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Colombia: 'Deeply alarming' footage reveals brutal response to tax protesters

© Photo by Daniel Garzon Herazo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Footage shows riot police charging at protesters with vehicles and lethal weapons ‘Their right to protest should not be labeled as “vandalism and terrorism”, as President Iván Duque has done’ - Erika Guevara-Rosas Ahead of further planned protests in Colombia today, Amnesty International has published evidence of excessive and brutal use of force being used against protesters by the security forces. Amnesty’s Digital Verification Corps has analysed audiovisual evidence, and can confirm that that Colombian police have used lethal weaponry - including rifles and semi-automatic weapons, as well

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Release detained Bogazici protestors

Turkey protestors
days left to take action

The appointment by President Erdoğan of Professor Melih Bulu, who is known for his political affiliation with the ruling AK Party, as the rector of Boğaziçi University was met with widespread protests by students and academic staff at the University and beyond. Protests were held in at least 38 provinces around the country, which were met by the use of unnecessary and excessive force by the police to disperse peaceful demonstrations and detain participants. On 21 February, the Minister of Interior announced that there had been 806 detentions, with 11 people remanded in pre-trial detention, of whom two were released after five days, and 27 people subjected to house arrest. Hundreds were placed under judicial controls, including travel bans and requirements to report frequently at a police station.

On 1 February, the President’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun shared on social media the decision taken by rector Melih Bulu to revoke the “candidate status” of the Boğaziçi University LGBTI+ club. The decision led to the closure of the club, that had been active for years, on grounds that two criminal investigations allegedly concerning the LGBTI+ club had been launched. One of the criminal investigations concerned the two students accused of ‘incitement to hatred and enmity’ in relation to an artwork displayed during an art exhibition in which the LGBTI+ club had not been involved. The artwork depicted the mythical figure of Shahmaran on a picture of the holy site of Kaaba with LGBTI+ flags on the four corners of the image. The other criminal investigation under charges of ‘propaganda for a terrorist organisation’ was based on a book allegedly found in the LGBTI+ club’s office by the police during a search which was carried out in the absence of anyone representing the LGBTI+ club. Several high-level authorities, including the Minister of Interior, made homophobic comments directed at LGBTI+ students in the context of a large number of posts attacking the artwork on social media. The Minister of Interior’s tweets referring to LGBTI+ people as ‘deviants’ were twice restricted by Twitter for contravening the platform's rules. 

An indictment was accepted on 26 February in which seven students are facing prosecution under ‘incitement to hatred and enmity’ under Article 216/1 of the Turkish Penal Code, in relation to the art exhibition on campus described above. Two of the seven are the students who were remanded in pre-trial detention on 30 January.

Under the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Turkey is a state party to, as well as its own domestic laws, the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly cannot be arbitrarily restricted, and people must not be detained solely for the exercise of these rights. 

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USA: Pentagon report fails to acknowledge true extent of civilian casualties and deaths abroad

Pentagon claims military operations killed 130 civilians and injured 91 others in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia last year ‘If the US is going to engage in lethal operations, then it must develop a reliable means for investigating and reporting on who it has killed in the process’ - Daphne Eviatar Responding to the Pentagon’s report on US civilian casualties to Congress, Daphne Eviatar, Director of the Security with Human Rights Program at Amnesty International USA, said: “The Department of Defense’s submission of this year’s report marks some progress in terms of transparency of US

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Northern Ireland: Statute of limitations would be 'utter betrayal' of victims

Northern Ireland’s Attorney General, John Larkin, QC, has said he supports the implementation of a statute of limitations on all criminal offences committed in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, as long as there is wider political support for it - a move which Amnesty International has called an “utter betrayal of victims’ fundamental rights to justice”. Grainne Teggart, Amnesty’s Northern Ireland Campaigns Manager, said “The UK Government must not legislate for impunity through a statute of limitations. “The effect of a statute of limitations would be to grant a blanket amnesty for human

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Three activists face prison for peaceful rally

Three activists are facing prison time for calling for constitutional reform and criticising military rule.

First UA: 13/20

Urgent Action: Indigenous communities attacked and at risk

The Pemón Indigenous communities in the Canaima National Park were targeted during a two-day military operation.

UA 210/18 issued 19/12/2018

Urgent Action: Bill to give armed forces control of security in Mexico

Mexican legislators could pass a bill for a constitutional reform that would broaden the powers of the armed forces.

UA 212/18 issued 19/12/2018

Urgent Action Update: Law leading to military impunity sanctioned by Brazilian President

Law sanctioned that transfers to the Military Court the ability to try human rights violations and crimes against life

2nd update on UA 236/17 issued 25/10/2017
© Amnesty International

Nearly one million Rohingya refugees are living in threadbare camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, after they fled their homes in Myanmar due to the military’s crimes against humanity - which are currently the subject of a case under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide at the International Court of Justice.

Long-standing discrimination

For decades, unrest has rocked northern Rakhine State because of a wider context of long-standing discrimination against the Rohingya in Myanmar. 

© Scott Olson/Getty

This week, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced President Trump’s intention to lift restrictions on the use of military weapons by local police officers.

The move, to be enforced through a new executive order, is a grave mistake and could easily lead to more human rights violations. 

Police officers should be equipped to facilitate the right to peaceful assembly and protect public safety, but this policy would instead arm them for a battlefield and could escalate tensions.

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