Good news and bad news on the death penalty as 2014 draws to a close

© Orla 2011/

By Chiara Sangiorgio, Amnesty International’s Death Penalty Expert, @chiarasan

For those of us who are actively campaigning for an end to the death penalty – the ultimate cruel and inhuman form of punishment – the past few weeks have been a rollercoaster of good and bad news.

Since Friday, six people have been executed in Pakistan, and yesterday the government signalled that as many as 500 more could be sent to the gallows after it lifted a two-year moratorium on the death penalty.
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May we use this holiday season to shine a light

Right now, there are a lot of people around the world in desperate need of some light. © Amnesty International

By Yonatan Gher Director of Amnesty International Israel

This month, those of us who celebrate Hanukah commemorate a miracle of light: a flame, which in our people’s moment of darkness, shone far beyond the limits of physics. The world’s Christians will celebrate the birth of Jesus and shortly after, Muslims will celebrate the birth of the Prophet Mohammad. For each of these religious communities, these celebrations commemorate events which brought light and hope in to the world.

This month we also celebrated the anniversary of another important event: 66 years ago, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a modern-day tale of how out of humanity’s darkest moments, a beacon of hope can emerge. Continue reading

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7 things you probably didn’t know about migrants

A migrants’ belongings at a shelter in Mexico, 2010. © Marc Silver

Is a migrant the same as an immigrant? Are migrants good or bad for the economy, and can you name some famous ones? Find out today, on International Migrants Day.

1. What’s the difference between an immigrant and a migrant?
All immigrants are migrants, but not all migrants are immigrants. And just to confuse things, there are also “emigrants”. Here’s how it works: A migrant moves around within their own country, or from one country to another, often to find work or join family members, because of poverty or a crisis. If you’re from Italy and go to live in Spain, then you would be an emigrant in Italy and an immigrant in Spain. You can be called an “international migrant” if you have foreign nationality or were born in another country. “Immigrant” and migrant are often used interchangeably and tend to get mixed up with the word “asylum-seeker” (see below).

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