giovedì 26 settembre 2013

MALDIVES - Elections Commission calls for run-off to go ahead as constitutionally scheduled.

 LIVE: Elections Commission calls for run-off to go ahead as constitutionally scheduled thumbnailElections Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek has told Minivan News that the second round of the presidential elections will go ahead as scheduled on Saturday.

“We will uphold the constitution and hold the election on the 28th,” said Thowfeek.
Article 111 of the constitution mandates a run-off election within 21 days of a first round of polling if no candidate gains more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round.
The decision comes despite a Supreme Court ruling on Monday (September 23) ordering all state institutions to delay preparations for the poll until it issues a verdict in a case filed against the EC by the Jumhooree Party (JP), seeking to annul the first round in which it narrowly placed third.
“We don’t believe any organisation or institution can overshadow the constitution. So we are working as per the constitution. I am trying to fulfill the national duty of the election commission. I don’t want to leave room for those who break laws and the constitution,” Thowfeek stated.
“I don’t care about punishment from the Supreme Court. If they are right, they should uphold the constitution,” said Thowfeek.
“We are asking for police support. Among the police there are those who support an election on the 28th. But due to the nature of their duty even if they want to support us they can’t without a direct order.”
The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) have called for the police to provide any assistance the EC requires to go ahead with the second round though Minivan News is aware that sources from within the police have warned that any attempts to hold the poll will be physically stopped.
Following the court ruling this week, the EC told a press conference that – after conflicting orders from the court and the Majlis – it would be guided by the constitution, which it argued ought to be the final arbiter on electoral procedures.
However while the EC members are believed to have a majority in favour of holding the election as scheduled, Vice President of the EC Ahmed Fayaz this evening expressed his unwillingness to support the move.
“I do not support this. I want to hold elections as per the law. I do not dare participate in this. I think this is backfiring. The EC cannot single-handedly hold an election, we need administrative and security support, ” he said.
“There are 3000 officials. If their opinion differs we cannot hold this without their support. In some countries once elections start, the police and state resources are at elections commission’s disposal. It is not the same here – some island and atoll councils have already said they will not support us.”
“I do support going ahead with preparations, to be ready to hold elections at any point,” stressed Fayaz.
Ahmed Shafeeu, Acting Minister of Home Affairs, tweeted: ”I believe election must be held as stated in the constitution #KKBK”.
KKBK is abbreviation for “Kuriah Kuriah Baara Kuriah”, MDP’s campaign slogan which means “Forward, Forward, Forward (with strength, speed)”
Aishath Velezinee, whistleblower and former member of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), the body tasked with oversight of the judiciary, has declared Monday’s injunction “a mutiny in the Supreme Court”.
“This is a mutiny in the Supreme Court. We have only seen an [injunction] order signed by four of the seven member bench. Even in a majority decision, every judge must give the reasoning for their decision in writing. We should see the other opinions,” she said.
“The Chief Justice has previously complained of orders being sent out without following due process. The legitimacy of the court order is in question.”
Velezinee cited precedent in a unanimous Supreme Court ruling given in 2009: Ruling C/2009/02, unanimous decision: only Act of God or State of War can legally delay a date specified in constitution,” she noted.
“According to the constitution there is no role for the Supreme Court in an election. There are no laws giving the Supreme Court oversight of an election. The constitution gives 21 days for the holding of second round, after the first round,” she emphasised.
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Mohamed Nasheed welcomed the EC’s decision, calling on all parties to respect it.
Nasheed emerged as the front runner in the first round of polls, with 45.45 percent (95,224 votes), followed by the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdulla Yameen who received 25.35 percent (53,099 votes).
JP candidate Gasim Ibrahim – who narrowly missed out on the run-off with 24.07 percent (50,422) – has commented on twitter, writing “no one is above the law. Rule of law shall prevail.”
PPM running-mate Dr Mohamed Jameel joined with fellow party members in calling for  the arrest of the EC Commissioner Thowfeek.
“Our view is very clear, the election cannot go ahead.  We will not allow it, no one in the country will allow it,” he said.
He added that Thowfeek’s pledge to hold voting on September 28 had created disharmony and a “rift” within society.
“[These actions]  won’t ease political tensions n the country and may well lead to violence,” Dr Jameel stated.
The PPM yesterday filed an additional case with the Supreme Court, requesting a delay of one month to allow time for campaigning.

mercoledì 18 settembre 2013

Ambassador of Conscience Award - Malala’s speech: ‘Let no one be forgotten’.

This speech was originally delivered at the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award ceremony in Dublin, Ireland on 17 September 2013.
Dear respected brothers and sisters, Secretary General Salil Shetty, Lord Mayor, Minister for Education, Bono, Roger Waters and Harry Belafonte: It is a great honour for me to be here in Ireland again, where Irish eyes are always smiling and, you can hear the angels sing.
Last time I was invited to Tipperary, I saw natural beauty and that reminded me of my hometown Swat where you can find lush green hills, mountains with tall trees and crystal clear rivers. And we call Swat a paradise on earth. Ireland shares this beauty of Swat.
Apart from the fact of natural beauty, the most important thing for me is the love and kindness that the people of Ireland have shown me.
I would like to thank Amnesty International for their continued campaigning to protect human rights and for giving me this award for our global campaign for girls’ education. I am truly humbled to share this award today with not only the king of Calypso, but the king of campaigning for the rights of humans across the globe. I am truly in awe of you, Mr Harry Belafonte.
Dear sisters and brothers, as many of you may know, my beloved home country of Pakistan and its people are suffering at the hands of violent terrorists. War continues to be waged against the innocent civilians of Afghanistan, whilst girls around the world are deprived of their basic right to an education. Girls like 5 year old Sambul are a target of sexual violence. Human rights defenders are killed; like Sushmita Banerjee, a health worker and author who was shot dead in Afghanistan. We can see that the people of Syria are homeless and children are out of school. In India children are suffering from child labour and child trafficking.
In many countries, women have been victims of sexual abuse, early forced marriages and domestic labour. They are not accepted as human beings but inferior, neglected, and marginalized. Women are deprived of their basic right of equality and justice. I could go on and talk at length of the atrocities and human rights violations that are occurring every hour, every minute, and every second, of each passing day.
I know that every time a person comes, delivers a speech, the audience claps and that is the end. Dear brothers and sisters, I am not here to explain the issues that we are faced with in detail, rather we are here to find a solution to these problems. You may be asking yourselves, what is the solution? I believe the only solution is education….education….education!
With this powerful weapon we can fight against violence, terrorism, child labour, and inequality. The only tools that are needed are a pen and a book to guide us on our way to an enlightened future for one and all.
Today, I would like to ask each and every one of you to do one small thing after today’s event, this small thing is to put pen to paper appealing to your governments to focus on education and for them to take real action.
It is vital that education is their top priority.
I want to live in a world where free compulsory education is available everywhere to every child.
Let no one be forgotten.  

Sri Lanka: Amnesty International and victim’s father at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

On 18-20 September, an Amnesty International delegation including Sri Lanka experts will visit the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr Kasipillai Manoharan will travel with the delegation - he is the father of one of the students killed in the so-called “Trinco 5” case in 2006. The case remains unsolved to this day, despite witnesses claiming that Sri Lankan security personnel were responsible. Since his son’s murder, Dr Manoharan has led a vocal campaign for justice. Subsequently, he and his surviving family members have been forced to flee the country. In Geneva, he will present a petition with 50,000 signatures on human rights in Sri Lanka. 
Both Dr Manoharan and Amnesty International Sri Lanka experts will be available for interviews from Geneva:

martedì 17 settembre 2013

MALDIVES - UN calls on all presidential candidates to accept election results.

The UN Resident Coordinator in the Maldives, Tony Lisle, has issued a statement encouraging “all presidential candidates to respect the results” of the first round of presidential elections.
The statement, in line with those of all other observers on the September 7 polls including delegations from the Commonwealth, UK, India, Australia, Malaysia, US, EU, Japan and Thailand, follows a sustained campaign by third-placed candidate Gasim Ibrahim to annul the result.

Bangladesh: Death sentence without right of judicial appeal defies human rights law.

Bangladeshi social activists shout slogans in Dhaka on September 17, 2013, after a verdict was delivered against Abdul Quader Molla. 

Bangladesh should immediately commute the death sentence of Abdul Quader Mollah, Amnesty International said after the Supreme Court increased his sentence from life imprisonment to death following an appeal by the government.

Mollah, a senior leader in the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party was first sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity by the Bangladeshi International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in February 2013. The tribunal was set up in 2010 to try those accused of committing war crimes during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war.

“We are very concerned about the Supreme Court’s ruling and the apparent relentless effort by the government to ensure that Mollah could be put to death. We urge Bangladeshi authorities to commute his death sentence, and to impose a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

The death sentence was handed down by the highest court in the country, giving Mollah no chance to appeal. The imposition of the death sentence without the possibility of appeal is incompatible with Bangladesh’s obligations under international human rights law.

“Imposing a death sentence without the right of judicial appeal defies human rights law. There is no question that the victims of Bangladesh’s independence war deserve justice, but one human rights violation does not cancel out another. Executions are a symptom of a culture of violence rather than a solution to it,” said Faiz.

“This is the first known case of a prisoner sentenced to death directly by the highest court in Bangladesh. It is also the first known death sentence in Bangladesh with no right of appeal.”

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.

A Malala Yousafzai e Harry Belafonte il premio Ambasciatore della coscienza 2013 di Amnesty International.

Malala Yousafzai © Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Malala Yousafzai © Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Malala Yousafzai, attivista pakistana per il diritto all'istruzione, ed Harry Belafonte, musicista statunitense, sono i vincitori del premio Ambasciatore della coscienza 2013 di Amnesty International. La cerimonia si svolgerà questa sera (martedì 17 settembre) alla Mansion House di Dublino. Fotografie e riprese video saranno a disposizione al termine dell'evento.

Il premio Ambasciatore della coscienza è il più alto riconoscimento conferito da Amnesty International a chi, durante la sua vita e col suo esempio, ha promosso e reso più forte la causa dei diritti umani.

"I nostri due nuovi Ambasciatori della coscienza sono differenti l'una dall'altro per molti aspetti, ma a unirli è la passione per la difesa dei diritti umani ovunque e per tutti. Harry e Malala sono due autentici Ambasciatori della coscienza, che parlano di diritti umani universali, di giustizia e dignità e che ispirano gli altri a seguirne l'esempio" - ha dichiarato Salil Shetty, segretario generale di Amnesty International.

Malala Yousafzai, 16 anni, è un'attivista per l'uguaglianza nell'istruzione. Nel diario scritto nel 2009 per la Bbc, aveva denunciato l'editto con cui i talebani pakistani avevano chiuso le scuole femminili. Nel 2012 è rimasta gravemente ferita in un attentato rivendicato da questi ultimi. A Dublino, sarà accompagnata da Bono e Azar Nafisi, autrice di "Leggere Lolita a Teheran".

"Sono molto onorata per questo riconoscimento. Voglio approfittarne per ricordare a ognuno che ci sono tanti milioni di bambine e bambini come me, nel mondo, che lottano ogni giorno per il loro diritto ad andare a scuola. Spero che lavorando insieme un giorno realizzeremo il nostro sogno di un'istruzione per ogni bambino, in ogni angolo del mondo" - ha dichiarato Malala Yousufzai.

Harry Belafonte ha dedicato la sua vita alle cause umanitarie, dal movimento per i diritti civili alla sofferenza dei bambini nel conflitto armato siriano. Vincitore di premy Emmy e Tony, in innumerevoli occasioni ha dato seguito a ciò che ha descritto e sentito come "l'obbligo di fare di più di un semplice intrattenimento". A Dublino sarà accompagnato da Roger Waters e da un ospite speciale.

"Sin da quando è stata fondata, ho abbracciato i principi per i quali Amnesty International si batte. Pertanto, è un onore ricevere questo riconoscimento. La scelta di Amnesty International di schierarsi contro ogni violazione dei diritti umani è coraggiosa e rappresenta la nostra bussola morale. Sono particolarmente orgoglioso di ricevere questo premio insieme a Malala Yousufzai, un'autentica eroina dei nostri tempi. Malala ha risvegliato la coscienza di molte persone nella famiglia globale, spingendole a impegnarsi nella lotta contro la tirannide. Non smetterò mai di ammirarla. Per tutto questo, vi ringrazio davvero molto!"  - ha dichiarato Harry Belafonte.

La cerimonia di Dublino commemorerà il Nobel per la Letteratura Seamus Heaney, recentemente scomparso, e che col suo poema "Dalla Repubblica della coscienza" ha ispirato il premio. Era previsto che fosse lui stesso, nel corso dell'evento, a leggere quei versi.

La serata, nel corso della quale sono previste alcune esibizioni musicali (tra cui il tenore Joseph Calleja, la vincitrice del premio Grammy Esperanza Spalding e Music Generation) sarà presentata da Orla Guerin, corrispondente della Bbc.

Tra gli altri vincitori del premio Ambasciatore della coscienza figurano Vaclav Havel (2003), Mary Robinson e Hilda Trujillo (2004), U2 e Paul McGuinness (2005), Nelson Mandela (2006), Peter Gabriel (2008) e Aung San Suu Kyi (2009, consegnato nel 2012).

AFGHANISTAN - Uccisa funzionaria di polizia, sempre più a rischio i diritti delle donne.

© AFP/Getty Images © AFP/Getty Images
La luogotenente Negar, 38 anni, una delle funzionarie di polizia di più alto grado dell'Afghanistan, è morta in ospedale il 16 settembre 2013 dopo che il giorno prima due sconosciuti a bordo di una motocicletta le avevano sparato alla nuca. L'agguato era avvenuto nei pressi del quartier generale della polizia di Lashkar Gar, capoluogo della provincia di Helmand.

Negar era nota per il suo impegno per  i diritti delle donne. Nell'ultimo anno sono state uccise la sua predecessora, una scrittrice indiana, e due funzionarie del ministero per gli Affari femminili, mentre una parlamentare è stata presa in ostaggio dai talebani.

"I diritti delle donne hanno fatto passi avanti negli ultimi anni. Un maggior numero di esse ha raggiunto posizioni di vertice, l'accesso all'istruzione è migliorato e sono state adottate nuove leggi per proteggere le donne e le bambine dalla violenza. Ma avere più voce in capitolo e più potere ha significato anche maggior rischi e minacce. Alcune difensore dei diritti umani hanno ammesso di aver ripreso a limitare la propria azione per timore di vendette" - ha dichiarato Polly Truscott, vicedirettrice del Programma Asia e Pacifico di Amnesty International.

"Temiamo inoltre che le autorità afghane e i leader internazionali stiano diventando indifferenti al crescendo di attacchi contro le donne maggiormente in vista nel paese, per non parlare della violenza quotidiana contro donne e bambine comuni" -  ha aggiunto Truscott.

Negli ultimi anni, secondo la Commissione indipendente per i diritti umani dell'Afghanistan, la violenza contro le donne è diventata "un fenomeno diffuso e costantemente in crescita". Soprattutto nelle aree rurali, i pestaggi, i rapimenti e le uccisioni di donne e bambine, ad opera di mariti, familiari, forze di sicurezza e gruppi armati tra cui i talebani, sono frequenti e avvengono alla luce del giorno.

All'indomani dell'omicidio della luogotenente Negar, Amnesty International ha nuovamente sollecitato le autorità afghane a fare tutto ciò che è in loro potere, anche mediante l'assistenza internazionale, per proteggere i diritti delle donne. Tra le misure indispensabili, vi sono la piena attuazione della legge del 2009 sull'eliminazione della violenza contro le donne, la formazione delle autorità a ogni livello e l'avvio di indagini rapide ed efficaci sui crimini contro le donne, che portino i responsabili a processo.

sabato 14 settembre 2013

INDIA - Amnesty International: "La pena di morte non porrà fine alla violenza contro le donne".

Commentando le quattro condanne a morte emesse oggi a Nuova Delhi per uno stupro di gruppo commesso nel dicembre 2012, Amnesty International ha dichiarato che profonde riforme istituzionali e procedurali, e non la pena capitale, occorrono per stroncare l'endemico problema della violenza contro le donne in India.

Il tribunale ha giudicato colpevoli i quattro imputati di stupro di gruppo, omicidio e altri reati. Un altro imputato, 17enne, è stato condannato a tre anni di carcere. Un quinto accusato era stato trovato morto in cella il 10 marzo.

"Lo stupro e l'uccisione della giovane donna fu un crimine orribile, per cui rivolgiamo la nostra più profonda solidarietà ai familiari della vittima. I responsabili devono essere puniti ma la pena di morte non è mai la risposta" - ha dichiarato Tara Rao, direttore di Amnesty International India.

"L'impiccagione di questi quattro uomini non otterrà niente se non una vendetta di breve termine.
Mentre è comprensibile la rabbia di massa suscitata da questo caso, le autorità devono evitare di usare la pena di morte come soluzione sbrigativa. Non vi è alcuna prova che la pena di morte abbia uno specifico effetto deterrente nei confronti del crimine e il suo uso non porrà fine alla violenza contro le donne in India" - ha proseguito Rao.

Gli stupri e altre forme di violenza sessuale sono comuni in tutto il paese. Ad aprile è entrata in vigore una nuova legge che punisce numerose forme di violenza contro le donne, tra cui gli attacchi con l'acido, lo stalking e il voyeurismo. Tuttavia, lo stupro coniugale non è ancora considerato reato qualora la moglie abbia più di 15 anni e alle forze di sicurezza è garantita di fatto l'immunità legale per gli atti di violenza sessuale.

"Occorrono riforme legislative ma anche impegni concreti delle autorità per garantire che il sistema giudiziario agisca in modo efficace e a ogni livello quando vengono presentate denunce di stupro o di altre forme di violenza sessuale" - ha aggiunto Rao.

"L'attenzione che le autorità hanno riservato a questo caso dev'estendersi a migliaia di altri casi. Esse devono agire, ad esempio, nominando un numero maggiore di giudici per assicurare processi rapidi ed equi" - ha sottolineato Rao.

I reati contro le donne sono ancora scarsamente denunciati. Le autorità devono ancora dare attuazione a una serie di raccomandazioni di segno positivo presentate dalla Commissione presieduta dal giudice Verma, relative tra l'altro alla formazione delle forze di polizia e alla riforma di questo organismo nonché ai necessari cambiamenti nel modo in cui le denunce di violenza sessuale vengono registrate e indagate.

"Dev'esserci un'azione concertata per cambiare le attitudini discriminatorie contro le donne e le ragazze che sono all'origine della violenza. Queste misure richiederanno un duro lavoro ma nel lungo termine saranno più efficaci e renderanno l'India un posto più sicuro per le donne" - ha concluso Rao.
Amnesty International si oppone alla pena di morte in tutti i casi, senza eccezione, a prescindere dalla natura o dalle circostanze del reato, dall'innocenza, dalla colpevolezza o da altre caratteristiche della persona condannata o dal metodo usato per eseguire la condanna a morte.

giovedì 12 settembre 2013

INDIA - Detained journalist at risk of torture.

