Many people have heard of the March 2016 murder of Berta Cáceres, an award-winning environmental and indigenous rights leader in Honduras, and the many threats that proceeded her death. They may not know, however, that the Honduran authorities had falsely charged Cáceres with inciting usurpation of land, coercion, and damages against the company building the hydo-electric damn opposed by her organization, the Civic Council of the Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), in 2013. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Last Wednesday, August 24, Amnesty International USA sent a delegation of human rights observers to Cannon Ball, North Dakota, to observe protests, led by Indigenous people against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, an oil pipeline that would abut the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and cross the Missouri River, the main source of drinking water for the Tribe and for many communities downstream. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
“I am dying bit by bit. Sometimes when I set off on the road, I wish that a vehicle would hit me.” – Mother of disappeared youth
Over the last 30 years, Sri Lanka has been wracked by two separate conflicts: an insurrection in the late 1980s within the majority Sinhalese community and a 26-year civil war with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam seeking an independent state for the island’s Tamil minority. Both sides in each conflict committed gross human rights abuses, including political killings, torture and abductions and enforced disappearances. The Sri Lankan government has acknowledged having received over 65,000 disappearance complaints since 1994. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
When the U.S. Department of Justice published a report Aug. 10 that documented “widespread constitutional violations, discriminatory enforcement, and culture of retaliation” within the Baltimore Police Department (BPD), there was rightly a general reaction of outrage.
But what hasn’t received as much attention is where Baltimore police received training on crowd control, use of force and surveillance: Israel’s national police, military and intelligence services. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
From online videos of war crimes, to satellite images of rights violations in areas as reclusive as North Korea, to eyewitness accounts disseminated on social media, we have access to more relevant data today than ever before.
These new data streams open up new opportunities for human rights documentation, and have a profound impact on how we conduct research at Amnesty International. For example, we recently used cell-phone video footage and satellite images to uncover a likely mass grave in Burundi. Due to lack of physical access, our work on Syria also relies heavily on content shared through social media and satellite image analysis. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Earlier this week, the Department of Justice released findings from a “pattern and practice” review of the Baltimore Police Department. This is an important step towards transparency and accountability. While the report highlights pervasive problems throughout the BPD in how it interacts with communities of color within Baltimore, below are several of the DOJ’s findings pertaining to deadly force that require immediate attention: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
As death sentences and executions dwindle around the country and most states are abandoning the death penalty, a few states are determined to keep executions rolling. Top of the list is Texas, the state that’s now gearing up to execute a man who never killed anyone.
Jeffrey Wood is scheduled for execution on August 24th, but he didn’t commit murder. He was waiting in a car while Daniel Reneau committed a robbery and, ultimately, killed Kriss Keeran. Reneau was executed in 2002, but according to the “law of parties,” Wood is considered equally culpable simply for sitting in the car outside. The law of parties has only been invoked for execution ten times, and five of those were in Texas. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By T. Kumar, International Advocacy Director, Amnesty International USA
Media reports indicate that in the Philippines number of people killed by the police could be as high as 400 to 800 in the last few weeks. These cold blooded murders are committed by the police and vigilantes by the active encouragement and support of the President Duterte and his “shoot to kill” directive. In essence President Duterte has become the “Cheer Leader” for these killings.
By Robyn Shepherd, Deputy Press Secretary, AIUSA
When you watch the Olympics this week, you will see plenty of Postcard Rio in between events. You’ll see the stunning natural beauty of the mountains that shoot dramatically up from the sugar sands of the coast. You’ll see people strolling the tiled seaside sidewalks in Copacabana. You’ll see shots of carefree Cariocas – residents of Rio – dancing to samba music or perusing colorful marketplaces.
Were those postcard camera views to pan out just a bit more, you would see a fence dividing the tennis and aquatics complexes from what looks like a weedy patch of ground on a lagoon dotted with a few homes – some intact, some gouged apart by bulldozers. The gleaming Olympic media center literally throws a shadow over the area. Welcome to the once-thriving community of Vila Autodrómo. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
The news was hard to take when I first learned of it on 7 July – Chelsea Manning, who publicly stood up and took responsibility for releasing materials she felt would demonstrate the atrocities of war to the world, had attempted to take her own life nearly two days prior. Having witnessed how she sat in Court each day during her military trial, back stiff as a board, in front of media, M.P.s and observers as expert witnesses spoke about her struggles and her desire to present as a woman; knowing that she continued to struggle against the military as it refused to recognize her as such – my mind swirled back and forth between concern and sorrow as I realized that she finally reached a breaking point. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST