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Human Rights on Capitol Hill – December 2021 Newsletter

Since November 2020, Ethiopia has been mired in a brutal war between the central government of Prime Minister Ahmed and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (“TPLF”). The conflict has spread…

December 9, 2021
A woman walks in front of a damaged house which was shelled as federal-aligned forces entered the city, in Wukro, north of Mekele, on March 1, 2021. – Every phase of the four-month-old conflict in Tigray has brought suffering to Wukro, a fast-growing transport hub once best-known for its religious and archaeological sites. Ahead of federal forces’ arrival in late November 2020, heavy shelling levelled homes and businesses and sent plumes of dust and smoke rising above near-deserted streets. Since then the town has been heavily patrolled by soldiers, Eritreans at first, now mostly Ethiopians, whose abuses fuel a steady flow of civilian casualties and stoke anger with Nobel Peace Prize-winner Abiy. (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP) (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Update

Joint Letter: The U.S. Must Comply with the Convention against Torture

On December 1, 2021, Amnesty International USA and eight other human rights organizations wrote to the Biden administration to express deep concerns about reports that the U.S. government has submitted…

December 6, 2021
(Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

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Joint Letter: Congress Must Block Biden Administration’s Wrongful $650 Million Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia or Risk Fueling Further U.S. Complicity in Rights Violations and Yemeni Civilian Suffering

In a joint letter released today signed by 50 international, Yemeni-led, and U.S. human rights and advocacy organizations, Amnesty International USA and other signatories are calling on Congress to block…

November 29, 2021
Residential building destroyed by an airstrike by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition on 25 August in Faj Attan, Sana’a, killing 16 civilians and injuring 17 more. This photo was taken on 25 August. On 25 August, an air strike by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition hit a cluster of houses in Sana’a, severely damaging three of them, and killing seven children including all five of Buthaina’s brothers and sisters. The bomb that destroyed a residential building in Yemen’s capital last month, killing 16 civilians and injuring 17 more – including five-year-old Buthaina who lost her entire family in the attack – was made in the USA.

Update

Joint Statement: U.S. Civil Society Letter to President Biden on WTO TRIPS Waiver for COVID-19 Products

On November 19, 2021, Amnesty International USA and 14 U.S. civil society organizations wrote to President Biden requesting his personal engagement in delivering a temporary waiver of certain World Trade…

November 29, 2021
A woman walks past the entrance of a closed vaccination centre that was shut due to stock shortage of Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Mumbai on July 9, 2021. (Photo by Punit PARANJPE / AFP) (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images)

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Biden Administration’s U.S.-Egypt Strategic Dialogue Was a Human Rights Failure – Joint Statement from International, Egyptian Human Rights Groups

In a joint statement released today signed by 12 international and Egyptian human rights organizations, Amnesty International USA and other signatories criticized the Biden Administration’s failure in its recent U.S.-Egypt…

November 23, 2021
NEW JERSEY, USA – JULY 30: Mohamed Soltan, an Egyptian-American human rights Advocate who was a political prisoner in Egypt from August, 2013 to May, 2015 is seen in New Jersey, United States on July 30, 2017. Mohamed was shot, imprisoned, tortured, and sentenced to life in prison on trumped-up and politically motivated charges. The U.S. government intervened at the highest levels and successfully facilitated his release and return to the United States on 31 May 2015. He stated that I tried forgetting the feeling of guilt that I was taking up the time and effort of the doctors in the makeshift hospital for a minor bullet wound when others, who are critically injured, needed their attention. I tried forgetting the pain I walked around with after getting the wound stitched up or the sound of bullets for 11 straight hours. I tried forgetting the smell of death, the rusty iron smell of blood and the smoky sharp smell of gunpowder as I laid on the floor unable to move, feeling debilitated, hopeless and helpless unable to scream or even utter a cry for help, just waiting for the bullet that missed my head to take me far away from that bloody war zone. I tried forgetting being shot at while running back to the hospital hours later to try and take refuge in a place that is suppose to have some sanctity. I tried forgetting the feeling of suffocation as a ton of people like me got shoved into the hospital. I tried forgetting the broken smile on little Ali’s face as he sat next to me on his injured dad’s lap, gasping for air. I tried forgetting Ali’s dad twisting his wrist holding the makeshift paper fan he was using to air his suffocating son so he could do the same for me. I tried forgetting drifting in and out of consciousness as tear gas was shot inside crowded room full of injured people. I tried forgetting being in excruciating pain and suffocating at the same time. I tried forgetting being told that a safe exit was negotiated 11 hours later, but it was every man/woman f

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Vote Recommendation: Amnesty International USA Recommends a YES Vote on the Build Back Better Act and Supports Funding for Community Violence Intervention Programs

On November 18, 2021, Amnesty International USA wrote to members of the House of Representatives to urge them to vote YES on H.R. 5376, Build Back Better Act. The bill…

November 18, 2021
Guns sold in a Walmart in Louisiana. Photographs taken during research missions to Louisiana in 2018 and 2019. Amnesty has been conducting research on gun-related domestic violence and its impact on women, and in particular women with intersectional identities. The research examines the laws on gun ownership in situations of domestic violence and the gaps in the legal framework, but it focuses on implementation and its discriminatory impact. The main focus of this work is on how inadequacies in the criminal justice system, including policing and prosecution, fail to ensure protection of survivors of violence as well as, in some cases, actively harming them. In particular, the research focuses on negative impacts on survivors with intersectional aspects of their identity such as Black women, undocumented women, Indigenous women, women living in poverty, LBTI women, etc. The research also seeks to examine how gender stereotypes and patriarchal attitudes shape agencies’ response to domestic violence.

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Human Rights on Capitol Hill – November 2021 Newsletter

Amnesty International USA is proud to join human rights groups, refugee resettlement agencies, veterans groups, and Afghan-Americans for lobby days on Nov. 9-10 in support of an Afghan Adjustment Act.

November 10, 2021
Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images

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Joint Statement: Biden Administration, UN Security Council Must Ensure Inclusion of Critical Human Rights Monitoring in MINURSO

In a joint statement released today, Amnesty International USA and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights called on the Biden Administration – as the mandate’s penholder – and the UN Security…

October 25, 2021
NEW YORK, USA – FEBRUARY 28: United Nations Security Council holds an urgent meeting on the recent escalation in the northwest of Syria in New York, United States on February 28, 2020. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)