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

A Humanitarian Truce or Farce?

After thirteen days of shelling Gaza in attacks that have killed over 683 Palestinians, the Israeli government has agreed to a daily three hour truce to allow for humanitarian supplies to enter Gaza. But is this sufficient? Consider the following: 1. Historical blockade of Gaza Avi Shlaim, a professor of international relations at the University of Oxford and a former Israeli soldier, writes in his Guardian article, How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of a humanitarian crisis:  “Four decades of Israeli control did incalculable damage to the economy of the Gaza Strip.  With a large population of 1948 refugees…

January 8, 2009

Update

Reports that have lost their meaning

As we enter the new year the U.S. State Department is finishing the touches on its annual human rights report. When I took over as Egypt country specialist for Amnesty back in the 1990s, Egyptian activists used to look forward to the report's publication.  It was a rare occasion that any official body of influence called the Egyptian government on its human rights abuses.  It gave their work particularly against torture, legitimacy and moral support. But this year, as in the past few years, the report will be ignored by my activist colleagues in Egypt.  Today's New York Times has…

January 7, 2009

Update

Another Year, Another Unarmed Black Man Killed by Police

The below piece was written in January of 2009. Police continue to kill people with impunity in numbers close to 1,000 annually, disproportionally impacting black people. E-mail us at [email protected] to get involved in your state.   Today is Oscar Grant’s funeral.  He is the latest in a long string of unarmed black men to be killed by police.  The night he died, Oscar, 22, was out celebrating New Year’s Eve.  At around 2 a.m., he and friends were pulled off of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train- Northern California’s subway system- by police officers.  He was unarmed and…

January 7, 2009

Update

US Must Monitor Use of US Weapons in Gaza

Amnesty International has called on the US State Department to suspend all transfers of military weaponry and equipment to Israel until it conducts an investigation into whether US weapons were used in human rights violations.  Israel has been using F16’s, Apache helicopters, gunboats and bunker buster bombs in a week-long series of devastating attacks on the Gaza Strip. Monitoring of the use of American-made weaponry is not unprecedented.  The State Department monitored the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories during the second intifada after Israel dropped a 2,000 pound bomb from an F-16 on an apartment building killing not only…

January 7, 2009

Update

They Can’t Get Away With It…

So it ain’t breaking news that the Bush administration concocted a legal flip-flam to justify the kidnapping, capture, detention and torture of hundreds of people from around the world, under the guise of national security. But to witness how and exactly what they did in meticulous detail – legal memos, public statements (ie, lies) by administration officials, accurate re-enactments of torture, and testimony from a few extraordinarily strong men who survived death-defying treatment – was beyond maddening. This happened last night as my husband pulled me away from Facebook to watch Torturing Democracy, an excellent new documentary produced by National…

January 7, 2009

Update

I'd Hire Blackwater? A wake-up call to renewed action.

When a good friend left for Iraq, I noticed I began to pay even closer attention to the daily news reports coming out of Baghdad. I emailed, but didn’t hear back. Then reports of more suicide bombings, killing dozens. Then the outbreak of extreme levels of violence in Israel/Palestine. And finally, a thought entered my mind: if I had the money, I’d hire a Blackwater guard and fly over there, see for myself, find those I care about and make sure they’re ok. Wait, what did I just say? I'd hire Blackwater? As soon as I entertained the thought, I…

January 6, 2009

Update

The Daily Show Covers Gaza

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c Strip Maul *Requires flash player version 10 Check out last night's The Daily Show segment on how the current Gaza crisis is being covered in the US media. It shows the one-sided US response to the conflict that Zahir outlined in his post yesterday. Amnesty is calling for the US to condemn both sides with equal vigor — including Israel for its vastly disproportionate response. Please take a moment to take action to stop the violence if you haven't already!

January 6, 2009

Update

What to Do with Your Leftover Holiday Cards

I just got off the phone with a colleague in Mexico who has been working with the women of Atenco, and she told me she had come into her office after vacation to see that it was nearly filled with huge bags of mail. The bags were all stuffed with holiday cards bearing messages of solidarity and support for the women, sent by participants in AIUSA's 2008 Holiday Card Action. "There must be over 10,000 of them," she said, "the women will be so happy." Although New Year's and the other holidays have passed, it's not too late to take part…

January 6, 2009

Update

US Officials' Lopsided Response to Gaza Crisis

Last Friday, January 2, Amnesty International USA released its first major action of the year, calling on all Amnesty members and concerned citizens to write to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about the current violence in Gaza and southern Israel.  In that action, we called on four things: All parties to the conflict—ie Israel and Palestinian armed groups such as Hamas—should cease attacks on civilians. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza should be ameliorated. The US should cease military transfers to Israel and should investigate if any US weapons were used in attacks against civilians. The US should condemn all sides…

January 5, 2009

Update

Terror vs. Terror

"'In order for the violence to stop, Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel and agree to respect a sustainable and durable cease-fire,' a White House spokesman, Gordon D. Johndroe, told reporters in Texas. 'Hamas has once again shown its true colors as a terrorist organization.'" From "Gaza Toll Passes 350 in 3rd Day of Israel Strikes" in the New York Times. Again and again we see states try to justify murder with murder, torture with torture, barbarism with barbarism, genocide with genocide. The words "terror," "terrorism" and "terrorist" obscure this hypocrisy. What is it that states want to counter by…

December 30, 2008

Update

Gaza By The Numbers

A snapshot of Gaza by the numbers: Humanitarian Assistance Movement in and out of Gaza is all but impossible and supplies of food, water, sewage treatment, basic health care have been drastically affected by the blockade of aid. Food prices are rising and wheat, flour, baby milk, and rose 34%, 30%, and 20.5% respectively during the period May-June 2007 alone. Prior to the blockade (implemented after Hamas took over total adminstration over Gaza in June 2007), around 250 trucks carrying aid entered Gaza each day. As of March 2008, that number was reduced to 45. According to UN figures reported…

December 30, 2008

Update

Civilians Are Paying the Price in Gaza and Southern Israel

As the third day of deadly airstrikes by Israeli forces in Gaza comes to a close, civilians are paying a high price.  More than 1,400 Palestinians have been injured and more than 315 killed, many of whom are civilians.  In addition, Hamas attacks on Southern Israel have left two civilians dead. This is the highest level of Palestinian fatalities and casualties in four decades of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  The escalation of violence comes at a time when the civilian population already faces a daily struggle for survival due to the Israeli blockade which has…

December 29, 2008