New year, new WIRE!

Wire January/March 2015Thanks to your feedback, the magazine’s got a brand new look and a wider mix of articles – from our new campaign for Syrian refugees and where Amnesty gets it money from, to facts and figures about the conflicts in Gaza and the Central African Republic.

You’ll find updates about Amnesty’s campaigning worldwide, insights and interviews with people we work with, fantastic photography, some of our favourite tweets and Facebook posts from 2014, a quick quiz, and more.

A big thank you to the nearly 650 people worldwide who shared your views and told us what kind of magazine you WIRE to be!

Please keep sending your feedback and ideas to thewire@amnesty.org – WIRE is your global magazine, all about how we can make a difference together.

Posted in Australia, Central African Republic, China, Individuals at Risk, Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Mexico, Myanmar, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Refugees and migrants rights, Syria, USA | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bitter anniversary for Egyptian women

Protest against sexual harassment in Cairo ©Getty Images.

Protest against sexual harassment in Cairo ©Getty Images.

By Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

The streets are empty. The prisons are full. The fourth anniversary of Egypt’s “25 January Revolution” is passing largely in silence, with many of the young activists who led it now firmly behind bars.

For many women in Egypt, this Sunday will bring back particularly bitter memories – of a brief moment when it seemed that a better future was finally within reach.

Women stood alongside men throughout the 2011 uprising. However, in the years since they have faced a rising tide of violence and discrimination.

And nowhere is safe. Continue reading

Posted in Discrimination, Egypt, Women's Rights | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia: The question on everybody’s mind

The late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud ©BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

The late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud ©BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

By Sevag Kechichian, Researcher on Saudi Arabia at Amnesty International.

The death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has, once again, focused international attention to the oil-rich Middle Eastern country’s human rights record.

“What will be King Abdullah’s legacy?” everybody seems to be asking.

The answer is not simple.

Since taking the throne in 2005, King Abdullah initiated some positive reforms.

Women, for example, have slowly been included in the Shura Council, a powerless consultative body to advise the King, and incorporated into the workforce – with some being allowed to work in courts as lawyers.

The late King is credited for opening a dozen new universities and providing thousands of Saudi Arabian citizens with generous scholarships to study abroad. He also initiated seemingly ambitious judicial reforms that have not really gone anywhere.

He even decreed the founding of a formal National Human Rights Commission and allowed the establishment of a supposedly independent human rights organization.

But that’s where the good news ends.

Continue reading

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A moment of euphoria in a long battle for women’s rights in El Salvador

El Salvador’s total ban on abortion is forcing women and girls to secretly risk their lives and condemning others to decades behind bars. © Amnesty International

By Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland

This morning I woke up to the news that “Guadalupe”, a young woman unjustly imprisoned in El Salvador after having a miscarriage, had been pardoned.

It was an ecstatic moment, and soon Amnesty International colleagues all over the world were firing off celebratory messages welcoming the news. Justice, for one person at least, had prevailed. Continue reading

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Corporations have rights. Now we need a global treaty on their responsibilities

A woman from Ikarama village points at the river next to her house, which has been polluted by an oil spill, Niger Delta, Nigeria, May 2013 © Amnesty International.

A woman from Ikarama village points at the river next to her house, which has been polluted by an oil spill, Niger Delta, Nigeria, May 2013 © Amnesty International.

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. 

It’s been lively, to say the least. The debate over a binding international treaty on corporate human rights responsibilities has revealed deep divisions between the south – largely behind it – and Europe and other OECD member countries, which are staunchly opposed. In general, civil society groups support the negotiation of a treaty while business is, on the whole, against.

The debate began more than six months ago at the UN in Geveva and is unlikely to get much of a look-in at the World Economic Forum this year. But it should.

International, binding law on corporations and human rights is, I am convinced, the only effect way to tackle corporate abuse of rights — abuses Amnesty International documents week-in, week-out. Continue reading

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