2010: the years top ten human rights stories (part 2)

Yesterday I tore myself away from the Lib Dems tapes story and updates on "weather chaos" and people's last-minute Christmas shopping long enough to post the first five of my top ten human rights stories of 2010. Here are the next five from the second half of 2010.

1: In July a previously little-known website called WikiLeaks published leaked information about the conduct of US forces in Afghanistan. In October it went one better with a massive release of some 400,000 documents about the Coalition forces in Iraq. Much of the detail about prisoner abuse overlapped or echoed Amnesty’s findings. The case of a 68-year-old British man, Ramze Shihab Ahmed, was also highlighted by Amnesty, and his wife in London made appeals to William Hague to ensure her husband is either properly charged or released. 2: In August France sparked international concern when it announced measures to forcibly deport mainly Roma people without permits to Romania and Bulgaria. In another move that also led to considerable domestic and international criticism, France passed a law (which comes into force next year) imposing a ban on the wearing of niqabs (Muslim face veils) in public places, with fines for transgressors.    3: In October the veteran Chinese democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo was named the recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Given that he was serving an 11-year sentence on trumped-up charges (of “inciting subversion of state power”) he was unable to attend the ceremony in December, and neither was his wife (who was placed under house arrest) or other members of his family. China’s lobbying of countries to boycott the ceremony become a story in its own right as world leaders criticised China’s arm-twisting behaviour.  4: In November Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest was a hugely symbolic moment for both the people of Burma and everyone interested in the fate of this country. As Amnesty said, it didn’t change the fact that the military junta continued to hold some 2,200 political prisoners behind bars, but it nevertheless felt like an important moment. During the year Amnesty’s special appeal for radios for Burma’s news-starved people proved extremely popular among campaigners. 5: Disputed elections in various countries led to serious violence and human rights violations during 2010, including in Egypt, Guinea and earthquake-hit Haiti. At the time of writing post-election Belarus and Ivory Coast both remain in a very dangerous condition, amid reports of killings, “disappearances” and mass round-ups. That’s it. What have I missed? Post a comment and let me know. Finally, throughout these two posts I’ve linked to older posts on Amnesty’s world-famous “Press Release Me, Let Me Go” blog. Please check out some of those “back copies” (especially the wonderfully well-written ones by some chap called Niluccio) and don’t forget … we’ll be back with you on 4 January 2011.  Have a happy, safe Christmas and carry on blogging!

PS: I can't leave you without mentioning an urgent appeal Amnesty has launched over a Kurdish law student called Habibollah Latifi in Iran who is facing execution on Boxing Day. Please send an urgent message to the Iranian authorities calling for the execution to be halted and the sentence commuted. Tx, N. 

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