As the latest crisis in Iraq unfolds, here are three basic points for U.S. policymakers to keep in mind:
By Ensaf Haidar, Wife of Imprisoned Saudi Arabian Activist Raif Badawi
I still pursue that mirage…two years have passed and I am still faced with a scorching emptiness and a series of agonizing questions.
When will he be back, and in what condition? What will I put on, and how will I react? Should I hug him, kiss him, or should I cry?
By Nabeel Rajab, Bahraini Human Rights Activist Jailed for Calling for Anti-Government Protests
I am Nabeel Rajab. I have just been released from prison after serving a two-year sentence for my peaceful and legitimate human rights work.
I’m one of many human rights defenders in Bahrain and the region who are being targeted, attacked, arrested and imprisoned. I was imprisoned on the basis of fabricated charges of “illegal practices, inciting illegal assemblies, and organizing unlicensed demonstrations through Twitter and other social networking sites.”
By Haitham Ghoniem, Egyptian Human Rights Activist and Researcher at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms
It was in the first week of this April, before noon prayers, when the doorbell rang. My mother saw a muscular man dressed in a white shirt and trousers standing at the door. She was too scared to open it, especially as he looked like a military man.
He rang the bell several times. When no one answered, he asked our neighbor if someone named Haitham Ghoniem lived here. He questioned her about my whereabouts. Then he proceeded to scour the entire building.
My mother called and warned me not to come home ever again.
One of the most powerful voices for Syrian human rights has been silenced for nearly six months. Iconic activist Razan Zaitouneh and three of her colleagues were abducted Dec. 9 in Douma, a city outside Damascus under the control of a number of armed opposition groups.
The abduction of Zaitouneh, Wa’el Hamada, Samira Khalil, and Nazem Hamadi is clouded in mystery as no group has come forward to claim responsibility. But Amnesty International and 44 other international organizations joined together this week to ask Zahran Alloush, commander of Jaysh al-Islam, one of the most influential groups controlling the Douma area, to help ensure Razan and her colleagues are released safely.
How many different times can Russia and China stand against justice for human rights abuses in Syria?
Yesterday, Russia and China vetoed a French resolution before the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
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.
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.
By Nate Smith, Chairperson – Military, Security and Police Transfers Co-Group, Amnesty International USA
When a government violates human rights on a mass scale – jailing opposition activists and journalists on trumped up charges, arresting hundreds of protesters at once, passing draconian laws to suppress public opinion – they should be held accountable. It’s not always a clear-cut or simple task for the international community, but we must identify some simple dos and don’ts.
Do: Provide support for human rights and government accountability.
Don’t: Sell advanced, highly lethal killing machines to a government engaged in a crackdown on personal freedoms.