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  • ‘You feel that just anybody can be detained’ Russia’s shrinking space for peaceful protest | Amnesty International Canada
    force Hundreds more were hauled into detention Criminal proceedings were later brought against around 30 of the protesters The authorities described the predominantly peaceful event as mass riots to justify the heavy handed police response and allow heavier charges against the accused When people took to the streets of Moscow and other Russian cities again in February this year to protest peacefully against the unjust guilty verdicts in the Bolotnaya show trials hundreds more were detained and charged with participation in unauthorized gatherings Amnesty International has campaigned in depth on the trials of some of the Bolotnaya protesters which rocked many in Russian society and shocked the world But those headline cases are just the tip of the iceberg in the authorities wider bid to crush the freedoms of assembly and expression Here are the stories of two more individuals caught up in the crackdown Kseniya Metrokhina a very animated 50 year old academic and cancer survivor doesn t describe herself as an activist She steered clear of demonstrations until late 2011 when she saw on Facebook that the security forces began cracking down on students and others protesting in Moscow against alleged election fraud They were the biggest protests in recent Russian history Along with her daughter and other residents she tried to help detained students by bringing sandwiches and water to the police stations where they were held Initially cautious of the demonstrators but curious to find out more about them she was soon lured in by the festive mood and communal spirit I d say there s nothing more sensational than being part of a community she said She was surprised to find out that the protesters were not a faceless mob but ordinary people just like her Kseniya created crafts to express herself in acts of performance art On one occasion she made small origami pigeons to distribute to the crowd Another time she dyed tagliatelle in the colours of the Russian flag donned a big chef s hat and dished it out to passers by with pieces of shredded newspaper a form of protest against the lies she said the Russian media were feeding people On 6 May 2012 she and her daughter were among the crowd marching towards the massive opposition demonstration in Bolotnaya Square when they saw hundreds of riot police and numerous police vans lining the surrounding streets blocking some of the exits She said their helmets and riot gear made the police look like astronauts Kseniya and her daughter never even made it into the square that day because the protest was violently dispersed and the organizers arrested By now she had gained a taste for peaceful protest but had to stay off the streets for a time after being stricken with breast cancer After recovering in early 2014 she was once again moved to protest in public to show her opposition to Russia s sabre rattling over Ukraine This is what earned Kseniya her first detention and trip in a

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/%E2%80%98you-feel-that-just-anybody-can-be-detained%E2%80%99-russia%E2%80%99s-shrinking-space-for-peaceful-protest (2016-02-13)
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  • Central African Republic: Ethnic Cleansing and Sectarian Killings | Amnesty International Canada
    Meet our Team Work Volunteer Opportunities Donate Become a Monthly Donor Sign Up Online Your Donations at Work Amnesty Canvassers Telephone Canvassing Make a One time Donation Donate Online Leave a gift in your will Why we are remembering Amnesty in our wills Bequests RRIFs and RRSPs Life Insurance Contact our Planned Giving Associate Disclaimer Gifts of Stocks and Securities Give a Gift in Memoriam Send a Special Occasion Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Media Awards Multimedia Central African Republic Ethnic Cleansing and Sectarian Killings Burning looting of Muslim property and a mosque in PK 26 area north of the capital Bangui Amnesty International Reports News releases February 12 2014 Released Midnight 11 February 2014 GMT International peacekeepers have failed to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Muslim civilians in the western part of the Central African Republic Amnesty International said in a report issued today To protect the country s remaining Muslim communities international peacekeeping forces must break the control of anti balaka militias and station sufficient troops in towns where Muslims are threatened Anti balaka militias are carrying out violent attacks in an effort to ethnically cleanse Muslims in the Central African Republic said Joanne Mariner senior crisis response adviser at Amnesty International The result is a Muslim exodus of historic proportions Amnesty International criticized the international community s tepid response to the crisis noting that international peacekeeping troops have been reluctant to challenge anti balaka militias and slow to protect the threatened Muslim minority International peacekeeping troops have failed to stop the violence said Donatella Rovera senior crisis response adviser at Amnesty International They have acquiesced to violence in some cases by allowing abusive anti balaka militias to fill the power vacuum created by the Seleka s departure In recent weeks Amnesty International has taken over one hundred first hand testimonies of large scale anti balaka attacks on Muslim civilians in CAR s northwest towns of Bouali Boyali Bossembele Bossemptele and Baoro International troops had failed to deploy to these towns leaving civilian communities without protection The most lethal attack documented by Amnesty International took place on 18 January in Bossemptele where at least 100 Muslims were killed Among the dead were women and old men including an imam in his mid 70s To escape the anti balaka s deadly attacks the entire Muslim populace has fled from numerous towns and villages while in others the few who remain have taken refuge in and around churches and mosques International concern over the sectarian nature of the violence in the CAR led the UN Security Council in December 2013 to authorize the deployment of peacekeeping forces to the country Those forces comprised of about 5 500 African Union troops

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/news/news-releases/central-african-republic-ethnic-cleansing-and-sectarian-killings (2016-02-13)
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  • The Central African Republic’s human rights crisis | Amnesty International Canada
    Michel Djotodia on 10 January 2014 and the election of a new interim president Catherine Samba Panza soon after As soon as Djotodia left office Seleka forces began to withdraw from their outposts across the country In town after town when the Seleka left the anti balaka militia moved in and launched violent attacks against the Muslim minority Because international peacekeeping forces were extremely slow to deploy across the country the field was open to the anti balaka to assert their power and authority They killed many hundreds of Muslim civilians sometimes in large scale massacres looted Muslim homes and shops and burned and destroyed mosques Among their victims were women and young children in some cases entire families were killed Their stated goal was to rid the country of Muslims forever Anti balaka fighters are now the main perpetrators of violence especially in Bangui and in the western third of the country Seleka forces that retreated to the north also continue to commit serious human rights abuses in the territory under their control There is currently no functioning justice system in CAR with little or no possibility of police investigations court proceedings and incarceration resulting in total impunity for human rights violations Recent months have witnessed massive ethnic cleansing a forced exodus of tens of thousands of Muslim civilians to neighbouring Chad Cameroon and Democratic Republic of the Congo DRC Much of this newly created refugee population is living in makeshift camps where conditions are dire The few thousand Muslims who remain in the capital and the western part of the country where they used to represent about 15 percent of the population are nearly all displaced Many are taking refuge in churches and most are waiting for evacuation fearing attacks by anti balaka fighters There are still more than 650 000 internally displaced people inside CAR Thousands of houses have been looted and burnt leaving many people Christians and Muslims alike without a home to return to Is it a religious conflict Civilians are being targeted along religious lines but not because of their religious beliefs or practices Although different religious communities lived peacefully together for generations intermarrying and living in mixed neighbourhoods mistrust and even hatred now separates many members of different religious communities Religion is viewed as a critical indicator of one s loyalties to the country s different armed groups Not all Christians and Muslims have embraced sectarian hatred Indeed many Muslim civilians have been protected by their Christian neighbours or have sought and found protection in churches and Catholic missions In addition some Christians especially women who married Muslim men have been threatened and harmed by the anti balaka militia Amnesty International has characterized the forced expulsion of Muslims from CAR as ethnic cleansing See CAR Ethnic cleansing and sectarian killings in the Central African Republic AFR 19 004 2014 Although the term does not have a formal definition under international law a UN Commission of Experts has defined it as a purposeful policy

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/news/q-a/the-central-african-republic%E2%80%99s-human-rights-crisis (2016-02-13)
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  • Life in the midst of horror in the Central African Republic | Amnesty International Canada
    Central African Republic Tuesday February 18 2014 13 35 More than 40 people were killed by anti balaka militias in the town of Bouguere on 10 February Amnesty International Amnesty International s Donatella Rovera and Joanne Mariner report on the latest massacre in a town West of Bangui where they saw the remains of dozens of men and women littering the streets and found an 11 year old girl who had miraculously survived it all As if the unfolding horror in the Central African Republic could not get any more shocking the scene we witnessed in a remote town north west of Bangui left us stunned We arrived in Bouguere on 13 February to investigate a massacre that had taken place some three weeks earlier More than 40 people had been killed by anti balaka militias and most of the town s Muslim residents had fled But on arrival in the town nothing prepared us for what we found The streets were littered with bodies We counted 21 including three women and even a baby Dogs were feeding on some of the corpses Some of the male victims were partially burned The feet of one man had been tied together evidence that that he had been taken prisoner before being executed The residents said that there were more in the outskirts of the town They had all been killed in an attack by anti balaka militias on the morning of 10 February just days before we arrived The small bundles of clothing lying where some of the bodies were found meant that people were caught and killed as they tried to flee The Muslim area of Bouguere was eerily empty Most of the houses and businesses had been ransacked and some burned down Those who had not been killed had fled And then we found her Crouching in the corner of an abandoned house a girl about 11 years old had survived it all She had been there alone without food or water for four days She was terrified could hardly speak and was so weak she could not even stand She said her father was killed in the attack and residents said her mother had been killed in an earlier assault The girl was the only Muslim survivor and the Christian residents of the town begged us to take her We took her to a place of safety What happened in Bouguere was shocking extremely disturbing infuriating International peacekeepers were nowhere to be seen even though the area had already witnessed violent confrontations between anti balaka militias and Seleka forces resulting in the massacre of civilians three weeks earlier It was one of those places where something tragic was expected to happen but somehow the international forces sent to protect civilians were nowhere to be seen Boguere is a mining town known for its gold and diamond trading making it particularly attractive to looters But these are revenge attacks Previously a notorious Seleka commander had made the town his

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/life-in-the-midst-of-horror-in-the-central-african-republic (2016-02-13)
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  • Hunted down: Muslims forcibly displaced in the Central African Republic | Amnesty International Canada
    Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Hunted down Muslims forcibly displaced in the Central African Republic Tuesday January 21 2014 12 27 Muslim women and children take shelter in a church in Boali north of the country s capital Bangui ERIC FEFERBERG AFP Getty Images By Donatella Rovera Senior Crisis Adviser at Amnesty International In the small town of Boali 100km north of the capital Bangui the Muslim neighbourhoods are eerily silent completely empty of their inhabitants Every single home has been thoroughly looted Even the front doors have been removed and carted away Most of the Muslim residents have fled the town forcibly displaced by vicious attacks carried out by so called anti balaka militias We found more than 800 people who have not yet managed to leave They are sheltering in the local church where an impressive young priest is leading by example of inter faith and neighbourly solidarity One young man told us about an anti balaka attack in Boali on Friday 17 January which left five dead and 20 injured He recounted how at around mid day young men armed with machetes burst into the family home Everything happened very quickly They did not say anything they just started to hit us with machetes They struck my father Sanu 55 repeatedly and smashed his head killing him on the spot and they injured my mother Fatimatu 40 and her younger sister Aichatu who died of her injuries earlier today 19 Jan before she could reach hospital She had very serious head injuries she left an eight month old baby girl Ramatu who is now an orphan Today we found baby Ramatu 11 year old Fati and several other victims of this attack in a hospital in the capital to where they were taken by a humanitarian organization Ramatu luckily got away with a minor injury to the forehead but Fati has a nasty open wound on the top of her head and another on her arm She told us that the young men who stormed her home struck her with machetes LISTEN Podcast with Joanne Mariner part of Amnesty International s team in Bangui Central African Republic Your browser does not have the necessary plugin to display this content For now the terrified Muslim residents are afforded some safety by French and African Union AU peacekeepers who are keeping the church cordoned off but they want to leave and don t know how A French officer told us that the road between Boali and the capital is extremely dangerous for Muslims because of the checkpoints manned by anti balaka militias We passed through two of these checkpoints on the way to and from Boali one a few

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/hunted-down-muslims-forcibly-displaced-in-the-central-african-republic (2016-02-13)
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  • Dignity in the face of overwhelming horror and misery | Amnesty International Canada
    for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Dignity in the face of overwhelming horror and misery Monday December 16 2013 11 46 Photo Credit A woman and her four year old daughter meet an Amnesty International team in a Bangui hospital where they are being treated for machete wounds Amnesty International Susanna Flood Director of Media at Amnesty International blogs from Bangui Her voice began to choke and then the tears began to flow down her face as she calmly and steadily recounted the long list of names of all the women and children killed in her village when the anti balaka struck a week ago Sitting in a darkened hospital ward at the Hôpital Communautaire she gracefully removed her headscarf and revealed the stitches laced across her scalp where the machete had struck Alongside her was her four year old daughter with a matching wound on her head also the victim of machete attacks Nearly everyone in her village near Bangui the Central African Republic s capital city had been wiped out in these early strikes by the anti balaka militia who unleashed the carnage that has since been wrought on Bangui We met her one week after she had suffered those attacks and she told us what happened in her village with amazing calm and dignity In her ward were numerous women also recovering from the various machete and bullet wounds inflicted by unknown attackers in the violence that has run riot across Bangui and the nearby villages At a nearby mosque in a small crowded side street in an area mostly populated by Muslims known as PK5 we watched as 16 bodies were removed from a truck and taken for burial Wrapped in white plastic sheeting the bodies had attracted a huge crowd angry about how these people had died and eager to tell us what had happened Civilian victims of revenge killings Most of the dead were reportedly civilians and we heard gruesome stories about how they had reportedly been the victims of brutal revenge attacks People told me that some had been decapitated by their attackers some with their ears cut off others slashed down the centre of their bodies and disembowelled We didn t see the bodies but we are obtaining photos to confirm these reports Across the road from the mosque we were introduced to a group of around 50 women and children from the Boeing quartier all of whom had lost their husbands and fathers in different attacks Like the woman in the hospital their faces were dispassionate with just one woman in the crowd visibly crying Thousands seek safety at airport It is not hard to find tales of misery in Bangui today You need only

