mercoledì 28 novembre 2012

Incendio in Bangladesh: arrestati i tre responsabili.

Marchio Walt Disney
Producevano magliette per grandi marchi occidentali, come Walt Disney, Wal-Mart e Sears le giovani donne, o forse ragazzine, che hanno perso la vita nell'incendio di sabato scorso a Dacca, nel Bangladesh. Arrestati i responsabili, ma non cessano le proteste degli operai per la mancanza di sicurezza sul posto di lavoro.
E' quanto hanno scoperto le autorità durante le indagini che hanno portato all'arresto di tre responsabili della fabbrica. Sembra che gli indagati abbiano chiuso le porte dall'esterno, condannando a morte le persone rimaste in fabbrica al momento dello scoppio dell'incendio. Sono state rinvenute pile di magliette di marchi occidentali semicarbonizzate. I documenti contabili dimostrano che la produzione avveniva da diversi mesi nonostante le scarse misure di sicurezza presenti nella fabbrica.
Intanto per il terzo giorno consecutivo, sono continuate le proteste degli operai che hanno sospeso la produzione e chiesto alle autorità più misure di sicurezza sul posto di lavoro. Gli scontri con la polizia hanno causato circa 20 feriti. I dimostranti hanno vandalizzato alcune fabbriche e bloccato le strade di accesso all'area industriale.

martedì 27 novembre 2012

India: 16 prisoners at risk of execution.

UA: 337/12 Index: ASA 20/040/2012 India Date: 26 November 2012
URGENT ACTION INDIA: 16 PRISONERS AT RISK OF EXECUTION Following the recent execution of Ajmal Kasab, there is fear that Indian authorities may similarly execute other prisoners with petitions for mercy currently pending. On 21 November, the Indian government executed Pakistani national Ajmal Kasab, convicted for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. This was the first execution in India in eight years.
The manner of his execution was a deviation from usual practice, and raises serious concerns. Firstly, mercy petitions in India are generally considered in the order in which they were filed. However, the Indian state considered Ajmal Kasab’s case out of turn. Secondly, the execution was only announced to the public after it had been carried out. Indian authorities have publicly sought to justify this lack of prior announcement in Kasab’s case, stating that this was done to avoid intervention from human rights activists.
Official figures indicate that 11 mercy petitions involving 15 men and one woman on death row are now pending before the President. They are Gurmeet Singh; Dharampal; Suresh and Ramji; Simon, Gnanaprakasam, Madaiah and Bilavandra; Praveen Kumar; Mohammed Afzal Guru; Saibanna Ningappa Natikar; Jafar Ali; Sonia (f) and Sanjeev; Sundar Singh and Atbir. Nine of the petitions for mercy are being reviewed for a second time by the Ministry of Home Affairs. It is not known which petitions these are. Ministers have publicly stated that decisions on some of these petitions will be made soon. As Ajmal Kasab’s execution was not announced to the public until it had been carried out, and because of the out-of-turn perusal of mercy petitions, it in unclear which of the petitions are being reconsidered and when the authorities might decide to execute the prisoners.
Please write immediately in English or your own language: • Calling on Indian authorities to commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment • Calling on India’s President to immediately stop plans to carry out further executions and establish an
official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty; • Where mercy petitions have been rejected, calling on the President and Ministry of Home Affairs to respect
the practice of promptly informing the individual, his/ her lawyers, his/ her family, of the decision, reasons for the decision, and proposed date of execution, as well as the public of any scheduled execution;
• Pointing out that India’s decision to resume executions after an eight-year gap has set the country against regional and global trends towards abolition of the death penalty;
• Acknowledging the seriousness of violent crimes and expressing sympathy with the victims, but raising concern that the death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 7 JANUARY 2013 TO: President of India President Pranab Mukherjee Rashtrapati Bhavan New Delhi 110 004 Fax: +91 11 23017290; +91 11 23017824 Email: (via form) Salutation: Dear President
And copies to: Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh South Block, Raisina Hill New Delhi 110 001 Fax: +91 11 23019545; +91 11 23016857 Email: (via form) Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
Minister of Home Affairs Sushilkumar Shinde 104, North Block, Central Secretariat New Delhi 110001 Fax: + 91 11 23094221 Email:
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The last execution before that of Ajmal Kasab took place in India in August 2004. Additionally, and in contrast to this latest execution, Indian authorities had in the past made information about the rejection of mercy petitions and dates of execution available to the public prior to any execution taking place. In resolution 2005/59, adopted in 2005, the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon all states that still maintain the death penalty "to make available to the public information with regard to the imposition of the death penalty and to any scheduled execution”. This move to resume executions after an eight-year hiatus has positioned the country against the regional and global trend towards abolition of the death penalty.
Official figures suggest that 11 mercy petitions concerning 16 people are currently pending before the Indian President. Unofficial sources and newspapers suggest that the figure is higher, and up to 14 petitions might be pending.
Fourteen former judges have recently petitioned the President to commute 13 death sentences that they believe were wrongly imposed. The case of Saibanna Ningappa Natikar, sentenced to death for murdering two members of his family in 2005, was one of the cases identified by the judges. This is one of the 11 mercy petitions currently at risk of rejection. Mohammad Afzal Guru, sentenced to death for his involvement in the 2001 Parliament attack, was tried by a special court under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Amnesty International has found that these trials did not conform with international human rights standards. The President has the options of rejecting the mercy plea; granting the plea and commuting the death sentence to terms of imprisonment; or not deciding on the plea in the foreseeable future, as has happened in past cases.
In total, 140 countries, more than two thirds of the world’s countries, are abolitionist in law or in practice. In 2011, only 21 states in the world executed, meaning that 90 per cent of the world was execution-free. Out of 41 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, 17 have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, 10 are abolitionist in practice and one – Fiji – uses the death penalty only for exceptional military crimes. Over the past 10 years, four Asia-Pacific countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes; Bhutan and Samoa in 2004, the Philippines in 2006 and the Cook Islands in 2007. Across the region, general public awareness has led to a greater level of debate and transparency.
UN bodies and mechanisms have repeatedly called upon Member States to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, most recently through the adoption of three UN General Assembly resolutions, in December 2007, 2008 and 2010. A fourth draft resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty was adopted with increased support at by the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on 19 November 2012 and will be put to a final, plenary vote in December. In a general comment on Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a State Party, the UN Human Rights Committee has stated that Article 6 "refers generally to abolition [of the death penalty] in terms which strongly suggest ... that abolition is desirable. The Committee concludes that all measures of abolition should be considered as progress in the enjoyment of the right to life... ".
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases, regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method of execution.
Name: Gurmeet Singh; Dharampal; Suresh and Ramji; Simon, Gnanaprakasam, Madaiah and Bilavandra; Praveen Kumar; Mohammed Afzal Guru; Saibanna Ningappa Natikar; Jafar Ali; Sonia (f) and Sanjeev; Sundar Singh and Atbir Gender m/f: both
Further information on UA: 337/12 Index: ASA 20/040/2012 Issue Date: 26 November 2012

lunedì 26 novembre 2012

Bangladesh Garment Workers Die Producing Cheap Clothes.

November 26, 2012 at 9:57 AM
Bangladesh garmet fire victim
Bangladeshi men carry the body of a victim after a fire in the nine-storey Tazreen Fashion plant in Savar, 
about 30 kilometres north of Dhaka on November 25, 2012.
Rescue workers in Bangladesh recovered 109 bodies on Sunday after a fire tore through a garment factory, 
forcing many workers to jump from high windows to escape the smoke and flames. (Photo credit STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
As Americans indulge in post-Thanksgiving shopping sprees in chain stores across the country and online, we are reminded of the real toll that cheap goods has on human rights in countries such as Bangladesh: the death toll from a horrific fire at a Bangladeshi textile factory has risen to over 110. Dhaka’s largest English-language newspaper tells of a harrowing scene inside the factory:
“Hot smoke filled the air within minute as soon as fire alarm rang and electricity supply became off. We were running to escape death through the dark. Many died inhaling smoke”

Since 2006, more than 500 people have been killed providing inexpensive clothing to American and European chain stores. This particular company, Tazreen Fashions, produce clothes for giant retailers such as Walmart. As the organization Clean Clothes Campaign stated in reaction to this tragedy: ”These brands have known for years that many of the factories they choose to work with are death traps. Their failure to take action mounts to criminal negligence.”
The factory is in a district that houses many other export-led industries within the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority or BEPZA. The BEZPA do not permit unions and other organizing activities as it is considered a “cumbersome activity”. Because of the blatant nature of illegality against organizing in the export processing zone, no one should think for a moment that this is just a tragic accident. No. This disaster must be a wake-up call for the protection of the human rights of workers in Bangladesh. 
There must be an independent investigation into the causes of the fire, for compensation to be paid to the victims and their families and for those responsible for these conditions to face prosecution. Further, any investigation must result in concrete action from all parties to prevent future tragedies.

sabato 24 novembre 2012

UN “shamefully silent” on Maldives’ human rights abuses: MDP.

UN “shamefully silent” on Maldives’ human rights abuses: MDP thumbnail
The provisional findings of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)’s human rights mission to the Maldives should “act as a wake-up call” for other members of the international community, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said in a statement.
“Sadly, since February’s overthrow of the Maldives’ democratically-elected government, key parts of the international community have remained silent regarding the widespread human rights violations taking place,” said the party’s spokesperson, MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor.
“While the IPU, CMAG, Canada, the Human Rights Committee, the EU and certain international NGOs such as Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights have expressed varying degrees of alarm at the Maldives’ backsliding on democracy and human rights, others including the UN Resident Coordinator and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have remained shamefully silent. To remain silent in the face of injustice is to be an accomplice to that injustice.”
Following its visit the IPU delegation noted on Thursday that it was “difficult” to believe that the recent series of arrests of MPs were not politically motivated.
IPU delegation member Francis Pangilinan, a Philippine Senator, described the circumstances surrounding the recent police raid of Hondaidhoo in Haa Dhaal Atoll and arrest of MPs on charges of alcohol consumption as “very worrying”.
“An impressive team of unidentified police and an army of officers allegedly carried out the arrests, reportedly without a warrant and ill-treated the MPs,” said Pangilinan.
“We are well aware that the consumption of alcohol and drugs is forbidden in the Maldives, but we find it difficult to believe in light of the circumstances and timing of the arrests that the parliamentarians were not targeted for political reasons.”
The delegation further expressed their concern over the failure to punish the police officers who used “excessive force” against MPs earlier this year.
The delegation stressed that the issues raised were an internal matter, and that the IPU could only monitor and communicate with the necessary authorities in the hope that a resolution will come “sooner or later”.
“The outside world is not going to resolve these issues. Instead Maldivians sitting down, ultimately talking to each other to solve the issues of controversy is the only way,” said South African Parliamentary expert Peter Lilienfeld.
MP Ghafoor, who was one of the MPs arrested, meanwhile observed that “gradually, the international community, which for a while was fooled by the appallingly one-sided report of the so-called Commission of National Inquiry, is starting to understand the true nature of the Waheed regime.
“The truth is this: unless Waheed can be pressed into calling early elections, the rapid encroachment of the police state will continue – until it will be impossible to turn it back. It is time for the UN Resident Coordinator and others to wake-up to this fact,” he said.
Minivan News was awaiting comment from UN Representative in the Maldives, Andrew Cox, at time of press.

mercoledì 21 novembre 2012

NEWSFLASH – Afghanistan: 8 Executions.

The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) condemns the executions of 8 death row prisoners on Tuesday 20 November.
The executions were carried out after President Hamid Karzai signed 16 execution orders on Monday 19 November.
The last executions in Afghanistan took place in June 2011, when two men were hanged. Prior to this, Amnesty International had not recorded executions in the country for 2 years.
These executions are a major setback. A few days ago on 19 November in the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, Afghanistan had changed its vote from opposition to abstention on the draft fourth resolution calling for a moratorium on executions.
Unfair trials remain a concern with many not receiving proper legal representation in death penalty trials. Although the use of torture is specifically prohibited by the Afghan Constitution, ADPAN documented last year that torture by police remains widespread and people have reportedly been sentenced to death after forced confessions and without cross-checking  evidence and testimonies.
ADPAN calls upon the Government of Afghanistan to immediately halt all executions, to place an immediate moratorium on all executions and to commute all death sentences. 

INDIA - Kasab execution represents Indian death penalty backslide.

Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani national, was hanged in India for his involvement in deadly attacks on Mumbai in 2008.Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani national, was hanged in India for his involvement in deadly attacks on Mumbai in 2008.
The execution of Ajmal Kasab for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks undoes much of the progress India has made over the death penalty, Amnesty International said.

Kasab, a Pakistani national, was hanged this morning at Yerawada prison in Pune city. He was convicted in 2010 by a special court for his involvement in the Mumbai attacks during which more than 150 people were killed and in excess of 250 were injured.

The more than 80 charges he was found guilty of,included committing acts of terrorism and criminal conspiracy to commit murder.

"Today's executions means India has taken a significant step backwards and joined that minority of countries that are still executing," said VK Shashikumar, Programmes Head at Amnesty International India.

Ajmal Kasab’s death sentence was upheld by India’s Supreme Court on 29 August 2012, and his mercy petition was reportedly rejected by the President on 5 November.

Prior to Kasab’s filing of his petition, eleven mercy petitions from persons on death row were pending before the President.

Ajmal Kasab’s lawyer and family in Pakistan were not informed of the imminent execution, in violation of international standards on the use of the death penalty.

“We recognize the gravity of the crimes for which Ajmal Kasab was convicted, and sympathise with the victims of these acts and their families, but the death penalty is the ultimate cruel and inhuman form of punishment,” said Shashikumar.

“We are also deeply disconcerted both by the unusual speed with which his mercy petition was rejected, as well as the secrecy that surrounded his execution.”

The resumption of executions in India comes just two days after the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Human Rights Committee adopted a draft resolution calling for a global moratorium on the death penalty, with a view to completely abolishing it.

The UNGA vote confirms the global trend moving firmly towards an abolition of the death penalty.

martedì 20 novembre 2012

Pena di morte: Afghanistan, isole Maldive e Sri Lanka.

Amnesty International ha sollecitato il presidente afgano Hamid Karzai a fermare l'esecuzione di 16 prigionieri, considerata imminente dopo che egli stesso ha dato il via libera il 19 novembre.

"Il presidente Karzai guadagnerebbe maggiore credibilità se s'impegnasse di più ad assicurare il rispetto dello stato di diritto in un paese nel quale la tortura è praticata di frequente, il potere giudiziario ha ben poca indipendenza e gravi violazioni dei diritti umani finiscono spesso per restare impunite" - ha dichiarato Polly Truscott, vicedirettrice del Programma Asia e Pacifico di Amnesty International.

Circa 200 prigionieri sono in attesa dell'esecuzione nei bracci della morte dell'Afghanistan, paese in cui si continuano a emettere condanne alla pena capitale, nonostante proprio il 19 novembre il rappresentante afgano alle Nazioni Unite si sia astenuto sulla proposta di risoluzione per una moratoria sulle esecuzioni.


Amnesty International ha definito "un altro chiaro segnale che il cammino verso l'abolizione della pena di morte è inarrestabile" il voto con cui, il 19 novembre, il III Comitato dell'Assemblea generale delle Nazioni Unite ha adottato il testo della risoluzione, la quarta dal 2007, per una moratoria sulle esecuzioni. La risoluzione sarà votata dall'Assemblea generale in sessione plenaria a dicembre.

La risoluzione, sponsorizzata da 91 paesi, ha ottenuto 110 voti a favore (uno in più rispetto al 2010), 36 astensioni e 39 voti contrari.

Tra i paesi che per la prima volta hanno dato sostegno alla risoluzione figurano Niger, Repubblica Centrafricana, Sud Sudan e Tunisia. Afghanistan, Indonesia e Papua Nuova Guinea, che avevano votato no nel 2010, si sono astenuti. Al contrario, Oman e Mauritania hanno ritirato il sostegno dato nel 2010 alla risoluzione, mentre Maldive e Sri Lanka sono passati dal voto favorevole all'astensione.

Amnesty International sta svolgendo una campagna in favore della richiesta di moratoria sulle esecuzioni da parte delle Nazioni Unite in vista dell'abolizione della pena di morte.

L'organizzazione per i diritti umani sollecita tutti gli stati membri delle Nazioni Unite a sostenere la risoluzione in occasione del voto in plenaria. I paesi che ancora mantengono la pena di morte dovrebbero immediatamente istituire una moratoria sulle esecuzioni, come primo passo verso la completa abolizione.

domenica 18 novembre 2012

PAKISTAN - Dopo quattro anni riprendono le esecuzioni. di R. Noury

Le persone e la dignita Corriere della Sera Amnesty International
Dopo quattro anni senza pena di morte, la moratoria di fatto sulle esecuzioni in Pakistan si è interrotta bruscamente giovedì scorso, quando nella città di Mianwali è stato impiccato Muhammed Hussain, militare di leva, colpevole dell’omicidio di un superiore e di altri due soldati avvenuto nel 2009.
Il tutto mentre il governo deve decidere che posizione prendere su una proposta parlamentare di legge che commuterebbe tutte le condanne a morte in ergastolo.
Zohra Yusuf, presidente della Commissione per i diritti umani del Pakistan, ha criticato l’esecuzione e la decisione del presidente Ali Zardari, che ha ratificato la condanna pur avendo il potere di commutarla.
Subito dopo l’esecuzione, il governo si è difeso precisando che Hussain era un militare e non un civile ed era stato condannato sulla base del codice marziale e che non c’è un’inversione di tendenza rispetto all’orientamento del governo.
Le organizzazioni per i diritti umani hanno però espresso profonda preoccupazione. Sanno bene, infatti, che quando si blocca un’esecuzione, quelle che seguono hanno maggiore probabilità di essere sospese; quando il boia riprende il lavoro, il rischio è che il ritmo delle esecuzioni acceleri.
Sebbene dal 2008 fino a giovedì non ci fossero state esecuzioni, i giudici pakistani hanno continuato a emettere condanne. Il Pakistan ha uno dei bracci della morte più affollati del mondo, se non  il più affollato tra quelli su cui sono disponibili dati ufficiali: 8813 persone. La pena di morte in Pakistan è prevista per una lunga serie di reati, compresi quelli di blasfemia.
Tra poche settimane, alle Nazioni Unite, verrà dibattuta e votata una nuova risoluzione per una moratoria sulle esecuzioni. Come si comporterà il Pakistan?

sabato 17 novembre 2012

Women’s Political Participation in South Asia.

Country Reviews: Women’s Political Participation in South Asia.

This paper shines important light on a matter of increasing international interest: how to achieve gender responsive governance and advance the cause of gender equality and representative democracy?

Release Date: October 2012


Sri Lanka: How UN failed during Sri Lanka’s armed conflict

14 November 2012 

Sri Lanka: 
 How UN failed during Sri Lanka’s armed conflict 

The UN failed to protect civilians during Sri Lanka’s armed conflict according its own report, 
released today, prompting Amnesty International to renew its call for an independent investigation into alleged war crimes by the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tigers (LTTE). 

The Report of the UN Secretary-General’s Internal Review Panel on United Nations Action in Sri Lanka, submitted to Ban Ki-moon and made public today, offers a strong indictment of the UN’s response to Sri Lanka’s armed conflict.

It deals with a period of conflict in Sri Lanka when very grave violations of international law are alleged and where effective UN action might have averted some of the worst of the violations.

Instead the text describes a scenario where UN officials repeatedly failed civilians they were entrusted protect, while ignoring or downplaying mounting evidence of war crimes compiled by their own staff as they struggled to appease Sri Lankan authorities intent on restricting humanitarian space.  

“Unfortunately this report confirms the many troubling allegation of UN failings we have heard since the May 2009 end of the conflict,” said José Luis Díaz, Head of Amnesty International's UN New York office.

“We hope that the report’s strong findings will help improve the way the UN and the international community protect civilians in times of conflict and reform errant relief systems.”

The report should also help to refocus international attention on the very grave problem of impunity in Sri Lanka.

Tens of thousands of Sri Lankan civilians may have been killed through the indiscriminate actions of combatants.

Allegations that war crimes were committed by both the Sri Lankan armed forces and by the LTTE 
were deemed credible in an earlier report, produced by Ban Ki-moon's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka. It recommended an independent international investigation. 

Internal Review describes vividly the conditions faced by civilians and UN workers. 

It details how they were trapped in the conflict region where both sides attacked civilians, but the UN suppressed information about humanitarian law violations, particularly those committed by the Sri Lankan forces.

“This report is also a wake-up call for UN member states that have not pushed hard enough for an independent international investigation into alleged war crimes committed by both Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE in the last phase of the war. The report clearly illustrates the Sri Lankan government’s lack of will to protect civilians or account for very serious violations. There is no evidence that has changed,” said Jose Luis Díaz.

Testimony of survivors collected by Amnesty International alleges that both sides knowingly killed and endangered civilians, and contains details about enforced disappearances of surrendered combatants by the Sri Lankan army.
Eyewitnesses say that the LTTE used civilians as human shields against the approaching army, and shot civilians who tried to escape. As its forces were depleted, it intensified conscription of child soldiers.
The Sri Lankan government declared a “No Fire Zone” and directed civilians caught in the conflict to relocate there.
Witnesses say the army shelled the “No Fire Zone”, which both the Sri Lankan army and political leadership knew was densely populated by civilians.
They hit hospitals, killing and injuring patients and staff. 
More than three years later, there has been no impartial investigation into these alleged crimes under international law and no one has been brought to justice. 
This failure sets a dangerous precedent, sending the message that states which, like Sri Lanka, have not ratified the Rome Statute are beyond the reach of international justice and that crimes committed in the name of “combating terrorism” can simply be ignored.

giovedì 15 novembre 2012

Pakistan execution condemned amid moves to abolish death penalty.

Pakistan courts frequently impose death sentences
Pakistan’s first execution in four years is a blow to the country’s progress away from using the death penalty, Amnesty International has said.

Today’s hanging by the military authorities of soldier Muhammed Hussain for the killing of a superior officer and two others comes amid recent moves by the government to abolish capital punishment.

“Government officials have told us that this execution runs against the grain of current policy because it was a military case.  But the death penalty is no less offensive to human dignity and the right to life just because the person to be killed happens to be a soldier,” said Polly Truscott, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Programme. 

More than 8313 people remain on death row in Pakistan.

Although Pakistan courts frequently impose death sentences, no executions have been carried out since 2008.  The government is consulting on a draft parliamentary bill to commute all death sentences to life imprisonment.

“In the context of such rare progress on human rights in Pakistan, this execution is even more disheartening,” said Truscott.

The Pakistan government should establish an immediate moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, in line with UN General Assembly resolutions adopted since 2007.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, as a violation of the right to life, and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

martedì 13 novembre 2012

From Australia - Why are asylum seekers choosing Sri Lanka over Nauru?

Yesterday when chatting to volunteers in the Amnesty office kitchen, someone (nervously) asked me if Sri Lankan asylum seekers choosing to return home over going to Nauru meant that the government policies were working.
Before I could respond, another volunteer chipped in saying, "The government is misleading them and bribing them to go back."
Neither are exactly the case.
In the volunteers' defense, most people seem confused about this. So here's exactly what it does and does not mean that some asylum seekers have decided to return home.
Let's start with what it means.
It means that 47 Sri Lankan asylum seekers have decided that they will go home instead of waiting for their protection claims to be assessed. It means they have been offered $3,300 worth of assistance by the government to help them with their return.
And that's it.

lunedì 12 novembre 2012

MALDIVES - Coalition government “abusing religion”, “spreading xenophobia”: former President Nasheed.

“For the purposes of justifying this coup, people who are passing themselves off as religious scholars are spreading hatred for foreigners among our citizens. Under the guise of religion and nationalism, they have instilled xenophobic sentiments in the hearts of a few Maldivians,” Nasheed stated.

sabato 10 novembre 2012

MALDIVES - Nasheed’s trial and Maldives’ human rights record debated in Westminster.

The ongoing trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed was again the subject of debate in London this week, as well as the current human rights situation in the country.
On Tuesday night, the Conservative Party’s Human Rights Commission convened to discuss the Maldives, inviting speakers from the government, the opposition, and civil society to participate in the event titled “Human rights and Democracy in the Maldives: Where do we go from here?”
The following day, a private members debate was secured by Karen Lumley MP in the House of Commons to discuss the role of the UK government and the Commonwealth in ensuring a fair trial for Nasheed, whose case was postponed on Sunday following a high court injunction.
Tuesday’s meeting was attended by former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Dr Farahanaz Faizal, former Foreign Minister and current UN Special Rapporteur Dr Ahmed Shaheed, barrister – and current member of Nasheed’s legal team – Sir Ivan Lawrence QC, as well as Amnesty International’s South Asia specialist Abbas Faiz.
Invitations were also extended to the Acting High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Ahmed Shiaan and Minister for Tourism Ahmed Adheeb.
However, after queries from panel members in attendance as to the whereabouts of the government’s representatives, the committee’s Chair Robert Buckland MP informed those present that, despite having initially accepted the invitation, the government representatives had withdrawn.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said that Adheeb had been unable to attend the meeting as it had clashed with a ministerial dinner. He had also been busy with duties related to the 2012 World Travel Market, which had been the primary purpose of his visit to London.

mercoledì 7 novembre 2012

Afghanistan: rifiuta le nozze, il fratello la uccide - di Monica Ricci Sargentini.


Ancora una ragazza uccisa in Afghanistan, un delitto d’onore non raro purtroppo nel Paese. Questa volta la tragica sorte è toccata a Nafisa che a a 25 anni era fuggita di casa nella provincia occidentale di Herat per sottrarsi ad un matrimonio forzato ma la polizia l’aveva trovata e riportata alla famiglia. Poco dopo  è stata uccisa dal fratello. Una storia che ricorda quella di Sahar Gul, la quindicenne torturata per mesi dai parenti dopo essere stata riconsegnata alla famiglia dalla polizia la cui vicenda avevamo raccontato in questo post. 
La giovane Nafisa viveva nel distretto di Shindand, dove sono molto attivi i talebani. In un primo momento aveva provato a rifugiarsi dallo zio e poi era arrivata a Jalalabad dove era stata trovata dalla polizia che, come quasi sempre accade, non ha fatto altro che consegnarla ai suoi carnefici. Un gesto che non deve stupire in un Paese in cui ancora oggi la metà delle detenute  è stata condannata per reati contro la morale come appunto scappare di casa, un gesto considerato una macchia indelebile sull’onore della famiglia.
Tuttavia negli ultimi dieci anni la situazione delle donne inAfghanistan è migliorata: quattro milioni di bambine ora possono andare a scuola (nella foto una lezione all’aperto) e molte donne hanno trovato lavoro. Ma molto deve ancora essere fatto. Nel Paese l’età legale per il matrimonio è 16 anni ma secondo le Nazioni Unite metà delle bambine vengono date in sposa molto prima. La violenza nei confronti delle donne è ancora molto diffusa e spesso rimane impunita. In questo caso l’omicida è stato arrestato insieme allo zio accusato di complicità. Una magra consolazione per Nafisa e tutte le altre vittime dei delitti d’onore. Ma, comunque, un passo avanti.

Le persone e la dignita Corriere della Sera Amnesty International

India: Further information: Two anti-nuclear protestors in India detained.

Further information on UA: 367/11 Index: ASA 20/038/2012 India Date: 6 November 2012
Two people detained for participating in ongoing protests against a Russian-built nuclear power plant project in Kudankulam, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, have been served with additional orders which could result in their detention up to a year.
On 3 November, police went to Vellore Central Prison in Tamil Nadu and served orders to Lourdesamy (68) and Nazarin (40) under a state security legislation, which provides for their detention without charge or trial up to a year. Both protestors are from the coastal village of Idinthakarai, which has been at the centre of 18-month-long protests, and have been detained since 10 September. They face several charges including defying restrictions on size of gatherings, rioting with deadly weapons, and attempting to assault public servants.
During the latest round of protests on 9 and 10 September, the police responded with force when hundreds of protestors marched towards the project site. They reportedly fired tear gas shells at peaceful protestors and baton-charged them. Some 60 protestors were injured, including a child. Some protestors reportedly responded to the police violence by throwing sand and stones. Additionally, one person was shot dead by police firing on protestors in Manappad village; three media workers sustained injuries during the subsequent police action in Idinthakarai, from which the police evicted 500 protestors after burning their vehicles and looting their property.
In all, the police have arrested 49 male and seven female protestors. Charges against them included defying restrictions on size of gatherings, rioting with deadly weapons, and attempting to assault public servants. Local courts ordered the release on bail of 13 men and four women; five have now been released on bail.
Of the more than 1,000 protestors who have been charged with various offences during 2011–2012, 53 face sedition charges and imminent arrest. This includes Dr S.P. Udayakumar and M. Pushparayan – key leaders of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) which is spearheading the peaceful protests. If convicted of these charges, they could face life imprisonment.
Please write immediately in English or your own language:
Expressing concern that Lourdesamy and Nazarin are arbitrarily detained in violation of international human rights treaties which India is obliged to respect;
Calling on the Indian and Tamil Nadu authorities to release Lourdesamy and Nazarin, unless they are charged with internationally recognisable offences, remanded by an independent court and tried in fair proceedings;
Calling on them to not arrest peaceful protestors, including PMANE leaders Dr S.P. Udayakumar and M. Pushparayan, and to drop any unsubstantiated charges against them.
Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
South Block, Raisina Hill
New Delhi 110 00, India
Fax: +91 11 2301 7931
Email through website:
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister
Ms.J. Jayalalitha
Fort St George
Chennai 600 009, India
Salutation: Dear Chief Minister
Solidarity messages may be sent to:
People’s Movement Against Nuclear
Dr S. P. Udayakumar
Idinthakarai PO 627104
Tamil Nadu, India
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the seventh update of UA 367/11. Further information:

venerdì 2 novembre 2012

Sri Lanka’s empty promises and denial of rights crisis exposed at UN.

Sri Lanka’s promises on human rights should no longer be accepted by the international community, Amnesty International said as the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 1 November highlighted Colombo’s continued denial of the human rights crisis in the country and the need for independent investigations into new alleged human rights violations and past war crimes.
The UN examines the human rights situation in each member state every four and a half years, and Sri Lanka has yet to follow up on important commitments made during its first UPR in 2008, when the government was engaged in armed conflict with the Tamil Tigers (LTTE).
“Sri Lanka has been making empty promises about human rights for decades. This was made clear by a number of countries which questioned Sri Lanka’s lack of progress in ending human rights violations during the review,” said Yolanda Foster, Amnesty International’s expert on Sri Lanka.
“Three years after the end of the civil war, the government continues to stifle dissent through threats and harassment, and has failed to take steps to end enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions.”
Human rights defenders have told Amnesty International about a climate a fear in Sri Lanka in which the state does nothing to protect them from threats. 
Following a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution in March 2012 calling on Sri Lanka to address violations of international law during the civil war, government officials and state-run media lashed out at human rights activists. They were called “traitors” and threatened with physical harm by the Public Relations Minister, prompting the UN to denounce the threats and call for an investigation.
The crackdown on dissent has extended to lawyers and members of the judiciary who speak out against abuses of power. A senior high court judge, Manjula Tilakaratne, was on 7 October 2012 attacked and injured by armed assailants after he had complained of attempts to interfere with the independence of the judiciary, a concern raised by some states today.    
The authorities have continued to arrest and detain suspects for lengthy periods without charge or trial under the repressive Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), despite promises during its first UPR to bring this and similar legislation in line with international human rights law. No amendment has yet been made, and today Sri Lanka stressed its need to retain the PTA. Meanwhile, hundreds of people suspected of links to the LTTE continue to languish in administrative detention.
“Four years after the UN’s first review of human rights in Sri Lanka, there has been virtually no progress – as shown today - on any of the commitments the government made to end arbitrary detentions,” said Foster.
Several states today pressed Sri Lanka on its continued use of torture and other ill-treatment, despite government pledges made during the first review to address the problem. Amnesty International continues to receive reports of torture and resultant deaths in custody, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions.
On 26 July 2012, Sri Lanka published a National Plan of Action as a gesture to the international community that it is moving forward with addressing human rights concerns called for in the UNHRC March resolution. However, this plan is not comprehensive, particularly on issues relating to deaths of civilians, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance. Where investigations are envisioned at all, responsibility has been given to the army and police – the very institutions implicated in these serious human rights violations in the first place.
A culture of impunity persists in Sri Lanka, as the government has not investigated, prosecuted and punished most of the perpetrators of human rights violations.
Two glaring examples of serious human rights violations where the perpetrators remain free from prosecution are the alleged extrajudicial execution of five students by the Sri Lankan Special Task Force in January 2012, and the killing of 17 Action Contre la Faim (ACF) workers in the east in 2006, one of the worst massacres of humanitarian workers in history.
The findings of a 2007 Presidential Commission of Inquiry into both cases have yet to be released.
“The persistent lack of justice in these cases is shocking and flies in the face of repeated promises by the government for the past six years that it would investigate them properly. Victims’ families won’t believe the government until some practical action is taken. As a very basic first step the 2007 commission’s findings should be made public,” said Foster.
In the lead up to this UPR, Sri Lanka’s Attorney General claimed to have directed the police to investigate the two cases.
“Why did it take so long for the Sri Lankan authorities to order an investigation into cases this grave, and what will happen to the police inquiry when international interest sparked by the UPR dies down?,” said Foster.
After Sri Lanka’s UPR session in Geneva today, the UPR panel is set to release its full report on Monday 5 November 2012. The Human Rights Council is set to formally adopt the outcome of today’s review at its March session next year. The international community must use that to hold the Sri Lankan government to its repeated promises.
Amnesty International’s submission on Sri Lanka to the UN Universal Periodic Review, October-November 2012 can be found here:

MALDIVES - Bill on death penalty drafted, unclear on action on past sentences: AG Shakoor.

Attorney General (AG) Azima Shakoor stated on Thursday that the government’s bill on implementing death penalty would be made public early in the coming week.
Speaking at a press conference in Velaanaage, Shakoor confirmed that the AG’s office had completed drafting the bill, which was now in the final stages of discussion. She confirmed that the bill would be made public on the office’s website in the coming week, stating the matter “is very much connected to public sentiments and a large number of people feel this matter needs a fast solution”.
Saying that “it was a pity” that three weeks had passed in the drafting stage, Shakoor said that unlike most other bills, the death penalty implementation bill was going through processes of in-depth research and further discussions among a high-level group appointed by the government.
According to Shakoor, the research took much longer than the state had expected, adding that the AG office had included the legal systems of Medina, Egypt and America in its research.
“I would like to point out that the death penalty is still implemented in over 50 countries across the world even today. Not all of these are even Islamic states. Nor is murder the only crime for which the sentence is given. For example, some countries sentence people to death for being caught trying to bring in narcotics to the country. We are considering all of these points and have made a comparative legal assessment,” Shakoor explained.
Other crimes besides murder which are punishable by death according to Islamic Sharia include apostasy, adultery, sodomy, rape and high treason.
“We need to conduct an academic exercise since we are trying to do this through a rather weak penal code,” Shakoor said.
“If this can be done before the penal code pending in parliament is passed, it might be best to include this as part of that code. Right now, we have drafted this with the thought that if the penal code gets passed up front, then this can be passed as a separate act on death penalty.”
Shakoor said that the bill was important as the current practice was to charge murder convicts under Article 88 of the existing penal code.
Article 88 of the Penal Code states that disobedience to order is a crime, while Article 88(c) details that if the result of violating the article leads to a death, the case should be dealt with according to Islamic Sharia.
Shakoor provided details of the drafted bill, stating it would be looking at the investigation stages, prosecution stages, sentencing and the implementation of sentences.
“The act looks into deciding on the number of judges who will sit on the sentencing panel. Furthermore it considers the rights of the family, the rights of the murder victim, the rights of the victim’s family, the final rights of the convict during sentencing,” Shakoor stated.
Responding to a question regarding how those sentenced to death prior to the bill being ratified would be dealt with, Shakoor said “it is difficult to give a straightforward answer as the final discussions on the bill have not yet been completed.”
“We too believe that answers to that must come to light through how this bill is composed. However, I believe that a solution must be provided even for past cases. So the act will be drafted to reflect that. You can see for yourselves once the bill is made public,” Shakoor replied.
“When an act is passed which explicitly spells out implementation [of the death penalty], then I believe the benefits of it must be carried to even past cases.”
Among a number of other cases, a young couple charged with the murder of lawyer Ahmed Najeeb were sentenced to death by the Criminal Court in July, a few days after the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) asked the Maldivian state to enact legislation to officially abolish the death penalty. The statement said “the state itself has admitted that capital punishment does not deter crime.”

Pakistan, uccidono figlia con acido.

(ANSA) - MUZAFFARABAD (PAKISTAN), 1 NOV - Una 15enne sospettata di aver incontrato un giovane senza consenso e' stata uccisa con l'acido dai genitori in una zona del Kashmir. Il padre ''l'ha picchiata e poi le ha gettato l'acido addosso con l'aiuto della moglie", ha riferito la polizia. Nonostante le gravi ustioni i genitori "hanno atteso fino al giorno dopo per portarla in ospedale dove è morta". A denunciare il fatto alla polizia - che ha arrestato i genitori dopo la confessione - la sorella della giovane.