Cicero Yearly Archives

Amnesty International

This tag is associated with 9 posts

Amnesty: The Crisis of Rohingya refugees


Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest and most crowded nations, plans to go ahead with work to develop an isolated, flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal to temporarily house tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in neighboring Myanmar, officials say.

Dhaka says the Rohingya are not welcome, and has told border guards to push back those trying to enter the country illegally. But close to 125,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh in just 10 days, joining more than 400,000 others already living there in cramped makeshift camps.


The Rohingya are caught up in a deadly and desperate situation in the Rakhine State on the western coast of Myanmar (also known as Burma). Tens of thousands of people are at risk of serious rights violations and aid efforts have been shut down.


Long-standing discrimination
For decades, unrest has rocked northern Rakhine State because of a wider context of long-standing discrimination against the Rohingya in Myanmar.

The ethnic Muslim group are denied the right to a nationality, and face severe restrictions on their rights to freedom of movement, access to education, healthcare, and livelihoods, to practice their religion and participate in public life.

The situation has been coming to a head in recent days after Rohingya militants launched a series of coordinated attacks on security forces in the north of Myanmar’s Rakhine state in the early morning of 25 August.

Since then, clashes between Myanmar’s military and the Rohingya armed group have continued and security forces have engaged in a disproportionate campaign of violence against the Rohingya.

Villages burned down
We have received numerous reports of human rights violations and abuses, including security forces opening fire on civilians fleeing, and homes and villages being burned down.

According to the Myanmar government almost 400 people have been killed since the clashes as of 4 September.

Humanitarian access to northern Rakhine State has also been suspended, while in other parts of the state the Myanmar authorities are preventing humanitarian agencies from reaching communities in need. As a result, life-saving relief efforts have been halted, and vital supplies of medicine, food and water are not making their way to the tens of thousands of desperate civilians caught in the middle of this deadly feud.

According to the UN, an estimated 90,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, while the Myanmar government has evacuated over 11,000 people belonging to other ethnic minority communities. Despite the huge influx, the Bangladesh government has maintained a policy of sealing the border with Myanmar, and border guards have pushed back hundreds attempting to flee.

Dangerous escalation
The recent attacks mark a dangerous escalation in an already volatile area. Following similar (but smaller) attacks in northern Rakhine State in October 2016, the Myanmar authorities launched major security operations.

At the time we documented wide-ranging human rights violations against the Rohingya during these operations, including unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, rape and other sexual violence, as well as destruction of homes and property.

People in Rakhine State, in particular the Muslim Rohingya minority, have suffered a horrific catalogue of rights abuses for decades. Through our own investigations we have concluded that the Myanmar security forces may have committed crimes against humanity.

A humanitarian disaster
Simply put, Rakhine State is now on the precipice of a humanitarian disaster.

Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Director for Crisis Response, said:

‘Nothing can justify denying life-saving aid to desperate people. By blocking access for humanitarian organisations, Burma’s authorities have put tens of thousands of people at risk and shown a callous disregard for human life.’

Authorities in Myanmar must swiftly improve the human rights situation and end discrimination. In particular, they must urgently lift restrictions on movement, allow full access for humanitarian workers and media in affected regions, and review and amend the country’s discriminatory citizenship laws.

What  can be done to help the situation?
Put pressure on Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Army, the person responsible for the ongoing security operations. Tweet the following at him now:

.@SGMinAungHlaing Shocking human rights violations by security forces in northern #Rakhine must end immediately. http://bit.ly/2gByLtV  

.@SGMinAungHlaing It’s time to allow unrestricted humanitarian access to all people in all areas of #Rakhine State. http://bit.ly/2gByLtV

Without concrete action by the authorities to address long-standing grievances and decades of human rights violations, people in the region will continue to be trapped in a bloody cycle of deprivation and abuse

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Raif Badawi Update


News5_20130802002341864.jpg Despite an international outcry and calls by Amnesty International for the Saudi Arabian authorities to quash the severe sentence and punishment of 1000 lashes for a charge of blasphemy, Saudi Arabian rights activist Raif Badawi was publicly flogged on Friday it is reported. This has been confirmed by Amnesty international from an eye-witness in Jeddah and from Mr Badawi’s wife.

