As the latest crisis in Iraq unfolds, here are three basic points for U.S. policymakers to keep in mind:
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.
The Syrian uprising started three years ago this week, sparked by the image of some 300 school children in Deraa being dragged to one of Syria’s dark prisons for the “crime” of writing graffiti calling for freedom.
The uprising hasn’t turned out as the people hoped. Three years later, starving people are braving government sniper fire to forage for leaves and berries to feed their families.
A new report from Amnesty International released Monday tells how an uprising that began with the detention of children has become one where starvation is being used as a weapon of war.
By Natalia Taylor Bowdoin, Amnesty USA’s Central African Republic Country Specialist
It’s a miracle she survived.
Amnesty’s crisis team met an 11-year-old Muslim girl in the Central African Republic this month. She was the lone survivor of a horrific assault on the village of Bouguere – in a country where sectarian violence has spiraled out of control.
Amnesty came to this region to investigate reports of mass killings and forced evictions of Muslims. Throughout our travels, we found case after case of mayhem and death.
By Natalia Taylor Bowdoin, Central African Republic Country Specialist
Last week, Amnesty met with the President of the Central African Republic – a country where clashes between the Christian majority and Muslim minority have resulted in war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.
Christian militias are carrying out violent attacks in an effort to drive Muslims from the country. In response, Amnesty is demanding that international peacekeeping forces stop the violence and station troops in towns where Muslims are threatened.
By Alice Dahle, Amnesty USA’s Women’s Human Rights Coordination Group
An 18-year-old Ethiopian migrant woman in Khartoum, Sudan was out looking for housing, when she was lured into an empty property and gang-raped by seven men. A police officer found her after the attack and took her to the police station. However, since it was a public holiday, a formal complaint was not filed.
The perpetrators of the rapes filmed the attack and distributed the video through social media six months later. As a result, everyone involved was arrested.
Of the seven men put on trial, three were convicted of adultery and sentenced to 100 lashes. Two more were convicted of indecent acts and sentenced to 40 lashes and fines. Another man was convicted of distributing indecent material and sentenced to 40 lashes and a heavy fine. The seventh individual was released on grounds of insufficient evidence against him. Those sentenced to lashing had their sentences carried out immediately after the trial in a closed court.
But that’s not where the story ends.
By Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General
The scrub-lands and desert in Mexico’s northern state of Coahuila are the last stop for Central American migrants before attempting to cross the border into the USA.
By the time they reach Saltillo, Coahuila’s capital, they have made a perilous journey of nearly 2,000 kilometers. Along the way, many of these men, women and children suffer assaults, robbery and abduction by criminal gangs. There are also reports of extortion and ill-treatment by police and immigration officials. Tragically, some migrants are killed before they even get this far.
By Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International
The body of a 10-year-old boy, shot dead, whose hand had been cut off with a machete.
The remains of the sons of a 76-year-old man who narrowly escaped death after anti-balaka fighters shot him three times and left him for dead.
The lifeless body of a six-month-old baby, brutally murdered alongside 12 of her relatives in front of her cousin, who was forced to witness her father being decapitated.
“They killed my children heartlessly. They were slaughtered in front of our eyes,” cried a Muslim woman whose four sons were killed by anti-balaka fighters in late January.
Welcome to life in the Central African Republic.
NOTE: This blog has been updated due to changing circumstances on the ground.
By James Mutti, India Country Specialist, Amnesty International USA
The riots that killed over 50 people and engulfed the northern Indian district of Muzaffarnagar in August and September of 2013 have been over for months.
But for tens of thousands of mostly Muslim refugees forced from their homes in the violence, the injustice continues today. Those guilty of murder, rape, arson and other violent crimes continue to walk free, and dozens of young children have frozen to death in squalid, make-shift refugee camps.
By Neil Sammonds, Syria Researcher at Amnesty International
Sitting on a thin mattress inside a ramshackle structure on a muddy hilltop, elderly Abu Fares told me how he came to live in poverty in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region.
For the past 11 months, he and his wife – along with around 200 families – have been eking out a living in makeshift shelters on the outskirts of the overcrowded Domiz refugee camp near the city of Dohuk.
They are among tens of thousands who fled here amid the ongoing armed conflict in Syria.