Showing posts with label Amnesty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amnesty. Show all posts

March 23, 2015

Amnesty International Launches Campaign for a Gay Marriage 'Yes’


Amnesty International has launched its campaign for a Yes vote in the referendum on marriage equality. 
The referendum on whether to allow marriage between gay couples takes place on Friday, May 22nd.
Former government minister Pat Carey described the referendum as unique in Ireland, because “it is an exercise in civic engagement which has not been tried before”.
Mr Carey, who recently came out as gay, said the Constitutional Convention had recommended a referendum on marriage equality. 
“The Government and Oireachtas adopted that and it is now over to the people of Ireland to make their judgment on what I believe has the potential to be a watershed moment in Ireland.”
But he warned that Yes voters could not be taken for granted and “many of them may still need to be reassured”. 
‘Very important people’
“People who are in doubt are open to persuasion, and we should not hesitate in trying to persuade those very important people.”
Mr Carey, who is 67, said: “People of my generation do have doubts, but they are our greatest supporters when they are convinced. This is a campaign like any other - voters need to be asked. 
“Irish people are used to being asked on the doorsteps for their vote.”
He said: “We must avail of every opportunity to make direct contact with voters. 
“Sitting at home talking to each other or talking to people who are already convinced won’t win this referendum - conviction, hard work and shoe leather will.”
Confrontational language
And he made another appeal: “I think we must refrain from confrontational and offensive language, and allow this debate to develop in a way which has not happened in referenda in Ireland.” 
Speaking at the campaign launch outside the GPO, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland Colm O’Gorman said Ireland would be the first country to put this proposition to a popular vote by referendum. 
He said the referendum date would be historic because “it is a day when we all, as Irish people, have a chance to stand for a Republic of equals, a day when we can more fully realise equality for all of our people”. 
It was fitting to have the campaign launch at the GPO, he added. “Here, almost a century ago, those who proclaimed our Republic asserted that Ireland would value and cherish all of its people equally. 
“LGBT [Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] people should be free to love, and have the right to commit to the person they love and to celebrate that love,” he said.
“Love does not discriminate, and neither should our laws.”
Eight weeks left
Gráinne Healy of the Yes Equality campaign group said there were eight weeks to the referendum and “until the people of Ireland will decide if we want to make history voting Yes and sharing their freedom to marry with lesbian and gay people”. 
She said: “We ask to share the freedom to marry because we value marriage and know its significance. We also know that Irish people are fair-minded, and their instincts tell them that voting yes is the fair thing to do.”
Amnesty International adopted a global policy in 2007 calling for an end to discrimination in civil marriage laws on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
According to the organization, “everyone has a right to be free from discrimination in the enjoyment of their human rights - including the right to marry and found a family”, which was provided for under Article two of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

November 5, 2014

Israel is Accused by Amnesty Int of Attacking Gaza 8x without warning Killing civilians

Israeli military accused of war crimes in Gaza during a war earlier this year against Hamas
Israeli military accused of war crimes in Gaza during a war earlier this year against Hamas    Amnesty International has accused Israel of displaying a "shocking disregard" for civilian lives in Gaza during its 50-day military offensive in the Palestinian territory.
In a new report, Amnesty International details eight instances in which Israeli forces attacked homes in Gaza "without warning", killing "at least 104 civilians including 62 children".
Israel rejected the rights group's findings, saying it produced "no evidence" to back up its claims in what was effectively "a propaganda tool for Hamas".
"The report reveals a pattern of frequent Israeli attacks using large aerial bombs to level civilian homes, sometimes killing
entire families," Amnesty said.
It added that while possible military targets were identified in some cases, "the devastation to civilian lives was clearly disproportionate."
The report charged that when it appeared to have failed to identify "any possible military target" in a Gaza residential building, Israel may have "directly and deliberately targeted civilians or civilian objects, which would constitute war crimes."
"The report exposes a pattern of attacks on civilian homes by Israeli forces which have shown a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians."
Philip Luther, Amnesty's director for the Middle East and North Africa said "civilians were given no warning and had no chance to flee," said.
Amnesty said "Palestinian armed groups also committed war crimes, firing thousands of indiscriminate rockets into Israel killing six civilians including one child".
The group said it had to conduct research for the report remotely as Israel denied it and other watchdogs access to Gaza.
Amnesty called on Israel and the Palestinians to "accede to the Rome Statute and grant the ICC (International Criminal Court) the authority to investigate crimes committed in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories".
It also called for cooperation with the UN Human Rights Committee, which last month urged Israel to ensure an independent and impartial investigation to the Gaza war.
Israel said Amnesty had provided "no evidence" to back up its claims, while ignoring "documented war crimes perpetrated by Hamas.
It cited "the use of human shields, as well as ammunition storage and firing at Israeli civilian population centres from within schools, hospitals, mosques and civilian neighbourhoods in Gaza."
A statement from the Israeli foreign ministry said the report "serves as a propaganda tool for Hamas and other terror groups".
It noted Israel was currently carrying out investigations into “90 incidents" during the Gaza campaign.

