domenica 28 luglio 2013

INDIA - How An Indian Court Took on a U.S. Chemical Giant – And Won.
Gas victims protest at a rally demanding social justice and reparations for the victims of the Bhopal gas leak. The site has never been properly cleaned up and it continues to poison the residents of Bhopal (Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images).

The survivors of 1984′s Bhopal gas disaster have won a significant step toward justice.
An Indian court ruled this week that Dow Chemical must explain why its wholly owned subsidiary, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), has repeatedly ignored court summons in the ongoing criminal case concerning the Bhopal disaster. Union Carbide is accused of “culpable homicide not amounting to murder” for over 20,000 deaths.
“Today’s court decision is an important step in ensuring corporate accountability for the devastating consequences of the Bhopal gas leak,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International. “Dow Chemical has always tried to claim it has nothing to do with UCC’s liability for Bhopal, but the court has today made it clear that Dow Chemical itself has a responsibility to ensure that UCC faces the outstanding charges against it. Dow Chemical can no longer turn its back on the tens of thousands still suffering in Bhopal.”
Almost three decades after the Bhopal disaster, victims and their families have yet to receive adequate compensation from Union Carbide or the Indian government.
“The summoning of Dow Chemical is potentially a giant step towards establishing the criminal liability of Union Carbide Corporation for one of the worst corporate disasters in world history,” said Satinath Sarangi, a member of Bhopal Group for Information and Action.
Dow Chemical, a controversial sponsor of last summer’s London Olympics, has failed to ensure that Union Carbide appear before Indian courts. The U.S. chemical giant has consistently denied any responsibility for the on-going negative environmental and human rights repercussions of the gas disaster. After a recent ruling in US courts unfavorable to Bhopal’s survivors, this week’s ruling in India represents a shift towards justice for the people of Bhopal and a step towards meaningful corporate accountability for the world’s worst industrial disaster.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Perhaps this ruling will help Bhopal’s survivors finally win the justice they deserve.
For more Amnesty International news and actions focused on corporate accountability, sign up for our monthly email actions, join our Corporate Action Network Facebook page or follow us on Twitter at @aiusacorpaction.
James Mutti, India Country Specialist for Amnesty International USA, largely researched and contributed to this article.

PAKISTAN - Burka avenger: il cartone pachistano con l'eroina in burka.

Ci dev'essere qualcosa di davvero universale, nel concetto all-American del supereroe. Dopo i 99, la prima squadra di eroi in costume musulmani, è in arrivo un'eroina mascherata pakistana. Il suo costume, che sventola nero al vento mentre salta da un tetto all'altro della cittadina immaginaria di Halwapur, è un burqa. Una scelta che inverte di segno il significato di sottomissione del tradizionale abito oppressivo della condizione femminile imposto dai Talebani quando conquistarono l'Afghanistan negli anni '90. Ma in questo caso è solo un travestimento, non una celebrazione dell'abito.
Come si vede dal trailer, la serie tv in lingua Urdu - forse il primo cartone animato pakistano - avrà toni solari, affrontando però quelli che sono problemi molto seri della vita nel paese. Nella sua identità segreta, questa "Burka Avenger" è in realtà una ragazza di nome Jiya, un'insegnante dal capo rigorosamente scoperto che lotta (scagliando libri e penne come fossero batarang, le armi di Batman...) per difendere la sua scuola dai malintenzionati che la vorrebbero chiudere. "Che cosa c'entrano le donne con l'istruzione?", dice uno dei nemici di Burka Avenger "dovrebbero starsene in casa a lavare, pulire e cucinare".
La trama, spiega l'Associated Press acquista significato per un occidentale quando ci si informa e ci si rende conto che in Pakistan i Talebani hanno fatto saltare centinaia di scuole, aggredendo attivisti nel Nord-Ovest proprio per contrastare l'istruzione delle ragazze. E arrivando a tentare di uccidere con un colpo in testa l'attivista quindicenne Malala Yousafzai.
A condire il cartone animato le canzoni dei più famosi cantanti pop pakistani, come Aaron Haroon Rashid, l'ideatore di questa serie - che diventerà presto anche un gioco per l'iPhone - il quale ci tiene a sottolineare l'importanza dell'istruzione femminile, e della non-discriminazione, in un paese dove i militanti islamici aggrediscono abitudinariamente le minoranze religiose.
Curioso è infine un dettaglio riportato dall'AP: a finanziare l'impresa contribuisce un donatore estero, che preferisce restare anonimo. E anche questo, in fondo, suona molto all-American.

mercoledì 24 luglio 2013

INDIA - Court decision requires Dow Chemical to respond to Bhopal gas tragedy.

