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We are facing a crisis at Guantanamo: can you spare a moment to call your two Senators now?

Dear Friends (USA),

Did you know that we’re just a Senate vote away from keeping Guantanamo open - permanently?

The vote that may keep Guantanamo open forever and seal the fate of dozens of detainees held there indefinitely is expected very soon. Your Senators need to hear thathuman rights and the rule of law matter to their constituents. 

The Senate can’t sneak this vote by us! Call your Senators and urge them to oppose any legislation that would keep Guantanamo open. 

It’s simple - just dial (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak with the Senators from your state. Or click here to find your Senators and the direct lines to their offices.

Here are some key points to make when you call:

  • I am calling to urge the Senator to oppose provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (H.R. 1540) that would keep Guantanamo open.
  • The Guantanamo detention facility must be closed. Indefinite detention and military commissions must end.
  • Detainees must either be charged and fairly tried in US federal courts, or be released to countries where their human rights will be respected.
  • I don’t want our government to sacrifice human rights in the name of security.

Make sure to call your other Senator when you’re done, and then click here to let us know that you called, so we can track our efforts.

Don’t let Congress further entrench human rights abuses. 

This year’s National Defense Authorization Act aims to do more than provide funding for the US armed forces. Sneaky provisions in the bill would not only keep Guantanamo open, possibly permanently — they would also do irreparable damage to human rights, essentially making unfair trials and indefinite detention a permanent feature of US policy.

We are not going to give up on this fight. President Obama and Congress must be held to the promises made to close Guantanamo and end the human rights violations perpetrated there. 

If enough of us speak out, Congress will have to think twice before ignoring the human rights of the detainees at Guantanamo - and before ignoring the human rights of us all.

Call your Senators and urge them to do the right thing. Then report back to us on how the call went. Together we can end the human rights crisis at Guantanamo.


Zeke Johnson 
Director, Security with Human Rights Campaign
Amnesty International USA

P.S. While calling is best, make sure you’ve also signed our online petition on Guantanamo, and that you share this action with others. Every voice counts! 

i received this E-Mail From Amnesty but i don’t live in USA, i hope that you can take this action 


[…] ““The Syrian authorities have unleashed their deadliest assault yet on mainly peaceful protesters calling for reform,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“It’s clear that President Bashar al-Assad is unwilling to halt his security forces, so the UN must take decisive action to stem this violent campaign of repression.”

“This should at the very least include imposing an arms embargo, freezing the assets of President al-Assad and other officials suspected of responsibility for crimes against humanity, and referring the situation to the ICC Prosecutor.” …

» Continue 

Crackdown in Malaysia …

"Malaysia may be a member of UN Human Rights Council, but they don’t act like it”

 A peaceful rally addressing election reform in Kuala Lumpur resulted in mass arrests on July 9th.  All of the 1,667 people detained on the day of the march were later released, but days earlier the Malaysian government arrested around 40 people including six members of the Socialist Party.

Since January more than 140 people have been killed in the Boko Haram bombings in the north of the country, including members of the police, but this does not absolve the Nigerian government of its responsibility to protect human rights during security sweeps ..
Amnesty International opposes these abhorrent killings both by the Nigerian armed forces and by Boko Haram. They must be stopped immediately..
Nigeria must not promote security at the expense of human rights..
Killings and illegal detentions just serve to fuel resentment against the security forces and undermine confidence in the criminal justice system and the government..

Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Africa, Tawanda Hondora ..

In Kaleri Ngomari Custain, in Maiduguri, on Saturday 9 July at least 25 people were killed and at least 45  wounded, including women and children, when the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) cordoned off a bomb site and went from house to house, shooting and arresting people living in the area. Many men and boys have been reported missing. According to eyewitnesses, the security forces burnt down several houses, forcing their occupants to flee.(Read Full Report)


12 July 2011

A law passed by the Israeli Knesset (parliament) making it an offence to call for a boycott against the state of Israel or its West Bank settlements will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression in Israel, Amnesty International said today.

The controversial law, passed on Monday night, makes it a civil offence to call for an economic, cultural, or academic boycott of people or institutions in Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) for political reasons. Anyone making such calls could face a lawsuit and other financial penalties.

Sponsors of the bill, originally proposed in July 2010 by Knesset member and coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin, have made it clear that one of the main aims of the law is to penalize those using boycott calls to campaign against Israel’s illegal settlements in the OPT or highlight the ongoing violations of Palestinian rights caused by the settlements.

"Despite proponents’ claims to the contrary, this law is a blatant attempt to stifle peaceful dissent and campaigning by attacking the right to freedom of expression, which all governments must uphold," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"The broad definition of boycott could apply to anyone seeking to use this non-violent means of dissent to criticize any individual or institution involved in human rights violations or violations of international law in Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories."

Promoted and supported by the Netanyanhu government, the law was passed by 47 votes to 36, even though top legal advisers to the Knesset and Israel’s Attorney General said it was “borderline illegal”. Several Israeli human rights NGOs have indicated that they plan to challenge the law in Israel’s High Court of Justice. 

Parties filing lawsuits would not have to prove that a call to boycott has resulted in actual damages, as courts can order people or organizations calling for a boycott to pay compensation independently of the damages caused.

The law also allows the Minister of Finance to revoke the tax-exempt status of NGOs calling for a boycott, which threatens the funding on which many Israeli human rights NGOs rely. Companies or organizations participating in a boycott could also be disqualified from applying for government contracts. 

This is only one of many laws recently passed or being considered by the Knesset which have been criticized by Israeli human rights NGOs for restricting freedom of expression, the work of Israeli civil society organizations, or the rights of Palestinian citizens and their political representatives.   

Israel’s policy of establishing settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and is considered a war crime, according to the statute of the International Criminal Court.

Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Israeli authorities to end settlement construction as a first step towards completely removing unlawful Israeli settlements from the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Amnesty International has taken no position on boycotts anywhere in the world, but fears that this law will lead to violations of the right to freedom of expression of those calling for boycotts.


Report: 1,552 Palestinians arrested in 2011…

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Detainees Center in the Gaza Strip reported Friday that 1,552 Palestinian citizens had been arrested by Israeli forces in the first half of 2011, including 215 children.

Nineteen Palestinian lawmakers from the Hamas Movement are among those arrested in 2011.

It is unclear how many have been detained indefinitely. 

The Center appealed to the international community to actively intervene to curb Israel’s persistent violation of human rights in Palestine. 


Report: The number of children kidnapped this year markedly rose …

Ansar Al-Asra (advocates for prisoners) society said it documented the detention of 1,552 Palestinian citizens in the first half of this year, including 215 children.

According a report released by the society on Thursday, there was a marked increase in the kidnapping of Palestinian minors this year and their number rose to 350 children.

19 Palestinian lawmakers from Hamas Movement were also among the detainees who were kidnapped during this year.

The society appealed to the international community to necessarily and actively intervene to curb Israel’s persistent violation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian lands.

The Palestinian Information Center

Robert Fisk: The new focus of Syria’s crackdown has seen similar bloodshed before…

History comes full circle in Syria. In February 1982, President Hafez al-Assad’s army stormed into the ancient cities to end an Islamist uprising. They killed at least 10,000 men, women and children, possibly 20,000. Some of the men were members of the armed Muslim Brotherhood..

Almost all the dead were Sunni Muslims, although even senior members of the Baath party were executed if they had the fatal word Hamwi – a citizen from Hama – on their identity cards. “Death a thousand times to the hired Muslim Brothers, who linked themselves to the enemies of the homeland,” Assad said after the slaughter..

Years later a retired Dutch diplomat, Nikolaos Van Dam, wrote a detailed study of the Baath party and its Alawi leadership, The Struggle for Power in Syria, and stated presciently of the Hama massacre, that “the massive repression… may very well have sown the seeds of future strife and revenge”. Never a truer word – and if the activists’ estimate that there were 250,000 citizens on the streets of Hama at the weekend to demand the end of the Assad family’s rule is correct, then the seeds of future strife were indeed planted in the historic city’s soil 29 years ago…

I remember Hama’s first siege, when I managed to enter the city by driving down the international highway and getting right in among the Syrian tanks – which were shelling the most beautiful mosque in Hama – because two army officers asked my driver to drop them off beside the river Orontes, where their units were fighting the brotherhood. The soldiers gave me and my driver tea as we took in this terrible scene..

The fighting had gone on for 16 days; girl suicide killers were taking military lives by exploding hand grenades next to them when they were taken prisoner. I only had a few minutes to see all this. Rifaat al-Assad’s defence forces in their drab pink uniforms sat on their tanks. Some of them had been badly wounded – they had bandages on their arms. A woman refugee got into my car with her child, but when I tried to give it food, she snatched it and scoffed the lot. She was starving. These, of course, were the parents of the weekend’s demonstrators. Perhaps the hungry child was on the streets of Hama three days ago…

The situation was similar yesterday, after 500 troops surged into the city, wounding at least 20 after opening fire. But it’s not an Islamic uprising this time – the insurgents of Hama were killing the families of Baath party members in 1982 – but the very name of the city sounds like a tolling bell in the history of the Assads’ rule. In those days, Assad let the press into Damascus – which is how I drove to see friends in Aleppo and return via Hama – but this time the regime has simply closed the frontier to almost all reporters…

In 1982, there was no YouTube, no Twitter, there were no mobile phones. Not a single photograph of the dead was ever published. Some of Syria’s tanks now appear to be brand new imports from Russia. The problem is that the people’s technology is new too…

… … …


Syrian forces shoot dead 10 in Hama: activists ...

(Reuters) - Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad shot dead 10 people on Tuesday in the Syrian city of Hama, activists said, and France called on the United Nations to adopt a firm stance in the face of “ferocious armed repression.”…

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said the world could not stand by “inactive and powerless” in the face of the violence.


"We are hoping that the Security Council adopt a clear and firm position and we call on all the members of the Security Council to take responsibility in light of this dramatic situation with a Syrian population subjected day after day to an unacceptable, ferocious and implacable armed repression."


Somalis walk to the camps at Dadaab in Kenya, which are already overflowing with malnourished families

Starvation returns to the Horn of Africa

Drought and war threaten millions with famine, as the refugee camps overflow

Report ..

 By David Randall, Simon Murphy and Daud Yussuf in Kenya..

In the Horn of Africa, unseen as yet by the world’s television cameras, a pitiful trek of the hungry is taking place. Tens of thousands of children are walking for weeks across a desiccated landscape to reach refugee camps that are now overflowing. They are being driven there by one of the worst droughts in the region for 60 years which, combined with the war in Somalia and soaring food prices, is threatening a famine that could affect between eight and 10 million people.

The malnourished children, some of whom become separated from their parents on the way, are now arriving at the camps in northern Kenya at a rate of 1,200 every day. At the largest, built for 90,000, there are now nearly 370,000. Many have covered hundreds of miles on feet that are bare and bleeding. Some reach their goal barely able to stand. Most are exhausted, and dehydrated. All are hungry.

Aid agency after agency has told The Independent on Sunday in the past few days of the terrible plight of these families from Somalia and Ethiopia. Save the Children (SCF), like many charities so worried it has launched an emergency response to the crisis, said: “Some families have walked for over a month through sand and searing heat in search of food, water and shelter. Many discarded the few possessions they had along the way." The charity’s Kenya programme director, Catherine Fitzgibbon, said: "Children have made long journeys in terrifying conditions, often losing their families along the way and arriving at the camps in desperate need of security, healthcare and a normal life.

Neil Thorns, Cafod’s director of advocacy, who led an emergency conference on food shortages in Nairobi last week, said: “There’s no rain, no crops and the livestock are dying. There is nothing on the horizon that will make any of that better, and it’s almost certain it will get much, much worse. People are migrating in their tens of thousands, but there is nowhere better for them to go. Governments need to wake up to the urgency of the situation and take the action that is needed immediately.

