Residents of the Yemeni capital Sana’a are still reeling after the 5 November suicide attacks. © MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images
A transparent investigation into Defence Ministry attacks can contribute to success of political transition.
By Sevag Kechichian, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Yemen
Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, is still reeling after the brazen two-pronged attack on the Ministry of Defence, on December 5. Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings, which left at least 56 dead and more than 167 wounded.
As well as spreading panic across the capital, the assault has sparked a frenzied debate among Yemenis. But amid the swirling rumours and accusations, the Yemeni authorities need to get to the truth – it is vital that they carry out a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation. Those behind the attack must be brought to justice in proceedings that meet international standards of fairness, and without the imposition of the death penalty.
The attack was indiscriminate and showed a complete disregard for the right to life. Among those whose lives were taken were civilian patients, doctors, nurses and other staff in the Ministry of Defence hospital. Continue reading
People look at bodies brought to a mosque in the Central African capital Bangui on 5 December, 2013. © SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images
By Susanna Flood, Amnesty International’s Director of Media
On the surface, everything is quiet in Bangui, the tiny capital city of the Central African Republic. Strangely quiet. But behind this silence, stories of devastation are emerging. The city is calm but people are afraid.
There are virtually no cars on the road and an eerie silence is hanging over the city. And then you hear a short burst of gunfire coming from one of the various quartiers which have been beset by fighting since early yesterday or French fighter jets do a sudden and unexpected fly-pass, making their presence in the city known.
There is no clear toll of those killed or wounded in the attacks between so-called anti-Balaka, said to be loyal to ousted President Bozizé, and the former Seleka forces of new President Djotodia. But those in the know say at least 200 have been killed, making it the largest death toll in one day since this crisis erupted. Continue reading
© Valentina Buj
By Amnesty’s Clare Fermont based in Johannesburg, South Africa
Even though I’d been expecting news of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s death, it still shocked me when the radio in my Johannesburg flat solemnly announced the news late last night.
Mandela has always seemed part of my life. As a teenager in the late 1960s in north London, I’d been close friends with the exiled family of Denis Goldberg, the only white defendant in the 1964 Rivonia trial that condemned him, Mandela and other ANC leaders to life imprisonment. Continue reading
This week marks 29 years since one of the world’s worst ever industrial disasters – a tragic gas leak in Bhopal, India. © Amnesty International
By Joe Westby, Corporate Campaigner
This week marks the 29th anniversary of one of the world’s worst ever industrial disasters: the infamous gas leak from a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India that, on the night of 2-3 December 1984, killed thousands. Many more have been left to suffer since then, given the abject failure by both the Indian government and the companies involved to provide survivors and their families with an adequate remedy and justice.
This week there is also a major UN conference on business and human rights. During this annual Forum, more than 1,500 participants, including myself, have descended on Geneva to discuss how to prevent corporate human rights abuses and ensure survivors are not forgotten – essentially how to prevent another Bhopal from ever happening again. Continue reading