Journalist and human rights activist Prashant Rahi was arrested on 1 September 2013 on suspicion of having links with a banned organization. He is being held in police custody in Aheri, Maharashtra state, and is at imminent risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
52-year-old Prashant Rahi, also known as Prashant Sanglikar, is a freelance journalist and activist from the state of Uttarakhand. He has been actively working to secure legal aid for people arrested on suspicion of having links with the Communist Party of India - Maoist (CPI – Maoist), a banned armed group fighting for more than a decade to overthrow elected governments in several Indian states.
The Maharashtra police have stated that they arrested Prashant Rahi in Gondia, Maharashtra while he was heading to meet a senior member of the CPI (Maoist). However, Prashant Rahi’s family say that he was arrested in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, while on his way to meet a lawyer.
Prashant Rahi is being held under India’s principal anti-terror legislation, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), for allegedly being involved in unlawful activities, and being a member of and supporting a terrorist organization. The police also suspect Prashant Rahiof involvement in criminal conspiracy. A local court has remanded him in police custody until 16 September 2013. Reports of torture in custody and forced confessions conducted by police in India are very common, especially for suspects arrested under anti-terror laws.
Prashant Rahi had been arrested in 2007 in Uttarakhand on similar charges, and allegedly tortured in detention by police officers. He was released on bail in 2011 after three years in prison. The allegations of torture during that detention have not been investigated. A trial court in Rudrapur, Uttarakhand that is hearing the 2007 case is expected to deliver its judgement later this month.
Please write immediately in English or your own language:
  • Calling on Maharashtra authorities to ensure that Prashant Rahi is protected from torture and other ill-treatment while in custody;
  • Urging authorities to ensure that Prashant Rahi is given a fair trial;
  • Urging them to investigate the alleged torture of Prashant Rahi in police custody in 2007, and prosecute suspects, including those with command responsibility, in fair trials.
Aheri Sub-divisional Officer of Police
Suhash Bawche
Aheri Police Station
Maharashtra 442705
Fax: +91 7133 272047
Salutation: Dear Sir
Superintendent of Police
Suvez Haque
Gadchiroli Police Station
Near Telecom Office
Rampuri, Gadchiroli,
Maharashtra 442605
Fax:  +91 7132 222159
Salutation: Dear Sir
And copies to:
Home Minister, Maharashtra
R.R Patil
Home Department
7th Flr, World Trade Centre,
Cuffe Parade, Mumbai 400005
Fax: +91 22 22151733
(Home Secretary)
Salutation: Dear Sir

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation 

martedì 10 settembre 2013

Afghanistan’s ‘war on women’ - By Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan researcher at Amnesty International.

Activists hold candles and placards in a silent rally following the murder of Indian writer Sushmita Banerjee in Afghanstan DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images

Her body ridden with bullets and left on the outskirts of Gardiz, the provincial capital of Paktika province in Afghanistan, Sushmita Banerjee’s killing was horrifying but, sadly, not surprising.
The Indian woman had escaped captivity under the Taliban in 1995 and went on to write a book about her experiences.
Authorities in Afghanistan now say they have arrested two men over the killing, in a move that is unusual for cases of violence against women.
For well over a year, we have seen many reported cases of beatings, disfigurations, kidnappings and killings of women and girls across the country – particularly in rural areas.

