Amnesty International Report 2017/18



2 AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 7 million people who campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. Our vision is for every person to enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards. We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion and are funded mainly by our membership and public donations. Except where otherwise noted, First published in 2018 by This report documents Amnesty International’s work and concerns content in this document is Amnesty International Ltd through 2017. licensed under a Peter Benenson House, CreativeCommons (attribution, The absence of an entry in this 1, Easton Street, non-commercial, no derivatives, report on a particular country or London WC1X 0DW international 4.0) licence. territory does not imply that no United Kingdom human rights violations of © Amnesty International 2018 licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode concern to Amnesty International Index: POL 10/6700/2018 have taken place there during the For more information please visit the permissions page on our year. Nor is the length of a ISBN: 978-0-86210-499-3 website: country entry any basis for a A catalogue record for this book comparison of the extent and is available from the British depth of Amnesty International’s Library. concerns in a country. Original language: English Amnesty International Report 2017/18 ii


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5 CONTENTS ANNUAL REPORT 2017/18 Cuba 140 vii Abbreviations Preface ix 142 Cyprus Foreword Czech Republic 12 143 Democratic Republic of the Spotlight 15 144 Congo Africa Regional Overview 18 147 27 Denmark Americas Regional Overview Asia-Pacific Regional Overview Dominican Republic 36 148 Ecuador Europe and Central Asia Regional 150 Egypt 151 Overview 46 156 El Salvador Middle East and North Africa Equatorial Guinea 55 Regional Overview 158 Eritrea 159 66 Afghanistan Estonia 161 Albania 69 Algeria 71 162 Ethiopia Angola Fiji 73 164 Argentina 165 Finland 76 France 166 Armenia 78 Gabon 168 79 Australia Gambia 169 Austria 80 Georgia 171 Azerbaijan 82 Germany 173 Bahrain 84 87 176 Ghana Bangladesh Belarus 177 89 Greece Belgium 91 180 Guatemala Guinea Benin 92 182 94 183 Bolivia Haiti Honduras 95 Bosnia and Herzegovina 185 Botswana 96 Hungary 187 98 189 India Brazil 102 Brunei Darussalam 193 Indonesia Bulgaria Iran 197 103 Burkina Faso Iraq 202 105 Ireland 107 Burundi 205 Cambodia 110 Israel and the Occupied Cameroon 112 207 Palestinian Territories Canada 115 Italy 211 Central African Republic 214 Jamaica 118 Chad 121 216 Japan Chile 123 Jordan 217 China 125 Kazakhstan 220 Colombia 130 222 Kenya 135 Congo (Republic of the) Korea (Democratic People’s Côte d’Ivoire 225 136 Republic of) Croatia 138 227 Korea (Republic of) Amnesty International Report 2017/18 v

6 Sierra Leone Kuwait 229 325 231 Kyrgyzstan Singapore 327 233 328 Slovakia Laos 234 329 Slovenia Latvia 234 Lebanon Somalia 331 237 332 South Africa Lesotho 239 Liberia 335 South Sudan 339 Libya Spain 240 Lithuania 342 Sri Lanka 244 344 Macedonia Sudan 244 346 Madagascar 246 Swaziland 248 Malawi Sweden 347 Switzerland 249 Malaysia 348 250 Maldives Syria 349 353 Mali 252 Taiwan Tajikistan 354 Malta 254 Tanzania 254 Mauritania 357 256 358 Thailand Mexico 361 Timor-Leste Moldova 261 362 Mongolia 262 Togo Tunisia Montenegro 263 364 Morocco/Western Sahara 265 Turkey 367 Mozambique Turkmenistan 372 268 Myanmar 269 373 Uganda 273 Ukraine Namibia 376 United Arab Emirates 379 274 Nauru 275 381 Nepal United Kingdom United States of America Netherlands 277 384 278 Uruguay 389 New Zealand 390 Nicaragua Uzbekistan 279 393 280 Niger Venezuela 282 Nigeria 397 Viet Nam Yemen 400 Norway 286 Oman 403 Zambia 287 Pakistan Zimbabwe 288 405 Palestine (State of) 292 Papua New Guinea 295 296 Paraguay 297 Peru Philippines 299 Poland 301 Portugal 303 Puerto Rico 305 Qatar 306 Romania 308 310 Russian Federation 315 Rwanda Saudi Arabia 317 321 Senegal Serbia 322 Amnesty International Report 2017/18 vi

7 ABBREVIATIONS ICCPR International Covenant on Civil and Political ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations Rights ICESCR AU International Covenant on Economic, Social African Union and Cultural Rights CEDAW ICRC UN Convention on the Elimination of All International Committee of the Red Cross Forms of Discrimination against Women ILO CEDAW Committee International Labour Organization UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women International Convention against Enforced Disappearance CERD International Convention for the Protection of International Convention on the Elimination of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance All Forms of Racial Discrimination LGBTI CERD Committee lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination intersex NATO CIA North Atlantic Treaty Organization US Central Intelligence Agency NGO ECOWAS Economic Community of West African States non-governmental organization OAS EU Organization of American States European Union European Committee for the Prevention of OSCE Torture Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment UK United Kingdom European Convention on Human Rights UN (European) Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms United Nations UN Convention against Torture ICC International Criminal Court Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Amnesty International Report 2017/18 vii

8 UN Refugee Convention Convention relating to the Status of Refugees UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression UN Special Rapporteur on racism Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance UN Special Rapporteur on torture Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Special rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences UNHCR, the UN refugee agency Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund UPR UN Universal Periodic Review USA United States of America WHO World Health Organization Amnesty International Report 2017/18 viii

9 PREFACE Amnesty International Report 2017/18 shines a light on the state of the The world’s human rights during 2017. The foreword, five regional overviews and a survey of 159 countries and territories from all regions document the struggle of many people to claim their rights, and the failures of governments to respect, protect and fulfil human rights. Yet there are also glimpses of hard-won progress, demonstrating that the defence of human rights does yield positive developments. This report pays tribute to the human rights defenders who continue to fight for change, sometimes risking their own lives in the process. In a year when austerity measures and natural disasters pushed many into deeper poverty and insecurity, this year’s report also shines a spotlight on economic, social and cultural rights. While every attempt is made to ensure accuracy, information may be subject to change without notice. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 ix



12 FOREWORD “As we enter the year in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70, it is abundantly clear that none of us can take our human rights for granted.” SALIL SHETTY, SECRETARY GENERAL Throughout 2017, millions across the world experienced the bitter fruits of a rising politics of demonization. Its ultimate consequences were laid bare in the horrific military campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya people in Myanmar. This caused an exodus of some 655,000 people into neighbouring Bangladesh in a matter of weeks, the fastest-growing refugee crisis of 2017. At the end of the year, their prospects for the future remained very unclear, and the enduring failure of world leaders to provide real solutions for refugees left little reason for optimism. This episode will stand in history as yet another testament to the world’s catastrophic failure to address conditions that provide fertile ground for mass atrocity crimes. The warning signs in Myanmar had long been visible: massive discrimination and segregation had become normalized within a regime that amounted to apartheid, and for long years the Rohingya people were routinely demonized and stripped of the basic conditions needed to live in dignity. The transformation of discrimination and demonization into mass violence is tragically familiar, and its ruinous consequences cannot be easily undone. The appalling injustices meted out to the Rohingya may have been especially visible in 2017, but the trend of leaders and politicians demonizing whole groups of people based on their identity reverberated across the globe. The past year showed us once again what happens when the politics of demonization become mainstream, with grim consequences for human rights. As we enter 2018, the year in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70, it is abundantly clear that none of us can take any of our human rights for granted. We certainly cannot take for granted that we will be free to gather together in protest or to criticize our governments. Neither can we take for granted that social security will be available when we are old or incapacitated; that our babies can grow up in cities with clean, breathable air; or that as young people we will leave school to find jobs that enable us to buy a home. The battle for human rights is never decisively won in any place or at any point in time. The frontiers shift continually, so there can never be room for complacency. In the history of human rights, this has perhaps never been clearer. Yet, faced with unprecedented challenges across the world, people have shown repeatedly that their thirst for justice, dignity and equality will not be extinguished; they continue to find new and bold ways of expressing this, while often paying a heavy price. In 2017, this global battle of values reached a new level of intensity. Assaults on the basic values underpinning human rights – which recognize the dignity and equality of all people – have assumed vast proportions. Conflicts, fuelled by the international arms trade, continue to exact a cataclysmic toll on civilians, often by design. Whether in the humanitarian catastrophe of Yemen, exacerbated by Saudi Arabia’s blockade, or government and international forces’ indiscriminate killing of civilians used as human shields by the armed group calling itself Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or crimes under international law driving a Amnesty International Report 2017/18 12

13 huge outflow of refugees from South Sudan – at times, parties to the world’s numerous conflicts have abdicated even the pretence of respect for their obligations to protect civilians. Leaders of wealthy countries have continued to approach the global refugee crisis with a blend of evasion and outright callousness, regarding refugees not as human beings with rights but as problems to be deflected. The efforts of US President Donald Trump to ban entry to all citizens of several Muslim-majority countries based on their nationality was a transparently hateful move. Most European leaders have been unwilling to grapple with the big challenge of regulating migration safely and legally, and have decided that practically nothing is off limits in their efforts to keep refugees away from the continent’s shores. The inevitable consequences of this approach were evident in the shocking abuses suffered by refugees in Libya, with the full knowledge of European leaders. Across parts of Europe and Africa, the spectre of hatred and fear loomed throughout a succession of significant elections. In Austria, France, Germany and the Netherlands, some candidates sought to transpose social and economic anxieties into fear and blame, especially against migrants, refugees and religious minorities. In Kenya, presidential elections in August and October were marred by intimidation and violence, including on the basis of ethnic identity. However, 2017 also demonstrated the enduring willingness of people to stand up for their rights and for the values they want to see in the world. New and severe threats gave fresh oxygen to the spirit of protest. In Poland, serious threats to the independence of the judiciary brought large numbers of people onto the streets. In Zimbabwe, tens of thousands marched with determination in November, consummating their decades-long struggle against strongman politics and demanding a genuine election in 2018 – one in which the people’s will is freely expressed. In India, rising Islamophobia and a wave of lynchings of Muslims and Dalits provoked outrage and protest as people said: “Not in my name”. A vast women’s march, centred on the USA but with many offshoots around the world, became one of the largest protest events in history. And globally, the #MeToo phenomenon drew enormous attention to the appalling extent of sexual abuse and harassment. But the cost of speaking out against injustice continues to grow. In Turkey, the ruthless and arbitrary assault on civil society in the wake of the failed coup in 2016 continued at a furious pace, sweeping up the Chair and Director of Amnesty International Turkey among thousands of others. China unleashed unprecedented crackdowns on individuals and organizations perceived to be critical of the government, in the name of “national security”. Following large, widespread protests in Russia, hundreds of peaceful protesters, bystanders and journalists were arrested; many faced ill-treatment, arbitrary detention and heavy fines following unfair trials. Across much of Africa, the intolerance of public protest was alarmingly apparent, from arbitrary bans in Angola and Chad, to heavy-handed crackdowns in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Togo and Uganda. In Venezuela, hundreds of people were arbitrarily detained and many more suffered the consequences of excessive and abusive force used by security forces in response to widespread public protests against rising inflation and shortages of food and medical supplies. In Egypt, authorities severely curbed the freedom to criticize the government by closing down or freezing the assets of NGOs, enacting draconian legislation that provided for five years’ imprisonment for publishing research without government permission, and sentencing journalists and hundreds of political opponents to prison terms. As the year drew to a close, a wave of anti-establishment demonstrations began in Iran, the like of which had not been seen since 2009. Reports emerged that security forces killed and injured unarmed protesters by using firearms and other excessive force. Hundreds were arrested and detained in jails notorious for torture and other ill-treatment. 2018 will mark 20 years since the UN adopted by consensus the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which provides for their protection and support and encourages everyone to Amnesty International Report 2017/18 13

14 stand up for human rights. Yet two decades later, those who take up the mantle of defending human rights often face the gravest of consequences. In 2017, the tragic death of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo in China was emblematic of the contempt in which too many governments hold human rights defenders. He died in custody from liver cancer on 13 July, after the Chinese authorities refused to allow him to receive medical treatment abroad. Meanwhile, narratives of national security and counter-terrorism have continued to provide justification to governments seeking to reconfigure the balance between state powers and individual freedoms. States have a clear responsibility to protect people from acts of violence that are designed to terrorize; yet, increasingly, they have done so at the expense of rights rather than to protect rights. Europe has continued to slip towards a near-permanent state of securitization. France, for example, ended its state of emergency in November, but only after adopting a new anti-terror law, which embedded in ordinary law many of the provisions of the emergency regime. However, despite the gravity of these assaults on human rights, an understanding of the global struggle for the values of human dignity and equality demands that we resist any simple equation of repressive government versus principled people-power. Today’s public spaces are contested between often-polarized extremes. While both Poland and the USA saw significant rallies calling for human rights protections not to be undermined, a large-scale nationalist march with xenophobic slogans in Warsaw and a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville called for policies that are profoundly antithetical to human rights. Abusive policies and practices that deny human rights to certain groups enjoyed popular support in many countries. Today, many of our most important public spaces exist online, where the tools for addressing emerging challenges have at times proved wholly inadequate to the task. The avalanche of online abuse, particularly against women, and the incitement of hatred against minorities, drew weak and inconsistent responses from social media companies and scant action from governments. The impact of “fake news” as a tool for manipulating public opinion was widely discussed throughout 2017. Technological capabilities to blur the distinction between reality and fiction are only likely to grow in future, raising significant questions about people’s access to information. These concerns are compounded by the extreme concentration of control in only a handful of companies over the information people view online, and by the huge power asymmetry between individuals and the companies and governments who control vast amounts of data. The capabilities deriving from this to shape public attitudes are immense, including virtually unchecked potential for incitement to hatred and violence. As we approach the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 2018, the challenge ahead is clear. This is a moment to reclaim the essential idea of the equality and dignity of all people, to cherish those values, and demand that they become a foundation for policy-making and practice. The artificial boundaries erected by a politics of demonization lead us only towards conflict and brutality, a nightmarish vision of humanity governed by naked self-interest and blinded to the plight of others. Too many leaders in the world have allowed the exponents of vilification to set the agenda, and failed to articulate an alternative vision. It is time for this to change. We must refuse to accept narratives of demonization and build instead a culture of solidarity. We must hone our capacity for generosity towards others. We must assert the right of all people to participate in building the societies to which they belong. And we must seek constructive answers – rooted in human rights – to the frustrations, anger and alienation that provide a ready context for toxic political narratives of blame. The coming year provides a vital opportunity for a renewed commitment to the transformative idea of human rights, as we ask what kind of societies we want to live in. We must not squander it. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 14

15 SPOTLIGHT ON AUSTERITY “I feel alone, like I’ve been left in the dark without anywhere to get help... I’m scared about what that will mean for my kids.” – Sarah When the UK government cut legal aid support in 2012, Sarah was left without the support she needed to fight a complex legal case regarding access to her children. She is one of countless millions affected worldwide by government austerity policies. Yet the sheer scale of austerity and the statistics surrounding it can blind us to the day-to-day toll it is having on the lives of individual people and families. Since the financial crisis of 2008, austerity has become a familiar term and experience for millions of people. This phenomenon – in which a government seeks to reduce a deficit in public finances, typically to reduce public debt – usually involves cuts to government spending, sometimes coupled with tax rises which often hit the poorest hardest by raising prices of basic necessities such as food. Austerity is a human rights issue. It affects people’s access to education, health, housing, social security and other economic and social rights. It also leads to abuses of civil and political rights, as governments respond to protests and other dissent in draconian ways or cut services that affect access to justice, such as legal aid. All too often, governments dismiss these rights and make decisions that put the greatest burden on those living in poverty while threatening the welfare of society as a whole. Austerity is a global issue. In 2017, widespread austerity measures were applied in countries from every region, particularly restricting people’s economic and social rights. In Europe, people took to the streets to protest against the detrimental effects of austerity measures in Greece, Serbia, Spain and the UK. In the case of the latter, research in England linked roughly 120,000 deaths to cuts to health and social care. Amnesty International is researching the impact of austerity policies on the protection and realization of socio-economic rights in selected countries. The next piece of research, to be published in the first half of 2018, focuses on the impact of austerity measures on the right to health in Spain. A nurse working in the Spanish public health system told Amnesty International: “We have all suffered because of the cuts: nurses, doctors, patients, families, everyone.” In Sub-Saharan Africa, subsidies for the poor and social welfare have all been cut at a time when consumption taxes such as Value Added Tax (VAT) have been increased, often hitting hardest those living in poverty. Countries including Botswana, Burundi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Togo continued to be “advised” by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to keep on implementing austerity measures – despite the IMF’s own admission in 2012 that such an approach is not always warranted and can undermine the economic growth needed to pay for services. In North Africa, Algeria’s response to the fall in oil prices saw its government implement deep spending cuts in its 2017 budget, combined with a rise in VAT from 2% to 19%. IMF lending policies also prompted the Egyptian government to raise the prices of essential goods and services. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 15

16 In Brazil, the unprecedented decision to impose a 20-year fiscal spending cap at the end of 2016 drew strong criticism from both inside and outside the country. In condemning the measure, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights stated: “Logic dictates that it is virtually inevitable that the progressive realization of economic and social rights [will] become impossible.” Economies in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions were similarly hamstrung by austerity measures. During 2017, Indonesia, Mongolia and Sri Lanka witnessed cuts to public spending. Even the budgets of resource-rich Qatar and Saudi Arabia shrank in moves to reduce state deficits, prioritizing economic efficiency over social protection. In the absence of appropriate social safety nets, such measures risk violating governments’ human rights obligations as well as commitments under the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Looking ahead, even in the short term some commentators are forecasting an “austerity apocalypse”. Regions such as Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are predicted to be particularly badly affected. One report forecasts that during the next three years more than two-thirds of all countries will be impacted by austerity, affecting more than 6 billion people and wiping 7% off global Gross Domestic Product. The human cost is estimated to include millions being put out of work, including 2.4 million people in low-income countries, with few prospects of alternative employment. How should governments respond and what do they have to do to fulfil their human rights obligations? These obligations do not prohibit austerity per se, but do require that other options also be considered by governments making economic and fiscal decisions. Above all, human rights underline the importance of governmental accountability when making such decisions. Rights holders should be asking key questions of their governments when confronted by austerity: What levels of scrutiny were employed? How participatory and transparent was the process? What potential impacts, particularly on the most socially and economically marginalized, were considered and what mitigation measures were put in place? Human rights standards require that measures are put in place to ensure that nobody is allowed to fall below the minimum safety net needed to guarantee a dignified life. Unfortunately, this is routinely being ignored in even the largest economies as we see ever- increasing numbers of homeless people and the growth of food banks; charities and communities are responding to welfare cuts by stepping in to prevent people going hungry. There is no question that many national budgets are under strain. But are governments making the maximum use of all the potential resources at their disposal, as they are required to do under human rights law? The November 2017 release of the so-called “Paradise Papers” revealed the vast extent of tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance around the world, demonstrating the systematic failure of governments to close loopholes and monitor and address abuses. It has been estimated that Brazil alone is losing up to USD80 billion a year as a result of tax evasion (which calls into question the need for a 20-year spending cap), while African countries could collectively claw back at least the same amount annually. In addition to the well-known tax havens, a 2017 study showed that countries including Ireland, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK are facilitating tax evasion by people in other countries. Globally it is estimated that the annual figure could be as high as USD10 trillion. Extraordinary times require the consideration of radical alternatives. A number of ideas have been gaining traction during 2017. They include the introduction of a universal basic income – already being piloted in some countries – which would guarantee everyone enough money to live on, regardless of circumstances. Another proposal would involve the state paying for all key basic services rather than leaving it to the market. Of course such ideas have their critics: Where will the money come from? Will it simply encourage people to live off the state, even if they are in a position to work? Nevertheless, proponents point to the potential longer-term Amnesty International Report 2017/18 16

17 social and economic cost savings for societies, as well as the need to recognize that nobody should be left behind even in the most straitened of times. Governments should seriously consider these ideas as possible ways to meet their human rights obligations. As austerity continues to bite worldwide, individuals and communities are fighting back and defending human rights. Their voices and the alternative vision they articulate need to be heard. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 17

18 AFRICA REGIONAL OVERVIEW Africa’s human rights landscape was shaped by violent crackdowns against peaceful protesters and concerted attacks on political opponents, human rights defenders and civil society organizations. Meanwhile, relentless violence against civilians in long-standing conflicts was compounded by the stagnation of political efforts to resolve these crises. The cycle of impunity for human rights violations and abuses committed in conflicts – including crimes under international law – continued. Intolerance of peaceful dissent and an entrenched disregard for the right to freedom of peaceful assembly were increasingly the norm. From Lomé to Freetown, Khartoum to Kampala and Kinshasa to Luanda, there were mass arrests of peaceful protesters, as well as beatings, excessive use of force and, in some cases, killings. Political deadlock and failures by regional and international bodies to address long-standing conflicts and their underlying causes were also in danger of becoming normalized, and leading to more violations, with impunity. These trends occurred within a context of slow and intermittent success in reducing poverty, and limited progress in human development. According to the Africa Sustainable Development Report, the rate of decline in extreme poverty was slow; women and young people bore the brunt of poverty. However, there were signs of hope and progress that rarely made global headlines: the courage of ordinary people and human rights defenders who stood up for justice, equality and dignity in the face of repression. Significant reforms emerged in a few countries. Gambia rescinded its decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC), freed political prisoners and promised to abolish the death penalty. Burkina Faso’s draft Constitution included provisions to strengthen human rights protection. Notable too were landmark judicial decisions on human rights. Kenya’s High Court decision to block the government’s planned closure of Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, prevented the forcible return of more than a quarter of a million refugees to Somalia, where they were at risk of serious abuses. In Nigeria, two judgments declared threats of forced evictions without the service of statutory notices to be illegal, and found that forced evictions and the threat of such evictions amounted to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Angola’s Constitutional Court declared legislation designed to stifle the work of civil society organizations to be unconstitutional. REPRESSION OF DISSENT CRACKDOWN ON PROTEST In over 20 countries, people were denied their right to peaceful protest, including through unlawful bans, use of excessive force, harassment and arbitrary arrests. The right to freedom of assembly was the exception rather than the rule. In Angola, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Sudan, Togo and elsewhere, legal, administrative and other measures were used to impose unlawful restrictions and bans on peaceful protests. In Angola, authorities frequently prevented peaceful demonstrations, even though no prior at least six peaceful assemblies were banned, and authorization was required in law. In Chad, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 18

19 many organizers and participants were arrested. In DRC, peaceful protests, particularly those related to the political crisis sparked by delayed elections, were banned and repressed. Civil society organizations, political opposition and Darfuri students in Sudan were prevented from holding events. Use of excessive force and other abuses to disperse peaceful protests resulted in deaths, injuries and unlawful arrests in many countries. In Angola, the few demonstrations that proceeded were met with arbitrary arrests, detention and ill-treatment by police and security forces. Cameroon’s security forces violently repressed demonstrations in Anglophone regions. Kenyan police used excessive force against opposition protesters following the general election – including with live ammunition and tear gas, leaving dozens dead, at least 33 of whom were shot by police, including two children. In Togo, at least 10 people, including three children and two members of the armed forces, were killed during a crackdown by security forces, who frequently beat and fired tear gas and live ammunition at protesters. Sierra Leone’s security forces opened fire on students demonstrating against a lecturers’ strike in the city of Bo, killing one and injuring others. Uganda’s government used raids, arrests, intimidation and harassment to stop peaceful gatherings and silence opposition to an amendment to remove the presidential age limit from the Constitution. ATTACKS ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS, JOURNALISTS AND OPPOSITION ACTIVISTS Widespread repression of dissent also manifested itself through attacks on human rights defenders, civil society organizations, journalists and bloggers. In Cameroon, civil society activists, journalists, trade unionists and teachers were arbitrarily arrested, and some faced military court trials. The government banned the activities of political parties and civil society organizations. Many remained in detention on spurious charges relating to national security. Chad’s authorities arrested and prosecuted human rights defenders, activists and journalists to silence criticism of the government, including in response to rising anger at the economic crisis. In Equatorial Guinea, police detained activists, highlighting the authorities’ willingness to abuse laws to intimidate and silence dissent. In Eritrea, thousands of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners were detained without charge or access to lawyers or family members, many having been held for over 10 years. In Ethiopia, arbitrary detentions continued under the state of emergency declaration, until it was lifted in June. The government ordered the release of 10,000 of the 26,000 detained in 2016 under the declaration. Meanwhile, hundreds were detained under the draconian Anti- Terrorism Proclamation, often used to target government critics. In Mauritania, Mohamed Mkhaïtir, a blogger accused of apostasy, had his death sentence commuted but remained in detention even after he had served his sentence. Meanwhile two anti-slavery activists remained in jail. The authorities in Madagascar intimidated and harassed journalists and human rights defenders in an attempt to silence them. Those daring to speak out against illegal trafficking and exploitation of natural resources were increasingly targeted through the use of criminal charges. Sudan’s government persisted in stifling dissent, with opposition political party members, trade union activists, human rights defenders and students increasingly targeted by the security forces; they faced arbitrary arrests and detention on trumped-up charges, and routine torture and other ill-treatment. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 19

20 In Zambia, the Public Order Act was used to repress the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, particularly against critical civil society activists and opposition political party leaders. Police used excessive force against peaceful protesters while ignoring violence by ruling party loyalists against civil society activists. In Zimbabwe, Pastor Evan Mawarire – founder of the #Thisflag movement – suffered political persecution and harassment, until he was acquitted following the change in government in November. Ugandan academic Stella Nyanzi was detained for over one month for Facebook posts criticizing the President and his wife, who was the Minister for Education. EMERGING REGRESSIVE LAWS AND SHRINKING POLITICAL SPACE Some governments moved to introduce new laws to restrict the activities of human rights defenders, journalists and opponents. Angola’s Parliament adopted five bills containing provisions restricting freedom of expression, establishing a media regulatory body with broad oversight powers. Legislation adopted in Côte d’Ivoire contained provisions curtailing the right to freedom of expression – including in relation to defamation, offending the President and disseminating false news. A draft bill in Nigeria and draft amendments to Malawi’s NGO law introduced excessive, intrusive and arbitrary controls on the activities of NGOs, including human rights groups. MEDIA FREEDOM In at least 30 countries – more than half the countries monitored – media freedom was curtailed and journalists faced criminalization. Misuse of the justice system to silence dissent was common in Angola where the government used defamation laws, especially against journalists and academics. In Uganda, journalist Gertrude Uwitware was arrested for supporting Stella Nyanzi. In Botswana, journalists faced continued harassment and intimidation for their investigative journalism; three journalists were detained and threatened with death by security agents in plain clothes after they investigated the construction of President Ian Khama’s holiday home. Cameroon and Togo blocked the internet to prevent journalists from doing their jobs and closed media outlets. and many were Activists including journalists and bloggers were detained in Ethiopia convicted under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation which provided vague definitions of terrorist acts. A military court in Cameroon sentenced Radio France Internationale journalist Ahmed Abba to 10 years’ imprisonment after an unfair trial, for exercising his right to freedom of expression. He was released in December following a decision by an appellate tribunal which reduced his sentence to 24 months. POLITICAL REPRESSION AND VIOLATIONS IN THE CONTEXT OF ELECTIONS Fear, intimidation and violence marred Kenya’s presidential elections. Police used excessive force against opposition protesters following the elections leaving dozens dead, including at least 33 shot by the police. Senior ruling party officials repeatedly threatened the independence of the judiciary after the Supreme Court annulled the election results. The NGOs Coordination Board threatened human rights and governance organizations with closure and other punitive measures after they criticized the electoral process. In Rwanda’s August presidential election, incumbent Paul Kagame won a landslide victory, following constitutional changes that allowed him to contest a third term; the election took place in a climate of fear created by two decades of attacks on political opposition, independent media and human rights defenders. Potential presidential candidates were also targeted, including by smear campaigns. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 20

21 The run-up to Angola’s elections in August was marked by human rights abuses – journalists and human rights defenders were repeatedly intimidated for exposing corruption and human rights violations. Protesters faced arrest and excessive use of force by police. Political repression was rife in Burundi, with unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests, and enforced disappearances across the country. ARMED CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE Although the nature and intensity of Africa’s conflicts varied, they were generally characterized by gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law – including acts constituting crimes under international law. Amid the paralysis of regional efforts to resolve the political deadlock, intense suffering and loss of life continued in South Sudan’s four-year armed conflict, which forced millions from their homes. In the Upper Nile region, tens of thousands of civilians were forcibly displaced as government forces burned, shelled and systematically looted homes; sexual violence continued unabated. A cessation of hostilities agreement was signed in December following the forum launched by the intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to revitalize the previous peace agreement. However, soon after, renewed fighting broke out in different parts of the country. In Sudan, the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan states remained dire, with widespread violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. There was renewed conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR), which led to large-scale human rights violations and abuses and crimes under international law. Outside the government-controlled capital, armed groups carried out a range of abuses, and reports of sexual exploitation and abuses by UN peacekeeping troops continued. In DRC, unprecedented violence in the Kasaï region left thousands dead and as of 25 September 1 million were internally displaced; over 35,000 people fled to neighbouring Angola. Congolese army soldiers used excessive force, killing scores of suspected members and sympathizers of the armed insurgent group Kamuena Nsapu, which, in turn, recruited children and carried out attacks on civilians and government forces. The government proxy- militia group Bana Mura was responsible for dozens of ethnic-based attacks including killings, rapes and destruction of civilian property. In response to threats by the armed group Boko Haram and its ongoing commission of war crimes, security forces in Cameroon and Nigeria continued to commit gross human rights violations and crimes under international law. These included extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions, torture and other ill- treatment, which, in some cases, led to deaths in custody. People accused of supporting Boko Haram were sentenced to death in Cameroon following unfair trials in military courts, although none were executed during the year. In Nigeria, the military arbitrarily arrested and detained incommunicado thousands of women, men and children in harsh conditions. In Niger – where the government declared a state of emergency in the western areas bordering Mali and renewed the state of emergency in the Diffa region – more than 700 suspected Boko Haram members went on trial. ABUSES BY ARMED GROUPS Armed groups including al-Shabaab and Boko Haram perpetrated abuses and attacks against civilians in countries including Cameroon, CAR, DRC, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Somalia. In some cases, the attacks constituted serious abuses of international humanitarian and human rights law. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 21

22 In the Lake Chad basin region, Boko Haram committed war crimes on a large scale. Boko Haram attacks targeted civilians, caused deaths and led to an increase in displacement of civilians. Resurgent attacks in Cameroon and Nigeria left hundreds of civilians dead. While 82 of the abducted schoolgirls from Chibok, northeast Nigeria, were released in May, thousands of abducted women, girls and young men were unaccounted for and faced horrific abuses, including rape. Across northeast Nigeria, 1.7 million people were displaced, bringing many to the brink of starvation. In Mali, attacks by armed groups on civilians and peacekeepers spread from the north to the centre, and a state of emergency was extended in October for another year. In October, al-Shabaab carried out the deadliest attack against civilians in recent times in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu; it left over 512 people dead. TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT Torture and other ill-treatment was reported in several countries including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Nigeria and Sudan. Cameroon’s security forces perpetrated torture against people suspected – often without evidence – of supporting Boko Haram; these violations amounted to war crimes and the crimes were carried out with impunity. In Ethiopia, detainees accused of terrorism repeatedly complained to the courts that police tortured and ill-treated them during interrogations. Although, in some cases, judges ordered the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission to investigate the allegations, the investigations failed to adhere to international human rights standards. On the positive side, the Anti-Torture Bill – intended to prohibit and criminalize the use of torture – was signed into law in Nigeria in December. PEOPLE ON THE MOVE Protracted conflicts, along with recurring humanitarian crises and persistent human rights violations, forced millions to flee their homes in search of protection. Refugees and migrants faced widespread abuses and violations. Millions of refugees hosted by African countries were inadequately supported by the international community. The ongoing conflict and drought in Somalia left half the country’s population in need of humanitarian assistance, according to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Over a million people were internally displaced by conflict and drought during the year – adding to 1.1 million internally displaced people living in deplorable conditions in unsafe informal settlements. In Kenya, over 285,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from Somalia remained in urgent need of protection. In February, a High Court ruling blocked the Kenyan government’s unilateral decision to shut Dadaab refugee camp, which – in violation of international law – had put more than 260,000 Somali refugees at risk of forcible return. Although Dadaab remained open, the Kenyan government continued to refuse to register new arrivals from Somalia. Over 74,000 refugees were repatriated from Dadaab to Somalia between December 2014 and November 2017 under the voluntary repatriation framework. The repatriations took place despite ongoing concerns about the “voluntary” nature of returns and despite concerns that the conditions to ensure returns in safety and dignity were not yet in place in Somalia, due to ongoing conflict and severe drought. Hundreds of thousands of people from CAR sought refuge from conflict in neighbouring countries or were internally displaced, living in makeshift camps. Military operations and the conflict with Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin region forced millions from their homes. In Nigeria, at least 1.7 million were internally displaced in the Amnesty International Report 2017/18 22

23 northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. UNHCR said that 5.2 million people in the northeast were in urgent need of food assistance and 450,000 children under five were in urgent need of nutrition. In Chad, over 408,000 refugees from CAR, DRC, Nigeria and Sudan lived in dire conditions in refugee camps. Botswana denied refugees freedom of movement, the right to work and local integration; asylum-seekers faced lengthy refugee status determination procedures and detention. Thousands continued to flee Eritrea, where the human rights situation and the imposition of indefinite military national service created major difficulties for many. They faced serious abuses in transit and in some destination countries, and many were subjected to arbitrary detention, abduction, sexual abuse and ill-treatment on their way to Europe. In August, Sudan forcibly returned more than 100 refugees to Eritrea, where they were at risk of serious human rights violations, in violation of international law. In South Sudan, around 340,000 fled an escalation of the fighting in the Equatoria region, which led to atrocities and starvation between January and October. Mainly government – but also opposition – forces in the southern region committed crimes under international law and other serious violations and abuses, including war crimes, against civilians. More than 3.9 million people − approximately one third of the population − had been displaced since the beginning of the conflict in December 2013. Other states did little to help neighbouring countries hosting more than 2 million refugees from South Sudan. Uganda hosted over 1 million refugees, mostly children, and encountered difficulties in implementing its progressive and widely respected refugee policy, due to chronic underfunding by the international community. Consequently, the Ugandan government, UNHCR and NGOs struggled to meet refugees’ basic needs. IMPUNITY Failure to ensure justice, redress and the holding of suspected perpetrators to account remained a key driver of human rights violations and abuses in a wide range of contexts and countries. In CAR, some progress was made towards operationalizing the Special Criminal Court, which was established to try individuals suspected of serious human rights violations and crimes under international law committed during the country’s 14-year conflict. The Court’s Special Prosecutor took office in May, but the Court was not yet operational and impunity remained the norm. In South Sudan, three transitional justice bodies provided for in the 2015 peace agreement had still not been established. In July, a joint roadmap for the establishment of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan was agreed between the African Union (AU) Commission and the government; discussions continued on the instruments for the establishment of the Court, but nothing was formally adopted. In Nigeria – amid concerns about independence and impartiality – a Special Board of Inquiry, established by the army to investigate allegations of gross human rights violations, cleared senior military officers of crimes under international law. Its report was not made public. In August, the acting President set up a presidential investigation panel to probe allegations of human rights violations carried out by the military; the panel held public hearings between September and November but there was no outcome by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Nigerian authorities held mass secret trials for Boko Haram suspects; 50 defendants were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in a trial that took place over four days. In DRC, the killing of two UN experts and the disappearance of their Congolese interpreter and three of their drivers, in Kasa ï Central Province in March, illustrated the urgent need to end violence in the region. The Congolese authorities’ investigation was not transparent or Amnesty International Report 2017/18 23

24 credible. In June, the UN Human Rights Council decided to dispatch a team of international experts to DRC to help in investigations. In July, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights appointed a team of three experts whose findings were expected in June 2018. In Ethiopia, the police and army continued to enjoy impunity for violations committed in 2015 and 2016. The government rejected calls for independent and impartial investigations into violations committed in the context of protests in various regional states. The Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal upheld the conviction and sentence of life imprisonment of former Chadian President Hissène Habré for war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture. INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT Burundi became the first State Party to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the ICC in October. Despite this, in November, the Pre-Trial Chamber made public its decision to authorize the ICC Prosecutor to open an investigation regarding crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court allegedly committed in Burundi – or by nationals of Burundi outside the country – between April 2015 and October 2017. However, developments in Africa suggested a tempering of the rhetoric calling for withdrawal from the ICC. The AU adopted a decision in January, which despite its misleading title, outlined plans for engagement with the ICC and other stakeholders. More encouragingly, member states – including Senegal, Nigeria, Cape Verde, Malawi, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia and Liberia – expressly stated their support for the ICC and rejected any notion of mass withdrawal. Gambia’s new government revoked its withdrawal from the Rome Statute, while Botswana’s Parliament passed a bill incorporating the Rome Statute into domestic law. In March, the South African government announced it would revoke its 2016 notice of intention to withdraw from the Rome Statue after the North Gauteng High Court decision held that withdrawal from the ICC without consulting Parliament was unconstitutional and invalid. However, a draft bill to repeal the Rome Statue Domestication Act was introduced to Parliament in early December 2017, signalling the government’s intention to pursue its decision to leave the ICC. Meanwhile, the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber ruled that South Africa should have executed the arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir during his 2015 visit to the country. The ruling confirmed that President Al-Bashir did not have immunity from arrest and that any states party to the Rome Statute were obliged to arrest him if he entered their territory, and hand him over to the Court. In its December preliminary report, the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC announced that it was continuing its analysis of the potential eight crimes it had previously identified as having been allegedly committed in Nigeria, as well as gathering evidence on new crimes, but was yet to reach a decision on whether to open an investigation. DISCRIMINATION AND MARGINALIZATION Discrimination, marginalization and abuse of women and girls – often arising from cultural traditions and institutionalized by unjust laws – continued in a number of countries. Women and girls were subjected to rape and other sexual violence, including in the context of conflicts and in countries with large numbers of refugee and internally displaced populations. Pregnant girls continued to be excluded from school in countries including Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea. In June, Tanzania’s President announced a ban on pregnant girls returning to public-funded schools – fuelling stigma and discrimination against girls and victims of sexual violence. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 24

25 Gender-based violence against women and girls was prevalent in several countries including Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland. In countries including Burkina Faso, lack of medical equipment, medication and staffing in hospitals left pregnant women and infants at serious risk of birth complications, infection and death. Female genital mutilation rates decreased; however, despite being outlawed, the practice remained widespread. Unsafe abortions contributed to one of Africa’s highest rates of maternal death and injury in Liberia, where affordable and accessible abortion services were largely unavailable to rape survivors. Despite its progressive abortion laws, women and girls faced substantial barriers to legal abortion services in South Africa and faced serious risks to health, and even death, from unsafe abortions. The government failed to address the refusal of health care professionals to provide abortions. In Angola, the government proposed an amendment to the Penal Code, which would decriminalize abortion in certain limited cases, but Parliament rejected the proposal. After a public outcry, the parliamentary vote on the legislation was postponed indefinitely. PEOPLE WITH ALBINISM Superstitions about the magical powers of people with albinism fuelled a surge of attacks against them; in Malawi and Mozambique, they were abducted and killed for their body parts. In Mozambique, a seven-year-old boy was murdered when unidentified men abducted him from his home. Despite public outcry, the government took little action. RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE LGBTI people faced discrimination, prosecution, harassment and violence, including in Senegal, Ghana, Malawi and Nigeria. In Ghana, the parliamentary Speaker called for a constitutional amendment to make homosexuality illegal and punishable by law. In Liberia, a man arrested in 2016 and charged with “voluntary sodomy” under the Penal Code, remained arrest, public shaming, extortion of and discrimination in detention awaiting trial. In Nigeria, against individuals based on their sexual orientation were reported. In a landmark decision in Botswana, a High Court ordered the government to change the gender marker in the identity document of a transgender woman, ruling that its refusal to do so was unreasonable and in violation of her rights. RIGHT TO HOUSING AND FORCED EVICTIONS Amid increasing urbanization, unemployment, poverty and inequality, many countries failed to ensure accessible, affordable and habitable housing. A landslide at a vast rubbish dump on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital caused 115 deaths. Most of the victims lived next to the site and supported themselves by recycling rubbish. At least 10 people, including two children, were also killed in a landslide at a rubbish dump in Guinea. In Lagos state in Nigeria, authorities forcibly evicted at least 5,000 people from the Otodo- Gbame and Ilubirin waterfront neighbourhoods, while security services fired tear gas and live bullets to clear the area. The forced evictions were in violation of a High Court order restraining authorities from carrying out demolitions in these communities. On the other hand, a High Court ruling in Nigeria declared the planned demolition of Mpape settlement in Abuja illegal, thereby offering relief to hundreds of thousands of residents. The Court ruled that the authorities were obliged to refrain from forced evictions and should develop policies to implement the right to adequate housing. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 25

26 BUSINESS AND CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY In DRC, children and adults risked their lives and health working in cobalt mines for a dollar a day. In South Africa, Lonmin Plc, a UK-based platinum mining giant, allowed its workforce to live in squalor in Marikana, in spite of making legally binding commitments to build 5,500 new houses over 10 years before. No one was held to account for the killing in 2012 of 34 people protesting against poor conditions at the mine. At the same time, there were growing signs of public pressure, action and demands for corporate accountability in various countries. In June, a landmark civil case was launched against Shell in the Netherlands – accusing it of complicity in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of the Ogoni nine, hanged by Nigeria’s military government in 1995. International organizations called for Shell to be investigated for its part in these serious human rights violations committed by the Nigerian security forces in Ogoniland in the 1990s. Some governments took positive steps. The DRC government committed to end child labour in the mining sector by 2025, in what could be a significant step towards eradicating the use of children as young as seven in dangerous mining work. Ghana ratified the UN Minamata Convention on Mercury, which aims to protect workers from toxic liquid metal by reducing mercury use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining and to protect children from exposure. LOOKING AHEAD While 2017 saw protracted and, in some cases, deepening challenges to the state of human rights in Africa, it also offered hope and opportunities for change. A key source of hope lay in the countless people across the region who stood up for human rights, justice and dignity – often risking their lives and freedoms. Africa’s regional bodies remained key to the realization of positive change; they too are presented with many opportunities. During the year, the AU endorsed an ambitious plan to realize its commitment to “silence the guns” by 2020. It embarked on a major institutional reform agenda, which includes mobilizing significant resources for its operations and for peace and security interventions. This holistic approach and the AU’s ambition to address the root causes of conflict offer real opportunities to mobilize an effective regional response for better protection of civilians, respect for human rights and tackling the entrenched culture of impunity. The year also marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which – despite many challenges – made significant contributions towards the promotion and protection of human rights, including by formulating an impressive list of instruments and standards. In 2017 alone, the Commission adopted at least 13 such instruments; these gave specific content to the broad provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. The Commission should build on these successes and work towards refining and strengthening its processes and mechanisms; it needs to develop a single set of consolidated state reporting guidelines and to apply consistently the Commission’s procedure for following up the implementation of its decisions and recommendations to states. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 26

27 AMERICAS REGIONAL OVERVIEW Discrimination and inequality continued to be the norm across the continent. High levels of violence continued to ravage the region, with waves of killings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions. Human rights defenders experienced increasing levels of violence. Impunity remained pervasive. Politics of demonization and division increased. Indigenous Peoples faced discrimination and continued to be denied their economic, social and cultural rights, including their rights to land and to free, prior and informed consent on projects affecting them. Governments made little headway in protecting the rights of women and girls, and of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. Huge numbers of people across the Americas region faced a deepening human rights crisis, fuelled by the downgrading of human rights in law, policy and practice, together with increasing use of the politics of demonization and division. Such regression risked becoming endemic in many countries. It exacerbated a lack of trust in the authorities – manifested in low levels of participation in elections and referendums – and in institutions such as national justice systems. Rather than using human rights as a way to secure a more just and sustainable future, many governments fell back on tactics of repression – misusing their security forces and justice systems to silence dissent and criticism; allowing widespread torture and other ill-treatment to go unpunished; and presiding over rampant inequality, poverty and discrimination sustained by corruption and failures in accountability and justice. Major regression in human rights was also driven by a series of executive orders issued by US President Donald Trump, including what became known as the “Muslim ban” and plans to build a wall along the US border with Mexico. Extreme and persistent violence was commonplace in countries including Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Venezuela. Violence across the region was frequently driven by the proliferation of illicit small arms and the growth of organized crime. Violence against LGBTI people, women and girls, and Indigenous Peoples was widespread. According to a UN report, Latin America and the Caribbean remained the most violent region in the world for women, despite strict laws aimed at addressing the crisis. The region had the world’s highest rate of non-intimate partner violence against women, and the second highest rate of intimate partner violence. Mexico witnessed a wave of killings of journalists and human rights defenders. Venezuela faced its worst human rights crisis in modern history. Killings of Indigenous people and Afro- descendant leaders in Colombia exposed shortcomings in the implementation of the country’s peace process. Land rights activists were targeted with violence and other abuses in many countries. The region continued to suffer from an alarming rise in the number of threats and attacks against human rights defenders, community leaders and journalists, including through misuse of the justice system. Huge numbers of people fled their homes to escape repression, violence, discrimination and poverty. Many suffered further abuses while in transit or upon reaching other countries in the region. The pardon granted to Peru’s former president Alberto Fujimori, who in 2009 was sentenced for crimes against humanity, sent a worrying signal about Peru’s willingness to confront impunity and respect the rights of victims. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 27

28 States’ failure to uphold human rights increased the space for non-state actors to commit crimes under international law and other abuses. These included organized criminal entities, which in some cases controlled entire territories, often with the complicity or acquiescence of security forces. National and transnational corporations sought to take control of the land and territory of groups including Indigenous Peoples and – in countries like Peru and Nicaragua – peasant farmers. Failures to uphold economic, social and cultural rights caused widespread suffering. A reversal of political rhetoric by the USA under President Trump reduced the chances of the US Congress passing legislation to lift the economic embargo on Cuba – and so perpetuated the embargo’s adverse impacts on Cubans. Paraguay’s authorities failed to ensure the right to adequate housing following forced evictions. There were thousands of new cases of cholera in Haiti. Tens of thousands of people were displaced from their homes and struggled with badly damaged infrastructure in countries in the Caribbean, including in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, following two major hurricanes, among other natural disasters. In Mexico, two devastating earthquakes that cost hundreds of lives compromised people’s rights to adequate housing and education. At the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly, held in Canc ú n, Mexico, in June, there was a clear lack of political leadership to address some of the region’s most pressing human rights issues. A group of countries tried to condemn the crisis in Venezuela, without acknowledging their own failures to respect and protect human rights. After the previous year’s financial crisis, the OAS took a step forward by doubling the budget allocation for the Inter-American human rights system – although the funding was to be allocated under certain conditions, which could limit the ability of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to hold states accountable for human rights violations. In the USA, President Trump wasted little time in putting his anti-rights rhetoric of discrimination and xenophobia into action, threatening a major rollback on justice and freedoms – including by signing a series of repressive executive orders that threatened the human rights of millions, at home and abroad. This included abusive USA-Mexico border enforcement practices such as the increased detention of asylum-seekers and their families; extreme restrictions on women’s and girls’ access to sexual and reproductive health services in the USA and elsewhere; repeal of protections for LGBTI workers and transgender students; and permission for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be completed – threatening the water source of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Indigenous Peoples, as well as violating their right to free, prior and informed consent. Yet growing disenfranchisement did not equate to disengagement. Emerging social discontent inspired people to take to the streets, stand up for their rights and demand an end to repression, marginalization and injustice. Examples included the massive demonstrations in support of activist Santiago Maldonado, who was found dead after going missing in the context of a demonstration marred by police violence in a Mapuche community in Argentina, and the massive social movement of “Ni Una Menos” (“not one less woman”) – denouncing femicide and violence against women and girls – in various countries in the region. Massive grassroots and political opposition in the USA resisted some of the policies and decisions by the Trump administration that undermined human rights, including attempts to ban people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the USA and to reduce the number of refugees eligible for admission; threats to increase the number of detainees at the US detention centre in Guantánamo Bay; and an attempt to take away health care coverage from millions in the USA. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 28

29 PUBLIC SECURITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS VENEZUELA CRISIS Venezuela faced one of the worst human rights crises in its recent history, fuelled by an escalation of government-sponsored violence. There were growing protests due to rising inflation and a humanitarian crisis caused by shortages of food and medical supplies. Rather than address the food and health crisis, the authorities instituted a premeditated policy of violent repression of any form of dissent. The security forces used abusive and excessive force against protesters, including by throwing tear gas and firing rubber bullets, leading to more than 120 deaths. Thousands of people were arbitrarily detained and there were many reports of torture and other ill-treatment. The judicial system was used to silence dissent, including through the use of military courts to prosecute civilians, and to target and harass human rights defenders. VIOLENCE AND IMPUNITY IN MEXICO Mexico’s human rights crisis continued, exacerbated by increases in violence and homicides, including a record number of killings of journalists. Arbitrary arrests and detentions remained widespread – often leading to further human rights violations, most of which were not properly investigated. More than 34,000 people remained subject to enforced disappearance, and extrajudicial executions were rife. Torture and other ill-treatment continued to be widespread and were committed with impunity by the security forces, with people routinely forced to sign false “confessions”. However, the Senate’s approval of a new law on enforced disappearances – following a national public outcry over the case of 43 forcibly disappeared students whose fate and whereabouts remained undisclosed – was a potential step forward, although its eventual implementation will require serious political commitment to ensure justice, truth and reparations. Congress also finally passed a new general law on torture. More concerning was the enactment of a law on interior security that would enable the prolonged presence of the armed forces in regular policing functions, a strategy that has been linked to an increase in human rights violations. UNLAWFUL KILLINGS Authorities in Brazil ignored a deepening human rights crisis of their own making. In the city of Rio de Janeiro, a spike in violence saw a surge in unlawful killings by the police, with soaring rates of killings and other human rights violations elsewhere in the country. Little was done to reduce the number of homicides, to control the use of force by the police or to guarantee Indigenous Peoples’ rights. The chaotic, overcrowded and dangerous state of Brazil’s prisons resulted in more than 120 deaths of inmates during riots reported in January. Despite the homicide rate falling in Honduras, there were serious concerns about high levels of violence and insecurity; prevalent impunity undermined public trust in the authorities and the justice system. Massive protests took place throughout the country – denouncing the lack of transparency around the presidential election held in November – and were violently repressed by security forces, leading to at least 31 people being killed, dozens arbitrarily detained and others injured. Dozens of unlawful killings by the security forces were reported in the Dominican Republic, which endured a persistently high homicide rate. Jamaica’s police continued to commit unlawful killings – some potentially amounting to extrajudicial executions – with impunity. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 29

30 PROTESTS Protests were met with unnecessary and excessive use of force by the authorities in countries including Colombia, Paraguay and Puerto Rico. In Paraguay, protests erupted after a secret attempt by senators to amend the Constitution to allow presidential re-elections was exposed. The Congress building was set on fire by some protesters, and opposition activist Rodrigo Quintana was killed by police. Dozens of people were injured, more than 200 were detained, and local organizations reported torture and other ill-treatment by security forces. In Nicaragua, police officers prevented rural communities and Indigenous Peoples from participating in peaceful demonstrations against the construction of the Grand Interoceanic Canal. In Argentina, more than 30 people were arbitrarily detained by police in the capital, Buenos Aires, for taking part in a demonstration following the death of activist Santiago Maldonado. In December, excessive force was used against protesters in Buenos Aires taking part in massive demonstrations against governmental reforms. ACCESS TO JUSTICE AND THE FIGHT TO END IMPUNITY Impunity remained pervasive and a key driver of human rights violations and abuses in many countries. Ongoing impunity and corruption in Guatemala eroded public trust in the authorities and hampered access to justice. There were large protests in August and September and the country faced a political crisis when members of the government resigned in response to President Jimmy Morales’ attempt to expel the head of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, an independent body established by the government and the UN in 2006 to strengthen the rule of law post-conflict. Impunity for past and present human rights violations remained a concern in Chile. The closure by the authorities of an investigation into the alleged abduction and torture reported by Mapuche leader Víctor Queipul Hueiquil sent a chilling message to human rights defenders across the country, while it appeared that no comprehensive and impartial investigation was carried out. Indigenous leader Machi Francisca Linconao and 10 other Mapuche people were acquitted of terrorism charges, due to a lack of evidence to implicate them in the deaths of two people in January 2013. However, in December the Court of Appeals declared the judgment null. A new trial was due to start in 2018. CONFRONTING PAST HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS Efforts to address unresolved human rights violations often remained slow and sluggish, hampered by a lack of political will. In Peru, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski granted a medical pardon and grace to former president Alberto Fujimori, who had been sentenced in 2009 to 25 years’ imprisonment for his responsibility for crimes against humanity committed by his subordinates, and was still facing other charges for his alleged responsibility for other human rights violations that could constitute crimes against humanity. Thousands took to the streets to protest against the decision. In Uruguay, human rights defenders investigating human rights violations that took place during the military regime (1973-1985) reported receiving death threats, the sources of which were not investigated. In November the Supreme Court found that crimes committed during Amnesty International Report 2017/18 30

31 the regime did not amount to crimes against humanity and were, therefore, subject to statutes of limitations. Yet there was some progress. In Argentina, 29 people were sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity committed during the 1976-1983 military regime, and a federal court issued a historic decision under which four former members of the judiciary were sentenced to life in prison for contributing to the commission of crimes against humanity during those years. In Bolivia a Truth Commission was established to investigate serious human rights violations committed under military governments from 1964 to 1982. There was progress in prosecuting some crimes against humanity committed during Guatemala’s internal armed conflict (1960-1996), with five former members of the military sent to trial on charges of crimes against humanity, rape and enforced disappearance. After several failed attempts since 2015, the trials of former military head of state José Efraín Ríos Montt and former intelligence chief José Rodríguez Sánchez finally resumed in October. REFUGEES, MIGRANTS AND STATELESS PEOPLE DENIAL OF PROTECTION BY THE USA Amid a global refugee crisis in which more than 21 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to war and persecution, the USA took extreme steps to deny protection to people in need. In the first few weeks of his administration, President Trump issued executive orders to suspend the country’s refugee resettlement programme for 120 days, impose an indefinite ban on the resettlement of refugees from Syria, and reduce the annual refugee admission cap to 50,000. President Trump also signed an executive order vowing to build a wall along the USA-Mexico border. His order, which pledged to put in place 5,000 additional border patrol agents, carried the risk that more migrants – including many in need of international protection – would be unlawfully pushed back at the border or deported to places where their lives are at risk. The injustice of President Trump’s actions was emphasized by Central America’s ongoing refugee crisis, and by the appalling situation in Venezuela, which led to an increase in the number of Venezuelans seeking asylum abroad. As conditions for refugees and migrants in the USA deteriorated, there was a significant increase in numbers of asylum-seekers irregularly crossing the border from the USA into Canada. REFUGEE CRISIS According to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, more than 57,000 people from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador sought asylum in other countries. Many were forced back home, where a lack of an effective system to protect them meant they faced the same dangers and conditions from which they had fled. Thousands of families and unaccompanied children from those countries migrated to the USA through Mexico and were apprehended at the US border. Mexico received a record number of asylum applications, mostly from nationals of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Venezuela, but repeatedly failed to provide protection to those who needed it – instead pushing people back to highly dangerous and even life- threatening situations. Argentina’s reception system for asylum-seekers remained slow and insufficient, and there was no integration plan in place to help asylum-seekers and refugees access basic rights such as education, work and health care. Cubans continued to leave the country in large numbers, pushed by low wages and undue restrictions on freedom of expression. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 31

32 STATELESS AND INTERNALLY DISPLACED PEOPLE The Dominican Republic’s statelessness crisis continued to affect tens of thousands of people of Haitian descent who were born in the country but were left stateless after being retroactively and arbitrarily deprived of their Dominican nationality in 2013. Those affected were denied a range of human rights and were prevented from accessing higher education, formal employment or adequate health care. In Haiti, almost 38,000 people remained internally displaced because of the 2010 earthquake. There was a reported increase in deportation cases at the Dominican-Haitian border. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS Indigenous Peoples’ rights continued to be violated in countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru. VIOLENCE AGAINST INDIGENOUS PEOPLES Indigenous Peoples continued to be criminalized and discriminated against in Argentina, where the authorities used legal proceedings to harass them; there were reports of police attacks, including beatings and intimidation. Rafael Nahuel of the Mapuche community was killed in November during an eviction conducted by security forces. In Colombia, a wave of killings of Indigenous people from communities historically affected by the armed conflict highlighted shortcomings in the implementation of the peace agreement. The killing of Gerson Acosta – leader of the Kite Kiwe Indigenous council in Timbío, Cauca, who was shot repeatedly while leaving a community meeting – was a tragic example of the ineffectiveness of the authorities’ measures to safeguard the lives and safety of community leaders and other Indigenous people. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights documented the different forms of discrimination faced by Indigenous women in the Americas and highlighted how their political, social and economic marginalization contributed to permanent structural discrimination, leaving them at increased risk of violence. LAND RIGHTS In Peru, new laws weakened the protection of Indigenous Peoples’ rights related to land and territory and undermined their right to free, prior and informed consent. The government neglected the right to health of hundreds of Indigenous Peoples whose only water sources were contaminated with toxic metals, and who lacked access to adequate health care. In Ecuador, the right to free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples continued to be violated, including after intrusions of the state into their territories for future oil extraction. Indigenous Peoples in Paraguay also continued to be denied their rights to land and to free, prior and informed consent on projects affecting them. Despite rulings from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the government failed to provide the Yakye Axa community access to their lands, or to resolve a case regarding the ownership of land expropriated from the Sawhoyamaxa community. Guatemala’s Supreme Court recognized the lack of prior consultation with the Xinca Indigenous People of Santa Rosa and Jalapa, who were negatively affected by mining activities. In Brazil, conflicts over land, and invasion by illegal loggers and mine workers into Indigenous Peoples’ territory, resulted in violent attacks against Indigenous communities. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 32

33 HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AND JOURNALISTS The extreme risks and dangers of defending human rights were apparent in numerous countries in the region, with human rights defenders facing threats, harassment and attacks including in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Paraguay. KILLINGS AND HARASSMENT IN MEXICO In Mexico, human rights defenders were threatened, attacked and killed, with digital attacks and surveillance especially common. During the year, at least 12 journalists were killed – the largest number recorded since 2000 – many in public places in daylight, with the authorities making no notable progress in investigating and prosecuting those responsible. Victims included prize-winning journalist Javier Valdez, who was killed in May near the office of the newspaper Ríodoce , which he founded. It became apparent that a network of people was using the internet to harass and threaten journalists throughout Mexico. Evidence also emerged of surveillance against journalists and human rights defenders, using software that the government was known to have purchased. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AT RISK IN HONDURAS Honduras remained one of the region’s most dangerous countries for human rights defenders – especially those working to protect land, territory and the environment. They were targeted by both state and non-state actors, subjected to smear campaigns to discredit their work, and regularly faced intimidation, threats and attacks. Most attacks registered against human rights defenders went unpunished. There was little progress in the investigation into the March 2016 killing of Indigenous environmental defender Berta Cáceres. Since her murder, several other Honduran environmental and human rights activists have been harassed and threatened. INCREASED ATTACKS IN COLOMBIA There was an increase in the number of attacks against human rights defenders in Colombia, especially community leaders, defenders of land, territory and the environment, and those campaigning in favour of the peace agreement. According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, almost 100 human rights defenders were killed during the year. Many death threats against activists were attributed to paramilitary groups, but in most cases the authorities failed to identify who was responsible for the killings that resulted from the threats. ARBITRARY DETENTIONS, THREATS AND HARASSMENT In Cuba, large numbers of human rights defenders and political activists continued to be harassed, intimidated, dismissed from state employment and arbitrarily detained to silence criticism. Online and offline censorship undermined advances in education. Prisoners of conscience included the leader of the pro-democracy Christian Liberation Movement, Eduardo Cardet Concepción, who was jailed for three years for publicly criticizing former president Fidel Castro. Human rights defenders in Guatemala, especially those working on land, territorial and environmental issues, faced ongoing threats and attacks, and were subjected to smear campaigns. The justice system was also frequently misused to target, harass and silence human rights defenders. A ruling by Peru’s Supreme Court confirming the acquittal of human rights defender Máxima Acuña Atalaya after five years of unfounded criminal proceedings for land seizure was a landmark decision for environmental defenders. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 33

34 RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND GIRLS Women and girls across the region continued to be subjected to a wide range of violations and abuses, including gender-based violence and discrimination and violations of sexual and reproductive rights. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS Violence against women and girls remained prevalent. Impunity for crimes such as rape, killings and threats was widespread and entrenched, often underpinned by weak political will, limited resources to investigate and bring perpetrators to justice, and an unchallenged patriarchal culture. Ongoing gender-based violence in the Dominican Republic resulted in an increase in the number of killings of women and girls. Gender-based violence against women and girls was also a major concern in Mexico and worsened in Nicaragua. In Jamaica, women’s movements and survivors of gender-based and sexual violence took to the streets to protest against impunity for such crimes. There was an increase in the number of killings of women in leadership roles in Colombia, and no clear progress in ensuring access to justice for women survivors of sexual violence. However, women’s organizations ensured that the Peace Agreement established that people suspected of having committed crimes of sexual violence would be required to appear before transitional justice tribunals. In Cuba, The Ladies in White – a group of female relatives of prisoners detained on politically motivated grounds – remained a key target of repression by the authorities. Canada’s federal government released a strategy to combat gender-based violence, and committed to placing women’s rights, gender equality and sexual and reproductive rights at the core of its foreign policy. A law to combat violence against women entered into force in Paraguay in December, although it remained unclear how it would be funded. SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS THE USA’S “GLOBAL GAG RULE” In January, two days after massive worldwide demonstrations for equality and against discrimination, US President Trump put at risk the lives and health of millions of women and girls around the world by reinstating the so-called “global gag rule”. This blocked US financial assistance to any hospitals or organizations that provide abortion information about, or access to, safe and legal abortion care, or that advocate the decriminalization of abortion or the expansion of abortion services. In Latin America alone – where experts estimate that 760,000 women are treated annually from complications of unsafe abortion – President Trump’s stance put many more lives at risk. CRIMINALIZATION OF ABORTION A ruling by Chile’s Constitutional Tribunal to support the decriminalization of abortion in certain cases left just seven countries worldwide persisting with a total ban on abortion, even when the life or health of the woman or girl is at risk. Six of those countries were in the Americas region: the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Suriname. In El Salvador, 19-year-old Evelyn Beatriz Hernández Cruz was jailed for 30 years on charges of aggravated homicide, after suffering obstetric complications resulting in a miscarriage. In December, a court confirmed the 30-year sentence of Teodora, a woman who suffered a stillbirth in 2007. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 34

35 The Dominican Republic’s Senate voted against a proposal that would have decriminalized abortion in certain circumstances. In Honduras, Congress also maintained the ban on abortion in all circumstances in the new Criminal Code. In Argentina, women and girls faced obstacles in accessing legal abortion when the pregnancy posed a risk to their health or resulted from rape; full decriminalization of abortion was pending in Parliament. In Uruguay, sexual and reproductive health services were difficult to access in rural areas, and objectors to providing abortion continued to obstruct access to legal abortions. In October, the Ministry of Education and Science of Paraguay issued a resolution banning the inclusion in educational materials of basic information about human rights, sexual and reproductive health education and diversity, among other subjects. In Bolivia – where unsafe abortions were one of the main causes of maternal mortality – the Criminal Code was amended to significantly expand access to legal abortion. RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE LGBTI people faced persistent discrimination, harassment and violence in the region, including in Haiti, Honduras and Jamaica. In Bolivia the Constitutional Court invalidated part of a law which granted civil marriage rights to transgender people who had changed their gender on their identity documents. The country’s Ombudsman proposed an amendment to the Criminal Code to make hate crimes against LGBTI people a criminal offence. In the Dominican Republic the body of a transgender woman, Jessica Rubi Mori, was found dismembered in wasteland. By the end of the year, no one had been brought to justice for her killing. In Uruguay there remained no comprehensive anti-discrimination policy protecting LGBTI people from violence in schools and public spaces, or ensuring their access to health services. ARMED CONFLICT Despite the opportunities presented by the Peace Agreement in Colombia, legislation remained unimplemented on most of its points, and there were serious concerns around impunity for crimes committed during the conflict. Ongoing human rights violations and abuses also demonstrated that the internal conflict between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the security forces was far from over, and in some areas it appeared to intensify. Civilian populations continued to be the main victims of the conflict – especially Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendant and peasant farmer communities, and human rights defenders. A spike in the number of human rights activists killed at the beginning of the year highlighted the dangers faced by those exposing ongoing abuses in Colombia. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 35