Mr Badawi is a Saudi Arabian writer and activist and was the creator of the website “Free Saudi Liberals”

This is the first of 20 such public floggings that Mr Badawi will face after his conviction for insulting Islam through a forum/blog that his wife actually said he set up to merely examine and provide people the opportunity to discuss their Islamic faith. The forum was taken down by the Saudi authorities and Mr Badawi handed a sentence of 1000 lashes in 2014.

It is reported by an eye-witness that Mr Badawi raised his head towards the sky, closing his eyes and arched his back in preparation for his flogging and remained silent after it but it was obvious it was said through his face and his body that he was in pain. Mr Raif Badawi was “beaten by a officer on his back and legs, who counted the lashes until they reached 50” the witness states.

This flogging it is worth noting took plays only days after the Saudi Arabian government and authority announced their condemnation of the actions of the  terrorists who last week killed staff at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

 

It is also worth mentioning that Amnesty International gravely concerned for Mr Badawi’s lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair a well known human rights lawyer in Saudi Arabia following his Mr Badawi’s arrest anWaleed_Abu_Alkhaird conviction in 2012-4. Amnesty International is running a separate campaign for Waleed Abu al-Khair, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison last July. It is unfortunately expected that he could also face a similar sentence to Mr Badawi handed down as well as his prison term that he currently serving.

Cicero Lounge has today sent a letter to the Saudi Authorities immediately calling for his sentence to be either commuted immediately or nullified. Anyone wishing to contact the Saudi embassy and respectfully call for action to the following: Prime Minister Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, also Deputy Prime Minister Ministry of Defense HRH Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and His Excellency Adel A. Al-Jubeir was appointed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz

(Email Saudi Arabian Embassy in the UK on ukemb@mofa.gov.sa or cms@saudiembassy.net – Saudi Embassy in US)

Angola 3 Documentary


Amnesty International UK will host a free screening of the acclaimed documentary about the notorious case of the “Angola 3” on Tuesday 10 July.

The 2010 film – In the Land of the Free, with narration by Samuel L Jackson – tells the story of how three men – Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King – were placed in solitary confinement at Louisiana State Penitentiary (known as Angola prison) in the USA in 1972.

Wallace and Woodfox – who were convicted of the murder of prison guard Brent Miller, a crime they have vigorously denied – have now spent the last 40 years in solitary. King, who was convicted of a different crime, spent 29 years in solitary confinement at Angola until his release in 2001. He will appear on a panel with the film’s director to discuss the case after the film screening.

Amnesty is currently calling on the Louisiana authorities to remove Wallace and Woodfox from solitary confinement, and is challenging the authorities’ contention that the pair remain a threat to prison employees and others (see http://amn.st/MQcp2U). Meanwhile, Woodfox’s lawyers are pursuing a claim of racial discrimination in jury selection at his 1998 retrial. This could see his conviction overturned (for the third time) and lead to his release.

Source: Amnesty  See also Angola 3 Film

Amnesty – It Starts With a Letter


Amnesty International was started in 1961 by a lawyer called Peter Benenson who had heard of the arrest of two Portuguese students imprisoned for raising a toast to freedom.

It has grown to an international movement – and it all started with putting a pen to paper to help another human being gain their human rights (as provided in Universal Declaration of Human Rights created after the World War II).

On a personal note – I learned to letter write a lot by this organization and have been privileged to write to many people to call for the release or fair trial of other people and  urge any person to enjoy the wonderful experience of also having the opportunity to do so by joining their local group.

Manchester, where I’m currently living meets every second Wednesday of the month at Cross Street Unitarian Church.

As Rt. Hon Jack Straw MP, says in this documentary – “If people do nothing, nothing will happen!”

Below is it’s history. Go to Amnesty

Courtesy: BBC Four/Amnesty International/AP/ITV

 

Jabbar Savalan Released


Jabbar Savalan standing before the Flag of Aze...

Fantastic News! Jabbar Savalan the young activist from from Azerbaijan has been released and recieved a pardon for his detention. today. He is now at home with his family. This is fantastic news however, 16 prisoners of conscience remain in jail in Azerbaijan.

