Sole witness to Berta Cáceres murder: “It was clear she was going to get killed”

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Portrait of Gustavo Castro. Environmental and Human rights activist.

Portrait of Gustavo Castro. Environmental and Human rights activist.

By Josefina Salomón, News Writer at Amnesty International

The armed men who burst into the house of Honduran Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres on 3 March had a simple plan: find her, kill her, and leave.

What they didn’t expect, however, is for Gustavo Castro, a human rights activist working with Friends of the Earth Mexico and a close friend of Berta’s, to be in the next room. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Jailed in El Salvador after losing their pregnancies

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26 Nov 2014, San Salvador, El Salvador --- (141126) -- SAN SALVADOR, Nov. 26, 2014 (Xinhua) -- Women of different feminist organizations take part in a march asking for the freedom of 17 women accused of abortion, on the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women, in San Salvador, capital of El Salvador, Nov. 25, 2014. United Nations figures showed that 35 percent of the women and children in the world suffer from physical or sexual violence throughout their life. And in some countries and regions, the figure goes up --- Image by © [e]LUIS GALDAMEZ/Xinhua Press/Corbis

(Xinhua Press/Corbis)

For many of us around the world, Mother’s Day falls on May 8th this year, which also marks Teodora’s 36th birthday. Teodora has spent eight years in prison, and will spend yet another birthday and another Mother’s Day, which comes just two days after ours, without her family. 

Amnesty campaigner Karen Javorski takes us inside one of El Salvador’s most notorious prisons to meet Teodora del Carmen Vásquez and María Teresa Rivera, women jailed after pregnancy complications.

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“I will never stop” – a mother’s campaign to free her son in Iran

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By Ezat Taheri, mother of prisoner of conscience, Mohammad Ali Taheri

Iranian spiritual teacher and prisoner of conscience Mohammad Ali Taheri has been in pre-trial solitary confinement for five years, and has launched over a dozen hunger strikes in protest at his detention. His mother Ezat tells us of her long fight for his release:

The day my son was arrested, every single cell inside my body was trembling with fear. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Sentenced to Eight Years in Jail for a Miscarriage

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By Debbie Sharnak, Argentina-Paraguay country specialist and Magdalena Medley, Women’s Human Rights thematic specialist

A 27-year-old woman, known as Belén to protect her identity, has spent the past two years in pre-trial detention accused of self-inducting a miscarriage. After the accusations, Belén was arrested by authorities because abortion is illegal in Argentina except under certain circumstances. Belén, however, denies these allegations and tells a different story. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Why Gun Violence is a Human Rights Crisis

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GUNVIOLENCE

Human rights are basic rights and freedoms that all people are entitled to regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, language, or other status.

Human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life, liberty and freedom of expression; and social, cultural and economic rights including the right to participate in culture, the right to food, and the right to work and receive an education. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

What If Eating Caused You Excruciating Pain? This Man’s Impossible Choice

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Michelle Shephard-Pool/Getty Images

I just ate an apple. Later, I’ll try to resist the temptation to munch on crackers. I keep hearing about the importance of a “clean diet.” I think that means no crackers. Maybe carrots instead?

As I make these decisions, I can’t help but compare them to the ones this torture survivor makes every day. If he eats, he will experience excruciating pain. If he wants to avoid the excruciating pain, he cannot eat.

This man weighs about 110 pounds. I have seen him through glass, in a makeshift courtroom at Guantanamo, and he seems frail, a wisp of a person, a man broken and hardly repaired. His name is Mustafa al Hawsawi. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Making for a Just World

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By Robert Albanese, Senior Writer/Editor at Rhode Island School of Design Media Group, Photos by Nicholas Mrnarevic / Art For Amnesty

In Canvases of Courage, a documentary about artists working to advance global human rights, Jérôme Lagarrigue 96 IL (above) speaks about how his own experience surviving a hate crime in the 1980s inspired him to advocate for others through his art. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

CIA Torture Just Got One Step Closer to Facing Accountability

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Director of Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan, December 11, 2014. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Director of Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan, December 11, 2014. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

“You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” I keep a poster up in my office with this quote from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. To me, it perfectly summarizes Amnesty International’s work of pushing back against the human rights abuses carried out in the name of national security. That’s because we’re fighting against fear and hate, which are powerful, intimidating adversaries. But recent victories have reminded me that there’s something stronger than fear and hate, and that our fight is worthwhile. We may feel sometimes as if human rights rarely win – but this time, they did. And they won big. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

President Obama Must Appoint ATF Director to Stop the Flow of Illegal Guns

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US President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting with CNN's Anderson Cooper on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016. Obama announced limited measures two days ago to tackle rampant US gun violence and called on Americans to punish lawmakers who oppose more meaningful reforms.   AFP PHOTO/ NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Last month, President Obama unveiled a number of actions his administration will take to help curb the increasing number of gun violence incidents in the United States. Included in those actions are new guidelines to strengthen background checks, provide increased access to mental health care, explore gun safety technology and implement more aggressive enforcement of current laws.

One of the agencies tasked with helping to enforce those laws is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). As a bureau within the Department of Justice, the ATF plays a key role in stopping the illegal use and trafficking of firearms. This is an issue that doesn’t just impact people in the United States but also individuals around the world; for example, 70 percent of the more than 104,850 guns seized by Mexican authorities from 2009-2014 can be traced back to the United States. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST