domenica 19 ottobre 2014


La decisione, adottata oggi da una corte d’appello del Pakistan, di confermare la condanna a morte nei confronti di Asia Bibi, una donna cristiana giudicata colpevole di blasfemia, è per Amnesty International un atto di “grave ingiustizia”.

La corte d’appello di Lahore ha respinto la richiesta di annullare la condanna a morte inflitta nel 2010 ad Asia Bibi per aver espresso commenti offensivi sul profeta Maometto nel corso di un alterco con una donna musulmana.

“Questa è una grave ingiustizia. Asia Bibi non avrebbe mai dovuto essere processata, tanto meno condannata a morte. L’idea che potrebbe pagare con la vita un litigio è raggelante” – ha dichiarato David Griffiths, vicedirettore per l’Asia e il Pacifico di Amnesty International.

“Sussistono gravi preoccupazioni sull’equità del processo di Asia Bibi e le sue condizioni fisiche e mentali si sono fortemente deteriorate negli anni che ha trascorso, in quasi totale isolamento, nel braccio della morte. Dovrebbe essere rilasciata immediatamente e la sua condanna dovrebbe essere annullata” – ha commentato Griffiths.

L’avvocato di Asia Bibi ha annunciato che presenterà appello alla Corte suprema.

Amnesty International ricorda che, per aver preso le difese di Asia Bibi e criticato le leggi sulla blasfemia, il 4 gennaio 2011 il governatore dello stato del Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, era stato ucciso da una delle sue guardie del corpo. Stessa sorte era stata riservata a un altro esponente istituzionale contrario a quelle leggi, il ministro per le minoranze Shahbaz Bhatti, ucciso dai talebani pakistani il 2 marzo 2011.

“Queste leggi sono spesso usate per vendette personali, sia contro i membri delle minoranze religiose che contro gli stessi musulmani, e le persone incriminate vengono spesso prese di mira da folle di facinorosi. Chi prende posizione contro le leggi va incontro a rappresaglie terribili” – ha sottolineato Griffiths.

“Le leggi sulla blasfemia violano il diritto internazionale e devono essere abrogate o modificate immediatamente perché siano conformi agli standard internazionali” – ha concluso Griffiths.


The Maldives police must intensify efforts to find those responsible for death threats, abductions and violent attacks against journalists, politicians and civil society activists in recent months, and bring them to justice.
The death threats and attacks are allegedly the work of vigilante groups who want to stop people making comments critical of Islam.
Threats, abductions and attacks
In June this year a vigilante group abducted several young men, held them for hours, ill-treated them and warned them not to promote “atheism”. Even though the identities of some of them are allegedly known to the abductees and the incident was brought to the attention of the police, so far the Maldives police has not announced that an investigation is underway.
At least 15 journalists reported receiving anonymous death threats for reporting on this incident. One such death threat read: “[We] will kill you if you keep writing inappropriate articles about gangs in the media.”�
Another journalist and blogger who reported on the abductions and the activities of vigilante groups in the Maldives, Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, went missing on 8 August 2014. He is feared to have been abducted and has not been heard from since.
In 2012, Rilwan had been sent death threats for his coverage of the attack on blogger Ismail Hilath Rasheed. Hilath was stabbed and seriously injured in 2012, and had also been attacked in 2011 for advocating religious freedom.
Since Rilwan’s abduction, others including journalists, politicians from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and human rights activists have reported receiving anonymous text messages stating that they would be next to be abducted or be killed.
For example, on 18 September, MDP spokesperson Imthiyaz Fahmy received a message which read “We will kill you all. God is great.”
Mohamed Nasheed, a former president who leads the MDP, has frequently spoken about the death threats he and members of his party receive.
Eva Abdulla, an MDP MP, has raised similar concerns about the personal safety of MPs and journalists. She said a death threat recently sent to her and several other MPs read: “Don’t bring out your children on the streets these days. Stabbing season is about to begin. [We] will kill you.”
Media outlets and MDP buildings have not been spared the threats and attacks. Journalists from Minivan News, Raajje TV and Haveeru newspaper received threats that they would be attacked for writing against the vigilante groups.
On 25 September, a machete was lodged into Minivan News’ office door. A person – whose identity was widely known, including by staff at Minivan who shared this information with the police – was seen dismantling a CCTV camera outside the office before the incident happened.
On 26 September, the MDP’s office was set on fire after it had been vandalised.
These attacks followed the publication of a private investigation by a consultancy firm that implicated “radicalised criminal gangs” in Rilwan’s abduction. The report was commissioned by an NGO, the Maldivian Democracy Network.
After Haveeru covered the attack on Minivan News, a Haveeru journalist received the following death threat: “You will be done for if you write the name [of the suspect arrested]. Keep that in mind.”
Weeks later, the authorities have so far failed to find those responsible for these death threats and attacks despite persistent claims from civil society activists that the identity of some of the alleged perpetrators is not difficult to establish from victims’ testimonies or documentary evidence, such as video footage.
The Maldives police have been accused of not taking Rilwan’s case seriously. Rilwan’s family expressed serious concern in the weeks following his abduction that the police were slow to investigate, especially during the first few days after he had gone missing. Four men were eventually arrested in relation to the case; two were released from custody without charge and one has been placed under house arrest. There is as yet no statement from the police as to what exactly happened to Rilwan on the night of his disappearance.
Furthermore, while the trial of the alleged killers of Member of Parliament Dr Afrasheem Ali in 2012 continues, no one has been brought to justice for the 2011 and 2012 attacks on blogger Ismail Hilath Rasheed. Afrasheem Ali was stabbed to death after voicing support for open debates on religious issues. Both men had received death threats prior to being attacked.
The Government of the Maldives is obliged under the international human rights instruments it has ratified to ensure the security and physical integrity of all persons. In particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, require ensuring the protection of all people from abductions, death threats and attacks.
Amnesty International urges the Maldives police to carry out prompt and rigorous investigations into all reported abductions, death threats and attacks and bring those responsible to justice. 

