Two ways we can change the world

Real opportunities to change the world don’t come around very often. Then suddenly, two come along at once.

In April, government officials will meet to discuss our private lives. Their distant decisions could translate into harsh realities – see our WIRE features from Nepal and Argentina. By joining our My Body My Rights campaign, you can be one of millions pushing for positive changes worldwide.

Right now, we also have a unique chance to support migrants and refugees risking everything to reach Europe. People shouldn’t have to die at sea, be locked up for years or violently turned back. Our S.O.S. Europe campaign asks EU governments to treat people fairly and with dignity. Their voices aren’t always heard, but they still have human rights. We’ll stand with them to make sure that fact is never forgotten.

Read about this and much more in WIRE, our global campaigning magazine.

Posted in Argentina, Bulgaria, Central African Republic, Death Penalty, Demand Dignity, India, LGBT Rights, Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Rights, Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Rights, Mongolia, Nepal, Refugees, Russian Federation, Syria, Unfair Trials, Women, Women's Rights | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Lessons from beyond the mass grave

 800,000 people perished during the Rwanda Genocide 20 years ago ©PHIL MOORE/AFP/Getty Images

800,000 people perished during the Rwanda Genocide 20 years ago ©PHIL MOORE/AFP/Getty Images

By Salil Shetty, Secretary General at Amnesty International.

It was a haunting discovery: A terrified 11-year-old girl cowering in the corner of a ransacked house three days after her village had been attacked in a horrific act of ethnic cleansing. Her parents had also been killed and in the streets outside dogs fed on the decomposing bodies of her neighbours.

This scene, witnessed by Amnesty International researchers, may be reminiscent of one that occurred during the Rwanda genocide. But this girl was a Muslim, not a Tutsi. The village was in the Central African Republic not in Rwanda. And this happened in February, not 20 years ago. Continue reading

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Turkey Twitter trial

By Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International Turkey researcher

On Monday 21 April, I will be in a courtroom in Izmir, observing the second hearing in the ‘Twitter case’ against 29 men and women who are being accused of ‘inciting the public to break the law’. Their crime? Sending out tweets during the first few days of the Gezi Park protests last June. If found guilty, they could face up to 3 years in prison.

During the protests that began in Istanbul’s Gezi Park and Taksim Square and quickly spread around the country in June 2013, social media played a central role, allowing protestors to share information on where police were breaking up the protests or to request medical support or information on individuals whose whereabouts were unclear. With the mainstream media failing to report the events, social media platforms also allowed the public to find out what was going on in the streets. Continue reading

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‘The true worth of our presence’ – Syrian lawyers risk detention and death in the name of justice

Syrian lawyer Khalil Ma’touq has been in detention for more than a year and a half © Amnesty International.

Syrian lawyer Khalil Ma’touq has been in detention for more than a year and a half © Amnesty International.

By a Damascus-based human rights lawyer *

Being a human rights lawyer in Syria has never been easy. We have always been vulnerable to prosecution or at risk of arrest by the authorities. Over the past few years, however, the situation has become increasingly unbearable.

Human rights lawyers have become a continuous target. The authorities have waged a campaign to intimidate them and have expelled several from the lawyers’ union. Many have been arrested or died as a result of torture in prison. Continue reading

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Youth voices rising at international meeting in New York

The Youth Coalition sum up their hopes for the future.

Half the world’s population is under the age of 25. At 1.8 billion, this is the largest youth population in history, and here at the UN Commission on Population and Development, says Amnesty’s Sarah Atkinson, youth from around the world are standing up to world leaders, demanding that they be heard.

It’s been 20 years since the Cairo agreement on population and development saw the world shift its focus to people, their dignity and their rights – away from statistics. This week, we are at the UN in New York to see how far the world has come in making that a reality. Continue reading

Posted in Human Rights Defenders and Activists, Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Rights, UN, Women | Tagged | Leave a comment

Beloved ashes – remembering a tireless human rights defender

Exiled Peruvian human rights defender Giulia Tamayo, who was longtime head campaigner at Amnesty International Spain. © Amnesty International Spain

A small homage to a human rights defender, a close colleague, a tireless example of dignity, someone who never gave up. In memory of Giulia Tamayo; may she rest in peace.

By Ángel Gonzalo, press officer at Amnesty International Spain.

I met Giulia Tamayo towards the end of February 2003, when I applied for a press officer post at Amnesty International Spain. Twenty-seven years old at the time, I showed up in a corduroy jacket, with reams of articles under my belt, and brimming with nervous energy and a great desire to work on human rights. She was head of Campaigns for the organization and was on my interview panel. Continue reading

Posted in Domestic Violence, Human Rights Defenders and Activists, Peru, Sexual Violence, Spain, Women | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment