By Alice Dahle, Co-chair, Amnesty International USA Women’s Human Rights Coordination Group
Twenty years ago, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to protect women who face domestic and sexual violence, dating violence and stalking through legal and social services. Amnesty International has actively campaigned for this legislation and its re-authorization throughout its history. Last year, we celebrated passage of a stronger, more inclusive version of VAWA with new provisions added to protect Indigenous women, immigrant women, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) survivors of violence and survivors of human trafficking.
We were excited to learn that the Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing today entitled VAWA Next Steps: Protecting Women from Gun Violence. With well-founded concern about gun violence in our country, the Committee’s recognition of the relevance of VAWA to violence against women is timely and much appreciated.
The Thai military declared martial law on May 20. A military junta, calling itself the National Council on Peace and Order (NCPO), led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, announced on May 22 that it was taking over the administration of the country. Thai Winter descends.
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin (Photo Credit: Mikhail Kireev/Host Photo Agency via Getty Images).
In his New York Times opinion piece regarding Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin argues against the recently proposed U.S. military strike on Syria. Amnesty International neither condemns nor condones armed intervention in Syria. However, some of President Putin’s arguments obscure Russia’s own role in blocking a resolution to the human rights crisis in Syria.
Writer/director/producer Joshua Oppenheimer of ‘An Act of Killing’ poses at the Guess Portrait Studio during 2012 Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo Credit: Matt Carr/Getty Images)
By Claudia Vandermade, Southeast Asia Co-Group Chair
“At first, we beat them to death. But there was too much blood. There was so much blood here. So when we cleaned it up, it smelled awful. To avoid the blood, I used this system. Can I show you?”
So speaks Anwar Congo, the enigmatic and terrifying character who comes to be the focus of the new film, The Act of Killing.
Director Joshua Oppenheimer spent over eight years creating what is being called a documentary, but after seeing the film, you may feel that we don’t yet have words for what he’s created.
President Barack Obama during his statement on Egypt in Chilmark, Massachusetts on August 15, 2013 (Photo Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images).
President Obama, it’s time to stop the export of small arms and light weapons to Egypt and to come clean with the American people what our military aid has been buying in Egypt.
Following weeks of brutal crackdowns on civilians in Egypt, the United States should halt exports of small arms, light weapons and tear gas and any other items that could be used to facilitate human rights violations. Any such items, including ammunition, used in these weapons and armored vehicles, must not be transferred until Egyptian authorities install adequate safeguards to prevent violations of international human rights law.
Leonard Peltier was a leading member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), an activist group that was involved in promoting the rights of “traditionalist” Indians during a period of intense conflict in the 1970s. On June 26, 1975, during a confrontation involving AIM members on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota, FBI agents Ronald Williams and Jack Coler were shot dead.
Leonard Peltier was convicted of their murders in 1977 and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. Leonard Peltier does not deny that he was present during the incident. However, he has always denied killing the agents as was alleged by the prosecution at his trial. Here are 5 reasons he should be released:
Whether in the public or private spheres, at the hands of state or non-state actors, violence against women in Egypt continues to go mostly unpunished (Photo Credit: Mahmud Khaled/AFP/Getty Images).
By Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Egypt researcher
Violence against women in Egypt gained international attention following a series of sexual assaults on women in the vicinity of Tahrir Square earlier this year during protests commemorating the second anniversary of the “January 25 Revolution.”
Unfortunately, these instances of violence against women were neither isolated nor unique. Whether in the public or private spheres, at the hands of state or non-state actors, violence against women in Egypt continues to go mostly unpunished.
Most cases go unreported for a plethora of reasons. Even when women do turn to state institutions for protection, justice and reparation, they are often confronted with dismissive or abusive officials who fail to refer cases to prosecution or trial and lengthy and expensive court proceedings if they want to get divorced. Women who do manage to obtain a divorce then face the likelihood that court orders for child support or spousal maintenance will not be enforced.
Our report makes clear that, while there were encouraging signs in the speech, the continuing absence of international human rights law from the US government’s counterterrorism framework remains a grave cause for concern.
Here are seven key recommendations from the report:
Demonstrators from Amnesty International chant outside the White House in Washington, D.C. as they call for strong support for a comprehensive global Arms Trade Treaty (Photo Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images).
On June 3rd, the historic UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) will open for signature. This treaty is the first global agreement to link the protection of human rights with the trade in conventional weapons, including the pernicious small arms and light weapons (SALW) that contribute to abuses in conflict and non conflict – throughout the world.
1. Gives UN Security Council Embargoes Added Power
The ATT will help to fill a critical gap in international law by establishing that it is illegal to transfer weapons to countries that are subject to a United Nations Security Council embargo. While this is already an implicit principle of international law, the ATT reaffirms and reinforces this critical principle.
By Nehal Amer, Social Media Specialist, Middle East Coordination Group
5/30/2013 UPDATE:Success! What does it take for the Israeli military to stop imprisoning Natan Blanc? It takes Amnesty International and other activists making their concerns known and taking action.
Natan Blanc’s father received a call from his son telling him that he had been informed that he would be released at the end of his current prison term. The decision apparently follows a decision by the Unsuitability (or Compatibility) Committee which – according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) – is designed to deal with people with behavioral problems who are deemed unsuitable for army service. It is not a committee which explores whether someone is a genuine conscientious objector or not. In practice, it seems to work as a mechanism for the IDF to rid itself of the problem of conscientious objectors who have been repeatedly imprisoned by declaring their ‘unsuitability’ based on poor mental health or discipline problems.
Natan is expected to be set free June 6th. Thank you for taking action. No further action is required at this time.