Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the Taliban’s attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai. Malala, then a 15-year-old girl in Pakistan, bravely stood up against the Taliban’s ban on girls’ education and was shot by Taliban gunmen hoping to scare her and others like her into silence. The Taliban’s efforts failed and Malala survived. She has refused to be silent about girls’ human right to education – and instead, has become an internationally recognized spokeswoman for it.
By Maha Abu Shama, Syria Campaigner at Amnesty International
“We have no women for marriage” is Khawlah’s usual response when Jordanian or other foreign men ask about marrying her 14-year-old daughter when they come looking for a bride.
Like other Syrian women refugees I met during a recent visit to Jordan, Khawlah complained how Jordanian men constantly bombard her with marriage proposals or requests to arrange marriages with refugee girls.
“I do not have work for you, but could marry you if you like,” is what ‘Aisha was told when she went looking for work. A 22-year-old student of English Literature, she complained that one of the reasons her job search in the Jordanian capital of Amman has been futile so far is that she often receives marriage proposals instead of paid work.
By Charlotte Phillips, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Refugee and Migrants’ Rights
It is difficult not to feel overwhelmed by the scale and brutality of the conflict in Syria, the massive displacement and deep suffering it is causing countless human beings.
António Guterres, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, has described the Syrian conflict as “the great tragedy of this century – a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history.”
This situation has deteriorated rapidly in recent weeks after videos emerged showing scores of civilians apparently killed by chemical weapons in towns outside Damascus.
By Cilina Nasser, Amnesty International’s researcher on Syria
This op-ed originally appeared in MSN UK under the title “Enough hand-wringing on Syria – the world needs to take action.”
The global community has been given one last chance to turn the corner on Syria. We must take it.
It is impossible to watch the videos that emanated from Syria yesterday and not be moved, yet again, to rage about the international community’s repeated failure to end the slaughter of civilians amid the country’s internal armed conflict.
The videos – showing the deadly effects of an alleged chemical weapons attack on scores of civilians, including children, in towns outside Damascus – are just the latest chilling indication of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.
- ALL Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are illegal.
- Israel’s long-running policy of settling civilians in occupied territory amounts to a war crime.
This needs to be clearly said now, without ambiguity. The United States government, as sponsor of the current ‘peace talks’ between Israel and Palestinians, must uphold rule of law and human rights. Despite the fact that the U.S. has historically taken the same position as the international community that Israeli settlements within the OPT are illegal, they have chosen to prevaricate in recent years, using words like ‘unhelpful’ or ‘illegitimate’ to describe settlement building by Israel.
On a recent visit to a camp near Atmeh, just inside Syria near the Turkish border, some 21,000 people were sheltering amid hellish conditions.
Heavy rain leaked into the tents and had turned the clay soil into thick slippery mud; raw sewage flowed between the tents. There wasn’t enough food and little medical aid.
Children and families have borne the brunt of the bloodshed in Syria. Most at risk are those fleeing the violence – refugees and the displaced still trapped within Syria, for whom the global community is still not doing enough.
You know that phone you’re texting on? Do you know how its microchips are made?
Thanks to work by Amnesty International and partner organizations, companies that rely on certain minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo or neighboring countries now have to investigate and report on whether those minerals fund armed groups.
And it’s about more than just smartphones – “conflict minerals” (tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold) are used in products like your laptop and even your car. Public disclosure of companies’ sourcing practices can have a real impact on entire industries, pushing companies to take human rights into account as they do business. Can you hear me now?
By Antone’ De’Jaun Davis-Correia, AIUSA National Youth Death Penalty Abolition Advocate
Caught at the wrong time, in what shouldn’t have been the wrong place, the case of Trayvon Martin still resonates with me. It happened to someone close to my age, someone that looks like me, it happened not too far from where I live. It demonstrates that even being home is not safe for African Americans, for young men of color like me and others across the country.
Trayvon was seen as a threat. The message that this highlights is that you become a suspect just by what you look like. It makes me fear walking down the street, having a conversation on my cell phone, as a young person of color, you are reminded that you have to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Race is still a big issue in this country and can condemn you within our criminal justice system as both victim and suspect.
By MbaLuka Michael Mutinda, Youth Activist and AIUSA Ladis Kristof Fellow
Last Friday, the world watched in awe as Malala Yousafzai addressed international leaders and youth on her 16th birthday at the U.N. General Assembly. Her message was clear: protect the right to education for young people across the world. I was fortunate to witness this historic moment along with 500 youth delegates representing more than 80 countries.
In the lead up to #Malaladay, youth leaders worked tirelessly to draft a youth resolution on education. This collaborative initiative was led by the Youth Advocacy Group and the resolution was amended by hundreds of youth delegates. In this effort, Amnesty International youth delegates and other youth asserted the need to include human rights language in the final document of the Youth Resolution. This measure was vital in strengthening the youth resolution and establishing a human rights framework for addressing the education emergency.
By Luka Mutinda, 2013 Ladis Kristof Fellow, AIUSA National Youth Action Committee Co-Chair
Nine months ago, a 15-year-old Pakistani girl named Malala Yousafzai stood up in brave defiance of the Taliban’s ban against female education. She was shot by Taliban gunmen in a senseless act of violence, but her powerful statement drew attention to education rights for millions of young people across the world.
This week, hundreds of youth leaders from around the world will come together at the United Nations headquarters in New York to stand in solidarity with Malala and the millions of young people who are denied access to education.
This Friday, Malala will be making her first public appearance since the shooting last fall. To commemorate her 16th birthday and highlight the urgency of the global education crisis, youth leaders will stand with Malala on July 12th to present the first-ever set of education policy demands drafted by youth.
I will join Emil Gronwall, an Amnesty youth leader from Sweden in representing Amnesty International at this historic event to address the UN youth assembly and deliver the “The Youth Resolution: The Education We Want” to world leaders in a collaborative global UN Youth Takeover.