and is even preparing to send in troops. While these regional efforts are backed by the United States and other international actors, Mali’s crisis is not getting the attention it deserves and rarely makes the headlines.
Turkish police arrest a Kurdish boy during a demonsration in main Kurdish city Diyarbakir on December 31, 2011 as they protest aginst a Turkish air raid.
In 2010 the Turkish Parliament, reacting to criticism by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations, modified their Anti-Terrorism Laws to end the prosecution of children in adult courts solely for taking part in demonstrations. Despite this change, children, and particularly Kurdish children, continued to be arrested, prosecuted, jailed and abused under other provisions in the Turkish Anti-Terrorism laws.
A Romani family wash with water from the polluted stream nearby their home in an informal settlement in Slovenia. Water from the polluted stream is used for washing, cooking, bathing and drinking.
Earlier this month, the UN made a major announcement: the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target on access to safe drinking water worldwide has been met.
This comes years ahead of the 2015 deadline, and is one of the first of the MDG targets—focused on reduction of extreme poverty and associated development issues—to be met. Yes, it’s a huge accomplishment. But, it masks extraordinary human rights violations.
Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanda Dyilo listens at the International Criminal Court. MARCEL ANTONISSE/AFP/Getty Images
Today, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced a historic decision, finding Thomas Lubanga Dyilo – the alleged founder of a vicious Congolese armed rebel group – guilty of war crimes for his use and abuse ofchild soldiers during the armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between 2002 and 2003.
Lubanga’s conviction sets a historic precedent for international justice and accountability for those who commit the most unspeakable of crimes. Crimes like rape. Torture. Enslavement. Crimes common among Lubanda’s Union of Congolese Patriots and its armed wing, the FPLC.
Just moments ago U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a comprehensive new plan by the U.S. government to help protect women and girls in conflict zones and ensure that peace processes include women.
The new plan by the Administration is the first ever U.S. national action plan and Executive Order to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Often dubbed “the women’s resolution,” UNSC Resolution 1325 recognizes that significant action is needed to protect women and girls from armed conflict and include them in peace-building. States have been asked to create a national action plan to specifically address the issue of women, peace and security.
Amnesty International, one member of a 20 member strong coalition of major international humanitarian and human rights organizations that work in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), issued a joint press release yesterday announcing that there has been a record number of unlawful demolitions by the Israeli authorities in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, over the past year, displacing a record number of Palestinian families from their homes and calling on the Middle East Quartet to change their failing approach.
The Middle East Quartet, made up of representatives from the United States, Russia, the United Nations and European Union, is currently meeting in Jerusalem in an attempt to restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Christi Cheramie was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole at the age of 16 in 1994.
While their peers are finding dates for prom, submitting college applications, and starting families, over 2,500 prisoners sit behind bars in the US without the possibility of parole. What makes these prisoners unique is that they were all sentenced for crimes committed while they were children.
The US is the only country in the world that pursues life imprisonment without parole against children – and it does so regularly. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child expressly prohibits life imprisonment without the possibility of release committed by people under 18 years old. All countries except the USA and Somalia have ratified the Convention.
Americans under the age of 18 are barred from many activities including voting, buying alcohol, gambling, or consenting to most forms of medical treatment, yet children as young as 11 at the time of the crime have faced life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. This needs to change.
Fall is my favorite time of year: the air is cooler, the leaves are pretty, Amnesty International student groups are back together again, and people start signing up for the Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon.
In this—the world’s largest human rights event—we use letters, cards and more to demand the human rights of individuals are respected, protected and fulfilled. We show solidarity with those suffering abuses and work to improve people’s lives.
On October 10th, Zimbabwe went before the United Nations Human Rights Council to answer concerns about the country’s human rights record. One issue Amnesty raised in its submission to the Council is the lingering effects of Operation Murambatsvina.
In 2005, the government of Zimbabwe destroyed homes and businesses in informal settlements, displacing an estimated 700,000 people. This is the same as wiping out the entire city of Columbus, Ohio. Since then, the government has failed to address the needs of these people in any meaningful fashion.