Diamonds. Murder. Torture. Broken promises. Important officials. International players. All the elements of a gripping narrative told in a Hollywood blockbuster. Except this isn’t fiction, and the person on trial was the journalist who made sure the world knew the story.
Across the globe, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBT) continue to face endemic violence, legal discrimination, and other human rights violations on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As we move from International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia this week to Pride month in the United States, Amnesty International stands with everyone working to guarantee the fundamental human rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Around the world, people face violent attacks and threats simply because of who they are or whom they have sex with. But some brave activists are still standing up for their rights. To mark the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on May 17, we celebrate the courageous activism of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Debbie Sharnak, Argentina-Paraguay country specialist
A ten-year-old girl and her mother arrived at a hospital in Asunción, Paraguay on April 21 with stomach pains. The doctors quickly discovered the cause of the discomfort—the girl was 21-weeks pregnant, the result of having been raped by her stepfather.
At such a young age, the pregnancy is considered high risk by the World Health Organization— child pregnancies are extremely dangerous for the health of the pregnant girl and may lead to complications and even death. Because the bodies of young girls are not fully developed to carry a baby, these pregnancies tend be high risk, and in Latin America, the risk of maternal death is four times higher among adolescents younger than 16 years old. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Selin Thomas, Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting Fellow
It would be impossible to bypass the endless torrent of violence and conflict currently ongoing around the world. Horrific scenes of decimated cities, bodies bloodied and limp, flood our newsstands as reports of torture, mass abductions, beheadings and revolutions barrage our televisions. From Chicago to Nigeria, Libya to the Central African Republic, Israel to Iran, we have witnessed some of humanity’s most atrocious contributions to history yet, and they show no sign of stopping. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Laura Haigh, Amnesty International Myanmar team
Journalists critical of the authorities in Myanmar pay dearly for their stories. Five journalists at the Unity newspaper paid with their freedom. On World Press Freedom Day we remind the government of their promises to foster a free press and demand freedom for the ‘Unity Five’.
“What I want is more media freedom.” These are the words of Tint San, Chief Executive Officer at the Unity newspaper in Myanmar during his trial. His crime? Doing his job. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
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
We are not plotters or terrorists, we are a new generation of committed young Africans.
We who hold the destiny of the continent in our hands must not be deprived of our freedom.
We are a new civic movement that has just emerged in Africa. We will not be intimidated by long detentions, harassment and repression.
This weekend, Bahrain will host the Formula One Grand Prix. But behind the shiny fast cars and super-sized champagne bottles lies a government that is willing to stop at nothing to punish those who dare to speak out about the tragic human rights situation in the country.
Here are five facts you should know about the Gulf Kingdom ahead of one of the most glamorous events in the sporting calendar. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Adotei Akwei and Caroline Courtney
“They used to train girls how to shoot guns. I was among the girls trained to shoot. I was also trained how to use bombs and how to attack a village. They’ll dress us and demonstrate to us how to explode a bomb. This training went on for 3 weeks after we arrived. Then they started sending some of us to operations. I went on one operation to my own village.” –Aisha (age 19)
Imagine waking up one morning, preparing for a friend’s wedding just before you are kidnapped, forced into “marriage” with one of your abductors and held captive in a remote camp hundreds of miles from home.
In these camps you witness brutal executions, are required to convert to an unfamiliar religion, and threatened into killing on behalf of an atrocious armed militant group. Sexual violence is an everyday occurrence.
What might sound like a fictitious Hollywood plot to some is all too real for others. This is the story of Aisha, whose real name will be withheld for security reasons. Aisha is one of the estimated 2000 girls who have been abducted by Boko Haram and one of the few who have escaped.
One year ago, the world was left in shock after the abduction of 276 girls from to town of Chibok, Nigeria. Unfortunately, the horror of these abductions is just one aspect of an insurgency that has been devastating Nigerian communities long before the story of the 276 Chibok girls became international news last year and continuing after the abductions occurred.
Boko Haram militarized in 2009 and has been gradually claiming territory in the northeastern regions of Nigeria. Starting in 2014 and into 2015, the scale and quantity of the group’s attacks skyrocketed, resulting in the deaths of at least an estimated 5,500 civilians. Amnesty has documented several of these attacks, including the raid of Baga town on January 3rd,2015 when 2,000 people were killed and the attack on Bama in March where an estimated 5900 people were killed.
In March the Nigerian people made history by sweeping out incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and electing former head of State Muhammadu Buhari, who vowed to crush Boko Haram. The Jonathan administration was widely criticized for its failure to stop the insurgency and restore peace and security to the northeast states most impacted by the conflict.
It is critical that the international community press President-Elect Buhari to follow up on his campaign promises to not only free the Chibok girls, but to restore the rule of law and protection of human rights in the north as well as throughout the country. The violence of Boko Haram is just one challenge that must be addressed by the new leadership in Abuja and these challenges will not be solved by military means.
Aisha deserves to live in a country where she can go to school without fear, where one’s religion does not mean a death sentence and where her government is willing to invest in the safety of its people.
We cannot wait another year to free the Chibok Girls and end violence against women and girls in Nigeria.
For more information, read the Amnesty International report “Our jobs were to shoot slaughter and kill” on Boko Haram’s reign of terror in northeastern Nigeria.