Turkey Could Be Taking A Big Step Backwards In Human Rights

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AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris

AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris

Please note this article first appeared on Time.com here.

By Katy Pownall, News Writer at Amnesty International

It’s rush hour on Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge. Queues of cars jostle for position, the noise of horns fills the air, a young man selling Turkish flags weaves through the traffic carrying dozens of fluttering pieces of fabric; red and emblazoned with the country’s striking crescent and star.

Looking at the bustling scene, it’s difficult to believe that just a week ago, this same bridge was the scene of bloody carnage. The place where heavily armed soldiers and tanks first stationed themselves, and Istanbul’s inhabitants realized that a military coup was underway. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Update: Amnesty Observers at Convention Protests

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Amnesty International USA's human rights observers are ensuring that people can peacefully protest at conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia

Amnesty International USA’s human rights observers are ensuring that people can peacefully protest at conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia

Amnesty International USA has deployed a delegation of independent human rights observers to monitor protests at the Republican National Convention. We’ll be in Philadelphia next week doing the same thing at the Democratic National Convention.

This is the first time we’ve deployed human rights observers to political conventions in the U.S. We’re here because we’ve seen the right to peacefully protest being infringed upon at demonstrations around the country in the years and months leading up to the conventions.

Simply put, we’re here to help ensure that all people’s human rights are respected and protected – as only Amnesty can. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

10 Killings: The Tragic Story of the Barrios Family in Venezuela

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By Alex Roche, writer and campaigner

Imagine that one day your brother is at home with his two sons. Police enter his house, beat him and take him away, handcuffed. Imagine that later that day, he is taken to hospital, already dead, with gunshot wounds to his chest and stomach.

Now imagine that five years later another brother of yours is shot several times in the head and killed by the police, in the presence of your nephew. The following year, yet a third brother of yours is shot and killed, after having been threatened earlier that day by a policeman.

Hard to imagine, right? Well, this is not all. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

3 Ways Saudi Arabia Is Abusing Human Rights – and How They’re Getting Away With It

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Amnesty International is calling for Saudi Arabia to be suspended from the UN Human Rights Council – here’s why.

1. Crackdown on activists

Saudi Arabia has continued a sweeping crackdown on human rights activists. All of the country’s prominent and independent human rights defenders have been imprisoned, threatened into silence or have fled the country. More and more have been sentenced to years in prison under the country’s 2014 counter-terror law. Among the many people imprisoned is Raif Badawi’s lawyer, Waleed Abu al-Khair. Scores more were jailed under the law after unfair trials in 2015 and 2016, including human rights defenders Dr Abdulkareem al-Khoder, Dr Abdulrahman al-Hamid, Issa al-Hamid and Abdulaziz al-Shubaily, all founding members of the now disbanded independent Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA). SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Torture Is Not the Answer

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Still from 'Waiting For The Guards ' shows simulated torture by the CIA

Still from ‘Waiting For The Guards ‘ shows simulated torture by the CIA

Too little, and much too late. CIA Director John Brennan this week declared that the CIA would refuse to engage in waterboarding in the future, even if ordered to do so.

This was the latest in a recent string of headline-grabbing proclamations from current and former U.S. officials insisting that, if faced with the dilemma between following orders or rejecting torture, they would reject torture.

As welcome as these promises are, they ring hollow. That’s because the same U.S. intelligence community was already faced with that exact dilemma, and they got it wrong. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Is the U.S. State Department Understating Human Rights Abuses?

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Egyptian human right activist with chained hands during a protest against torture in police stations. KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images

Egyptian human right activist with chained hands during a protest against torture in police stations. KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images

Following last week’s release of the 2016 Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Amnesty International USA conducted a review of the reports and offered an analysis of the reports.

The annual, Congressionally-mandated reports are meant to highlight abuses such as human rights defenders being killed, detained or hounded in to exile, along with draconian restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, often imposed in the name of national security.

Unfortunately, this year’s report continues the practice of using diplomatic language to understate human rights violations. The report also continues to bury some cases of abuse by failing to refer to them in the summary section of the report. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

The Road to the AGM

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March 24, 2016 – AGM Road Trip Playlist 1

The road to Amnesty International USA’s Annual General Meeting and Human Rights Conference technically began in April of 2015, when the AIUSA Board of Directors chose Miami as the host city for our 2016 conference. The literal road trip to the conference began on March 24, when events staff and interns packed the boxes of materials and equipment that we will need to pull off a successful AGM. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Beaten, Arrested & Facing a Decade Behind Bars

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On March 10, 2015 hundreds of student protestors were at a standstill near the city of Letpadan in Myanmar.

They had reached the eighth day of a standoff between largely peaceful activists marching for academic freedom, and the police forces who were blocking their path when, suddenly, things came to a head. Police began beating students violently, including those who had fallen to the ground. Some tried to flee, and hundreds were arrested. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

What’s the State of Human Rights Around the World?

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In 2015, Amnesty International investigated the human rights situation in 160 countries and territories worldwide. Progress continued in some areas, but many people and communities faced grave human rights abuses.


At least 113 countries arbitrarily restricted freedom of expression and the press. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

“My Heart Is Exhausted”: A Mother’s Story of Death Row in Saudi Arabia

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By Nassra al-Ahmed, mother of Ali al-Nimr

Ali al-Nimr was just 17 when he was arrested on 14 February 2012 a few months after taking part in anti-government rallies. He was sentenced to death, despite being a minor when he was arrested and following a deeply unfair trial based on “confessions” he says were obtained through torture. He now awaits his execution. His mother, Nassra al-Ahmed, tells their story:

When I first heard the verdict to execute my little boy, I felt as if a thunderbolt was hitting my head. It rendered me bereaved and rid of the most cherished and beautiful things I have.

His absence has exhausted my heart. My eyes shed tears automatically, yearning for him. I am overtaken by missing his angelic features. His smile never leaves my mind and memories prompt me to weep each time I see one of his pictures. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST