domenica 26 ottobre 2014

NEPAL - Authorities must unconditionally release CK Raut with immediate effect.


Index: ASA 31/007/2014
  17 October 2014 

Amnesty International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr CK Raut who was charged with sedition on 8 October 2014 under Nepal’s Crime against State and Punishment Act 1989. He faces the possibility of life imprisonment. 

CK Raut was first arrested and detained without charge on 14 September 2014 following his participation in a public rally in Morang. In his speech, he called for the right to secession to be enshrined in Nepal’s new constitution. He was arrested without a police warrant on his way home from the rally and subsequently charged under the Public Offence Act for his alleged involvement in “anti-national activities” and a campaign for an “independent Madhes.” He undertook an 11-day hunger strike in protest. 

Following the arrest, there were reports of clashes between police and demonstrators supporting CK Raut. Media reports at the time indicated that at least six people were injured in Bharadaha, Saptari, and four protestors were arrested in Siraha. 

Amnesty International sent a formal letter to Nepal’s Minister of Home Affairs on 18 September 2014 calling for CK Raut’s release and expressing concern about the police’s alleged excessive use of force against protestors. A month later no response has been received from the Government of Nepal. 

The arbitrary arrest and detention of CK Raut on the basis of his peaceful expression of his political views is a breach of his right to freedom of speech as enshrined in Article 7.7.1 of the Interim Constitution of Nepal; it is also a violation of Nepal’s international obligation to guarantee freedom of expression. 

The sedition charges later brought against CK Raut by Nepal’s Special Court are of particularly grave concern, not only because they violate his right to freedom of expression, but because they carry such a heavy sentence which appears designed to deter others from exercising their right to freedom of expression. 

The Government of Nepal has an obligation not only to protect the right to freedom of expression, but also the right of others to receive information and ideas. The apparent attempt to silence CK Raut undermines the prospect of an open debate among all communities in Nepal about the country’s proposed federal structure. 

PAKISTAN - Appello per Asia Bibi, condannata a morte per blasfemia.

Aasia Bibi © Archivio privato

Aasia Bibi © Archivio privato
Il ricorso di Asia Bibi, pakistana cristiana condannata a morte per blasfemia nel 2010, è stato respinto dall'Alta corte di appello di Lahore. 

Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif
Prime Minister House
Constitution Avenue

Egregio primo ministro,

Le scrivo come sostenitore di Amnesty International, l'organizzazione non governativa che dal 1961 lavora in difesa dei diritti umani, ovunque siano violati.

Le chiedo di liberare Asia Bibi immediatamente e senza condizioni e di adottare misure efficaci per garantire la sua sicurezza e quella della sua famiglia.

La sollecito a riformare con urgenza la legge sulla blasfemia e a fornire salvaguardie efficaci contro il suo abuso, in vista dell'abrogazione finale della legge.

La invito a stabilire una moratoria immediata sulle esecuzioni e a commutare tutte le condanne a morte, allo scopo di abolire la pena di morte perché è una violazione del diritto alla vita e l'estrema punizione crudele, disumana e degradante.

Grazie per l'attenzione.

domenica 19 ottobre 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

sabato 11 ottobre 2014

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

domenica 14 settembre 2014

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

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

mercoledì 10 settembre 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MALDIVES - UK foreign office expresses concern over Maldives’ human rights situation and Rilwan disappearance.

UK foreign office expresses concern over Maldives’ human rights situation and Rilwan disappearance thumbnail
 The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has expressed concern over the human rights situation in the Maldives, as well as the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan.
“We are also concerned by reports that parliamentarians, human rights advocates and journalists have recently been the target of death threats, and by the disappearance and apparent abduction of one journalist on 8 August,” said Minister of State at the FCO Hugo Swire.
Swire’s comments came in response to a written question submitted by Conservative Party MP Karen Lumley.
The minister expressed concern over freedom of religion, rule of law, and women’s rights, as well as reports of death threats made against a number of politicians and MPs in recent months.
Former health minister Dr Mariyam Shakeela is the latest to have reported having received death threats. Similar messages have been received by multiple journalists and politicians, including Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim.
Rilwan, 28-years-old, was last seen on the Malé-Hulhumalé ferry on August 8, just minutes before his neighbours saw a man fitting his description forced into a car outside his apartment.
“Officials at our high commission in Colombo, which is also accredited to the Maldives, have raised concerns on human rights, as well as the recent threats and this reported disappearance, with the Maldives Government,” reported Swire.
“We have also urged them to ensure that those responsible are prosecuted as appropriate. The Maldives Government has expressed deep concern following the disappearance, and noted that they are committed to ensuring the safety and security of all Maldivians,” he continued.
While Rilwan’s disappearance has been highlighted by many international groups – including the UN, Reporters Without Borders, and the Committee to Protect Journalists – the FCO’s comments mark the first time the case has been mentioned by a foreign government.
There is little information regarding Rilwan’s disappearance despite a MVR200,000 reward being offered by his family and a petition signed by 5000 people submitted to the People’s Majlis.
The petition called upon the legislature to find answers to questions regarding the police’s investigations. Similar concerns regarding the investigation’s progress have been raised by the Human Rights Commission and civil society groups.
After police released a statement on Thursday night (August 4) – claiming it had questioned 318 individuals, interrogated 111, and searched 139 locations – Rilwan’s family voiced concerns over the case’s progress.
“These are just statistics. We want to find him. We want the police to tell us if they have leads, if there is progress,” said Rilwan’s brother Moosa.
“We want to know what the results of these extensive searches are. It’s been a month, my family and I fear for his life.”