sabato 11 ottobre 2014

MALDIVES - Forum organised in Melbourne to raise awareness about Rilwan’s disappearance.

Forum organised in Melbourne to raise awareness about Rilwan’s disappearance thumbnail
An open forum titled ‘Silencing Dissent: The Abduction of a Young Journalist in the Maldives’ is due to take place in Melbourne, Australia tomorrow (October 9) to raise awareness about the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan.
The event was organised by a group of concerned Maldivians residing in Australia and will be held Thursday 7:00pm Australian time at the Victoria College of the Arts, according to a press release from the #FindMoyameeha campaign.



Blasphemy prisoner Mohammad Asghar has been shot and wounded by a prison guard in Pakistan. He is recovering in hospital, but his lawyers fear he is still in danger of being killed.
A prison guard shot 70-year-old Mohammad Asghar in the back on 25 September in an apparent attempt to kill him. He is in a stable condition in a local hospital. The attacker has been arrested and charged with attempted murder by provincial authorities, and eight other prison guards have been suspended.
A British national of Pakistani origin, Mohammad Asghar was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in the UK in 2010, after which he moved to Pakistan. He was convicted of blasphemy in 2014 and sentenced to death. Despite his diagnosis in the UK, the Court ruled that Asghar was sane. He is now on death row at Adiala jail, in the city of Rawalpindi, Punjab province.
Present in the same prison block as Asghar at the time of the shooting was Zaffar Bhatti, a Christian pastor who has been on trial for blasphemy since 2012. Both men have denied the charges. Initial media reports wrongly suggested that Bhatti had been shot and killed in the same incident. The two men’s relatives and lawyers say they are still at serious risk of being attacked and killed. In the past 15 years, dozens of people from different religious communities, including Muslims, have been attacked and killed after being accused of blasphemy.
Blasphemy carries a potential death sentence under Pakistan law. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and for all crimes, considering it to be a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. International standards also state that the death penalty must not be imposed against people with mental illness.
Please write immediately in Urdu, English or your own language:
Calling on the authorities to ensure that the charges against Zaffar Bhatti are dropped, that the conviction of Mohammad Asghar is overturned, and that both men are released, and their safety guaranteed;
Urging them to ensure that all those responsible for the attack on Mohammad Asghar are brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty;
Urging them to reform or repeal the blasphemy laws, which target Muslims and religious minorities alike, as they violate the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
Calling on them to establish an immediate moratorium on all executions and commute all death sentences with a view to abolishing the death penalty, emphasising that the death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif
Prime Minister House, Pakistan
Secretariat, Constitution Avenue
Islamabad, Pakistan
Fax: +92 51 922 0404
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
Chief Minister, Punjab Province
Mian Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif
Chief Minister’s Office
7, Club Road, GOR I Lahore, Pakistan Fax: +92 42 992 04301
Salutation: Dear Chief Minister
And copies to:
Minister of Law, Justice and Human Rights
Pervaiz Rashid
Room 305, S Block, Pakistan Secretariat Islamabad, Pakistan
Fax: +92 51 921 0062
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the second update of UA 23/14. Further information:

Nobel: Malala Yousafzai e Kailash Satyarthi sono vere ispirazioni per battersi per i diritti dei bambini.

Dopo l'annuncio che la studentessa e attivista pakistana per il diritto all'istruzione Malala Yousafzai e l'attivista indiano per i diritti dei minori Kailash Satyarthi sono stati insigniti del premio Nobel per la pace, Salil Shetty, segretario generale di Amnesty International, ha dichiarato:

"Il lavoro di Kailash Satyarthi e Malala Yousafzai rappresenta la lotta di milioni di bambini in tutto il mondo. Questo è un premio per i difensori dei diritti umani che sono disposti a dedicarsi interamente alla promozione dell'educazione e dei diritti dei bambini più vulnerabili del mondo.

Il Comitato del premio Nobel ha riconosciuto l'importanza fondamentale dei diritti dell'infanzia per il futuro del nostro mondo. La scelta dei premiati dimostra che questo è un problema che conta per tutti noi, non importa quale sia la nostra età, il nostro genere, il nostro paese o la nostra religione.