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/dignity-in-the-face-of-overwhelming-horror-and-misery (2016-02-13)
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  • Tit-for-tat atrocities in the Central African Republic | Amnesty International Canada
    Activism Volunteer Leadership Fieldworkers Join our Membership Consultation Committee MCC Volunteers Wanted Nova Scotia University Orientation Week Country and Theme Coordinators in Canada The Board of Directors Resources for Activists Activism Fund Have your say Seasonal Activism Guide Meet our Team Work Volunteer Opportunities Donate Become a Monthly Donor Sign Up Online Your Donations at Work Amnesty Canvassers Telephone Canvassing Make a One time Donation Donate Online Leave a gift in your will Why we are remembering Amnesty in our wills Bequests RRIFs and RRSPs Life Insurance Contact our Planned Giving Associate Disclaimer Gifts of Stocks and Securities Give a Gift in Memoriam Send a Special Occasion Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Tit for tat atrocities in the Central African Republic Thursday December 12 2013 11 20 Photo Credit Displaced people taking refuge at Bangui M Poko International Airport located 7 km northwest of Bangui the capital of the Central African Republic UNHCR L Wiseberg Joanne Mariner Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International blogs from Bangui One of the most depressing aspects of the ongoing violence in the Central African Republic is its symmetry Christian and Muslim militia alike are carrying out equally vicious attacks And members of both communities while denouncing each other s crimes will tell you that their own people are acting in self defence With each new outrage the pattern of tit for tat atrocities becomes harder to break The day before yesterday I interviewed a Christian man who recounted how he was nearly killed in a raid last week on the outskirts of Bangui the country s capital Shot in the side at close range he survived by playing dead he claims that others from his neighbourhood were not as lucky It was the Peuhls he said referring to an ethnic group of nomadic Muslim herders They were armed with Kalashnikovs An electrician by trade the man had gotten up early that morning to get ready for work Grimacing in pain as he showed me his heavily bandaged back he said that when he stepped out into his yard he was ambushed by a group of four local Peuhls whom he knew by sight I was sure I was dead he said still seemingly amazed that he wasn t He told me that the attack occurred just off the road leading to Boali a town some 90 kilometres north of Bangui I heard the name Boali again the following day this time from a group of Peuhl women whose village located a few kilometres from the town had been set upon by the Christian militia known as anti balaka or anti machete More than a dozen villagers were reportedly killed in the attack which

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/tit-for-tat-atrocities-in-the-central-african-republic (2016-02-13)
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  • Unspeakable acts of inhumanity as violence intensifies in the Central African Republic | Amnesty International Canada
    Planned Giving Associate Disclaimer Gifts of Stocks and Securities Give a Gift in Memoriam Send a Special Occasion Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Unspeakable acts of inhumanity as violence intensifies in the Central African Republic Wednesday December 11 2013 13 18 Photo Credit People scrawled Djotodia must go on the walls of a ransacked mosque in Bangui s Fouh neighbourhood on 10 December 2014 Amnesty International Susanna Flood Amnesty International s Director of Media blogs from Bangui There is hatred in their eyes as they spit their words out at you Djotodia doit partir Michel Djotodia transitional President of the Central African Republic must go These same words were emblazoned in graffiti on walls around a small unremarkable mosque near the Assemblée Nationale on the Avenue de l Independence one of Bangui s principal roads that is heavily patrolled by the French African members of the Multinational Force for Central Africa FOMAC and ex Seleka troops where a revenge mob had gathered They had burned the mosque as well as the Imam s house And they were running riot removing anything that could be taken from the building They pulled the corrugated iron from the roof and fled with their trophies into the neighbouring quarter of Fouh Others men and women together gathered in the dusty grounds shouting encouragement to the mob beating at the walls with whatever instruments they could find or writing their graffiti in large letters on the remaining walls declaring their hatred of the president Even worse were those writing Tuer les musulmans Kill the Muslims on the wall of the already defiled mosque Members of the mob revelled in any attention they could get happily performing for the few cameras that had braved the crowd and the ongoing insecurity to record what was going on Violence linked to escalation of anti Muslim rhetoric To any sane observer it was an utterly meaningless attack But this is what s growing in Bangui today fuelled by what feels like a shocking escalation of anti Muslim rhetoric within the Christian community Language that would in normal times be unthinkable is being used to describe their fellow man neighbours rising against neighbours all on the basis of religion People in Bangui are angry and frustrated This is a city where normal life has come to a complete halt The ramshackle stores and restaurants that line the sides of the city s roads are all deserted or even worse looted or destroyed Small numbers of people can be seen wandering aimlessly in groups But most are in hiding having either joined the masses taking refuge in the various camps that have sprung up around the city or staying in their

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/unspeakable-acts-of-inhumanity-as-violence-intensifies-in-the-central-african-republic (2016-02-13)
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