By Munira al-Hamwi, mother of ‘disappeared’ Syrian human rights attorney Razan Zaitouneh
They asked me to write about my daughter, Razan Zaitouneh. I am not a journalist or a writer but I will write what is on my mind. I will not talk about Razan’s work or her achievements as so many others have done so already.
I will never forget those times at the start of the uprising in Syria when she faded out of the public eye in order to avoid arrest. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
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.
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
Today, we learned that a grand jury in Ferguson decided not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown — an unarmed 18-year-old — in August.
The community response to Mike Brown’s death, and the response that is likely still to come, mark a pivotal moment in the human rights movement and in U.S. history.
It’s a moment of passion, of frustration, and of activism.
It’s within this moment that officials in Ferguson and throughout the United States must stand up to ensure that each individual’s human rights — including the right to freely express themselves in the form of peaceful protest — are respected, protected and fulfilled. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
The noose is tightening around Egypt’s non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These Egyptian NGOs — essentially what we call “nonprofits” in the US – focus on everything from human rights to other important issues. They may soon lose their independence under an old law that the new Egyptian government is bringing back to life. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Emily McGranachan, Member of Amnesty International USA’s LGBT Human Rights Coordinating Group
While pundits in the U.S. lament the political stalemate on Capitol Hill, legislatures elsewhere have had a banner year. Take Uganda, for example, where no fewer than three major pieces of controversial and internationally scrutinized legislation were signed into law between August 2013 and February 2014: the Public Order Management Act (POMA), the Anti-Pornography Act (APA), and the now-nullified Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA). This flurry of activity in the lead-up to Uganda’s 2016 elections legalized repressive and discriminatory policies.
Thanks to these three laws, restrictions on the rights to free expression, association and assembly for all Ugandans have intensified. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Dr Abdullah al-Hamid and Dr Moahmmad al-Qahtani are founding members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA). All 11 founding members are currently either imprisoned or on trial facing imprisonment.
By Lara-Zuzan Golesorkhi, Amnesty International Saudi Arabia Country Specialist
It didn’t have to happen this way in Saudi Arabia. Earlier this decade, Saudi human rights activists saw promise for change, saw their efforts paying off.
Now they’re facing long prison sentences.
Eleven members of the prominent Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) are either imprisoned or on trial, and the remaining silenced, for their peaceful activism. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Leila Yunus, director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy
Arresting its loudest critic and charging her with “treason” doesn’t seem enough for Azerbaijani officials. Last week, peace activist and human rights defender
was beaten by Kurdakhany detention facility administration staff.
An April 2014 video shows Leyla Yunus confronting officials (in Russian) about not having been allowed to use the toilet during an unlawful detention for interrogation. Although officials eventually allowed her to use a toilet (with a male guard watching her), Leyla says she was not informed of charges against her.
Less than half a year later after the detention, Leyla (and soon her husband Arif Yunus) were arrested and given ridiculous charges of treason and tax evasion. Amnesty International considers both Prisoners of Conscience and calls on Baku to release them immediately and unconditionally (add your voice to our appeal).
SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
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
Polina Andrianova and Anna Abramova of the Russian LGBTI organization “Coming Out” (« Выход ») in St Petersburg.
By Conor Fortune, News Writer at Amnesty International, who recently returned from St Petersburg
Ekaterina Khomenko’s throat was slit when a street cleaner found her in a car with the engine still running in St Petersburg earlier this month.
According to media reports, police initially suggested – somewhat incredibly – that she might have committed suicide. An investigation is now under way into the actual cause of the 29-year-old’s death. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
(Credit: Hisham Almiraat, Global Voices Online)
In Ethiopia, an ever-increasing number of journalists, opposition members, activists, and other dissenting voices, are imprisoned in the eight zones of the infamous Kaliti Prison in Addis Ababa.
However, a ninth zone exists in Ethiopia, one that extends well beyond the walls of Kaliti. The inability to express thoughts freely without fearing for one’s safety represents a virtual ‘imprisonment’ for the vast majority Ethiopian citizens. It was with this principle in mind that “Zone 9” was created.
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