This is why the beheading of reporter James Foley is so important to anyone concerned about human rights in the region. It’s important not just because, as Amnesty International says, it is “a war crime,” but because Syria right now by most standards is now the most dangerous place in the world for journalists.
By Rachel O’Leary, Amnesty Interntional USA Acting Deputy Executive Director for Membership Mobilization
On August 9, Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year old, was shot dead by a six-year veteran of the Ferguson police force. The next day, the community organized protests condemning the actions of the police and demanding to know the name of the officer who shot and killed Michael. Those actions continue still, a week later.
The day after the shooting, I sent a text to my colleague at 3:30 AM. It read, “We need to go to Ferguson.” Later that week, I was on a plane, leading the Amnesty International USA human rights delegation to Ferguson, Missouri.
By Muhammed Malik, Amnesty International USA Member
Today, people across the country attended vigils and solidarity actions to mourn the victims of police brutality, a problem that has gripped this nation for far too long.
A few days ago, a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri confronted Michael Brown – a teenager who was full of promise and who had his whole life ahead of him. There are conflicting reports about what happened next, but the end result was the officer shooting the unarmed Brown.
In early August, Obama hosts the first ever U.S.-Africa summit in Washington, D.C. Nearly every sitting head of state from the continent is invited to discuss primarily bilateral business opportunities through trade and investment. However, from the beginning, the White House stated the intent to also focus on human rights and good governance. It is time for Obama to honor that commitment. Help us urge the inclusion of civil society in all summit sessions.
Johanna Lee contributed to this post.
Starting August 4, the Obama Administration will host a mini replica of an African Union (AU) summit. As many as 40 heads of state from the continent will be on hand for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, a conference that will look at ways to boost trade and investment in the continent, tap into Africa’s burgeoning youth population, and promote good governance.
The idea for such a summit is laudable, considering the critical issues that will be discussed – issues that will continue to be key challenges for both Africa and U.S. policy towards the continent and as part of addressing the chronic need to raise educate the public about the realities of the different countries that make up Africa, unknown success stories and it’s untapped economic potential.
Unfortunately, unless a major change is made, the summit risks simply becoming an AU heads of state road trip with a photo-op at the end to confirm that they visited Washington before returning home.
Human rights activists have long known what much of the world is starting to recognize and acknowledge: violence against women and girls is a human rights violation of epidemic proportions that touches every corner of the globe, impacting the ability of women and girls to access the full spectrum of their human rights.
Amnesty activists and our many coalition partners have worked for years to build momentum behind the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), a critical piece of legislation aimed at ensuring the United States does its part to end gender-based violence globally through its diplomatic and foreign assistance work. And thanks to our efforts, Members of Congress are taking notice.
Lives are always at stake when the death penalty is involved. But when the new el-Sisi government is preparing to execute 683 Egyptians, something even more is at stake: the future of the Egyptian judiciary.
On Saturday, an Egyptian court will formally rule on the initial 683 death sentences handed out in April in a case involving the death of a police officer in the August 2013 protests that followed the removal of President Muhamad Morsi. The sentence followed only by a matter of days a second, similar case in which 528 Egyptians were given the death penalty.
By Nabeel Rajab, Bahraini Human Rights Activist Jailed for Calling for Anti-Government Protests
I am Nabeel Rajab. I have just been released from prison after serving a two-year sentence for my peaceful and legitimate human rights work.
I’m one of many human rights defenders in Bahrain and the region who are being targeted, attacked, arrested and imprisoned. I was imprisoned on the basis of fabricated charges of “illegal practices, inciting illegal assemblies, and organizing unlicensed demonstrations through Twitter and other social networking sites.”
One of the most powerful voices for Syrian human rights has been silenced for nearly six months. Iconic activist Razan Zaitouneh and three of her colleagues were abducted Dec. 9 in Douma, a city outside Damascus under the control of a number of armed opposition groups.
The abduction of Zaitouneh, Wa’el Hamada, Samira Khalil, and Nazem Hamadi is clouded in mystery as no group has come forward to claim responsibility. But Amnesty International and 44 other international organizations joined together this week to ask Zahran Alloush, commander of Jaysh al-Islam, one of the most influential groups controlling the Douma area, to help ensure Razan and her colleagues are released safely.