February 29, 2012

Gays in Liberia Go to Embassy { Gay= Punished Death}

Republic of Liberia

The U.S. ambassador to Liberia said she was surprised to learn that gay rights are an issue in the West African nation, where homosexuality is illegal and lawmakers are considering tougher penalties for same-sex relationships.
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who is ending her tour in Monrovia after more than three years, repeated U.S. policy toward homosexuals as she gave farewell interviews to reporters last week.
“I support the issue of human rights for every person regardless of their orientation, their race or nationality,” she said. “I strongly believe that gay rights are human rights.
“I was surprised to hear that this is an issue in Liberia,” Mrs. Thomas-Greenfield, a career diplomat, told the Daily Observer newspaper.
The ambassador insisted that U.S. aid to Liberia is not connected toLiberia’s position on gay rights.
“I think the issue that has appeared in Liberia is the issue of misconception that U.S. aid is tied to Liberia’s actions in these areas, and this is not the case,” she said.
Washington provides Liberia about $200 million a year in aid, she said.
The Liberian Senate is considering a bill to declare same-sex marriage illegal and homosexual acts a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
“We are only strengthening the existing law,” said Sen. Jewel Taylor, who introduced the measure.
Current law treats homosexual acts as a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of up to a year in jail.
A tough-talking former ambassador and Republican Party bigwig criticized President Obama’s policy toward Russia as “naive” and called for a reset of the much-vaunted “reset button.”
Russia is yet another case of President Obama’s naive leadership in foreign policy that has left American interests weakened and our values compromised,” Richard S. Williamson wrote Tuesday in the newsletter of the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute.
Mr. Williamson, a former chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, noted that Russia developed an “authoritarian drift” under Vladimir Putin, who became prime minister a year before Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with a the plastic, red-and-yellow reset button in 2009.
“Instead of democratic reform, Vladimir Putin has led an authoritarian drift that is crowding civil society, repressing a free press and denying free and fair election to the Russian people,” Mr. Williamson wrote.
“Meanwhile, on missile defense, Iran, Syria and other issues, Russia is consistently taking position in opposition to U.S. interests.”
Mr. Williamson added that the “latest chapter in this sorry story” will take place Sunday, when Mr. Putin is expected to be elected to a third term as president. He previously served as president between 2000 and 2008.
Mr. Williamson noted the massive nationwide protests against suspected voter fraud in December’s legislative elections and recent demonstrations against Mr. Putin latest political campaign.
“Throughout this political drama, Putin and his colleagues have increased their anti-American rhetoric,” Mr. Williamson wrote.
“As we approach Russia’s rigged March 4 presidential election, it’s time to reset Obama’s reset policy.”
Mr. Williamson was assistant secretary of state for international affairs under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He served as ambassador to the United Nations for special political affairs and as ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights under President George W. Bush.
• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

May 27, 2011

Amnesty International Helping In GLBT Rights-50 yrs Latter

Amnesty International logo.svg
Amnesty International
Over fifty years ago, on 19 November 1960, a youngBritish barrister travelling on the London underground read an article about two Portuguese students who were jailed after raising their glasses to toast liberty. The students were sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.
The barrister, Peter Benenson, was so outraged at this that he wrote to The Observer in an appeal to unite people against injustice of this kind. His article, ‘Forgotten Prisoners’, which was published on 27 May 1961, stated: ‘Open your newspaper any day of the week and you will find a story from somewhere of someone being imprisoned, tortured or executed because his opinions or religion are unacceptable to his government … The newspaper reader feels a sickening sense of impotence. Yet if these feelings of disgust could be united into common action, something effective could be done.’ Benenson called for an international movement in which individuals could communicate by letter, in order to prevent events like this happening again.
Although it would be almost a year before the organisation was given its official name, Amnesty International was born. The organisation is now a household name and has an extremely favourable public image. To maintain such a positive public image and span the globe so comprehensively, in a time before internet communications, is a respectable achievement in itself. However, Amnesty International’s most significant and noteworthy work is undoubtedly its enormous contribution to the fight for human rights.
Amnesty International has approximately 3 million members worldwide and is the longest-running of all the organisations that campaign for human rights. Although its initial focus was to support and aid people who had been wrongly imprisoned, the charity now fights against any abuse of human rights.
Amnesty’s 50th anniversary marks a great achievement. The charity’s growth over the last half-century has been quite incredible, and the passion that surrounded the cause at the time of its conception showed that Benenson was not alone in his desire to address breaches of human rights. Although Benenson was the first to act, the organisation’s success shows that human rights issues were clearly at the fore of many people’s minds.
Amnesty International’s influence provides a lifeline for people who have been deprived of their liberty and dignity. As an organisation that fights against injustices of human rights, it is unsurprising that gay rights are also firmly on the charity’s agenda. Amnesty International’s LGBT network addresses injustice for people who are marginalised, or worse, due to their sexual orientation. It puts pressure on governments and leads campaigns in order to empower individuals and groups.
Clare Bracey, LGBT Campaign Manager for Amnesty International tells So So Gay that ‘over 60 countries around the world criminalise homosexuality, and in eight of these countries the maximum penalty is death. The criminalisation of people based on their sexual orientation contravenes international and regional human rights treaties.’ Some of Amnesty International’s recent achievements include helping legalise same-sex marriage in Argentina, campaigning for Lithuania to have its first Baltic Pride, and helping Turkey keep open Black Pink, an LGBT organisation that had been threatened with closure.
Amnesty International’s work in such cases is undoubtedly admirable. However, a criticism that might be ventured is that there appears to be an imbalance in the charity’s national and international work. The majority of Amnesty’s LGBT work in the UK involves a presence at various Pride marches. Although necessary, some might claim that this kind of support is neither unique nor innovative; pride marches are an absolute necessity for the gay community, but it is perhaps in the political realm where there is more work to be done. ‘Pride events in the UK are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the successes made in the fight for equality and to remind us that there is still so much to do,’ says Bracey. They unite, inspire and empower people, allowing them to claim ownership of their spaces and give them the courage to feel proud of who they are.
But are they enough? Very clearly, there is still a lot of work to be done. In comparison to injustices in many countries, the UK is undoubtedly a fair few steps ahead, but just two very recent events in London indicate that the LGBT community is still less than fully equal in society.

The John Snow incident indicates that the UK has a way to go on LGBT rights.
On 13 April 2011, a gay couple were asked to leave the John Snow pub in Soho because they kissed. The second incident, only days later, involved a twenty-year-old man being physically attacked in Clapham, opposite the gay bar Kazbar. The events sparked public outrage and made many people think about how gay people are still treated by some in society. Incidents like this highlight the need to remember the attitudes that still need to change at home, as well as internationally.
One example of where the charity can play a big part internationally is that of Malawi couple Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, who were sentenced to 14 years in prison in June 2010 for participating in a same-sex engagement ceremony. Following international condemnation of the sentence, the couple were eventually given a presidential pardon. Still, concerns remained – and remain – about further harassment they could face unless the law is changed. Amnesty International put pressure on Malawi’s government to prevent abuse towards the couple. Here in the UK, it can be all too easy to forget how far things have come. Laws have been changed to protect gay people, but with this privilege comes a necessary understanding that this was not always the case. Amnesty would argue that as a country that has made achievements in this area, we need to be leaders in enforcing change elsewhere.
Another recent example of Amnesty’s role is in the case of Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of leaking confidential documents to Wikileaks. He was subjected to detention conditions which contradicted his pre-trial status. Amnesty International sent letters to US President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, aiming to put a stop to this treatment. In April this year, Amnesty International Americas Director Susan Lee said: ‘Bradley Manning is being held in unnecessarily harsh conditions that are inconsistent with his status as an untried prisoner. We urge the US authorities to review Bradley Manning’s situation. Under international standards, prisoners who have not yet stood trial should be treated in accordance with their right to the presumption of innocence.’ Last month it was announced that Manning would be moved to a new detention centre where it was hoped his conditions would significantly improve. Lee announced, ‘We believe sustained public pressure for the US government to uphold human rights in Bradley Manning’s case has contributed to this move.’ Amnesty, too, surely played a part.
The 50th anniversary of any charity is a great cause for celebration. As well as their LGBT campaigning, the work that Amnesty International has done is influential, far-reaching and appreciated by millions. It tirelessly campaigns to fight injustice, and is realistic in knowing how much work still needs to be done, including within the LGBT arena. As Bracey points out, ‘LGBT rights are not special rights – they are human rights. As we move forward into our next 50 years we need to challenge this unacceptable situation.’

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