Cafod said that one aid worker, Nelly Shonko, drove the 100-odd miles between Marsabit in northern Kenya and Moyale on the border with Ethiopia, “seeing hundreds of rural people moving the other way, carrying all their possessions in search of food for their livestock. She knew that the land they were walking towards was no better than where they’d come from.

Journeys of more than 300 miles are typical: SCF spoke to one woman, called Fatuma, who had walked from her home in Somalia for a month and a half with her four children aged between three and 10 to reach a Kenyan camp. She said: “The weather was very harsh. It was so hot, and there was very little shelter. I left my husband in Somalia. I do not know if I will see him again. The war in Somalia is very bad for families. The drought as well is just too much. We cannot cope. We had 15 goats. But they died one by one because of the drought. We had a well in my village, but it dried up. Then the one in the next village dried up.

Adan Kabelo, head of Oxfam’s work in Somalia, said in a blog: “The situation here is truly shocking, and, as the local elders warned me, we are facing a terrible human catastrophe unless the world acts quickly.

This is a situation that has been brewing – and deteriorating – for a long time. Across much of Somalia and Ethiopia, the last two rains have failed – something which, says SCF’s Andrew Wander, used to occur every 10 to 12 years, but now happens almost every other year. The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) says: “In June, the famine early-warning systems network said it had compared rainfall data for Kenya and Ethiopia and concluded that 2010-11 was the driest or second driest year since 1950-51 in 11 of 15 analysed pastoral zones. This does not, however, mean that this is yet the worst drought in the Horn of Africa. The 2007-09 drought, for instance, peaked in September 2009 with 22 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

Nevertheless, many of the people in the region are pastoralists, and in some places about 70 per cent of livestock have died. Even in a place like Dobley in Somalia, where there has been a little recent rain, the situation is desperate. Oxfam reports that animal carcasses litter the road to the borehole and “there are hundreds of people and about 15,000 emaciated cows, camels, sheep, and goats crowded around trying to get water to stay alive”. Oxfam is frantically trying to keep this borehole flowing. If its engineers fail, the outlook is not good. The next water point is 80km away.

Audrée Montpetit, senior humanitarian programme quality adviser at Care International, has recently visited the drought-affected region of Borena in Ethiopia. She said: “People are eating less, cutting trees to make charcoal and sell. Since there’s no pasture, men are cutting trees to get leaves for their animals. Women, who are responsible for getting water, are having to travel six to 10 hours every day to get it. We’ve seen an increase in acute malnutrition but there’s obviously a lot of water-borne disease too; that’s been increasing. People accept that the worst is yet to come.

And the famine looms at a time when food prices have been increasing sharply for some time – and still are. Since last May, the price of maize has more than doubled in parts of Ethiopia, and that of red sorghum has risen in Somalia by 240 per cent. Even in Kenya, white maize now costs 58 per cent more than it did a year ago. And then there is the conflict in Somalia, which drives people to the camps and which, in much of southern and central parts of the country, severely limits humanitarian access.

Aid workers are beginning to wonder for how much longer the camps can contain the need. Dadaab, in Kenya, originally built to accommodate 90,000, now has 367,855 refugees, making it the world’s largest refugee camp. There were plans for an extension, but the Kenyan government scotched that, and thousands now squat hopefully outside the perimeter.

And yet still people come. The numbers arriving at Dadaab’s three camps are swelling at an alarming rate – 5,621 arrived in the last week of June compared with 1,866 in the first week of the month. According to the UN, more than half of the camps’ refugees are children, and 153,525 of those are under the age of 11. There are also 12,328 people over the age of 60 in the camps, while 95 per cent of the total population are from Somalia, with the rest mainly from Ethiopia.

The overcrowding produces problems beyond comfort, food rations and sanitation. On Thursday, two people were killed and dozens injured when a riot broke out. The UN refugee agency said the “serious disturbance” occurred when authorities tried to demolish illegal buildings at a food distribution point.