Wall painting dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.
Wall painting dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.
© Amnesty International
US chemical giant The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) must acknowledge its responsibility towards survivors of the devastating Bhopal industrial disaster, Amnesty International said after the company was summonsed to appear before a court in Bhopal, India.

The company has been ordered to explain why its wholly owned subsidiary, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), has repeatedly ignored court summons in the ongoing criminal case concerning the 1984 Bhopal disaster, where UCC is accused of “culpable homicide not amounting to murder”.

“Today’s court decision is an important step in ensuring corporate accountability for the devastating consequences of the Bhopal gas leak,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

“Dow has always tried to claim it has nothing to do with UCC’s liability for Bhopal, but the court has today made it clear that Dow itself has a responsibility to ensure that UCC faces the outstanding charges against it. Dow can no longer turn its back on the tens of thousands still suffering in Bhopal.”

Almost three decades after the Bhopal disaster, victims and their families have yet to receive adequate compensation from UCC or the Indian government.

“The summoning of Dow is potentially a giant step towards establishing the criminal liability of Union Carbide Corporation for one of the worst corporate disasters in world history,” Satinath Sarangi, a member of Bhopal Group for Information and Action, a local campaign group, said.

“As 100 per cent ownerof Union Carbide, Dow will now have to find a way to explain Union Carbide’s absconding from serious criminal charges for the last 21 years to the Bhopal Court,” said Hazra Bee, a survivor-activist who lives right across from the former Union Carbide plant in Jaiprakash Nagar.

The impacts of Bhopal continue to be felt today. Some 100,000 people continue to suffer from health problems. Ongoing pollution from toxic waste at the former factory site has never been addressed.

Research conducted by Amnesty International in December 2012 found that, since the gas leak, women in Bhopal have reported ongoing serious health issues including gynaecological and reproductive health disorders.

UCC held a majority share in Union Carbide India Limited, the Indian company that operated the pesticide plant responsible for the 1984 Bhopal gas leak, which it is estimated has killed more than 22,000 people. 

In 1987, the Indian government brought criminal charges of “culpable homicide not amounting to murder” against UCC and its former chairman Warren Anderson. Since then, UCC has repeatedly ignored court summons in India and has yet to face justice for its role in the Bhopal disaster. Anderson escaped trial by simply living abroad. A request by the Indian government for his extradition is still pending with the US government.

Dowhas owned UCC since 2001 but has consistently denied responsibility for any UCC liability in relation to Bhopal, ignoring calls by survivors and human rights groups to address the ongoing environmental and health impacts of the disaster.

Dowhas always maintained that it did not own UCC at the time of the disaster and that the two are separate companies. But today’s court ruling means Dow must explain to the Bhopal chief judicial magistrate why it has failed to ensure its subsidiary appears in court.

“Dow’sattempt to distance itself from its wholly owned subsidiary UCC has always ignored the reality of the relationship between the two companies. Today’s court summons has confirmed that Dow itself must ensure that UCC faces up to its responsibilities,” said Gaughran.

“Dow should publicly recognise this responsibility and address the ongoing human rights impacts in Bhopal. Dow also needs to explain why UCC has failed to show up in court, and to release publicly all information about the gas leak that UCC has withheld previously.”

India: Urgent investigation needed as protests continue in Kashmir.

Protests erupted in numerous towns and cities across Kashmir after paramilitary forces killed four demonstrators on 18 July.  
Protests erupted in numerous towns and cities across Kashmir after paramilitary

 forces killed four demonstrators on 18 July.
© Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images 

The Indian authorities must ensure an urgent, full and independent investigation into the killing of four demonstrators and the alleged use of live ammunition against protesters in Jammu and Kashmir, Amnesty International said today.