Bangladesh, torture e sparizioni impunite.

Il Bangladesh sta attraversando una fase di crisi politica che neanche le elezioni di gennaio hanno risolto. Anzi. La Lega Awami della prima ministra Sheikh Hasina ha vinto facilmente riconfermandosi  alla guida del paese grazie alla decisione del Partito nazionalista del Bangladesh e dei suoi alleati di boicottare il voto. Durante le proteste indette dall’opposizione, sono morte oltre 100 persone la maggior parte delle quali durante violenti scontri con le forze di polizia.

Di questa crisi politica, secondo quanto riferisce un rapporto di Amnesty International, la situazione dei diritti umani risente profondamente.

Dal 2012, almeno 20 persone sono scomparse nelle mani delle forze di sicurezza (ma il numero effettivo potrebbe essere più alto): nove sono state ritrovate morte, sei sono state rilasciate dopo settimane di prigionia e di cinque non si hanno ancora notizie.

A essere chiamato in causa è il Battaglione di risposta rapida, un corpo speciale di polizia coinvolto ad aprile nel rapimento e nell’uccisione di sette uomini. Per questa vicenda, che ha destato scandalo nel paese, sono stati arrestati tre agenti ma nessuno di loro è stato finora incriminato.

La tortura resta assai diffusa. Amnesty International ha incontrato oltre 100 ex detenuti che avevano denunciato di essere stati torturati. Tra i metodi di tortura, quelli più frequenti sono le sospensioni al soffitto e le scariche elettriche sui genitali. In due casi la polizia ha sparato alle gambe dei detenuti, uno dei quali ha dovuto ricorrere all’amputazione dell’arto.

La libertà d’espressione ha conosciuto nuove limitazioni, soprattutto a causa della Legge sull’informazione e le tecnologie di comunicazione, usata massicciamente per incriminare coloro che pubblicano “informazioni diffamanti od offensive” su Internet.

Nell’ultimo anno e mezzo sono stati arrestati diversi utenti della Rete. Rilasciati su cauzione, restano in attesa del processo per aver pubblicato “commenti offensivi” sull’Islam tramite Facebook o altri social media.

Giornalisti e direttori di quotidiani subiscono una forma più sottile di repressione, dalle minacce telefoniche alle pressioni ufficiali affinché non sia dato spazio alle voci dell’opposizione politica.

venerdì 29 agosto 2014

MALDIVES - for torture victims. is a space to share the stories of those who have suffered torture in the Maldivian prison system and whose grievances have not been officially recognized. is also a source for the Maldivian and international communities, in whose hands justice lies.

Uncuffedmv is an independent operation; its primary goal is to prompt public discussion and reconciliation of the practice of torture in the Maldives. This website does not have any political aims, nor does it blame any party or individual for the injustice and torture reported in these interviews.

Pakistan: Impunity marks International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

AI Index: ASA 33/013/2014
29 August 2014
Pakistan: Impunity Marks International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances
On the eve of the annual International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch urge Pakistan’s government to stop the deplorable practice of state agencies abducting hundreds of people throughout the country without providing information about their fate or whereabouts.
Despite clear rulings from the Pakistan Supreme Court in 2013 demanding justice for victims of enforced disappearances, as well as recommendations from the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances in 2012, the Pakistan government has done little to meet its obligations under international law and the Pakistan Constitution to prevent enforced disappearances.
The government has failed to establish the facts about the fate and whereabouts of victims when enforced disappearances occur, has failed to bring perpetrators to justice, and has failed to provide reparations to victims, including the families of the disappeared, the three leading rights organizations said.
Instead, the government has responded by passing the Protection of Pakistan Act, 2014, which facilitates enforced disappearances by retrospectively legitimizing detention at undisclosed locations and providing immunity to all state agents acting in ‘good faith.’ These steps perpetuate a troubling culture of impunity in Pakistan, casting grave doubts on the government’s seriousness about ensuring justice and protecting human rights.
Enforced disappearances—most often of men and boys—occur regularly throughout Pakistan, including Balochistan and north-western Pakistan, as well as in Punjab and Sindh provinces.
Balochistan is of particular concern because of a pattern of enforced disappearances targeting political activists, human rights defenders, journalists, and lawyers. Disappeared people are often found dead, their bodies bearing bullet wounds and marks of torture.
Earlier this year, eyewitnesses reported that Zahid Baloch, a human rights defender and chairperson of Baloch Student Organization-Azad, was abducted at gunpoint in Quetta, capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, allegedly by personnel of the Frontier Corps, a state security force widely implicated in enforced disappearances in the province. Despite widespread protests and appeals for his release from relatives and human rights groups, the authorities have failed to adequately investigate his abduction, determine his fate or whereabouts, and bring those responsible to justice.
In the weeks leading up to Pakistan’s Independence Day, 14 August, dozens of ethnic Baloch were arbitrarily arrested in the New Kahan area of Quetta, and Turbat and Kharan districts. At present, the fate or whereabouts of all of these people remain unknown.
Hundreds of men and boys, especially individuals associated with the Muttahida Quami Movement political party and ethnic Pashtuns accused of being associated with the Taliban, have been subjected to enforced disappearance in the city of Karachi over the last two years. Several members of ethnic Sindhi nationalist groups have also allegedly been subjected to enforced disappearance in the province of Sindh in the same period. In north-west Pakistan, the armed forces allegedly continue to subject men and boys to enforced disappearances in areas where they are carrying out counter-insurgency operations against the Taliban.
The few investigations carried out by the Pakistani authorities have been hampered by their refusal or inability to adequately investigate state security forces and intelligence services implicated in enforced disappearances.
The ICJ, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch urge the Pakistani government to take the following steps as a matter of urgency to affirm its commitment to end enforced disappearances and meet its obligations under international human rights law:
Ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and implement its provisions in law, policy and practice, and in particular include a new and separate crime of enforced disappearances in the penal code;
Carry out a thorough review and, as necessary, amend all security legislation, in particular the Protection of Pakistan Act, 2014, and the Actions (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulations, 2011, to ensure its compatibility with international human rights law and standards;
Ensure that all persons held in secret or arbitrary detention are immediately released, or charged for a cognizable crime by civilian courts following international fair trial standards, and are detained in official places of detention and in conditions that fully respect their human rights;
Ensure that prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations are carried out into all allegations of enforced disappearance; perpetrators, including those with command or superior responsibility, are brought to justice before independent and impartial civilian courts, consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; and victims, including the families of the disappeared, have access to effective remedies and receive adequate reparation.

Maldives media: Rilwan’s abduction is a threat to all.

By Zaheena Rasheed 

Maldivian journalists have expressed grave concern over the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla and called for an end to intimidation of the press.
In an unprecedented joint statement on Saturday, media outlets expressed solidarity and said Rilwan’s abduction is threat to all of Maldives.
“Abduction and disappearance of individuals do not stop with journalists. This is a threat to every individual, every family and all of the Maldives,” the statement read.
Efforts have been made by various parties to silence the press, including assault, murder attempts, vandalism of property and torching of TV stations, the statement noted.
“Now, a journalist has disappeared without a trace. Information we have gathered so far strongly suggests Rilwan was abducted,” it said.
The statement comes after several journalists from various media organisations spoke with eyewitnesses in Hulhumalé who claimed to have seen a man being forced into a car at knifepoint on the night of Rilwan’s disappearance.
Today is the 15th day since Rilwan is believed to have gone missing.
Both print and broadcast media signed the statement. They include Minivan News, Haveeru, Sun, CNM, Vaguthu, Dhuvas, Raajje TV, DhiTV, VTV, DhiFM, Channel One and Jazeera TV.
Media groups noted the state has failed to take adequate action against those who intimidate the press.
“As intimidation of press grows, and attacks against journalists, equipment, and buildings continue, we are extremely concerned over the delays in bringing to justice those who commit these acts. We note that the investigation of Rilwan’s case is slow and that information has not been adequately shared with the media and the public,” the statement said.
No one has been prosecuted for the October torching of Raajje TV, while two years have passed since charges were pressed against two individuals suspected of assaulting Raajje TV journalist Ibrahim ‘Asward’ Waheed.
The state’s failure to end press intimidation allows extremism of all forms to grow stronger, the statement added.
The Maldives Police Services have pledged to treat Rilwan’s disappearance as a “top priority case” and said the army is now assisting the police in their search. Police have failed to reveal details of the investigation.
In a May report, the Maldives Broadcasting Commission said 84 percent of reporters in the Maldives have reported being threatened at least once, often by political parties, gangs and religious extremists.
Media groups today urged the state to make the relevant policies to ensure the right to live and work without fear is enjoyed by all Maldivians.
“Even though different media outlets have different editorial policies, we, all journalists, are one family,” the statement said.
Pledging to do all necessary to secure freedom of the press, media groups said: “And though we continue to face dangers from radical and extremist groups, this is not a danger we alone face. We will not step back, or put down our pens, or silence our tongues or hold our thoughts in the face of such threats.”
Expressing gratitude for the solidarity, Minivan News Managing Editor Daniel Bosley said: “We, as journalists, are a community which rightly includes differing political opinions – and even different nationalities. But we have to send a message that we are one community nevertheless, and I strongly believe that this statement does that.”
Media groups have set up a committee to pressure the state to expedite investigations into Rilwan’s disappearance and end intimidation of the press. Planned activities include meetings with stakeholders on Rilwan’s disappearance, increased coverage and talk shows about the threats against media.
International groups, including the Office for the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHR) and Reporters Without Borders have called for a speedy and thorough investigation.
The OCHR has urged the relevant authorities to address threats and intimidation of the press, while the International Federation of Journalists said the government must determine the circumstances of his disappearance as a “matter of urgency.”
The New York based Committee to Protect Journalists urged the authorities “to leave no stone unturned” in their efforts to find him.
Meanwhile, Rilwan’s family have offered a reward of MVR50,000 (US$3,240) for information leading to his successful return.

martedì 19 agosto 2014

Afghanistan, niente giustizia per le migliaia di civili uccisi nelle operazioni Usa-Nato.

In un nuovo rapporto Amnesty International ha affermato che le famiglie di migliaia di civili afgani uccisi dalle forze Usa e Nato dopo l’invasione dell’Afghanistan del 2001 sono rimaste senza giustizia.

Il rapporto, che si concentra in particolare su attacchi aerei e sui raid notturni compiuti dalle forze statunitensi, denuncia che persino quelli che paiono crimini di guerra non sono neanche stati oggetto di indagine e sono pertanto rimasti impuniti.

