Student protest shows the future of social activism in Taiwan

A screenshot from showing a live broadcast from protesters in Taiwan’s parliament. © Amnesty International

By Ya-Chi Yang, campaign coordinator at Amnesty International Taiwan

Today, students in Taiwan ended a historic, 24-day occupation of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, or parliament. Continue reading

Posted in Taiwan | Tagged | 1 Comment

The power of insistence

Albin Kurti is a former political prisoner from Kosovo, who represented himself using Amnesty’s Fair Trial Manual – and was released. © Lëvizja VETËVENDOSJE!

Political prisoner Albin Kurti represented himself in court using Amnesty’s Fair Trial Manual – and was released. To mark our publication today of the new, updated manual, he told us his story.

Activists, lawyers, judges, trial observers and the UN itself have used Amnesty’s Fair Trial Manual to defend human rights worldwide. Political prisoners, including Albin Kurti from Kosovo, have also used the book to represent themselves in court.

Albin is the leader of Kosovo’s Lëvizja VETËVENDOSJE! (Movement for Self-Determination!). He was arrested during a peaceful protest in 2007 and tried by the UN interim authorities in Kosovo (UNMIK):

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Posted in Europe And Central Asia, Human Rights Defenders and Activists, International Justice, Unfair Trials | 1 Comment

The military occupation of Maré ahead of Brazil’s World Cup

Military forces have occupied Rio de Janeiro’s Maré complex of favelas (slums) ahead of the World Cup. © Marco Derksen

By Atila Roque, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil

Early last Saturday morning (5 April 2014), the streets of Rio de Janeiro’s Maré complex of favelas (slums) woke up to a military occupation by around 2,700 federal Army troops. They took over from a military police contingent that had been in the area since 30 March.

Under an agreement with the authorities, the security forces will remain there until 31 July, after the World Cup ends. Once they leave, it’s expected that a Pacifying Police Unit (Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora, UPP) will set up in Maré.

The Maré complex is home to some 132,000 people, spread across 16 communities. It’s a collection of slums and informal settlements located between Rio de Janeiro’s main access routes, and lies close to the international airport. It’s a diverse community, with a history of community organization and poor access to public services. Its residents share the space with organized criminal groups and milícias – criminal gangs made up largely of former or off-duty state law-enforcement agents. Continue reading

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Election fever grips Afghanistan

Election billboard at a bus stop in Kabul © AFP/Getty Images

Election billboard at a bus stop in Kabul © AFP/Getty Images

By Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher, @Hmosadiq

I came back from Afghanistan this Tuesday from a three-week research trip that showed me both the best and worst of the country. In the early hours of 20 March, I found myself in Jalalabad listening to the explosions from a Taliban attack on a police station. The next evening, I returned to Kabul only to be greeted by the despicable Taliban attack on Serena Hotel that killed, among others, the AFP journalist Sardar Ahmad and most of his young family.

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Middle Eastern nations at forefront of disturbing spike in executions

At least 23,392 people were facing death sentences worldwide at the end of 2013. © AI Switzerland

At least 23,392 people were facing death sentences worldwide at the end of 2013. © AI Switzerland

By Sara Hashash, Middle East and North Africa media officer at Amnesty International

It sounds like a scene from a grisly horror film; five decapitated bodies swinging from a horizontal pole suspended over the main square in the city of Jijzan in southwestern Saudi Arabia. Beside each body hangs a plastic bag containing the victim’s head. Yards away, students are arriving at a local university to take their exams.

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Posted in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories, Kuwait, Middle East And North Africa, Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Yemen | Tagged | 2 Comments