“It is of vital urgency that the authorities launch swift, thorough and independent investigations into the killings and the other reports that police used excessive force against the ensuing protests across Jammu and Kashmir,” said Shashikumar Velath, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India.

The protests erupted in numerous towns and cities after paramilitary forces killed four demonstrators in Gool, Ramban district on 18 July.

Dozens of people have subsequently been injured in widespread clashes between the police and protesters across the northern Indian state.

Protesters in several towns and cities defied curfews put in place over the weekend, with some holding violent demonstrations. Security forces have reportedly used excessive force in response, including firing live ammunition against protesters.

“All those responsible for injury and loss of life must be brought to justice. Impunity for security forces in Jammu and Kashmir has prevailed in too many cases in the past, including the very recent past. Authorities must take all measures necessary to ensure that those responsible are prosecuted in a civilian court of law,” said Shashikumar Velath.

Local residents in Ganderbal district have told journalists that two people were seriously injured on 19 July when the Jammu and Kashmir police and paramilitary forces from the Central Police Reserve Force (CRPF) opened fire at demonstrators, some of whom were throwing stones. The police have claimed that they only used pellet guns.

There are also reports that on 19 July security forces fired live ammunition at protesters in Qazigund and Koimoi towns in southern Kashmir.


On 18 July, four people were killed and 42 injured in Gool, Ramban district, when paramilitary personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) opened fire on protesters demonstrating after the security forces allegedly roughed up a cleric.

The BSF has stated that its forces fired in self-defence when the protesters turned violent. But eyewitnesses have said that the BSF personnel fired indiscriminately at protesters. A preliminary report by the Jammu and Kashmir police has also said the shooting by the BSF forces was “uncalled for” and “indiscriminate.”

India’s Minister of Home Affairs and the Jammu and Kashmir state government have ordered investigations into the killings. 

Widespread impunity has prevailed for violations of international law in Jammu and Kashmir – including unlawful killings, extrajudicial executions, torture and the enforced disappearance of thousands of people since 1989.

Security forces shot dead more than 100 young people amid protests in the summer of 2010 – most of these cases have not been fully investigated.

lunedì 22 luglio 2013

AFGHANISTAN - Newspaper reporter freed after 11 days.

Reporters Without Borders is pleased to learn that Azizolrahman Sakhizadeh, a reporter for the Kabul-based daily Mandegar, was finally released on 16 July, 11 days after his arrest in response to a libel action by the head of the government’s anti-corruption department, Azizullah Ludin.
“We hail the personal commitment to Sakhizadeh’s release shown by President Hamid Karzai and information and culture minister Makhdom Raheen,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We also urge the courts to overturn the 30-month jail sentence that his editor, Nazari Paryani, received in absentia on a libel charge.”

sabato 20 luglio 2013

PAKISTAN - Open letter to Prime Minister.

Dear Prime Minister

I am writing on behalf of Amnesty International to express deep concern at the Government of Pakistan’s reported intention to resume executions. I urge you to support a further Presidential order not to implement death sentences and to commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment as a significant first step towards abolition of the death penalty.
The death penalty violates the right to life as recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Moreover, in Pakistan many defendants have been sentenced to death following unfair trials, including for non-lethal offences. The resumption of executions would set Pakistan directly against its obligations, as well as against the global trend towards abolition of capital punishment.
The nearly four years’ cessation of executions in Pakistan, interrupted only by the execution of soldier Muhammed Hussain, following a court martial, on 15 November 2012, represents an important human rights milestone. This was recognized internationally, including during the consideration of Pakistan’s human rights record at the UN Universal Periodic Review in October 2012.
Executions will not improve the law and order situation
There is no convincing evidence that the death penalty has an unique deterrent effect on crime compared to other forms of punishment, as demonstrated for example by the persistently high crime rates for capital offences in many of the states of the USA that retain capital punishment. The most comprehensive study carried out by the UN on the relation between the death penalty and homicide rates concluded: "...research has failed to provide scientific proof that executions have a greater deterrent effect than life imprisonment. Such proof is unlikely to be forthcoming. The evidence as a whole still gives no positive support to the deterrent hypothesis".
Far from being a solution, the death penalty gives the erroneous impression that "firm measures" are being taken against crime, diverting attention from the broader reform efforts in law enforcement and justice that will provide Pakistan with effective and enduring responses to violent crimes and human rights abuses. In the words of the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 1995, "We would be deluding ourselves if we were to believe that the execution of... a comparatively few people each year... will provide the solution to the unacceptably high rate of crime... The greatest deterrent to crime is the likelihood that offenders will be apprehended, convicted and punished".
At a time when Pakistan’s justice system is struggling to cope with the law and order situation, it can be all too easy to see the death penalty as a quick fix solution. Instead of resuming executions, Amnesty International urges the Government of Pakistan to seek long-term solutions that result in systemic improvements in the administration of criminal justice; better co-operation and co-ordination amongst law enforcement authorities with a view to bringing suspects to trial, and increased capacity of the judicial and law enforcement authorities to ensure due process and rule of law, consistent with international human rights law and standards.
Unfair trials are systemic in Pakistan
Amnesty International’s concern is heightened by the fact that many death sentences are handed down after trials that do not meet international fair trial standards. These trials are characterized by a lack of access to legal counsel and an acceptance of evidence inadmissible under international law. Statements extracted through torture continue to be used as evidence in court. Defendants often face restrictions in trying to access a lawyer or are given state-appointed lawyers who are often poorly trained and paid, and may not represent their clients vigorously unless given further payments by the defendant or their family.
In addition, the right to fair trial has been undermined in trials before lower courts which continue to sentence people to death. These courts operate with restricted public access and with the requirement for trials to be completed within a matter of days or weeks, putting judges under extreme pressure to convict.
The high courts do not have jurisdiction over the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, leaving the people sentenced to death by courts in this region without a right to appeal against a death sentence to Pakistan’s superior judiciary.
Pakistan’s judicial system suffers from corruption, lack of independence and discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, ethnicity and social, economic and other status.
As long as the death penalty is in place, the risk of executing innocent people can never be eliminated. Unfair trials exacerbate this risk and place Pakistan in breach of its international obligations.
The death penalty breaches Pakistan’s international obligations
The death penalty may be imposed in Pakistan for at least 28 crimes, including for non-lethal offences which do not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes” as set out in Article 6.2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Pakistan is a State party. Many of the over 8,000 people sentenced to death in Pakistan have been convicted for non-lethal offences. Thousands of these people are still appealing against their death sentences, and any executions of such sentences would violate Pakistan’s international obligations under Article 6 and 14 of the ICCPR.
As of today, 97 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, and 140 countries are abolitionist in law or practice. Since 2007 the UN General Assembly has adopted, with increased cross-regional support, four resolutions calling on States that retain the death penalty to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
Amnesty International urges the new government of Pakistan to uphold its commitment to human rights, not resume executions and to commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment.
Yours sincerely
Salil Shetty
Secretary General

17 July 2013

domenica 14 luglio 2013

MALDIVES - HRCM investigating three cases of alleged torture in Male’ custodial.

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has confirmed it is investigating three recent cases of detainees being tortured by Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS) officers while in the Male’ jail.
The HRCM issued a recent press release stating they were “investigating complaints of brutality” towards detainees at the Custodial Reception and Diagnostic Centre (Male’ Jail).

venerdì 12 luglio 2013

PAKISTAN - The text of Malala Yousafzai’s speech at the United Nations.

In the name of God, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.
Honourable UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-moon,
Respected President General Assembly Vuk Jeremic
Honourable UN envoy for Global education Mr Gordon Brown,
Respected elders and my dear brothers and sisters;
Today, it is an honour for me to be speaking again after a long time. Being here with such honourable people is a great moment in my life.
I don't know where to begin my speech. I don't know what people would be expecting me to say. But first of all, thank you to God for whom we all are equal and thank you to every person who has prayed for my fast recovery and a new life. I cannot believe how much love people have shown me. I have received thousands of good wish cards and gifts from all over the world. Thank you to all of them. Thank you to the children whose innocent words encouraged me. Thank you to my elders whose prayers strengthened me.
I would like to thank my nurses, doctors and all of the staff of the hospitals in Pakistan and the UK and the UAE government who have helped me get better and recover my strength. I fully support Mr Ban Ki-moon the Secretary-General in his Global Education First Initiative and the work of the UN Special Envoy Mr Gordon Brown.  And I thank them both for the leadership they continue to give. They continue to inspire all of us to action.
Dear brothers and sisters, do remember one thing. Malala day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights. There are hundreds of Human rights activists and social workers who are not only speaking for human rights, but who are struggling to achieve their goals of education, peace and equality. Thousands of people have been killed by the terrorists and millions have been injured. I am just one of them.
So here I stand...    one girl among many.
I speak – not for myself, but for all girls and boys.
I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.
Those who have fought for their rights:
Their right to live in peace.
Their right to be treated with dignity.
Their right to equality of opportunity.
Their right to be educated.
Dear Friends, on the 9th of October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends too. They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed. And then, out of that silence came, thousands of voices. The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.  I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same. My hopes are the same. My dreams are the same.
Dear sisters and brothers, I am not against anyone. Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorists group. I am here to speak up for the right of education of every child. I want education for the sons and the daughters of all the extremists especially the Taliban.
I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me. I would not shoot him. This is the compassion that I have learnt from Muhammad-the prophet of mercy, Jesus christ and Lord Buddha. This is the legacy of change that I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This is the philosophy of non-violence that I have learnt from Gandhi Jee, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa. And this is the forgiveness that I have learnt from my mother and father. This is what my soul is telling me, be peaceful and love everyone.
Dear sisters and brothers, we realise the importance of light when we see darkness. We realise the importance of our voice when we are silenced. In the same way, when we were in Swat, the north of Pakistan, we realised the importance of pens and books when we saw the guns.
The wise saying, “The pen is mightier than sword” was true. The extremists are afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them. And that is why they killed 14 innocent medical students in the recent attack in Quetta. And that is why they killed many female teachers and polio workers in Khyber Pukhtoon Khwa and FATA. That is why they are blasting schools every day.  Because they were and they are afraid of change, afraid of the equality that we will bring into our society.
I remember that there was a boy in our school who was asked by a journalist, “Why are the Taliban against education?” He answered very simply. By pointing to his book he said, “A Talib doesn't know what is written inside this book.” They think that God is a tiny, little conservative being who would send girls to the hell just because of going to school. The terrorists are misusing the name of Islam and Pashtun society for their own personal benefits. Pakistan is peace-loving democratic country. Pashtuns want education for their daughters and sons. And Islam is a religion of peace, humanity and brotherhood. Islam says that it is not only each child's right to get education, rather it is their duty and responsibility.
Honourable Secretary General, peace is necessary for education. In many parts of the world especially Pakistan and Afghanistan; terrorism, wars and conflicts stop children to go to their schools. We are really tired of these wars. Women and children are suffering in many parts of the world in many ways. In India, innocent and poor children are victims of child labour. Many schools have been destroyed in Nigeria. People in Afghanistan have been affected by the hurdles of extremism for decades. Young girls have to do domestic child labour and are forced to get married at early age. Poverty, ignorance, injustice, racism and the deprivation of basic rights are the main problems faced by both men and women.
Dear fellows, today I am focusing on women's rights and girls' education because they are suffering the most. There was a time when women social activists asked men to stand up for their rights. But, this time, we will do it by ourselves. I am not telling men to step away from speaking for women's rights rather I am focusing on women to be independent to fight for themselves.
Dear sisters and brothers, now it's time to speak up.
So today, we call upon the world leaders to change their strategic policies in favour of peace and prosperity.
We call upon the world leaders that all the peace deals must protect women and children's rights. A deal that goes against the dignity of women and their rights is unacceptable.
We call upon all governments to ensure free compulsory education for every child all over the world.
We call upon all governments to fight against terrorism and violence, to protect children from brutality and harm.
We call upon the developed nations to support the expansion of educational opportunities for girls in the developing world.
We call upon all communities to be tolerant – to reject prejudice based on cast, creed, sect, religion or gender. To ensure freedom and equality for women so that they can flourish. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.
We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave – to embrace the strength within themselves and realise their full potential.
Dear brothers and sisters, we want schools and education for every child's bright future. We will continue our journey to our destination of peace and education for everyone. No one can stop us. We will speak for our rights and we will bring change through our voice. We must believe in the power and the strength of our words. Our words can change the world.
Because we are all together, united for the cause of education. And if we want to achieve our goal, then let us empower ourselves with the weapon of knowledge and let us shield ourselves with unity and togetherness.
Dear brothers and sisters, we must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty, injustice and ignorance. We must not forget that millions of children are out of schools. We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are waiting for a bright peaceful future.
So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons.
One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. 
Education is the only solution. Education First.

