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

The hidden war in El Salvador

Marlene was accused and charged with having an abortion after she had a miscarriage when she was 18 years old © Amnesty International

By Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International

There is no doubt El Salvador has had a troubled past. The country suffered 12 years of internal armed conflict from 1980 to 1992, during which many horrific human rights abuses were committed.

Since then, political dialogue has resulted peace and major progress has been made, with the country signing up to numerous human rights treaties promising to protect the rights of its people.

I was heartened to hear that during his inauguration in June, President Sanchez Ceren announced that he will govern “for all” with an “absolute commitment to social justice”. Continue reading

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“I have not seen anything like this in decades”

Protesters in Hong Kong ©Getty Images.

Protesters in Hong Kong ©Getty Images.

By Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International in Hong Kong.

The streets of Hong Kong are hard to recognize these days. The exhilarating energy filling the city’s main roads, crowded with hopeful protesters, is something I have not seen since I was a young student back in 1989, when we took to the streets in solidarity with the Tiananmen protesters.

But not even then had so many people taken to the streets in Hong Kong – nor had the police’s response been so brutal. Continue reading

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Four young daughters lost in a Mediterranean shipwreck

Randa, Sherihan, Nurhan and Kristina disappeared when their boat sank in the Mediterranean in October 2013. “All we want is to find our daughters, either dead or alive,” their father Hasan told Amnesty. © Private

Syrian doctor Hasan Wahid lost his four young daughters in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean on 11 October 2013. His family’s story illustrates the impossible choices – and terrible dangers – refugees and migrants face trying to reach Europe.

Hasan Wahid and his wife Manal Hashash felt the dangerous sea crossing to Europe was their only option. War was raging in their home country, Syria, and they had received death threats in Libya, where Hasan worked as a doctor.

So in October last year, they paid a smuggler USD$4,500 to take them and their four daughters – Randa, aged 10, Sherihan, eight, Nurhan, six, and Kristina, two – to what they hoped would be a safe, peaceful life. Hasan, now living in Switzerland, told us their story: Continue reading

Posted in EU, Italy, Libya, Malta, Refugees, Syria | Tagged | 1 Comment

United together with women and girls in El Salvador

© Amnesty International


International activists gathered on 25 September in a show of solidarity as Amnesty launched its new report on the terrifying impact of El Salvador’s total abortion ban.

“There’s a saying in El Salvador,” said Vicky Knox, Co-Director of the Central American Women’s Network (CAWN). “The rich abort, the poor bleed.”

And with that, everyone in the room understood the deep disadvantages that women and girls from poor backgrounds in El Salvador must face when it comes to making decisions about having sex or having children. Continue reading

Posted in El Salvador, Maternal Health and Reproductive Rights, Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Rights, Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Rights, Women | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The ‘secret’ doctor on a mission to help Afghanistan’s women

In Afghanistan, abortions are illegal in the majority of circumstances ©AFP/Getty Images

In Afghanistan, abortions are illegal in the majority of circumstances ©AFP/Getty Images

By Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan researcher at Amnesty International.

“Nearly every woman in Afghanistan has a painful story to tell,” says Dr Lima, an Afghan woman who decided to take action after witnessing harrowing cases of rape and violence against women in her country.

Lima works to empower women who are at are at risk of human rights abuses in Afghanistan. She is a professional gynaecologist with a secret and dangerous sideline.
“When I started working, I would not help people when they came to me for an abortion. I would say no,” she says.

Continue reading

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