Tag Archives: government

Afghan women’s rights at risk

3 Oct

Doctors, teachers, journalists, activist and lawyers. Ordinary people are doing extraordinary work, risking their safety, to help women across Afghanistan know and access their rights. Their work is vital.  But the threats and violent attacks on them and their families continue and the future looks increasingly dangerous.

UK governments have worked to encourage women to take up public roles like these in Afghanistan. But as international forces prepare to withdraw from the country, the British Government must act now to support and protect women’s rights in Afghanistan.

Please follow this link and sign the petition calling on the UK government to:

  • create and maintain a database to know who is at risk
  • have a named member of staff whose job it is to keep in regular contact with women at risk
  • condemn any threats or violence towards individuals; or any discriminatory laws passed by the Afghan government
  • provide emergency support as needed,  including safe houses and relocation.

Take Action Now

Urgent: China – Do not send refugees back to North Korea

15 Aug

Four families, including a one-year-old baby, fled to China to escape the tyranny of North Korea.  Now China might send them home where they could face torture, labour camps and possibly death.

They have already been taken to a detention centre on the border with North Korea.

North Korea is in a category of its own when it comes to human rights violations. It is a totalitarian state where tens of thousands of people are enslaved and tortured.  All forms of freedom of expression are repressed and anyone attempting to assert their rights is crushed.  No one is safe from arrest and imprisonment

Call on Chinese authorities to let them seek asylum in China or another country, or travel onwards to South Korea.

Petition: Protect survivors of sexual violence

19 Jun

In Algeria and Tunisia, the law allows rapists to escape prosecution by marrying their teenage victims. Morocco recently did away with a similar law, two years after 16-year-old Amina Filali committed suicide having been forced to marry the man she said had raped her.  

There are many other laws in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia which fail to protect female survivors of sexual violence, such as making the severity of punishment for rape dependent on whether the victim was a virgin.

Sign the petition here asking the Algerian, Tunisian and Moroccan authorities to end discriminatory rape laws and protect survivors of sexual violence.

Action against the death penalty: Stop execution of Osama Jamal ‘Abdallah Mahdi

15 Jun

At the June meeting of Amnesty International Taunton group, members wrote to Iraqi authorities on behalf of father-of-two Osama Jamal ‘Abdallah Mahdi.

He is detained in Kadhimiya Prison, northern Baghdad, following his conviction for killing an Iraqi army officer in 2008.

He is at imminent risk of execution and his case has now been forwarded to the President’s office, which has the authority to ratify the sentence, commute it or grant a pardon.

During his trial, Osama Jamal ‘Abdallah Mahdi withdrew “confessions” extracted from him under torture, but this was not accepted by the court.  Witnesses confirm that he was at work at the time of the killing, 120km from where it took place.

Click here for details of how you can to write to the Iraqi authorities, asking for this execution to be permanently halted and the allegations of torture investigated.

Torture In 2014: 30 Years of Broken Promises

29 May

Electric shocks. Beatings. Rape. Humiliation. Mock executions. Burning. Sleep deprivation. Water torture. Long hours in contorted positions. Use of pincers, drugs, and dogs.

The very words sound like the stuff of nightmares. But every day and across every region of the world, these unimaginable horrors are the reality for countless men, women and children.

Salil Shetty, Secretary General, Amnesty International

Click here to read the report from Amnesty USA

Stop Torture Casefile: Mexico: Claudia Medina Tamariz

25 May

Claudia Medina Tamariz woke at 3am on 7 August 2012, to find marines had broken into her home in Veracruz City. They tied her hands, blindfolded her and took her to the local naval base where she says she was given electric shocks, beaten and kicked. She was wrapped in plastic to disguise the marks from the beating. Claudia, a mother of three, was accused of being a member of a violent criminal gang, which she denies.

The day after her arrest, she was blindfolded again and taken with other detainees to the Federal Attorney General’s Office. When the blindfold was removed, she realised her husband and brother-in-law had also been arrested. A prosecutor interrogated Claudia and a marine pressured her into signing a statement that she wasn’t allowed to read.

In court, she retracted her statement and described the abuse inflicted on her in detention. All the charges against her except one (carrying an illegal weapon) were dropped, and she was released on bail.

A judge ordered the Federal Attorney General’s Office to investigate her allegations. But to date no specialist medical and psychological assessment has been conducted, even though Mexico is obliged to do this under UN guidelines for investigating torture, nor has anyone been held to account for Claudia’s torture.

 Take Action: How you can help

1) Write to the Federal Attorney General, calling on him to investigate the alleged torture and ill-treatment suffered by Claudia Medina Tamariz, make the results public and bring those responsible to justice.

Address:  Federal Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam, Procuraduría General de la República, Av. Paseo de la Reforma 211-213, Col. Cuauhtémoc C.P. 06500, Mexico D.F., MEXICO

2) Let Claudia know that you are thinking of her and support her struggle for justice.

  • Address: Claudia Medina Tamariz, Centro de Derechos Humanos, ‘Miguel Agustin Pro Juárez’, Serapio Rendón 57-B, Colonia San Rafael, D elegación Cuauhtémoc 06470, Mexico D.F., MEXICO
  • Preferred language: Spanish
  • Suggested message: Estimada Claudia, Te envío mi solidaridad por la difícil situación que has tenido que vivir desde 2012. Quiero que sepas que estoy contigo y que te apoyo en la lucha que has decidido emprender ( Dear Claudia, I am concerned about your situation and support you in your fight for justice.
  • Please do not send a religious card. It is ok to mention Amnesty and include a return address if you wish
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How safe would you feel if you were taken into custody?

24 May

How safe would you feel if you were taken into custody?

Enough is enough – join our campaign and help us stop torture http://amn.st/Stop-Torture

Read all about our May 2014 local group meeting

20 May

This month we invited Rebecca Pow, the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Taunton Deane, to discuss her position on the human rights issues that concern Amnesty.   Although Human Rights issues were not a familiar topic to Rebecca, she did express interest in Amnesty’s work on Women’s Human Rights and was able to tell us about the Conservative party’s position on issues such as repealing the Human Rights Act and reducing the influence of the European Court of Human Rights. 

Mahdi Abu Dheeb

Mahdi Abu Dheeb

Mahdi Abu Dheeb, President of the Bahrain National Teachers’ Association, is the subject of this month’s appeal. For normal Union activities he was arrested, thrown from a second floor window, beaten up and held incommunicado for days. He’s now in prison serving a 5 year sentence. His plight links to one of Amnesty’s main campaigns this year, “Stop Torture”.  As well as writing on his behalf, we sent appeal cards  to the governments of other victims: a sudden tidal wave of cards and letters undoubtedly has, at the least, an unsettling effect on such regimes.

We meet at 8pm on the second Tuesday of the month in the Silver Street Baptist Church.  All are very welcome.

Protect the lives of refugees and migrants

12 May

From Amnesty UK:

Refugees and migrants are risking their lives to reach Europe. If they make it to Europe’s borders, they are often met with violence and ill-treatment and turned away without question.

‘Somebody showed them the baby, asking for help but the coastguards swore at us instead of helping us… when the coastguards cut the rope and tried to move away we started sinking.’

These are the words of Sabur Azizi, an Afghan refugee who lost his wife and son last year when the boat they were travelling in ran into trouble off the coast of Greece.

No matter how high European countries build their walls, no matter how much pressure countries like Greece come under to push people back at their borders, men, women and children will still be compelled to flee persecution, conflict & poverty by coming to the EU.

Recently, you persuaded the UK government to offer sanctuary to some of the most vulnerable refugees from the conflict in Syria. The first families are now rebuilding their lives here.

Now we must build on this progress, and make sure that the lives of all refugees and migrants headed for Europe are protected, whatever their route or reason for coming.

On 26-7 June, EU leaders meet to agree the future direction of asylum and migration policies across the EU. Please make sure it is a future in which no more refugees and migrants risk losing their lives to get here.

Ask your MP to call on David Cameron to protect lives on Europe’s borders at the EU this June.

 

 

Nigeria: Find and protect abducted schoolgirls

10 May

Over 240 schoolgirls are still missing, weeks after they were abducted from their school by armed militant group Boko Haram.  The group kidnapped eight more girls this week.

We now know that Nigerian security forces had more than four hours warning, but did not do enough to stop their abduction.

Take Action: Call on the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK to demand authorities do everything in their power to secure the girls’ release.

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