lunedì 8 luglio 2013

India: Victims of Forced Evictions in Odisha Must Receive Effective Remedy and Reparation.

Authorities in the state of Odisha, India, must provide immediate remedy and reparation to families forcibly evicted in Jagatsinghpur district for a project proposed by South Korean steel company POSCO, Amnesty International India said today.
"These evictions were unlawful and have devastated the livelihoods of thousands of people," said Shashikumar Velath, Director of Programmes at Amnesty International India.
"Authorities acquired land without engaging in genuine consultation with affected persons, or providing adequate notice or adequate compensation. They have been violating the rights of these villagers for years. They must now ensure that the affected families receive effective remedies."
Officials from the Odisha government and police resumed forced evictions on 28 June 2013 in continuing efforts to acquire land for the project.  On the same day, police personnel baton-charged protestors, injuring at least 20 people.
On 4 July, Satya Kumar Mallick, the head of the Jagatsinghpur district administration, told Amnesty International India that acquisition of 1092 hectares for the first phase of the project had been completed, and authorities would now begin digging trenches to demarcate the acquired land.
Most of the area contained betel vineyards on common land - village property that falls under the authority of local bodies and is intended to be used by local communities - which many families depend on for their livelihoods.
According to Mallick, all farmers in the area had been consulted and given compensation – a one-time fixed cash payment – for land seized, and farmers had “voluntarily" dismantled their betel vines.  But local activists and some residents say that they were not consulted or given adequate notice, and that those who refused compensation had their land seized under physical duress without their consent.
"We don’t need their compensation; we want to lead our lives in peace without fear of being beaten, displaced or arrested," said Ranjan S, a resident of Gobindpur village.
According to the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development based evictions and displacement, all persons threatened with or subject to forced evictions have the right to timely remedy which includes a fair hearing, access to legal counsel, legal aid, return, restitution, resettlement, rehabilitation and compensation.
“The central and state governments have a duty to respect and protect the rights of these communities, and they need to act accordingly,” said Shashikumar Velath.
"For starters, victims of forced evictions must have access to effective remedies and the right to reparation.
"POSCO must carry out a comprehensive human rights impact assessment in consultation with local communities.
"Authorities must recognize individual and community claims to land, carry out genuine consultation with those affected, and only carry out further evictions as a last resort, as required by international standards," said Shashikumar Velath.
"Any unnecessary use of force or other rights violations committed by the police must be investigated and those responsible, including those with command responsibility, should be held to account," said Shashikumar Velath.
"Under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, companies have a responsibility to respect all human rights. POSCO must ensure that it takes steps to become aware of, prevent and address the adverse human rights impacts linked to land acquisition for its project."


Bangladesh - rilasci.

Nazrul Islam © Amin/Drik/Amnesty International
Nazrul Islam, segretario del partito politico Jamaat-e-Islami della sede regionale di Joypurhat, ha fatto rientro a casa alla fine del giugno 2013. Secondo quanto riferito dalla sua famiglia, era stato arrestato nella notte tra l'11 e il 12 aprile da agenti di polizia. Amnesty International aveva lanciato un'azione urgente per chiedere di conoscere i motivi dell'arresto e ottenere garanzie per la sua incolumità.

sabato 6 luglio 2013

Transparency Maldives launches training for Long-Term Observers for Presidential Elections.

