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.
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 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:
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.
Today, Amnesty International released in-depth analysis of President Obama’s speech on national security: “Words, War, and the Rule of Law. President Obama revisits counter-terrorism policy, but human rights still missing.”
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:
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.
Why should President Obama be first in line to sign the ATT? Here are 13 reasons.
The Arms Trade Treaty:
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.
President Obama welcomed Myanmar President Thein Sein to the White House this week, hailing what he called “steady progress” being made on economic and political reforms. President Obama also reminded Myanmar’s leader that many challenges remain to be addressed, including ethnic strife, rampant corruption, and the continued detention of political prisoners.
The warm White House reception, combined with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s call for the suspension of sanctions on imports from Myanmar, gave President Thein Sein a big boost.
This post is part of a special series on the Arms Trade Treaty. From March 18-28, world leaders from more than 150 countries are gathering for the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in New York. An Amnesty International delegation with representatives from every world region is participating and will be pressing leaders to agree to a strong treaty that upholds international human rights law.
By Nate Smith, Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations Observer
Update: THOUSANDS of your calls have been pouring into the White House since Monday. Thank you and keep it up! Apparently, we’re partially responsible for jamming up White House lines, so please try this new number in case you’re having trouble getting through: 202-456-1414…24 hours left – let them hear you!
Late on Friday, the latest draft of the Arms Trade Treaty was shared publicly. It’s not looking good.
Here’s what it boils down to: Will world leaders take the necessary steps now to prevent sending weapons to countries where they will likely be used for torture, summary executions, and other human rights abuses? Or will they allow business as usual and wait until even more staggering numbers of civilians have been killed until they finally decide to stop arms shipments to those who are targeting civilians?
The second option is called the “body bag” approach. The US government is among those who actually think this is a good idea. It wants to allow critical human rights protections to be kept out of the treaty. These would require countries to exercise some due diligence in making sure they aren’t transferring weapons to places where they know they’ll be used in extrajudicial executions, disappearances, or torture – a global “background check” for arms transfers
By Angela T. Chang, Advocate, Crisis Prevention and Response Team, Amnesty International USA
When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed — that’s slavery. When a little girl is sold by her impoverished family—girls my daughters’ age—runs away from home, or is lured by the false promises of a better life, and then imprisoned in a brothel and tortured if she resists — that’s slavery. It is barbaric, and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world.
– US President Barack Obama, September 2012
Despite these strong words by President Obama against the use and recruitment of child soldiers a few months ago, he got reprimanded earlier this week for falling flat in delivering on tangible actions to address this issue.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child released a new report on Tuesday, calling out the U.S. and the Obama administration for failing to adhere to its international human rights obligations by continuing to waive sanctions on military assistance, per the 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act, to countries that are known to recruit and use child soldiers – a clear violation of children’s rights and a war crime if the children are under the age of fifteen. Yes, you read that right. Seems confusing and backwards? That’s because it is.