Will Sunday’s Presidential Elections Be a Victory for Human Rights in Honduras?

“The human rights situation in Honduras seems to deteriorate every day. It looks like no one is safe from the widespread violence and insecurity. Those defending human rights are particularly exposed to abuses and attacks.
-Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International’s Americas Deputy Program Director.

On Sunday, November 24, Hondurans will vote for their next president. Amnesty International recognizes this as an historic opportunity to improve human rights in the Central American nation. AI has sent an open letter to all of the candidates outlining specific actions that the next president must take in the areas of

  • Human Rights Defenders
  • Public Security
  • Impunity
  • Individuals & Communities at Risk (Indigenous, Garífuna, Campesinos, Women, & LGBTI)

Amnesty is very concerned about the safety of human rights defenders and journalists during and immediately after the elections. Please send a message to President Lobo that he must guarantee the protection of these individuals before, during, and after Sunday’s elections. We suggest you also send President the following tweets in English and Spanish:

  • .@PEPE_LOBO Will you publicly commit to zero tolerance of attacks against #humanrights defenders & journalists during #Honduras elections?
  •  .@PEPE_LOBO ¿Se comprometerá a cero tolerancia de ataques contra periodistas y defensoras/es de #DDHH durante #EleccionesHonduras?

Please also tweet the presidential candidates to tell them to protect human rights:

  • .@andrespavon_ @VilledaMauricio Will you commit to protect #humanrights defenders & journalists? #EleccionesHonduras
  • .@JuanOrlandoH @XiomaraCastroZ Will you commit to protect #humanrights defenders & journalists? #EleccionesHonduras
  • .@SalvadorNasrala @RomeoVasquezV @OrleSols @Pinusd_HN Will you commit to protect #humanrights defenders and journalists? #EleccionesHonduras

40 Years Ago the US (Briefly) Outlawed the Death Penalty

thurgood marshall

In 1972 Thurgood Marshall was one of five Justices who ruled the death penalty was unconstitutional.

Thurgood Marshall, civil rights leader and our country’s first African American Supreme Court Justice, is one of the most distinguished people ever to come out of Maryland. The BWI airport is named after him, and a statue of him stands in the midst of the state capitol complex in Annapolis.

Forty years ago today on June 29, 1972, Marshall was one of the five Justices who ruled, in a case called Furman v. Georgia, that the death penalty was unconstitutional and commuted all the country’s death sentences.

He wrote:

In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute. We … join the approximately 70 [now 141] other jurisdictions in the world which celebrate their regard for civilization and humanity by shunning capital punishment.

Sadly, this Furman decision didn’t last, and by 1977 the U.S. was back in the execution business.


Maryland: Will Death Penalty Repeal Follow Marriage Equality?

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley speaks ©AFP/Getty Images

Yesterday, marriage equality became the law in Maryland with Governor Martin O’Malley’s signature.  Death penalty repeal is another issue the Governor says he feels strongly about, and he should push for the chance to sign that into law too.

In 2009, Maryland legislators tried to create the perfect death penalty law, one that would not risk executing the innocent.  Of course, human beings are still running Maryland’s capital punishment system. Mistakes will be made, and that awful risk remains. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Tweet for the Release of Walid Yunis Ahmad

Today marks the 12th anniversary of the unlawful detention of Walid Yunis Ahmad in the Kurdish Region of Iraq.

You may recognize his name. Perhaps the longest serving detainee in Iraq, Walid was featured in our report, “New Order, Same Abuses: Unlawful Detention and Torture in Iraq” and has been the subject of several Amnesty International actions.

Walid Yunis Ahmad is a Turkomen and father of three who worked for a local radio and TV station. He was arrested on February 6, 2000.

He was “disappeared” for three years, tortured, and detained without charge or trial for ten years. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

More Help Needed: Tweet for Rights in Rwanda

On June 24 we asked you to take action, now we need your help again.

In Rwanda, individuals are often forced to choose between their own safety and their rights to freedom of expression and association. For many years, the Rwandan government has stifled voices of criticism and opposition. 2010 saw an increase in the number of abductions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, and the murders of a journalist and political opponent who dared to speak out against the government.

On June 24 we asked for your help in encouraging the Rwandan government to reopen investigations on the one year anniversary of the shooting of Jean-Leonard Rugambage, a journalist and deputy newspaper editor.

Now, we are asking you to add your voice to Amnesty’s in urging officials to reopen investigations into the killing of André Kagwa Rwisereka, vice president of the opposition Democratic Green Party, who was found beheaded one year ago on July 14. His killer has yet to be prosecuted.