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.

If you are a member of the press, please reach out to [email protected]

Update

(Trying to) block out the world

On Thursday, March 12th, Amnesty USA posted a new web action aimed at getting Sudan to reinstate the operations of 13 international humanitarian aid agencies that were kicked out of Sudan and 3 domestic agencies that were shut down after the International Criminal cort issued an arrst warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.  The action targets the UN Missions of the African Union and League of Arab States and the Sudanese Embassy in the U.S.   On Friday, calls from activists started pouring in, all with the same complaint: their emails to all three targets were being returned as "undeliverable".   It…

March 14, 2009

Update

US citizen critically injured protesting illegal wall in Ni'ilin, West Bank

Tristan Anderson, a 37 year old American, was shot in the head by Israeli forces with a high velocity tear gas canister while participating in an on-going protest of the wall being built illegally by Israel in the West Bank town of Ni'ilin.  Another Ni'ilin villager was also shot. Four residents of Ni'ilin, including children, have been killed while protesting the confiscation of their land in the recent past. [Note:  In 2004, the International Court of Justice found all parts of the wall being built on Palestinian land illegal and that these portions should be removed.  Instead the GOI continues to…

March 14, 2009

Update

Anyone have any Doubts about al Bashir?

As Alertnet is reporting, relief efforts in Sudan are “plunging into Chaos” after Sudanese president Omar al Bashir ordered 16 relief organizations to pack up shop and leave. As one aid worker described it: “Everything is crazy. Most of the agencies thrown out don't think they're going to get back so they're trying to work out how to transfer everything to agencies still in Sudan.” Or in plain UN language: These 16 organizations employ nearly 40 percent of the aid workers in Darfur – 6,500 national and international workers. The total number of humanitarian staff affected by the Government decision…

March 13, 2009

Update

The Gift that keeps on Giving

The appointment of Daniel Fried, a career diplomat who has formerly been both Ambassador to Poland and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, as the new Special Envoy on the Guantanamo Bay detention facility suggests that the Obama administration is stepping up its efforts to persuade European states to accept detainees who have been cleared for release. As things stand, there are approximately 40 detainees still held in Guantanamo who could leave tomorrow if a suitable home for them could be found. These individuals cannot return to their country of origin because they would face persecution, torture or worse…

March 13, 2009

Update

Why Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! need to be reined in

(Originally posted on Daily Kos) Reporters without Borders (RWB) today issued its "Enemies of the Internet" report, exposing state censorship of free speech and expression around the world. Topping the group's list were Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. While the United States is not on the list, RWB and Amnesty International earlier in the week highlighted the role of U.S. companies in internet censorship by calling on Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google to uncensor their search engines and blogging portals, even if just for a day, on the World Day Against…

March 12, 2009

Update

One in Three

Native American and Alaska Native women face a 1 in 3 chance of being raped in their lifetime. The numbers are shocking. In our report, Maze of Injustice, Amnesty uncovered the staggering statistic that Native American and Alaska Native women are more than two and a half times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than women in the USA in general. This has to change! Non-Native men who rape Native American and Alaska Native women can often do so with impunity, because of a lack of tribal authority to prosecute non-Native people who commit crimes of sexual violence…

March 12, 2009

Update

Putting a Face to Internet Censorship

I wasn't going to post again today, but I was just reading Erica's post, and I went to Daily Kos to check out the comments. One commenter was of the opinion that free speech is just an American construct, and others responded that freedom of expression and information are acutally guaranteed in Article 19 of the UDHR and also in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which China is a signatory. That's good to know, but that level of discussion can make it easy to forget about the actual human cost of governments not respecting those human rights,…

March 12, 2009

Update

The Canary in the Coalmine

As the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility prepares to release its long awaited report on former Office of Legal Counsel deputy John Yoo’s alleged abuse of his office, there has been a renewed interest amongst political commentators in prosecuting human rights abuses committed as part of the Bush administration's war on terror. Writing for The Daily Beast Scott Horton, a law professor and commentator who has consistently led calls for such prosecutions, noted: “It is widely suspected that the memos were requested as after-the-fact legal cover for draconian policies that were already in place… If the Justice Department internal probe…

March 11, 2009

Update

Palestinian Refugees: Kyl Retreats

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) yesterday withdrew his controversial amendment that would have discriminated against Palestinian refugees from Gaza. The amendment was reportedly based on internet rumors and triggered strong opposition both on the hill and from human rights organizations and activists, led by Amnesty International USA. Thanks to everyone who took action!

March 10, 2009

Update

One More Step Forward

Yesterday, the New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-5 in support of HB 285, the bill that repeals New Mexico’s death penalty.  This is the committee that, in the past, has killed death penalty abolition, so in advancing to the full Senate, this bill has gone farther than it ever has before.  It now only remains for the full Senate to vote (possibly this week) and then for New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to sign the legislation into law.  Governor Richardson has expressed at least a willingness to sign the bill, but he could always use your encouragement.  New Mexico’s…

March 10, 2009

Update

Finality

The Saturday New York Times story on Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Justice Sharon Keller contains this gem:  "We can’t give new trials to everyone who establishes, after conviction, that they might be innocent,” she later told the television news program Frontline. "We would have no finality in the criminal justice system, and finality is important." Judge Keller is now in big trouble in Texas, not for this callous attitude towards innocent people, but for her role in shutting her court down promptly at 5 pm despite knowing that an appeal in the death penalty case of Michael Richard…

March 9, 2009

Update

Palestinians: Keep out?

Should Palestinians from Gaza be treated differently under US refugee law? According to Senator Jon Kyl (R – AZ), the answer is yes. Last Friday, Senator Kyl introduced an amendment to the Omnibus Appropriations bill, which adds the following line to page 942: "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be made available to resettle Palestinians from Gaza into the United States." This amendment comes after a time of conflict, which sharply deteriorated the existing humanitarian situation in Gaza. Contrary to a policy of 30 years, which extends protection to refugees on the basis…

March 9, 2009