Taking torture personally

How do you support someone who has been tortured? That’s what this issue of WIRE explores, to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June.

We speak to Farida Aarrass about why she will never give up fighting for her brother, Ali. We discover how the psychotherapeutic legacy of Amnesty legend Helen Bamber lives on in a quiet London garden. We meet two very different women who regularly protest on behalf of people they’ve never met. And we learn how our new Panic Button app could help protect people.

Meeting these inspiring people answered our question. We can support torture survivors by taking what happened to them personally. By never giving up on them, and giving them room to rebuild their lives. By sticking with people until they get justice. And by making sure torture doesn’t happen to somebody else.

Join us: Together, we can stop torture.

Posted in Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Censorship and Free Speech, Germany, Greece, Human Rights Defenders and Activists, Individuals at Risk, Maternal Health and Reproductive Rights, Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Rights, Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Rights, Migrants, Morocco, Prisoners of Conscience, Refugees, South Africa, Torture and Ill-treatment, UAE, UK | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

‘My life is in constant danger’ – campaigning on human rights in the Gambia

By Francois Patuel, Amnesty International’s campaigner for West Africa.

I’ve just spoken to a human rights activist working in the Gambia. Just publishing his name would be enough to get him arrested. His powerful testimony shows just why we urgently need to act to stop the intimidation of people working to uphold human rights in the country. This is what he told me:

“Right now, the situation in the Gambia is alarming. All the President’s actions seem to totally disregard the rule of law. Arrests, detentions, torture, enforced disappearances and killings are all too common, and affect all types of people.
Continue reading

Posted in Gambia, Human Rights Defenders and Activists, Killings and Disappearances, Press Freedom, Prisoners of Conscience, Unlawful Detention | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Push-backs across the border? – The ‘dirty work’ of keeping refugees out of Bulgaria

By Barbora Černušáková, Amnesty International‘s Researcher on Bulgaria

We met Hassan on a rainy day in a reception centre for refugees and asylum-seekers in Harmanli, Bulgaria, about an hour’s drive from the Turkish border. He shares a room with seven other Syrians who made their way to Europe to flee the armed conflict.

He told us how he finally made it to Bulgaria in March 2014 – on his ninth attempt. Continue reading

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Families divided in the Dominican Republic

Liliana Nuel and her family. © Amnesty International

By Robin Guittard Amnesty International’s campaigner for the Caribbean

The Dominican Republic’s nationality rules are a tangle of check-boxes and criteria, but for one family the impact of new legislation could not be more stark. By a fluke of bureaucracy, two out of three children might be awarded citizenship and all its benefits, but the third could remain lost in the limbo of statelessness.

I met the Nuel family in March 2014. As three young children gurgled and crawled around her feet, their mother Liliana Nuel told me about her dreams for herself and her family. She dreams of studying Law at university, and has similarly high hopes for her three babies. Continue reading

Posted in Dominican Republic, Haiti | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

‘It starts right here’ – the road ahead for South Sudan

Mary, a Murle woman and Ayor, a Dinka woman, hold hands in an IDP camp in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. © Amnesty International

By Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

So many moments stay with me. During the course of this recent mission in South Sudan people recounted unimaginable suffering and acute fear; they showed tremendous strength and unflagging resilience; and they shared both deep despair and determined hope.

Many of the moments were unexpected. Continue reading

Posted in Armed Conflict, Internally Displaced People, Refugees, South Sudan, Uncategorized, Women | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The problem with the secret service – is the secrecy

GCHQ - UK Government Communications Headquarters ©David Goddard/Getty Images

GCHQ – UK Government Communications Headquarters ©David Goddard/Getty Images

By Harriet Garland, Press Officer at Amnesty International UK.

Today the British intelligence agencies and the Ministers responsible for them will be under the spotlight in a historic case to determine whether mass communications surveillance is lawful.

Thanks to the revelations of whistle-blower Edward Snowden, made public last year, we know that the US and UK intelligence agencies were conducting wide-ranging surveillance programmes, involving the interception and collection of people’s private correspondence. Continue reading

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