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Amnesty International’s Global Round-Up

Amnesty International’s Global Round-Up: Latest Human Rights News

United Nations: Proposed Anti-Terrorism resolution undermines human rights

Amnesty International today made an urgent appeal to members of the UN Security Council to revise an anti-terrorism resolution which would seriously undermine human rights including the right to freedom of expression and religion.

Council members are under strong pressure from the Russian Federation to adopt the resolution today despite the use of language so broad and vague that peaceful political or human rights activists can easily be detained, prosecuted or extradited under its binding provisions.

The organization is particularly concerned that the resolution calls on states to bring to justice or extradite any person who "supports", "facilitates" or who even "attempts to participate in the ... planning [or] preparation of ... terrorist attacks". This language casts the net so wide that people, including human rights advocates or peaceful political activists can easily and unintentionally fall victim to the measures advocated in the resolution.

The resolution does not even require that acts contributing to "terrorists acts", such as unknowingly providing lodging, have to be intentional or done with the knowledge that they will assist the crime. In resorting to such exceptionally broad language, the resolution would call for measures which do not even permit individuals to foresee whether their acts will be lawful or not, a basic requirement in criminal law," Amnesty International said.

The organization condemns all attacks targeting civilians, including yesterday’s deplorable bombings in Egypt. States have obligations to take measures to protect persons within their jurisdiction and bring to justice those responsible for such attacks. Measures taken must respect and protect the human rights of all concerned however.

While the present draft resolution is an improvement on previous drafts and includes some weak human rights provisions, it only tells states that they "should" act in accordance with their obligations under international law, including human rights law, instead of making it absolutely clear that they must do so.

Amnesty International calls on the Security Council to:

Include an operative paragraph in the resolution which specifies that all measures taken by states must be consistent with international law, in particular international human rights, refugee law and humanitarian law. The UN Charter requires no less;

Clarify that no measures may violate in any way the absolute prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and that international cooperation in bringing suspects to justice must not include any loosening of the safeguards against torture and ill-treatment, including the rule of non-refoulement;

Define crimes only in a clear, narrow sense that are clearly understood and would prevent abuse;

Ensure that the call for "penalties consistent with their grave nature" does not constitute a call on states to impose capital punishment, which is a violation of the right to life

http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGIOR400222004

Afghanistan: Election pains point to ailing state

The great pains Afghanistan is going through in holding elections -- registration officers killed, voters intimidated -- are symptoms of the wider turmoil in the country. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGASA110142004

World Day Against the Death Penalty: "War on Terror" is no justification for executions

The "War on Terror" must not be used to justify reversing progress on the abolition of the death penalty, Amnesty International said as more than 90 countries prepared to mark the World Day against the Death Penalty this Sunday. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGACT500182004

Egypt continues executions while use of death penalty decreases worldwide

As the world prepares to mark the International Day Against the Death Penalty this Sunday, Egypt continues to carry out executions. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGMDE128102004

Iraq: Condemnation of beheading

Amnesty International strongly condemns the beheading of Kenneth Bigley and appeals for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGMDE140512004

Iran: Sentenced to death for killing abusive husband

Fatemeh Haghighat-Pajouh has reportedly been sentenced to death for the murder of her husband, who allegedly tried to rape her then 15 year old daughter from a previous marriage. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGMDE138102004

Jamaica: Military must cooperate in investigation of killings

Physical evidence from autopsies and the crime scene supports eyewitness accounts of the deaths of Sandra Sewell and Gayon Alcott, said Olivia Streater, a Jamaica researcher at Amnesty International, releasing the preliminary findings from the organization's autopsy observations. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGAMR380142004

Yemen: Sentenced to death after unfair trials

Three men have been sentenced to death in Yemen following initial trial proceedings in two separate cases that failed to meet international standards for fair trial. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGMDE317102004

China: Protester against forced abortion sent to prison camp

15 years ago Mao Hengfeng was coerced into undergoing an abortion in the seventh month of her pregnancy. Since that date she has protested tirelessly about what happened to her. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGASA178102004

Brazil: Authorities must take action to avoid "blood bath"

Unless the authorities in Rio de Janeiro take immediate steps to restore order to the communities of Vigário Geral and Parada de Lucas in Rio de Janeiro, an escalation in fighting between rival drug gangs is inevitable and a "blood bath" will ensue in which many innocent people are likely to die. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGAMR190092004

Italy: Government must ensure access to asylum for those in need of protection

Reports of planes carrying hundreds of people of African and Middle Eastern origin back to Libya from the small Italian island of Lampedusa raise important questions about the Italian government’s determination to address migration challenges no matter what the cost to human rights. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGEUR300012004

Israel/Occupied Territories: Excessive use of force

In the past week more than 70 Palestinians have been killed, more than a third of whom were unarmed and including some 20 children. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGMDE150952004

Indonesia: Successful elections mask turmoil in Aceh (NAD)

Political killings, torture, and armed raids on homes and villages are ruining the Acehnese people's lives and forcing hundreds of them to flee. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGASA210422004

Sri Lanka: Human rights organizations urge visiting Tamil Tiger delegation to end killings & recruitment of child soldiers Press release from ICJ, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International At a meeting with a senior Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) delegation visiting Geneva, human rights organizations called on the LTTE to end political killings and the recruitment of child soldiers and to demonstrate how they will respect international law in Sri Lanka. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGASA370052004

Canada: Indifference to the safety of Indigenous women must end

Canadian officials have too long ignored the threat to Indigenous women in Canadian towns and cities. Many are missing, some have been murdered and Canadian authorities are not doing enough to stop the violence. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGAMR200042004

UK: Amnesty International makes submission to House of Lords opposing indefinite detention

Amnesty International has taken the extremely rare decision of lodging written submissions with the House of Lords, the UK's highest court, ahead of a case the organization describes as of paramount importance to human rights in the UK. http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGEUR450262004

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