mercoledì 30 gennaio 2013

Maldives plummets to 103rd in Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index.

The Maldives has plummeted to 103rd in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Index, a fall of 30 places and a return to pre-2008 levels.
“The events that led to the resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed in February led to violence and threats against journalists in state television and private media outlets regarded as pro-Nasheed by the coup leaders,” RSF observed, in its annual ranking of 179 countries.
“Attacks on press freedom have increased since then. Many journalists have been arrested, assaulted and threatened during anti-government protests. On June 5, the freelance journalist and blogger Ismail “Hilath” Rasheed narrowly survived the first attempted murder of a journalist in the archipelago,” RSF noted in its report.
The index ranks countries according to levels of press and media freedoms. Countries with the best levels of press freedom rank highest, with northern European and Scandinavian countries filling the top three positions: Finland, Netherlands and Norway respectively. Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea took the bottom three places.
The Maldives’ ranking places it alongside Mali (99th), which experienced a military coup last year, and Fiji (107th), which experienced a coup in 2006.
Prior to the country’s first multi-party democratic election in 2008, the Maldives was ranked 104th – an improvement on its 2007 ranking of 129th, and 2006 – 144th. The country’s ranking in 2009-2010 reflected dramatic improvements in press freedom, rising to 51st and 52nd respectively. The ranking slipped to 73rd in 2011.
Despite its plunge in 2012, regionally the Maldives still ranked higher than India (140th), Sri Lanka (162nd), Pakistan (158th), and Bangladesh (144th).
“Only three Asian countries are in the top 25 percent of the table, while 15 countries are among the bottom 45 places,” observed RSF.
“Unsurprisingly, one-party authoritarian governments figure more than ever among the predators of press freedom and languish at the bottom end of the table.”

Sri Lanka - Two students released from detention

On 22 January, students Sanmugam Solaman and V. Bhavananadan were released from detention in a “Rehabilitation” centre in Welikanda by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID). Two others, P. Tharshananth and K. Jenemajeyamenan, remain in detention and at risk of torture.

domenica 27 gennaio 2013

MALDIVES - Trial against minor for “consensual sexual relations” to continue this week.

The case of a 15 year-old minor charged for having “consensual sexual relations” is to continue in the Juvenile Court on Wednesday (January 30), despite the Prosecutor General (PG’s) Office confirming it is reviewing its decision to prosecute the minor.
A Juvenile Court Spokesperson confirmed to Minivan News that the case was expected to continue this week despite calls during the previous hearing on Wednesday (January 23) from the PG’s Office for the case to be delayed pending review.
The filing of criminal charges against the 15 year-old girl – identified as a victim of alleged sexual abuse in a separate criminal case – has been slammed as an “absolute outrage” by international NGO Amnesty International.
The government of President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik this month pledged to hold meetings with relevant authorities in the country to amend laws it contended – in certain cases – were punishing sexual abuse victims as if they were criminals.

giovedì 24 gennaio 2013

MALDIVES -Hearing cancelled for 15 year-old girl facing fornication charges.

The hearing of a 15 year-old girl charged with having “consensual sexual relations” was cancelled on Wednesday (January 23) following a request from the Prosecutor General (PG).
Juvenile Court Official told local media that the PG wanted to cancel the hearing as “charges had been raised against an individual for engaging in sexual activity with an underage person while holding a trustworthy position”, local media reported.
The hearing – to take place in Juvenile Court – had been cancelled in order for the PG to see if there was any reason to withdraw the fornication charges against the girl.
According to local media, the letter sent by the PG to Juvenile Court requesting the cancellation of the hearing did not mention who the “trustworthy” person was.
Earlier this month, a PG’s Office spokesperson confirmed that the charges against the minor were related to a separate offence under Sharia Law, which had been filed on November 25, 2012.
The 15 year-old, who is from the island of Feydhoo in Shaviyani Atoll, last year gave birth to a baby that was discovered buried in the outdoor shower area of a home on Feydhoo. Her stepfather was later charged with sexual abuse, possession of pornographic materials and committing murder without intent.
According to local media, the mother is now facing charges of concealing a crime.
The PG’s Office and the Juvenile Court were not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.
The charges against the 15 year-old have been labelled an “absolute outrage” by NGO Amnesty International.
In a statement Amnesty International’s Maldives Researcher Abbas Faiz stressed that suspected victims of rape and sexual abuse required counselling and support rather than criminal prosecution.
“We urge the Maldivian authorities to immediately drop all charges against the girl, ensure her safety and provide her with all necessary support,” the NGO’s statement read.
Amnesty Intentional also raised concerns that should the minor be found guilty of “fornication” as reported in the media, she could potentially be flogged in line with sentencing for similar cases held in the country.
“If found guilty of ‘fornication’ the girl could be punished with flogging. She would likely be kept under house arrest until she turns 18 when, under Maldivian law, the flogging can be carried out. Flogging is a violation of the absolute prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment,” Amnesty International stated.

India, il governo consideri le raccomandazioni per porre fine alla violenza contro le donne.

Amnesty International ha sollecitato il governo indiano a prestare la massima considerazione alle raccomandazioni, rese note il 23 gennaio 2013, dalla Commissione Verma, che era stata istituita a dicembre dopo lo stupro e l'uccisione di una donna di 23 anni a Delhi.

La Commissione Verma ha raccomandato ampie riforme legislative sui reati di violenza sessuale e profondi cambiamenti nel sistema giudiziario e delle forze di polizia per garantire la trasparenza e la responsabilità di queste istituzioni, così come il rafforzamento dei diritti garantiti alle donne dalla Costituzione indiana.

In particolare, le riforme raccomandate dalla Commissione Verma prevedono la revisione delle leggi e delle prassi che garantiscono impunità ai membri delle forze di polizia accusati di torture e violenza contro le donne nei centri di detenzione; l'ampliamento della definizione del reato di stupro, fino a comprendervi lo stupro maritale; la formulazione neutra del reato di stupro, in modo che possa riguardare anche gli stupri commessi ai danni di uomini e persone transgender; la stesura di un nuovo protocollo sull'esecuzione di esami medici di persone che hanno subito violenza sessuale e sulle cure necessarie durante l'iter giudiziario; la sostituzione dell'antiquata nozione di oltraggio alla "modestia" col reato di aggressione sessuale; la punizione dei pubblici ufficiali che omettono di riferire o registrare denunce di violenza sessuale; la revisione della legislazione in materia di traffico di esseri umani, affinché sia conforme con gli standard internazionali; e la modifica delle procedure vigenti sulle indagini relative a persone che possono essere vittime del traffico di esseri umani.

In linea con quanto chiede da anni Amnesty International, la Commissione Verma ha anche sollecitato l'urgente riesame della Legge sui poteri speciali alle forze armate, che garantisce impunità ai militari accusati di violenza contro le donne nelle aree di conflitto, tra cui lo stato di Jammu e Kashmir e gli stati nordorientali dell'India.

"Le autorità indiane devono dimostrare che facevano sul serio quando, un mese fa, promisero che avrebbero dato grande priorità all'esame delle raccomandazioni della Commissione Verma. Il governo deve inoltre avviare programmi di educazione pubblica e prendere tutte le altre misure necessarie per cambiare l'attitudine discriminatoria nei confronti delle donne" - ha dichiarato Tara Rao, portavoce del dipartimento Educazione per i diritti di Amnesty International India.

martedì 22 gennaio 2013

Bangladesh War Tribunal Gives Death Sentence in First Ruling-

A Bangladesh war crimes tribunal sentenced a former leader of the country’s largest Islamic party to death, its first conviction for offenses carried out four decades ago during the independence struggle with Pakistan.
Abul Kalam Azad, an ex-member of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was today found guilty of rape and murder. The verdict was handed down in absentia in Dhaka by Justice Obaidul Hassan as the 66-year-old Azad is absconding.
“We should not forget the millions of victims who deserve that their tormentors are held accountable,” Hassan and two fellow judges said in written summary of the judgment. “The passage of time does not diminish the guilt. Justice delayed is no longer justice denied.”
As British colonial rule ended in South Asia in 1947, East and West Pakistan were separated by 2,000 kilometers (1,241 miles) of Indian territory. Pakistani troops in 1971 attempted to quell a nationalist uprising in the east that was triggered by the jailing of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who had led his Awami League to victory in elections.
The war ended nine months later with the creation of Bangladesh after Indian forces helped defeat Pakistan’s army. Jamaat-e-Islami supported staying with Pakistan during the war and several of its leaders are among 10 people being investigated by the tribunal on charges they collaborated with Pakistani forces. 

Afghanistan, 11 bambini muoiono di freddo nei campi profughi.