36 ASIA-PACIFIC REGIONAL OVERVIEW The human rights landscape of the Asia-Pacific region was mostly characterized by government failures. However, these frequently contrasted with an inspiring and growing movement of human rights defenders and activists. Many countries saw a shrinking space for civil society. Human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and others found themselves the target of state repression – from an unprecedented crackdown on freedom of expression in China to sweeping intolerance of dissent in Cambodia and Thailand and enforced disappearances in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Impunity was widespread – breeding and sustaining violations including unlawful killings and torture, denying justice and reparation to millions, and fuelling crimes against humanity or war crimes in countries such as Myanmar and Afghanistan. The global refugee crisis worsened. Hundreds of thousands in the region were forced to flee their homes and faced uncertain, often violent, futures. Their numbers were swelled by the Myanmar military’s crimes against humanity in northern Rakhine State where the army burned entire Rohingya villages, killed adults and children, and raped women and girls. The mass violations forced more than 655,000 Rohingya to escape persecution by fleeing to Bangladesh. Those who remained continued to live under a systematically discriminatory system amounting to apartheid which severely restricted virtually every aspect of their lives and segregated them from the rest of society. ASEAN, chaired by the Philippines during 2017, marked its 50th anniversary. ASEAN governments and institutions remained silent over the massive violations in the Philippines, Myanmar and elsewhere in the region. Against this backdrop, growing calls to respect and protect human rights in Asia-Pacific, increasingly by young people, delivered some progress and hope. There were advances in policing in the Republic of Korea (South Korea), and positive court rulings on corporate accountability in South Korea; on marriage equality in Australia and Taiwan; and on the right to privacy in India. EAST ASIA The authorities in Japan, Mongolia and South Korea all failed to adequately protect human rights defenders. Human rights defenders were specifically targeted and persecuted in China. A notable shrinking of space for civil society was especially apparent in China, and was of increasing concern in Hong Kong and Japan. Human rights protection was diluted in Japan where parliament adopted an overly broad law targeting “terrorism” and other serious crimes, despite harsh criticism from civil society and academics. This law gave the authorities broad surveillance powers that could be misused to curtail human rights. Following a change of government in South Korea, the national police accepted recommendations for a change in the overall approach of policing in order to allow the full and free exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. Also in South Korea, while hundreds of conscientious objectors were imprisoned, an increasing number of lower courts handed down decisions recognizing the right to conscientious objection, and court rulings acknowledged the responsibility of multinational corporations for work-related death or illness of employees. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 36

37 The consecration of President Xi Jinping as China’s most powerful leader for many years took place against the backdrop of a stifling of freedom of expression and information. Authorities increasingly used “national security” as justification for restriction of human rights and detention of activists; the tactic escalated significantly in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) where, under the leadership of new regional Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, authorities put new emphasis on “social stability” and increased technological surveillance, armed street patrols and security checkpoints and implemented an array of intrusive policies violating human rights. Authorities set up detention facilities within the XUAR, variously called “counter extremism centres”, “political study centres” or “education and transformation centres”, in which people were arbitrarily detained for unspecified periods and forced to study Chinese laws and policies. Citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) continued to face a series of grave human rights violations, some of which amounted to crimes against humanity. The rights to freedom of expression and movement were severely restricted, and up to 120,000 people continued to be arbitrarily detained in political prison camps, where they were subjected to forced labour, torture and other ill-treatment. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS The Chinese authorities continued their unprecedented crackdown on dissent with a ruthless campaign of arbitrary arrests, detention, imprisonment and torture and other ill-treatment of human rights lawyers and activists. The authorities persisted in the use of “residential surveillance in a designated location”, a form of secret incommunicado detention that allowed the police to hold individuals for up to six months outside the formal detention system, without access to legal counsel of their choice, their families or others, and placed suspects at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. This form of detention was used to curb the activities of human rights defenders, including lawyers, activists and religious practitioners. The government also continued to imprison those trying to commemorate peacefully the Tiananmen Square crackdown of 3-4 June 1989 in the capital, Beijing, in which hundreds, if not thousands, of protesters were killed or injured after the People’s Liberation Army opened fire on unarmed civilians. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiabo died in custody in July. In Hong Kong, the repeated use of vague charges against prominent pro-democracy movement figures appeared to be an orchestrated and retaliatory campaign by the authorities to punish and intimidate those advocating democracy or challenging the authorities. PEOPLE ON THE MOVE In Japan, while asylum applications continued to increase, the government reported in February that it had approved 28 out of 10,901 claims in 2016, which was a 44% increase in claims from the previous year. Meanwhile, to address the country’s labour shortage, Japan began to accept the first of 10,000 Vietnamese nationals to be admitted over three years under a labour migration programme harshly criticized by human rights advocates for facilitating a wide range of abuses. In South Korea, deaths of migrant workers raised concerns about safety in the workplace. North Korean authorities continued to dispatch workers to other countries, including China and Russia, although some countries stopped renewing or issuing additional work visas to North Koreans in order to comply with the new UN sanctions on North Korea’s economic activities abroad in response to the country’s missile tests. DISCRIMINATION In China, religious repression remained particularly severe in the XUAR and in Tibetan- populated areas. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 37

38 Discrimination against LGBTI people remained prevalent in public life in South Korea. Gay men faced violence, bullying and verbal abuse during compulsory military service. A serving soldier was convicted of same-sex sexual activity. Although pervasive discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity continued in Japan, there was some progress in local municipalities. For the first time in the city of Osaka, the authorities approved a same-sex couple as foster parents, and two other municipalities took positive steps towards recognizing same-sex partnerships. A landmark ruling by its highest court saw Taiwan close to becoming the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage, in a major step forward for LGBTI rights. The judges ruled the country’s marriage law unconstitutional as it discriminated against same-sex couples, and gave lawmakers two years to amend or enact relevant laws. A bill on same-sex marriage was being considered by Taiwan’s legislature. DEATH PENALTY China remained the world’s leading executioner, although capital punishment statistics continued to be classified as state secrets. Taiwan’s Supreme Court rejected the Prosecutor General’s extraordinary appeal for the retrial of the longest-serving death row inmate in Taiwan’s modern history; Chiou Ho-shun, on death row since 1989, claimed that he was tortured and forced to “confess” during police interrogations. In July, Mongolia became the 105th country worldwide to abolish the death penalty for all crimes, yet in November the President proposed its reintroduction to the Ministry of Justice in response to two violent rape and murder cases. SOUTH ASIA Across South Asia, governments invoked law and order, national security and religion as they engaged in attacks against religious minorities, criminalization of freedom of expression, enforced disappearances, prolific use of the death penalty, and assaults on refugee rights. Impunity was widespread. Freedom of expression was under attack across South Asia. Using vague concepts such as “the national interest” as an excuse to silence people, governments targeted journalists, human rights defenders and others for peacefully expressing their beliefs. A new trend involved criminalizing online freedom of expression. In Pakistan, five bloggers critical of the government were subjected to enforced disappearance. Other bloggers were arrested for comments criticizing the military or allegedly expressing remarks deemed “anti- Islamic”. Criticism of the Bangladesh government or the family of the Prime Minister also triggered criminal cases. The government proposed a new Digital Security Act, which would place even greater restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and impose heavier penalties. In Afghanistan, where internet penetration is among the lowest in the Asia-Pacific region, a new Cyber Crime Law was passed criminalizing freedom of expression. Failures to uphold economic, cultural and social rights had major impacts. As a result of Pakistan failing to bring its laws into line with international standards, the population suffered widespread discrimination, curtailed workers’ rights, and meagre social security. India ratified two ILO core conventions on child labour, but activists remained critical of amendments to the country’s child labour laws that allowed children to work in family enterprises. Two years after a massive earthquake shook Nepal, the government was still failing thousands of marginalized earthquake survivors who languished in flimsy temporary shelters. In October, Pakistan was elected to the UN Human Rights Council, pledging commitment to human rights. Yet it failed to address directly Pakistan’s serious human rights issues, including Amnesty International Report 2017/18 38

39 enforced disappearances; the death penalty; blasphemy laws; the use of military courts to try civilians; women’s rights; and threats to the work of human rights defenders. Killings, abductions and other abuses were committed by armed groups in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, among others. Civilian casualties, particularly of religious ’ a minorities, continued to be high in Afghanistan. In Pakistan, armed groups targeted Shi ’ a mosque in Quetta, killing at least 18 people. Muslims, including by bombing a Shi Violations around Nepal’s historic local elections included arbitrary arrests and detention, and the security forces opening fire on protesters at an election rally. In the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, security forces killed eight people following protests during a by-election for a parliamentary seat; one voter was beaten by army personnel, strapped to the front of an army jeep and driven around for over five hours, seemingly as a warning to other protesters. The security forces also persisted in their use of inherently inaccurate pellet-firing shotguns during protests – blinding and otherwise injuring several people. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS In India, the authorities were openly critical of human rights defenders, contributing to a climate of hostility and violence against them. Repressive laws were used to stifle freedom of expression, and journalists and press freedom came under increasing attack. Human rights defenders in Afghanistan faced constant threats to their life and security from armed groups and state actors, and journalists faced violence and censorship. Pakistan authorities failed to protect journalists, bloggers, and civil society and activists who faced constant harassment, intimidation, threats, smear campaigns and attacks from non-state actors. Instead, the authorities increased restrictions on the work of scores of NGOs, and subjected many activists to attacks, including torture and enforced disappearances. In Bangladesh, the government intensified its crackdown on public debate and criticism. Media workers were harassed and prosecuted under draconian laws. The government failed to hold accountable armed groups that carried out a high-profile spate of killings of secular bloggers. Activists regularly received death threats, forcing some to leave the country. In Maldives, restrictions on public debate intensified. The authorities harassed journalists, activists and media outlets. The government was apparently behind a relentless assault on the rule of law that compromised the judiciary’s independence. IMPUNITY Impunity was widespread and entrenched across South Asia. However, in Nepal, a district court sentenced three army officers to life imprisonment for the murder in 2004 of Maina Sunuwar, a 15-year-old girl; she died after being tortured in army custody during the decade- long armed conflict between Maoists and government forces that ended in 2006. The convictions were an important development in the justice system’s ability to deal with grave conflict-era abuses, and offered the first sign of justice for victims. In India, the Supreme Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate more than 80 alleged extrajudicial executions by police and security force personnel in the state of Manipur between 1979 and 2012, ruling that cases should not go uninvestigated merely because of the passage of time. ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES Enforced disappearances continued in Pakistan; the victims were at considerable risk of torture and other ill-treatment, and even death. No perpetrators were known to have been brought to justice for the hundreds or thousands of cases reported across the country in recent years. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 39

40 Despite the Sri Lankan government’s 2015 pledge to deliver truth, justice and reparation to victims of the armed conflict in the country, and to deliver reforms to prevent violations, progress was slow. Impunity for enforced disappearances remained. The government stalled on its commitment to repeal the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act that enabled incommunicado and secret detention. However, the parliament passed an amended Office on Missing Persons Act, intended to assist families of the disappeared seek missing relatives. Enforced disappearances were committed in Bangladesh; the victims often belonged to opposition political parties. PEOPLE ON THE MOVE In different parts of South Asia, refugees and migrants were denied their rights. Bangladesh had opened its borders to more than 655,000 members of the Rohingya community fleeing a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. However, if the Rohingya refugees were forced to return to Myanmar, they would be at the mercy of the same military that drove them out and would continue to face the entrenched system of discrimination and segregation amounting to apartheid that made them so vulnerable in the first place. The number of internally displaced people in Afghanistan rose to more than 2 million, while about 2.6 million Afghan refugees lived outside the country. DISCRIMINATION Across South Asia, dissenting voices and members of religious minorities were increasingly vulnerable to attacks from mobs. In India, several cases of lynching of Muslims were reported, sparking outrage against the wave of rising Islamophobia under the Hindu nationalist government. Demonstrations against attacks on Muslims were held in several cities, but the government did little to show that it disapproved of the violence. Indigenous Adivasi communities in India continued to be displaced by industrial projects. In Bangladesh, attacks against religious minorities were met with near-indifference by the government. Those who sought help from the authorities after they received threats were often turned away. Sri Lanka saw a rise in Buddhist nationalist sentiment, including attacks against Christians and Muslims. The Maldives government used religion to cloak its repressive practices, including attacks against members of the opposition and plans to reintroduce the death penalty. Marginalized communities in Pakistan faced discrimination in law, policy and practice because of their gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or gender identity. Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which carry a mandatory death penalty for “blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad”, remained incompatible with a range of rights. The frequently misused laws were disproportionately applied to religious minorities and others targeted with accusations that were often false and violated international human rights law. A man was sentenced to death for allegedly posting content on Facebook deemed “blasphemous” – the harshest sentence handed down to date in Pakistan for a cyber crime-related offence. GENDER-BASED DISCRIMINATION Although India ’s Supreme Court banned the practice of triple talaq (Islamic instant divorce), other court rulings undermined women’s autonomy. The Supreme Court weakened a law enacted to protect women from violence in marriage. Several rape survivors, including girls, approached the courts for permission to terminate pregnancies over 20 weeks, as required under Indian law; although courts approved some abortions, they refused others. The central government instructed states to set up permanent medical boards to decide such cases promptly. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 40

41 In Pakistan, the rape of a teenage girl ordered by a so-called village council in “revenge” for a rape allegedly committed by her brother was one in a long series of horrific cases. Although people from the council were arrested for ordering the rape, the authorities failed to end impunity for sexual violence and abolish so-called village councils that prescribed crimes of sexual violence as revenge. Pakistan also continued to criminalize same-sex consensual relationships. Violence against women and girls persisted in Afghanistan, where an increase was reported in the number of women publicly punished in the name of Shari’a law by armed groups. DEATH PENALTY Against the backdrop of a worsening political crisis, the authorities in Maldives announced that executions would resume after more than 60 years. None had been carried out by the end of the year. Pakistan had executed hundreds of people since it lifted an informal moratorium on executions in 2014, often with serious additional concerns that those executed were denied the right to a fair trial. In violation of international law, courts imposed the death penalty on people with mental disabilities, individuals aged below 18 when the crime was committed, and those whose convictions were based on “confessions” extracted through torture or other ill- treatment. ARMED CONFLICT The situation in Afghanistan continued to deteriorate, with the number of civilian casualties remaining high, a growing internal displacement crisis, and the Taliban controlling more territory than at any point since 2001. Since 2014, tens of thousands of Afghan refugees have been returned against their will from Pakistan, Iran and EU countries. The Afghanistan government and the international community showed too little concern for the plight of civilians. When crowds protested against violence and insecurity following one of the deadliest attacks – a bombing in Kabul on 31 May that claimed the lives of more than 150 people and injured hundreds – the security forces opened fire on the crowds, killing several protesters. In a welcome development, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court requested that a preliminary investigation be opened into crimes alleged to have been committed by all parties to the ongoing armed conflict in Afghanistan. The decision was an important step towards ensuring accountability for crimes under international law committed since 2003, and providing truth, justice and reparation for the victims. SOUTHEAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC Many of those taking action to demand respect for human rights and accountability for violations were demonized and criminalized, leading to shrinking civic space. Police and security forces persecuted human rights defenders. Extrajudicial killings, torture and other ill- treatment, and enforced disappearances persisted with impunity. The Myanmar security forces’ campaign of violence against the Rohingya people in northern Rakhine State, which amounted to crimes against humanity, created a human rights and humanitarian crisis in the country and in neighbouring Bangladesh. Lawlessness and violence increased further in the Philippines. The President’s contempt for human rights in the “war on drugs” was characterized by mass killings, mostly of people from poor and marginalized groups, including children. The scope of the killings and rampant impunity led to growing calls for an investigation at the international level. The extension of martial law in the island of Mindanao in December led to concerns that military rule could be Amnesty International Report 2017/18 41

42 used to justify further human rights abuses. The government attempted to reintroduce the death penalty. In Indonesia, police killings of suspected drug dealers rose sharply. Australia continued to pay lip service to human rights while subjecting asylum-seekers and refugees to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Governments in Southeast Asia and the Pacific failed to uphold economic, social and cultural rights. Villagers in Laos were forced to relocate due to development projects; the right to adequate housing in Cambodia was undermined by land grabbing; and housing conditions for foreign workers in Singapore were criticized as poor by NGOs. National elections were held in Papua New Guinea, amid allegations of corruption and heavy- handed actions by the authorities, including violence and arbitrary arrests. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS Human rights defenders, peaceful political activists and religious followers were subjected to violations including arbitrary detention; they faced vaguely worded charges; and they were tried in trials that did not meet internationally defined standards of fairness. Prisoners of conscience were tortured and otherwise ill-treated. In Cambodia, the government’s relentless crackdown on civil society and political activists intensified ahead of a general election scheduled for 2018. Human rights defenders were monitored, arrested and imprisoned; media outlets were shut; harassment of civil society through misuse of the criminal justice system escalated; and an amendment to existing legislation provided the authorities with additional powers over political parties. The judiciary was used as a political tool to silence dissent, and in a blatant act of political repression the Supreme Court ruled to dissolve the main opposition party ahead of the election. Thailand’s military government continued its systematic suppression of dissent, preventing people from speaking or assembling peacefully, and criminalizing and targeting civil society. Dozens of human rights defenders, pro-democracy activists and others faced investigation and prosecution under draconian laws and decrees, many facing lengthy, unfair proceedings before military courts. An ongoing crackdown on civil and political rights by Malaysia’s government included harassment, detention and prosecution of critics through the use of restrictive laws; an increase in open-ended, arbitrary travel bans that violated human rights defenders’ freedom of movement; and the arrest and investigation of Indigenous rights activists and journalists for peacefully demonstrating against abuses. Fiji’s government used restrictive legislation to stifle the media and curtail freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Charges against staff members of the Fiji Times were changed to sedition, in a politically motivated move designed to silence one of the country’s few remaining independent media outlets. ’ s Public Order Act gave the authorities greater powers to restrict Amendments to Singapore or ban public assemblies, and human rights defenders were investigated by police for taking part in peaceful protests. Charges were brought against lawyers and academics who criticized the judiciary, and restrictions placed on media freedom. In Laos, the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly remained severely curtailed and criminal code provisions were used to imprison peaceful activists. A crackdown on dissent in Viet Nam intensified, forcing numerous activists to flee the country. Erosion of the space for a free press increased in Myanmar, where journalists and other media workers faced intimidation and at times arrest, detention and prosecution in connection with their work. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 42

43 IMPUNITY Impunity for deaths in custody and unnecessary or excessive use of force and firearms persisted in Malaysia. There were several deaths in custody, including that of S. Balamurugan who was reportedly beaten by police during interrogation. In Indonesia’s Papua province there was a lack of accountability for unnecessary or excessive use of force during mass protests or other security operations. Fiji’s government failed to ensure accountability for torture and other ill-treatment of detainees by the security forces. In Timor-Leste, victims of serious human rights violations committed during the Indonesian occupation (1975-1999) continued to demand justice and reparations. MYANMAR’S CAMPAIGN OF VIOLENCE AGAINST THE ROHINGYA The security forces launched a targeted campaign of ethnic cleansing, including unlawful killings, rape and burning of villages – amounting to crimes against humanity – against the Rohingya people in northern Rakhine State. The atrocities – an unlawful and disproportionate response to attacks on security posts by an armed Rohingya group in August – created the worst refugee crisis in decades in Southeast Asia. Severe restrictions imposed by Myanmar on aid groups working in Rakhine State worsened the suffering. More than 655,000 Rohingya people fled to Bangladesh. By the end of the year, nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees were scattered across Bangladesh's Cox’s Bazar District, including those who had fled earlier waves of violence. Those who remained in Myanmar continued to live under a regime amounting to apartheid in which their rights, including to equality before the law and freedom of movement, as well as access to health, education and work, were severely restricted. The Myanmar security forces were primarily responsible for the violence against the Rohingya. However, the civilian administration led by Aung San Suu Kyi failed to speak out or intervene. Instead it maligned humanitarian workers, accusing them of aiding “terrorists” while denying the violations. Despite mounting evidence of atrocities in Myanmar, the international community, including the UN Security Council, failed to take effective action or send a clear message that there would be accountability for the military’s crimes against humanity. PEOPLE ON THE MOVE Australia maintained its hardline policies of confining hundreds of people seeking asylum in offshore processing centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, and turning back those attempting to reach Australia by boat – failing in its international obligation to protect them. Refugees and asylum-seekers remained trapped on Nauru, forcibly sent there by the Australian government – most more than four years previously – despite widespread reports of physical, psychological and sexual abuse. Several hundred people living in the offshore processing facility, including dozens of children, faced humiliation, abuse, neglect and poor physical and mental health care. More than 800 others living in the community faced serious security risks as well as inadequate access to health care, education and employment opportunities. The Australian government withdrew services from its facility on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea at the end of October in order to force refugees to move closer to town where refugees and asylum-seekers had well-founded fears for their safety. Refugees were forcibly moved to new but unfinished facilities in November. They continued to face challenges with inadequate health care, violence in the community and no clear plans for their future. Fiji forcibly returned people to countries where they might be at risk of serious violations. Cambodia rejected 29 applications for refugee status by Montagnard asylum-seekers, forcibly returning them to Viet Nam where they faced possible persecution. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 43

44 DISCRIMINATION Australia’s justice system continued to fail Indigenous people, especially children – with high rates of incarceration and reports of abuse and deaths in custody. Ill-treatment of Indigenous children in the Northern Territory, including tear gassing, choking, restraints and solitary confinement, was exposed by leaked footage. LGBTI people suffered discrimination in Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Singapore. Reports of hate speech against members of Australia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning (LGBTIQ) community increased, despite newly introduced penalties. In Indonesia’s Aceh province two men were publicly caned 83 times each for consensual same-sex sexual activity. Numerous women defending human rights faced harassment, threats, imprisonment and violence. Papua New Guinea remained one of the world’s most dangerous countries to be a woman, with increased reports of violence against women or girls, sometimes following sorcery accusations. There were convictions under Indonesia’s blasphemy laws of people belonging to minority religious communities who had been peacefully practising their beliefs. The Australian Parliament passed legislation to create marriage equality in December. The postal survey process chosen by the government failed to acknowledge that marriage equality is a human right and generated divisive and damaging public debate. DEATH PENALTY At least four executions took place in Malaysia. In Singapore execution by hanging continued to be carried out for murder and drug trafficking; among those executed was Malaysian national Prabagaran Srivijayan whose execution was carried out despite an appeal pending in Malaysia. ARMED CONFLICT Although receiving less international attention than the situation in Rakhine State, there were similar patterns of violations by Myanmar’s military in northern Myanmar. War crimes and human rights violations were committed against civilians in Kachin and northern Shan States, including extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture, indiscriminate shelling, forced labour, and restrictions on humanitarian access. Ethnic armed groups committed abuses including abductions and forced recruitment. Both the army and armed groups used landmine-like weapons that harmed civilians. In the Philippines, a five-month battle in Marawi between the military and an alliance of militants aligned with the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS), caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians, dozens of civilian deaths, and widespread destruction of homes and infrastructure. The militants targeted Christian civilians for extrajudicial killings and mass hostage-taking, and the armed forces detained and ill-treated fleeing civilians. CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY Communities living close to the giant Letpadaung copper mine in Myanmar continued to call for a halt to its operations. Thousands of families living near the mine were at risk of being forcibly evicted from their homes or farmland, and the authorities used repressive laws to harass activists and villagers. In Indonesia there was labour exploitation on plantations owned by suppliers and subsidiaries of Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil trader. Abuses included women being forced to work long hours under threat of having their already meagre pay cut, children as Amnesty International Report 2017/18 44

45 young as eight doing hazardous physical work, and workers injured by toxic chemicals. Wilmar International’s subsequent campaign to cover up the abuses, including by intimidating staff into denying the allegations, was aided by the Indonesian government’s failure to investigate claims against the company. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 45

46 EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA REGIONAL OVERVIEW The space for civil society continued to shrink across Europe and Central Asia region. In Eastern Europe and in Central Asia, a discourse hostile to human rights remained prevalent. Human rights defenders, activists, the media and political opposition were frequently targeted by authorities. Across the region, the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of opinion and expression came under attack. Public protests were met with a range of restrictive measures and excessive use of force by police. Governments continued to implement a range of counter-terrorism measures disproportionately restricting people’s rights in the name of security. Millions of people faced an erosion of their economic, social and cultural rights, which led to diminished social protection, increased inequality and systemic discrimination. States repeatedly failed to meet their protection responsibilities towards refugees and migrants. Women and girls continued to experience systemic human rights violations and abuses, including torture and other ill-treatment, and faced widespread gender-based violence. Discrimination and stigmatization of minorities remained common with groups facing harassment and violence. Some prisoners of conscience were released. In 2017, for the first time in Amnesty International’s almost 60 years of existence, both the chair and director of an Amnesty International section became prisoners of conscience themselves. In June, Taner Kılıç, Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested. In July, 10 other human rights defenders, known as the “Istanbul 10”, including Idil Eser, Director of Amnesty International Turkey, were detained while attending a routine workshop in Istanbul. The Istanbul 10 and Taner Kılıç were later put on trial for terrorism-related offences, their arrests falling into a broader pattern of repression against civil society following the failed coup attempt of July 2016. By the end of the year, the Istanbul 10 had been released pending trial, but Taner Kılıç remained in detention. Although the prosecutor failed to provide any incriminating evidence against them, they remained at serious risk, facing an ongoing trial on absurd charges carrying up to 15 years’ imprisonment. The crackdown on dissenting voices in Turkey was part of a broader trend of shrinking space for civil society across Europe and Central Asia. Human rights defenders faced huge challenges, and the rights to freedom of association and assembly in particular came under attack. In the east, a discourse hostile to human rights remained prevalent, frequently leading to the repression of human rights defenders, political opposition, protest movements, anti-corruption campaigners and sexual minorities. This hostile discourse also inched westward and found its first legislative expression in Hungary with the adoption of a law effectively stigmatizing NGOs that received foreign funding. Violent attacks caused deaths and injuries, including in Barcelona, Brussels, London, Manchester, Paris, Stockholm, St Petersburg and multiple locations across Turkey. In response, governments continued to implement a range of counter-terrorism measures disproportionately restricting people’s rights in the name of security. Millions of people faced an erosion of their economic, social and cultural rights. This led to diminished social protection, exacerbated inequality and systemic discrimination in many countries. Those most affected by higher levels of poverty included women, children, young or Amnesty International Report 2017/18 46

47 low-paid workers, people with disabilities, migrants and asylum-seekers, ethnic minorities, and retired and single people. Across the region, governments repeatedly failed to meet their responsibilities towards refugees and migrants. The number of irregular arrivals of refugees and migrants in the EU dropped significantly in the second half of the year, largely as a result of co-operation agreements with Libyan authorities that turned a blind eye and even contributed to the abuses faced by those trapped in the country. Those who did make it to the EU faced an increased risk of forcible return to countries such as Afghanistan, where their life or liberty were at risk. At the UN Security Council, Russia used its veto for the ninth time to shield the Syrian government from the consequences of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Russia’s routine use of its veto had become the equivalent of acquiescence in war crimes, allowing all parties in Syria’s conflict to act with impunity, with civilians paying the ultimate price. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION Across Eastern Europe and across Central Asia, civil society faced a range of harassment and restrictions. Dozens of individuals were jailed for their peaceful activism and became prisoners of conscience in Belarus and Russia, amid ongoing legislative restrictions on media, NGOs and public assemblies. The deterioration of the respect for freedom of opinion and expression in Tajikistan became further entrenched with the authorities imposing sweeping restrictions to silence critical voices. The police and security services intimidated and harassed journalists. Human rights lawyers endured arbitrary arrests, politically motivated prosecutions, harsh prison sentences and harassment. In Kazakhstan, journalists and activists faced politically motivated prosecutions and attacks. Having all but strangled independent media already, the authorities used increasingly elaborate and aggressive methods to stamp out dissenting voices on the internet and social media. A targeted cyber campaign was being waged against critical voices in Azerbaijan. The Uzbekistani government used unlawful surveillance on its citizens at home and abroad – reinforcing a hostile environment for journalists and activists, and fostering a climate of fear for Uzbekistani nationals in Europe. Human rights defenders and journalists continued to be summoned for questioning at police stations, placed under house arrest and beaten by the authorities. In Crimea, the de facto authorities continued to suppress dissenting opinion. Leaders of the Crimean Tatar community who spoke out against the Russian occupation and illegal annexation of the peninsula faced exile or prison. Turkey continued to detain tens of thousands of perceived government critics in the aftermath of the 2016 coup attempt. Criticism of the government largely disappeared from mainstream media. More than 100 journalists languished in jail – more than in any other country – many for months on end, on spurious charges. The primary positive developments in Eastern Europe and in Central Asia involved releases of prisoners of conscience and other long-term prisoners, notably in Uzbekistan. In Azerbaijan, some prisoners of conscience were released; however, new ones took their places in the never- ending policy of repression. In Russia, prisoner of conscience Ildar Dadin – the first and so far only person imprisoned under a recent law criminalizing repeated violation of Russia’s draconian restrictions on public assembly – was released and cleared of conviction following a Constitutional Court ruling. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 47

48 RESTRICTIVE LAWS Across Europe and Central Asia, restrictive laws were passed. Drawing inspiration from similar legislation adopted in Russia in 2012, Hungary adopted a law on the transparency of organizations funded from abroad, which forced NGOs receiving more than EUR24,000 direct or indirect funding from abroad to re-register as a “civic organization funded from abroad” and to put this label on every publication. The move was accompanied by highly stigmatizing government rhetoric. Similar legislation was tabled in Ukraine and in Moldova, but was withdrawn in Moldova due to objections from civil society and international organizations. In November, there were protests throughout Poland when MPs voted on two legislative amendments threatening the independence of the judiciary and placing the right to a fair trial and other rights at risk. President Andrzej Duda vetoed the amendments in July, but subsequently redrafted and submitted them to Parliament in September. FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION AND ASSEMBLY In Eastern Europe and in Central Asia, the authorities clamped down on peaceful protesters. In Russia, during mass anti-corruption protests across the country in March, police used excessive force and arrested hundreds of overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrators in the capital, Moscow, and well over a thousand across the country, including opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. Hundreds of people were again detained and ill-treated during anti-corruption protests across the country in June, and on 7 October, President Vladimir Putin’s birthday. In Kazakhstan, organizing or participating in a peaceful demonstration without the authorities’ prior authorization remained an offence. Police in Kyrgyzstan disrupted a peaceful demonstration in the capital, Bishkek, organized to protest against deterioration of freedom of expression, and arrested several participants. The Belarusian authorities violently suppressed mass demonstrations against a tax on the unemployed. A discriminatory amendment to a law in Poland led to bans of certain demonstrations and favoured pro-government assemblies. People participating in demonstrations against the government policies were prosecuted, harassed by law enforcement officials and political opponents, and prevented from exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly. In several countries of Western Europe, public protests were met with a range of restrictive measures and abuses. In Germany, France, Poland and Spain, governments’ response to public assemblies against restrictive policies or human rights abuses included sealing off public spaces, excessive use of force by police, containment of peaceful protesters or “kettling”, surveillance, and threats of administrative and criminal sanctions. France’s government continued to resort to emergency measures to ban public assemblies and to restrict freedom of movement to prevent individuals from participating in demonstrations. In October, Spanish security forces that were ordered to prevent the holding of the Catalan independence referendum used unnecessary and disproportionate force against demonstrators, injuring hundreds of them. This included evidence of police beating peaceful demonstrators. COUNTER-TERROR AND SECURITY In Western Europe, a raft of disproportionate and discriminatory counter-terrorism laws continued to be rushed through. The adoption of the EU Directive on Combating Terrorism in March looked set to lead to a proliferation of such measures in 2018, as states were to transpose the Directive into domestic law. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 48

49 Broad definitions of terrorism in the law, and the misapplication of counter-terrorism laws to a wide group of people – human rights defenders, environmental activists, refugees, migrants, and journalists – continued, notably in Turkey but also throughout Western Europe. Vague laws punishing “glorification” or “apology” of terrorism were used to prosecute activists and civil society groups for opinions expressed on the internet and social media, including in France, Spain and the UK. France’s state of emergency ended in November, having lasted almost two years. In October, France adopted a new counter-terrorism law embedding in ordinary law many of the measures permitted under the emergency regime. Instead of investigating and prosecuting suspected perpetrators of violent attacks, many states implemented administrative control measures limiting everyone’s rights and often applied these based on vague grounds, often connected to religious belief or associations. Detention without charge or trial was proposed in several countries, including France, the Netherlands and Switzerland, and introduced in Bavaria, Germany. Many EU member states also attempted to draw links between the refugee crisis and terrorism-related threats. Although a Hungarian court’s conviction on spurious terrorism charges of “Ahmed H”, a Syrian resident in Cyprus, was annulled, Ahmed H remained in detention while his new trial unfolded. The trial was ongoing at the end of the year. He had been convicted of an “act of terror” for throwing stones and speaking to a crowd through a megaphone during clashes with border police. A number of states in Europe and in Central Asia intensified their focus on online activity as a perceived potential driver for terrorism-related or “extremist” activity. The UK proposed criminalizing repeated viewing of “terrorism-related” content online with a maximum 15-year prison sentence. Similar measures already existed, and were deemed unconstitutional, in France. In Eastern Europe and in Central Asia, government responses to the real and perceived threats posed by terrorism and extremism followed an all-too-familiar pattern. Extraditions and renditions of suspects to destinations where they were at risk of torture and other ill-treatment were frequent and swift, individuals being forcibly returned, in contravention of international law. In Russia’s North Caucasus, enforced disappearances, unlawful detention, torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, and extrajudicial executions were reported in the context of security operations. In Russia-occupied Crimea, the de facto authorities pursued all forms of dissent and continued to arbitrarily target the Crimean Tatar community under anti-extremism and counter-terrorism legislation. REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS During 2017, 171,332 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe by sea, compared to 362,753 in 2016. The decrease was mainly due to EU states’ co-operation with Libya and Turkey. At least 3,119 people died attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. EU states intensified their efforts to prevent irregular entry and increased returns, including through policies that exposed migrants and those in need of protection to ill-treatment, torture and other abuses in countries of transit and origin. By using aid, trade and other leverage, European governments encouraged and supported transit countries – even those where widespread and systematic violations against refugees and migrants were documented – to implement stricter border control measures, without adequate human rights guarantees. This trapped thousands of refugees and migrants in countries where they lacked adequate protection and where they were exposed to serious human rights violations. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 49

50 NGOs, which performed more rescues in the central Mediterranean in the first half of 2017 than any others, were discredited and attacked by public commentators and politicians, and faced restrictions on their activities by a new code of conduct imposed by the Italian authorities. Russia continued to return asylum-seekers and refugees to countries where they were at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, as did other countries in Europe and Central Asia. EUROPEAN COLLABORATION WITH LIBYA With most refugees and migrants crossing the sea into Europe embarking from Libya, the EU and European governments, with Italy at the forefront, sought to close down this route by co- operating with the Libyan coastguard and other actors in the country. They entered into a string of co-operation agreements with Libyan authorities responsible for grave human rights violations, in particular the Libyan Coast Guard and Libya’s General Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM). Italy and other governments failed to include key human rights guarantees in these agreements and turned a blind eye to the abuses, including torture and extortion, against refugees and migrants by the very institutions they were co-operating with. The actions of European countries were leading to increasing numbers of people being stopped or intercepted. In so doing, European governments, and Italy in particular, were breaching their own international obligations and becoming complicit in the violations committed by the Libyan authorities they were sponsoring and co-operating with. EU-TURKEY MIGRATION DEAL, CONDITIONS IN GREECE The March 2016 EU-Turkey migration deal remained in place and continued to restrict access to territory and asylum in the EU. The deal aimed at returning asylum-seekers to Turkey, on the pretence of it being a “safe country” of transit. European leaders maintained the fiction that Turkey provided protection equivalent to that of the EU, even though Turkey had become even more unsafe for refugees since the 2016 coup attempt. The removal of procedural safeguards under Turkey’s state of emergency put refugees there at heightened risk of refoulement , the forcible return to countries where they were at risk of facing serious human rights violations. Throughout 2017, the deal left thousands exposed to overcrowded, squalid and unsafe conditions on Greek islands that were transformed into de facto holding pens and condemned them to extended asylum procedures. Some suffered violent hate crimes. Compared to 2016, arrivals on the Greek islands dropped sharply, mainly due to the deal,but a relative increase in arrivals during the summer stretched the islands’ already insufficient reception capacity once again. In December, around 13,000 asylum-seekers remained in limbo, stranded on the islands. Reception conditions both on the islands and in mainland Greece, meanwhile, continued to be inadequate, with many still forced to sleep in tents unfit for winter and women and girls particularly vulnerable in unsafe camp facilities. In September, Greece’s highest administrative court paved the way for forcible returns of Syrian asylum-seekers under the EU-Turkey migration deal by endorsing decisions by the Greek asylum authorities that deemed Turkey safe for two Syrian nationals. RELOCATION SCHEMES Solidarity with frontline countries receiving the majority of arrivals continued to be in short supply. European countries failed to relocate their committed numbers of asylum-seekers from Greece and Italy under the emergency relocation scheme adopted in September 2015. As of November, European states had fulfilled just 32% of their legal commitment. At the end of Amnesty International Report 2017/18 50

51 2017, 21,703 asylum-seekers out of 66,400 had been relocated from Greece, and 11,464 out of around 35,000 from Italy. Among the worst offenders were Poland and Hungary, both having refused to accept a single asylum-seeker from Italy and Greece by the year’s end. The European Court of Justice rejected Slovakia’s and Hungary’s complaint against the mandatory refugee relocation scheme. The European Commission also opened infringement proceedings against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic for failing to comply with their relocation obligations. CURTAILING ACCESS TO ASYLUM AND PUSHBACKS Hungary reached a new low by passing legislation allowing pushbacks of all people found in an irregular situation in the country and by introducing the automatic detention of asylum- seekers, in blatant breach of EU law. The authorities locked up in containers asylum-seekers arriving at its borders. Hungary’s systematic flouting of the rights of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants also included severely restricting access by limiting admission to two operational border “transit zones” in which only 10 new asylum applications could be submitted each working day. This left thousands of people in substandard camps in Serbia, at risk of homelessness and forcible return further south to Macedonia and Bulgaria. Abuses and pushbacks continued at the EU external borders, from Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, and Poland. Poland’s government proposed legislation to legalize pushbacks, a regular practice at a crossing between Poland and Belarus. In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Human Rights condemned Spain for breaching the prohibition of collective expulsions and for violating the right to an effective remedy in the case of two migrants who were summarily returned from the Spanish enclave of Melilla to Morocco. Slovenia adopted legislative amendments under which it could deny entry to people arriving at its borders and automatically expel migrants and refugees who entered irregularly, without assessing their asylum claims. FORCED RETURNS EU member states also continued to put pressure on other governments to accept refoulement . readmissions – in some cases without including adequate guarantees against At a time when civilian casualties in Afghanistan were at some of their highest levels on record, European governments forced increasing numbers of Afghan asylum-seekers back to the dangers from which they fled in Afghanistan. Forced returns to Afghanistan were made from countries including Austria, the Netherlands and Norway. IMPUNITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia delivered its final judgment on 29 November 2017, bringing to a close its largely successful 23-year effort to hold perpetrators of war crimes to account. Also in November, it sentenced Bosnian Serb war leader Ratko Mladić to life imprisonment for crimes under international law, including genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. At the national level, with the exception of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which some modest progress was made, impunity remained the norm, with courts continuing to have limited capacity and resources, and facing undue political pressure. Prosecutors across the region lacked the support of the executive and their work was compromised by a climate of nationalist rhetoric and lack of political commitment to sustained regional co-operation. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 51

52 By the end of the year, the authorities had made no progress in establishing the fate of over 11,500 people disappeared during the armed conflicts in the Balkans. Victims of enforced disappearance and their families continued to be denied access to justice, truth and reparation. Nominal improvements in the laws regulating reparation for victims of wartime sexual violence continued to be made in several countries. DISCRIMINATION THE “TRADITIONAL VALUES” PRETENCE IN EASTERN EUROPE AND IN CENTRAL ASIA Governments across Eastern Europe and across Central Asia continued to prop up repression and discrimination by promoting and increasingly invoking the rhetoric of a discriminatory interpretation of so-called “traditional values”. The “traditional values” referred to were selective xenophobic, misogynistic and homophobic interpretations of cultural values. In Tajikistan, this discourse and its application was used to punish LGBTI communities for “amoral” behaviours and enforce “norms” for dress code, language and religion primarily against women and religious minorities, including through new legislation. In Kazakhstan and Russia, there was an increasing number of criminal prosecutions and other harassment of religious minorities, on arbitrary grounds, under “anti-extremism” legislation. The said interpretation assertion of “traditional values” reached a terrifying dimension with the secret torture and killing of gay men in Chechnya by authorities. WOMEN’S RIGHTS Following sexual harassment allegations against US Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and others in the show business industry, millions of women worldwide used the online hashtag #MeToo to break the silence about their experiences as survivors of sexual violence. This became a rallying cry for challenging victim blaming and holding offenders to account. The ’ year also saw the women s and feminist movements mobilizing thousands – including during January’s Women’s Marches across Europe, and Black Monday protests in Poland that successfully pushed the government not to further restrict access to safe and legal abortion. Yet, throughout Europe and Central Asia, women and girls continued to experience systemic human rights violations and abuses, including torture and other ill-treatment, denial of the right to health and bodily autonomy, inequality of opportunity, and widespread gender-based violence. Access to abortion remained criminalized in most circumstances in Ireland and Northern Ireland and severely restricted in practice. In Poland, there were systemic barriers in accessing safe and legal abortion. Abortion remained criminalized in all circumstances in Malta. The EU and Moldova signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention). It was ratified by Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Norway and Switzerland – bringing to 28 the number of states to have done so. Ukraine signed it in 2011 but failed to ratify the Convention. Despite increasingly strong legislative protections, gender-based violence against women remained pervasive, including in Albania, Croatia and Romania. In Russia, under the cover of the so-called “traditional values” narrative, and encountering little public criticism, the Parliament adopted legislation decriminalizing some forms of domestic violence which President Putin signed into law. In Norway and Sweden, gender-based violence, including sexual violence, remained a serious problem with inadequate state response. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 52

53 MINORITY RIGHTS Discrimination and stigmatization of minorities remained pervasive across Europe and Central Asia with several groups facing harassment, violence, and obstacles to meaningful participation in society. Discrimination against Roma remained widespread in Slovakia. The European Commission continued an infringement procedure against Slovakia and Hungary for systematic discrimination and segregation of Roma children in schools. Segregated camps, discrimination in access to social housing and forced evictions remained a daily reality for thousands of the 170,000 Roma estimated to be living across Italy, around 40,000 of them in camps in squalid conditions. The European Commission still failed to take effective action towards ending discrimination against Roma. Muslims faced discrimination, particularly when looking for work, at work, and when accessing public or private services such as education and health care. In Austria, a new law banned any kind of full-face covering in public spaces, disproportionately restricting the rights to freedom of expression and of religion or belief. Tajikistan’s authorities forced thousands of women to remove their Islamic headscarves (hijabs) in public places to comply with the law on traditions. RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE LGBTI people faced growing abuse and discrimination across the east, including violence, arbitrary arrests and detention. In Azerbaijan, over 100 LGBTI people were arbitrarily arrested on one day in the capital Baku. In Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, consensual sex among men remained a crime punishable by prison. Georgia’s new Constitution restricted the definition of marriage to exclude same-sex couples. Lithuania’s Parliament adopted legislation discriminating against LGBTI people. In Russia, the “gay propaganda law” continued to be used, despite being ruled discriminatory by the European Court of Human Rights. Reports emerged in April that the Chechen authorities were secretly and arbitrarily detaining, torturing and killing gay men. In response to the international outcry, the authorities claimed that gay men did not exist in Chechnya, while the federal authorities failed to carry out an effective investigation. There were also positive developments and examples of human courage and solidarity. The Russian LGBT Network organized a hotline and facilitated the evacuation to safety of LGBTI people from Chechnya and elsewhere in the North Caucasus. The biggest-ever Pride rally in Ukraine was held. Malta’s parliament approved same-sex marriage legislation and extended full marriage rights to same-sex couples. Germany granted marriage rights to all, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, and equal rights to adoption for married people. TRANSGENDER PEOPLE AND PEOPLE WITH VARIATIONS OF SEX CHARACTERISTICS Transgender people in Europe and Central Asia faced hurdles seeking legal recognition of their gender identity. Children and adults with variations in sex characteristics continued to face human rights violations, perpetrated in the course of non-emergency, invasive and irreversible medical interventions which often had harmful consequences on physical and psychological health, especially for children. In 18 European countries, transgender people were required to undergo sterilization, and in 35 countries they had to receive a mental health diagnosis in order to change their gender. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 53

54 There was progress in Belgium and Greece; they were the latest European countries to abolish sterilization and mental health diagnosis requirements, although legal gender recognition reforms in both countries still fell short of establishing a quick, transparent and accessible administrative procedure. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 54

55 MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA REGIONAL OVERVIEW Journalists and human rights defenders were targeted in government crackdowns, and online expression was heavily controlled in several countries. Civil society activists managed to halt further tightening of restrictions on free expression in some places. Freedom of religion and belief came under attack from armed groups and governments alike. The struggle of women’s rights movements successfully led to the amendment of laws that had entrenched discrimination and violence against women in some countries. However, systematic discrimination remained in law and practice across the region and women were still inadequately protected against gender-based violence. Authorities arrested and prosecuted people for their real or perceived sexual orientation in some countries, and consensual same-sex sexual relations were still criminalized in many, in a handful of cases punishable by death. There were severe restrictions on trade unions in some countries, and migrant workers continued to face exploitation and abuse. However, reforms in a couple of countries gave migrant workers greater employment protections. Armed conflicts took a heavy toll on beleaguered civilians and were characterized by serious violations, including the use of banned weapons, unlawful sieges, and direct attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure. Death sentences were imposed in a number of countries across the region, and hundreds of executions were carried out. Impunity persisted for historical and recent crimes; however, some progress was made towards securing truth and justice for victims. FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION, ASSOCIATION AND ASSEMBLY Governments across the Middle East and North Africa repressed civil society both offline and online in an attempt to prevent or punish reporting on human rights violations or other criticism directed at them or their allies, often on the pretext that they were combating threats to national security or corruption. They also used excessive force in an attempt to quell protest movements that had taken to the streets. CRACKDOWNS IN EGYPT AND SAUDI ARABIA In some countries, increased clampdowns accompanied a global trend that saw political strongmen attempting to establish their credentials in the eyes of the international community. In President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s Egypt, the authorities continued to curb the work of human rights defenders in an unprecedented manner, shutting down or freezing the assets of NGOs; they enacted a draconian new law that gave them broad powers to dissolve NGOs and provided for five years’ imprisonment for publishing research without government permission. The Egyptian authorities also sentenced at least 15 journalists to prison terms on charges related solely to their writing, including publication of what the authorities deemed “false information”; they blocked more than 400 websites, including those of independent newspapers and human rights organizations. Meanwhile, security forces arrested hundreds of individuals based on their membership or perceived membership of the Muslim Brotherhood. To punish political dissidents, the authorities used prolonged pre-trial detention, often for Amnesty International Report 2017/18 55

56 periods of more than two years, placed those imprisoned in indefinite and prolonged solitary confinement, and subjected many of those released to probation periods in which they were forced to spend up to 12 hours per day in a police station, amounting to arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Saudi Arabia witnessed the promotion of Mohammed bin Salman to the role of Crown Prince in June as part of a broader re-engineering of the political landscape. In the months that followed, the authorities intensified their crackdown on freedom of expression, detaining more than 20 prominent religious figures, writers, journalists, academics and activists in one week in September. They also put human rights defenders on trial on charges related to their peaceful activism before the Specialized Criminal Court, a tribunal set up to try terrorism-related cases. At the end of the year, despite the image the palace wished to portray of a more tolerant country, the majority of Saudi Arabia’s human rights defenders were either in prison or facing grossly unfair trials. ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS Elsewhere, human rights advocacy and journalistic reporting, as well as criticism of official institutions, led to prosecution and imprisonment and, in some cases, smear campaigns orchestrated by the government or its supporters. In Iran, the authorities jailed scores of peaceful critics including women’s rights activists, minority rights and environmental activists, trade unionists, lawyers, and those seeking truth, justice and reparation for the mass executions of the 1980s. In Bahrain, the government arbitrarily detained human rights defenders and government critics and subjected others to travel bans or the stripping of their nationality, dissolved the al-Wasat independent newspaper and the opposition political group Waad, maintained a ban on demonstrations in the capital, Manama, and used unnecessary and excessive force to disperse protests elsewhere. In Morocco and Western Sahara, the authorities prosecuted and imprisoned a number of journalists, bloggers and activists who criticized officials or reported on human rights violations, corruption or popular protests, such as those that took place in the northern Rif region, where security forces conducted mass arrests of largely peaceful protesters, including children, and sometimes used excessive or unnecessary force. The Kuwaiti authorities imprisoned several government critics and online activists under legal provisions that criminalized comments deemed offensive to the Emir or damaging to relations with neighbouring states. In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, a number of journalists and online activists were subjected to arbitrary arrest, death threats and smear campaigns, a pattern that escalated in the run-up to an independence referendum in September called by the region’s president. In Yemen, the Huthi armed group arbitrarily arrested and detained critics, journalists and human rights defenders in the capital, Sana’a, and other areas they controlled. Meanwhile, the Israeli authorities banned entry into Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories to individuals supporting or working for organizations that had issued or promoted a statement which the authorities deemed to be a call to boycott Israel or Israeli entities, including settlements, targeted both Palestinian and Israeli human rights NGOs through harassment and campaigns to undermine their work, and deployed forces that used rubber- coated metal bullets and live ammunition against Palestinian protesters in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, killing at least 20 and injuring thousands. ONLINE REPRESSION Governments other than Egypt also made efforts to increase their control of expression on the internet. The State of Palestine adopted the Electronic Crimes Law in July, permitting the Amnesty International Report 2017/18 56

57 arbitrary detention of journalists, whistle-blowers and others who criticize the authorities online. The law allowed for prison sentences and up to 25 years’ hard labour for anyone deemed to have disturbed “public order”, “national unity” or “social peace”. Several Palestinian journalists and human rights defenders were charged under the law. Jordan continued to block access to certain websites, including online forums. Oman blocked the online publication of newspaper, and the effect of trials against Azamn Mowaten newspaper and some of its journalists continued to reverberate following its publication in 2016 of allegations of corruption in the government and the judiciary. In Iran, judicial officials attempted to block the popular messaging application Telegram, but failed because of opposition from the government; other popular social media websites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were still blocked. GULF POLITICAL CRISIS The political crisis in the Gulf triggered in June, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt severed relations with Qatar and accused it of financing and harbouring terrorists and interfering in the domestic affairs of its neighbours, had an impact beyond the paralysis of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE announced that they would treat criticism of the measures taken against Qatar, or sympathy with Qatar or its people, as a criminal offence, punishable by a prison term. CIVIL SOCIETY FIGHT-BACK Civil society did, however, make significant efforts to stem the tide of measures attempting to restrict freedom of expression. In Tunisia, activists put the brakes on a new bill that could bolster impunity for security forces by criminalizing criticism of police conduct and granting officers immunity from prosecution for unnecessary use of lethal force. In Palestine, the authorities agreed to amend the Electronic Crimes Law following huge pressure from civil society. FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF ABUSES BY ARMED GROUPS Armed groups targeted religious minorities in several countries. The armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) and other armed groups killed and injured scores of civilians across Iraq and Syria in suicide bombings and other deadly attacks that targeted Shi’a religious shrines and other public spaces in predominantly Shi’a neighbourhoods. The UN reported in January that nearly 2,000 Yazidi women and children remained in IS captivity in Iraq and Syria. They were enslaved and subjected to rape, beatings and other torture. In Egypt, IS claimed responsibility for the bombing of two churches which left at least 44 dead in April, and unidentified militants launched a bomb and gun attack at a mosque in North Sinai during Friday prayers in November, killing more than 300 Sufi Muslim worshippers – the deadliest attack by an armed group in Egypt since 2011. In Yemen, the Huthis and their allies subjected members of the Baha’i community to arbitrary arrest and detention. RESTRICTIONS BY GOVERNMENTS In Algeria, the authorities were engaged in a new clampdown against the Ahmadi religious movement; during the year more than 280 Ahmadis were prosecuted because of their religious beliefs and practices. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 57

58 Elsewhere, government restrictions followed a familiar pattern. In Saudi Arabia, the authorities discriminated against members of the Shi’a Muslim minority because of their faith, limiting their right to religious expression and their access to justice, and arbitrarily restricting their right to work and access to state services. Shi’a activists continued to face arrest, imprisonment and – in some cases – the death penalty following unfair trials. In Iran, freedom of religion and belief was systematically violated, in law and practice. Widespread and systematic attacks continued to be carried out against the Baha’i religious minority. These included arbitrary arrests, lengthy imprisonment, torture and other ill- treatment, forcible closure of Baha’i-owned businesses, confiscation of Baha’i properties, bans on employment in the public sector and denial of access to universities. Other religious minorities not recognized under the Constitution, such as Yaresan (Ahl-e Haq), also faced systematic discrimination, including in education and employment, and were persecuted for practising their faith. The right to change or renounce religious beliefs continued to be violated. A number of Christian converts received prison sentences ranging from 10 to 15 years. WOMEN’S RIGHTS Long-term struggles by women’s rights movements resulted in some positive developments during the year. Laws were amended in Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia to stop rapists escaping prosecution (or benefiting from reduced penalties) if they married their victim. However, legislation in many other countries retained such a loophole. Jordan also struck out a provision that allowed reduced sentences for men found guilty of killing a female relative in a “fit of rage caused by an unlawful or dangerous act on the part of the victim”, but kept one that granted leniency for “honour” killings of female relatives found in an “adulterous situation”. Tunisia’s parliament adopted the Law on Eliminating Violence against Women, which brought in several guarantees for the protection of women and girls from gender-based violence, and its president repealed a decree prohibiting marriage between a Tunisian woman and a non-Muslim man. In Qatar, a draft law was approved to provide permanent residency rights for the children of Qatari women married to non-Qataris, but discrimination persisted, with women unable to pass on their nationality and citizenship to their children. In Saudi Arabia, a royal order was issued in September allowing women to drive from mid-2018, although there were questions about how it would be implemented in practice. In April, another royal order had instructed all government agencies that women should not be denied access to government services if they did not have a male guardian’s consent, unless existing regulations required it. However, the order appeared to keep in place regulations that explicitly require a guardian’s approval, such as for women to travel abroad, obtain a passport, or marry. Despite the positive developments, entrenched discrimination against women in law and in practice, notably in matters of marriage and divorce, inheritance and child custody, remained in these and many other countries in the region. Women were inadequately protected against sexual and other gender-based violence, as well as forced and early marriage. RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE While sexual orientation and gender identity issues were increasingly on the agendas of mainstream human rights movements in the region, governments continued to heavily limit the enjoyment of the rights of LGBTI people in law and practice. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 58

59 In Egypt, in the worst crackdown in over a decade, the authorities rounded up and prosecuted people for their perceived sexual orientation after a rainbow flag was displayed at a concert in Cairo in September performed by Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila, who had been banned from playing in Jordan earlier in the year. Security forces arrested at least 76 people and subjected at least five to anal examinations, a practice which amounts to torture. Courts sentenced at least 48 people to prison terms of between three months and six years on charges that included “habitual debauchery”. In October, parliamentarians proposed a deeply discriminatory law explicitly criminalizing same-sex sexual relations and any public promotion of LGBTI gatherings, symbols or flags. Countries including Morocco and Tunisia continued to arrest people and sentence them to terms of imprisonment under laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual relations. In Tunisia, while the police subjected men accused of such relations to forced anal examinations, the government accepted a recommendation under the UN Universal Periodic Review process in September to end their use. Elsewhere, in countries including Iran and Saudi Arabia, some consensual same-sex sexual conduct remained punishable by death. RIGHT TO WORK TRADE UNIONS Some governments heavily curtailed trade union rights. In Egypt, the authorities subjected dozens of workers and trade unionists to arrest, military trial, dismissal and a range of disciplinary measures solely for exercising their rights to strike and to form independent trade unions. In December, parliament passed a law tripling the number of members (from 50 to 150) that independent trade unions need to obtain legal recognition. In Algeria, the authorities continued to deny registration to the independent, cross-sector General Autonomous Confederation for Algerian Workers – it first filed its application in 2013 – and banned the National Autonomous Electricity and Gas Trade Union by withdrawing its recognition. MIGRANT WORKERS’ RIGHTS Across the Gulf and in other countries such as Jordan and Lebanon, migrant workers, including those in the domestic, construction and other sectors, continued to face exploitation and abuse. However, there were some positive developments. In Qatar, the government passed two new laws in August. One established a labour dispute mechanism, which could address some of the barriers to migrant workers accessing justice. The other provided legal protections for domestic workers’ labour rights for the first time, including paid holidays and a limit to working hours. However, the law was open to abuse of a provision allowing domestic workers to work beyond the legal limit if they “agreed”. In October, the Qatari government announced new reform plans, including a minimum wage and a fund to pay unpaid workers, and the International Labour Organization published details of a package it had agreed with Qatar to reform the kafala sponsorship system, which prevents migrant workers from changing jobs or leaving the country without their employers’ permission. In the UAE, a law came into effect in September limiting working hours and providing paid leave and the right to retain personal documents. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 59

60 RIGHTS TO HOUSING, WATER AND HEALTH ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES The year marked the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories and the 10th anniversary of its illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israeli authorities intensified the expansion of settlements and related infrastructure across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and carried out a large number of demolitions of Palestinian property, forcibly evicting more than 660 people. Many of these demolitions were in Bedouin and herding communities that the Israeli authorities planned to forcibly transfer. Israel’s air, land and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip continued the long-standing restrictions on the movement of people and goods, collectively punishing Gaza’s entire population of approximately 2 million inhabitants. Combined with Egypt’s almost total closure of the Rafah border crossing, and the West Bank authorities’ punitive measures, Israel’s blockade triggered a humanitarian crisis with power cuts, reducing access to electricity to a few hours per day, affecting the supply of clean water and sanitation and reducing access to health services. Elsewhere in the region, Palestinian refugees, including many long-term residents, remained subject to discriminatory laws. In Lebanon, they continued to be excluded from many types of work, owning or inheriting property and from accessing public education and health services. WATER, SANITATION AND HEALTH Civil society raised a number of cases before the Lebanese judiciary related to violations of the rights to health and clean water, including cases related to the sale of expired drugs in public hospitals and to waste mismanagement. In Tunisia, water shortages became acute. The government admitted it did not have a national strategy for water distribution, thereby making it impossible to ensure equitable access. Marginalized regions were disproportionately affected by water cuts, leading to local protests throughout the year. COUNTER-TERROR AND SECURITY Serious human rights violations accompanied counter-terrorism measures in several countries. In Egypt, where more than 100 members of the security forces were killed in attacks by armed groups, mostly in North Sinai, the National Security Agency continued to forcibly disappear and extrajudicially execute individuals suspected of political violence. The Ministry of the Interior claimed that more than 100 individuals were shot dead in exchanges of fire with security forces throughout the year. However, in many of these cases the people killed were already in state custody after having been forcibly disappeared. Torture and other ill-treatment remained routine in official places of detention and was systematic in detention centres run by the National Security Agency. Hundreds were sentenced, including to death, after grossly unfair mass trials. In Iraq, suspects prosecuted on terrorism-related charges were routinely denied the rights to adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence, to not incriminate themselves or confess guilt, and to question prosecution witnesses. Courts continued to admit into evidence “confessions” that were extracted under torture. Many of those convicted after these unfair and hasty trials were sentenced to death. Iraqi and Kurdish government forces and militias also carried out extrajudicial executions of men and boys suspected of being affiliated with IS. Complaints of torture in custody against defendants accused of national security-related offences were reported in countries including Bahrain, Israel and Kuwait. In general, the allegations were not investigated. Saudi Arabia introduced a new counter-terrorism law that Amnesty International Report 2017/18 60

61 allowed for the death penalty for some crimes. In Tunisia, the government continued to restrict freedom of movement through arbitrary and indefinite orders that confined hundreds to their governorate of residence, justifying this as a measure to prevent Tunisians from travelling to join armed groups. DEATH PENALTY Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia remained among the world’s most prolific users of the death penalty, carrying out hundreds of executions between them, many after unfair trials. In Iran, Amnesty International was able to confirm the execution of four individuals who were under 18 at the time the crime was committed, but several executions of other juvenile offenders were postponed at the last minute because of public campaigning. The Iranian authorities continued to describe peaceful campaigning against the death penalty as “un-Islamic”, and harassed and imprisoned anti-death penalty activists. In Saudi Arabia, courts continued to impose death sentences for drugs offences and for conduct that under international standards should not be criminalized, such as “sorcery” and “adultery”. In Iraq, the death penalty continued to be used as a tool of retribution in response to public outrage after attacks claimed by IS. Bahrain and Kuwait both resumed executions in January, the first since 2010 and 2013 respectively; the death sentences had been imposed for murder. Egypt, Jordan, Libya and the Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip also carried out executions. Except for Israel and Oman, all other countries in the region continued a long-standing practice of imposing death sentences but not implementing them. ARMED CONFLICT Fuelled by the international arms trade, conflict in the region continued to blight the lives of millions of individuals, particularly in Yemen, Libya, Syria and Iraq. In each conflict, multiple parties committed war crimes and other serious violations of international law, including indiscriminate attacks that killed and injured civilians, direct attacks against civilians or civilian infrastructure. In Syria and Yemen, government and allied forces used internationally banned weapons such as cluster munitions and, in the case of Syria, chemical weapons. YEMEN CONFLICT The situation in Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East and North Africa even before the outbreak of conflict in March 2015, became the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN, with three quarters of its population of 28 million in need of help. The country faced the biggest cholera epidemic in modern times, exacerbated by a lack of fuel for water-pumping stations, and was on the verge of the world’s most severe famine for decades. The conflict has shattered the water, education and health systems. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government held up shipments of food, fuel and medicine. In November it cut off Yemen’s northern ports completely for more than two weeks. The coalition’s air strikes hit funeral gatherings, schools, markets, residential areas and civilian boats. Huthi rebel forces, allied with forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh until splits between them led to his killing in December, indiscriminately shelled civilian residential areas in Ta’iz city and fired artillery indiscriminately across the border into Saudi Arabia, killing and injuring civilians. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 61

62 INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE TO ISLAMIC STATE In both Syria and Iraq, a US-led international coalition refocused its attention on combating IS, which was responsible for gross abuses. Hundreds of civilians were killed as a result. In Mosul, Iraq’s second city, IS forcibly displaced thousands of civilians into zones of active hostilities in an attempt to shield their own fighters, and deliberately killed civilians fleeing the fighting and hung their bodies in public areas as a warning to others. In the battle to drive IS out of west Mosul, Iraqi and coalition forces launched a series of disproportionate or otherwise indiscriminate attacks to devastating effect; hundreds of civilians were killed. Iraqi forces consistently used explosive weapons which affected a large area, such as improvised rocket- assisted munitions, which cannot be precisely targeted at military objectives or used lawfully in densely populated civilian areas. In Syria, IS lost control of Raqqa governorate following a military campaign by the Syrian Democratic Forces, consisting of Syrian-Kurdish and Arab armed groups, and the US-led coalition. IS prevented residents from fleeing and used civilians as human shields, as well as carrying out direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks, killing and injuring civilians. The coalition’s air strikes also caused hundreds of civilian casualties. Syrian government forces, supported by Iranian and Hezbollah fighters on the ground and Russian air power, captured other areas previously held by IS and other armed groups. In doing so, they killed and injured civilians in indiscriminate attacks and direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects, including homes, hospitals and medical facilities. SIEGES AND DISPLACEMENT OF CIVILIANS IN SYRIA The Syrian government continued to maintain lengthy sieges of predominantly civilian areas, depriving some 400,000 people of access to medical care, other basic goods and services and humanitarian assistance, while subjecting them to repeated air strikes, artillery shelling and other attacks. Armed opposition groups were also responsible for besieging thousands of civilians and carrying out indiscriminate rocket and mortar attacks on government-controlled neighbourhoods, killing and injuring civilians. Thousands of civilians experienced the harsh impact of forced displacement following “reconciliation” agreements in the second half of 2016 and early 2017. They were only some of the 6.5 million people displaced within Syria between 2011 and 2017. More than half a million people fled Syria during the year, taking the total number of Syrian refugees to more than 5 million. KURDISTAN REGION OF IRAQ Government forces responded to the referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq by launching an operation that quickly retook the disputed city of Kirkuk, as well as most of the territory captured by Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the fight against IS. In October, tens of thousands of civilians were forced to flee their homes after fierce clashes erupted between Iraqi government forces, supported by affiliated militias, and Peshmerga forces in the multi- ethnic city of Tuz Khurmatu; at least 11 civilians were killed in indiscriminate attacks. LAWLESSNESS IN LIBYA Three rival governments and hundreds of militias and armed groups continued to compete for power and control over territory, lucrative trade routes and strategic military locations in Libya. Militias and armed groups carried out indiscriminate attacks in heavily populated areas leading to deaths of civilians; executed captured fighters from rival groups; and abducted and unlawfully detained hundreds of people, including political and human rights activists, because of their origin, opinions, perceived political affiliations or perceived wealth. Up to 20,000 refugees and migrants were held arbitrarily and indefinitely in overcrowded, unsanitary detention centres and exposed to torture, forced labour, extortion and unlawful killings at the Amnesty International Report 2017/18 62

