Index number: ASA 34/8354/2018. This paper provides an update on the health situation for refugees and asylum seekers sent to Papua New Guinea (PNG) by the Australian government. Over the past few months, the Australian government has substantially reduced health care provided to refugees and asylum seekers it sent to Papua New Guinea nearly five years ago. Reduced facilities and service hours are provided at a new clinic and refugees and asylum seekers no longer have access to torture and trauma counselling or translator services. They are forced to rely on PNG’s public hospitals for after hours and emergency health care.
Index number: AFR 32/8340/2018. Families in Embobut forest, in the North Rift Valley of Kenya, are losing their homes, livelihoods, and access to cultural practices. They belong to the Sengwer Indigenous People and Embobut is their ancestral home. The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has been carrying out forced evictions in the forest since the 1980s; however on Christmas Day 2017 it began a new campaign, burning 341 houses and leading to the killing of one Sengwer man and the hospitalisation with gunshot wounds of another.
Index number: ASA 33/8366/2018. Amnesty International’s report on the surveillance of HRDs in Pakistan reveals that Pakistani civil society is under attack by a malicious digital campaign. Diep Saeeda, a well-known Pakistani HRD, has been targeted by digital attacks; the first suspicious messages received after she began campaigning for the release of “disappeared” activist Raza Khan. Diep and other activists were targeted with extremely personalised messages that included malicious links or attachments that, when opened, would either attempt to infect their devices with malware, or direct them to fake Google or Facebook login pages designed to steal their passwords.
Index number: MDE 12/8257/2018. With torture rife and prison conditions falling far short of the international minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners, there is a human rights crisis in Egypt’s prisons. Prisoners are subjected to overcrowding, a lack of sufficient nutritious food, bedding and minimum hygiene and water and sanitation standards, and poor ventilation and lighting. Amnesty has examined the Egyptian authorities’ use of solitary confinement as a tool to inflict additional punishment against, in particular, prisoners with a political profile. It has found that solitary confinement for such prisoners invariably amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, and sometimes to torture.
For nearly three decades, the Iranian authorities have systematically concealed the whereabouts of thousands of political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, who were forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in 1988. Amnesty International and Justice for Iran have documented how the authorities have destroyed or damaged mass grave sites across Iran that are believed to contain the remains of the victims. Amnesty International and Justice for Iran call on the authorities to stop the destruction of mass grave sites and ensure that they are preserved until proper, independent investigations can be carried out.
Human rights defenders who work on issues related to the environment, territory and access to land in Peru and Paraguay carry out their activities in a hostile environment. In both countries, individuals and communities fighting to protect their access to water and land are stigmatized and their work is delegitimized through public statements and rumours. Their communities are forcibly evicted from their homes or face the risk of eviction without due process guarantees. Finally, defenders face unfair and unfounded criminal proceedings. They are prosecuted and tried without evidence for crimes solely related to their work to defend human rights.
A chilling climate of fear is sweeping across Turkish society as the Turkish government continues to use the state of emergency to shrink the space for dissenting or alternative views. And those who are defending human rights are on the front line – both as the targets of authorities’ attacks and at the heart of courageous resistance to attempts to silence all opposition. This briefing focuses in particular on the ways in which the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, to liberty and security and to fair trials have been eroded. Repressive measures were initially directed at those suspected of participating in the coup attempt including journalists, followed by academics, judges and prosecutors. While these attacks have continued, the net has widened to focus increasingly on the relatively small but vibrant independent civil society in Turkey.
This report analyses what impact the austerity measures, introduced by the government following the economic and financial crisis of 2008, have had on the right to health in Spain. Based on comprehensive desk-research and interviews, Amnesty International found that the austerity measures have resulted in a deterioration of the accessibility, affordability, and quality of health care in Spain. They have had a particular and disproportionate impact on people with lower incomes, and especially on people with chronic health conditions, people with disabilities, older persons, and people accessing mental health care.
Since the last general elections in 2013, human rights in Malaysia have come under attack. In particular, the government has failed to respect and protect the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by police has continued. Refugees and asylum-seekers, LGBTI communities and Indigenous peoples’ have also experienced violations of their rights. One of the top items of the new governments’ agenda should be to address the regression of human rights in in Malaysia and act on pressing concerns, including those in this agenda.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Service for Human Rights convened a dialogue on 22 February 2018, which brought together a cross-regional group of national and regional human rights defenders and NHRI representatives, with Geneva-based State delegates, OHCHR representatives and international NGOs, to discuss opportunities for strengthening the UN Human Rights Council’s human rights impact on the ground. Their discussions and recommendations, summarised in this report, offer a vision for a Human Rights Council that is proactive and effective, addressing human rights violations, responding to crises, and supporting States to meet their human rights obligations, while putting the needs of victims and rights-holders first.