Nel mese di gennaio, il freddo ha ucciso almeno 17 persone tra cui 11 bambini nei campi allestiti per ospitare gli sfollati interni dell'Afghanistan. Amnesty International, come già fece un anno fa, ha sollecitato maggiori aiuti umanitari per superare i mesi invernali senza ulteriori tragedie. Le organizzazioni locali hanno più volte criticato il governo afgano e la comunità internazionale per l'irregolarità e l'inadeguatezza dell'assistenza fornita agli sfollati: niente cibo e riserve per il riscaldamento insufficienti per affrontare tutto l'inverno.

Le 17 vittime si sono registrate nei campi delle province di Kabul ed Herat.

Amnesty International ha parlato coi rappresentanti degli sfollati di un campo della provincia di Balkh. Questi, sotto la neve e con scarso cibo, hanno riferito di non aver ricevuto alcun aiuto, nonostante le ripetute richieste al governo e alle agenzie internazionale.

Nella provincia di Herat, secondo quanto appreso da Amnesty International, l'assistenza privilegia i rifugiati che rientrano in Afghanistan dall'estero, mentre quella ai profughi interni verrebbe ostacolata dalle autorità locali, secondo le quali più aiuti si forniscono e meno si incentivano gli sfollati a fare rientro nelle loro zone di provenienza.

Nell'inverno 2011-12 il freddo aveva provocato oltre 100 morti, per lo più bambini. 

giovedì 17 gennaio 2013

Pakistan: Investigate deaths in lawless Tribal Areas.

Protest in Peshawar against alleged killings by Pakistan’s armed forces across the Tribal Areas.
Protest in Peshawar against alleged killings by Pakistan’s armed forces across the Tribal Areas.
© A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images
Protests against alleged killings by Pakistan’s armed forces have taken place across the Tribal Areas, as Amnesty International called on the authorities to investigate and bring anyone identified as responsible for unlawful killings to justice in fair trials.

Yesterday protesters gathered outside the residence of the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the Peshawar Press Club after 18 bodies were found dumped across Barra district of Khyber Tribal Agency the previous day, 15 January.

Relatives claim the 18 people were shot dead by soldiers of the Frontier Corp, part of the Pakistan armed forces, either during or after raids on their homes. The victims include seven members of the same family.

“Our research indicates that bodies of people who have been arrested by the armed forces are being returned to their families or apparently found dumped across the Tribal Areas almost every week,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

“Unless these deaths are properly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice – without recourse to the death penalty - the cycle of violence will continue.”

In its report on Armed Forces and Taliban abuses in the Tribal Areas, The Hands of Cruelty, released in December 2012, Amnesty International documented extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture in military custody.

The government has agreed to a list of demands made by tribal elders from Barra, including an end to indiscriminate mortar shelling by the armed forces, compensation for those killed during military operations, and a judicial inquiry into the Barra killings.

“The government’s swift response and agreement to provide compensation and undertake an independent inquiry into the Barra killings are a step in the right direction,” Arradon said.

“But given the poor record in bringing perpetrators of such killings to justice in fair trials, whether they belong to the state or not, much more is needed.”

As far as Amnesty International is aware, no serving or retired member of the Armed Forces has been prosecuted for their alleged involvement in extra-judicial executions or other human rights violations in the tribal areas, despite the existence of sufficient evidence to ground prosecution in many cases, including several documented in Amnesty International reports.

“That record is unlikely to improve while the Tribal Areas are excluded from Pakistani laws for the protection of human rights, and while security laws provide the military with sweeping powers and immunities from prosecution,” Arradon said.

Khyber and North Waziristan Tribal Agencies are part of the Tribal Areas, a region that is excluded from the courts, parliament and fundamental rights protections under the Pakistan Constitution.

Parts of the Tribal Areas are still governed by the draconian colonial-era Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR). In 2011, the armed forces were granted sweeping powers of arrest and detention under the Actions (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulations (AACPR) which the military invokes to prevent investigations into past and current violations.

“There is no question that Pakistan is facing a major challenge confronting armed groups like the Taliban that are responsible for thousands of deaths and injuries across the country over the last decade,” Arradon said.

“But the failure of the government to respect human rights and the existing legal regime are cementing a culture of impunity, rather than moving the region towards greater rule of law and justice for human rights abuses, whether perpetrated by the Taliban or by the government.”

As discussed in detail in The Hands of Cruelty, the FCR must be repealed or reformed in line with international human rights standards, while the AACPR must be repealed to prevent the armed forces using it as cover for past and current human rights violations. The Pakistani authorities must also formally extend the jurisdiction of the courts and parliament to the Tribal Areas.

“Despite the many challenges, the government can immediately take these important, necessary steps to begin the long journey of bringing respect for human rights to the tribal areas,” Isabelle Arradon said.

MALDIVES - No intention to reverse decision to charge 15 year-old with fornication: PG’s office.

The Prosecutor General’s (PG) office has “no intention” of reversing the decision to charge a 15 year-old child abuse victim with fornication, local media has reported.
An official from the PG’s office told local newspaper Haveeru that the decision to charge the 15-year-old from Shaviyani Atoll Feydhoo with fornication was made after extensive assessment of the case.
Back in June 2012, the same minor – a school student at the time – gave birth to a baby later discovered buried in the outdoor shower area of a home on Feydhoo.
The discovery led to the arrest of four people, including the 15 year-old girl’s mother and step father.
Haveeru reported that as the charges filed against the girl have no connection with the buried baby case, the PG’s office had no intention to withdraw the charges.
“So far we have no intention of reversing the decision to charge her at the Juvenile Court,” a PG’s official was quoted by local media.
Speaking to Minivan News on January 9 the Prosecutor General (PG’s) Office confirmed it had pressed charges against a 15 year-old girl from the island of Feydhoo in Shaviyani Atoll for having “consensual sexual relations”.
A spokesperson for the PG’s Office said the charges against the minor were unrelated to a separate case against the girl’s stepfather over allegations he had sexually abused her.

mercoledì 16 gennaio 2013

India: Fermare la Vedanta - Le politiche non possono mascherare le pratiche!

Sullo sfondo la raffineria della Vedanta Alumina Ltd. vicino al villaggio di Lanjigarh village, sulle colline di Niyamgiri a Orissa, India, 2008©Sanjit Das

La Vedanta, azienda estrattiva del Regno Unito, sta tentando di 'mascherare' le critiche sullo scarso rispetto dei diritti umani fatte da Amnesty International dopo che l'azienda ha pubblicato il suo ultimo rapporto intitolato "La prospettiva della Vedanta".

L'azienda ha organizzato la propria Assemblea generale annuale il 28 agosto scorso a Londra; Amnesty International ritiene che il rapporto sia un tentativo di placare i timori degli investitori sulle controverse operazioni che l'azienda sta portando avanti in India.

Amnesty International si rivolge al presidente della Vedanta, Anil Agarwal chiedendo all'azienda di assumersi le proprie responsabilità per aver ignorato le conseguenze delle attività estrattive sui diritti umani delle comunità dell'Orissa.

Firma l'appello alla Vedanta per chiedere che l'impatto negativo che le attività della raffineria di Lanjiagarth, nell'Orissa, stanno avendo sull'ambiente, sulla salute e sui diritti umani, sia affrontato con urgenza:

lunedì 14 gennaio 2013

MALDIVES - Court sentences Lance Corporal Adam Haleem’s murderer to death.

The Criminal Court has found Ahmed Samah of Kaashidhoo guilty of murdering Police Lance Corporal Adam Haleem and sentenced him to death.
The Criminal Court ruling stated that the court had obtained statements from three of the four heirs of Adam Haleem, all of whom who had informed the court that they approved the passing of the death sentence against Samah if the court were to find him guilty.
According to the ruling, the fourth heir of Adam Haleem was his one year-old child, and stated that according to the Hanifee and Maalikee Sects of Islam, the other heirs could approve the death sentence on behalf of the infant.

INDIA - Buone notizie.

Kartam Joga, difensore dei diritti umani degli adivasi (i popoli nativi) dello stato di Chhattisgarh, è stato rilasciato il 7 gennaio 2013 dopo 29 mesi di carcere. Amnesty International lo aveva adottato come prigioniero di coscienza.

domenica 13 gennaio 2013

Maldives legal system “inaccessible” to migrant workers: Transparency Maldives.

Migrant workers suffering poor treatment from their employers are giving up on taking their cases to court due to the “inaccessibility” of the Maldives legal system, an official from Transparency Maldives’ Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) has claimed.
ALAC Communications and Advocacy Manager Aiman Rasheed told Minivan News today that a large number of human rights abuse cases in the Maldives are “potentially” going unreported due to foreign workers not taking their disputes to court.