63 hands of the authorities and militias who ran the centres. The assistance provided by EU member states, particularly Italy, to the Libyan Coast Guard and migrant detention centres made them complicit in the abuses. IMPUNITY Impunity for grave violations of the past remained a live concern. Victims of crimes committed in recent and ongoing conflicts generally faced entrenched impunity at a national level. In Iraq, the authorities announced investigations in response to some allegations of serious violations committed by Iraqi forces and pro-government militias – such as torture, extrajudicial execution and enforced disappearance. However, they consistently failed to make any findings public. In Libya, the judicial system was hamstrung by its own dysfunctionality, with magistrates often failing to pursue accountability for abuses because of fears of reprisal. In Syria, the judicial system lacked independence, and failed to investigate and prosecute crimes by state forces. In Yemen, the National Commission to Investigate Alleged Violations of Human Rights, established by the government, failed to conduct investigations consistent with international standards into alleged violations committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen. SLOW PROGRESS The region’s only ongoing national transitional justice mechanism, Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission – mandated to address human rights violations committed between July 1955 and December 2013 – held 11 public sessions during which victims and perpetrators testified on a range of violations including election fraud, enforced disappearance and torture. However, there was no progress on an agreement to refer cases to specialized judicial chambers, and security agencies continued to fail to provide the Commission with the information it requested for its investigations. At the international level, some significant initiatives continued but moved slowly. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court continued its preliminary examination of alleged crimes under international law committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 13 June 2014, including during the 2014 Gaza-Israel conflict. In Libya, it broadened its investigations from political and military leaders to consider the wider systematic mistreatment of migrants. Other initiatives had positive aspects, but were tarnished or undermined. The UN Security Council passed a resolution in September that was aimed at ensuring accountability for war crimes and human rights abuses committed by IS in Iraq, but crucially failed to include any provisions to ensure accountability for crimes committed by Iraqi forces, militias and the US- led coalition. The Joint Investigative Mechanism of the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons made progress on determining accountability for chemical weapons use in Syria, but an extension of its mandate was vetoed by Russia at the Security Council. Two developments raised particular hope in the longer term for truth and justice for victims of violations in two seemingly intractable ongoing conflicts. The International Impartial and Independent Mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of the most serious crimes under international law committed in Syria since March 2011 took shape during the year after its formal establishment in December 2016 by the UN General Assembly. And the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution in September to establish a panel of experts to investigate abuses by all parties in Yemen. Both developments followed concerted advocacy by human rights organizations. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 63



66 By the end of June, UNAMA had documented 12 incidents of cross-border AFGHANISTAN shelling from Pakistan into Afghanistan, in which at least 10 civilians were killed and 24 Islamic Republic of Afghanistan injured. This was a substantial increase on Muhammad Ashraf Head of state and government: Ghani the same period in 2016. The government made amendments to the Penal Code. Some provisions of the Rome The civilian population suffered widespread Statute of the ICC were incorporated into law human rights abuses as a result of the continuing conflict. Conflict-related and some offences which previously carried violence led to deaths, injuries and the death penalty became punishable by life imprisonment. displacement. Civilian casualties continued to be high; the majority were killed or ARMED CONFLICT injured by armed insurgent groups, but a significant minority by pro-government The non-international armed conflict between “anti-government elements” and pro- forces. The number of people internally government forces continued. The Taliban displaced by conflict rose to more than 2 and the armed group Islamic State (IS) were million; about 2.6 million Afghan refugees among the “anti-government elements” but lived outside the country. Gender-based more than 20 armed groups operated inside violence against women and girls persisted the country. The Taliban and other armed by state and non-state actors. An increase in public punishments of women by armed opposition groups were responsible for the majority of civilian casualties (64%) in the groups applying Shari’a law was reported. first nine months of the year, according to Human rights defenders received threats UNAMA. from both state and non-state actors; By the end of September, UNAMA had journalists faced violence and censorship. documented 8,019 civilian casualties (2,640 Death sentences continued to be imposed; killed and 5,379 injured), a small overall five people were executed in November. Members of the Hazara minority group and decrease compared to the same period in 2016, although there was a 13% increase in Shi’a continued to face harassment and the number of women killed or injured. About increased attacks, mainly by armed insurgent groups. 20% of the casualties were attributed to pro- government forces, including Afghan national BACKGROUND security forces, the Afghan Local Police, pro- In March, the UN Security Council renewed government armed groups and international the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in military forces. Afghanistan (UNAMA) for another year, While acknowledging that Afghan under the leadership of Tadamichi government forces made some efforts to mitigate civilian casualties, especially during Yamamoto. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the ground engagement, UNAMA also noted that country’s second largest insurgent group, the number of civilians killed or injured in Hezb-i-Islami, joined the Afghan government. aerial attacks increased by some 50% over On 4 May, after two years of negotiations, the 2016; about two-thirds of these were women and children. draft peace agreement signed in September 2016 between the government and ABUSES BY PRO-GOVERNMENT FORCES In January, according to UNAMA, Afghan Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was finalized, granting him amnesty for past offences, including war National Border Police in Paktika province crimes, and permitting the release of certain sexually abused a 13-year-old boy, then shot Hezb-i-Islami prisoners. him; the boy died from his injuries. Those suspected of criminal responsibility were Amnesty International Report 2017/18 66

67 On 25 August, a Shi’a mosque in Kabul was prosecuted by the Afghan National Police, attacked by IS, killing at least 28 people and convicted of murder and sentenced to six injuring dozens more. On 20 October, similar years‘ imprisonment. According to UNAMA, more than a dozen attacks were carried out against two more civilians were shot at checkpoints. In one Shi’a mosques – one in western Kabul and the other in Ghor province – leaving more such incident on 16 March, Afghan Local than 60 people dead and dozens injured. Police at a checkpoint in Jawzjan province shot and injured a man and his mother after VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS mistaking them for insurgents. In April, Afghan National Police shot a 65-year-old The Ministry of Women’s Affairs of man returning from feeding his cows; he later Afghanistan (MoWA) reported an increase in died in hospital. In May, an Afghan National cases of gender-based violence against Army soldier shot dead a 13-year-old boy as women, especially in areas under Taliban control. he collected grass close to a checkpoint in In the first half of the year, the Afghanistan Badghis province. Independent Human Rights Commission In June, according to UNAMA, three young reported thousands of cases of violence children in Saydebad district were killed in against women and girls across the country, their home by a mortar round fired by the Afghan National Army. The same month, pro- including beatings, killings and acid attacks. Against the backdrop of impunity for such government forces on patrol shot dead a father and his two young sons (aged five and crimes and a failure to investigate, cases of 12) outside the brick factory where they violence against women remained grossly under-reported due to traditional practices, worked; there was no known military activity stigmatization and fear of the consequences in the area at the time. UNAMA requested updates on any investigation or follow-up for the victims. Armed groups perpetrated gender-based action on these cases, but by July had violence, torture and other ill-treatment and received no information from the Ministry of other human rights abuses, imposing the Interior. corporal punishments on women for having During the first six months of the year, sex outside of marriage or engaging in sex according to UNAMA, 95 civilians, half of work. In one instance, according to UNAMA, them children, were killed in air strikes. ABUSES BY ARMED GROUPS men severely beat a woman in her home in Darah-i-Suf Payin district, Samangan In January, in Badakhshan province, five armed men dragged a pregnant woman from province, after accusing her of having sex her home and shot her dead in front of her outside of marriage and engaging in sex husband and six children; witnesses said her work. UNAMA also noted that armed groups tried attackers accused her of being a government supporter. On 8 March, armed men entered to restrict girls’ access to education. In an Afghan National Army military hospital in February, threats forced the closure of girls’ schools in several villages in Farah province, central Kabul and killed at least 49 people, including patients. In August, armed groups temporarily denying education to more than attacked the village of Mirza Olang, in Sar-e- 3,500 girls. When the schools reopened 10 Pul province, killing at least 36 people, days later, the vast majority of the girls were initially afraid to return. including civilians. The head of the women’s affairs department Suicide attacks by armed groups in civilian areas caused at least 382 deaths and 1,202 in Badakhshan reported that in March the injuries. In one such attack in December, at Taliban stoned a woman to death and least 41 people, including children, were whipped a man on charges of having sex outside of marriage in Wardoj district, killed in a suicide bomb attack on a Shi’a cultural organization in Kabul. northeastern Badakhshan province. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 67

68 more than 150 people. No investigations In August, a woman named Azadeh was appeared to have been conducted into the shot dead by Taliban members in Jawzjan police shootings. Relatives of the victims province. According to the governor’s subsequently staged a sit-in for several weeks spokesman, the woman had fled some months earlier to a safe house in Sheberghan in Kabul, which the police broke up by force. One person was killed and at least five others city due to domestic violence. She returned were reported to have been arbitrarily after local mediation, but was then dragged detained in a private house and questioned from her house and shot by Taliban members. by plain-clothes officers before being released the next day. In July, the REFUGEES AND INTERNALLY government proposed amendments to the DISPLACED PEOPLE laws on associations, strikes and demonstrations, which would limit the rights Some 2.6 million Afghan refugees were living in more than 70 countries around the world to freedom of association and expression by during 2017. Around 95% were hosted in introducing new restrictions on the organization of demonstrations and strikes. just two countries, Iran and Pakistan, where The proposed amendments would also give they faced discrimination, racial attacks, lack police enhanced authority to stop or prevent of basic amenities and the risk of mass deportation. demonstrations or strikes, further Between 2002 and 2017, more than 5.8 undermining the right to peaceful assembly. Women human rights defenders continued million Afghans were returned home, many of to face threats and intimidation by both state them involuntarily by other governments. and non-state actors across Afghanistan. The UN Office for the Coordination of Most cases were not reported to police Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that some because of lack of trust in the security 437,907 people were displaced by the agencies, which consistently failed to conflict in 2017 alone, bringing the total investigate and address these threats. Some number of internally displaced people (IDPs) who did report threats were not given support to more than 2 million. Despite the promises or protection. made by successive Afghan governments, IDPs continued to lack adequate housing, FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION food, water, health care and opportunities to A string of violent attacks and intimidation pursue education and employment. Most against journalists, including killings, further were forced to make long daily trips to fetch water and struggled to obtain one daily meal. underlined the steady erosion of freedom of Most IDPs lacked access to basic health care expression. Media freedom watchdog Nai reported more facilities. Private health care was unaffordable for most IDPs, and mobile than 150 attacks against journalists, media clinics, operated by NGOs or the government, workers and media offices during the year. These included killings, beatings, detention, were only available sporadically. arson, attacks, threats and other forms of IDPs also faced repeated threats of forced eviction from both government and private violence by both state and non-state actors. In March, a reporter working for Ariana TV actors. in Sar-e-Pul province was beaten by police HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS after trying to report on excessive use of force Human rights defenders faced constant against civilians. Officers seized the reporter’s threats to their life and security. In June, at camera and other equipment; he sought least four people were killed when police refuge in the governor’s office. opened fire on demonstrators protesting In August, a prominent reporter from Zabul deteriorating security conditions in Kabul province received death threats from Taliban following a 31 May truck bombing that killed members, followed by attempts on his life. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 68

69 Security officials made little effort to protect DEATH PENALTY him after he reported the incidents, and he In a revision to the Penal Code, life left the province for his safety. imprisonment replaced the death penalty for some offences. In November, IS fighters attacked Five executions were carried out in Shamshad TV’s station in Kabul; one staff November at Pul-e-Charki prison in Kabul. member was killed and others wounded. The Ministry of the Interior said that the five Nai reported that in 2016 it had submitted to the authorities at least 240 cases of had been convicted in 2016 of murder and violence against media workers, including kidnapping, and that they had been executed despite their sentences being under review reporters and journalists. One year later the government had taken no action in response by three appeal courts. and no one had been brought to justice. TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT ALBANIA Afghans across the country remained at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, with little Republic of Albania progress towards curbing impunity. The UN Head of state: Ilir Meta (replaced Bujar Nishani in July) Committee against Torture found Head of government: Edi Rama “widespread acceptance and legitimation of Impunity persisted for past killings and torture in Afghan society”. enforced disappearances. Measures Many of those suspected of criminal protecting women from domestic violence responsibility continued to hold official were inadequately implemented. Women executive positions, including in government. and children were trafficked for forced The Committee also found that detainees held by the National Directorate of Security, prostitution and labour. Albania’s path to EU membership was hindered by slow the Afghan National Police and the Afghan Local Police were subject to “beatings, progress in combating corruption and electric shocks, suspensions, threats, sexual organized crime. abuse, and other forms of mental and BACKGROUND physical abuse”. UNAMA and OHCHR investigators who had interviewed 469 A political crisis preceded elections in June. The opposition Democratic Party, which detainees said that 39% of them gave organized street protests in February, credible accounts of torture and other ill- treatment during their arrest and boycotted the election process until May, interrogation. when an EU and US-supported agreement In March the government enacted an Anti- promised them representation in government and state agencies. The ruling Socialist Party Torture Law, which criminalized torture but did not provide for restitution or was returned with an increased majority. compensation to victims. International observers reported incidents of Armed groups including the Taliban voter intimidation and alleged vote-buying. continued to commit crimes under Under a new mechanism established in January, by August 183 people, including international law, including killings, torture and other abuses as punishment for author Ismail Kadare, applied to access perceived crimes or offences. The executions secret police files held on them during the and severe punishments imposed by the Communist period. In September, the parallel justice system amounted to criminal International Commission on Missing Persons acts under the law, and in some agreed to assist with the identification of bodies recovered from mass graves from the circumstances could amount to war crimes. same period. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 69

70 RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, JUSTICE SYSTEM Measures to ensure judicial independence TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE were partially implemented. In June, two In February two NGOs filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights, judicial associations appealed to the Constitutional Court against a vetting law, requesting an amendment to the Family which sought to ensure judges’ and Code which prohibits cohabitation rights for same-sex couples. An August survey found prosecutors’ independence from organized crime. widespread discrimination in employment in both the public and private sectors. IMPUNITY MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS In a case brought before the European Court of Human Rights, in April the government In May, a UK court found that hundreds of lesbian and gay people, trafficking victims agreed to reopen proceedings in the case of and domestic violence survivors may have four protesters killed during January 2011 been wrongly deported to Albania since 2011 demonstrations. A total payment of just over because UK courts had relied on incorrect EUR100,000 as a form of compensation was guidance. Some 4,421 Albanian asylum- divided between relatives of two of the victims. seekers voluntarily returned from EU countries; 2,500 rejected asylum-seekers ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES were deported from Germany. Unaccompanied minors and families with No measures were taken to locate the body of Remzi Hoxha, a Macedonian Albanian who children were sometimes detained in the was forcibly disappeared by National Irregular Foreigners Centre at Karreç, a closed centre for irregular migrants due for Intelligence Service officials in 1995. No deportation. progress was reported towards the exhumation of the remains of around 6,000 ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL people who had disappeared between 1945 RIGHTS and 1991. In September, 20 children’s NGOs protested FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION − against the abolition of the Labour and Social JOURNALISTS Welfare Ministry, which threatened to put Physical attacks against investigative social services at risk. journalists were perpetrated by organized The Ministry of Urban Development criminals, or owners of private companies. In reconstructed 300 Roma and Egyptian houses, and improved sanitation. However, March, journalist Elvi Fundo was beaten in the capital, Tirana, by assailants believed to most Roma lacked clean water and many were at risk of forced evictions. be associated with organized crime. In June, TV channel owner Erven Hyseni was shot VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS dead in Vlora, along with a government official. Reports of domestic violence increased; 420 In July, journalists claimed that defamation immediate protection orders had been issued proceedings brought against two media by 1 June. In August, Judge Fildeze Hafizi outlets by High Court Judge Gjin Gjoni and was shot and killed in her car by her former his wife, businesswoman Elona Caushi, husband. She had been granted a protection aimed to intimidate investigative journalists order in 2015 after he had beaten her. He and encourage self-censorship. was convicted and imprisoned in April 2016, but released in early 2017 under a general amnesty. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 70

71 FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND ASSEMBLY ALGERIA The authorities continued to arrest and prosecute peaceful activists, including those People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria protesting about unemployment and public Abdelaziz Bouteflika Head of state: Ahmed Ouyahia (replaced Head of government: services. Those protesting in solidarity with Abdelmadjid Tebboune in August, who replaced detained activists, as well as journalists and Abdelmalek Sellal in May) bloggers covering protests on social media, were also detained. In January, police arrested renowned The authorities continued to arbitrarily detain peaceful demonstrators, human blogger Merzoug Touati in Bejaia, Kabylia region, following anti-austerity protests in rights defenders, activists and journalists. Associations continued to face undue Kabylia. The authorities kept him in detention restrictions, and legislation that restricted while investigating him for interviewing an the right to form trade unions remained in Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman on his blog, and for posts about the protests. place. Members of the Ahmadi Muslim religious minority group were unjustly In June, police arrested journalist Said Chitour on suspicion of espionage and selling prosecuted. Impunity for past abuses prevailed. Migrants faced mass expulsions. classified documents to foreign diplomats. In November his case was transferred to the Courts handed down death sentences; no Penal Court. executions were carried out. The authorities maintained a protest ban in BACKGROUND Algiers under a decree from 2001. In January, new austerity measures FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION announced by the government triggered protests and strikes, particularly in the The authorities kept many associations, northern Kabylia and Chaouia regions. In including Amnesty International Algeria and February, a presidential decree established other human rights groups, in legal limbo by failing to respond to registration applications Algeria’s new national human rights under the highly restrictive Associations Law. institution, the National Human Rights Council, replacing the National Consultative Local authorities denied authorization to the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Commission for the Promotion and Protection Rights (LADDH) to hold a human rights of Human Rights. In May, Algeria was examined under the UN UPR process for the meeting in October and a public event 1 celebrating the Universal Declaration of Also in May, legislative elections third time. Human Rights in December. The government characterized by low participation brought limited change to party representation in had yet to produce a new draft law respecting freedom of association, as required by the parliament and Abdelmadjid Tebboune briefly constitutional amendments of 2016. became Prime Minister after a government reshuffle, before Ahmed Ouyahia replaced HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS him in August. Low-level sporadic clashes took place Human rights defender Hassan Bouras was between security forces and armed released in January after a court reduced his opposition groups in several areas. In August, one-year prison term to a six-month a suicide bomber killed himself and two suspended sentence. Police had arrested policemen in an attack on a police station in him for posting a video on the YouTube channel of the El Bayadh branch of LADDH Tiaret, west of the capital Algiers, which was alleging corruption among high-ranking later claimed by both the armed group officials in the city of El Bayadh. Islamic State (IS) and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Amnesty International Report 2017/18 71

72 3 In March, a court in Ghardaia referred From April practices during the year. onwards, courts released 16 Ahmadis after human rights lawyer Salah Dabouz of LADDH reducing or suspending their sentences, to trial in relation to comments he made on while dozens of others remained under television about unrest in Ghardaia and for investigation or on trial and five remained in allegedly carrying a computer and camera detention. In August, authorities rearrested during a visit to detained activists. The court Mohamed Fali, head of the Ahmadi had kept him under judicial supervision from community in Algeria, in Ain Safra, Naama July 2016 until March 2017, forcing him to travel more than 600km twice a week to province, before trying him before the Ain report to the court in Ghardaia from his home Tedles Court of First Instance for collecting donations without a licence, “denigrating in Algiers. In April, the investigative judge at a court in Islamic dogma”, and “membership of an Medea transferred a case against human unauthorized association”. By the end of the rights lawyer Noureddine Ahmine of the year, he faced six cases pending before different courts arising from the peaceful Network of Lawyers for the Defence of practice of his faith. Human Rights (RADDH) to a court in Ghardaia for trial on charges of “insulting a IMPUNITY public institution” and “falsely” reporting an offence. The charges related to a complaint The authorities took no steps to open investigations and counter the impunity for of torture that he had filed, apparently on grave human rights abuses and possible behalf of someone else, in 2014. crimes against humanity, including unlawful UNFAIR TRIALS killings, enforced disappearances, rape and other forms of torture committed by security In May, a court in Medea unfairly convicted the founder of the Movement for the forces and armed groups in the 1990s during Algeria’s internal conflict, which left an Autonomy of the Mzab (MAM), Kamaleddine estimated 200,000 people killed or forcibly Fekhar, and 21 of his 41 co-defendants of murder, terrorism and other serious offences, disappeared. In January, the Swiss judiciary shelved a for their alleged role in communal violence in Ghardaia province between 2013 and 2015 war crimes investigation against retired 2 Algerian Minister of Defence Khaled Nezzar which left an estimated 25 people dead. for events between 1992 and 1994 in They were sentenced to prison terms of Algeria, citing inadmissibility due to the between three and five years, partially suspended. All were then released between absence of armed conflict in Algeria at the time. May and July 2017 after having served their In February, the UN Human Rights sentence. Among the 41 defendants, 37 had Committee found that the Algerian authorities been in pre-trial detention, many since 2015. In July, the Spanish authorities detained had violated the right to remedy, the right to life, and the prohibition against torture with MAM activists Salah Abbouna and Khodir Sekkouti after Algerian authorities filed an regard to Mohamed Belamrania, who was extradition request against them, citing their forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in 1995. Days after the UN finding criticism of Algerian authorities on Facebook. In October the Spanish authorities released was published, police detained his son, Rafik both activists on bail awaiting the National Belamrania, and charged him with High Court’s decision on extradition. “advocating terrorism on Facebook”. He had filed his father’s case before the UN body FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF and documented other cases of enforced More than 280 members of the minority disappearance, arbitrary detention and Ahmadi religious movement were prosecuted extrajudicial executions by Algeria’s security forces against suspected supporters of the in relation to their religious beliefs and Amnesty International Report 2017/18 72

73 Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) party during the DEATH PENALTY Courts continued to impose death sentences. 1990s. In November he was sentenced to No executions have been carried out since five years’ imprisonment and fined 100,000 1993. Algerian dinars (around USD870). RIGHTS ’ REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS Human Rights Council adopts Universal Periodic Review outcome on 1. From April to June, a group of 25 Syrian Algeria ( MDE 28/7152/2017 ) refugees, including 10 children, were 2. Algeria: Ensure fair trial for minority rights activists ( News story , 29 stranded in the buffer zone of Morocco’s May) 4 desert border area with Algeria. In June, the 3. Algeria: Wave of arrests and prosecutions of hundreds of Ahmadis Algerian authorities announced they would , 19 June) News story ( permit them to enter Algeria and would allow Morocco: Syrian refugees trapped in desert on Moroccan border with 4. , 7 June) Algeria in dire need of assistance ( News story UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, to provide them with assistance. However, the Algerian 5. Algeria: Mass racial profiling used to deport more than 2,000 sub- Saharan migrants ( News story , 23 October) authorities later refused to let them in through an unofficial crossing point. The refugees remained stranded in the desert until Morocco granted them protection. ANGOLA Between August and December the authorities arbitrary arrested and forcibly Republic of Angola expelled more than 6,500 sub-Saharan João Manuel Gonçalves : Head of state and government Lourenço (replaced José Eduardo dos Santos in African migrants to neighbouring Niger and 5 September) Mali on the basis of racial profiling. In February, a court in Annaba convicted 27 people, including Algerians, for irregular exit Agri-business mega projects displaced communities from their land. Although the from Algeria after they attempted to leave the restrictive NGO law was repealed, the space country by boat. They were fined 20,000 Algerian dinars (about USD180) each. for individuals to exercise their civil and political rights continued to shrink. WORKERS’ RIGHTS Peaceful protesters were met with violent The Labour Code continued to unduly restrict repression; government critics faced criminal defamation suits. Attempts by the right to form trade unions by limiting trade union federations and confederations to Parliament to criminalize abortion in all single occupational sectors; allowing only circumstances were defeated. Algerian-born people or those who had held BACKGROUND Algerian nationality for a minimum of 10 Historic elections were held on 23 August. years to create trade union organizations; and imposing restrictions on foreign funding for João Lourenço of the ruling People’s trade unions. Authorities continued to deny Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) became President. According to the registration to the independent, cross-sector Electoral Commission, the MPLA obtained General Autonomous Confederation for Algerian Workers, since it first filed its 61% of the vote, down from 81% in 2012. application in 2013. Opposition parties – National Union for the In May, the Ministry of Labour banned the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), National Autonomous Electricity and Gas Broad Convergence for the Salvation of Trade Union by withdrawing its recognition. A Angola-Electoral Coalition (CASA-CE), and government official publicly denied the ban National Front for the Liberation of Angola during an International Labour Conference (FNLA) − contended that the election results session in June. were illegitimate, but took their seats in Parliament. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 73

74 The continuing economic crisis precipitated and hindrance of the free flow of ideas and opinions. popular discontent with the MPLA. Because of the economic crisis, the government The majority of the regulatory body’s adopted a development model for agri- members were nominated by MPLA, the party with the most seats in the National business mega projects, large-scale land Assembly, which caused concerns as to the acquisition, and dispossession of rural body’s independence and impartiality. communities, which put community livelihoods at risk. On 20 June, Rafael Marques de Morais, investigative journalist and editor of the online Political intolerance was increasingly normalized due, in part, to government publication Maka Angola, and Mariano Brás indifference to sectarian violence in Monte Lourenço, journalist and editor for O Crime Belo in Benguela province. Following the newspaper, were charged with “defamation of a public authority” and causing “outrage to signing in 2002 of the peace agreement between the government and UNITA, the a sovereign body” in relation to an article they published questioning the acquisition of area became an enclave of political conflict with increasing polarization of and violence public land by the General Public Prosecutor. between MPLA and UNITA supporters. FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY Monte Belo residents continued to suffer The authorities frequently refused to allow persecution, violence, death threats, peaceful demonstrations to take place, even intimidation and looting on grounds of though prior authorization was not required in suspected allegiance to one or other of the law. When demonstrations did take place, political parties. Despite public objections from civil society, the government allowed a police often arbitrarily arrested, detained and ill-treated peaceful protesters. However, no culture of impunity and violent political intolerance to develop. investigations were initiated into the police actions. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION On 24 February, police violently repressed To silence critics, particularly journalists and two peaceful protests by the Angolan academics, the authorities used defamation Revolutionary Movement taking place laws among others, restricting freedom of simultaneously in Luanda, the capital, and Benguela. The protesters demanded the expression and access to information. The resignation of Bornito de Sousa, Minister of misuse of the justice system and other state Territorial Administration, who was in charge institutions in order to silence critics remained commonplace. The “Press Law of electoral registration for the August Pack” of five bills was passed by Parliament election and was also the MPLA’s vice- in January; it included Press Law, Journalist’s presidential candidate; these roles were seen as amounting to a conflict of interests and to Statute, Radio Broadcasting Law, Television a violation of the electoral law. After Law and Social Communications Regulatory handcuffing and forcing the protesters to lie Body Law. The laws contained provisions that down, the police beat them with batons. restricted freedom of expression, particularly On 24 June, security forces violently dispersed a peaceful demonstration press freedoms, through a series of organized by the Lunda-Tchokwe prohibitive regulations on social Protectorate Movement, which campaigned communication and by establishing a communications regulatory body with for autonomy for the eastern and oversight competencies, including the power southeastern regions in Lunda Norte to determine whether or not a given province. Security forces used live communication met good journalistic ammunition against demonstrators, killing a practices; this amounted to prior censorship bystander, and injuring 13 protesters. They arrested 70 people; on 28 June, they were Amnesty International Report 2017/18 74

75 sentenced each to 45 days’ imprisonment SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS In March, the government proposed an and a fine of 22,000 kwanzas (USD135). amendment to legislation under the Penal Those who paid the fines had their sentences Code which would de-criminalize abortion in suspended and were released immediately cases where a woman’s pregnancy was the while the others served their full prison terms. result of rape, or when the pregnant woman’s The protesters were calling for, among other health was at risk. Parliament rejected the things, an end to persecution and arbitrary proposal. The final parliamentary vote on the imprisonment of their members, and for the legislation was scheduled for later the same release of political prisoners in Kakanda Prison in Lunda Norte. month, but was postponed indefinitely following a public outcry against Parliament’s FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION rejection of the government’s proposal to liberalize the abortion laws. Repression of the right to freedom of association persisted. The space in which LAND DISPUTES human rights defenders, political activists, journalists, broadcasters and civil society Ongoing land acquisition for business, mainly in southern provinces of Cunene and Huíla, organizations could exercise their civil and continued to devastate local communities political rights was increasingly restricted. On who relied on the land for their livelihoods. 11 July, however, the Constitutional Court struck down the NGO law which had In April and May, the government of Huíla presented its Transhumance Project, which been passed by presidential decree No. included plans to appropriate a water 74/15 in 2015. The law had restricted the legal framework within which NGOs could fountain used by the community of Capela de Santo António in the Kahila area of Gambos operate, and empowered the Public municipality. Capela de Santo António is Prosecutor’s Office to suspend national and home to 600 families who depended on the international NGO activities on suspicion of fountain for drinking water, and for their money laundering, or illegal or harmful acts against “Angola’s sovereignty and integrity”. livestock and irrigation. The community was The decree imposed burdens on civil society not consulted over the plans and the organizations, including excessive authorities did not conduct an environmental requirements and unwieldly procedures for impact assessment. The government of Huíla remained determined to seize the NGO registration; excessive control over NGO community's water fountain in violation of the activities; funding restrictions and sanctions. Constitution and laws including the Land Law UNFAIR TRIALS and the Environmental Law. In June, it came to light that the Angolan On 25 September, six people, five of whom had been held in prolonged pre-trial government had authorized the Agro- detention for one year, were brought to trial Industrial Horizonte 2020 mega project to before Luanda Provincial Court on charges of appropriate 76,000 hectares of fertile land without the free, prior and informed consent “organizing terrorism”. However, the trial was adjourned the same day when the Public of the affected communities. The land is in Prosecutor failed to appear in court alleging the west of Ombadja municipality and the health reasons. The Court granted the south of Curoca municipality, both in Cunene substitute prosecutor’s plea to be allowed province. It is home to 39 communities of more time so that he could familiarize himself 2,129 families with 10,675 children who live with the case. Five of the accused remained by the Cunene River. They have historically relied on agriculture and livestock for their in detention while a sixth, the wife of one of the detained, remained under house arrest at livelihoods. By the end of the year, vegetation on 15,000 hectares had been destroyed, the end of the year. including trees used for food and firewood, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 75

76 grass for cattle grazing, and burial sites; 19 INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS families had been expelled from the land and The majority of Indigenous communities still forced into vagrancy with diminishing access lacked legal recognition of their land rights, to food and water. despite the Constitution recognizing their right to ancestral lands and natural resources. In January, local police and members of the ARGENTINA Argentine National Gendarmerie (GNA) – a militarized federal police – closed off all Argentine Republic access points to the Indigenous land Mauricio Macri Head of state and government: inhabited by the Mapuche community Pu Lof Women and girls faced obstacles in en Resistencia in Chubut province. The community reported attacks by the police, accessing legal abortions. Indigenous including beatings and intimidation of Peoples continued to be criminalized and 1 At least 10 community members discriminated against. Migrants’ rights children. suffered significant setbacks. and their supporters were arrested. In August the GNA conducted an illegal raid in the BACKGROUND same community, during which Santiago Argentina’s human rights situation was Maldonado – a non-Indigenous supporter of reviewed under the UN UPR process and by the Mapuche community – disappeared. In the UN Committee against Torture. The UN October his body was found in a river in the territory. The judicial investigation into his Working Group on Arbitrary Detention death was ongoing at the end of the year. (WGAD), the UN Independent Expert on The Neuquén provincial government, oil sexual orientation and gender identity and the Rapporteur on Argentina for the Inter- unions and industry created an investment American Commission on Human Rights plan for the Vaca Muerta oilfield, located visited Argentina during the year. partly on the land of the Lof Campo Maripe Indigenous community, without the In November, Congress approved the community’s participation. national law on gender parity. Authorities used legal proceedings to SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS intimidate Indigenous Peoples, including Women and girls continued to encounter accusations of sedition, resisting authority, barriers to accessing legal abortion when the theft, attempted assaults and killings. Agustín pregnancy posed a risk to their health, or Santillán, an Indigenous leader of the Wichí when it resulted from rape. Full people in Formosa province, spent 190 days decriminalization of abortion was pending in in pre-trial detention from April to October with more than 28 criminal proceedings parliament. against him. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS According to civil society information, at least 254 femicides occurred between January Bypassing parliamentary debate, the and November. The National Women's government modified the 2004 Migration Act, Institute and the National Plan of Action for limiting entry and residency rights and potentially hastening deportations. the Prevention, Assistance and Eradication of Violence against Women for 2017-2019 The Asylum Act had not yet been fully implemented, 11 years after its adoption, and appeared to lack the necessary resources to be fully implemented. the National Committee for Refugees had no specific budget. The reception system for asylum-seekers remained slow and insufficient and there was no integration plan Amnesty International Report 2017/18 76

