mercoledì 26 febbraio 2014

Sri Lanka: Briefing exposes how activists brave retaliation before UN human rights session.

Repression usually intensifies whenever Sri Lanka’s human rights situation is in focus internationally.
The Sri Lankan government’s targeting of critics persists at alarming levels, with more surveillance and harassment reported ahead of next month’s UN Human Rights Council (HRC) session, Amnesty International said in a new briefing today:

Sri Lanka: UN report must be call to action on international war crimes investigation.

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, today published her review of the government’s efforts to investigate human rights violations during and after the Sri Lankan armed conflict.
Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,

The international community must act on a robust new UN report calling for an international investigation into alleged human rights violations and war crimes in Sri Lanka, Amnesty International said. 

“It’s utterly shameful that five years after Sri Lanka’s armed conflict ended, the victims and family members have yet to see justice. Navi Pillay’s latest report is another urgent and poignant reminder that an international investigation into alleged human rights violations and war crimes cannot wait,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director. 

“Sri Lanka has so far done all it can to throw sand in the eyes of the international community and to block attempts to bring genuine accountability for past human rights violations. 

“This report has to be an eye-opener, and we urge the UN Human Rights Council in March to pass a strong resolution establishing international investigation.” 

“Navi Pillay’s findings echo our own. We are still receiving new eyewitness accounts and other allegations of gruesome violations by both government forces and the Tamil Tigers during the armed conflict.” 

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, today published her review of the government’s efforts to investigate human rights violations during and after the Sri Lankan armed conflict, which ended in 2009, concluding that its consistent failure to establish the truth and achieve justice is fundamentally a question of political will.   

Pillay also highlighted the overwhelming sense of grief and trauma among victims and survivors that, if left unaddressed, will continue to undermine confidence in the State and reconciliation. 

mercoledì 19 febbraio 2014


This year will mark the 30th anniversary of one of the world’s worst industrial disasters: the toxic gas leak on 2 December 1984 from the Union Carbide India Limited factory in Bhopal, India. However, the negative consequences of the disaster have never been properly remedied. Amnesty International urges the Government of India to initiate an authoritative assessment and clean-up of the environmental contamination at the site. The organisation calls on the Government of the United States to ensure that US-based companies comply with ongoing legal actions.

domenica 16 febbraio 2014

Maldives: Halt “retrograde” move to resume executions.

Maldives must immediately put a stop to any plans to resume executions for the first time in 60 years, said Amnesty International.
Home Minister Umar Naseer yesterday ordered the country’s prisons to start making “all necessary arrangements” for the implementation of all death sentences through lethal injection.
“Any move towards resuming executions in Maldives would be a retrograde step and a serious setback for human rights in the country,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Maldives Researcher.
“There is no such thing as a ‘humane’ way to put someone to death, and no evidence that the threat of execution works as a deterrent to crime. Maldives should put an immediate end to such plans now, and instead abolish the death penalty in law once and for all.”
While Maldives legally retains the death penalty, it has not carried out an execution since 1954. There are currently 19 prisoners on death row.
In 2006 Maldives became a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a key international treaty which sets the abolition of the death penalty as the goal for states that still retain it. Resuming executions clearly goes against that purpose. 
“The government’s order is surprising and extremely disappointing. The death penalty violates the right to life, regardless of the circumstances of the crime or the execution method used”, said Abbas Faiz.
Even though the Home Minister has assured that the government will not seek to expedite judicial processes in death penalty cases, the mere fact that regulatory steps are taken to execute people might encourage a greater preference for use of death penalty rather than imprisonment. Even more worrying is that the Home Minister’s order condones people being sentenced to death and executed for crimes committed when they were below 18 years of age. The imposition of the death penalty against juvenile offenders violates international law and Maldives’ own international obligations.
Opposing the death penalty does not mean advocating impunity for crime. Instead of resorting to the death penalty, the government should devise effective measures that would prevent and tackle crime while respecting human rights.  The public interest would be best served by, for instance, strengthening the judicial system, so that offenders are brought to justice without their own human rights being violated.

mercoledì 12 febbraio 2014

Afghanistan, aumentano le vittime civili.

Un ferito nella provincia di Lagham (Reuters)Un ferito nella provincia di Lagham (Reuters)
Le vittime civili in Afghanistan sono cresciute del 14% nel 2013 rispetto all’anno precedente. Lo rivela un rapporto diffuso a Kabul dalla Missione delle Nazioni Unite di assistenza al Paese asiatico (Unama). Nel documento si denuncia che il conflitto afghano in cui si confrontano le forze governative con i gruppi oppositori armati ha causato 2.959 morti (+ 7% sul 2012) e 5.656 feriti (+17%) nella popolazione civile.
PALLOTTOLE E MINE - A confermare che il 2013 è stato l’anno peggiore per la popolazione afghana dall’inizio della guerra, 13 anni fa , è anche Emergency. I Centri chirurgici della Ong fondata da Gino Strada di Kabul e Lashkar-gah, capoluogo della regione di Helmand, hanno ammesso 4.317 pazienti feriti per cause di guerra (circa 12 feriti di guerra al giorno per 365 giorni all’anno), il 38% in più del 2012 e il 60% in più rispetto al 2011. Di essi, 2.183 erano stati feriti da una pallottola, 1.037 da una scheggia e 613 erano stati feriti da una mina. Donne e bambini rappresentano come sempre più di un terzo dei feriti: nel 2013 sono stati ricoverati 784 bambini e 668 donne. Emergency è in Afghanistan dal 1999. Ha un ospedale e un Centro di maternità ad Anabah, nella valle del Panshir, due Centri chirurgici per vittime di guerra a Kabul e Anabah, una rete di 34 Posti di primo soccorso e Centri sanitari e un programma di assistenza ai detenuti nella carceri di Kabul. Dal 1999 in Afghanistan Emergency ha curato oltre 3 milioni di persone.
POLIOMIELITE - Nel frattempo è stato diagnosticato il primo caso di poliomielite dalla caduta dei Talebani nel 2001 . Il caso riguarda una bambina di tre anni e il ministero della Salute ha immediatamente predisposto una campagna di vaccinazione in tutta la città di Kabul. Nel resto del paese, come nel vicino Pakistan e nel nord della Nigeria, la polio e’ una malattia endemica e in tutti e tre i paesi gli estremisti islamici ostacolano le campagna di vaccinazione.

Pakistan: investigate disappearance of anti-drone activist on eve of European visit.

The Pakistani authorities must immediately determine the whereabouts of an anti-drone activist who disappeared days before he was due to travel to Europe to give testimony before the European Parliament, Amnesty International said.
According to witnesses, over a dozen men, some in police uniforms, others in plain clothes, burst into Kareem Khan’s home and whisked him away in the early hours of the morning on 5 February.
“We are concerned that prominent human rights activist Kareem Khan may have been disappeared to prevent him from giving testimony overseas about US drone strikes in Pakistan,” said Isabelle Arradon, Asia-Pacific Deputy Director at Amnesty International.
Kareem Khan’s brother and son were killed in a US drone attack in December 2009.
Khan has brought a case to the Pakistan courts calling for members of the US Central Intelligence Agency to be prosecuted for the killings. He is also suing the Pakistani government because of their alleged failure to effectively investigate the deaths of his son and brother.
“The disappearance of Kareem Khan highlights the disturbing trend of targeting those who dare to speak publicly about human rights abuses in Pakistan, and raises serious concerns about the country’s possible continued complicity in the US drone programme,” said Isabelle Arradon.
Police authorities have denied any involvement in Kareem Khan’s disappearance, nor have any formal charges been brought against him. His disappearance, however, is in line with other cases documented by Amnesty International of peaceful activists and terrorism suspects being subjected to enforced disappearances in Pakistan.
“Instead of silencing peaceful activists, Pakistan must carry out credible investigations to determine who is behind the disappearance of Kareem Khan, ensuring that suspects are brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty,” said Isabelle Arradon.
The Pakistani and other relevant governments including US authorities must also ensure victims of US drone strikes can access justice and reparations. They must disclose information they hold on the secretive programmes.”
Amnesty International urges that anyone who has been subjected to enforced disappearance or otherwise held in secret or arbitrary detention must be released unless they are charged with a recognisable criminal offence and brought promptly to a fair trial in accordance with international standards. Those against whom sufficient admissible evidence of responsibility for enforced disappearances exists must be brought to justice in fair trials without recourse the death penalty.
In October 2013, Amnesty International published the report “Will I be next? US drone strikes in Pakistan”, one of the most comprehensive studies to date of the US drone programme from a human rights perspective.
Amnesty International has raised concerns about the widely unchecked US drones programme in Pakistan in which at least dozens of civilians have been killed, including children and elderly people.
In public, the Pakistani authorities claim to oppose the US drone programme. There are concerns that some officials and institutions in Pakistan and in other countries including Australia, Germany and the UK may be assisting the US to carry out drone strikes, some of which constitute human rights violations.

PAKISTAN - Discovery of unmarked graves in Balochistan province.

Amnesty International is calling on the Pakistani authorities to ensure an independent and impartial investigation into the unmarked graves found in Totak, near Khuzdar in Balochistan province on 25 January and the alleged abduction and extra judicial execution of a child by state security forces two weeks earlier.  The organization is also calling for urgent action to be taken to protect activists who are currently marching on foot from Quetta in Baluchistan to Islamabad - a distance of some 1,400 km.  Several of the protestors have received death threats for highlighting the human rights situation in Balochistan and AI is call for the authorities to  investigate the source of these threats.