Nepal: The search for justice.

Impunity is a longstanding problem in Nepal where lack of political will to account for past and present actions of the politically well-connected is compounded by other obstacles to justice, especially for those who lack financial resources or social influence. This climate of impunity also poses dangers for Nepal’s human rights defenders. As this report shows, addressing Nepal’s impunity problem is a significant challenge, but it is essential to securing lasting peace and stability:

mercoledì 9 gennaio 2013

Maldives government to review laws that “victimise” sexually abused minors.

Dopo l'aberrante incriminazione della ragazza violentata dal patrigno (, si fa strada la possibilità di una correzione della legge.
The Maldivian government has today said it will review and potentially “correct” laws in the country it claims victimise young women and minors who have suffered sexual abuse.
President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad told Minivan News the government would be holding consultations with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and other relevant authorities to discuss how minors who have been sexually abused were being treated in the country.
The comments were made as the Prosecutor General (PG’s) Office today confirmed that it would be pressing criminal charges against a 15 year-old girl from the island of Feydhoo in Shaviyani Atoll for having “consensual sexual relations”.
A spokesperson for the PG’s Office said the charges against the minor were unrelated to a separate case against the girl’s stepfather over allegations he had sexually abused her. 

Lavoratrice migrante dello Sri Lanka decapitata in Arabia Saudita.

Rizana Nafeek, una lavoratrice migrante dello Sri Lanka, è stata decapitata il 9 gennaio 2013 nella città di Dawadni, a est della capitale dell'Arabia Saudita, Riad.

La donna era stata condannata a morte il 16 giugno 2007 per l'omicidio di un neonato che le era stato affidato, avvenuto due anni prima. Si era sempre difesa sostenendo che la morte per soffocamento era stata accidentale e causata dalla sua imperizia come baby-sitter.

Il passaporto con cui, nel 2005, Rizana Nafeek era migrata in Arabia Saudita riportava come anno di nascita il 1982: una condizione, quella della maggiore età, necessaria per poter trovare un impiego nel paese. Secondo il certificato di nascita, era in realtà nata nel 1988.

Ciò significa che l'Arabia Saudita ha messo a morte una minorenne al momento del reato, in violazione della Convenzione internazionale sui diritti dell'infanzia: circostanza di cui, grazie al potere discrezionale dei giudici, non si è tenuto conto negli appelli contro la sentenza di primo grado, emessa in un processo celebrato senza avvocato difensore e senza un servizio di traduzione adeguato dall'arabo al tamil.

Quella di Rizana Nafeek è la seconda esecuzione del 2013 in Arabia Saudita. Nel 2012, Amnesty International ha registrato almeno 79 esecuzioni, di cui almeno 27 nei confronti di cittadini stranieri.

La pena di morte in Arabia Saudita è prevista per un'ampia serie di reati. Negli ultimi anni, molte condanne a morte sono state eseguite nei confronti di lavoratori migranti provenienti da paesi poveri.

martedì 8 gennaio 2013

Bangladesh newspaper editor at risk .

Bangladeshi editor Mahmudur Rahman is facing sedition charges over interviews among government officials which were published in his newspaper.Bangladeshi editor Mahmudur Rahman is facing sedition charges over interviews among government officials which were published in his newspaper.
© Amnesty International
The Bangladeshi authorities must refrain from harassing and prosecuting newspaper editor Mahmudur Rahman, Amnesty International said today.

Mahmudur Rahman has been threatened with prosecution for publishing a Skype conversation between the then chairman of the Bangladeshi court, the International Crimes Tribunal and a Bangladeshi legal expert.

After being warned that he could be arrested anytime he has not left his newspaper’s offices since 13 December 2012 except for a brief trip to the court on 8 January to seek anticipatory bail. The court has not yet granted this.

“Everyone, including Mahmudur Rahman, has the right to freedom of opinion and to seek, receive and impart information through any media,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh researcher. “He has been previously detained and tortured for publishing articles in the public’s interest.”

He added: “A full report on the Skype conversation had already been published by the UK magazine The Economist and also posted on the YouTube website.”

There was no legal ban on the publication of that material in Bangladesh during the time that Amar Desh was publishing it from 9 to 13 December 2012.

The newspaper stopped publishing the reports on 13 December 2012 when a court injunction banned Bangladeshi newspapers from publishing them. It was after the court injunction that the government obtained a court order from a High Court bench, which required the police to take “necessary action” against Rahman on the basis of the allegation that he had committed sedition by publishing the Skype conversation.

