Archive for the 'AI' Category

Davos’ annual meeting starts on 22 May under human rights cloud

May 22, 2022
Agnès Callamard at a press conference

Agnès Callamard at a press conference © Amnesty International

Ahead of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos that starts today, Sunday 22 May 2022, Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said: 

This year’s Davos conference takes place amid a gathering storm of human rights crises. Russia’s mounting war crimes in Ukraine, the terrifying rollback on abortion rights in the US, the still-neglected climate emergency, the ongoing failure to secure universal vaccine access – these are just a few examples of what happens when human rights are sacrificed for power and profit.  

“Many of the political and business leaders attending Davos are directly responsible for these catastrophes, whether through their explicit pursuit of anti-human rights agendas or through their contemptible inaction and failure to implement solutions.  

“The Davos guestlist includes some of the richest and most powerful people in the world, and they have a moral obligation to put respect for human rights at the top of the agenda. They must use their vast wealth and influence to change the status quo and end the rampant inequality which has been the root cause of so much recent suffering.

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting will take place in Davos, Switzerland, between 22 and 26 May.

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/global-rich-and-powerful-meet-davos-amid-gathering-storm-human-rights-crises

Major NGO offices in Russia now closed

April 9, 2022

On 8 April 2022, the Russian government closed the offices of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and several other NGOs such as Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, Friedrich Ebert Foundation. This decision has been taken “in connection with the discovered violations of the Russian legislation.

On 11 March, Russia’s media regulator had already blocked access to Amnesty International’s Russian-language website.

Human Rights Watch had maintained an office in Russia for 30 years. The action was announced just days after an appeals court upheld the liquidation of Russia’s human rights giant, Memorial. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/11/12/it-had-to-happen-russian-authorities-move-to-shut-down-memorial/]

Human Rights Watch has been working on and in Russia since the Soviet era, and we will continue to do so,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “This new iron curtain will not stop our ongoing efforts to defend the rights of all Russians and to protect civilians in Ukraine.”

Reacting to the news, Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said: “Amnesty’s closing down in Russia is only the latest in a long list of organizations that have been punished for defending human rights and speaking the truth to the Russian authorities. In a country where scores of activists and dissidents have been imprisoned, killed or exiled, where independent media has been smeared, blocked or forced to self-censor, and where civil society organizations have been outlawed or liquidated, you must be doing something right if the Kremlin tries to shut you up.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/04/08/russia-government-shuts-down-human-rights-watch-office

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/04/08/moscow-shutting-down-amnesty-human-rights-watch-in-russia-a77290

Shocking case of refoulement from Spain

March 31, 2022

On 30 March 2022, Statewatch along with 13 other human rights organisations condemned the deportation from Spain to Algeria of Mohamed Benhalima, a human rights activist who faces a serious risk of torture and other ill-treatment in the North African state.

The organisations strongly condemn the deportation by Spain of Algerian activist Mohamed Benhalima, in the evening of 24 March 2022, despite the risks of torture and serious human rights violations he faces in Algeria, and therefore in blatant violation of Spain’s international obligations on non-refoulement. The authorities had been made aware, through civil society and legal appeals, that Mr Benhalima faces a high risk of torture, arbitrary detention and unfair trial in Algeria, where such violations are increasingly common against prisoners of opinion and peaceful activists.

Mohamed Benhalima is an Algerian citizen and a former Army corporal turned whistleblower, who exposed corruption among Algeria’s high-ranking military officials in 2019. He left Algeria after receiving information that his name was on a list of wanted military officials at risk of detention by the Algerian army for their participation in the Hirak, a mass pro-democracy protest movement.

He sought asylum in Spain on 18 February 2020 and again on 18 March 2022; Spain refused him asylum both times. On 14 March 2022, authorities opened an administrative file of expulsion for infringement of Art. 54.1.a. of Immigration Law 4/2000, alleging that Mr. Benhalima took part in “activities contrary to public security or which may be harmful for Spanish relationships with foreign states”.