Women and girls are targeted by their partners, relatives and armed groups, including the Taliban, sometimes in broad daylight. However, no one in power seems to be paying much attention.
For many women, the only option is silence. If they dare to report abuse or even try to escape their abusers, they will most likely be killed. And even for the activists who try to help them, speaking out can be fatal.
Among the many women I met during my latest visit to Afghanistan was Noorzia Atmar, a former member of parliament whose husband had slashed her throat, nearly killing her. Noorzia finally escaped to a secret shelter where she initiated the paperwork to get a divorce. After many months of negotiations, her husband agreed to it, on the condition that if she was ever killed, he wouldn’t be prosecuted. The court agreed.
If this can happen to a woman in a position of authority, how much worse must it be for the millions of women and girls living across rural Afghanistan, out of the public eye?
The Afghan authorities seem to be doing little more than publicly expressing outrage at the stories that reach the headlines and promising to investigate, prosecute and punish the attackers. But, in most cases, such pledges ring hollow as crimes against women are very rarely properly investigated and those responsible are virtually never brought before the courts.
When even judges don’t dare put their necks on the line to protect women, hope quickly evaporates.
Besides the Taliban, women suffer abuse at the hands of their own husbands, fathers, brothers and cousins – simply because the men know they can get away with it. They know no one will stop them, and every time a woman is beaten, burned or killed and those responsible – if they are prosecuted at all – might in rare occasions be imprisoned for a few months and then walk away free, it only bolsters the message that such violence is allowed.
But there are many things that could be done to prevent more of these horrific crimes and the fear they sow amongst Afghan women and girls.
In 2009 Afghanistan enacted a law for the elimination of violence against women, which would make a world of difference if courts across the country would commit to fully implementing it.
But perhaps even more importantly, things would really start to change if the Afghan authorities would invest the necessary time and resources to educate prosecutors, judges, police and the general public on the fact that abusing women is, simply, illegal and punishable. They all must understand, once and for all, that every woman – no more, no less than every man – has a basic human right to study, work, express her opinions and generally live the life she chooses, free from violence and intimidation.
Until that happens, tragic killings such as that of Sushmita Banerjee will continue to be treated as mere statistics.

mercoledì 4 settembre 2013

INDIA - How your campaigning helped stop a Vedanta mine in Orissa.

Amnesty campaigners protest at the Vedanta AGM. (c) Simone Novotny
Indigenous people in Orissa, India, have blocked plans by UK-based Vedanta resources to open a mine in their sacred Nyamgiri Hills. Peter Frankental, our Business and Human Rights campaigner, reflects

When in 2008 we began drawing attention to the human rights impacts of Vedanta's refinery and proposed mine in Orissa, this seemed like a lost cause. Rarely has the Indian Government refused mining licences to a project so far advanced.

While there seemed little to shake the company's complacency, Vedanta did not reckon on the strength of the opposition. The affected communities in Orissa linked up with organisations in India and with international NGOs to create a formidable force in defence of their rights:

domenica 1 settembre 2013

MALDIVES - Transparency Maldives reveals election day plans.

Over 400 volunteers and trained observers will spread across 20 atolls this Saturday, placed randomly on islands in a method used in many other countries:

Sri Lanka: UN visit underscores disturbing human rights reality.

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has just concluded a weeklong visit to Sri Lanka.Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has just concluded a weeklong visit to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan leaders must address the persistent climate of fear in the country, Amnesty International said as the UN human rights chief Navi Pillay concluded her visit to the island.

Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, made her first official visit to Sri Lanka from 25-31 August. It comes just before the UN and Commonwealth review the country’s human rights situation in September.

At her concluding press conference today, Pillay stressed that many who met or wanted to meet her during the visit had been threatened by security forces, and that critical voices in Sri Lanka are “quite often attacked or even permanently silenced”.

“Navi Pillay’s take on the human rights situation during her visit very much echoes our own findings. Being critical of government policy in Sri Lanka is highly risky, and the extent to which people are being harassed into silence is shocking,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

“We’re glad that Navi Pillay got a chance to meet some victims and families of the disappeared. But the reprisals against those she met doesn’t bode well for the Commonwealth Summit set for November in Colombo. The government must stop its attacks on Sri Lankan society.”

“The Sri Lankan conflict may have ended in 2009, but the level of human rights violations in the country remains critically high. The Sri Lankan government still shows no real will to account for past crimes, combined with new attacks on those calling for accountability.”

Pillay today insisted that “ unless there is a credible national process, calls for an international inquiry are likely to continue” into the events of the armed conflict.

“There is still every need for the UN to set up an independent international investigation into crimes under international law in Sri Lanka, as Pillay has called for in the past.”

“The UN and Commonwealth must respond effectively to these latest concerns raised by Pillay,” said Truscott.