The government of Bangladesh must ensure that everyone, in particular journalists and editors, are free to express their views and opinion peacefully without being harassed, intimidated, detained or tortured.

Maldive: minorenne stuprata dal padrino rischia le frustate.

Una ragazza di 15 anni, accusata di "fornicazione", rischia di essere condannata alla fustigazione nelle isole Maldive. Amnesty International ha forti ragioni per ritenere che la minorenne sia stata stuprata dal padrino.
La ragazza, il padrino e la madre erano stati arrestati nel giugno 2012 dopo che il corpo di un neonato da lei appena partorito era stato ritrovato fuori dalla loro abitazione, nell'isola di Feydhoo.
Il padrino, che avrebbe abusato per anni della figliastra, è stato accusato di abuso sessuale nei confronti di minore, possesso di materiale pornografico e omicidio, mentre la madre dovrà rispondere di occultamento di cadavere e omicidio.
Secondo quanto appreso da Amnesty International, la minorenne è stata incriminata per "fornicazione", reato punibile con le frustate ed eseguibile al raggiungimento della maggiore età. Se giudicata colpevole, la ragazza rimarrà agli arresti domiciliari fino al compimento del diciottesimo anno di età, per poi essere sottoposta alle frustate.
Le autorità maldiviane hanno rifiutato di confermare i dettagli della vicenda e non hanno chiarito se l'imputazione di "fornicazione" abbia a che fare con lo stupro commesso dal padrino.
Il dipartimento dell'Amministrazione giudiziaria delle Maldive ha dichiarato che non esiste alcun fascicolo sulla ragazza nei tribunali minorili ma ha ammesso di essere a conoscenza dell'accusa nei suoi confronti.
"Siamo di fronte a un oltraggio assoluto. Le sopravvissute allo stupro e ad altre forme di violenza sessuale dovrebbero ricevere assistenza e sostegno, anziché essere incriminate" - ha dichiarato Abbaz Faiz, ricercatore di Amnesty International sulle Maldive. "Chiediamo che la ragazza sia prosciolta da ogni accusa, protetta e assistita in ogni sua necessità".
Amnesty International è a conoscenza di ulteriori casi in cui sopravvissute allo stupro sono state incriminate di "fornicazione" e poi punite con le frustate. 

The charges of “fornication” against a 15-year old girl in Maldives, who there is strong reason to believe was raped by her step-father, is outrageous, Amnesty International said.
The girl and her step-father were first arrested after the body of a baby she had given birth to was found buried outside their house on Feydhoo island in Maldives in June 2012.
The step-father, who had reportedly sexually abused his daughter for years, has been charged with sexually abusing a minor, possessing pornography, and murder, while her mother has been charged with concealing a crime and murder.
The 15-year old girl has reportedly been charged with ”fornication”, though the Maldivian authorities have refused to confirm the details of the case and whether it is related to the rape by her step-father.
“This is an absolute outrage, regardless of the reason for her charges. Victims of rape or other forms of sexual abuse should be given counselling and support – not charged with a crime,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Maldives Researcher.
“We urge the Maldivian authorities to immediately drop all charges against the girl, ensure her safety and provide her with all necessary support.”
If found guilty of ”fornication” the girl could be punished with flogging. She would likely be kept under house arrest until she turns 18 when, under Maldivian law, the flogging can be carried out.
“Flogging is a violation of the absolute prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. The Maldivian authorities should immediately end its use regardless of circumstances. The fact that this time a 15-year old girl who has suffered terribly is at risk makes it all the more reprehensible,” said Faiz.
“Flogging is not only wrong and humiliating, but can lead to long-term psychological as well as physical scars.”
The Maldivian Department of Judicial Administration today claimed that no case against the girl has been filed in the Juvenile Court, even though it acknowledged that charges against her exist.
Amnesty International has received credible reports that the Maldivian authorities have in the past charged and convicted other girls, some of whom have been survivors of rape and other sexual assault, with ”fornication” which had led to them being punished by flogging.

lunedì 7 gennaio 2013

NEPAL - Warning over women's safety amid Nepal rape protests.

