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

What Nkunda Wants

Laurent Nkunda considers himself a man of diplomacy and politics. Unfortunately, whether we agree or not has become academic. This war criminal has a following that is growing and will continue to: aside from his Tutsi advocates there is suspicion that he is allied with ethnic Tutsi Paul Kagame (Rwanda's President), and furthermore it has been speculated that he has the support of the Christian American right. This is a powerful foundation from which to wage a war of unthinkable proportions. Surely the question to ask at this stage is: What does Nkunda want? We know the UN Security Council…

November 25, 2008

Update

No Rational Explanation

The death penalty isn’t as popular out West as it is down South. For example, there hasn’t been an execution in Washington since 2001, and there have been only four total in the 30+ years since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Not that there are never any serious crimes in The Evergreen State.  Gary Ridgway was convicted of 48 murders … but he avoided the death penalty.  This has led many to recognize that capital punishment in Washington is extremely arbitrary, which in turn led to an important Washington Supreme Court decision in 2006.  Four Washington Supreme Court…

November 24, 2008

Update

New Prez, How to End Impunity for Military Contractors

This week, Human Rights First (HRF) issued a report, "How to End Impunity for Private Security and Other Contractors: Blueprint for the Next Administration". The report helpfully encapsulates many of the calls for better oversight, monitoring and accountability that HRF, Amnesty International and others have been calling for with regard to companies, like Blackwater, Titan, KBR..., whose personnel have engaged in human rights abuses from rape and torture to killing, with impunity. It also posits some fresh ideas into the conversation, such as extending the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to these companies and reforming state secret and other privileges…

November 21, 2008

Update

US-Iraq Security Agreement Forgets Blackwater

Yesterday, the Associated Press ran the headline US Contractors Lose Immunity in Iraq Security Deal. But, if what comes to your mind when you think of US contractors operating in Iraq with immunity is, for example, the indiscriminate shooting and killing of civilians by Blackwater personnel, read the fine print -- the new assertion of joint Iraqi-US jurisdiction doesn't apply to companies contracted by anyone other than the Defense Department. This means Blackwater personnel working on a contract with the State Department -- the same one under which Nisoor Sq killings occurred -- are good to go with Iraqi immunity. There are murmurings that US State Department…

November 21, 2008

Update

It's Separation of Church and State, Stupid

Not persecution of the Church by the State. Unfortunately for Patriarch "Abune" Antonios of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the government of Eritrea doesn't think that way. Considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty, he has been under house arrest since January 2006 after continually resisting government interference in religious affairs. Minority faith groups such as the Jehovah's Witnesses and over 35 evangelical Christian churches are banned in Eritrea. An estimated 2,000 members of minority evangelical churches which have been outlawed since 2002 are in detention in harsh conditions. Amnesty International has received reports that some detainees have been repeatedly beaten…

November 21, 2008

Update

How Will YOU Celebrate Human Rights Day?

Now, the outgoing Bush administration’s plans for celebrating Human Rights Day ’08 can finally be revealed!  On December 10, they are going to carry out the first U.S. Military execution in 47 years, when they put Ronald Gray to death by lethal injection.  According to CNN and several other media sources, Private Ronald Gray, a former soldier from North Carolina, is set to be executed at a federal prison in Terra Haute, Indiana by Army personnel.  His execution was approved by President Bush in July. While there is a possibility that a federal appeals court could stay the execution, the military…

November 21, 2008

Update

Obama Renews Comittment to Human Rights on 60 Minutes

The tide of American politics is changing. That much is clear. Barack Obama has inspired Americans to renew their faith in their country and has repeatedly stated that he will act to renew the moral standing of the United States in the world. “I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that. I have said repeatedly that America doesn’t torture. And I’m gonna make sure that we don’t torture. Those are part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world.” -President-elect Barack Obama on CBS’s 60 Minutes…

November 21, 2008

Update

The Worst Crisis You Won't Read About in the News

The DRC, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Sudan and Nicaragua--all these countries are in crisis right now. How do I know (beyond working at Amnesty International)? I can read about it in the news. But there is at least one developing humanitarian crisis you won't find in the New York Times: More than 300,000 people have been displaced in Sri Lanka by fighting between the Tamil Tigers and government forces. And not only do they lack access to basic food and shelter, but the government is not allowing U.N. aid convoys to bring in desperately needed supplies. The entire population of Birkenhead has…

November 20, 2008

Update

You're Free to Go Now…Just Kidding!

Can someone please explain this to me? How is it OK to arrest someone, send them to Guantánamo, keep them there a couple years, clear them for release, and then not let them leave? Among all the things that confuse and upset me about the way the US government has dealt with the detainees at Guantánamo, the situation of Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini is one of the most baffling. A Yemeni national, he was arrested in 2002 in Pakistan, where he had gone to study Islamic law. In 2005, US authorities declared him suitable for release, and Yemeni authorities indicated that they…

November 20, 2008

Update

Troy Davis Gets Hearing

The U.S. Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit has scheduled oral arguments for December 9 in the case of Troy Davis.   This was something that Davis’ lawyers requested, and that the state of Georgia argued against. The main question before the Court will be whether Davis has met the conditions required to file a second, or successive, habeas corpus petition; the underlying question, of course, is whether Davis is innocent. Stay tuned …

November 20, 2008

Update

To Russia, No Love: We Won't Let You Forget Anna

Journalist Anna Politkovskaya's 2006 murder is an unwavering symbol of Russia's suppression of press freedom and human rights defenders. Her scathing reports on human rights abuses in Chechnya shamed government officials and others, and she was killed for it. Today, press and the public were barred from the proceedings in the trial of three men accused in Anna's murder, which some critics thought would reveal a "deep-seated corruption in the security and law enforcement agencies." They hoped public access to the proceedings would shed light on continuing intimidation and attacks on Russian journalists. More than a dozen journalists have been killed since 2000,…

November 19, 2008

Update

"… whether Davis may be executed if he can establish actual innocence …"

This is one of the questions before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, in Atlanta, which is currently considering Troy Davis’ petition for permission to try again to get a hearing on evidence that he is innocent. The fact that executing someone even if they “establish actual innocence” is up for debate demonstrates how far our system has veered off the path of justice. Innocence, you see, is just one – just one – of the factors that go into a decision on whether or not a person can be put to death by the state. There are also procedural…

November 18, 2008