Kazakhstan: Authorities must release arbitrarily detained protestors and respect human rights amid ongoing unrest

• Information severely restricted• Concern over arbitrary arrests and detainees’ treatment• Death toll still unknown The Kazakhstani authorities must release journalists and activists who have been arbitrarily detained for their coverage of mass protests across the country over the past week, provide information on all protest-related arrests and ensure human rights of all detainees, said Amnesty International, as the number of individuals arrested since protests began on 2 January reached close to 10,000 according to official government figures. Those among the detainees who committed no internationally recognized crimes and were arbitrarily detained, including merely for violating Kazakhstan’s unduly restrictive legislation…

Poland: Verdict in prosecution of women who put up posters of Virgin Mary with rainbow halo expected

Ahead of the prosecutor’s appeal tomorrow against the decision to acquit three women charged with “offending religious beliefs” for possessing and distributing posters depicting the Virgin Mary with an LGBTI rainbow halo, Amnesty International’s Senior Campaigner for Europe, Catrinel Motoc, said: “This case is emblematic of a number of disturbing anti-human rights trends in Poland. Not only is space for free expression, activism and peaceful protest shrinking, but the climate of homophobia in the country is worsening amid an increase in hate crimes, the introduction of LGBTI free zones by local councils and attempts to ban Pride Marches. “It is…

20 years on, Biden must close Guantánamo once and for all

At a recent demonstration outside the White House calling for the closure of the US military prison at the Guantánamo Bay naval base, a teenager approached a colleague to ask what the protest was all about. He told her he had never heard of the detention facility. It’s been 20 years and four presidential administrations since Guantánamo opened, but for those born since then its terrifying stories sound more like the plot of a fictitious horror film. It is a disgraceful legacy we simply cannot pass on to future generations. Opened in response to the September 11 attacks, Guantánamo has…

Chinese Authorities’ ‘Inhumane Cruelty’ Again on Display

Click to expand Image Zhang Qing (L), the wife of Chinese human rights activist Guo Feixiong, speaks at a press conference before a subcommittee hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington, DC, as her daughter Yang Tianjiao looks on, October 29, 2013. © 2013 JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images “Never could I imagine the Chinese authorities were capable of such inhumane cruelty – to keep him locked up when my life is coming to an end,” said Zhang Qing, wife of the prominent Chinese human rights activist Guo Feixiong, in December. Zhang passed away on January 10 in…

Iran: Writer Dies in Custody

Click to expand Image Baktash Abtin. © 2020 Private (Beirut) – The death of the writer and poet Baktash Abtin in custody is emblematic of the dire situation Iranian authorities have created for imprisoned critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said today. Iranian officials should conduct transparent and impartial investigations into recent reported deaths in custody due to alleged negligence, hold those responsible accountable, and release all wrongfully detained dissidents. On January 8, 2022, the Iranian Writers’ Association (IWA) reported that Abtin, 47, who was battling a second Covid-19 infection since being detained in September 2020, had died in…

South Korean Court Declines to Recognize Same-Sex Partners

Click to expand Image Participants march with a rainbow flag during a Pride parade in Seoul, South Korea, July 15, 2017.    © 2017 AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon. A court in Seoul, South Korea has rejected a same-sex couple’s bid for spousal health insurance benefits, underscoring the lack of legal protections for same-sex couples in the country. Although South Korea does not recognize same-sex partnerships, one of the men successfully registered the other as his spouse in February 2020, allowing him access to his employer’s health insurance plan. When the story became public months later, the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS)…

Djokovic Case Highlights Australia’s Cruel Immigration Policies

Click to expand Image Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic celebrates his win at the Paris Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France, November 6, 2021. © 2021 AP Photo/Thibault Camus While the world number one tennis player, Novak Djokovic, spent four nights detained at an immigration hotel in Melbourne before a judge ordered his release, his case became a jolting reminder of Australia’s abusive treatment of refugees and asylum seekers who have been held in the country’s immigration detention system for years. Since July 2013 the Australian government has forcibly transferred more than 3,000 asylum seekers and refugees to offshore camps…

20 years later, US government continues to perpetuate grave human rights abuses at Guantánamo prison

The military prison at Guantánamo Bay continues to facilitate grave violations of human rights by the US government. Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the military prison’s opening on January 11, 2002, Daphne Eviatar, Director of the Security with Human Rights Program at Amnesty International USA, said: “This is an anniversary that should never have been reached. Since the Bush administration, there has been agreement among national security experts and across the political spectrum that the Guantánamo prison – a notorious site of torture and unjustifiable indefinite detention – should be closed. “President Biden must uphold his commitment to close Guantánamo once…

Afghanistan: The Taliban must immediately release Professor Faizullah Jalal

Responding to the arrest of Professor Faizullah Jalal, a Kabul University lecturer detained for exercising his right to freedom of expression while criticizing the Taliban on a news channel, Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s South Asia campaigner, said: “This arrest marks just the latest effort by the Taliban to stifle dissent. Since the takeover, Afghanistan’s leaders have intimidated, harassed and violently attacked individuals who criticize them, with human rights defenders, women activists, journalists and members of academia suffering the greatest number of reprisals. “Professor FaizullahJalal, a renowned intellectual with decades of experience working in Afghanistan, was simply exercising his right to…

Two trafficking survivors appeal to UN committee

Two trafficking survivors have brought a case against Italy and Libya to a UN committee. The two Nigerian women claim the countries failed to protect their rights and left them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.   The Italian legal rights association, ASGI (The Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration), helped the survivors take their case to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).   Trafficking in Libya: A cycle of detention and exploitation   ASGI held a press conference on December 16 in which they spoke about the harrowing experiences of Princess* and Doris*. InfoMigrants reports:  According to ASGI, “from the moment the women crossed the border into Niger, they were repeatedly…

U.K.’s largest bank accused of profiting from Uyghur forced labor

Shares in the persecution of Uyghurs? British bank, HSBC, has admitted to holding over 3 million dollars of shares in Chinese chemical and plastics company, Xinjiang Tianye Group. Last year, Sheffield Hallam University released a report that found Xinjiang Tianye documents suggesting the company’s role in a many “poverty alleviation programs” including “labor transfers” and “vocational training programs.” These terms are synonymous with the systematic erasure of Uyghur culture and breakdown of the population through forced labor and other human rights violations. Further, Xinjiang Tianye is a self-described ”state-owned enterprise in the eighth division of XPCC.” XPCC is the Xinjiang…

New Hampshire and the endurance of child marriage in the U.S.

Child marriage is legal in most American states In the U.S., marriage below the age of 18 is only illegal in 6 states. Of the remaining, most will grant marriages to minors if they have parental or judicial approval and 9 have no minimum age requirements at all. According to Politico, Though fewer minors marry in the U.S. than in the past, child marriage still happens here. The U.S. Census’ American Community Survey estimated that there were nearly 88,000 married teens ages 15 to 17 nationwide in 2019. An April 2021 study by the activist group Unchained At Last, funded…

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