Will NATO Talk to Civilian Victims of Its Airstrikes in Libya?

Libya - The Forgotten Victims of NATO Strikes

Mohammed al-Morabit, 6, killed when his home in Zitan was struck by NATO on 4 August 2011.

In the aftermath of the NATO military campaign in Libya, a certain kind of triumphalism  can be heard in the statements of NATO officials.   There is no doubt that the government of Libya’s former dictator, Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi, engaged in significant human rights violations against Libyan society.

But four months after the NATO military campaign, Libya still faces massive human rights challenges.  From ongoing torture to a political system balkanized by rival militias, it is clear that the departure of a dictator does not guarantee the protection of human rights.

Indeed, NATO itself has not fulfilled its responsibility to the survivors of the conflict.

In our latest report, Amnesty International highlights the continued suffering of civilian victims of NATO airstrikes in Libya.  As airstrike survivor Mustafa Naji al-Morabit told my colleagues during a research mission to Libya:

Bahrain to Amnesty International: No Weekend Visits Allowed

Bahrain protester

What is Bahrain trying to hide from Amnesty observers? © STR/AFP/Getty Images

On March 1st, my colleagues in our London office pulled the plug on Amnesty’s scheduled mission to Bahrain. We had sought to spend a full week in the country, talking to government officials, human rights advocates, victims, and others. But at the end of the day, the government of Bahrain told us that weekend visits aren’t allowed.

In direct conversation and via Twitter, Bahraini officials stated that we could come to the country for five weekdays at a time. But if we wanted to talk to Bahrainis during their Friday / Saturday weekend, the answer was no. Other human rights organizations received the same message.

The big question is — why? SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Syria's Deadly Assault on Homs

Demonstrate: For a Human Rights Revolution MENA SyriaThe death toll continues to rise in Syria. Hundreds of largely unarmed people have reportedly been killed in the city of Homs alone. The crisis in Syria is escalating.

The world must do everything in its power to end the Assad regime’s violent crackdown. Instead, Russia, a country with influence over Syria, appears to be standing by while crimes against humanity are being committed.

We all need to demand that Russia put real pressure on Syrian authorities to end the military assault on Homs.


U.S. Arms Sales to Bahrain: 4 Questions for the Obama Administration

Bahraini anti-government protesters in Zinj Village, west of Manama, run for cover from tear gas on Dec. 23, 2011. ©AFP/Getty Images

As I wrote on Saturday, the Obama Administration has authorized a new U.S. arms sale to the Bahraini monarchy.  This comes just months after a Congressional and public outcry that led the administration to suspend a prior $53 million arms sale to Bahrain.

Members of Congress, journalists, and Amnesty International were all outraged over the last proposed arms sale.  That’s because Bahraini protesters continue to be tear gassed, beaten, and even killed while exercising their human rights of free speech and association – rights that include the freedom to criticize one’s government.

Regarding this new arms sale, here are the top four questions that the Obama administration must answer immediately: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Human Rights in the Middle East: Why US Voices Matter

Five months ago, I joined the team at Amnesty International USA to advocate for human rights across the Middle East and North Africa.  Together with my colleagues in our Washington DC office, I work daily to push governments to stand up for core freedoms — or at least, to stop violating them.

From my perch in DC, I’m especially concerned about US foreign policy and how it impacts the lives of those across the Middle East and North Africa.  In a number of countries where protestors have been in the streets, the governments that have attacked them received guns, ammunition, and equipment from US sources.