Spanish authorities justified the opening of an expulsion file based on Mr. Benhalima’s alleged association with political opposition group Rachad, which was listed as a terrorist group by Algeria on 6 February 2022. Spanish authorities claimed that Rachad’s objective was to infiltrate radical youth into Algerian society to protest against the Algerian government, and concluded that the activist was a member of a terrorist group.

Authorities did not provide any proof of violent action or speech or any other action taken by the activist that would fall under a definition of terrorism in accordance with the definition proposed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the protection of human rights while countering terrorism. Authorities also do not appear to have considered a context in which Algerian authorities have been increasingly levelling bogus terrorism and state security charges against peaceful activists, human rights defenders and journalists since April 2021. On 27 December 2021, UN Special Procedures warned that the definition of terrorism in the Algerian Penal Code was too imprecise and undermined fundamental rights. They stated that the procedure for registration on the national terrorist list did not comply with international human rights standards and expressed concern that it could give rise to abuse.

On 24 March around 7pm, Mr. Benhalima’s lawyers were notified of the resolution of expulsion and promptly filed a request for an interim suspensive measure at the National Court of Spain, which was rejected; however, it was revealed later that the activist was already on his way to Algeria at the time.

On 21 March 2022, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) submitted a non-public report to the Spanish government stating that Mr. Benhalima’s asylum request should be studied thoroughly in a regular procedure and not rejected expediently, arguing that the fear of torture was credible and that Algeria’s criminalisation of peaceful opposition was internationally recognised.

On 27 March, Benhalima appeared in a video broadcasted on Ennahar TV, in which he “confesses” to the crimes of conspiracy against the state, and states that he was not treated badly in custody. However, the undersigned organisations call into question the reliability of such statements which might be the result of duress. In addition, Benhalima had himself released a video from the retention centre in Valencia, before his deportation to Algeria, in which he warns that such videos would not be genuine and would show that he “was subjected to severe torture at the hands of intelligence services.”

In January and March 2021, in Algeria, Mohamed Benhalima was sentenced in absentia to a total of 20 years in prison for charges including “participation in a terrorist group” (Article 87bis 3 of the Penal Code) and “publishing fake news undermining national unity” (Art.196 bis) among other charges. The overly broad formulation of both articles has been used by Algeria repeatedly to criminalise fundamental freedoms. In one of the verdicts, issued on 9 March 2021, the judge sentenced Benhalima to 10 years in prison for his online publications, including videos exposing corruption in the army, a form of peaceful expression, which is protected under the right to freedom of expression.

Spanish authorities additionally motivated the expulsion based on Mr. Benhalima’s close relationship with Mohamed Abdellah, another Algerian whistleblower and former member of the military, who also sought refuge in Spain in April 2019 and was forcibly returned on 21 August 2021 using Art. 54.1.a. of Law 4/2000, in similar circumstances and for the same motives.

Mohamed Abdellah, currently detained in the military prison of Blida, stated in court on 2 January 2022 that he had been subjected to various forms of torture and ill-treatment upon his return to Algeria, including prolonged solitary confinement in a cell with no light and physical abuse, according to a witness who attended the hearing. He was also deprived of access to a lawyer.

Despite the strong similarities between both cases providing a compelling precedent about the actual risk of torture and ill treatment of activists and whistleblowers, notably former members of the military, in Algeria, the Spanish government showed its determination to forcibly return someone where their physical and psychological integrity was not guaranteed. In doing so, Spain flouted critical international law obligations under which nobody should be returned to a country where they would be in danger of suffering torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Signatures

  • MENA Rights Group
  • Justitia Center for legal protection of human rights in Algeria
  • World Organisation Against Torture
  • Red Jurídica
  • CIHRS
  • Amnesty International
  • Irídia, Center for Human Rights
  • Collectif des familles de disparus en Algérie
  • Al Karama
  • Statewatch
  • Spanish Commission for Refugees – CEAR
  • Euromed Rights
  • Alianza
  • ActionAid

https://www.statewatch.org/news/2022/march/spain-forsakes-international-obligations-in-appalling-refoulement-of-algerian-whistleblower/

https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2022/4/6/rights-defenders-slam-spains-deportation-of-algerian-dissident

Annual Report Amnesty 2021 is out

March 29, 2022

The human rights organisation looks back on 2021, “a year of dashed hopes“. According to Amnesty International, the digital sphere is increasingly becoming a space for activism — and repression.

Despite promises and pledges to the contrary, at almost every turn, leaders and corporations opted for a non-transformative path, choosing to entrench rather than overturn the systemic inequalities behind the pandemic. Yet, people the world over have made it abundantly clear that a more just world, grounded in human rights, is what they want

Agnès Callamard SG AI

Here is how Deutsche Welle summarized it:

Every year, Amnesty International looks at developments around the world and compiles an analysis of the most important global trends in human and civil rights. In its latest annual report, Amnesty Middle East and North Africa research and advocacy director Philip Luth says: “2021 was a year of really quite significant promises. … The reality was completely otherwise.”

There had been hope that the world might emerge from the pandemic equitably, Luther told DW, but richer countries in particular have prevented the widespread manufacture and distribution of vaccines. The annual report cites the facts: Fewer than 8% of the 1.2 billion people in Africa were fully vaccinated at the end of 2021 — the lowest rate in the world and far from the WHO’s 40% vaccination target…..The study also found that many governments have used the pandemic to suppress opposition and civil society. “It’s across regions and that’s one of the reasons we highlighted it in our global analysis,” Luther said. “Some governments very specifically used the smoke screen of the pandemic to restrict freedom of expression.” Examples of countries where protests have been broken up and human rights defenders are at risk include Cambodia, Russia, China and others.

According to Amnesty and other international organizations, the pandemic is also having an effect on civil society. “There are various strategies that are making it increasingly difficult for civil society to operate in different regions of the world,” Silke Pfeiffer, head of the department for human rights and peace at the Christian-affiliated aid organization Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World), told DW. “This is quite specifically directed at individual activists, who are discriminated against, threatened, persecuted and in some cases murdered.” In many countries, Pfeiffer said, governments cultivate a hostile environment. “It becomes increasingly difficult for civil society organizations to work,” she said. “That goes as far as the closure of NGOs; we see that again and again.” To cite just one example: In late March, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega had 25 nongovernmental organizations closed. One of them is the Nicaraguan partner organization to Brot für die Welt.

Governments and NGOs are increasingly doing their work online. Luther describes the development as a “double-edged sword.” Authorities clandestinely use technology in ways that have a negative impact on people’s human rights, he said: “Governments in many cases were also then trying to shut down and disrupt tools that enable civil society to better communicate with each other and spread information.”

Amnesty International’s annual report cites multiple examples of this: the internet shutdown from August 4, 2019, to February 5, 2021, in the India-controlled regions of Jammu and Kashmir; the use of facial recognition technology at protests in Moscow; and the use of Israel’s Pegasus spyware against journalists, opposition figures and human rights activists. Pfeiffer said the internet was an important way for civil society to organize and mobilize. But she added that, around the world, “governments and other actors have completely upgraded digitally and are now also taking very strong action against freedom on the internet — through censorship, by shutting down internet services, through mass surveillance.”

Across the world, Amnesty noted, people took to the streets to fight for their rights and the rights of others in 2021 — in Russia, India, Colombia, Sudan, Lebanon and at least 75 other countries. in the words of AI Secretary General: “The palpable and persistent resistance offered by people’s movements the world over is a beacon of hope. Uncowed and undaunted, theirs is a clarion call for a more equal world. If governments won’t build back better – if they seemingly are intent on building back broken – then we are left with little option. We must fight their every attempt to muzzle our voices and we must stand up to their every betrayal. It is why, in the coming weeks, we are launching a global campaign of solidarity with people’s movements, a campaign demanding respect for the right to protest. We must build and harness global solidarity, even if our leaders won’t.”

She also said:

Global trends to stifle independent and critical voices gathered steam in 2021 as governments deployed a widening gamut of tools and tactics. Human rights defenders, NGOs, media outlets and opposition leaders were the targets of unlawful detention, torture and enforced disappearance, many under the smokescreen of the pandemic.

At least 67 countries introduced new laws in 2021 to restrict freedom of expression, association or assembly. In the USA, at least 36 states introduced more than 80 pieces of draft legislation limiting freedom of assembly, whilst the UK government proposed the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would drastically curtail the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, including by expanding police powers.

Global trends to stifle independent and critical voices gathered steam in 2021 as governments deployed a widening gamut of tools and tactics. Human rights defenders, NGOs, media outlets and opposition leaders were the targets of unlawful detention, torture and enforced disappearance, many under the smokescreen of the pandemic.

At least 67 countries introduced new laws in 2021 to restrict freedom of expression, association or assembly. In the USA, at least 36 states introduced more than 80 pieces of draft legislation limiting freedom of assembly, whilst the UK government proposed the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would drastically curtail the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, including by expanding police powers.

https://www.dw.com/en/amnesty-international-2021-was-the-year-of-broken-promises/a-61285728

Human Rights Prize of AI Germany honours Ethiopian Human Rights Council EHRCO

March 14, 2022

The Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) receives the Human Rights Award 2022 from the German section of Amnesty International. For more on this and similar awards, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/1270FFCC-C0FA-4C95-822C-219533587262

For over 30 years, the independent Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) has been the voice of human rights in Ethiopia. The employees investigate human rights violations, provide legal advice for those affected and are involved in human rights education. Their use is often associated with reprisals and personal dangers. The outbreak of the armed conflict in 2020 in the north of the country, especially in the Tigray region, makes EHRCO’s human rights work indispensable.

The EHRCO is the voice of the unheard in Ethiopia,” says Markus N. Beeko, Secretary General of Amnesty International in Germany. “For 30 years, EHRCO has been fighting for those affected by human rights violations: its supporters have been insulted, imprisoned, tortured and even killed for this. Nevertheless, EHRCO has never allowed itself to be intimidated. Amnesty International is honoring this courage and commitment with the eleventh Amnesty Human Rights Prize.

Receiving the award and working with international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International are of great importance to us. Human rights are universal and require cooperation and solidarity to improve human rights and democracy,” said Dan Yirga Haile, Executive Director of EHRCO.

We now know that if something happens to us, others will raise their voices and stand up for us in solidarity. In Ethiopia, the government and politicians suppress many popular voices in various ways. These voices do not receive the attention they deserve. The human rights award of Amnesty International is helping to make these voices heard by recognizing EHRCO’s tireless commitment to human rights over the past thirty years.”

Since the armed conflict in northern Ethiopia began in November 2020, Amnesty International has observed that all parties to the conflict are responsible for gross human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions and sexualised violence against women and girls. These constitute violations of international humanitarian law, war crimes and, in some cases, possible crimes against humanity, according to Amnesty International. Millions of people have been internally displaced and millions of people in Tigray and neighboring regions are being denied humanitarian assistance. Clashes between the armed groups claimed at least 1,500 lives, according to Amnesty. Police have been arbitrarily detaining people coming from Tigray or working on the conflict since early 2021.

You will find extensive press material here.

https://california18.com/germany-amnesty-human-rights-prize-2022-goes-to-ethiopian-human-rights-council-ehrco/3879812022/

https://allafrica.com/stories/202203150064.html

https://www.dw.com/en/ethiopia-human-rights-abuses-amid-tigray-conflict/a-61134938

Amnesty Nairobi seeks urgently short-term consultant

March 10, 2022

The Nairobi Office of Amnesty International’s Regional Office for East and Southern Africa (ESARO) is seeking an enthusiastic, and strategic campaigner with substantial experience in developing and implementing campaigns for a short-term consultancy. Under the supervision of, the Deputy Regional Director – Campaigns, the consultant will provide support to ongoing campaigns in Tanzania and Uganda whose thematic focus include freedom of expression, association and assembly, gender justice, right to health, right to housing among others and will do this using an intersectional
approach.

This is a four-month contract (March to June 2022) and the consultant could be based in Nairobi or remotely in Tanzania or Uganda.
Consultant profile includes:
– Very good knowledge of the human rights and the political context in East Africa with specific knowledge of Tanzania and/or Uganda.
– Knowledge of and experience working with the UN mechanisms, African Union institutions, sub-regional and national authorities is also essential.
– Excellent oral and written communication skills and ability to understand and express ideas in English. Ability to communicate in Swahili is also desirable.

To apply for the role, please provide your CV (three pages maximum) and a cover letter outlining how your skills and profile are aligned to the role as described above. Please send applications to amnesty.earo@amnesty.org 2022.

The deadline has been extended to Thursday 17 March 2022.

Human rights work seen as a market

February 27, 2022

For a rather unusual look at human rights as a “market”see the following:

On 25 February 2022 the annual “Human Rights Organizations Global Market Report 2022 report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

The global human rights organizations market is expected to grow from $16.60 billion in 2021 to $17.47 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3%. The growth is mainly due to the companies rearranging their operations and recovering from the COVID-19 impact, which had earlier led to restrictive containment measures involving social distancing, remote working, and the closure of commercial activities that resulted in operational challenges.

The market is expected to reach $20.53 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 4.1%.

The human rights organizations market consists of revenue generated through human rights services by entities that are engaged in promoting causes associated with human rights either for a broad or a specific constituency.

Establishments in this industry address issues such as protecting and promoting broad constitutional rights and civil liberties of individuals and those suffering from neglect, abuse, or exploitation, promoting the interests of specific groups such as children, women, senior citizens, or persons with disabilities, improving relations between racial, ethnic, and cultural groups, and promoting voter education and registration.

The main types of human rights organizations are nongovernmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, governmental organizations and international organizations. Governmental human rights organizations are run by government bodies and are involved in the protection of human rights and the reduction of human rights violations.

The different modes of donation include online, offline. The organization locations can be domestic, international and have various applications in areas such as all humans, children, women, disabled, LGBTQ, others.

Asia Pacific was the largest region in the human rights organizations market in 2021. North America was the second largest region in the human rights organizations market. The regions covered in this report are Asia-Pacific, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, South America, Middle East and Africa.

The rise in hate crimes is expected to drive the human rights organizations market. Hate crime is a form of criminal violence upon a person or property, caused in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.

As per the annual report of FBI published in 2019, physical attacks against individuals have risen, accounting for 61% of the 7,120 cases reported by law enforcement authorities nationally as hate crimes in the USA. Government and non-governmental organizations aim to curb the abuses that challenge people’s human rights, which further aids in the growth of the human rights organizations market. Increasing attacks against human rights defenders are anticipated to hinder the human rights organization market. Attacks against human rights organizations that strive to safeguard human rights are rising at an alarming rate.

For instance, in 2019, the Business and Human Rights Resource Center has tracked around 572 attack cases that were related to business-related activities. These attacks cause a sense of fear and timidness among individuals who work for human rights protection and challenges human rights protection activities, which thereby impedes the growth of the market. See alsO: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/02/18/business-network-on-civic-freedoms-and-human-rights-defenders-launches-new-website/

Organizations and human rights defenders are working towards protecting the digital human rights of individuals.

Companies” mentioned in the report inlcude:

  • Amnesty International
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Civil Rights Defenders
  • Human Rights Without Frontiers International
  • Physicians for Human Rights
  • Anti-Slavery International
  • Global Rights
  • UN Watch
  • European Centre for Minority Issues
  • International Federation for Human Rights

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/a3tco8

Amnesty joins debate on Apartheid versus Palestinians but reactions debase struggle against real antisemitism

February 4, 2022

In Newsweek of 3 February 2022 Omar Baddar, Director of the Arab American Institute, published an opinion piece entitled “Amnesty Settles It: It’s Time for U.S. Accountability on Israel”.

Amnesty International, issued on 1 February 2022 an extensive report titled “Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime against Humanity.” As the report documents, “Israel has imposed a system of oppression and domination over Palestinians wherever it exercises control over the enjoyment of their right.” The report further found that Israel’s policies are part of a “systematic as well as widespread attack directed against the Palestinian population, and that the inhuman or inhumane acts committed within the context of this attack have been committed with the intention to maintain this system and amount to the crime against humanity of apartheid.

In recent years, some leading Israeli human rights organizations have started using the word apartheid to describe their government’s systems of oppression. Last year, Human Rights Watch, one of the best-known American human rights organization, similarly accused Israel of apartheid. Amnesty International following suit this week has solidified the human rights community’s emerging consensus on Israeli apartheid. See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/01/18/israel-and-apartheid-israeli-human-rights-group-stirs-debate/ and https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/07/09/israel-and-the-international-crime-of-apartheid-a-response-by-human-rights-watch-worth-studying-in-full/

Omar Baddar, states: The most important consequence of this consensus is that it lays to rest the false but popular notion of an “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” between two equal sides. The new consensus instead frames the issue more accurately as a struggle between an oppressor and an oppressed people. In the same way that Apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the American South denied people the ability to live in freedom with their full rights simply because of who they are, Israel also denies freedom to Palestinians and many basic rights to Palestinians just because they are Palestinians.

Like the Human Rights Watch report before it, what’s remarkable about the new Amnesty report is how extensive and detailed it is. Amnesty did its due diligence and made sure that its central claims are backed by a mountain of evidence, meticulously documenting unlawful killings, forced displacement and systemic discrimination on a massive scale. Unsurprisingly, the devastating and irreproachable nature of this report triggered a meltdown among Israel’s apologists. See for this also: https://yubanet.com/world/human-rights-organizations-from-israel-condemn-vicious-attacks-on-amnesty-international/

Unable to argue with the substance of the Amnesty report, pro-Israel groups have resorted either to blindly asserting—as AIPAC did—that Amnesty was lying, or baselessly claiming—as the ADL did—that the report would spark antisemitic attacks. The latter is nothing short of a cynical weaponization of antisemitism—which, in fact, is a serious and rising scourge in America and across the world—unscrupulously exploited in order to silence criticism of Israeli government policy.

We cannot have the open debate we need in a free society if speaking honestly about Israeli policy results in smears of bigotry. By misusing the charge of antisemitism in this fashion, Israel’s apologists aren’t just harming the human rights defenders being smeared by it; they’re also harming the real effort to eliminate antisemitism—a goal that we all have a moral obligation to come together and accomplish.

What this Amnesty report should have done is serve as a wake-up call to an American political establishment that prioritizes pandering over sensible policy, and that has turned a blind eye to a grave injustice for far too long. After all, it is U.S. military funding, to the unrivaled tune of $3.8 billion per year, which enables the Israeli military to maintain its suffocating grip on the occupied Palestinian population, and it is U.S. diplomatic protection, through more than 40 vetoes at the UN Security Council and beyond, that shields Israel from accountability for its crimes.

And yet, despite repeatedly claiming to prioritize human rights in its foreign policy, the Biden administration’s reaction to this report was utterly disappointing. The administration rejected it out of hand.

The Amnesty report bemoans the fact that, “for over seven decades, the international community has stood by as Israel has been given free rein to dispossess, segregate, control, oppress and dominate Palestinians.” It criticizes countries like ours that have “actively supported Israel’s violations by supplying it with arms, equipment and other tools to perpetrate crimes under international law and by providing diplomatic cover, including at the UN Security Council, to shield it from accountability.” The report also reiterated its call for “states to immediately suspend the direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer of all weapons, munitions and other military and security equipment.”

https://www.newsweek.com/amnesty-settles-it-its-time-us-accountability-israel-opinion-1675876

https://www.juancole.com/2022/02/prolonged-occupation-palestinians.html

https://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/NewsDetail/index/6/21449/Why-Is-Israel-Fearful-of-Amnestys-Apartheid-Report

Rights Arcade – a game to help human rights education

January 24, 2022

This International Day of Education, Amnesty International has launched Rights Arcade, a free human rights game app which aims to educate the next generation of human rights defenders about rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.

Rights Arcade is designed to strengthen the human rights movement through action-oriented education. The games will boost players’ knowledge about human rights and encourage people to take action on human rights issues.  

One of Rights Arcade’s key features is a self-paced approach that allows players to learn, reflect and take action at their own pace while navigating through the game’s stories.

This game has been designed to empower and encourage people everywhere, but especially younger audiences, to learn about human rights in an engaging manner,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

Young people are pivotal in setting the human rights agenda, today and for the future. Reaching them in the spaces they inhabit, or with which they engage regularly, is key to enabling new generations of activists and empowering them to fight for, and protect, human rights – now and in the future.”

The players take a human rights journey through the experiences of three real-life people: Ahmed Kabir Kishor, a cartoonist unjustly charged under the Digital Security Act in Bangladesh [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/06/16/30-information-heroes-honored-by-reporters-without-borders/] Zhang Zhan, a citizen journalist sentenced to four years in prison for reporting about Covid-19 in China [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/11/06/chinese-journalist-zhang-zhan-at-imminent-risk-of-death/]; and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, a student activist facing more than 25 charges for protesting in Thailand [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/01/04/new-year-new-charges-against-thai-protesters-the-lese-majesty-law-in-thailand/].

The game’s stories, which are fictionalized experiences inspired by real world events, are driven by a player’s choices.

The player gets to play the role and navigate the experiences of the three central characters, making decisions based on their own understanding of human rights and unpacking how human rights concepts apply in daily life.

People around the world will be able to access a collection of three games currently available in four languages: English, Simplified Chinese, Thai and Korean.

Rights Arcade can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices, ensuring its accessibility in regions with poor internet connectivity.

Rights Arcade will be regularly updated to accommodate learning in more languages, and with new game offerings in the months and years to come.

Write for Rights 2021 launched

November 8, 2021

AI has launched the world’s biggest letter writing campaign to help 10 human rights defenders around the world facing.

Millions of letters, emails and texts will be sent to support people who have been jailed, attacked or disappeared 

Amnesty International has launched its flagship annual letter-writing campaign, Write for Rights to support 10 activists from around the world who have been attacked, jailed, harassed or disappeared for standing up for their rights.

This year, Write for Rights – which is funded by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery – will be supporting ten individuals, including:

  • Imoleayo Adeyeun Michael from Nigeria, who faces years behind bars for joining the #EndSARS protests against the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad last year;
  • Janna Jihad, a 15-year-old journalist from Palestine, who faces harassment and death threats for reporting on the racist brutality her community experiences;
  • Zhang Zhan, a citizen journalist from China who faces four years in prison for attempting to expose the extent of the Covid-19 crisis; [see also https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/11/06/chinese-journalist-zhang-zhan-at-imminent-risk-of-death/]
  • Sphere, a Ukrainian LGBTI and women’s rights NGO, which is struggling to operate against frequent homophobic attacks, threats and intimidation;
  • Mohamed Baker, an Egyptian human rights lawyer denied a trial and put behind bars for his work supporting people who have been imprisoned unjustly; and
  • Ciham Ali Ahmed, a US-Eritrean national, who was arrested nine years ago at the Sudanese border when she was trying to flee Eritrea aged 15 and has not been seen since. 

Sacha Deshmukh, CEO of Amnesty UK, said:

“These individuals have been thrown behind bars, attacked, harassed or disappeared just for standing up for their rights. By coming together, people around the world have the power to raise their profile and increase their chances of protection or release.

“Sending a letter or email might seem like a small act, but when sent in their thousands they can have a huge impact. People in power are forced to listen. 

Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign: Write for Rights goes back to the very roots of Amnesty International, which was founded in 1961, with Amnesty’s early campaigners writing letters of support to those affected by human rights abuses, as well as letters of concern to governments around the world.

During last year’s Write for Rights campaign [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/11/09/amnesty-internationals-write-for-rights-campaign-2020-launched/] :

  • More than 360,000 actions were taken for Algerian journalist Khaled Drareni, who was imprisoned for his reporting on the Hirak protest movement. He was provisionally released in February 2021.
  • Over 300,000 messages were sent to and on behalf of Paing Phyo Min, a satirical poet and student leader jailed for criticising the military in Myanmar. He was freed early in April 2021.
  • More than 777,000 actions were taken for Saudi women’s rights campaigner Nassima al-Sada. As a result, a G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia was overshadowed by international calls to free Nassima and other women human rights defenders. Nassima has since been conditionally released.

View latest press releases 01 Nov 2021

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/worlds-biggest-letter-writing-campaign-launches-help-10-people-around-world-facing