Read WIRE Sept/Oct: ‘What if it was me?’

“What if it was me in that photo?” asks one young Amnesty activist looking at Vesselina Nikolaeva’s images of Syrian refugees in Bulgaria (pages 4-7).

Her photos might inspire you to ask more questions: If you had to leave your country, what belongings would you try to take? What risks would you face on your journey? And what kind of life would you try to build until you could return home?

Also in WIRE, find out why women in El Salvador can be accused of murder after losing a pregnancy. Discover how Amnesty’s researchers work to stop torture in the Philippines, Uzbekistan and Mexico. And read the moving story of Hakamada Iwao, who spent 46 years on death row in Japan. Thanks to his sister, Hideko, and the pure power of activism, he is finally free again.

You can support Hakamada and many others like him – find out how in the new issue of WIRE, Amnesty’s global campaigning magazine.

Posted in Bulgaria, Death Penalty, El Salvador, Gambia, Japan, Maternal Health and Reproductive Rights, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Russian Federation, Syria, Uzbekistan | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A time to grieve and a time to dance


Ekaterina Khomenko’s last post on the social network VKontakte was met with homophobic remarks and threats in the run-up to her death. © VK

By Conor Fortune, News Writer at Amnesty International, who recently returned from St Petersburg

Ekaterina Khomenko’s throat was slit when a street cleaner found her in a car with the engine still running in St Petersburg earlier this month.

According to media reports, police initially suggested – somewhat incredibly – that she might have committed suicide. An investigation is now under way into the actual cause of the 29-year-old’s death. The authorities haven’t ruled out the possibility that she may have been attacked on the basis of her sexual orientation: she was openly lesbian and gave tango lessons to same-sex couples.

In the days before she died, a known extremist had posted hate speech and threats on a social media page she owned, in response to a photo she posted of two women embraced in the sensual Argentine dance in a St Petersburg Metro station. Continue reading

Posted in Discrimination, LGBT Rights, Russian Federation | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Europe failed to act on the warning signs of a tragedy in the Mediterranean

African asylum seekers rescued and taken aboard an Italian navy ship © Massimo Sestini / eyevine

African asylum seekers rescued and taken aboard an Italian navy ship © Massimo Sestini / eyevine

By Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights at Amnesty International

Before the two shipwrecks that came to light yesterday,1,800 people were believed to have died or gone missing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa this year. 700 more may have died in these latest incidents.

2014 will set a grim record with the highest number of refugee and migrant deaths ever recorded in the Mediterranean. This correlates with a significant increase in the number of people attempting this journey. Tragically, it was all entirely predictable.
Continue reading

Posted in Eritrea, Europe And Central Asia, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Libya, Migrants, Refugees, Saudi Arabia, Syria | 2 Comments

It’s time for the US to stop fuelling the conflict in Israel and Gaza


Posted on 16 September 2014 by Sunjeev Bery, Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa, Amnesty International – USA

As the UN General Assembly begins its meeting today in New York City, Amnesty International is delivering 187,563 signatures to the White House in a global call to cut off weapons fuelling abuses in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Thousands of people from the U.S. and 166 other nations are urging President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to stop arming Israel and start backing a UN arms embargo on Israel, Hamas, and other Palestinian armed groups. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

African healthcare laid bare by Ebola epidemic

By Savio Carvalho, senior adviser on international development and human rights at Amnesty International.

Two years ago, I had the privilege of visiting Freetown and other parts of Sierra Leone where Amnesty International was training maternal health volunteers to monitor antenatal care. It was evident then that Sierra Leone’s health infrastructure was in a very poor state, undermined by years of war and lack of investment. But today, the outbreak of Ebola has meant that its struggling healthcare system, and others in neighbouring African countries – particularly Liberia and Guinea – have been completely overwhelmed.

Continue reading

Posted in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone | Tagged | Leave a comment

Revenge attacks and killings sprees in Samarra, Iraq

Shi'a militia banner in Baghdad

Shi’a militia banner in Baghdad

By Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser in Iraq.

These days there are no visitors heading to the ancient Iraqi city of Samarra, 120km north of Baghdad, to admire its archaeological treasures.

The city, once the capital of the powerful Abbasid Empire, which spread from Tunisia to Central Asia, is also home to the iconic golden-domed al-Askari shrine, a Shi’a holy site that was bombed by Sunni militants in 2006, unleashing a vicious cycle of sectarian attacks and counter-attacks across Iraq. Continue reading

Posted in Armed Conflict, Armed Groups, Iraq | Tagged | Leave a comment