He originally was detainedby Azerbaijan authorities after he’d posted messages against the government rule in the country on Facebook he was charged with ‘drug offences’ and detained on 4 May 2011 for two and a half years in prison. Amnesty International considered Jabbar a prisoner of conscience and many activisits worldwide have been campaigning for his release.  A call for his immediate release and the right of freedom of expression to be upheld in the country.

Initially on the 4th February 2011 Jabbar had posted calls for protests against the government. The next evening he was arrested on his way home from a meeting of the opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party.

Syrian Activists Still Missing as Arab League imposes sanctions


Today the league of Arab States declared it’s decision to impose sanctions against Syria and of Bashar Al-Assad,  President of Syria and Regional Secretary of the Ba’ath Party.

There is also international concern over the fate of two Syrian Activists Mohamed Bachir Arab and Ahmed Omar Azoz.

The two activists have been missing from their home town of Aleppo since 2 November, raising fears that they have been arrested and are being held in secret detention where they may be at risk of torture.

Mohamed Bachir Arab and Ahmed Omar Azoz, were reportedly involved in organising peaceful protests in Aleppo. They were both in hiding from the Syrian authorities at the time they went missing, after security forces visited their homes.

According to sources, Mohamed Bachir Arab was planning to meet his friend Ahmed Omar Azoz on 2 November. The men have not been seen or heard from since.

Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Acting Director Philip Luther said:

We are worried that the two activists have been arrested and are being held in secret detention, not only because of the recent interest the Syrian security forces have shown in them, but also because there has been a widespread pattern of activists being whisked off the streets and held in isolation from the outside world.

“The authorities should immediately disclose any information they have about their whereabouts.

“If Mohamed Bachir Arab and Ahmed Omar Azoz have indeed been arrested, they must be allowed contact with their families and given access to a lawyer immediately.”

The Rights Issue of Legal Aid Bill


Amnesty International are lobbying for amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.

It’s researchers have documented serious human rights infringements by UK companies overseas. The Bill proposed by the UK government Amnesty believes would make it almost impossible for victims of these abuses to seek justice in UK courts.

One example was last year thousands of victims of illegal waste dumping in Ivory Coast successfully claimed compensation from British oil company Trafigura. Under the proposed legislation, such cases would be a thing of the past.

To deny these victims justice is to fuel a cycle of impunity. We want to bring about an amendment to the proposed Bill to ensure that where corporate abuses occur overseas, those affected can access justice in the UK. Read more about the human rights impact of the Legal Aid Bill

For more information visit Amnesty International

 

ACTIVIST AND MOTHER ARRESTED


IRANIAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST AND MOTHER ARRESTED
Kouhyar Goudarzi, a member of the Committee for Human Rights Reporters (CHRR), was arrested on 31 July 2011 in Tehran, Iran, by plainclothes individuals believed to be from the Ministry of Intelligence. His mother, Parvin Mokhtareh, was arrested the next day. They are at risk of torture or other ill treatment.
Kouhyar Goudarzi was arrested at the home of a friend, together with the host and a friend. Neighbors reported seeing the three men taken away by plainclothes individuals believed to be from the Ministry of Intelligence. Since his arrest, members of Kouhyar Goudarzi’s family and his lawyer, Mina Jaffari, have inquired as to his whereabouts and have neither been given information on his whereabouts, nor confirmation of his arrest. Amnesty International fears he may be currently held in solitary confinement at Evin Prison in Tehran

Source : Amnesty USA

 

Happy Birthday Amnesty International


May 28 is a day that changed the human rights movement forever. Fifty years ago one person – Peter Benenson – outraged by injustices he read about in the paper, asked others to unite with him in common action.

He knew we could use our activism to achieve extraordinary things. He created Amnesty International.

Change did not happen overnight.

It took many conversations, many letters. Friends spoke to family members, the message spread, and one by one we secured the release of tens of thousands of people. People imprisoned for their beliefs or their way of life.

As activists lobbied governments, and researchers interviewed survivors, we demanded accountability for previously untouchable leaders. One by one each person who took action changed laws and changed lives.

50 years on, our work is not done – but we are more determined than ever to protect human rights. 50 years has shown that one by one we can. We have.

So today, we thank you for your work to defend human rights. Will you celebrate our birthday today?

In honor of 50 years of hard work and meaningful change, wish Amnesty a happy birthday today on Facebook, Twitter, and to your friends and family at home.

Source : Amnesty USA

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