Myanmar: Student Activist, Phyoe Phyoe Aung, Finally Free

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Family members welcome student protest leaders Nandar Sitt Aung (L) and Phyo Phyo Aung (R) as they arrives for a hearing at her trial in Tharrawaddy town, Bago Region in Myanmar on April 8, 2016. Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi on April 7, vowed to press for the release of political prisoners and student activists, hinting that a mass amnesty may be imminent as her government seeks to stamp its mark on power in the former junta-run nation. / AFP / YE AUNG THU        (Photo credit should read YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images)

Phyoe Phyoe Aung (right) outside court, 8 April 2016. Credit: YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images

Phyoe Phyoe Aung, who was detained in Myanmar after helping to organize largely peaceful student protests, has finally been released more than one year on.

Amnesty supporters across the world wrote more than 394,000 letters, emails, tweets and more for Phyoe Phyoe Aung during Write for Rights, our global letter-writing marathon. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Where Is My Brother, Adel?

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By Ali Barazi

Adel Barazi was 28 years’ old when he was arrested on 11 August 2012. A group of armed uniformed men raided his family’s house and arrested Adel and three other family members and friends without presenting any official warrant or giving any information about the reason for their arrest.

It is so heartbreaking both to see a family member arrested without any reason but dreaming of a better future for his country and to know nothing of his whereabouts though already more than three years and a half now in detention. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

10 Reasons to Abolish the Death Penalty

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Today, Amnesty International released its annual report on the use of the death penalty worldwide. 2015 was a year of extremes – the number of executions worldwide skyrocketed, but here in the United States executions dropped to their lowest in decades. Here are 10 reasons why it’s time to abolish the death penalty now:

1. There was more than a 50% increase in 2015 executions from 2014. Amnesty confirmed 1,634 executions in 2015, 573 more than the previous year and the highest Amnesty has recorded in 25 years. That figure excludes executions in China, which likely executes more than the rest of the world combined but considers the data to be a state secret.
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2. The death penalty in the United States continues to decline. 2015 saw the fewest executions in the U.S. in 24 years and the fewest death sentences in 25 years. All 28 executions in 2015 were isolated to just six states, and only three states – Texas, Missouri, and Georgia – were responsible for 85%.
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Beaten, Arrested & Facing a Decade Behind Bars

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On March 10, 2015 hundreds of student protestors were at a standstill near the city of Letpadan in Myanmar.

They had reached the eighth day of a standoff between largely peaceful activists marching for academic freedom, and the police forces who were blocking their path when, suddenly, things came to a head. Police began beating students violently, including those who had fallen to the ground. Some tried to flee, and hundreds were arrested. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

3,714,141 Thank Yous!

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LWM 2015 - AI Netherlands. Letter Writing Marathon at the Dutch Office Amnesty International The Netherlands Amsterdam. Every December, to mark International Human Rights Day, hundreds of thousands of people around the globe take part in the world’s largest human rights event: Write for Rights.

Amnesty supporters across the world wrote an astonishing 3.7 million letters, messages, emails, tweets and so much more as part of Write for Rights 2015, the global letter-writing marathon.

From Afghanistan to Zambia, dedicated campaigners, students, school kids and loads of others demanded change on behalf of people and communities suffering appalling human rights abuses. We at Amnesty International USA generated 312,205 of those actions and we are deeply grateful to each and every one of you who took part. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Angola’s Activist to Prison Pipeline

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Angola is an oil rich country on the Southwestern coast of Africa. It’s made untold billions since its civil war ended in 2003, pumping oil from the Cabinda province, located at the northern tip of the country and bordering the Republic of the Congo. Cabinda is also known for a separatist movement that has at times engaged in violence. The recent slump in oil prices has had serious repercussions across Angola. Citizens are suffering and the government is increasingly intolerant of dissent. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Whom would you suspect of killing Berta Cáceres?

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“Defending human rights in Honduras is a crime. They are criminalizing the right to our [indigenous] identity and sense of self.”
-Berta Cáceres, 2013

Gunmen brutally murdered Berta Cáceres, award-winning leader of the Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), in La Esperanza, Honduras on March 3, 2016. Almost immediately, the Honduran authorities jumped to the conclusion that she must have been killed in a robbery.

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Shop assistant Found Guilty of ‘Inciting Hatred and Enmity’ for Sharing Posts on Social Media

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By Courtney Dobson, Country Specialist for Russia at Amnesty International USA

Ekaterina Vologzheninova, a single mom and shop assistant from Sverdlovsk region in Russia, has been found guilty of ‘inciting hatred and enmity’ for sharing links on social media. Action is needed to call on the Russian authorities to overturn Ekaterina Vologzheninova’s conviction and respect the right to freedom of expression for all persons in Russia. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

What’s the State of Human Rights Around the World?

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In 2015, Amnesty International investigated the human rights situation in 160 countries and territories worldwide. Progress continued in some areas, but many people and communities faced grave human rights abuses.

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At least 113 countries arbitrarily restricted freedom of expression and the press. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Drought, Disappearances, Disarray in Zimbabwe as President Mugabe Marks Another Birthday

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Itai Dzamara, Zimbabwean journalist, peaceful pro-democracy activist and leader of the protest group Occupy Africa Unity Square, disappeared on 9 March 2015 in Harare.

Itai Dzamara, Zimbabwean journalist, peaceful pro-democracy activist and leader of the protest group Occupy Africa Unity Square, disappeared on 9 March 2015 in Harare.

“I still have hope. I have forgiven the abductors. But I want to know where is Itai and what have they done to him. I will not rest until I know.”

Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe for 36 years, turns 92 this month. His birthday celebrations are known as lavish occasions; last year his guests dined on baby elephant. This year, reports are the big event will occur this weekend in a stadium with a purported planned budget of $800,000. Mugabe’s personal photographer states he is planning a concert, a bash dubbed “Well done, Bob,” to honor Mugabe and his contributions. The festivities will occur in the wake of President Mugabe declaring a national emergency due to the drought gripping the region. An estimated 2.4 million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid to avoid starvation due to crop failures and livestock deaths. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST