Newsroom

We put a human face on complex issues to hold governments accountable.

Below you’ll find breaking news as well as reports, updates on our campaigns, and victories.

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Update

Juvenile Offender Executed in Iran This Morning

Amnesty International learned today about the tragic and very unexpected execution of Delara Darabi this morning in Iran. Delara had been given a two month stay of execution by Ayatollah Shahroudi, the head of the Iranian Judiciary, just two weeks ago.  Her lawyer and her family had not been informed of the execution, despite the law requiring that. Any execution is unacceptable, but Delara Darabi was convicted of a crime she allegedly committed when she was a juvenile.  Iran is the only country in the world that still executes juvenile offenders.  Delara Darabi had been arrested in 2003 and charged…

May 1, 2009

Update

Journalists Risking their Lives

This Sunday, May 3rd, is World Press Freedom Day and you can help push back against governments worldwide who violate fundamental rights to free speech and expression.  Some of the journalists currently languishing in detention include: Iranian-American journalist, Roxana Saberi, who was sentenced last week to eight years in prison on charges of espionage after a flawed trial. Gambian journalist Ebrima Manneh who continues to be detained despite a court's ruling in June 2008 that his rights had been violated by the Gambian government and should be released. Sri Lankan writer J.S. Tissainayagam who was imprisoned in 2008 for writing…

May 1, 2009

Update

Obama's Mixed Messages on Torture & Abuse

The President on counterterrorism policy, after 100 days in office: No more torture, or loopholes galore? Important symbolic steps, or stalling tactics? Heading in the right direction, or Barack "Dubya" Obama? Pundits are coming at President Obama from all sides, but after 100 days in office, what's really going on? Well, one important way to judge is on the basis of international human rights law--including the U.N. Convention Against Torture--and on that standard it's clear: President Obama has a lot more to do. Scratch that. President Obama has a lot more he is legally obligated to do. Read all about it in Amnesty International's new report, "Mixed Messages: Counter Terror…

April 30, 2009

Update

Sri Lanka and the keeping of promises

The U.N. said today (April 29) that two aerial bombardments were reported in the conflict zone in northeastern Sri Lanka on April 28.  This follows the Sri Lankan government's statement last Monday that the security forces had been instructed to end the use of combat aircraft and aerial weapons, in their ongoing offensive against the opposition Tamil Tigers.  Is the Sri Lankan government keeping to its promise?  The Tigers are now confined to a small strip of coastal land, about 5 square miles, in northeastern Sri Lanka.  With the Tigers are an estimated 50,000 civilians, who've been prevented by the Tigers from leaving the area.…

April 30, 2009

Update

Amnesty Activists March to White House Today Calling for Accountability

At last night's press conference marking 100 days in office, President Obama said that over time a "short-cut" like torture "corrodes the character of a country." And he has gotten a start on rebuilding U.S. character with his executive orders.  But another important step still has not been taken to ensure these abusive policies end permanently.  If the Obama administration does not uphold the law by investigating and if necessary, prosecuting torture, it will be taking its own damaging "short-cut" and undermining U.S. laws. Amnesty International activists dressed in Guantanamo-like jumpsuits marched from the U.S. Capitol to the White House…

April 30, 2009

Update

UN: Sri Lanka facing two humanitarian crises

A top U.N. official visiting Sri Lanka warned today that Sri Lanka is facing "what amounts to two quite distinct crises."  The first is the one I've been writing about on this blog:  the tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the small area of northeastern Sri Lanka still controlled by the opposition Tamil Tigers.  With fighting continuing between the Sri Lankan government and the Tigers, those civilians are in grave danger of death or injury.  My concern for their safety only increased after a Sri Lankan army commander told reporters today, "Now, the tigers are fighting out of uniforms, and it's…

April 29, 2009

Update

How Did Sri Lanka End Up in this Crisis?

While an estimated 50,000 civilians are still trapped in Sri Lanka's shrinking war zone, a diplomatic push for a humanitarian ceasefire by the British and French foreign ministers did not yield any success yet. For anyone who is interested in how Sri Lanka ended up at this point, IRIN today published a very detailed and useful chronology of the conflict: 1972: Velupillai Prabhakaran forms a militant group called the Tamil New Tigers (TNT). 1976: TNT changes its name to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). 1983, 23 July: LTTE attacks an army patrol in Jaffna, killing 13 soldiers and sparking anti-Tamil…

April 29, 2009

Update

On Hunger Strikes and Roxana Saberi

A few months ago I saw "Hunger," a disturbing movie about the hunger strike of IRA member Bobbie Sands in Maze Prison in Northern Ireland -- a hunger strike that ended in his death.  When hunger strikes started being used as a means of protest or to call attention to a cause -- I believe it was in the 1970s -- they were considered quite extraordinary and powerful. Now after so many hunger strikes by so many different people who have sought to draw attention to causes both weighty and trivial, many of us barely notice when someone goes on…

April 29, 2009

Update

Crackdown After Disputed Elections?

Following disputed elections in Moldova, human rights defenders find themselves increasingly under threat. In addition to organizers of peaceful protests, several civil society organizations, including Amnesty International, are now being targeted in an intimidation campaign from the government. These organizations have received letters from the Ministry of Justice, dated April 16, asking each to explain its position on the riots and any measures taken by them to prevent and stop the violence. Some of the organizations are claiming that this is a "call to statements of loyalty". The majority of these organizations have also received subpoenas from their local tax…

April 29, 2009

Update

No relief for Sri Lanka's trapped civilians

When I first heard this morning that the Sri Lankan government had announced that "combat operations have reached their conclusion" in the government's offensive against the opposition Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in northeastern Sri Lanka, I felt a surge of hope.  Maybe the thousands of civilians trapped in the 5 square-mile area still held by the Tigers would be safe?  Maybe the government will reciprocate the unilateral ceasefire declared by the Tigers yesterday, so all the civilians could leave the war zone safely? Alas, the hope didn't last long.  The government said shortly thereafter that the earlier announcement wasn't intended as…

April 28, 2009

Update

Global Day of Action for Troy Davis, May 19

On April 16, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Troy Davis’ application for permission to file a new petition in Federal Court.  This denial cannot be appealed, but Davis’ stay of execution was extended an extra 30 days to allow him to file an “original” habeas corpus petition with the US Supreme Court. So, Troy Davis’ stay of execution expires on May 16. On Tuesday, May 19, groups in Georgia, the United States, and around the world, will be organizing for the Global Day of Action for Troy Davis.  These worldwide protests will demonstrate how widespread is the feeling…

April 27, 2009

Update

Sri Lanka: When a ceasefire isn't enough

The opposition Tamil Tigers announced a unilateral ceasefire today, which the Sri Lankan government immediately dismissed.  Successive government offensives in recent months have reduced the Tiger-held area to a 5 square-mile strip of land along Sri Lanka's northeastern coast.  (If you're new to this story, the Tigers have been fighting since 1983 for independent state in the north and east of Sri Lanka for the island's Tamil minority.)  Trapped with the Tigers are an estimated 50,000 civilians, who've been used by the Tigers as human shields and a source for forced recruitment.  The Sri Lankan government has pointed out that the Tiger…

April 26, 2009