Russia: Court order to liquidate Moscow Helsinki Group human rights organization unlawful

Reacting to the news that a court in Russia has upheld a Ministry of Justice request to liquidate Moscow Helsinki Group, the oldest human rights organization in the country, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said: “Russia is rapidly plunging ever deeper into a human rights crisis, as compulsive disdain and fear of human rights, and those who promote them, becomes state policy. In a country where human rights are defiled and dishonoured, there is virtually no more space for human rights work. In a country where human rights are defiled and dishonoured, there is…

India/ Egypt: Ongoing human rights crisis in both countries must be addressed

The Indian and Egyptian authorities must address the ongoing human rights and impunity crises in the two countries, Amnesty International said today, as India hosts Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as the chief guest at its Republic Day celebrations. In recent years, authorities in both countries have severely repressed the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly and failed to address entrenched discrimination against religious minorities. “The current human rights crises in India and Egypt are characterized by entrenched impunity and misuse of counterterrorism legislation to clamp down on civic space and peaceful dissent. Both countries show striking…

Yemen: End the male guardianship restriction for releasing women from prisons

The internationally recognized government (IRG) and the Huthi de facto authorities must free women who have completed their jail sentences but remain arbitrarily detained because there is no male guardian to release them to, Amnesty International said today. Prison authorities across Yemen keep women who have completed their sentences in jail if there is no male guardian to accompany them on release or they release them only to women’s shelters if their families refuse to receive them. Conditioning the release of women from jail on the approval of a male guardian is a customary practice which has been going on…

Where is Prageeth?

13 years of a struggle for justice Imagine being detained or abducted by security forces. Now imagine they detain you, yet nobody has any idea where you are, or even if you are dead or alive. The authorities refuse to acknowledge your detention and keep your whereabouts a secret. You have no protection. Your loved ones do not know if you are being tortured, if you have access to food and medicine, or if they have already killed you. Years pass, and still, your fate and whereabouts remain known. Eventually, you become just another statistic in the file of people…

Syria: Government forces must lift siege on civilians in predominantly Kurdish areas in Aleppo

Syrian government forces must lift a brutal blockade on civilians in predominantly Kurdish areas in the northern Aleppo region that is obstructing residents’ access to fuel and other essential supplies, Amnesty International said today. Since the government imposed the blockade in August 2022, tens of thousands of civilians, including internally displaced people, have faced severe shortages of fuel and aid. Medical supplies are now all but exhausted and people are burning household items and plastic to try and keep warm in freezing temperatures. The affected areas, including Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafieh in the north of the city of Aleppo, and…

Lebanon: Authorities must permit stalled investigation into deadly Beirut blast

Responding to the news that the Lebanese authorities are refusing to allow Judge Tarek Bitar to resume his domestic investigation into the deadly Beirut blast, even after he presented a detailed legal analysis that would allow him to do so, Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “The Lebanese authorities have shamelessly and systematically obstructed the pursuit of justice in the Beirut blast case by protecting politicians instead of standing up for the rights of survivors, victims’ families, and all residents of Beirut. “Judge Bitar’s legal analysis offers a clear pathway to pursuing…

South Africa hears historic class action for lead poisoning launched by Zambian  children and women

The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg will continue hearing a ground-breaking case brought by Zambian children and women against the mining giant Anglo American, seeking compensation for lead poisoning, human rights groups announced today. At the end of the 12-day hearing that opened on 20 January, the Court will decide whether to certify this unprecedented class action demanding that Anglo American South Africa remedy the adverse health impacts of its mining activities in the District of Kabwe, Zambia. If the case proceeds, it will offer a unique opportunity for residents of Kabwe to have a day in court and…

Russia: Two years after Aleksei Navalny’s arrest, Russian opposition figures suppressed, jailed or exiled

In the two years since mass protests in Russia against the politically motivated detention of prominent opposition activist Aleksei Navalny, the Russian authorities have been relentless in their attempts to dismantle the opposition movement and to create a more fearful environment for those defending human rights. The Kremlin has attacked political opponents, independent media and civil society organizations on numerous fronts, weaponizing the law to bring about arrests and prosecutions on spurious charges while liquidating longstanding civil society organizations to stop their vital work. “In the past two years, the Russian government has only intensified its witch-hunt of opposition and…

Ecuador: Constitutional reform to militarize public security would endanger human rights

During the next few weeks, the National Assembly of Ecuador’s Occasional Commission for the Treatment of Constitutional Amendments and Reform Projects will discuss a partial reform to the Constitution, sent by President Guillermo Lasso, which would endorse the permanent use of the Armed Forces in public security tasks in the country. Today, Amnesty International sent a communication to the members of the Commission, expressing its concern about the draft reform, which in its view contravenes Ecuador’s international human rights obligations. In this regard, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said: “The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has clearly established…

Russia: Authorities poised to wield new legislation to ban films featuring LGBTI characters

Reacting to the news that the Russian media regulator is poised to censor online content containing references to LGBTI people or rights, including banning movies and TV series featuring LGBTI characters, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Russia Director, said: “The Russian authorities are preparing to further scapegoat and stigmatize LGBTI people in the country through new homophobic legislation, including by perversely banning globally acclaimed movies like Brokeback Mountain and Call Me by Your Name. “This unabashed censorship shows that the Russian authorities are wholly out-of-step with human rights, willing to blatantly violate the right to freedom of expression. Disguised as “protecting…

Amnesty International signs declaration calling for international controls to combat trade in tools of torture

More than 30 international organizations have joined forces to call for an international treaty to control the trade in tools of torture used to suppress peaceful protests and abuse detainees around the world. In a declaration signed in London, organizations including Amnesty International, called for a treaty to prohibit the manufacture and trade in inherently abusive equipment such as spiked batons and body-worn electric shock devices, as well as the introduction of human rights-based controls on the trade in more standard law enforcement equipment, such as pepper spray, rubber bullets and handcuffs. These items are often used to commit acts…

Lebanon: Syrians who survived boat sinking allegedly deported

Responding to the shocking news that almost 200 Syrian refugees rescued from a sinking boat off the coast of Lebanon on New Year’s Eve were unlawfully deported and delivered into the hands of the Syrian authorities, Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “The Lebanese army’s apparent deportation of these refugees shows, yet again, the callous disregard with which the authorities treat vulnerable people. The Lebanese army’s apparent deportation of these refugees shows, yet again, the callous disregard with which the authorities treat vulnerable people. Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International “They escaped the war…