Last week’s mining disaster in Turkey represented more than simply an industrial accident, but raised very real human rights concerns. The government’s response in the last week, however, have only heightened these concerns.
The mining disaster in Soma, a small town in Western Turkey, is, by any standards, a shocking tragedy. Amnesty International, in a statement issued today, makes clear, however, that this tragedy could have been averted.
Although the total number killed is unlikely to be determined for some time, at least two hundred are confirmed dead already.
In April 1989, former general secretary and chairman of the Chinese Communist Party Hu Yaobang died of a heart attack. Hu advocated for political and economic reforms while in office.
He was forced to resign for taking a soft attitude towards the student protests in 1986. His death brought on the gathering of university students in large numbers in Beijing calling for affirmation of Hu’s view on democracy and freedom.
Within days, the student gatherings transformed into pro-democracy protests demanding freedom of the press and an end to corruption. Their demands drew wide public support. Workers and ordinary citizens joined in. Peaceful demonstrations took place in Beijing and throughout China.
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By Viachaslau ‘Slava’ Bortnik, Amnesty USA’s Country Specialist for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine
On May 9, the opening day of the Ice Hockey World Championship, the U.S. will play with Belarus in Minsk.
It is very rarely that Belarus holds an event of such large scale, and one would think that it would be in the interest of a country with such a notorious human rights record to provide a safe and comfortable environment for foreign guests and native hockey fans.
A History of Protest
For decades, May Day celebrations in Turkey have been an important litmus test of the government’s tolerance for freedom of expression and assembly. At the center of this history have been demonstrations in Taksim Square, arguably the “hub” of modern Istanbul and, where, in 1977, dozens of protesters were killed in what has been termed the “Taksim Square Massacre.”
It was dusk in Lahore when Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi was attacked. Armed gunmen accosted his car in a busy commercial area and rained bullets down on it. His driver was critically injured and would die. By a miracle, Raza Rumi was spared.
The attack was one of several on Pakistan’s journalists whose efforts to get news and information out to the country’s public meet with opposition from just about everyone. In a new report, “‘A Bullet has been chosen for you:’ Attacks on Journalists in Pakistan,” Amnesty International presents just how deep the problem is and how roundly the blame can be applied.
There’s a new hanging judge in Egypt, and he’s casting a chill upon the declining hopes and vision for human rights that came out of the 2011 uprising.
It’s been one month since the judge sentenced 528 people – alleged supporters of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi – to death. On Monday, the judge returned to the case, confirmed 37 death sentences and gave the remaining 491 people life in prison.
At the same time, he sentenced 683 more people to death in a trial that news reports stated lasted just minutes. Both cases have to do with deaths of Egyptian policemen during violence that arose in August 2013 following Morsi’s removal from office.
The two cases stand as a mockery of justice, death sentences issued on an industrial scale. The size of the injustice is raising outrage around the world, but beneath the headlines, there are important human rights messages to be learned.
Secretary of State Kerry embarks today on a trip to Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola. The trip offers a key opportunity to refocus U.S. leadership on the deteriorating respect for human rights by the ruling governments in Addis Ababa and Luanda and on the need for more leadership on good governance by the government of President Kabila in Kinshasa.
In a lightning-fast trial, the same Egyptian judge who originally sentenced 528 Egyptians to death ordered 683 more to be executed – including the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
This new verdict is the largest single batch of simultaneous death sentences Amnesty has recently seen anywhere in the world.
“We are…troubled by news reports that the police had announced the murder was carried out by someone close to Sr. Mejia Orellana before any investigation had yet begun.”
-Statement by U.S. Representatives James McGovern (MA), Sam Farr (CA), and Janice Schakowsky (IL)
On April 11, unidentified assailants stabbed Carlos Mejía to death in his home in Yoro, Honduras. Mejía was the marketing director of Radio Progreso and a member of the Reflection, Investigation and Communication Team (Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación, ERIC). Both Radio Progeso and ERIC are Jesuit organizations known for their work defending human rights in Honduras.
The first step to ending impunity is a thorough investigation that correctly identifies the culprits so that they can be tried and punished. Why, then, did Honduran police announce that they had decided to pursue a narrow investigation focusing on “someone close to Sr. Mejia?”