President of Elections Commission, Fuwad Thaufeeq addesses TM’s Long-Term Observers.
President of Elections Commission,
Fuwad Thaufeeq addesses 
TM’s Long-Term Observers.

6 July 2013: Transparency Maldives has started a training programme for its Long-Term Observers for the upcoming Presidential Elections in the Maldives.  The three-day training programme started on Saturday.
The long-term election observation – the first of its kind in the Maldives – will cover all atolls of the country and will consist of up to 42 observers deployed in selected islands.
The LTOs will monitor areas such as campaigning, pre-election electoral processes, voter education, vote buying and misuse of state resources.  The LTOs will regularly meet with all key stakeholders and seek their feedback.
The objectives of the long-term observation include increasing confidence in the electoral processes, increase civil society participation in the democratic process, and make recommendations on areas that could be further improved.
At the function to launch the training, President of the Elections Commission, Mr Fuwad Thaufeeq, addressed the participants, highlighting the need for domestic observers and the positive role of domestic observers in strengthening the electoral system.
The training is conducted by experts and representatives from relevant state institutions, including the Elections Commission, Anti-Corruption Commission, the Maldives Police Service, and staff of Transparency Maldives.
Commenting on the training, TM’s Executive Director Ilham Mohamed said: “We are excited to experiment the first ever systematic long-term domestic election observation in the Maldives. We are preparing for a comprehensive Election Day observation recruiting up to 200 observers who will be assigned to randomly selected ballot boxes.
“We thank and recognize the contributions of domestic elections observers towards a credible elections.”

giovedì 4 luglio 2013

Demand truth from Sri Lanka’s president.

Appalling abuses happen every day in Sri Lanka. This can’t go on. Call on the president to take up Amnesty International’s six-point agenda for change to demonstrate human rights progress in the country:

Pakistan: Thousands of prisoners at risk if government resumes executions.

Pakistan has more than 8,000 prisoners on death row
The new Pakistani government must not resume executions and instead impose an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a first step towards abolition, Amnesty International said.
Media reports in Pakistan over the past few days have suggested that the new government, led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, may be moving rapidly to resume state killings in response to the prevailing law and order situation in the country.
"Any government green light to resume executions in Pakistan would be a shocking and retrograde step, putting thousands of people’s lives at risk,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.
Pakistan has more than 8,000 prisoners on death row, most of whom have exhausted the appeals process, and could now be facing execution.“The sheer number of people at risk makes the new government policy of turning back to the death penalty even more horrendous,” said Truscott.
A presidential order imposing a moratorium on the death penalty, issued in 2008, expired on 30 June. According to media reports the government has no intention of extending the order. Instead, it is implementing a new policy to execute all death row prisoners except those whose mercy petitions have “reasons to be considered”.
“As long as the death penalty is in place, the risk of executing innocent people can never be eliminated. The systemic fair trials violations in Pakistan not only exacerbate this risk, but also puts Pakistan in breach of its international obligations,” said Truscott.
“We urge the government to immediately extend the moratorium order, with a view to eventually abolishing the use of capital punishment altogether.”
While the Pakistani government is reportedly touting the resumption in executions as a way to tackle the country’s law and order problems, there is no compelling evidence that the death penalty acts as a particular deterrent in capital crimes compared to other forms of punishment.
The most comprehensive study carried out by the UN in 1988 and most recently updated in 2008 concluded that there is no proof that executions are a greater deterrent to crime than life imprisonment.
“At a time when Pakistan’s justice system is struggling to cope with the law and order situation, it can be all too easy for governments to see the death penalty as a quick fix solution. But the death penalty is not the answer to Pakistan’s justice problems," said Truscott.
“Resuming executions would do nothing to tackle crime or militancy, but instead just perpetuate a cycle of violence.”
With the exception of the execution of a soldier in November 2012, death sentences have not been carried out in the country since 2008.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.