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.