Amnesty International ha condotto indagini approfondite su 10 operazioni militari Usa, tra il 2009 e il 2013, in cui sono morti oltre 140 civili afgani, tra cui donne incinte e almeno 50 bambini. L’organizzazione per i diritti umani ha intervistato 125 testimoni, feriti e loro familiari.

Nessuno dei 10 casi è stato sottoposto a indagine da parte della giustizia militare statunitense. Nemmeno i due su cui esistono prove abbondanti e schiaccianti di crimini di guerra: un raid delle Forze operazioni speciali contro un’abitazione nella provincia di Paktia, nel 2010, e una serie di sparizioni forzate, torture e uccisioni avvenute nei distretti di Nerkh e Maidan Shahr, nella provincia di Wardak, tra il novembre 2012 e il febbraio.

Ecco la testimonianza di un uomo, Qandi Agha, torturato in custodia Usa a Nerkh alla fine del 2012:

“Mi picchiavano coi cavi. Mi legavano i piedi e poi mi bastonavano sulle piante dei piedi. Mi prendevano a pugni in faccia e a calci. Mi facevano sbattere la testa contro il pavimento”.
L’uomo ha inoltre riferito di essere stato messo in una bacinella d’acqua e colpito con scariche elettriche. Alle sue torture, prendevano parte soldati sia statunitensi che afgani. Quattro degli otto prigionieri che si trovavano con lui sono stati uccisi. Egli ha assistito personalmente all’omicidio di un uomo chiamato Sayed Muhammed.

Le indagini sulle uccisioni di civili in Afghanistan sono estremamente rare. Amnesty International è a conoscenza di solo sei casi in cui, dal 2009, soldati statunitensi sono finiti sotto processo.

Delle decine e decine di testimoni, feriti e loro familiari incontrati da Amnesty International durante le ricerche su cui si basa il rapporto, solo due persone hanno riferito di essere state ascoltate dagli inquirenti militari statunitensi.

In molti dei casi descritti dal rapporto, i portavoce dell’esercito Usa o della Nato hanno annunciato che era stata avviata un’inchiesta ma non hanno mai fornito ulteriori informazioni sugli sviluppi o le conclusioni, lasciando vittime e loro parenti nel buio.

Per valutare la legalità di un’operazione di guerra, il sistema di giustizia militare si basa in larga parte sul racconto dei soldati che vi hanno preso parte. In assenza di un’autorità investigativa indipendente, il conflitto d’interesse è evidente: come possono soldati e comandanti denunciare se stessi?

Nei rari casi in cui un caso giunge a processo, la mancanza d’indipendenza dei tribunali militari Usa costituisce un’altra fonte di preoccupazione. È inoltre estremamente raro che testimoni afgani vengano chiamati a deporre.

Da ultimo, il rapporto di Amnesty International mette in luce la mancanza di trasparenza nelle indagini e nei processi per le uccisioni illegali di civili in Afghanistan. Gli Usa non rendono noti i dati complessivi e forniscono solo raramente informazioni su casi specifici. Purtroppo le garanzie di legge in tema di libertà d’informazione, che dovrebbero garantire trasparenza quando un organo governativo non fornisce informazioni, non funzionano efficacemente quando si tratta di vittime civili.

Il governo statunitense, afferma Amnesty International, dovrebbe riformare urgentemente il sistema di giustizia militare e avviare indagini imparziali e approfondite su tutti i casi segnalati nel rapporto e su ogni altra denuncia di uccisione illegale di civili afgani e portare i responsabili di fronte alla giustizia.

Al governo di Kabul, Amnesty International chiede che la giustizia per i civili uccisi sia garantita in ogni accordo con gli Usa e la Nato in tema di sicurezza e sollecita l’istituzione di procedure d’indagine sugli abusi commessi dalle forze della sicurezza nazionale afgana, anche in considerazione del fatto che alla fine del 2014 la responsabilità delle operazioni militari passerà interamente agli afgani.

SRI LANKA - Release 2006 commission report on Trinco Five killings.

Ragihar Manoharan was one of five Sri Lankan Tamil students killed by security forces in January 2006 in the city of Trincomalee. Authorities have failed to prosecute anyone for their murder. His case is emblematic of the thousands of people subjected to human rights violations in Sri Lanka by government forces.

A 2006 commission of inquiry examined the murder of the five students and other violations but its report has never been made public. Call on the Sri Lankan government to publicly release the commission's report, so Ragihar's relatives will not have to continue to wait for justice.


MALDIVES - Missing Journalist and Democracy Advocate Ahmed Rizwan Abdulla.

