The majority of human rights abuses documented by Amnesty International are linked to guns. We’ve long recognized that their widespread availability creates a climate of fear and intensifies violence – involving countless numbers of people who have been tortured, killed, injured, raped and forced to flee from their homes.
This piece was originally published by Daily Nation. To watch and read the testimonies of other refugees torn away from their families during Usalama Watch, visit www.tamuka.org and follow #1FamilyKenya on social media.
By Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa.
Last month, 18-year-old Ayaan suddenly found herself at the head of her household. Her mother and father had been arrested in Nairobi as part of the counter-terrorism operation dubbed ‘Usalama Watch.’
They were detained in Kasarani stadium before being forcibly relocated to Kakuma refugee camp over 500 miles away, leaving Ayaan alone to look after her seven brothers and sisters – all under the age of 10.
Johanna Lee contributed to this post.
In mid-April, Islamist armed group Boko Haram abducted 276 schoolgirls aged 15-18 from the village of Chibok in northeast Nigeria. The abductions triggered outrage, protests and a social media campaign criticizing the response of the Nigerian authorities and demanding a major effort to secure the freedom of the girls.
Yet, almost two months later, little, if any, progress has been made in freeing the kidnapped girls and the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and his security forces have failed to communicate a plan or even convince the families of the girls that they are doing all that they can to get the girls released.
All lawful efforts must be made to locate the kidnapped girls and secure their safe release and the perpetrators of the attack must be brought to justice in an impartial court of law.
Sounds simple enough. But unlike the plot of an episode of an action drama, the reality on the ground is much more complex.
This piece originally appeared in Al Jazeera English’s Opinion Section under the name: “Nigeria: A Serious Test of Stability.”
By Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General
As Nigeria takes centre stage hosting the World Economic Forum on Africa, events in recent weeks have tarnished its image as a country that has come of age.
In April, as Africa’s most populous nation assumed the presidency of the United Nations Security Council and chairmanship of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, news came that Nigeria had also outstripped South Africa to become the continent’s largest economy.
On April 14, 234 school girls between the ages of 16 and 18 were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok in Northern Nigeria by the Islamist armed group Boko Haram.
Boko Haram, which is opposed to any form of western education, has waged a brutal insurgency destabilizing different states in the northern part of the country at various points since 2009 with bombs, attacks on schools and the killings of thousands of individuals. Amnesty estimates that 2,300 people have died as a result of the armed conflict since 2010, with 1,500 being killed between January and March of 2014 alone.
Pat yourselves on the back, stamp your feet, give a (potentially) inappropriate shout of glee wherever you happen to be at this moment, or at the very least, indulge in a slow clap.
35,544 Amnesty USA activists stood with the women and girls in Mozambique who marched in the streets of Maputo to demand the revocation of a proposed revision to the criminal code allowing a rapist to avoid punishment if he married the survivor.
The Mozambique government listened and it has been removed from consideration!
By Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General
The resounding victory for Kim Jong Un in North Korea’s parliamentary elections this past week reflects the “absolute support” of people in the country, according to state media.
However, it’s doubtful such support includes the hundreds of thousands of people – including children – that languish in political prison camps and other detention facilities. Or those that have been the victims of crimes against humanity as documented in a chilling U.N. report made public last month.
Indeed, the U.N. Commission of Inquiry report was unprecedented, stating: “The gravity, scale and nature of these violations…does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.”
A National Tragedy
Once again, Turkish streets are filled with voices of protest. And once again, those voices are choked with tear gas and buffeted by water cannon. The scenes on television and social media seem terribly similar to those which shocked the world during the Gezi protests this past June.
In fact, the immediate catalyst for these protests is directly tied to the terrible costs of police repression during the Gezi protests.
This post was originally published in The Hill under the title: “Call An Occupation An Occupation.”
In his speech on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said much of what one might have expected at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. But what was most telling was the one word he didn’t utter: occupation.
It wasn’t just Netanyahu who steered clear of the word. So too did U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in his comments the night before. It is this act of repeated omission that adds so much confusion to the simple question of what concerned Americans must do to advance human rights in the region.
As a major supplier of arms and military aid to Israel, the U.S. government is not just a convener of “peace talks” and negotiations. It is also a major investor in the status quo, a state of affairs in which millions of Palestinian civilians face the risk of brutal violence from Israeli security forces simply for peacefully exercising their human rights. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST