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Making Rights Law

    September 04, 2013


    Fiji’s proposed new constitution falls far short of international standards of human rights law and is another step backwards in guaranteeing human rights protection for all, Amnesty International said.

    The draft constitution will be sent to the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau for assent on 6 September.

    “Contrary to the claims of Fiji’s government over the last few months, the new constitution actually weakens human rights protections in the country,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    The current text upholds decrees that severely restrict free speech, grants the state the power to detain people (potentially indefinitely) without charge or trial in times of emergency. It also gives state officials immunity for a wide range of acts, including crimes under international law such as torture.

    July 15, 2013

    Set-backs to China’s new criminal procedure law, which came into effect on 1 January 2013, are legalizing violations of human rights, and the limited improvements to the law are not being respected, Amnesty International said in a new briefing released today.

    “It is frustrating that after so many years in the making, the legal changes that took place in the beginning of the year are now legalizing some of the worst practices on the part of police and local authorities,” said Corinna-Barbara Francis, Amnesty International’s China Researcher.

    Under the new law the police are allowed to detain individuals, and to hold some in secret locations for up to six months, without telling family members why or where they are being held.

    June 03, 2013

    International and Afghan military forces must preserve the modest human rights gains of the past 12 years and ensure that the rights of the Afghan people are protected during and after the ongoing security transition, Amnesty International said ahead of this week’s NATO meeting in Brussels.

    NATO defence ministers are meeting in Brussels on 4-5 June to discuss, among other things, the progress of transition of security responsibilities from NATO/ISAF forces to the national Afghan army and the post-2014 “transformation period”.

    “Afghanistan is going through a crucial period with the security transition well under way, and it is vital that human rights are not forgotten by the Afghan government or its international partners during this process,” Isabelle Arradon, Deputy Asia Pacific Director of Amnesty International said.

    “The country is still facing enormous human rights challenges that must be top of any agenda that concerns Afghanistan’s future.”

    March 25, 2013

    Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire must be allowed an appeal that meets international fair trial standards after being convicted and sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment in October 2012, said Amnesty International in a new report released today. 

    The appeal, due to open today, must rectify a number of problems which occurred in the trial, as documented in “Justice in Jeopardy: The first instance trial of Victoire Ingabire.”

    “Victoire Ingabire’s initial trial was flawed and international standards were flouted,” said Sarah Jackson, Acting Deputy Director of the Africa Programme.

    Ingabire, President of the United Democratic Forces - Inkingi (FDU-Inkingi) was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison on 30 October 2012, on charges of conspiracy to harm the authorities using terrorism and minimizing the 1994 genocide. 

    From the start of investigations, President Paul Kagame made public statements in the media and through Twitter on Ingabire’s alleged culpability which were at odds with her right to the presumption of innocence. 

    November 12, 2012

    The UN General Assembly should only elect member states to serve on the Human Rights Council that can demonstrate their commitment to human rights, Amnesty International said ahead of Monday’s vote for 18 new Council members.

    The elections will be held in the UN General Assembly in New York. Candidate countries include Ethiopia, Greece, Côte d’Ivoire, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, United States, and Venezuela. 

    Council members are expected to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,” but Amnesty International is concerned that some candidates fall short of this criteria.

    “Some of the candidates commit gross human rights violations, have not ratified core human rights treaties and do not cooperate with the UN’s human rights experts,” said Amnesty International's representative to the UN in New York Jose Luis Dias.

    Successful candidates require the support of the majority of the members of the General Assembly. However, just one of the five regional groups is set to have a genuinely open contest.

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