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”.