77 in place to help asylum-seekers and refugees police; some said they were forced to access basic rights such as education, work, undress completely. In April, teachers were violently repressed health care and language training. while demonstrating for fair wages. Despite Argentina’s commitment in 2016 to Participants reported that police used tear receive 3,000 Syrian refugees, no resettlement programme had been created. gas and beat them while the military stood Fewer than 400 Syrian refugees had by. At least four teachers were arrested. In September, 31 people were violently benefited from a private sponsorship and detained and held at several police stations in humanitarian visa scheme. the capital, Buenos Aires, for more than 48 IMPUNITY hours for participating in a mass Trials before ordinary civilian courts demonstration following the disappearance of Santiago Maldonado. Those detained continued to be held for crimes against humanity during the 1976-1983 military reported that they were beaten and some regime. Between 2006 and May 2017, 182 women were forced to undress. In December, many protesters took to the rulings were issued, bringing the total number of convictions to 756 and acquittals streets in Buenos Aires to express their to 74. disagreement with a legislative reform In July, the Federal Court of Mendoza proposed by the government. The police used excessive force and there were reports issued a historic decision under which four former members of the judiciary were of arbitrary detentions during the 3 sentenced to life in prison and barred from demonstrations. The call by WGAD to national authorities to holding public office for contributing to the commission of crimes against humanity immediately release social leader and activist during the military regime. Milagro Sala was not implemented. In August, the Inter-American Commission on The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Luis Muiña – who was found guilty of crimes Human Rights requested that Argentina offer against humanity – that one day served in Milagro Sala house arrest or other alternatives pre-trial detention must be considered as to prison. This request was only partially implemented since its conditions did not two, if the person has been detained without comply with domestic and international sentence for more than two years. Congress standards. then passed a law clarifying that the so-called “2x1 formula” may not be applied to crimes 2 against humanity, genocide or war crimes. Argentina: Violent repression of Mapuche Peoples ( 1. AMR Public hearings continued in the case of the ) 13/5477/2017 cover-up of the investigation into the 1994 2. Argentina: Amnistía Internacional repudia la aplicación del 2x1 a attack on the Jewish Mutual Association of News delitos de lesa humanidad y estará presente en Plaza de Mayo ( story , 9 May) Argentina building. A government decree issued in April 2017 transferred classified 3. Argentina: Autoridades deben garantizar protesta pacífica e investigar violaciones a derechos humanos tras represión frente al documents from the Prosecution Unit to the , 15 December) News story Congreso de la Nación ( Ministry of Justice, compromising the independence of the investigation and restricting complainants’ access to evidence. FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND ASSEMBLY Indiscriminate detentions took place during an International Women’s Day demonstration on 8 March. Many women reported that they were mistreated, detained and humiliated by Amnesty International Report 2017/18 77

78 UNFAIR TRIALS Members of the opposition group that ARMENIA occupied a police station in the run-up to the 2016 protests stood trial on charges of a Republic of Armenia range of violent crimes, including hostage- Head of state: Serzh Sargsyan Karen Karapetyan Head of government: taking and killing of police officers. Several defendants reported being beaten in detention, while their defence lawyers Lack of accountability continued for the use of unnecessary and excessive force by reported that they themselves were subjected to pressure and harassment to obstruct their police during protests in the capital, work. Yerevan, in 2016. The trials of opposition Arayik Papikyan, Mushegh Shushanyan, members accused of hostage-taking and other violent crimes violated the right to a Nina Karapetyants and other defence lawyers fair trial. A human rights defender faced in the case complained that the detention facility’s administration prevented them from criminal charges. The parliamentary and visiting the accused men and holding Yerevan city council elections were confidential meetings with them, and accompanied by incidents of violence. unlawfully confiscated and destroyed some of BACKGROUND the case-related materials they were carrying. On 2 April, the ruling Republican Party won a Several lawyers also reported being subjected parliamentary majority, in the first elections to lengthy and intrusive security searches when arriving at court. Lawyers who refused since the 2015 constitutional referendum to undergo searches were denied entry to the approved the transition from a presidential to courtrooms and subjected to disciplinary a parliamentary republic. Monitors from the proceedings by the Bar Association. OSCE reported that the elections were The lawyers also reported that, on 28 June, “tainted by credible information about vote- five defendants were forcibly removed from buying, and pressure on civil servants and the courtroom, taken to the basement and employees of private companies” to vote for the ruling party. beaten by several police officers while the court was in session. The defendants showed In November, Armenia and the EU signed a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership signs of ill-treatment, including bruises and Agreement, a looser form of co-operation scratches on their faces and legs, than the Association Agreement which documented by prison medical staff. The police claimed these injuries were self- Armenia rejected in 2013 in favour of joining inflicted when the defendants deliberately hit the Russian-led customs union. their heads and feet against walls and fences IMPUNITY in protest. At the end of the year, investigations were ongoing into the There was limited accountability for the allegations of the beatings and the unnecessary and excessive use of force by police against largely peaceful anti- harassment of the lawyers. government protesters in Yerevan in July HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS 2016, when hundreds of individuals were injured and arbitrarily arrested. Dozens of In January, court hearings commenced in the case against Marina Poghosyan, a human protesters faced criminal charges for rights defender and director of the NGO allegedly violating public order and other Veles, known for exposing government offences. The criminal investigation into allegations of abuse of power by police corruption and providing legal aid to victims officers did not lead to any criminal charges. of human rights violations. She had been charged with extortion in 2015 after she alleged that former government officials were Amnesty International Report 2017/18 78

79 running a money laundering scheme. Local human rights defenders linked the trial to her AUSTRALIA work exposing corruption. On 30 April, Marina Poghosyan reported that a fake Australia Facebook profile had been created under her Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Head of state: Peter Cosgrove name and used to send sexually explicit Malcolm Turnbull Head of government: photos and videos to her contacts to smear her reputation. The justice system continued to fail FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION Indigenous people, particularly children, with high rates of incarceration, reports of The parliamentary and Yerevan city council abuse and deaths in custody. Australia elections, in April and May respectively, and maintained hardline policies by confining the preceding electoral campaigns were people seeking asylum in offshore accompanied by isolated incidents of processing centres in Papua New Guinea violence against journalists and others attempting to expose violations of the and Nauru, and turning back those attempting to reach Australia by boat. In electoral process. October, Australia was elected to the UN On 2 April, two journalists were attacked in Yerevan’s Kond neighbourhood while Human Rights Council, attracting calls for improvement of its human rights record, investigating allegations of vote-buying at the local Republican Party’s campaign office. including cutting all ties to the Myanmar military. Supporters of the Party took away one reporter’s video equipment as she was INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS filming people leaving the campaign office. An investigation into the incident was ongoing Indigenous children were 25 times more at the end of the year. likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous children. ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL Leaked footage exposed abuses of children RIGHTS in prison in the Northern Territory, including tear gassing, restraints, choking and solitary The CERD Committee raised concerns over confinement. In response, a Royal the absence of data on the enjoyment of Commission into the Protection and economic, social and cultural rights by minority groups, refugees and asylum- Detention of Children in the Northern seekers. It also raised concern over the lack Territory was established and reported on 17 November. of information available on small minority An independent review of youth detention ethnic groups – such as the Lom (also known centres in Queensland released in April as Bosha) and the Molokans – and requested that the authorities collect data on economic found abuses including solitary confinement, and social indicators disaggregated by use of dogs to intimidate, missing CCTV ethnicity, nationality and country of origin. footage, and children at risk of self-harm being sedated and hogtied. Further alleged abuses emerged in Victoria, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia. Indigenous adults were 15 times more likely to be jailed than non-Indigenous adults. At least eight Indigenous people died in police custody. The government did not adopt a national plan to ensure Australia meets its obligations Amnesty International Report 2017/18 79

80 in protecting the rights of Indigenous Lankan nationals in March; five Chinese children. However, on 15 December, it nationals who landed in northern Australia in August; and a boat containing 29 Sri Lankan ratified the Optional Protocol to the nationals in December. Convention against Torture (OPCAT), which mandates that youth detention centres and Australia continued its policy of mandatory police lockups are subject to independent indefinite detention of people arriving by plane without a visa. As of 30 November, oversight and monitoring. there were 1,301 people in immigration REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS detention onshore (including on Christmas On 9 April, the government announced that Island). Of these, 19.8% had been detained the Australian-run facility on Manus Island, for over 730 days. Papua New Guinea (PNG), would be closed Australia’s resettlement and humanitarian intake was 16,250 for its financial year by 31 October following the PNG Supreme Court ruling in 2016 that the centre was beginning in June. This decreased from almost 22,000 for the previous financial year, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”. On 14 April, with an additional intake of Syrian and Iraqi PNG Defence Force personnel fired into the refugees ending. centre injuring nine people. The men in detention were forcibly moved RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, into “transit” centres on Manus Island on 24 TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE November. By the end of the year there was Following an overwhelming vote in favour of no clear plan for the settlement of refugees in a safe country. same-sex marriage, Parliament passed As of December there were approximately legislation to create marriage equality in December. The postal survey process chosen 800 adult males in detention on Manus by the government failed to acknowledge that Island (see Papua New Guinea entry). The Australian government was forced to marriage equality is a human right and generated divisive and damaging public pay a settlement in June to nearly 2,000 debate. refugees and asylum-seekers held on Manus Island, for illegally detaining them in horrific conditions between 2012 and 2016. As of 30 November, there were 339 people AUSTRIA living in the offshore processing facility on Nauru, including 36 children. They were Republic of Austria subjected to humiliation, neglect, abuse and Head of state: Alexander Van der Bellen (replaced poor physical and mental health care. At Heinz Fischer in January) least 820 additional refugees lived in the Sebastian Kurz (replaced Head of government: Christian Kern in December) community on Nauru; these people faced serious security risks and inadequate access The number of asylum-seekers continued to to health care, education and employment. fall. Authorities continued to deport Approximately 435 people transferred to Australia for medical treatment remained at rejected asylum-seekers to Afghanistan despite the security situation in the country. risk of return to either Nauru or Manus Amendments to the law on public Island. Australia continued its “turnback” policy. In assemblies increased the potential for restrictions on the right to peaceful May the government reported that since 2013, 30 boats had been returned either to assembly. Indonesia or to their country of departure. During 2017 people were directly returned to their country of nationality on three known occasions: from a boat containing 25 Sri Amnesty International Report 2017/18 80

81 far-reaching amendments to the law, REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS – including fines and other administrative FORCIBLE RETURN measures against organizers not complying Between January and August, 17,095 people requested asylum; the number fell by nearly with the law, and a cap on the number of public assemblies taking place in shopping half compared to 32,114 people for the same streets. There were no steps to further amend period in 2016. In October, Parliament amended the asylum the law at the end of the year. law to automatically add a return order to any COUNTER-TERROR AND SECURITY decision concerning the revocation of asylum In July, the government tabled an or subsidiary protection status, for example upon conviction for a criminal offence, amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code increasing the risk of refoulement that would introduce several new far-reaching – forcible surveillance methods. The amendment gave return of an individual to a country where rise to concern regarding the right to privacy. they would risk serious human rights violations. The methods included software to access data from smartphones and techniques to The authorities continued to deport rejected asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants intercept mobile phone traffic. The authorities would be able to use many of those to Afghanistan despite the deterioration of the techniques without seeking prior judicial security situation in the country. In the first authorization. half of the year, 67 people were forcibly returned there. DISCRIMINATION In September, the Minister of the Interior announced the non-renewal of the In October, a new law entered into force Humanitarian Admission Programme banning any kind of full-face covering in pointing to the large number of asylum cases public spaces. Despite its purpose of “promoting active participation in society”, that were still pending. Since 2013, 1,900 vulnerable refugees had been successfully the law disproportionately restricted the rights to freedom of expression and of religion or resettled through the Programme. belief. During the year, asylum-seekers brought six individual complaints before the UN Human In June, the Austrian National Council rejected a motion that would open a Rights Committee alleging that their return under the Dublin III Regulation (an EU law discussion on equal marriage irrespective of sexual orientation and gender identity. Same- that establishes the criteria and mechanisms sex couples could enter a civil partnership for determining the EU member state responsible for examining an asylum but were not allowed to marry. In December, the Constitutional Court repealed application) to Bulgaria and Italy would discriminatory passages of the Marriage Act violate their human rights. In March the authorities deported a Syrian family to and the Registered Partnership Act. The Bulgaria and in June a Somalian woman to repeal was to take effect from 1 January 2019, thus enabling same-sex couples to Italy, despite the Human Rights Committee marry and heterosexual couples to enter requesting Austria to refrain from doing so. registered partnerships. FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY In June, Parliament amended the law on public assemblies, which gave the authorities new vaguely formulated grounds to prohibit public assemblies, including where an assembly is “against a foreign policy interest”. Shortly after, the Minister of the Interior suggested the introduction of further Amnesty International Report 2017/18 81

82 Mammadov to immediately release him; he had been arbitrarily detained since 2013. AZERBAIJAN The EU and Azerbaijan proceeded with negotiations over a new strategic partnership Republic of Azerbaijan agreement to deepen their economic Head of state: Ilham Aliyev Head of government: Artur Rasizade relationship. In October, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) approved a USD500 million loan for the Authorities intensified the crackdown on the construction of a government-owned gas right to freedom of expression, particularly pipeline. This was despite Azerbaijan following revelations of large-scale political ’ s suspension from the EBRD-endorsed corruption. Independent news outlets were international oil and gas transparency blocked and their owners arrested. Critics of the government continued to face politically initiative in March 2017, due to its repression of civil society. motivated prosecution and imprisonment following unfair trials. LGBTI individuals FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION were arbitrarily arrested and ill-treated. Leading human rights organizations Suspicious deaths in custody were still not remained unable to resume their work. The effectively investigated. authorities continued using restrictive BACKGROUND regulations and arbitrary prosecution to close In July, renewed hostilities in the breakaway down the few remaining critical organizations. region of Nagorno-Karabakh resulted in the On 2 May, Aziz Orujev, head of the death of at least two ethnic Azerbaijani independent online TV channel Kanal 13, was arrested by a police officer who claimed civilians, including a minor, following shelling he looked like a wanted fugitive and by the Armenian-backed forces. remanded him to 30 days of administrative Azerbaijan received international attention following a report by the Organized Crime detention for purportedly disobeying police orders. On the day of his release, Aziz Orujev and Corruption Reporting Project, published in September, which accused members of was remanded on fabricated charges of Azerbaijan’s political elite of operating a large illegal entrepreneurship and abuse of office, and ordered to pre-trial detention. On 15 international money laundering scheme. Part December Baku Court on Grave Crimes of the money was allegedly used to pay European politicians to help whitewash sentenced him to six years’ imprisonment. Azerbaijan’s human rights reputation, among In August, the prosecution opened an other things. On 11 October, the investigation into Azerbaijan’s only remaining independent news agency, Turan, and Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted two critical arrested its director, Mehman Aliyev, on resolutions on Azerbaijan following allegations fabricated charges of illegal that some members of the PACE had entrepreneurship. Following international benefited from the money laundering pressure, Mehman Aliyev was transferred to house arrest on 11 September. On 2 scheme. On 5 December, the Committee of Ministers November, the prosecution dropped the charges against him and closed the of the Council of Europe triggered investigation against Turan. infringement proceedings against Azerbaijan under Article 46.4 of the European FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION Convention on Human Rights. This followed its repeated failure to implement the decision All mainstream media remained under of the European Court of Human Rights effective government control, with (ECtHR) in the case of opposition leader Ilgar independent media outlets facing undue restrictions and media workers facing Amnesty International Report 2017/18 82

83 across the border by security services, who harassment. Access to opposition newspaper accused him of a range of offences including websites was blocked. smuggling. He remained in detention and his Radio Azadliq (Radio Free Europe/Radio trial was ongoing at the end of the year. Liberty Azerbaijani service), Meydan TV, and Azerbaycan SAATI, remained blocked Russian-Israeli-Ukrainian blogger Aleksandr following a claim by the prosecutor’s office Lapshin, who published critical posts on the situation in Azerbaijan’s breakaway Nagorno- that they posed a threat to national security. Karabakh region, was arrested in Belarus, On 12 May, a court in the capital, Baku, ruled in favour of keeping the websites and extradited to Azerbaijan in February. In blocked. July, a court in Baku sentenced him to three PROSECUTION OF CRITICS years in prison for entering the breakaway The authorities continued to arbitrarily arrest region illegally. He was released on 11 September after a presidential pardon. and detain independent journalists and bloggers. According to Azerbaijani human RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, rights defenders more than 150 people TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE remained in prison on politically motivated On 22 September, more than 100 LGBTI charges, and the number of such cases continued to grow. individuals were rounded up by the police in public spaces and detained. Some were On 9 January, police officers detained and released, but at least 48 were sentenced to held blogger Mehman Huseynov overnight in administrative detention, ranging from 10 to incommunicado detention. He reported that he was beaten by the police and subjected to 20 days. They were accused of “resisting police’s legitimate orders”, and found guilty electric shocks while in custody. On 3 March, on the basis of police officers’ allegations, a court in Baku sentenced him to two years without any further evidence. The summary in prison for “defaming” police officers. On 12 January, Afgan Sadygov, a journalist hearings fell short of international trial standards. The detainees said they had been and blogger from Jalilabad District, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. beaten by the police and subjected to other He was prosecuted under hooliganism ill-treatment while in custody. All were released on 2 October. charges, after writing about government corruption and refusing to remove his articles UNFAIR TRIALS from the internet. Unfair trials were commonplace, particularly On 14 June, Fikret Faramazoglu, editor of the independent news website Journalistic in politically motivated proceedings, during Research Centre, was sentenced to seven which suspects were typically detained and charged without access to a lawyer of their years in prison and banned from his choice. Police continued using torture and profession for a further two years. He had other ill-treatment to extract forced been detained on 30 June 2016 for allegedly extorting money from a restaurant owner, confessions which were later used by judges charges that he denied. as incriminating evidence. Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment were not FORCIBLE RETURNS The authorities intensified their clampdown effectively investigated. On 25 January, the Baku Serious Crimes on critics who had fled the country, and Court sentenced 18 men associated with the unlawfully transferred many of them back to ’ Azerbaijan and harassed their families. Shi ite Muslim Unity Movement (MUM) in Investigative journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was Nardaran to lengthy prison terms. Their trial abducted in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, on did not meet international standards of 29 May, and reappeared in the custody of fairness and was marred by numerous torture Azerbaijani border police the following day. allegations. During the trial, the defendants complained of having been tortured into He said he had been abducted and trafficked Amnesty International Report 2017/18 83

84 signing confessions. Witnesses called by the prosecution also said that they had been BAHRAIN threatened by police into incriminating MUM defendants. The forced testimonies were Kingdom of Bahrain admitted by court and used by the King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa Head of state: Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman al- Head of government: prosecution throughout the trial. Khalifa Elgiz Garhaman, a NIDA Youth movement activist, was sentenced to five and a half years in prison on fabricated drug-related The government launched a large-scale charges following an unfair trial. He was campaign to clamp down on all forms of dissent by repressing the rights to freedom denied access to lawyers of his choice, and of expression and association of human kept incommunicado for a week following his detention. During the trial, he told the judge rights defenders and government critics. the police had beaten, threatened and This campaign was marked by travel bans; the arrest, interrogation and arbitrary humiliated him into signing a confession. The judge refused to order an investigation into detention of human rights defenders; the dissolution of the opposition group Waad his allegations, dismissing them as ; al-Wasat and the closure of the newspaper groundless. as well as the continued imprisonment of On 1 December, the amendments to the Code of Civil and Administrative Procedure opposition leaders. Scores of people were sentenced to long prison terms after unfair excluded lawyers without Bar Association trials. Authorities stripped at least 150 (Collegium of Lawyers) membership from court proceedings. people of their Bahraini nationality, rendering the majority stateless. Mass DEATHS IN CUSTODY protests were met with excessive force, The authorities repeatedly failed to promptly resulting in the deaths of five men and one child and the injury of hundreds. and effectively investigate reported deaths in custody. Executions resumed after a hiatus of nearly On 4 May, the ECtHR ruled that the seven years. Azerbaijani government violated the right to BACKGROUND life of Mahir Mustafayev for its failure to Bahrain joined Saudi Arabia, the UAE and protect his life while in custody and to conduct an effective investigation into the Egypt in severing ties with Qatar. Bahrain circumstances of his death. Mahir remained part of the Saudi Arabia-led Mustafayev died from his burns caused by a coalition engaged in armed conflict in Yemen fire in his cell in December 2006. (see Yemen entry). On 28 April, activist and blogger Mehman In January, Decree 1 of 2017 authorized the Qalandarov was found hanged in his prison National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct cell in Kurdakhani. Police arrested him on arrests and interrogations in cases linked to drug-related charges for his Facebook posts “terrorist crimes”, reversing a Bahrain in support of two other activists who had Independent Commission of Inquiry been arrested for spraying political graffiti. recommendation. In April, the King reversed According to local human rights defenders, another such recommendation by ratifying a Mehman Qalandarov had been tortured and constitutional amendment that re-enabled was buried in secret to conceal the evidence. military courts to try civilians. In December, The prison administration announced his six men were sentenced to death in the first death on 29 April, and an investigation was trial of civilians by a military court, which ongoing at the end of the year. had begun in October. In June, Bahrain’s lower house approved a decree ending retirement rights and benefits of those who Amnesty International Report 2017/18 84

85 Morocco. In May, journalist Nazeeha Saeed had their citizenship revoked, or who lost or were granted foreign citizenship without was convicted for working without renewing her press licence, issued by the Information permission. In March, the US administration approved Affairs Authority, and fined 1,000BD (USD2,650). The court of appeal upheld the the sale to Bahrain of new F-16 fighter jets fine in July. and upgrades for older jets, which under the previous US administration had been FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION conditional on the improvement of human rights in Bahrain. The authorities maintained undue restrictions on freedom of association. Leaders of al- International NGOs, including Amnesty Wefaq and other opposition parties remained International, and journalists critical of in detention and political activists and Bahrain, were denied access to Bahrain throughout the year. members of opposition parties were harassed. Several political activists and FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION members of opposition parties reported that they were threatened, tortured or otherwise Freedom of expression remained severely ill-treated by NSA agents in May. restricted throughout the year. The authorities In February, the dissolution of al-Wefaq was arrested, detained, interrogated and prosecuted human rights defenders, political upheld by the Court of Cassation. In March, activists and Shi’a clerics who expressed the Minister of Justice filed a lawsuit against the secular opposition group Waad for criticism of government policies, or criticism violating the Law on Political Associations. In of Saudi Arabia or the Saudi-led coalition in May, the High Administrative Court ordered Yemen. The government announced that it would be illegal to express sympathy with the dissolution of Waad and the liquidation of its assets. In October the Appeal Court Qatar following the severance of ties in June, upheld the verdict. and arrested and detained one lawyer on that basis. Human rights defenders and Opposition leaders and prisoners of conscience Sheikh Ali Salman and Fadhel opposition leaders arbitrarily detained in previous years for their peaceful opposition Abbas Mahdi Mohamed remained arbitrarily remained held as prisoners of conscience. detained. In April, Sheikh Ali Salman’s prison In May, human rights defender Ebtisam al- sentence was reduced to four years; in November he was charged with spying for Saegh was arrested and interrogated in NSA custody, during which she said she was Qatar in 2011, which he denied, and at the end of the year his trial was ongoing. In tortured, including by being sexually assaulted. She was arrested again in July and March, former Secretary General of Waad, Ebrahim Sharif, was charged over a series of remanded in custody for a further six months She pending completion of the investigation. posts on Twitter, including an Amnesty was released in October without knowing the International graphic and a tweet criticizing the lack of democracy in Bahrain. legal status of the case against her. In July, human rights defender Nabeel Rajab was FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY sentenced to two years in prison for Protests remained banned in the capital, “spreading false information and rumours with the aim of discrediting the state”. The Manama, and the authorities used sentence was upheld on appeal in unnecessary and excessive force to disperse November. protests. Peaceful protesters continued to be The media continued to be restricted and arrested and detained on charges of “illegal journalists were targeted. The only gathering”. In January, mostly peaceful mass independent newspaper in Bahrain, al- protests took place in 20 villages following the Wasat , was temporarily suspended and then execution of three men. In Duraz, security forces used live ammunition and semi- shut down after it reported on protests in Amnesty International Report 2017/18 85

86 automatic rifles, injuring hundreds, including DEPRIVATION OF NATIONALITY Authorities obtained court orders to strip at Mustapha Hamdan, who later died of his least 150 people of their Bahraini nationality. wounds. In February, hundreds of protesters The majority were effectively rendered again took to the streets in several villages stateless as they had no other nationality. No when the authorities refused to allow the forced expulsions took place. funeral of three men who were killed by coastguard forces after escaping from Jaw TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT prison a month earlier. There continued to be reports of torture and The authorities continued to restrict access other ill-treatment in custody, in particular of to Duraz village until May, where a peaceful those interrogated about terrorism-related daily sit-in continued outside the home of Sheikh Isa Qassem, the spiritual leader of al- offences. In May alone, eight human rights Wefaq. On 23 May, security forces entered defenders and political activists in NSA custody were reportedly tortured or otherwise Duraz with hundreds of armoured vehicles, ill-treated. Unfair trials continued and courts beating protesters, firing tear gas from armoured vehicles or helicopters and firing relied on allegedly coerced “confessions” to convict defendants on terrorism-related birdshot. Four men and a 17-year-old child charges. were killed. In February, human rights defender Nader Reports of ill-treatment in Dry Dock prison and Jaw prison continued, including the use Abdulemam was arrested to serve a six- of prolonged solitary confinement and lack of month sentence for participating in an “illegal adequate medical care. After the escape of gathering” and having called on people on 10 prisoners from Jaw prison in January, new Twitter to join a protest in Manama in January 2013. He was held as a prisoner of arbitrary regulations were introduced, including that prisoners must remain locked conscience until his release in June. In May, the Court of Appeal reduced Dr in their cells for most of the day. Prisoners’ Taha Derazi’s six-month prison sentence to legs and ankles were shackled whenever they three months for taking part in an “illegal left their cells, including to go to the medical clinic. Eleven opposition activists who gathering” in Duraz in July 2016. He was remained in prison, including Abdulhadi al- held as a prisoner of conscience until his release in August. Khawaja, refused to attend medical appointments to protest the mandatory prison FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT uniform, shackles and full body strip search required to attend the appointment. In The authorities maintained administrative March, the prison administration also travel bans that prevented scores of human rights defenders and other critics from reduced the length of family visits from one travelling abroad, including to attend hour to 30 minutes and separated prisoners meetings of the UN Human Rights Council. from visitors by a glass barrier. Student Ali Mohamed Hakeem al-Arab In April, days ahead of the UN UPR of reported that he was tortured throughout 26 Bahrain, 32 activists were summoned by the Public Prosecution. The majority were days of interrogation in February and March, charged with “illegal gathering” and banned including by having his toenails pulled out, from travelling. Most bans were lifted in July, being subjected to electric shocks and after the UPR had been conducted. Similar beatings, and being forced to sign a tactics were used in September ahead of the “confession”. In May, Ebtisam al-Saegh and seven other peaceful critics reported that UN Human Rights Council session in which the outcome of the UPR on Bahrain was they were tortured and otherwise ill-treated in NSA custody. (See above, Freedom of adopted. expression.) Amnesty International Report 2017/18 86

87 IMPUNITY FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION A climate of impunity persisted. The Attacks against journalists continued, with a number of physical assaults on journalists authorities continued to fail to hold senior reported, including the killing of Abdul Hakim officials accountable for torture and other Shimul. human rights violations committed during The government continued to use and since the 2011 protests. No investigation or prosecution was known to have taken repressive laws to unduly restrict the right to place into the deaths of six people, including freedom of expression, and to target and harass journalists and human rights one child, killed by security forces in Duraz defenders. Key punitive provisions of the between January and May 2017. Information and Communications Technology WORKERS’ RIGHTS – MIGRANT (ICT) Act remained intact, despite repeated WORKERS calls by human rights mechanisms to repeal Migrant workers continued to face its abusive clauses. The government exploitation. In March and June, migrant reiterated its intention to introduce the Digital workers participated in marches to peacefully Security Act, which would restrict further the right to freedom of expression online. protest against unpaid salaries. Investigations into killings during 2015 and DEATH PENALTY 2016, which were claimed by the armed Bahrain resumed executions after a hiatus of group Ansar al-Islam and targeted secular nearly seven years, executing three Bahrainis activists, were still ongoing. The group was banned in March 2017 but ongoing delays in in January. The courts continued to hand criminal prosecutions continued to have a down death sentences for offences including chilling impact on civil society. murder and terrorism-related charges. RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE BANGLADESH LGBTI activists continued to be routinely harassed and subject to arbitrary detention People’s Republic of Bangladesh by state and non-state actors. The killings of Abdul Hamid Head of state: activists in 2016 by Ansar al-Islam intensified Sheikh Hasina Head of government: existing fears of the LGBTI community; many Bangladesh received more than 655,000 activists remained in hiding. In May, 28 men believed to have been targeted for their Rohingya refugees who were forced out of Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Members of the perceived sexual orientation were arrested in opposition Jamaat-e-Islami were arbitrarily Keraniganj, a neighbourhood of the capital, Dhaka, and charged with violating the arrested. Human rights defenders were Narcotics Control Act 1990. The arrests were harassed and intimidated. The rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and made at a regular gathering known to be frequented by gay men. association remained restricted. Enforced No one was brought to justice for the 2016 disappearances persisted. The strategy to killing of LGBTI activists Xulhaz Mannan, combat violence by armed groups continued to be marked by human rights violations. Mahbub Rabbi Tanoy, Avijit Roy and Niladry LGBTI people continued to be harassed and Niloy, although at least one arrest was made in 2017. arrested. Security forces in the Chittagong Hill Tracts failed to protect Indigenous FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY people from violence. On a positive note, a decade of steady economic growth helped The right to freedom of peaceful to reduce extreme poverty. assembly continued to be severely restricted. Political opponents were denied the right to Amnesty International Report 2017/18 87

88 organize campaign meetings and political that indicated executive interference following the 16th Amendment decision. rallies.The activities of NGOs continued to be restricted through the Foreign Donation REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Act. An acute humanitarian crisis began in August ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES when more than 655,000 of Myanmar’s mainly Muslim Rohingya fled to the district of Enforced disappearances were routinely Cox’s Bazar after fleeing violence inflicted by carried out by security forces, mainly the Myanmar military in northern Rakhine targeting supporters of the opposition. Some State. The Myanmar military’s campaign of of the disappeared were subsequently found ethnic cleansing amounted to crimes against dead. In a statement to the authorities in humanity under international law (see February, the UN Working Group on Enforced Myanmar entry). Cox’s Bazar already hosted or Involuntary Disappearances said that the number of enforced disappearances had approximately 400,000 Rohingya refugees who had fled earlier episodes of violence and risen considerably in recent years. Reports suggested that more than 80 people were persecution at the hands of the Myanmar military. forcibly disappeared during the year. Bangladesh continued to refuse to formally In March, Hummam Quader Chowdhury, son of an executed leader of the opposition recognize Rohingya as refugees. Reports of severe malnutrition were rife; children Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was released comprised 61% of the new arrivals and were after six months’ incommunicado detention. Concerns increased for the safety of Mir particularly affected. Ahmad Bin Quasem and Abdullahil Amaan Rohingya women and girls were at heightened risk of sexual and gender-based Azmi, also sons of executed opposition violence and human trafficking, both by the leaders; they disappeared in August 2016 local population and other refugees. Risk and their whereabouts remained unknown at factors included inadequate protection or the end of 2017. In April, Swedish Radio camp management mechanisms, poor living published an interview – recorded undercover – in which a senior member of conditions, lack of a civil administration and the Rapid Action Battalion described how the police presence, as well as lack of access to unit carried out enforced disappearances and the formal justice system and other services. Newly arrived Rohingya lived in squalid extrajudicial executions. In October, academic Mubashar Hasan was conditions and were not permitted to leave the camp. allegedly abducted by members of military In November, the governments of intelligence; he returned home after 44 days. Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a JUSTICE SYSTEM repatriation agreement to facilitate the return Concerns increased about the growing of newly arrived Rohingya to Myanmar. The interference by the government in the conditions of the agreement could violate international standards on voluntary judiciary. In July, the Chief Justice presided over a ruling overturning a controversial repatriation and the international legal non-refoulement principle of constitutional amendment (16th , paving the way Amendment) which allowed parliament to for forcible return of hundreds of thousands impeach judges if charges against them of of Rohingya to Myanmar where they were at misconduct or incapability were upheld. The serious risk of human rights violations. Prime Minister criticized the Chief Justice TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT after the ruling. Subsequently in November, Chief Justice Sinha resigned from his post Torture and other ill-treatment in custody and left the country under circumstances remained widespread and complaints were rarely investigated. The 2013 Torture and Amnesty International Report 2017/18 88

