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June 2011 (22)
Jun 30 2011 4:03PM
Breaking the law

It is not often that people feel sorry for lawyers. But a new Amnesty report, made public today, details the concerted campaign in China to break the law; to suppress, intimidate and persecute lawyers who take up human rights cases. It...

Jun 29 2011 5:06PM
Tahrir Square: unfinished business

The new clashes in Tahrir Square are a blunt reminder of the fact that Egypt’s “25 January” revolution is unfinished business. To say the least…. Many of the people protesting in the square and surrounding streets are reported to be...

Jun 28 2011 4:45PM
Tomorrow Never Flies… into Burma

What do Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep and Katie Holmes have in common? They’ve all recently played politicians and none, so far as I am aware, has been blacklisted as a result.If they’ve upset anyone it will have been fans of the women...

Jun 27 2011 3:58PM
China UK visit: talk of trade mustn’t mean silence on human rights

David Cameron meets Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today as part of Mr Wen’s 3-day visit to the UK. There were always going to be two issues to discuss and they’ve both been mentioned in media reporting so far: trade and human rights. Some...

Jun 24 2011 2:28PM
Smashing the Twitter nut with a Kuwaiti sledgehammer

Like a lot of people, I’ve occasionally been guilty of tweeting in haste and repenting at leisure. When I say repent, I mean: feel slightly embarrassed that I’ve sent a tweet marred by a spelling mistake or containing a faulty link...

Jun 23 2011 2:37PM
81 Days later

So hes out. With uncharacteristically few words, Ai Weiwei addressed the waiting hordes of journalists, saying simply Im out, Im happy. And then Im on bail, please understand. Thinly-veiled code for the conditions of his release that...

Jun 22 2011 4:08PM
Ivory Towers...? Not quite

The fighting has subsided, the television news crews have departed and to the casual observer normality has returned to the West African state of Ivory Coast. Given the ongoing unrest and turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, it...

Jun 21 2011 6:55PM
Turkey: where being gay or transgender can get you killed

A new report we’ve launched today reveals that hate crimes in Turkey towards gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, including violent attacks and murders, are prevalent but largely ignored by the authorities. Transgender...

Jun 20 2011 1:47PM
The death of an (extra)ordinary man

When I heard the announcement of Brian Haw’s death on Radio 2 I was saddened and impressed – impressed that the death of this ordinary man should be announced by the BBC. And there’s lot of coverage in the papers today too. It’s a rare...

Jun 17 2011 5:29PM
Happy Birthday Aung San Suu Kyi?

This Sunday, is Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday. She will be 66. I wonder how she will choose to spend it. Having spent 15 of her last 20 years under house arrest in Rangoon, one might imagine this would be a time for celebration. This...

Jun 16 2011 6:12PM
Poetry: a jailing offence in Bahrain

“Free Ayat now, Amnesty tells Bahrain regime”, says a headline in the Independent today, and yes, that’s exactly what ought to happen. Ayat al-Qarmezi (sometimes transliterated as Gormezi) is the 20-year-old Bahraini student and poet...

Jun 15 2011 7:35PM
Index of shame

In the UK we often take for granted what we consider small freedoms, and while there is certainly a long way to go in terms of equality, women are relatively free to do and say as they please without fear. But this just isn’t the case...

Jun 14 2011 6:14PM
Water shed and blood shed

There has been a lot of debate recently about what is appropriate, what is gratuitous, what is deliberately alarming and what is necessary for broadcast. From films which were deemed too graphic and disturbing to screen, to the...

Jun 13 2011 6:54PM
Syrians flee to Turkey

The media today is full of stories from the thousands of refugees who have fled Syria across the border into Turkey, many of them it seems from the town of Jisr al-Shughur in northwest Syria. Bloomberg News reports that there are now...

Jun 10 2011 6:07PM
Bahrain: human rights in the pits

As attentive readers of this blog may have noticed (well, very attentive), I’ve made the occasional mention of how I’m often in Italy (Italian girlfriend, I have to keep her happy). Her place is in the north, not far from Milan. In...

Jun 9 2011 4:34PM
Rape used in war... sound familiar?

Allegations that Colonel Gaddafi has used a new aspect of repression by ordering his forces to use rape as a weapon of war have reminded us once again that women and girls are so often used as a pawn in bloody battles. Hundreds of...

Jun 8 2011 3:15PM
Jailed for attempted homosexuality.?

Having worked at Amnesty for a few years I’ve come across a few so-called “crimes” in my time which various countries have devised to serve as a reason to imprison (or execute) people, normally those who are causing a nuisance to the...

Jun 7 2011 12:54PM
The Angola 3: punished for Black Pantherism?

When people heard about the punitive conditions that the US soldier Bradley Manning was enduring in prison in Virginia there was (rightly) an international outcry. The same can be said – multiplied by nearly four decades – about Albert...

Jun 6 2011 5:35PM
Return of the Toxic Avenger in India

Cast your mind back to last October, when a tide of toxic sludge leaked into rivers (including the Danube) in Hungary from an alumina refinery’s ‘red mud pool’, causing massive environmental damage, displacing villagers and causing the...

Jun 3 2011 6:01PM
Dinosaur rock comes of age: Roger Waters and 'Hey Ayatollah!'

When I was getting into music in my teens in the late 70s it was deeply uncool to like "old" stuff. The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks, The Stranglers, Blondie, The Undertones, The Ruts, The Specials, Stiff Little Fingers. This was all...