Poster for the missing journalist of Minivan News. Image courtesy Facebook page of Minivan News
Prominent Maldivian journalist, blogger and human rights advocate
Ahmed Rizwan Abdulla went missing Aug. 8, 2014.
He was last seen waiting for an early morning ferry to travel to
Hulhumale Island from the capital Male. It is not known
whether he boarded the ferry.
The 28-year-old, who works for online news site Minivan News, is an advocate of democracy and free speech and a prolific social media user. He is one of the first Maldivian bloggers and writes on many subjects, including religion, politics, and the environment. Rizwan's last tweet from his account @moyameehaa went out at 1:02 a.m. in which he reported seeing local movie star Yoosuf Shafeeu at the ferry station.
His employer Minivan News reported that Rizwan had been the target of some online intimidation and had been followed from work in recent months.
Dhivehi Sitee blog described Rizwan:
His online persona has the name of ‘Moyameeha’. He has vast empathy, and a good sense of humour; his #ferrytales entertain many. He is knowledgeable about how centuries old Maldives’ national and religious identity has been hijacked by fundamentalists within a short span of just over a decade.
Rizwan is also vocal against hatred in the name of religion and has not been shy about criticizing the Maldives Islamist Adhaalath Party and other political parties, often pointing out the hypocrisy of their scholars and politicians. When Maldivian supporters of militant group Islamic State (IS) flew their flag at the surf point in Malé last month, Rizwan tweeted a photo:
Political unrest has plagued Maldives since its first democratic presidential election in 2008. The young democracy climbed on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index immediately following the vote to a peak of 51 in the ranking. After the alleged ouster of President Mohamed Nasheed, however, and journalists considered to be his supporters were threatened and attacked, the country plummeted to its latest ranking of 103.
The instability has lead to a rise in gang violence. On Aug. 3, 2014, 15 Maldivian journalists received an anonymous SMS threatening them for their coverage of the gangs in the wake of street violence which has seen at least one death and a number of injuries. Rizwan was not threatened by SMS, but covered the news and tweeted about it:
Threats continue to be a reality for many journalists in Maldives. An analysis from the Maldives Broadcasting Commission in last May revealed that 84 percent of journalists surveyed reported being threatened at least once, while 5 percent reported being threatened on a daily basis. As many as 30 percent of journalists said they weren't keen to report these threats out of fear.
Sunni Islam is the official religion of the entire Maldives population, as adherence to it is required for citizenship. Many in Maldives are polarised with extreme religious views, evident in the hateful comments on this article about Rizwan's disappearance from Minivan News, Maldives reputed online news site and Rizwan's employer.
Amira, another blogger from Maldives, feared the worst:
I can’t help feel pessimistic about his going missing given the death threats that has been going around on journalists critical of the gang operations in the Maldives. He is highly critical of the religious extreme groups that has been getting a strong hold of the Maldivian culture and society. I can’t help but think that something has really gone wrong and his life has been endangered. I hope I am wrong. But it is difficult to explain a missing person of his calibre on social media. It is difficult to explain a missing person in the tiny island nation. It is difficult to be positive given the recent stabbings that has been reported in the Maldives media back home. I am sitting far away from home and yet I feel a dread and fear travelling up my spine.
The blogger requested that other outspoken journalists take extra care for safety and always share the whereabouts with family members and close friends.
Many on Twitter expressed their concerns:
More reactions can be found under the hashtag #findmoyameehaa.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on the Maldives government to speed up the efforts to find Rizwan.

domenica 3 agosto 2014

Pakistan: Ahmadiyya community attacked, three killed.

UA: 191/14 Index: ASA 33/011/2014 Pakistan Date: 30 July 2014
A mob burned down the homes of a small Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan’s Punjab province on 27 July, after a resident was accused of blasphemy. Two children and their grandmother died of smoke inhalation and several others were seriously injured.
On the evening of 27 July, a local Muslim man accused a man from the Ahmadiyya religious community in Gujranwala district of posting blasphemous content on his Facebook page. The Ahmadiyya are a small religious community who consider themselves Muslim, but are regarded as heretics by many Muslims in Pakistan and suffer frequent violent attacks and officially-sanctioned discrimination.
A group of Muslim residents went to the man’s home and a scuffle broke out with some of the Ahmadi residents, during which the group was shot at. After two members of the group suffered gunshot wounds, a mob of over 100 people gathered outside the house and attacked it and other homes belonging to members of the local Ahmadiyya community. According to eyewitnesses, some members of the group set fire to houses. Many of the Ahmadi residents fled the scene, but some were too afraid to leave their homes. Bushara Bibi and her grandchildren, eight-month-old Kainat and seven-year-old Hira, both girls, died of smoke inhalation; a woman from the community suffered a miscarriage due to smoke inhalation.
The Ahmadiyya have accused the police of failing to protect them from the crowd, and the local ambulance service was unable to reach people stuck in their burning homes for fear of being attacked by the crowd. Law enforcement officials said over 100 people visited the local police station soon afterwards and demanded that the Ahmadi man accused of blasphemy be charged, while police said they planned to bring charges against 420 people, naming 20 of them, for their involvement in the attack on the Ahmadiyya community.
Ahmadis in Gujranwala are fearful of further attacks and say they have no confidence in the police’s ability to bring the perpetrators to justice. Local police have registered a First Information Report, an important initial step in the criminal justice process in Pakistan, but no one is known to have been arrested for the violence or killings. Amnesty International has documented numerous instances in Pakistan of public pressure leading to blasphemy charges being brought against members of minority religious communities, resulting in further violence against them. The Pakistani authorities have a poor record of investigating such violence and prosecuting those responsible.
Please write immediately in English, Urdu or your own language:
Urging the authorities to investigate the 27 July attack on the Ahmadiyya community in Gujranwala, which led to the deaths of Hira, Kainat, and Bushara Bibi and bring those responsible to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty;
Calling on them to ensure no charges of blasphemy are brought against members of the Ahmadiyya community in Gujranwala or any other religious minority and guarantee the community’s safety across all of Pakistan;
Expressing concern that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws violate the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and freedom of expression, and are used maliciously to settle personal disputes, and urging the authorities to amend or abolish them.
Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif
Prime Minister House, Pakistan Secretariat, Constitution Avenue,
Islamabad, Pakistan
Fax: +92 51 9220404
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
Chief Minister, Punjab
Mian Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif
Chief Minister’s Office
7, Club Road, GOR I
Lahore, Pakistan
Fax: +92 42 99204301
Salutation: Dear Chief Minister Sharif
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

ADditional Information

The Ahmadiyya are among the most persecuted religious communities in Pakistan. At least three Ahmadis have been killed in Pakistan this year already, two of them in Punjab. Dozens of other members of the community complain of facing routine harassment because of their religious beliefs. The Ahmadiyya are a small religious minority that consider themselves Muslim but are regarded as heretics by most Muslims in Pakistan. They were declared non-Muslims by a Constitutional Amendment in 1974. In the 1980s the Pakistani government made it a crime for the Ahmadiyya to publicly preach or claim they are Muslim, an offence carrying a maximum penalty of life imprisonment or death under the blasphemy laws.
Under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, “offences relating to religion” are a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of life imprison for defiling the Quran and death for derogatory remarks against the Prophet Muhammad. Those accused of blasphemy risk harassment and other abuse from private citizens and law enforcement officials.
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have fostered a climate of frequent religiously motivated violence, in which religious minorities and Muslims alike are targeted. These laws, which are formulated vaguely and arbitrarily enforced by the police and judiciary are often used to make unfounded malicious accusations to settle personal scores in land and business disputes. Pakistan has never executed anyone for the crime of blasphemy. However people held in prison on blasphemy charges have been killed by fellow detainees or prison officers. Even outside prison, people accused of blasphemy have been killed by vigilante mobs. High-level public officials who have spoken out against the blasphemy laws have themselves been assassinated
Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights state that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, opinion and expression. International human rights law provides that any limitations placed on these freedoms should be only such as are prescribed by law as well as being necessary and proportionate for, among other things, the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. The blasphemy laws do not meet this threshold.
The UN Human Rights Committee, the expert body that oversees the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), noted in its General Comment No. 34 that “Prohibitions of displays of lack of respect for a religion or other belief system, including blasphemy laws, are incompatible with the [ICCPR],” except in specific circumstances where individuals are advocating “national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence”. Additionally the Committee said, “it would be impermissible for any such laws to discriminate in favour of or against one or certain religions or belief systems”.

mercoledì 30 luglio 2014

MALDIVES - The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives has, published the first annual report under the Anti-torture Act.

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives has, published the first annual report under the Anti-torture Act.
The report was also sent to the President and the People’s Majlis.
The Anti-torture Act compels the HRCM to prepare a report on the Commission’s work pertaining to the Act and share it with the President and the People’s Majlis before end of July every year.

Anti-torture report (Dhivehi):

venerdì 25 luglio 2014

Afghanistan, il mullah la stupra nella moschea: la bimba di 10 anni rischia di essere uccisa.

Una bambina afgana di 10 anni rischia di essere uccisa dalla famiglia per essere stata stuprata in una moschea da un uomo di cui si fidava ciecamente, il mullah locale. I fatti risalgono al maggio scorso ma solo una settimana fa l’episodio è stato denunciato al New York Times dalle attiviste per i diritti delle donne Women for Afghan Women, un’organizzazione che si batte per proteggere le cittadine del Paese e che viene spesso tacciata di americanismo, perché la bambina, che chiameremo Afia, il 15 luglio è stata riconsegnata dalle autorità alla sua famiglia nonostante in precedenza i genitori avessero minacciato di ucciderla per lavare l’onore perduto.
E la donna che più l’aveva protetta la dottoressa Hassina Sarwari (nella foto a sinistra), la direttrice del casa rifugio dove la bambina era stata accolta dopo la violenza, è ora costretta a nascondersi dopo ave ricevuto minacce di morte e medita di lasciare il Paese.
E’ una vicenda triste, quella di Afia, di quelle che è difficile scordare, perché perdono tutti “i buoni”: le autorità che hanno cercato di perseguire l’imam e che sono state costrette a dimettersi, le attiviste e naturalmente la vittima. Tuttora il mullah è ancora libero.
I fatti si svolgono ad Alti Gumbad in un villaggio alla periferia di Kunduz, nel nord dell’Afghanistan. Dopo lo stupro Afia sanguina così tanto che rischia di perdere la vita perché non viene portata subito in ospedale, la violenza è stata così brutale da averle causato una fistola, cioè una rottura della parete che separa la vagina dal retto. Nonostante ciò il mullah, Mohammad Amin, interrogato dalla polizia, ammette di aver avuto un rapporto sessuale con la bambina dopo la lezione di Corano ma dice che era consensuale, che pensava che Afia fosse più grande e che aveva risposto alle sue avance. Per riparare al danno fatto si offre di sposare la sua vittima.
Ma la capo dell’ufficio che si occupa delle questioni femminili, Nederah Geyah, si batte per difendere la piccola. Va in tribunale e mostra le foto di Afia in ospedale, uno scricciolo di 18 chili che chiaramente non ha ancora raggiunto la pubertà. In Afghanistan i certificati di nascita sono un lusso per pochi ma i medici attestano chiaramente che la bimba non ha ancora avuto le mestruazioni e la madre assicura che ha solo 10 anni.
Tutto questo non piace agli abitanti del villaggio. La rabbia degli uomini non si riversa contro il colpevole dello stupro ma contro la sua vittima e le sue protettrici. Quando la dottoressa Sarwari, che è una pediatra, si presenta in ospedale per portare via la bambina i vecchi del villaggio cercano di sbarrarle il passo, tra loro ci sono i fratelli, il padre e lo zio della ragazzina. Sarwari riesce a parlare con la zia di Afia che le spiega quello che succedendo: suo marito le aveva ordinato di entrare in ospedale e prendere la bambina in modo che potessero ucciderla e buttarla nel fiume.
Il caso è emblematico di come in Afghanistan sia sempre più difficile difendere le vittime di una violenza. Con il ritiro delle truppe internazionali gli attivisti per i diritti umani vedono venire meno risorse e sostegno: “Nessuno finanzia più i programmi per la nascita di una nuova società civile. E penso che tutti i progressi che abbiamo fatto negli ultimi 13 anni piano piano scompariranno” ha detto Geyal in un’intervista prima delle dimissioni.
I delitti d’onore nei casi di stupro sono comuni in Afghanistan e spesso, per la famiglia della vittima sono più importanti della punizione nei confronti dello stupratore. Secondo alcune Ong ogni anno nel Paese 150 donne vengono uccise per questo motivo, probabilmente il dato è sottostimato.

lunedì 21 luglio 2014


Access to information (ATI) is not simply a piece of legislation. A country’s passing of such an act signals a change in culture from one of secrecy to one of transparency, and a strengthening of democracy.

ATI is the freedom of citizens to access information held by public bodies, and is quickly becoming a global standard, with the Maldives becoming the 99th country to pass such an act. The historic ratification of the country’s first ATI legislation took place on 12 January 2014 – five years after Transparency Maldives’ campaign for an effective ATI Act began.

Members of the public participating in Transparency International Maldives workshops.
But how and why is an effective ATI law so important for the Maldives? Free flow of information and democracy go hand in hand. Democracy demands people’s ability to effectively participate in decision-making and this can only occur if a government is transparent. Citizens’ and the media’s right to information places the government under the supervision of the people it serves. A government that is regularly monitored is one that will work in the public interest and put power in the people’s hands.

This is especially important for the Maldives, which is still recovering from a 30-year rule by former President Abdul Gayoom, who was accused of corruption, human rights abuses and creating an opaque society. This was followed by the country’s first democratically elected president resigning three years into his five-year tenure amid protests and allegations of a lack of transparency.

The passing of the ATI bill is a great example of collaborative efforts between legislators, civil society, state institutions and international experts. Transparency International Maldives organised workshops, grassroots advocacy and media campaigns, travelled to five atoll and 12 island communities, engaged with the government, and brought together many other stakeholders to push for a strong ATI law.

The workshops run with community-based organisations, for example, were conducted with the aim of increasing grassroots demand for the right to information. It worked. Some participants realised that the extent of their community problems were in one way or another linked to a lack of access to information. This motivated participants to send hundreds of text messages to their MPs requesting that they quickly endorse a robust ATI bill. This renewed focus on the bill that was stagnating in Parliament.

In arguably our biggest advocacy success within Parliament, the ATI bill was endorsed by 67 of 68 MPs in attendance, without any significant or substantial change to the structure and spirit of the bill.

As a testament to the strength of the bill, which Transparency International Maldives was heavily involved in drafting, the Canada-based Centre for Law and Democracy rated the ATI bill as the fourth strongest in the world.

However, we still have a long road ahead. The simple passing of an ATI law does not mean that the principle of freedom of information will be established. The positive impact it will have on ordinary Maldivians depends on numerous factors: these include funding, whether there are enough people to process all the requests, and whether the government genuinely wants to create a more open society – or simply use the law as window-dressing to project a certain image to the outside world. That is why we will continue to campaign for the effective implementation of the ATI law.

Bangladesh: Disband Death Squad.

The Bangladeshi government has promised to reform RAB and hold it accountable, but it has utterly failed. The lack of accountability has allowed the Rapid Action Battalion to run amok. RAB is beyond reform and should swiftly be abolished.
Brad Adams, Asia director
(New York) – The Bangladesh government should disband the paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed. Until it is disbanded, RAB should be made into an entirely civilian force by withdrawing all military officers and soldiers from its membership.

Evidence that RAB officers were responsible for the contract killings of seven men in April 2014, allegedly on behalf of a ruling party member, have provoked outrage in Bangladesh and are yet another example of how the unit has operated as a death squad, Human Rights Watch said.

“The Bangladeshi government has promised to reform RAB and hold it accountable, but it has utterly failed,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The  lack of accountability has allowed the Rapid Action Battalion to run amok. RAB is beyond reform and should swiftly be abolished.”

The unit was established in 2004 by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Over the last decade, successive governments led by the BNP,  the subsequent military-backed caretaker regime, and since 2009, the Awami League, have allowed the force to operate with impunity, leading to serious and systematic abuses. RAB has been responsible for numerous acts of torture and other ill-treatment, arbitrary arrests, and approximately 800 killings over the last 10 years.

sabato 19 luglio 2014

India, stupro di una bimba di 6 anni: marcia di protesta di 5mila genitori.

NUOVA DELHI - Una marcia di 6 chilometri alla quale hanno partecipato 5mila mamme e papà indiani. E' quella che si è tenuta oggi a Bangalore, nel sud del Paese, dopo la notizia dello stupro di una bambina di 6 anni in una scuola privata. Sarebbe stata violentata da alcuni componenti dello staff dell'istituto scolastico. I dimostranti hanno marciato in un corteo silenzioso fino al commissariato di polizia, dove hanno consegnato una lettera con delle richieste per rafforzare la sicurezza dei bambini.

La rabbia delle famiglie. I genitori sono infuriati con la direzione della scuola, la 'Vibgyor High School' e con le stesse forze dell'ordine, che non hanno ancora trovato i responsabili. Per questo dopo la notizia non hanno più mandato i figli a scuola e centinaia di mamme e papà degli studenti si sono radunati davanti alla 'Vibgyor High School', chiedendo di intensificare le misure di sicurezza, minacciando, altrimenti, di tenere a casa i loro figli se non riceveranno rassicurazioni in merito. "Abbiamo detto alla direzione - ha raccontato una delle mamme, Anita Makharia - che non riteniamo sia sicuro mandare i nostri bambini a scuola fino a quando non acconsentirà alle nostre richieste sulla sicurezza per iscritto".

Le indagini. La polizia ha detto che otto dipendenti della scuola sono in stato di fermo e sono state interrogate circa 90 persone, ma per non ci sono stati degli arresti. In base al racconto della bambina, si sospettano un insegnante e una guardia. E' stata la madre a scoprire l'abuso lunedì scorso, quando la scolara è tornata a casa per pranzo e si è lamentata per dolori alla pancia. Un esame medico ha successivamente confermato la violenza carnale.

Chiusura della scuola. "Fin dall'inizio - ha raccontato un altro genitore, Mayank Kumar - la scuola ha sempre negato. Prima, quando la polizia è arrivata a scuola, dicevano che si trattava di un caso di furto. Poi, siamo venuti a sapere dai giornali che si trattava di uno stupro". Da parte sua, il preside della scuola Rustom Kerawala ha espresso le sue "scuse sincere" ai parenti e promesso una "piena collaborazione" con le indagini della polizia. Nel frattempo, l'istituto ha annunciato che oggi la scuola rimarrà chiusa, mentre mamme e papà avrebbero intenzione di organizzare un'altra protesta per domani.

Violenza di gruppo u una pre-novizia. Sempre in questi giorni una pre-novizia di 17 anni è stata stuprata a Bangalore da tre uomini nell'istituto delle Suore della Santa Natività. L'aggressione risale a mercoledì e la denuncia è stata fatta ad AsiaNews dall'arcivescovo di Bangalore, monsignor Bernard Moras. Trovata in stato di incoscienza, la giovane è stata ricoverata in ospedale.

martedì 15 luglio 2014

Nepal: Fix flawed Truth, Reconciliation Act.

The Nepal government should act immediately to fix crucial flaws in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Act, particularly those highlighted in a new United Nations evaluation, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Commission of Jurists said today.

The assessment, in a technical note from the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human rights to the Nepal government, pointed out that the TRC Act does not conform to Nepal’s international legal obligations, including in that it allows for amnesty for crimes committed under international law. Five experts for the UN Human Rights Council have also voiced similar serious concerns over the TRC Act, passed by Nepal’s Constituent Assembly in April 2014.

“The UN’s findings are consistent with what human rights groups have been saying all along – Nepal’s TRC Act is fundamentally flawed and could leave thousands of victims of conflict-related violations without access to the justice they deserve,” said Richard Bennett, Asia director at Amnesty International. “The act allows the commission to recommend amnesties for crimes under international law, including war crimes, which flies in the face of Nepal’s obligations under international law.”

Nepal’s Supreme Court in January rejected an earlier version of the TRC Act – the 2013 Truth and Reconciliation Ordinance, which contained many of the same flawed provisions. The court ruled that any mechanism for transitional justice must conform to international legal standards, lead to accountability for serious human rights violations, and guarantee victims their right to remedy and reparation.

Nepal’s Constituent Assembly defied the Supreme Court ruling, and passed the TRC Act. It became law on May 11, 2014. The act is only a slightly modified version of the 2013 TRC Ordinance and fails to address the Supreme Court’s concerns. The Supreme Court is set to rule on a petition challenging the new act in July 2014.

In its briefing paper issued in May, Justice Denied: the 2014 Commission on Investigation of Disappeared Persons, Truth and Reconciliation Act, the ICJ highlighted the flaws of the new TRC Act and called on the government to take active steps to implement the Supreme Court’s orders.

“By defying the Supreme Court’s recent principled ruling, the Nepal government is violating its obligations under national and international law to provide justice and accountability,” said Sam Zarifi, Asia director at the International Commission of Jurists. “All eyes are now on the Supreme Court to see whether it will allow the Nepal government to legislate impunity for perpetrators of crimes under international law, such as unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, and torture, including rape and other sexual violence.”

The international community should support and encourage initiatives that can deliver real justice for victims of human rights violations in Nepal and oppose those that could shield perpetrators from accountability, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Commission of Jurists said.

Last year, EU missions, including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, UK, and the EU delegation, joined by Norway and Switzerland, issued a statement calling for credible and independent commissions that do not have the authority to confer amnesty for serious human rights abuses and that have regard for victims’ needs. The donors said they would “be unable to support mechanisms that do not meet international standards.” Nepal’s donors need to live up to their promise and refrain from supporting government processes that violate Nepal’s international legal obligations.

“There is no question that the TRC, if implemented without serious amendments, will entrench a culture of impunity rather than delivering justice,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Donors need to unequivocally refuse to participate in any process that strips victims of their rights.”