89 Custodial Death (Prevention) Act continued to be inadequately enforced due to a lack of BELARUS political will and awareness among law enforcement agencies. Republic of Belarus Alyaksandr Lukashenka Head of state: DEATH PENALTY Andrey Kabyakou Head of government: Scores of people were sentenced to death and executions took place. Between February and April, the authorities In April, two people were sentenced to violently cracked down on peaceful death after being convicted of crimes against protests. The government continued to humanity by the International Crimes refuse to accept the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Tribunal, a Bangladeshi court established to Belarus. Several individuals seeking investigate the events of the 1971 international protection were returned to independence war. The Tribunal also countries where they were at risk of torture concluded the hearing of arguments in the trial of six alleged war criminals in Gaibandha and other ill-treatment. Heavy legislative for mass killings, abductions, looting and restrictions on media, NGOs, political arson during the 1971 war. The trial parties and public assemblies remained in place. One person was executed and four remained ongoing. Serious concerns were sentenced to death. regarding the fairness of the trial were raised about the Tribunal proceedings, such as BACKGROUND denial of adequate time for defence lawyers After several years with no large protests, to prepare their cases and arbitrary limitation of the number of witnesses. mass demonstrations took place in February and March against a tax on the unemployed, CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS introduced by a Presidential Decree in 2015. In June, at least one person was killed and The authorities clamped down on the hundreds of homes were burned during a protests. In March, they accused 35 men of plotting mass disturbances supported with mob attack on Indigenous people in the town foreign funding, and hinted that these were of Langadu, Rangamati Hill District. Police linked to the demonstrations. The arrests and soldiers reportedly failed to protect were widely televised; by July, all men had Indigenous villagers. Those made homeless had not been rehoused by the end of the been released. year. A video posted on social media The rapprochement between Belarus and appeared to show soldiers using excessive its western neighbours continued. In July, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly was held in force against students peacefully protesting against the violence and the 1996 Minsk, the capital. disappearance of Indigenous rights activist DEATH PENALTY Kalpana Chakma. Mithun Chakma, an In April, Siarhei Vostrykau, who had been on Indigenous rights campaigner, denounced a death row since May 2016, was executed. “situation of suffocation” in which he was forced to attend court up to eight times a Homel Regional Court received confirmation month to answer criminal charges relating to of his execution on 29 April. The last letter 11 separate cases, some of which were his mother received from him was dated 13 under the ICT Act and concerned articles he April. had posted on social media about human Five men remained on death row. They rights violations, thus preventing him from included Aliaksei Mikhalenya, whose carrying out his work as a human rights sentence on 17 March was upheld by the defender. Supreme Court on 30 June; Ihar Hershankou and Siamion Berazhnoy, both sentenced on Amnesty International Report 2017/18 89

90 or detained for five to 25 days. All but one 21 July and whose appeals were rejected by the Supreme Court on 20 December, and arrested individual were found guilty in summary trials; courts uniformly accepted Viktar Liotau who was sentenced on 22 police reports as evidence against them September. Kiryl Kazachok, who was sentenced on 28 December 2016, chose not without any questioning. to appeal. FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE Heavy restrictions on NGOs remained in place. Under Article 193.1 of the Criminal Dozens of protesters were sentenced for their peaceful activism. On 7 April, Zavodski Code, the founding, or participation in, the District Court in Minsk changed Dzmitry activities of an unregistered organization remained a crime punishable by up to two Paliyenka’s conditional sentence from 2016 to two years’ imprisonment after he received years’ imprisonment. On 25 March, masked police officers raided two administrative penalties. His first the office of human rights group Vyasna and administrative penalty on 10 March 2017 – a seven-day detention for “minor hooliganism” arrested all 57 people present. Among them were local and international human rights and “disobedience to lawful police demands” defenders and journalists who were attending – was imposed after he vocally criticized the training on how to monitor demonstrations. verdict at a trial he was observing. His They were held for three hours at the local second administrative penalty on 20 March police station and released without charge or 2017 – a 15-day detention for “organizing or explanation. One detainee was hospitalized participating in unsanctioned mass events” – was imposed for his peaceful protest on 25 for head injuries sustained during the arrest. February against the construction of a FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION building in central Minsk. Dzmitry Paliyenka Official accreditation remained compulsory received the two-year suspended sentence for anyone working for a foreign media outlet for purportedly assaulting a police officer during a peaceful cyclists’ protest in Minsk in and continued to be routinely and arbitrarily denied. More than 100 print, radio and TV April 2016. journalists and bloggers were arrested for not FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY having obtained accreditation, some In February and March, thousands of people repeatedly, leading to fines. In at least eight attended a series of peaceful rallies across cases, journalists reporting from protests were arrested as participants and sentenced the country to protest against the tax on the unemployed. Some of the organizers and to administrative detention of between five participants reported harassment by the and 15 days. Journalist Larysa Schyryakova, from the city police, including brief detentions and police summons for questioning. On 25 March, Homel in southeastern Belarus, was arrested police prevented peaceful protesters from and fined repeatedly for reporting on assembling in central Minsk and arrested protests. She reported that police warned her hundreds; some arrests were made using that she could be found “socially irresponsible” if she committed further excessive force. Some protesters were administrative offences and that her 11-year- severely beaten by law enforcement officials during arrest and in police custody. old son might be placed in a children’s home. Between February and April, over 900 LEGAL, CONSTITUTIONAL OR people were arrested in connection with the INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENTS protests, including political activists who were prevented from attending the protests and The tax on the unemployed remained in journalists. At least 177 were found guilty of place; failure to comply continued to incur administrative fines and compulsory purported administrative offences and fined Amnesty International Report 2017/18 90

91 community service. In March, after the protests against the tax, the President BELGIUM mandated the government to suspend the tax collection until 2018; in August, he promised Kingdom of Belgium to waive the tax for “people with many King Philippe Head of state: Charles Michel Head of government: children, the sick and invalids”. Respective changes were introduced in October. Prison conditions remained poor; hundreds REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS of offenders with mental health problems or Belarus lacked a functioning asylum system mental disabilities continued to be detained in inadequate prison wards. Several laws on and repeatedly handed over individuals professional secrecy introduced seeking international protection to authorities requirements for social workers to share of countries where they were at real risk of private information regarding potential torture or other ill-treatment. FORCIBLE RETURN suspects of terrorism-related offences. Parliament introduced a number of Ethnic Chechen Imran Salamov, who claimed to have been repeatedly tortured in restrictions to asylum and migration laws. A new law on legal gender recognition Chechnya, was forcibly returned to Russia on improved the rights of transgender people. 5 September. He was in the process of appealing against his rejected asylum COUNTER-TERROR AND SECURITY application. On 11 September, the Chechen In July, Parliament adopted a new law authorities confirmed that he was in police establishing a special status and custody in Grozny, capital of Chechnya. Since that date, he had had no contact with his compensation system for victims of terrorism- related offences. However, the law failed to lawyer or family and his whereabouts remained undisclosed at the end of the year. ensure swift and full compensation. Victims Following his forcible return, the Belarusian could access state compensation only after a authorities opened an investigation which burdensome and lengthy process. In May, Parliament passed a law requiring concluded that there had been a violation of employees of welfare institutions to report to Belarusian law and that Imran Salamov had been prematurely expelled from Belarus. prosecutors, or provide upon their request, information on people who could be involved Disciplinary action was taken against a number of officials linked to his case and was in the perpetration of terrorism-related offences. In June a new law passed that ongoing at the end of the year. allowed the sharing of confidential Russian-Ukrainian-Israeli blogger Aleksandr Lapshin was detained in Belarus in information previously protected by professional secrecy obligations to prevent December 2016 on request from Azerbaijan, the commission of terrorism-related offences. and extradited to Azerbaijan in February where he was detained arbitrarily and In October, Parliament amended the prosecuted in connection with his blog posts Constitution to increase the maximum duration of pre-charge detention from 24 to criticizing the Azerbaijani authorities. 48 hours. The provision applies to suspects Aleksandr Lapshin was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and released under a of any crime, although the initial proposed presidential pardon on 11 September (see scope was restricted to suspects of terrorism- Azerbaijan entry). related offences. Authorities failed to effectively monitor the human rights impact of measures against terrorism and radicalization. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 91

92 in the context of this operation. In December, DETENTION Prisons continued to be overcrowded, testimonies surfaced of returnees who stated facilities dilapidated and there was that upon return they had been detained by Sudanese government agents, interrogated insufficient access to basic services. Several and subjected to ill-treatment or torture. The hundred offenders with mental health government announced an investigation into problems or mental disabilities remained in detention in regular prisons with insufficient the allegations. health care and treatment. DISCRIMINATION In May, the European Court of Human On 14 March, the Court of Justice of the EU Rights (ECtHR) found that the conditions of failed to uphold Muslim women’s right to detention of two detainees in two different non-discrimination by ruling that a private prisons amounted to inhuman or degrading Belgian employer had not breached EU anti- treatment. discrimination law in dismissing a woman for In July, the European Committee for the wearing a headscarf. Prevention of Torture raised concerns regarding the consequences of the repeated RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, strikes by prison officials in recent years TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE which worsened the poor detention On 24 May, Parliament adopted a law conditions. allowing transgender people to seek legal In September, the ECtHR ruled that Belgium had violated the right to life of gender recognition without imposing on them any psychiatric assessment or sterilization Michael Tekin, an offender with a mental health problem who died in custody in a requirements. regular section of Jamioulx prison on 8 ARMS TRADE August 2009. The Court found that the The Walloon regional government continued restraining technique used by three prison to license weapon transfers to parties of the officers was unnecessary and disproportionate. Saudi-Arabia-led coalition in Yemen. In June, the Flemish regional Parliament improved the REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS compliance of its legislation with the Arms The authorities resumed the transfers of Trade Treaty by, among other things, asylum-seekers to Greece under the Dublin amending the legal definition of transit. III Regulation – EU law that determines the However, it failed to address the control of the end-use of parts and components that EU member state responsible for examining could be used to produce arms. an application for asylum. In November, laws were adopted widening the scope for detention of asylum-seekers and curtailing the right to appeal negative BENIN asylum decisions. In September, the government invited a Republic of Benin delegation of Sudanese government officials Head of state and government: Patrice Athanase to identify dozens of undocumented Guillaume Talon Sudanese nationals with the intention of The authorities continued to restrict the returning them to Sudan. Several judicial proceedings were started challenging forcible rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Fourteen prisoners non- returns on the basis of the principle of – the forcible return of remained on death row although the death refoulement penalty had been abolished. Civil society individuals to countries where they risk groups’ access to prisons was restricted. serious human rights violations. Ten Sudanese nationals were reportedly returned Amnesty International Report 2017/18 92

93 Benin joined the AU campaign to end child as many detainees as its intended capacity, and Kandi Civil Prison held twice as many. marriage. Around 4,500 of the country’s 7,179 BACKGROUND detainees awaited trial. In April, the National Assembly rejected a In April, the Ministry of Justice issued an order restricting the access of NGOs, presidential bill which aimed to amend the Constitution. It contained provisions which religious and civil society groups to detention limited the President’s tenure to one six-year centres. Authorization for group visits was issued for periods of three months. non-renewable term and provided immunity Authorization could not be renewed without from police custody or pre-trial detention for the President and members of the groups presenting a report of their activities government. for sign-off by the prison director who could make observations for the Minister of In November, Benin’s human rights record was examined under the UN UPR process. Justice’s attention, or even refuse to sign the The government accepted 191 report. recommendations and made note of seven DEATH PENALTY others including calls to strengthen efforts to The government failed to adopt laws to prevent the use of arbitrary detention, remove the death penalty from legislation extrajudicial executions and the excessive despite its abolition by the Constitutional use of force by security forces; and to ensure that all national legislation complied with Court in 2016. However, it accepted a international standards on the rights to recommendation made under the UN UPR process to commute all death sentences and freedom of expression and media freedom, expedite the adoption of provisions under the and to take steps to prevent the arbitrary suspension of media outlets. new Criminal Code to abolish the death penalty. Fourteen prisoners remained on FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND death row at the end of the year. Their ASSEMBLY detention conditions improved slightly during the year when restrictions on outdoor In January, Radio Soleil FM, E-Tele and Eden 1 activities were relaxed. TV reopened. They were three of the seven media outlets which the High Authority of CHILDREN’S RIGHTS Audiovisual Communication (HAAC) closed in November 2016. Four other outlets which In June, Benin became the 20th country to broadcast from abroad – Sikka TV, la join the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage. Chrétienne TV, Unafrica TV and La Béninoise The campaign’s objectives included – remained closed. In May, the Court of First educating communities about the negative Instance in Cotonou fined HAAC President effects of child marriage. Despite legislation 50 million CFA francs (around USD89,648) prohibiting marriage before the age of 18, for closing Sikka TV. 32% of girls continued to marry under 18 On 17 February police used tear gas to years, and 9% married before the age of 15. disperse hundreds of University of Abomey- In November, the government accepted a Calavi students. They had gathered at a hotel recommendation under the UN UPR process to fast-track the implementation of legislation in Abomey-Calavi, a suburb of Cotonou, for a general assembly and press conference, and which would address harmful practices against children, including in relation to to peacefully protest against the October 2016 ban on all student union activities. forced early and child marriages. DETENTION 1. ) ACT 50/4980/2017 Living in limbo: Benin’s last death row prisoners ( Prisons remained overcrowded; Abomey Civil Prison in the de Zou district held three times Amnesty International Report 2017/18 93

94 INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS In August, the President promulgated Law BOLIVIA 969, allowing the construction of a road that will cut across the Isiboro Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS), one Plurinational State of Bolivia Head of state and government: President Evo Morales of the country’s main water reserves and Ayma home to approximately 14,000 people, mainly from Indigenous communities. This A Truth Commission was created to Law repealed legislation under which the investigate serious human rights violations TIPNIS was a protected area, raising concerns about possible development of committed under military governments other infrastructure and extractive projects in (1964-1982). Progress was made in protecting the rights of transgender people. the area. Concerns remained regarding threats RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, against and harassment of human rights TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE organizations, and Indigenous Peoples’ rights. In June, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal granted civil marriage rights to people who BACKGROUND had legally changed their gender. Nevertheless, same-sex marriage remained In November, the Constitutional Court ruled officially unrecognized. In the same month, to lift the limits on candidates standing in the Ombudsman proposed an amendment to presidential re-elections thereby allowing the Criminal Code to make hate crimes President Morales to stand for a fourth consecutive term in 2019. against LGBTI people a criminal offence. In The country office of the UN High the past decade, the authorities had failed to hold perpetrators accountable for the killings Commissioner for Human Rights closed down on 31 December after the government of LGBTI people. decided not to renew its mandate. SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IMPUNITY Unsafe abortions continued to be one of the main causes of maternal mortality. In August, a Truth Commission was established to investigate serious human HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS rights violations committed under the military On 6 February, leaders of the Federation of governments between 1964 and1982. It is Bolivian Mineworkers took over the due to submit a report in two years. The Permanent Human Rights Assembly for armed forces created a working group composed of military officers to provide several hours in the capital, La Paz, and support for the Commission, including by demanded the removal of its president. granting access to their archives. Meanwhile, human rights organizations and Indigenous leaders held a press conference PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES at the Assembly, where they announced that In August, the Plurinational Legislative the Inter-American Commission on Human Assembly passed a law to facilitate the Rights had asked the government to provide inclusion in the labour market of people with information on their request for precautionary disabilities and the provision of financial measures. The organizations had submitted assistance for people with severe disabilities. the request on behalf of Indigenous Peoples For years, disability rights activists have in voluntary isolation whose survival they alleged would be at risk due to proposed oil called for a monthly disability allowance extraction in their territories. which has yet to be granted. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 94

95 In March, the Bolivian Documentation and after the Council of Ministers removed a Information Centre (CEDIB), an NGO based portion of its funding for the second consecutive year. at the Universidad Mayor de San Sim ó n, a Police failures to thoroughly investigate acts public university in Cochabamba, reported of violence and discrimination against LGBTI that the Dean of the university had harassed people continued. No indictments were them and threatened them with eviction. Despite the CEDIB director’s request that issued against those suspected of criminal responsibility for the 2014 attack on the safety guarantees be provided to his staff and organizers of the Merlinka Queer Film archives, he received no response from the Festival, or the 2016 incident in Sarajevo, the authorities. In November, CEDIB reported capital, in which a group of young men that its bank accounts were frozen as a result harassed and physically threatened visitors of of a judicial administrative procedure which had been filed by the Dean. a café and cinema popular with the LGBTI community. In May, a planned public gathering to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia could BOSNIA AND not take place as Sarajevo Canton Ministry of Traffic failed to provide the necessary permits HERZEGOVINA in time, although it received a formal application in advance. Bosnia and Herzegovina People with disabilities, in particular women Rotating presidency – Bakir Izetbegović, Head of state: and children, continued to face systemic Dragan Čović, Mladen Ivanić social exclusion, including severely limited Head of government: Denis Zvizdić access to health services and mainstream education. According to legislation, people Minorities continued to face widespread discrimination. Threats and attacks against with disabilities whose impairment was not a journalists and media freedom persisted. consequence of war were treated differently Access to justice and reparations for civilian and received lower allowances and social victims of war remained limited. benefits than war veterans and civilian victims of war. DISCRIMINATION The 2009 judgment of the European Court Sejdić-Finci v. Bosnia of Human Rights in Social exclusion and discrimination – in particular of Roma; lesbian, gay, bisexual, which found the power- and Herzegovina transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people; sharing arrangements set out in the and of people with disabilities – remained Constitution to be discriminatory, remained widespread, despite the adoption of a unimplemented. Under the arrangements, progressive Law on Prevention of citizens who would not declare themselves as belonging to one of the three main Discrimination in 2016. Efforts continued to reduce the number of constituent peoples of the country (Bosniaks, Roma without identity documents and to Croats and Serbs) were still excluded from increase the number of Roma children running for legislative and executive office. enrolled in primary schools. However, Roma FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION continued to face systemic barriers to education, housing, health services and The pattern of threats, political pressure and employment. In July, the Council of Ministers attacks against journalists continued. In July adopted a new three-year Action Plan for and August, Dragan Bursać, a journalist with Roma Integration specifically aimed at Al Jazeera Balkans, received a series of improving employment opportunities and death threats after publishing a piece in easing access to housing and health services. which he condemned public gatherings in The Plan’s implementation was hampered Banja Luka city in support of a charged war Amnesty International Report 2017/18 95

96 year. The Law would guarantee a specific set criminal. Local journalist associations documented nearly 40 cases of direct of rights and entitlement for victims of war on the whole territory of Bosnia and pressure, verbal threats and physical attacks against journalists by the end of the year. Herzegovina. Criminal courts continued the recent CRIMES UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW practice of granting financial compensation to victims of wartime rape, bringing the number In November, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of final judgments awarding financial reparation for war crimes in criminal issued the first-instance verdict in the case of proceedings to four. However, the former Bosnian Serb leader, General Ratko Mladić. The ICTY found him guilty of compensations had not been paid by the end genocide, war crimes, and crimes against of the year. The convicted perpetrators humanity committed during the 1992-1995 lacked funds and there was no alternative conflict and sentenced him to life mechanism to compensate survivors of criminal acts in cases where convicted imprisonment. perpetrators were not able to pay damages. Also in November, the ICTY confirmed Most victims continued to be required to earlier sentences against six former Bosnian pursue compensation claims in separate civil Croat political and military leaders. This was the final verdict passed by the tribunal prior proceedings, where they had to reveal their to permanently shutting down in December, identity and incur additional costs. The 2016 Constitutional Court ruling that the statute of after 23 years of operation. The domestic prosecution of war crimes limitations applied to reparation claims remained slow, with a backlog of several directed against the perpetrators and not the hundred cases pending before various courts state – even in war crimes cases – resulted in at the end of the year. Despite recent widespread dismissal of claims in 2017, progress, the prosecutions continued to further limiting victims’ ability to claim compensation and leaving them liable for suffer from lack of capacity and resources, high court fees. ineffective case-management and persistent political obstruction. A revision of the 2008 Although over 75% of missing persons from the war had been exhumed and identified, National War Crimes Strategy to address key there were still 8,000 people missing in institutional deficiencies and to establish new connection with the conflict. The process of deadlines for the completion of cases was exhumations continued to encounter under way at the end of the year. significant challenges, including reduced Some progress was made in harmonizing entity laws regulating the rights of civilian funding and limited expertise. The Law on victims of war, including victims of wartime Missing Persons remained unimplemented, with the Fund for Families of the Missing still sexual violence. However, public aid for victims of wartime sexual violence remained awaiting dedicated resources. fragmented and dependent on residency; victims residing in Republika Srpska (RS) were excluded from the system of social BOTSWANA benefits for civilian victims of war. The Draft Law on Protection of Victims of Wartime Republic of Botswana Torture in RS, intended to recognize victims’ Seretse Khama Ian Head of state and government: rights, was adopted by the government in Khama December, but it included provisions which could potentially discriminate against non- The right to freedom of expression Serb victims. There was no progress in the continued to be restricted. Asylum-seekers adoption of the Law on Protection of Victims whose asylum claims were rejected of Torture at the state level by the end of the continued to face detention. A landmark Amnesty International Report 2017/18 96

97 determination procedures and asylum- ruling in the Lobatse High Court upheld the seekers – with both pending and denied rights of transgender people. Two men were sentenced to death. applications – continued to be detained in the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION The duration of detention averaged between six months and five years, far beyond the Journalists continued to be intimidated and detention period stipulated in the Refugee harassed by the authorities. On 8 March, Act. three journalists from the INK Centre for On 13 April, the High Court ordered the Investigative Journalism were briefly detained and threatened by plain-clothes security release of two Somali asylum-seekers from agents in the village of Mosu. The journalists the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants. They had been detained in the Centre since had tried to access the area where the new being denied refugee status in October 2015, home of President Khama was allegedly having arrived separately in Botswana in being constructed amid allegations of June 2014. On 15 April, following their corruption. The security agents told them that release, they were taken into custody at the the building site was a “restricted area” and Tlokweng police station after attempting to that they would be shot on sight if they tried enter the Dukwe Refugee Camp, Botswana’s to return. only refugee camp. On 25 April, President On 19 April, the Court of Appeal upheld an earlier decision by the High Court and turned Khama declared them to be prohibited immigrants; they were subsequently detained down the application of a teacher who had at the first offenders prison in Gaborone, the challenged his dismissal from employment capital, and have allegedly since been on the grounds that it violated his deported. constitutional right to freedom of expression. The teacher was dismissed after he On 23 November, the Court of Appeal set aside the High Court ruling that the detention published an opinion piece in a newspaper in May 2011 on the country’s political situation, of 165 asylum-seekers and their relatives was illegal. As a result, the asylum-seekers sought following a national strike by public sector refuge in Zimbabwe, Namibia and South employees. In February 2012, a disciplinary Africa. Members of the group had arrived in hearing had found the teacher guilty of contravening section 34(a) of the Public Botswana between January 2014 and October 2016 and, after their asylum Service Act. applications were denied, they had remained Sunday Outsa Mokone, editor of the , continued to face a criminal Standard in detention in the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants. The Attorney General sedition charge following his arrest in 2014 made an appeal on 4 August. after publishing articles alleging President Khama’s involvement in a road accident. In RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, December 2016, he was released on bail and TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE asked to appear at the magistrate’s court every two months and to seek permission In a landmark decision on 29 September, the before leaving the country. His legal case Lobatse High Court ruled that the challenging the constitutionality of the government’s refusal to change the gender sedition law was still pending at the end of marker in the identity document of a transgender man was unreasonable and in the year. violation of his rights, including the right to REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS dignity, freedom of expression and freedom Botswana’s restrictive encampment policy from discrimination, and ordered the continued, denying refugees freedom of government to change the gender marker. movement, work and local integration. On 12 December, the Gaborone High Court Asylum-seekers faced lengthy refugee status ruled in favour of Tshepo Ricki Kgositau, a Amnesty International Report 2017/18 97

98 transgender woman who successfully retrogressive measures, proposals were introduced to reduce the age at which challenged the government’s refusal to children can be tried as adults to below 18; change her gender from male to female in change or revoke the Disarmament Bill, her identity document as unconstitutional. facilitating licensing and purchasing of Tshepo Ricki Kgositau had unsuccessfully firearms; restrict the right to peaceful applied to the Civil and National Registration Office in Gaborone to change her gender assembly and to criminalize social protests; identity. The Office advised her to seek a impose a full ban on abortion, violating the sexual and reproductive rights of women and court order after denying her application. girls; change the land demarcation process INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE and requirements for free, prior and informed On 17 July, Parliament passed a bill which consent of Indigenous Peoples and Afro- descendant communities; and reduce the incorporated the Rome Statute of the protection of labour rights and access to International Criminal Court into domestic social security. law, including the offences of genocide, Law 13.491/2017, signed by President crimes against humanity and war crimes. Temer on 13 October, provided that human This followed Botswana’s ratification of the Rome Statute in 2000. rights violations, including murder or attempted murder, committed by military DEATH PENALTY personnel against civilians would be tried by 1 The Law violated the right to Tshiamo Kgalalelo and Mmika Mpe were military courts. sentenced to death on 13 December; they a fair trial, as military courts in Brazil did not guarantee judicial independence. were convicted of murder and other charges, Despite these setbacks, in May a new including theft and abduction, in the Lobatse High Court in May. migration law (Law 13.445/2017) came into effect, representing improvements to migrants’ rights. BRAZIL INTERNATIONAL SCRUTINY Brazil’s human rights record was examined Federative Republic of Brazil for the third time under the UN Michel Temer Head of state and government: 2 UPR process. Brazil received 246 recommendations, including on Indigenous A number of proposals which threatened human rights and represented huge Peoples’ rights to land; killings by the police; setbacks to existing law and policy made torture and degrading conditions in prisons; and protection of human rights defenders. their way through the legislative process. Brazil accepted all but four Violence and killings increased, mostly affecting young black males. Conflicts over recommendations; however, there remained land and natural resources resulted in concerns about their implementation in the dozens of killings. Human rights defenders context of the retrogressive laws and policies adopted during the year. were not effectively protected. Police responded to most protests with In May the Inter-American Court of Human unnecessary and excessive force. Rights issued a ruling against Brazil for its failure to grant justice for the killing by police LEGAL, CONSTITUTIONAL OR of 26 people in Favela Nova Brasília, in INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENTS Complexo do Alemão, city of Rio de Janeiro, in October 1994 and May 1995. Up to 200 different proposals for constitutional amendments, new laws and changes to existing legislation threatened a range of human rights. Among other Amnesty International Report 2017/18 98

99 methodologies; however, official numbers POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES The deployment of the armed forces for indicated that such killings increased across policing and law and order increased. Brazil. Official figures showed that on-duty police officers killed 494 people in São Paulo The authorities failed to adopt measures to reduce the homicide rate, which remained state between January and September and, between January and November, 1,035 in high for young black males. The number of Rio de Janeiro state and 148 in Ceará state. homicides increased in major cities, On 13 February, four people were killed and especially in the northeast. National data compiled and published during the year by others injured by military police during a the Brazilian Public Security Forum revealed police intervention in the favela of Chapadão, that 61,619 people were killed during 2016, Rio de Janeiro city. of which 4,657 were women. Public security In February, a 21-day strike by the military police in Espírito Santo state resulted in policies continued to rely on highly militarized chaos. Armed forces and national security police interventions, motivated mainly by the forces were called in to police the state. so-called “war on drugs”. On 12 July, a homeless man was killed by a In January the Ministry of Justice military police officer in the neighbourhood of announced a Public Security National Plan which was to focus on reducing homicides, Pinheiros, city of São Paulo. tackling drug trafficking and conducting a In August, at least seven people were killed review of the prison system. A detailed and by the police during police interventions that continued for several days in the favela comprehensive plan was never presented or Jacarezinho, Rio de Janeiro city. Residents implemented and the public security reported that police officers were violent and situation deteriorated during the year. Instances of “multiple homicides” (single committed a number of abuses, such as events with more than three victims) and assaults, unlawful raids on homes, and unlawful killings. The police interventions chacinas “ ” (multiple killings characteristic of may have been in retaliation for a police executions) increased in several cities; the officer being killed in the area. authorities often failed to properly investigate. On 3 September, 10 men were killed by civil On 5 January, eight men were killed by a group of armed men in Porto Seguro, Bahia police officers during a police intervention state. On 3 June, six men were killed inside a attempting to prevent an armed robbery in the neighbourhood of Morumbi, São Paulo house by armed hooded men in Porto das Dunas in Fortaleza, Ceará state. On 6 June, city. four men and a woman were killed and nine Early in the year, military police from the other people were injured by a group of 10 Pacification Police Unit raided several houses in the favela Complexo do Alemão, Rio de hooded gunmen in a bar in Belem, Pará state. On 22 September, six young men aged Janeiro city. These unlawful actions by police between 16 and 23 were killed in Grande continued even after a court ruled that the Natal, Rio Grande do Norte state. In Bom police should leave the area. Those Jardim neighbourhood in Fortaleza, Ceará denouncing the police violations were state, five people were killed and three others threatened and intimidated. After months of injured on 20 February, and four young mobilization, the Public Prosecutor’s Office males aged between 14 and 20 were killed brought charges against two police officers inside a house on 8 October. In most cases, who were in command of the operation and the perpetrators were unidentified. responsible for the area. Police interventions in favelas and On 11 November, seven men were killed marginalized areas often resulted in intensive during a joint security operation of the Civil shoot-outs and deaths. Data about people Police and the Army in São Gonçalo, Rio de killed by the police remained inaccurate as Janeiro state. Civilian authorities said they had no competence to investigate the killings states kept poor records using different Amnesty International Report 2017/18 99

100 after a new law expanded the jurisdiction of FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY On 31 March, thousands of people protested military courts to try crimes committed by in major cities against proposed reforms to military personnel. The military denied using labour laws and social security policies. On firearms, and did not announce whether it 28 April, social movements, students and had opened an investigation into the killings. trade unions called for a “general strike” and DETENTION tens of thousands of people protested The prison system remained overcrowded throughout the country after the labour reforms were approved. In many areas, and prisoners suffered inhuman and including Rio de Janeiro city, the police used degrading conditions. The prison population unnecessary and excessive force against reached 727,000 people, 55% of whom were peaceful protesters. aged between 18 and 29 and 64% of whom were Afro-descendant, according to the On 24 May at least 49 people were injured, Ministry of Justice. A significant proportion – including eight military police officers and one man who was shot with a firearm, after 40% nationally – of those imprisoned were in police used excessive force against protesters pre-trial detention, where detainees often waited several months to face trial. in the capital, Brasilia. Tens of thousands of people protested against President Temer in In January, riots took place in prisons in several states resulting in at least 123 deaths: a demonstration that ended in clashes with the police and damage to public buildings. 64 in Amazonas state; 31 in Roraima; 26 in 3 The federal government called in the military Rio Grande do Norte; and two in Paraíba. to police the area in the following days. In May, 32 people escaped from Pedrinhas prison in Maranhão state; two escapees were HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS killed by prison guards. Human rights defenders, especially those in As a result of extreme overcrowding in rural areas, continued to be threatened, prisons in Rio Grande do Sul state, some people detained by police were held for more attacked and killed. The states of Pará and than 48 hours in unsuitable areas in police Maranhão were among those where defenders were at the highest risk. According stations and cars, while waiting for space in to the civil society coalition Brazilian the prison system. In October, a man died after being detained Committee for Human Rights Defenders, 62 for a day and a night in an outdoor cage-like defenders were killed between January and cell in a police station in Barra do Corda, September, an increase from the previous Maranhão state. The cell had no protection year. Most were killed in conflicts over land from the sun or extremely high temperatures, and natural resources. Budget cuts and lack leaving detainees at risk of dehydration and of political will to prioritize the protection of human rights defenders resulted in the other dangerous consequences of exposure. dismantling of the National Programme of In Rio de Janeiro state, inhumane prison Protection, leaving hundreds exposed to a conditions were further degraded by the financial crisis, putting at risk the supply of higher risk of attacks. food, water and medicines for more than LAND DISPUTES 50,800 prisoners. Tuberculosis and skin diseases reached epidemic levels inside the On 20 April at least nine men were killed and state’s prisons. others injured in Colniza, Mato Grosso state, after gunmen attacked rural workers in the The 25th anniversary of the Carandiru massacre, in which 111 people were killed by settlement of Taquaruçu do Norte. The the police in Carandiru prison, São Paulo, decade-long trend of frequent, violent attacks was on 2 October. Those responsible for the by gunmen hired by large-scale farmers and massacre had yet to be held accountable. illegal loggers in the area continued. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 100

