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We refuse to stand by while guns enter the wrong hands resulting in heartbreaking losses in our communities. Even if we can’t stop all gun violence, this is a common-sense step we can take to make our country safer.
Gun violence in the U.S. is a human rights crisis, resulting in the death of 38,658 in 2016 alone. Our government has clear international human rights obligations to protect people from gun violence. The first step in preventing guns from getting in dangerous hands is requiring common sense gun violence prevention measures like comprehensive background checks for the purchase of every gun.
Hundreds of children — even babies — have been reportedly held in U.S. Border Patrol facilities without a chance to bathe, brush their teeth or change their clothes for weeks. There are reports of extreme cold and inadequate food, sanitation and medical care.
Enough is enough: it is an outrage that children are being detained, especially in these appalling conditions.
The U.S. government is defying international law while heartlessly putting infants and children in harm’s way. We cannot stand by idly and ignore this crisis.
On 29 December 2020, Moroccan academic and human rights defender Maati Monjib was arrested while having lunch at a restaurant in the capital Rabat and has been held in arbitrary detention since then. He had been under investigation since 7 October 2020 on accusations of money laundering against him and members of his family. The investigation is the latest attempt to intimidate Maati Monjib and retaliate against him for his critical stance towards the authorities and his work promoting the right to freedom of expression in Morocco following years of harassment and unlawful surveillance. Maati Monjib is a prisoner of conscience. He must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Saïkou Yaya Diallo, the legal coordinator of the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), was freed from Conakry prison on 11 December 2020 after having served seven months in prison. He was sentenced in November 2020 to one-year imprisonment with five months suspended on fabricated ‘assault, violence, threats and public insults’ charges.
Political activists Brigitte Kafui Adjamagbo and Gérard Yaovi Djossou were released from detention on 17 December 2020 and are now under judicial supervision. At the end of November 2020, they were arrested and charged for ‘criminal conspiracy’ and ‘undermining the internal security of the state’ after calling for a demonstration to denounce the results of the February 2020 Presidential election. Following their release, they thanked Amnesty International’s members for campaigning for their release.
In November, Paraguayan authorities opened an investigation and provided protection to Bernarda Pesoa, leader of an indigenous Qom community, after she was attacked in late October. We continue to monitor the situation closely as the land conflict related to wood exploitation on Qom lands persist.
Hundreds of peaceful pro-democracy protesters, including children, may face decades of or even life imprisonment for taking part in mass, pro-democracy demonstrations, as the crackdown on the freedoms of peaceful assembly and of expression further escalates in the country. At least 220 persons, including six children, face criminal proceedings. Thailand must amend or repeal the repressive laws it is using to suppress peaceful assembly and the expression of dissenting opinions.
Ten of the 12 Hongkongers arrested by the Chinese coast guard in August 2020 were formally charged on 16 December. Two have been charged with allegedly organizing people to cross the border between Hong Kong and China and the other eight for allegedly crossing the border, charges that hold a maximum of seven years and one year imprisonment, respectively. The procuratorate will hold a closed-door hearing to decide whether to prosecute the other two who were children at the time of their detention. Detained since 23 August 2020 without access to their families and family-appointed lawyers, the 12 individuals remain at imminent risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
On 1 December, Mehmet Sıddık Meşe was allegedly subjected to a severe beating by guards in a prison in the Turkish city of Dıyarbakır. He was denied access to urgent medical care and to examination by medical forensic staff. On 9 December, the prosecutor decided not to prosecute the suspected perpetrators based on the prison doctor’s report. Mehmet Sıddık Meşe requires access to adequate medical care and a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the allegations of torture and other ill-treatment must be launched.
On 3 December 2020, Gasser Abdel Razek, Karim Ennarah and Mohamed Basheer, directors at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), were released and are now safely home with their families and loved ones.
Viachaslau Rahashchuk is a taxi driver from the Belarusian city of Pinsk who was arbitrarily detained in 10 August and remains behind bars. He is in need of urgent medical treatment due to injuries he sustained from being tortured while in detention.
Behnam Mahjoubi, from Iran’s persecuted Gonabadi Dervish religious minority, is being subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including through the denial of specialist medical care. He is a prisoner of conscience serving a two-year prison sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison for attending a peaceful protest.