Nepal protests - Photos by Dewan Rai 

A leading human rights lawyer in Nepal has warned that women may not be safe "even in the custody of the state", following the rape and robbery of a woman by government employees.
"This case is a tipping point," Mandira Sharma told the BBC.
Hundreds of people are demonstrating in the capital Kathmandu for better justice for women following the case.
Protesters said they were inspired by similar rallies in India against the rape and murder of a Delhi student.
The Kathmandu protests are now in their seventh day and are centred on the prime minister's house in the district of Baluwatar.
In the Nepalese case, the 21-year-old woman was returning from working abroad when she was robbed by immigration officials at Kathmandu airport.
She was then handed over to a policeman who, she says, raped her and robbed her again.
The woman says she has become pregnant as a result of the attack.
The Nepalese government have said they will investigate the incident and have given the woman some financial compensation, but she says this is still less than what was taken.
Ms Sharma says this is just one of many incidents of crimes against women which are not being properly investigated.
She says it is particularly hard for Nepalese women to have their cases heard if government employees are involved in the crime.
"Justice depends on good investigation. The police are not professional during investigations. They are subjected to all kinds of pressure from the state, politicians and those in power," she says.

NEPAL - UK arrest highlights Nepal’s failure to address torture.

Amnesty International continues to receive complaints of torture by Nepal’s security forces and has repeatedly called on the authorities to stop shielding perpetrators.
Amnesty International continues to receive complaints of torture by Nepal’s security forces and has repeatedly called on the authorities to stop shielding perpetrators.
The arrest in the UK of a Nepali man on allegations of torture is a welcome indication of the UK’s readiness to comply with its international obligations in combating torture. It could also be an important step for victims failed by the Nepali justice system Amnesty International said.

UK police on 3 January 2012 arrested a 46-year man, reportedly a high-ranking army official,   on suspicion of torture of detainees in 2005, during Nepal’s civil war.

“This arrest may prove to be a welcome step towards accountability, but it also really highlights the Nepal government’s failure to provide justice for the thousands of victims of torture, enforced disappearance, unlawful killings and other human rights abuses in the country,” said Polly Truscott, Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

Despite repeated promises by the government of Nepal, there has yet to be any meaningful investigations into the multitude of abuses committed by both government forces and Maoist combatants during Nepal’s civil war.

“The Nepali government has withdrawn criminal cases against individuals with political affiliations, promoted alleged perpetrators of human rights violations to senior leadership positions and proposed amnesties which could cover serious crimes,” said Truscott

“In short, the government of Nepal has sent a clear message to all potential abusers that there will be no consequences for their crimes,”

The man was arrested under a UK law implementing the country’s obligations under the Convention against Torture, which includes a duty to exercise universal jurisdiction, that is, to investigate and prosecute (or extradite for prosecution) those suspected of torture, even if the alleged torture was committed overseas.

“Universal jurisdiction is a crucial tool to ensure that those suspected of the most serious offences known to humanity cannot simply run and hide abroad, but unfortunately it is rarely used. We hope that this arrest will encourage other governments to comply with this essential duty,” said Truscott.

Nepal must also implement its obligations under the Convention against Torture by cooperating fully with the UK investigation.

The Nepali government reportedly today summoned the UK ambassador in Kathmandu to protest the arrest, and called for the arrested man’s immediate release.

“The government’s reaction has not been helpful. Instead of protesting an arrest that has been done fully in line with international law, the authorities should focus on its obligations to address torture and other human rights violations committed in the past,” said Truscott.

“We urge the UK authorities to take a decision on whether or not to prosecute Lama on the evidence alone, and not let pressure from Kathmandu have any influence.”

Amnesty International continues to receive complaints of torture by Nepal’s security forces and has repeatedly called on the authorities to stop shielding perpetrators and ensure that victims receive justice.

sabato 5 gennaio 2013

PAKISTAN - La strage delle donne che educano le bambine.

Le persone e la dignita Corriere della Sera Amnesty International

Prima Malala, poi le maestre di una scuola elementare. In Pakistan chi si prodiga per l’istruzione delle bambine rischia la vita per mano dei fondamentalisti islamici. Gli obiettivi dei terroristi sono sempre gli stessi:  impedire l’alfabetizzazione delle donne, che è ferma a un misero 46 per cento, e combattere le vaccinazioni contro poliomelite e morbillo che sono considerate un escamotage dell’Occidente per sterilizzare i musulmani. Ieri i fanatici hanno colpito nella provincia Khyber Pakhtunkhwa al confine con l’Afghanistan dove i talebani un tempo la facevano da padroni. Oltre a cinque maestre hanno perso la vita anche un’infermiera e un suo collega (nella foto una delle vittime). L’agguato è avvenuto nella città di Swabi, a circa 75 chilometri da Islamabad, non molto lontano da Swat dove fu ferita Malala, la ragazzina che voleva studiare e far studiare le sue coetanee.  Ora l’Ujala Community Welfare Center che comprende una scuola elementare per bambine e un centro medico per le vaccinazioni ha sospeso le attività con grande disperazione degli abitanti della cittadina che vedevano come una speranza quelle lezioni per le loro figlie.
Per questo Javed Akhtar, direttore dell’Ong Support With Working Solutions ha chiesto ai suoi 160 dipendenti di non lavorare finché non miglioreranno le condizioni di sicurezza. Già ma come? Rooh ul-Amin, direttore dell’Unione delle Ong di Swabi, ricorda che negli ultimi mesi “scuole e organizzazioni umanitarie sono state oggetto di attacchi da parte di ignoti”.  Ed è chiaro che i talebani non si fermeranno. D’altra parte gli attentati portano i loro frutti.  Lo scorso dicembre quando  sono stati uccisi alcuni operatori sanitari che somministravano i vaccini anti-polio ai bambini, il governo ha sospeso la campagna sanitaria.  E questo nonostante nel 2012  il Pakistan abbia  registrato 56 casi di poliomelite e ben 306 decessi di bambini a causa del morbillo.
La verità è che la situazione sembra sfuggire al controllo dell’esercito, almeno nelle aree dove i talebani sono più forti. E le volontarie ora hanno paura di uscire di casa.  Maryam Bibi, fondatrice di un’organizzazione chiamata Khwendo Kor nella provincia di Khyber Pakhtunkhwa e nelle vicine zone tribali, ha detto ieri all’Associated Press che lei e i suoi dipendenti vivono nella paura di essere il prossimo bersaglio. “Sono molto preoccupata perché le nostre ragazze devono uscire e lavorare nel villaggio e già questo non piace alle loro famiglie. Ma ora si rischia di morire ammazzate”:
La giornata di ieri è l’ennesimo segnale dello sfacelo della repubblica islamica che conta 108 milioni di abitanti, un esercito equipaggiato con sofisticate armi americane e almeno cento bombe atomiche ma dove il terrorismo sembra ormai senza controllo e il sistema educativo è fallito, con un tasso di alfabetizzazione fermo al 58%. Ironicamente proprio Islamabad ha assunto ieri per un mese la presidenza del Consiglio di sicurezza Onu.

Indian rape debate: Why death penalty is no solution - By Ananth Guruswamy,

After the gang-rape and murder of a student in New Delhi, many Indians want the death penalty to be introduced for rapists.

After the gang-rape and murder of a student in New Delhi, many Indians want the death penalty to be introduced for rapists.

New Delhi (CNN) -- The tragic case of the 23-year old woman who was brutally attacked, raped and left for dead by six men in New Delhi on December 16 has highlighted the unacceptable reality millions of women in India are facing. Violence against women is endemic -- more than 220,000 cases of violent crimes against women were reported in 2011 according to official statistics from the Indian government, with the actual number likely to be much higher.
If there has been a silver lining to this horrendous case, it has been the enormous outcry from Indian society. What started as student-led protests in New Delhi has grown to encompass Indians from all walks of life and from the whole political spectrum. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets with the clear message that something has to change, and that women should no longer have to live in fear.
But amid the many reasonable and constructive calls on the authorities to address the situation, there is unfortunately a growing chorus of voices calling for the six alleged perpetrators to be executed, or even for mandatory death sentence in cases of sexual violence.
Five of the six suspects were formally charged in New Delhi on Thursday, with the authorities investigating whether the sixth suspect is under 18 and a juvenile. The five are expected to be charged with several offences including murder, which is punishable by death under Indian law.
The anger felt towards the suspects is completely understandable, as is the desire to impose stricter laws around sexual violence to ensure that what happened in Delhi in December never happens again. But imposing the death penalty would just perpetuate the cycle of violence.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, regardless of the circumstances or the nature of the crime. It is the ultimate cruel and inhuman punishment, and a violation of a fundamental human right -- the right to life.
There is no evidence to suggest that the threat of execution works as a special deterrent. This is reflected in a clear global trend moving towards the abolition of the death penalty. Today, 140 countries in the world have abolished executions in law or practice.