Malala offre un potente esempio che ha ispirato persone di tutto il mondo e che è stato meritatamente riconosciuto dal Comitato per il Nobel. Il coraggio che ha mostrato di fronte a tale avversità è una vera ispirazione. Le sue azioni sono un simbolo di ciò che significa difendere i  diritti, con la semplice richiesta di soddisfare il diritto umano fondamentale all'istruzione.

Kailash Satyarthi ha dedicato la sua vita ad aiutare i milioni di bambini che in India sono ridotti in schiavitù e costretti al lavoro in condizioni torride. Il suo premio è un riconoscimento alla instancabile campagna condotta da decenni dagli attivisti della società civile contro la tratta dei bambini e il lavoro minorile in India.

A livello personale, sono felice che il premio sia andato a due persone che conosco e ammiro. Kailash è un vecchio amico e collega attivista dei diritti umani ed è stato un privilegio ospitare Malala quando ha ricevuto il premio Ambasciatore della coscienza di Amnesty International lo scorso anno." 

Ulteriori informazioni
A Malala Yousafzai è stato conferito il più alto riconoscimento di Amnesty International, il premio Ambasciatore della coscienza nel 2013

Amnesty International è un premio Nobel per la pace per "aver contribuito alla salvaguardia degli elementi fondamentali di libertà, di giustizia, e di conseguenza anche alla pace nel mondo".

Amnesty International Italia ha dedicato a Malala e al suo impegno per i diritti umani il libro "Il cammino dei diritti" (edizioni Fatatrac) in cui sono raccontate 20 date che hanno rappresentato un passo avanti nell'affermazione dei diritti umani.

domenica 14 settembre 2014

Pakistan: Malala arrests must lead to better protection for human rights defenders.

Today’s arrest of the suspects in the assassination attempt on Malala Yousafzai offers an important opportunity for the authorities to address their poor record in protecting human rights defenders in Pakistan, Amnesty International said.
“By her words and deeds, the brave education rights activist Malala Yousafzai proved that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword,” said Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International’s Pakistan Researcher.
“But human rights defenders promoting the rights of women and girls in her native Swat and across Pakistan remain especially at risk of deadly attacks and other abuse from the Taliban and other groups, not least because of the authorities’ continued failure to hold the perpetrators to account.
“Human rights defenders play a critical role in promoting the rights of everyone in Pakistan society. With the world watching, it is critical that Pakistan seizes this opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to human rights, justice and rule of law.”
Pakistan’s military today announced that 10 members of the Pakistani Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, suspected of involvement in the 2012 attack on Malala Yousafzai had been arrested.
“The arrested men must be treated humanely at all times. If there is credible, admissible evidence against them they should be brought to trial in proceedings which meet international standards of fairness and without recourse to the death penalty,” said said Mustafa Qadri.

mercoledì 10 settembre 2014

Afghanistan: Urgent inquiry needed after new US airstrike increases civilian death toll .

Formal criminal investigations into the killing of civilians by foreign troops in Afghanistan are extremely rare.
Formal criminal investigations into the killing of civilians by foreign troops in Afghanistan are extremely rare. © AFP/Getty Images
The reported killing of 14 civilians, including two children, in a US/NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan highlights the urgent need for transparent investigations and justice for civilian casualties caused by foreign troops in the country, said Amnesty International.

A recent Amnesty International report documented how previous incidents where civilians were killed during US/NATO military operations have not been properly investigated. Incidents involving likely war crimes have not led to prosecutions.

“The lack of accountability for killings of civilians by US/NATO forces in Afghanistan sends a message that foreign troops have free rein to commit abuses in Afghanistan and that the lives of Afghan civilians have little or no value,” said Richard Bennett, Asia-Pacific Director at Amnesty International.

“We express our deep condolences to the victims of this airstrike, including the families of those who lost their lives. NATO and the US military must ensure that this airstrike is promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigated and that victims’ families are kept informed about the progress of the investigations.”

The US/NATO strike, which took place in the Badiel valley, Narang district, Kunar province, also injured more than a dozen people.

Villagers reportedly brought the bodies of their relatives to the provincial capital to show civilians had been killed.

Amnesty International’s report Left in the dark: Failures of accountability for civilian casualties caused by international military operations in Afghanistan, published in August, examined 10 cases involving more than 140 civilians who were killed during US/NATO attacks, none of which were properly investigated.

Formal criminal investigations into the killing of civilians by foreign troops in Afghanistan are extremely rare. Amnesty International is aware of only six cases since 2009 in which US military personnel have faced trial for killing civilians.

“Evidence of possible war crimes and unlawful killings has seemingly been ignored by the US. This needs to change. Accountability now is prevention in the future: these incidents simply should not be happening,” said Richard Bennett.

Background Information
Amnesty International spoke to Kunar provincial authorities, local journalists and villagers who said that at 13:30 on Tuesday a bomb dropped from a plane hit the area and killed four people.

When the villagers heard the bomb and rushed out to help the injured, another bomb was dropped. The villagers also said that after the bombing the plane started shooting, which increased the number of casualties.

According to local journalists and Kunar provincial authorities, a team of Afghan and international forces who were patrolling the area yesterday came under fire from insurgents.