Camps elsewhere are also reaching bursting point. Getinet Ameha, a WFP aid worker, visited two camps last week in Dolo Ado on the Somalia, Kenyan and Ethiopian border. Last week the government opened a third camp, Kobe, to deal with the 1,200 new arrivals each day. He said: “The majority of people in the camps are women and children, and it’s very difficult because the camps were only built to hold 20,000 in each one and there’s now almost 40,000 people living in each." Here, some 45 per cent of the new arrivals are malnourished – the threshold for declaring an emergency is 15 per cent. He added: "A lot of people are coming, 1,400 new people each day, but the WFP is providing food. There are problems with health. The people are having to live very close to each other. In one tent I witnessed a family of 12 together.

Aid agencies are doing all they can, but the “perfect storm” of drought, war and costly food is difficult to overcome when resources are so limited. SCF says it has less than half the money it needs for a proper response. And a statement from the WFP last week said bleakly: “The humanitarian response in Somalia and Ethiopia in particular is hampered by large funding shortfalls. New contributions are urgently needed or suffering will grow.

It continued: “In Somalia, having started cutting ration sizes from February, WFP in May had only enough food left to feed 63 per cent of the almost one million people that WFP had planned to be feeding in May … Because of a lack of funding, WFP in Ethiopia reduced food rations in certain areas of the country from March onwards.

The international food security scale of one to five rates a few parts of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya as category two, “Stressed”. Many areas are at three and four, “Crisis” and “Emergency”, but none, as yet, is a five, “Catastrophe/Famine”. Unless there is a rapid change in the weather, the war or the food supply, that day may not be long postponed.


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The Independent ..


Malaysian authorities are arbitrarily arresting and detaining scores of peaceful electoral reform protesters in the worse repression of free speech and freedom of assembly in recent years, Amnesty International said today.

Among those currently detained are 30 peaceful activists from the Socialist Party who were denied review of their detention today under accusations of “waging war against the king”.  

Since 24 June, more than 100 activists have been arrested or questioned by police over their support of an electoral reform rally. The demonstration is being planned for 9 July by the Coalition for Fair and Free Elections, also known as Bersih 2.0, meaning ‘Clean’.

The Malaysian authorities are muzzling calls for electoral reform by throwing peaceful protestors in jail,” said Donna Guest, Deputy Asia-Pacific Director at Amnesty International. “We have not seen such a crackdown on political activists across Malaysia in many years.”

People have been arrested for as little as wearing yellow (the colour of Bersih 2.0), are being held without charge, and face investigation for sedition and unlawful assembly.  The government has also threatened to invoke the draconian Internal Security Act over the rally, allowing for indefinite detention without trial. 

Malaysia is undermining its claim to be a moderate democracy through this campaign of repression,” said Donna Guest.

Amnesty International is calling for Malaysia to immediately release all activists or charge them with a recognizable criminal offence, drop unfounded charges, and respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Today, the Penang High Court dismissed a review of the arbitrary detention of 30 Socialist Party activists, remanding them without charge for “waging war against the king,” which is punishable by life imprisonment.  The activists, including two children, were arrested en route to a Bersih 2.0 event in Penang on 25 June.

Among these detainees is Socialist Party member of parliament Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, who was denied access to essential heart medication for 15 hours while in detention, before being sent to a hospital for treatment. 

Four more people were arrested and released today, including a Perak state assemblymen and a member of parliament, for wearing yellow. 

On 29 June, police raided the office of the Bersih 2.0 Secretariat without a warrant, briefly detaining seven people and confiscating laptops, cameras, and rally materials.  

The chair of the Bersih 2.0 Organising committee, prominent lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, and Malaysian Poet Laureate A. Samad Said are both being investigated by police under the Sedition Act and Police Act for organising an “unlawful assembly”.

Malaysia’s home minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, threatened on 26 June to invoke the Internal Security Act against rally organisers, on the grounds of national security.

This repression is clearly politically motivated to intimidate people from marching for electoral reform,” said Donna Guest. “The use of repressive laws to criminalise peaceful political activism is appalling.”

Bersih 2.0 plans to hold the 9 July rally to demand a set of electoral reforms. These include fair access of all political parties to the media, reform of postal ballots and revisions of the electoral roll to address irregularities.

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