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Posts Tagged ‘Amnesty’

Turkish Offensive on Kurdish Areas Threatens 200,000 Lives

Posted by feww on January 21, 2016

Democracy cannot exist without freedom of expression

Onslaught on Kurdish areas in Turkey putting tens of thousands of lives at risk —Amnesty

“The Turkish government’s onslaught on Kurdish towns and neighborhoods, which includes round-the-clock curfews and cuts to services, is putting the lives of up to 200,000 people at risk and amounts to collective punishment,” says Amnesty International.

“Cuts to water and electricity supplies combined with the dangers of accessing food and medical care while under fire are having a devastating effect on residents, and the situation is likely to get worse, fast, if this isn’t addressed,” said Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Program Director.“In some areas, crippling curfews that don’t allow people to leave their houses at all have been in place for more than a month, effectively laying siege to entire neighborhoods. It is imperative that the Turkish authorities ensure that affected residents are able to access food and essential services.”

Amnesty cites numerous reports of Turkish security forces preventing ambulances from entering areas under curfew. In one incident, body of a man killed during clashes in Silopi was left to decompose at the family’s home for 12 days before authorities allowed it to be collected.

Meanwhile the Turkish dictator has vowed to punish treasonous’ academics for defending human rights.

Turkish president vows ‘treasonous’ academics will pay the price

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stepped up his harsh rhetoric against academics who called for an end to military operations in Turkey’s southeast, warning that they would pay the price for “falling into a pit of treachery,” said a report.

“I’m saying frankly: This mindset which gives a self-styled fatwa to the terror organization’s attacks on public servants, which simply says ‘it would be better if it didn’t do so’ in response to the killing of civilians, disgusts me,” Erdoğan said.

Prosecutors have launched a major investigation into more than 1,200 academics who signed a petition denouncing military operations in the southeast, with at least 18 being detained so far. The EU and the United States have both denounced the probes in unusually strong statements.

The Turkish dictator, speaking at his presidential palace, said the academics’ “masks have fallen off,” showing their “real and ugly faces.”

“They spit out hatred of our nation’s values and history on every occasion. The petition has made this clearer.”

“Do you think you can disrupt the unity of this nation? Do you think you can continue to have a comfortable life with a salary from the state, without paying a price?” Erdoğan said.

“In a state of law like Turkey, so-called academics who target the unity of our nation have no right to commit crimes. They don’t have immunity for this.”

All those detained in the probe into the petition last week have since been released but they still face investigation and eventual trial.

Academics support colleagues under probe in Turkey

Hundreds of Turkish academics have expressed solidarity with their colleagues suspected of terrorism crimes after signing a petition to call for an end to ongoing violence in southeastern Turkey in a statement sent to the Hürriyet Daily News.

“Democracy cannot exist without freedom of expression,” said the statement signed by 610 academics from various universities including some in the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria and Turkey.

“We, the undersigned academics, believe that freedom of expression is the core element of academic life… we think that the reaction of the government and the Higher Education Council [YÖK] toward the petition entitled ‘We shall not be a party to this crime’ signed by over 1,000 academics is wrong and disturbing,” the statement said.

The statement came amid a criminal complaint against a group of people, including 15 academics out of a total of 1,228 who signed the petition to call for peace, as well as overt death threats by ultranationalist mafia boss Sedat Peker that directly targeted the academics. The scholars also demanded state protection as they said “our lives are in danger” in a criminal complaint filed with the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

“We will let your blood flow in streams and take a shower in your blood,” Peker, a well-known convicted criminal, said in a message posted on his personal website on Jan. 13. The message titled as “The So-Called Intellectuals, The Bells Will Toll for You First” was posted just a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called more than 1,000 Turkish and international academics as “poor excuses for intellectuals.”

The statement from the 610 also said public debate and criticism were the basic tenets of democracy, whereas silencing and persecuting dissent were the hallmarks of authoritarianism.

“The attempt to punish the academics who express their opinions regarding the burning problems which are currently affecting the country constitutes a blow to academic freedom. Social progress is bound to be impeded by such an attack,” it added.

At least 40,000 people have been killed in the Kurdish conflict since 1984, Turkish govt says.

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Global Response to Violence ‘Shameful’ —Amnesty

Posted by feww on February 26, 2015

2014 a “catastrophic” year for millions of people around the world

World governments failed to protect civilians against violence perpetrated by states and armed groups, said Amnesty International, calling the global response “shameful and ineffective.”

The “human rights watchdog” called 2014 a “catastrophic” year for millions of people around the world in its 424-page annual report.

“As people suffered an escalation in barbarous attacks and repression, the international community has been found wanting,” said Amnesty secretary general.

Millions of civilians suffered horrific violence and human rights violations from Syria to Ukraine, Gaza to Nigeria, while the number of displaced people globally  exceeded 50 million last year, for the first time since the end of World War II, said the report.

It criticized the European Union’s response to the world’s worst refugee crisis in Syria. Of the more than 4 million Syrian refugees displaced by conflict only 150,000 were living in EU states as of December 2014.

“It is abhorrent to see how wealthy countries’ efforts to keep people out take precedence over their efforts to keep people alive,” said the secretary general, adding that the United Nations Security Council had “miserably failed” to protect civilians.

Armed groups committed abuses in at least 35 countries—out of 160 surveyed—in 2014, aid the report, raising particular concern about the rise of the Islamic State (formerly ISIL) terrorist group.

The Islamic State terrorists committed wide-scale war crimes, said the report, including mass summary killings and abductions that targeted minorities, and sexual abuse of women and girls.

Massive volumes of arms were delivered to Iraq, Israel, Russia, South Sudan and Syria in 2014, despite the likelihood of these weapons being used against civilians, it said.

“Violent attacks on grounds of religious and ethnic identity continued on a significant scale. The failure of governments to address rising religious and ethnic intolerance was evident. The Myanmar and Sri Lankan governments failed to address ongoing incitement to violence based on national, racial and religious hatred by Buddhist nationalist groups despite violent incidents.
The government of Myanmar also failed to allow equal access to full citizenship to Rohingyas. In Pakistan, Shi’a Muslims were killed in attacks by armed groups; Ahmadis and Christians were also targeted. Sri Lanka also saw violence against Muslims and Christians carried out by armed groups, and police failed to protect them or to investigate incidents.”

Director of Amnesty International UK said Britain “is going in the wrong direction on rights, protections and fairness.”

She asserted the importance of public safety, but said it should not be achieved at the cost of fundamental civil liberties.

“The UK talks the talk on the global stage on human rights but this year’s summary shows they need to tend to their own garden,” she said.

“Twice this year GCHQ spies have been rumbled breaking the law. We should be concerned about waking up in a surveillance state, without having a proper public debate about it first.”

Amnesty also urged the permanent members of the UN Security Council Britain, China, France, Russia and the US, also known as the Permanent Five, to discard their veto power in cases where atrocities are being committed.

The outlook for 2015 was “bleak,” the group said.

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