Tag Archives: Amnesty International

New Survey by Amnesty International: Refugees Welcome Survey 2016

Refugees Welcome Survey 2016: Views of Citizens Across 27 Countries
by Amnesty International

The vast majority of people (80%) would welcome refugees with open arms, with many even prepared to take them into their own homes, according to a global survey commissioned by Amnesty International.

The new Refugees Welcome Index, based on a global survey of more than 27,000 people carried out by the internationally renowned strategy consultancy GlobeScan, ranks 27 countries across all continents based on people’s willingness to let refugees live in their countries, towns, neighbourhoods and homes.

The survey shows people say they are willing to go to astonishing lengths to make refugees welcome. It also shows how anti-refugee political rhetoric is out of kilter with public opinion.

Download: Global Refugees Survey 2016

Further news: Refugees Welcome Index shows government refugee policies out of touch with public opinion.


Re-blog: Amnesty International Report 2013: The State of the World’s Human Rights – ReliefWeb

Re-blogged from:   reliefweb.int/report/world/amnesty-international-report-2012-state-worlds-human-rights

Amnesty International Report 2013: The State of the World’s Human Rights

World Increasingly Dangerous for Refugees and Migrants

(London) Global inaction on human rights is making the world an increasingly dangerous place for refugees and migrants, Amnesty International said today as it launched its annual assessment of the world’s human rights.

The organization said that the rights of millions of people who have escaped conflict and persecution, or migrated to seek work and a better life for themselves and their families, have been abused. Governments around the world are accused of showing more interest in protecting their national borders than the rights of their citizens or the rights of those seeking refugee or opportunities within those borders.

“The failure to address conflict situations effectively is creating a global underclass. The rights of those fleeing conflict are unprotected. Too many governments are abusing human rights in the name of immigration control – going well beyond legitimate border control measures,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

“These measures not only affect people fleeing conflict. Millions of migrants are being driven into abusive situations, including forced labour and sexual abuse, because of anti-immigration policies which means they can be exploited with impunity. Much of this is fuelled by populist rhetoric that targets refugees and migrants for government’s domestic difficulties,” said Shetty.

In 2012 the global community witnessed a range of human rights emergencies that forced large numbers of people to seek safety, within states or across borders. From North Korea to Mali, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo people fled their homes in the hope of finding safe haven.

Another year has been lost for the Syrian people, where little changed apart from the ever-increasing numbers of lives lost or ruined as millions of people have been displaced by conflict. The world stood by while Syrian military and security forces continued carry out indiscriminate and targeted attacks on civilians, and to subject to enforced disappearance, arbitrarily detain, torture and extrajudicially execute those deemed to oppose the government, while armed groups continue to hold hostages and to carry out summary killings and torture on a smaller scale.

The excuse that human rights are ‘internal affairs’ has been used to block international action to address rights emergencies such as Syria. The UN Security Council – entrusted with global security and leadership – continue to fail to ensure concerted and unified political action.

“Respect for state sovereignty cannot be used as an excuse for inaction. The UN Security Council must consistently stand up to abuses that destroy lives and force people to flee their homes. That means rejecting worn-out and morally bereft doctrines that mass murder, torture and starvation are no one else’s business,” said Shetty.

People attempting to flee conflict and persecution regularly encountered formidable obstacles trying to cross international borders. It was often harder for refugees to cross borders than it was for the guns and weapons that facilitated the violence that forced such people from their homes. However, the UN’s adoption of an Arms Trade Treaty in March 2013 offers hope that shipments of weapons that may be used to commit atrocities may at last be halted.

“Refugees and displaced people can no longer be ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Their protection falls to all of us. The borderless world of modern communications makes it increasingly difficult for abuses to be hidden behind national boundaries – and is offering unprecedented opportunities for everyone to stand up for the rights of the millions uprooted from their homes,” said Shetty.

Refugees who were able to reach other countries seeking asylum often found themselves in the same boat – literally and figuratively – as migrants leaving their countries to seek a better life for themselves and their families. Many are forced to live in the margins of society, failed by ineffective laws and policies, and allowed to be the targets of the kind of populist, nationalist rhetoric that stokes xenophobia and increases the risk of violence against them.

The European Union implements border control measures that put the lives of migrants and asylum-seekers at risk and fails to guarantee the safety of those fleeing conflict and persecution. Around the world, migrants and asylum-seekers are regularly locked up in detention centres and in worst case scenarios are held in metal crates or even shipping containers.

The rights of huge numbers of the world’s 214 million migrants were not protected by their home or their host state. Millions of migrants worked in conditions amounting to forced labour – or in some cases slavery-like conditions – because governments treated them like criminals and because corporations cared more about profits than workers’ rights. Undocumented migrants were particularly at risk of exploitation and human rights abuse.

“Those who live outside their countries, without wealth or status, are the world’s most vulnerable people but are often condemned to desperate lives in the shadows,” said Shetty. “A more just future is possible if governments respect the human rights of all people, regardless of nationality. The world cannot afford no-go zones in the global demand for human rights. Human rights protection must be applied to all human beings – wherever they are.”

Notes to editors

  1. Amnesty International Report 2013: State of the World’s Human Rights covers January-December 2012.
  2. Facts and figures, audio-visual materials, details of media events and other information are available. Please email press@amnesty.org for further details.
  3. For more information or to arrange an interview with an AI spokesperson and those involved in the frontline of the struggle for human rights, contact the Press Office on + 44 (0) 20 7413 5566 or press@amnesty.org.

Other human rights developments highlighted in Amnesty International Report 2013:

  • Amnesty International documented specific restrictions on free speech in at least 101 countries, and torture and ill-treatment in at least 112 countries.
  • Half of humanity remained second-class citizens in the realization of their rights, as numerous nations failed to address gender-based abuse. Soldiers and armed groups committed rapes in Mali, Chad, Sudan and the DRC; women and girls suffered execution-style killings by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and women and girls pregnant through rape or whose pregnancy threatened their health or life were denied access to safe abortions in countries like Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
  • Across Africa, conflict, poverty and abuses by security forces and armed groups exposed the weakness of regional and international human rights mechanisms – even as the continent prepared to commemorate the African Union’s 50th Anniversary, marked by a major AU summit in Ethiopia this week (19-27 May 2013).
  • In the Americas, prosecutions in Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala and Uruguay marked important advances towards justice for past violations. The Inter-American human rights system came under criticism by several governments.
  • Freedom of expression came under fire across Asia Pacific, with state oppression in Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives, while armed conflicts blighted the lives of tens of thousands in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Pakistan and Thailand. Myanmar freed hundreds of political prisoners, but hundreds more remained under lock and key.
  • In Europe and Central Asia, accountability for crimes committed in Europe in the US-led renditions programme was elusive; in the Balkans, the likelihood of justice receded for some victims of 1990s war crimes; and Georgia’s elections were a rare example of democratic transition of power in the former Soviet Union as authoritarian regimes retained their grip on power.
  • In the Middle East and North Africa, countries where autocratic rulers had been ousted saw greater media freedom and expanding opportunities for civil society, but setbacks too, with challenges to freedom of expression on religious or moral grounds. Across the region, human rights and political activists continued to face repression, including imprisonment and torture in custody. November saw a new escalation in the Israel / Gaza conflict.
  • Globally, the death penalty continued to retreat – despite setbacks including Gambia’s first executions for 30 years, and Japan’s first execution of a woman in 15 years.

Download PDF (1.76 MB)  Full Report

Re-blog: Bangladesh: Indigenous Peoples engulfed in Chittagong Hill Tracts land conflict – Amnesty International

12 June 2013

Bangladesh: Indigenous Peoples engulfed in Chittagong Hill Tracts land conflict

Re-blogged from: www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/bangladesh-indigenous-peoples-engulfed-chittagong-hill-tracts-land-conflict

The Bangladeshi government’s failure to address rights to traditional lands in the eastern Chittagong Hill Tracts region has left tens of thousands of Pahari Indigenous people landless and trapped in a cycle of violent clashes with Bengali settlers, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.

The report, Pushed to the Edge, documents how the Pahari are still waiting for the government to live up to the terms of an accord signed more than 15 years ago, by restoring their traditional lands to them.

Clashes between the Pahari and Bengali settlers in the region over land use are all too common.

“The current situation, with violent clashes being fuelled by disputes over land, continues to cause immense insecurity and suffering for the Pahari Indigenous People, and the Bangladeshi authorities have to address it immediately,” said Andrew Erueti, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights.

“That the Pahari Indigenous People are being denied their traditional lands, or adequate compensation for land taken away from them, is a clear violation of international human rights law.”

The Chittagong Hill Tracts region in southeastern Bangladesh has long seen internal armed conflict following Pahari demands for greater autonomy and protection of traditional lands.

A 1997 peace accord included a series of reforms to restore Pahari traditional lands to them, but these have only at best been partially fulfilled despite repeated promises by the current Bangladeshi government.

“The government has still time to fulfill its promises before the general elections in 2014”, said Erueti.

The conflict had a devastating effect on the Pahari and still today it is estimated that more than 90,000 Pahari families remain internally displaced.

A Land Commission – set up under the Peace Accord to settle land ownership claims after the conflict – has yet to make a single ruling on a land dispute.

Thousands of Bengali settlers who have moved to the Chittagong Hill Tracts during and after the conflict have gradually occupied and encroached on traditional Pahari land, giving rise to renewed violent clashes. During the conflict, the settlers – mostly landless families from the plains districts – were encouraged to move to the Chittagong Hill Tracts with offers of land as part of a counter insurgency strategy.

Pahari tend to suffer disproportionately in the clashes, which have over recent years left hundreds of Pahari families homeless as their houses have been burned down in mob violence triggered by land disputes.

In February 2011, for example, a mob of some 200 Bengali settlers burned at least 23 Pahari homes in the Longadu after a Bengali settler accused the Pahari community of murdering his brother. Nobody has been held accountable for the attacks on the village.

The authorities have remained ineffectual throughout, failing to protect the Paharis’ right to security and their rights to traditional lands – as well as their livelihoods and way of life, which is inextricably linked to those lands.

Pahari women are especially negatively affected, as one Pahari woman told Amnesty International:

“We are now left with no land to do jum (farming) and grow crops, or forest to go to for collecting fuel wood, and fruit. Life has become very hard as we have [the] army at very close proximity and I feel very insecure even walking short distances. Our home has become an insecure unsafe place to live in. I’m now constantly worried about getting food for my family and security of my children.”

“For many Pahari Indigenous people, in particular in rural areas, their traditional lands are linked to not just their livelihood but also their very way of life. It is inconceivable that after 15 years the Land Commission set up to restore Pahari to their lands is not operational,” said Erueti.

Despite the 1997 peace accord promising to remove all temporary army camps from the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the region still remains Bangladesh’s most militarized with a substantial army presence. Many Pahari view the army as providing support for Bengali settlers’ continued occupation of Pahari land.

“This violence is likely to continue as long as these serious land disputes remain unresolved. It is also indicative of the Bangladeshi authorities’ failure to adequately protect Pahari people at risk, despite the huge security presence in the region,” said Erueti.

Amnesty International calls on the government of Bangladesh to respect its obligations under international human rights law, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the ILO Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples No.107, and take concrete steps to return the Paharis’ traditional lands to them, with the effective participation of Pahari women and men in the process.

Amnesty International is also calling on political parties in the lead up to next year’s general elections to include the restoration of Pahari right to their traditional land in their election manifesto.

AI Index: PRE01/269/2013

Bangladesh: Pushed to the edge. Indigenous rights denied in Bangladesh’s Chittagong hill tracts


Re-blog: Asylum claim process flawed, says Amnesty report

Re-blog from the Refugee Council – Asylum claim process flawed, says Amnesty report.

Asylum claim process flawed, says Amnesty report
19 Apr 2013

Copyright: Refugee Council

Amnesty International UK and the Still Human Still Here Coalition have released a report this week further highlighting critically flawed decisions made by UKBA border officials in charge of deciding asylum claims.

Statistics used in the A Question of Credibility report show the process, first highlighted by AI UK in their 2004 report Get It Right: How Home Office decision making fails refugees, is actually becoming more inaccurate with regard to first-instance decisions, with 25 percent of refusals now being overturned on appeal.    Despite repeated calls for decision-making policy to be reformed, such as in the recent Refugee Council report Between as Rock and a Hard Place, perceived shortfalls in areas such as access to legal aid and flawed decision-making based on credibility issues have not been effectively addressed by the Home Office.

Research showed that in sample cases, the caseworkers often incorrectly applied caselaw, or did not follow the relevant credibility or operational guidance notes instituted as part of Home Secretary Theresa May’s recommendations.  While some of the negative decisions could be chalked up to reasonable disagreements between the judges at different stages in the process, the majority of  cases cited in the study were overturned primarily due to the fact the ‘UKBA case owner had wrongly made a negative assessment of the applicant’s credibility’.

Further, a significant number of reviewed cases also had their decisions reversed at appeal stage, on the alarming basis that the UKBA officer speculated what was likely to happen or how the applicant should have acted using solely  their own judgment, often not referring to region-specific research that would have alerted them to the fallibility of these decisions.  In other cases, the case officer did not ‘give appropriate weight’ to evidence, such as medical records and other documentation, which added credence to the applicant’s case.

While Amnesty admits that its research cannot be taken to correspond to all cases, the report is substantive, and in addition to a growing body of work that underlines the same conclusions supports a widening call to overhaul asylum claims’ procedure.  The monetary cost of unnecessary appeals is substantial, but the cost to the individual fleeing persecution cannot be measured in pounds and pence.

Read the full report: A Question of Credibility: Why so many initial decisions on asylum claims are overturned at appeal in the UK


New Publications on Syria; Yemen; Bahrain; Frontex and Internal Displacement

Syrian Refugees: Reliance on Camps Creates Few Good Options.
A new report by Refugees International.

The civil war in Syria has forced large numbers of Syrians from their homes, and in many cases from the country entirely. Refugees continue to flee in record numbers, and there are currently almost 400,000 registered or waiting for registration in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey combined. The United Nations has said it expects this number could reach 700,000 by December 31, 2012. About half of all the registered Syrians are living in camps, but the other half remain in local host communities trying to get by on their own.

[Download a PDF of this report].
(Source: Refugees International – refugeesinternational.org.)

Conflict in Yemen: Abyan’s darkest hour.
A new report by Amnesty International.

For around 10 months leading up to mid-2012, Abyan governorate in southern Yemen was racked by armed conflict between government forces and Ansar al-Shari’a, an Islamist armed group affiliated to al-Qa’ida. This report documents violations committed by Ansar al-Shari’a when cities and towns in Abyan were under their control and during the subsequent armed conflict. These violations included recklessly exposing civilians to harm during attacks; killing captured soldiers; abducting civilians; and obstructing medical treatment for wounded people. It also shows how government forces used disproportionate force during the conflict.

[Download Full Report]
(Source: Amnesty International press release – Yemen: Abyan conflict a human rights ‘catastrophe’).

Bahrain: Reform shelved, repression unleashed.
A new report by Amnesty International.

On the first anniversary of the BICI report, Amnesty International continues to call for true justice and accountability in Bahrain. The Bahraini government must immediately release all prisoners of conscience; conduct independent, effective and transparent investigations into allegations of torture; bring to justice anyone at any level of the chain of command who committed or gave the orders to commit abuses; and refrain from further use of unnecessary or excessive force against protesters. The international community should immediately condemn human rights violations and match their condemnation with action.

[Download Full Report]
(Source: Amnesty International Press Release – Bahrain: Promises of reform broken, repression unleashed).

FRAN (Frontex Risk Assessment Network) Quarterly Report for the Second Quarter of 2012 (April-June).
Quarterly report produced by Frontex.

On 10 October Frontex released its FRAN (Frontex Risk Assessment Network) Quarterly Report for the Second Quarter of 2012 (April-June). As is always the case, the 70 page report contains a significant amount of information, graphs, and statistical tables regarding detections of illegal border crossings (land, air, and sea), irregular migration routes, detections of facilitators, detections of illegal stays, refusals of entry, asylum claims, returns, information regarding other illegal border activities, and more.  Here are some highlights (focusing on the sea borders)

[Download Full Report]
(Source: Migrants at Sea blog – Frontex FRAN Report for Q2 2012).

UNHCR Handbook for the Protection of Internally Displaced Persons.
Produced by UNHCR.
[Download Full Report]
(Source: UNHCR)

Challenges of IDP Protection: Research study on the protection of internally displaced persons in Afghanistan.
A new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, (IDMC).

A new report, published today by IDMC and NRC presents new evidence highlighting the worrying conditions faced by the growing number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) across Afghanistan. More than 166,000 internally displaced Afghans have been recorded in 2012 alone, bringing the total number of internally displaced due to conflict to at least 460,000.

[Download full report here] and [Download executive study here].
(Source: IDMC).

Côte d’Ivoire: IDPs rebuilding lives amid a delicate peace.
A new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, (IDMC).

Côte d’Ivoire witnessed the world’s largest new internal displacement event of 2011 after contested presidential election results in 2010 sparked a violent conflict for political control. Serious rights abuses by supporters of both sides and armed clashes between them resulted in the internal displacement of up to a million people. Two years later, most of these internally displaced people (IDPs) have returned home to rebuild their lives. However, tens of thousands have still not found durable solutions to their displacement.

[Download the Report]
(Source: IDMC).


Add your thoughts here… (optional)

Human rights investigations

by Daniel Kovalik (reproduced by kind permission of the author)

When I studied law at Columbia in the early 1990s, I had the fortune of studying under Louis Henkin, probably the world’s most famous human rights theoretician. Upon his passing in 2010, Elisa Massimino at Human Rights First stated in Professor Henkin’s New York Times obituary that he “literally and figuratively wrote the book on human rights” and that “[i]t is no exaggeration to say that no American was more instrumental in the development of human rights law than Lou.”

View original post 2,332 more words

Updated List of New Publications

Fleeing War, Finding Misery

Fleeing War, Finding Misery

Afghanistan: Time to Get Serious About IDPs and Protection (World Bridge Blog, Feb. 2012) [text]
(Source: Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog)

Fleeing War, Finding Misery: The Plight of the Internally Displaced in Afghanistan (Amnesty International, Feb. 2012) [text]
(Source: Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog)

No Frontpage News? Afghanistan’s Ongoing IDP Crisis (Afghanistan Analysts Network, Feb. 2012) [text]
(Source: Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog)

Tackling Azerbaijan’s IDP Burden (International Crisis Group, Feb. 2012) [text]
(Source: Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog)

Yemen: IDPs Outside of Camps (UNHCR, Feb. 2012) [text via ReliefWeb
(Source: Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog)


Annual Meeting of the Informal Consultation Group of the World Bank Global Program on Forced Displacement (GPFD), Copenhagen, 2 Dec. 2011 [access]
– Follow link for summary note, some of the presentations and other related resources.
(Source: Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog)
Border Management and Protection of Refugees, Zagreb, 13-14 Oct. 2011 [meeting report]
(Source: Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog)

New Publications on Libya; Children and Destitution; Iran and UNHCR

In War's Wake: The Struggle for Post-Qadhafi Libya

In War's Wake: The Struggle for Post-Qadhafi Libya

In War’s Wake: The Struggle for Post-Qadhafi Libya.
By Jason Pack and Barak Barfi and published by the Washington Institute on Near East Policy.
[Download Full Report]
(Source: DocuBase)

I don’t feel human: Experiences of destitution among young refugees and migrants.   A new report by The Children’s Society reveals alarming levels of destitution among refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant children and young people.
[Download Full Report]
Further Information:
Children’s Society – Report: Shocking destitution among asylum-seeking and migrant children
Refugee Council – Child refugees being forced into destitution, report shows: Refugee Council response

“We are ordered to crush you”: Expanding Repression of Dissent in Iran.   A new report published by Amnesty International which:

details how, in the wake of protests called by opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi in February 2011, the Iranian authorities have steadily cranked up repression of dissent in law and practice, launching a wave of arrests in recent months.

[Download Full Report]
(Source: Amnesty International – Iran: New report finds surge in repression of dissent).

UNHCR has begun issuing “Guidelines on Statelessness.” The first is “The Definition of ‘Stateless Person’ in Article 1(1) of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.” The aim is to “provide interpretive legal guidance for governments, NGOs, legal practitioners, decision-makers and the judiciary, as well as for UNHCR staff and other UN agencies involved in addressing statelessness.”
[Download Full Report]
(Source: Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog)

Publications from Amnesty International and ODI

Libya: The battle for Libya: Killings, disappearances and torture
Download File
(Source : Amnesty International – http://www.amnesty.org/)

Deadly Detention: Deaths In Custody and Popular Protest in Syria
Download Report
(Source : Amnesty International – http://www.amnesty.org/)

Egypt: ‘We are not dirt’: Forced evictions in Egypt’s informal settlements
Download Report
(Source : Amnesty International – http://www.amnesty.org/)

ODI PublicationSanctuary in the city? Urban displacement and vulnerability in Nairobi
Download Working Paper
(Source : ODI – http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/details.asp?id=5943&title=sanctuary-city-urban-displacement-vulnerability-nairobi)

Coordinating post-conflict aid in Southern Sudan
Download Working Paper
(Source : ODI – http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/details.asp?id=5946&title=bsi-southern-sudan-aid-fragility-conflict-aid-effectiveness-budget-planning).

How the 9/11 decade changed the aid, security and development landscape
Download Article
(Source : ODI – http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/details.asp?id=5956&title=911-development-security-stabilisation).