101 On 24 May, 10 rural workers who were society organizations and governmental technical bodies working for Indigenous camping in the margins of Santa Lucia farm in Pau D’Arco, Pará state, were shot dead Peoples’ rights. Budget cuts to FUNAI impacted negatively on its work for the during a joint operation between military and protection of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. civil police officers. On 7 July, one of the leaders of the group of rural workers, Indigenous people from Vale do Javari, Amazonas state, reported that members of Rosenildo Pereira de Almeida, was shot isolated Indigenous groups in the area were dead. Survivors of the massacre continued to fear for their lives following the killings. killed during the year. The killings were not investigated. Demarcated Indigenous land in In September a group of armed mine Vale do Javari was subjected to invasions by workers threatened smallholders in the rural settlement of Montanha e Mangabal, in the miners. Tapajós river region, municipality of Itaituba, RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, Pará state. TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS According to Bahia Gay Group, 277 LGBTI people were killed in Brazil between 1 Conflicts over land and invasion by illegal loggers and mine workers into Indigenous January and 20 September, the highest number since the group began compiling Peoples’ territory continued, resulting in data in 1980. several episodes of violence against On 15 February, transgender woman Indigenous people. The government and Dandara dos Santos was beaten to death in courts undermined the institutional Bom Jardim neighbourhood in Fortaleza city. framework and national policies, introducing According to investigators, at least 12 people further delays in the already slow land demarcation process, aggravating conflicts were involved in her killing. Two men were arrested in connection with her killing during over land in Indigenous territories. Data published by the Indigenous Missionary the year. Council during the year revealed that at least In September, a Federal District judge authorized psychologists to use unethical and 118 Indigenous people were killed in 2016. harmful so-called “conversion therapies” in In January, the Ministry of Justice issued a decree changing the land demarcation an attempt to alter individuals’ sexual process, making it even slower and more orientation. The decision flouted a resolution of the Federal Psychology Council confirming vulnerable to pressure from landlords. In April, at least 22 Indigenous Gamela that psychologists cannot take any action that would “pathologize homosexuality”. The people were attacked by gunmen in Viana, Maranhão state; some were shot at, others judge’s decision contributed to increasing beaten, and two had their hands cut off. stigma and violence against LGBTI people. The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry A number of proposals at city, state and national level sought to prohibit gender and into the National Indigenous Foundation (FUNAI) and the National Institute for sexual orientation-related issues from being included in educational materials. Colonization and Agrarian Reform, two independent institutions set up by the FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF government to protect Indigenous Peoples’ rights and promote access to land, presented Throughout the year, religious centres ( terreiros ) of the Afro-descendant religions its final report, which was approved by the House of Representatives in May. The report Umbanda and Candomblé in Rio de Janeiro was a clear attack on Indigenous Peoples’ state suffered several attacks by private rights and had a direct intent to criminalize individuals, criminal gangs and members of (including by requesting criminal indictment other religions. In August and September, at of dozens of people) Indigenous leaders, civil least eight centres were attacked and Amnesty International Report 2017/18 101

102 destroyed, most of them in Rio de Janeiro city and surrounding municipalities in the BRUNEI Baixada Fluminense region. DARUSSALAM CHILDREN’S RIGHTS Juvenile detention facilities remained Brunei Darussalam overcrowded and detainees suffered Sultan Hassanal Head of state and government: inhuman and degrading conditions. Bolkiah In Ceará state, torture by state officials was recurrent inside juvenile detention facilities. Lack of transparency made independent During the year, there were at least 20 riots monitoring of the human rights situation and 37 escapes from units in Ceará. Out of difficult. Phased amendments to the 200 formal reports of torture of adolescents ’ Shari a Penal Code, if implemented, would inside juvenile detention units in Ceará provide for the death penalty and corporal punishment, such as caning and stoning between 2016 and September 2017, only two reports resulted in a formal inquiry by the which amount to torture and other ill- treatment, for a range of offences. The state for further investigation. Reports of the amendments would further restrict the chaotic state of the juvenile justice system in Ceará resulted in a formal visit by Brazil’s rights to freedom of thought, conscience National Human Rights Council in and religion and discriminate against women. September. Early in the year, Espirito Santo state held BACKGROUND 1,198 juvenile detainees in a system with Several amendments to the Shari a Penal ’ capacity for only 754, a rate of overcrowding Code remained pending and were subject to of more than 39%. Of the state’s 13 detention facilities, only four were operating within their phased implementation. Brunei completed phase one of the amendments which dealt intended capacity. On 3 June, seven boys aged between 15 with crimes punishable by prison sentences and fines. If implemented, phase two will and 17 were killed by other teenage cover crimes punishable by amputation; detainees during a riot in a juvenile detention while phase three will deal with crimes facility in Lagoa Seca, Paraíba state. On 13 November, four young boys were carrying the penalty of stoning to death. killed by hooded men who entered a juvenile FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION justice system facility where the boys were On 27 July, government employee Shahiran detained. Sheriffudin bin Shahrani Muhammad was removed from his post and charged under 1. AMR Brazil: Law leading to military impunity sanctioned ( Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act for posting 19/7340/2017 ) comments on Facebook deemed “offensive” 2. Brazil: Police killings, impunity and attacks on defenders: Amnesty to the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Journalists International submission for the UN Universal Periodic Review – 27th session of the UPR working group, May 2017 ( AMR 19/5467/2016 ) and online activists continued to self-censor for fear of prosecution. AMR Brazil: Over 90 men killed in Brazilian prison riots ( 3. 19/5444/2017 ) WOMEN’S RIGHTS ’ a Penal Code amendments included Shari provisions which, if implemented, would further discriminate against women, including by criminalizing pregnancy outside marriage and forcing unmarried Muslim women to live in their guardian’s home. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 102

103 DEATH PENALTY Although abolitionist in practice, death by BULGARIA hanging was maintained as punishment for several offences including murder, terrorism Republic of Bulgaria and drug-related crimes. Penal Code (replaced Rosen v Rumen Rade Head of state: Plevneliev in January) amendments, if implemented during phase Head of government: Boyko Borisov three, would impose death by stoning as punishment for offences including “adultery”, “sodomy” and rape. Stoning to death or 100 Summary detentions, pushbacks and lashes, depending on the offender’s marital abuses at the border continued. The necessary services were not provided to status, would be imposed on Muslims and migrants and refugees, including to non-Muslims who commit “adultery” with a unaccompanied children. A climate of Muslim. xenophobia and intolerance sharply RIGHT TO EDUCATION intensified. Roma continued to be at risk of pervasive discrimination. Stateless children and children who were not citizens of Brunei faced barriers to basic REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS rights, including education. While primary The number of refugees and migrants education was free and accessible to citizens, entering Bulgaria declined, but reports of stateless and non-citizen children had to apply for permission to enrol and were often frequent pushbacks, excessive use of force and theft by border police continued. required to pay monthly fees. Irregular border crossing remained RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, criminalized resulting in administrative TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE detention of migrants and refugees, including unaccompanied children, who arrived in Consensual same-sex sexual relations remained a criminal offence with “intercourse greater numbers. Human rights organizations against the order of nature” punishable by up documented numerous allegations of ill- treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers to 10 years’ imprisonment under Article 377 and substandard conditions in detention of the Penal Code. Amendments to the Penal Code would, if implemented, allow a facilities. In February, local authorities in the town of mandatory punishment of death by stoning for consensual same-sex activity (see above). Elin Pelin refused to receive a Syrian family that had been granted humanitarian status in COUNTER-TERROR AND SECURITY Bulgaria. The Mayor publicly warned that “Muslims from Syria [were] not welcome” Suspects were detained without trial under the Internal Security Act. In February, four and refused to register the family or issue Indonesian nationals were detained under them with identity documents. Other the law for alleged links with the armed group municipalities expressed a similar Islamic State (IS) and subsequently deported. unwillingness to accommodate refugees. In July, the government adopted the Regulation on Integration of Refugees; however, this fell short of providing an effective mechanism for integration. According to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, the Regulation failed to address the persistent problem of unco-operative municipalities or to propose measures to create more favourable conditions for integration in local communities. It also failed Amnesty International Report 2017/18 103

104 to address the gaps in refugees’ access to Directorate in all proceedings involving social housing, family benefits for children or unaccompanied children who had not language training, which limited their applied for international protection. The enjoyment of social and economic rights. amendments, however, proposed repealing The government issued an order restricting the requirement for an individual assessment of the best interests of the child before freedom of movement for registered asylum- seekers. Adopted in September, it imposed placing children in short-term immigration territorial limits for asylum-seekers in refugee detention. Human rights organizations centres, prohibiting them from moving out of warned that the proposals would legitimize prescribed areas. the practice of “attaching” unaccompanied children to often unrelated adults travelling in Although Bulgaria committed to accept the same group in order to avoid the 1,302 asylum-seekers from Greece and Italy prohibition of detention of children. under the EU emergency relocation scheme, it had only resettled 50 people from Greece DISCRIMINATION by the end of the year. It did not receive any Hate speech and hate crimes continued, Syrian refugees from Turkey under the EU- directed at minority groups, including Turks Turkey “one-for-one” resettlement deal and Roma; refugees, asylum-seekers and although it had originally committed to accept migrants remained vulnerable to violence and 100 people under the scheme. harassment. Discriminatory or xenophobic CHILDREN’S RIGHTS statements were made during the campaign Reception conditions for unaccompanied for parliamentary elections held in March, by refugee and migrant children remained candidates and political parties as well as by the coalition of far-right parties, the Patriotic inadequate. Children were routinely denied Front, which gained enough seats to enter adequate access to legal representation, the government. translation, health services and psychosocial Marginalization and widespread support. Basic education was not available in discrimination against Roma persisted. They the centres and most children were not faced systemic obstacles in all aspects of life, enrolled in local schools. Limited social and including education, health care, housing educational activities were available several days a week and organized exclusively by and employment. Roma children were NGOs and humanitarian organizations. enrolled in special schools and denied The authorities lacked developed systems access to mainstream education. High for early identification, assessment and numbers of Roma lacked health insurance and faced persistent barriers to adequate referral mechanisms for unaccompanied children. Children often did not have access health care and services. The authorities to qualified legal guardians and legal continued the practice of forced evictions without the provision of adequate alternative representation. In February, mayors and housing, leaving many families homeless. residents of several towns refused to Human rights organizations documented accommodate two unaccompanied refugee numerous cases involving ill-treatment and children in facilities in their communities. The physical abuse of Roma by police. Roma boys were moved several times and finally separated, causing the younger boy to remained over-represented in places of detention. In July, mass anti-Roma abscond. demonstrations organized by the Patriotic In September, the National Assembly Front took place in the towns of Asenovgrad adopted, in the first reading, amendments to the Law on Foreigners. They included an and Byala, following a violent incident obligation to provide legal representation for between a sports youth team and several Roma. all unaccompanied children and to increase the authority of the Social Assistance Amnesty International Report 2017/18 104

105 People with disabilities, particularly LEGAL, CONSTITUTIONAL OR children, continued to face discrimination INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENTS In December, a draft Constitution was and systemic social exclusion, including submitted to the President for approval, limited access to education, health services and employment. Those with intellectual following which it will either be approved by referendum or adopted by Parliament. It disabilities and psychosocial problems were included provisions to strengthen human deprived of their legal capacity and the right to independent living and were frequently rights protection, including economic, social placed under guardianship or social care and cultural rights, gender equality, institutions without their consent. protection for women and girls from violence, abolition of the death penalty, and to increase Despite numerous threats and simultaneous counter-demonstrations organized by far-right the independence of the judiciary. groups, Sofia Gay Pride took place in June In June, the National Assembly adopted a law to protect human rights defenders. under heavy police presence. In July, legislation was adopted which would FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION give the High Court of Justice jurisdiction to JOURNALISTS AND MEDIA try members of the government for crimes committed in the course of, or in connection A pattern of threats, political pressure and attacks against journalists continued; a with, their duties. In the same month, the significant portion of the media remained government adopted a law allowing the under the tight control of political parties and military prosecutor to initiate public prosecutions against civilians in proceedings local oligarchs. In October, Deputy Prime which would operate independently of the Minister Valeriy Simeonov and MP Anton Todorov publicly threatened TV journalist High Council of Magistrates which, among other things, was responsible for overseeing Victor Nikolaev that he would be fired unless the independence of the judiciary. he stopped investigating the government’s purchase of a fighter aircraft. The incident TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT was widely condemned by civil society, but There were complaints at the main prison of no action was taken against the public officials. Ouagadougou, the capital: detainees at Bulgaria remained the lowest ranking EU MACO prison (Maison d’Arrêt et de Correction de Ouagadougou) complained of member state on the World Press Freedom torture and other ill-treatment, mainly during Index. The NGO Reporters without Borders ranked Bulgaria 109th out of 180 countries arrest or in police custody, often in order to in terms of press freedom. extract “confessions”. Several prisoners said they were held in custody for over two weeks without charge. Four prisoners said that courts took no action when they reported that BURKINA FASO they had been tortured. Several soldiers who were tried in April for Head of state: Roch Marc Christian Kaboré conspiracy to raid an arms depot in Yimdi in Head of government: Paul Kaba Thiéba January complained in a military court in Ouagadougou that they were tortured during The draft Constitution included provisions which, if implemented, would strengthen detention in custody either at the human rights protection. There were reports gendarmerie or at MACO prison. of torture and other ill-treatment and prison DETENTION conditions remained poor. Rates of maternal mortality as well as early and Many prisons remained overcrowded: 1,900 forced marriage remained high. Armed detainees were held in MACO prison which groups committed human rights abuses. has a capacity for 600. Conditions remained Amnesty International Report 2017/18 105

106 infection and death. There were at least 100 poor, with inadequate food and medical maternal deaths in the first half of the year at provisions. In June, however, Ministry of one of the two main public hospitals in Justice representatives said that they were Ouagadougou. In one hospital, overworked developing a strategic plan to improve prison midwives carried out up to 25 caesarean conditions. sections a day, while shortages forced women IMPUNITY patients to sleep on the floor, sometimes without bedding. The trial of former President Blaise Compaoré No progress was made towards and 32 former ministers before the High implementing the government’s pledge in Court of Justice was repeatedly delayed; in June it was temporarily suspended by the 2016 to increase the legal marriage age of girls and women. Over 50% of girls between Constitutional Council. Blaise Compaoré was 15 and 17 were married in the Sahel region charged with acts of wilful assault, complicity in the north of the country. Rates of female in assault, assassination and complicity in genital mutilation continued to lessen assassination in relation to the October 2014 although it remained widespread despite uprising. An international arrest warrant for being outlawed. him and his former Chief of Security, Hyacinthe Kafando, remained in place. ABUSES BY ARMED GROUPS In May, an international arrest warrant was The self-defence militia called “Kogleweogo”, issued against Blaise Compaoré’s brother, mainly comprising farmers and cattle François Compaoré, in relation to the murder of investigative journalist Norbert Zongo in breeders, continued to commit human rights December 1998. François Compaoré was abuses including beatings and abductions, despite the Justice Minister’s pledge in placed under court supervision in France, December 2016 to regulate the militia’s where he was living, pending a decision on activities. his extradition to Burkina Faso. Fourteen people awaited trial in connection Justice Ministry officials said that Kogleweogo members beat a man to death in with the murder of former President Thomas Sankara, three of whom remained in the town of Tapoa in January over an alleged chicken theft. In May, six people died, detention. The findings of an investigation into the including four Kogleweogo members, in clashes between locals and Kogleweogo in attempted coup in September 2015 were referred to the Indictments Division for a Goundi. In the same month, the regional governor banned “self-defence groups” in decision in October. At least 106 people − including 40 civilians, one of whom was a Boulkiemdé and Sanguié. foreign national – were charged, including There were reports that trials were postponed when Kogleweogo held with threatening state security, crimes against humanity and murder during the coup demonstrations in order to protect their attempt. More than 20 of them remained in members from prosecution in Fada N’Gourma and Koupela. detention at the end of the year while another, General Djibril Bassolé, remained Armed groups carried out attacks close to under house arrest having been transferred the Mali and Niger border, killing dozens of from detention in October. In December the civilians. They also attacked police and UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention military personnel. Repeated attacks in the called for his release. Sahel region led to public officials temporarily vacating the region. RIGHTS ’ WOMEN’S AND GIRLS In late January, armed men went to several Lack of medical equipment, medication and schools in the north and threatened teachers to make them adopt Islamic teaching. staffing in hospitals left women and newborn babies at serious risk of birth complications, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 106

107 assistance to the EAC’s political dialogue Consequently, hundreds of schools closed, including in Soum, Oudalan and Loroum. efforts. Ansaroul Islam claimed responsibility for The government declared a malaria attacking police stations in Baraoulé and epidemic in March. Between January and mid-November, 6.89 million cases and 3,017 Tongomaël on 27 and 28 February. deaths were recorded. On 3 March, an armed group killed a school principal and another local person in UNLAWFUL KILLINGS Kourfayel, a village in Soum. Unlawful killings continued. Bodies were In August, at least 19 people were killed regularly discovered in the streets of the and more than 22 injured in an attack against a restaurant in Ouagadougou. No capital, Bujumbura, and throughout the country. Several Burundians who were living group claimed responsibility. as refugees in neighbouring countries said On two occasions in September and November, armed groups carried out attacks that they left Burundi after their relatives were killed, primarily by the Imbonerakure – the in Soum, killing at least nine people. increasingly militarized youth wing of the ruling National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of BURUNDI Democracy. Others witnessed the killings of their family members by the Imbonerakure as Republic of Burundi they tried to flee the country. President Pierre Head of state and government: Nkurunziza ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES Reports of enforced disappearances Restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and assembly continued. The continued, and cases from 2015 and 2016 remained unresolved. The UN Commission of security forces, among others, carried out unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, Inquiry on Burundi highlighted several cases where there were reasonable grounds to torture and other-ill-treatment, arbitrary believe or to fear that people had been arrests and detention. forcibly disappeared. Pacifique Birikumana, BACKGROUND driver for the Ngozi diocese, was believed to have been forcibly disappeared on 8 April In October, the Council of Ministers approved after he returned from driving a group of revisions of the Constitution. The proposed constitutional amendments would allow soldiers to Gitega province. The Commission President Nkurunziza to stand for at least two received information that he may have been more seven-year terms, and reduce the size arrested by the National Intelligence Services (SNR); his whereabouts remained unknown. of the majority required to pass legislation in Former senator and businessman Oscar Parliament. In December, the President of Ntasano went missing with two of his the National Independent Electoral employees on 20 April after meeting a man Commission announced that a referendum on the constitutional amendments was said to work for the SNR. Witnesses told the Commission that Oscar Ntasano received planned for May 2018. threats from state officials in connection with Efforts by the East African Community a contract he was negotiating with the UN to (EAC) to find a mediated solution to the rent office space. One state official was said political crisis sparked by the President’s to have threatened him with death if he decision in 2015 to stand for a third term continued to stall. Michel Kafando, former refused to split the proceeds. President of Burkina Faso, was appointed as UN Secretary-General Special Envoy to Burundi in May. His role included providing Amnesty International Report 2017/18 107

108 them were arrested and six student leaders TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT were charged with rebellion. Reports of torture and other ill-treatment by, On 4 April, Joseph Nsabiyabandi, editor-in- among others, the SNR, police and the army, of detainees suspected of opposing the chief of Radio Isanganiro, was summoned for questioning by the SNR, and accused of government continued. Torture methods collaborating with two radio stations set up by included beating men with cables, iron Burundian journalists in exile. reinforcing bars (rebar) and batons, as well On 9 June, the Mayor of Bujumbura refused as hanging heavy weights from genitals. Imbonerakure members were frequently to allow Amizero y’Abarundi, the parliamentary opposition coalition, composed accused of beating detainees during arrest. of representatives from the National Impunity for such violations continued. Burundi had not yet established a National Liberation Forces and Union for National Progress, to hold a press conference on the Preventive Mechanism against torture as set out in the Optional Protocol to the UN grounds that the coalition did not have “legal Convention against Torture. personality”. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE In January, the Bujumbura Court of Appeal The Commission of Inquiry interviewed 49 survivors of sexual violence that took place overturned a decision by the Bar Association’s president not to disbar four between 2015 and 2017. Most of the cases lawyers following a request to do so by a involved rape of women and girls by police, prosecutor in 2016. Three of the lawyers often while arresting a male family member. were, therefore, disbarred while another was The Commission also documented sexual suspended for one year. The prosecutor had violence against men in detention. It called for them to be struck off after they concluded that sexual violence appeared to be used as a way to assert dominance over contributed to a report to the UN Committee against Torture. people linked to opposition parties or Germain Rukuki was arrested on 13 July; movements. he was president of the community ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS organization Njabutsa Tujane, an employee of the Burundian Catholic Lawyers Association Arbitrary arrests and detentions continued, including during police searches in the so- and a former member of ACAT-Burundi (Action by Christians for the Abolition of called opposition neighbourhoods of Bujumbura. People were often arrested Torture, ACAT). The SNR held and without warrants and only later informed of interrogated him without a lawyer present, before transferring him to prison in Ngozi city the accusations against them. Police and Imbonerakure sometimes used excessive on 26 July. On 1 August, he was charged with “undermining state security” and force during arrests and attempted arrests. “rebellion”, for collaborating with ACAT- Former detainees said that they or their family had to pay vast sums of money to Burundi, which was banned in October members of the SNR, police or Imbonerakure 2016. The Public Prosecutor presented as in exchange for their release. evidence against him an email exchange from a period when ACAT-Burundi was legally FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND registered in Burundi. Germain Rukuki was ASSEMBLY denied bail and remained in detention at the Restrictions on freedom of expression and end of the year. peaceful assembly continued at all levels. Nestor Nibitanga, former member of the University students in Bujumbura went on deregistered Association for the Protection of strike in March to protest against a new Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH), was arrested in Gitega on 21 student loan and grant system; several of Amnesty International Report 2017/18 108

109 November. He was charged with INTERNALLY DISPLACED PEOPLE The International Organization for Migration undermining state security and rebellion. said that 187,626 people were internally This appeared to be in retaliation for his displaced as of November; 19% were human rights activities. Following a hearing on 28 December, the Mukaza court in displaced in 2017. Two thirds of the total session at Rumonge decided to keep Nestor were displaced by natural disasters and one third as a result of the socio-political Nibitanga in provisional detention. He situation. remained in detention at the Murembwe central prison in Rumonge at the end of the RIGHT TO PRIVACY year. Couples cohabiting without being married REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS risked prosecution under a 2016 law which People trying to flee the country reported banned “free unions” or cohabitation and abuses including rape, killings, beatings and carried a prison sentence of one to three months, and a fine of up to 200,000 francs extortion by members of the Imbonerakure. (USD114). In May, following President Many tried to leave by informal routes, as they did not have official travel documents; Nkurunziza’s call for a nationwide “moralization” campaign, the Interior ministry they were afraid of being accused of joining the rebellion, being refused permission to spokesperson gave cohabiting couples until 31 December to “regularize” their situation. leave or being arrested at the border for trying to leave. ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL The number of Burundian refugees in RIGHTS relation to the current crisis reached over In October, the Minister of Justice presented 418,000 in September but fell to 391,111 by the end of 2017. Most of them were hosted proposed amendments to the Penal Code which were unanimously adopted by the by Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (see Democratic Republic of the National Assembly and the Senate. The Congo entry) and Uganda. In an operation amendments would criminalize begging and led by the Tanzanian government and “vagrancy”. Able-bodied people found guilty supported by UNHCR, the UN refugee of begging would face a prison sentence of between two weeks and two months, and/or a agency, organized returns began in fine of up to 10,000 francs (USD6). The September with 8,836 refugees assisted to return to Burundi by 20 November. Many same sentence was proposed for “vagrancy”. Burundian refugees living outside the refugees cited harsh conditions in their countries of asylum as their main reason for country claimed that increased local taxation was affecting their livelihoods. The extent to return. In August, the World Food Programme warned that without urgent which fees were formally imposed or were funding from donors, insufficient food rations simply acts of extortion was not always clear to refugees in Tanzania would be further especially where they were collected by reduced. The UNHCR-led Burundi Regional members of the Imbonerakure. Refugee Response received only 20% of the INTERNATIONAL SCRUTINY funding required for 2017. In January, Tanzania stopped automatically On 4 September, the Commission of Inquiry recognizing Burundian asylum-seekers as report concluded that there were reasonable refugees. Uganda followed suit in June. On grounds to believe that crimes against 20 July 2017, President Nkurunziza visited humanity had been committed since April Tanzania in an attempt to convince 2015. On 28 September, the UN Human Burundian refugees that it was safe to return. Rights Council adopted a resolution mandating a team of three experts “to collect and preserve information [...] in cooperation Amnesty International Report 2017/18 109

110 with the Government of Burundi”, and “to Sam Rainsy stood down as leader of the make recommendations for technical opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party assistance and capacity building”. On 29 (CNRP) to avoid party dissolution because of his 2016 conviction on criminal charges. The September, the Council also renewed the lead-up to the June 2017 commune elections Commission of Inquiry’s mandate for another was marked by threatening rhetoric from the year. Discussions between the UN and the Prime Minister and other senior government government on the reopening of the UN and military officials. The ruling Cambodian Office of the High Commissioner for Human ’ People Rights in Burundi had not reached a s Party (CPP) won control of 70% of conclusion by the end of the year. communes. In September, the UN Human Burundi’s withdrawal from the ICC came Rights Council extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human into effect on 27 October. Two days earlier, the Pre-Trial Chamber authorized an rights in Cambodia for a further two years. On 16 November, the CNRP was dissolved amid investigation into the situation in Burundi, a allegations of being part of a purported US- decision made public in November. funded “colour revolution” to topple the The AU Peace and Security Council did not current regime. meet to discuss Burundi in 2017, despite the continued presence of AU human rights FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND observers and military experts in the country ASSOCIATION at the Council’s request. Harassment of the political opposition and civil society through misuse of the criminal justice system escalated in an apparent CAMBODIA attempt to hamper activities ahead of the 1 2018 general election. Amendments to the Kingdom of Cambodia Law on Political Parties in February and July King Norodom Sihamoni Head of state: gave the Ministry of Interior and courts new Hun Sen Head of government: powers over political parties and barred individuals convicted of a criminal offence The crackdown on human rights defenders, media, civil society and the political from holding leadership positions. opposition intensified ahead of elections In March, Sam Rainsy was convicted of scheduled for July 2018. The authorities’ “defamation and incitement to commit a misuse of the justice system continued. felony” for claiming on social media that the New criminal charges were brought against July 2016 murder of political commentator serving and former leaders of the main Kem Ley was an act of “state-sponsored terrorism”. Political commentator Kim Sok opposition party. The authorities increased pressure on civil society including by was convicted on the same charges in conducting surveillance of human rights August for allegedly linking the government to workers and restricting or shutting down the murder in a radio interview. Following the organizations monitoring elections. Media commune elections, the Ministry of Interior freedom and diversity were dramatically ordered a local election monitoring coalition reduced. Human rights defenders continued to cease its activities. to be monitored, threatened, arrested and In August, the US-based National imprisoned. Montagnard asylum-seekers Democratic Institute was expelled from faced forcible return to Viet Nam. Cambodia for alleged regulatory violations. Also in August, more than 30 FM radio BACKGROUND frequencies were silenced. Radio stations The prospect of a close general election in were alleged to have violated their contracts with the government by “overselling” air time 2018 led to an unstable political environment and threats to human rights. In February, to broadcasting programmes from the US- Amnesty International Report 2017/18 110

111 December, the Supreme Court upheld a six- based Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America, as well as Cambodian radio month prison sentence against Tep Vanny and two other community members programme Voice of Democracy. In stemming from a protest in 2011. Human September, the long-running English rights defenders Am Sam Ath and Chan language newspaper The Cambodia Daily Puthisak were investigated in February for shut down after the authorities gave its allegedly instigating violence at an October publishers 30 days to pay a USD6.3 million 2016 demonstration in Phnom Penh. They tax bill, a move widely viewed as arbitrary. were beaten by para-police during the The same month, RFA ceased operations in demonstration; however, their formal Cambodia, citing the restrictive media environment. In November, two former RFA complaint of assault appeared to have been ignored. reporters were arrested on trumped-up In June, five serving and former staff charges of “espionage” and faced up to 15 members of the Cambodian Human Rights years in jail. and Development Association (ADHOC) were On 3 September, new CNRP leader Kem Sokha was arrested at his home in the released on bail after being held for more capital, Phnom Penh, and later charged with than a year in pre-trial detention on charges “conspiracy with a foreign power” in relation of bribing a witness. Three of the five − Ny to a 2013 speech in which he discussed Sokha, Nay Vanda and Yi Soksan − were international advice he had received arbitrarily denied access to medical care for two months prior to their release. The regarding democratic change. CPP charges remained pending at the end of the lawmakers later voted to strip him of the parliamentary immunity he had been granted year. under the Constitution. In September, two activists from the environmental organization Mother Nature The Ministry of Interior ordered local land rights organization Equitable Cambodia (EC) were arrested while filming sand-dredging to suspend its activities for 30 days for boats off the coast of Koh Kong in an attempt alleged regulatory violations. Although the to highlight alleged illegal smuggling. They suspension lapsed on 15 November, EC was were charged with incitement to commit a felony and making an unauthorized not allowed to resume activities. At least three recording. individuals were arrested throughout the year for posting comments on Facebook that were UNLAWFUL KILLINGS regarded by authorities as insulting to the On 23 March Oeuth Ang was sentenced to Prime Minister. On 26 November, the life imprisonment after being convicted by Cambodian Centre for Human Rights was threatened by the Prime Minister with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court of the closure; it was allowed to remain open after 2016 murder of prominent political investigation by the Ministry of Interior and an commentator Kem Ley. The trial lasted only announcement by the Prime Minister on 2 half a day. The authorities did not respond to December. calls for an independent, impartial and effective investigation into the killing of Kem HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS Ley. Human rights defenders were harassed and WOMEN’S RIGHTS prosecuted for their peaceful human rights work. In February, Tep Vanny, a prominent Cambodia failed to submit its report, due in land rights activist from the Boeung Kak Lake October, on implementation of the community, was convicted of “intentional recommendations of the 2013 UN CEDAW violence with aggravating circumstances” in Committee, or to follow up with requested relation to a 2013 protest, and sentenced to information regarding sexual and gender- two years and six months’ imprisonment. In based violence – in particular redress and Amnesty International Report 2017/18 111

112 protection for victims. Women continued to different charges. They faced charges of crimes against humanity, genocide and grave be under-represented in politics. Although breaches of the Geneva Conventions. the number of women commune chiefs elected during the 2017 commune elections increased, the total number of women Cambodia: Courts of injustice − suppressing activism through the 1. councillors decreased. ) criminal justice system ( ASA 23/6059/2017 RIGHT TO HOUSING AND FORCED EVICTIONS CAMEROON Land grabbing, land concessions granted to private stakeholders for agri-industrial use, Republic of Cameroon and major development projects continued to Paul Biya Head of state: impact the right to adequate housing for Philémon Yang Head of government: communities around the country. A report The armed group Boko Haram continued to released in January by the Land Management Ministry showed an increase in commit serious human rights abuses and land dispute complaints received in 2016 violations of international humanitarian law compared to the previous year. Work on the in the Far North region, including looting and destroying properties and killing and Lower Sesan II hydropower dam in the abducting civilians. In response, the northeast province of Stung Treng authorities and security forces committed progressed; Indigenous people who refused human rights violations and crimes under to leave their ancestral lands faced forcible international law, including arbitrary arrests, relocation. Those who accepted relocation were moved to substandard and flooding- incommunicado detentions, torture and affected resettlement sites. deaths in custody. As a result of the conflict, around 240,000 people in the Far REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS North region had fled their homes between The government rejected 29 applications for 2014 and the end of 2017. Freedoms of expression, association and peaceful refugee status by Montagnard asylum- assembly continued to be restricted seekers from Viet Nam, who faced possible . UNHCR, the UN refugee refoulement throughout the country. Security forces violently repressed demonstrations in agency, stated that they had legitimate grounds. They remained in Cambodia at the Anglophone regions in January and end of the year. September. Civil society activists, journalists, trade unionists and teachers INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE were arrested and some faced trial before military courts. In February, the Co-Investigating Judges issued a joint closing order dismissing the ABUSES BY ARMED GROUPS case against Im Chaem in Case 004/1 at the The armed group Boko Haram committed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). She was found not to fall crimes under international law and human ’ within the ECCC s personal jurisdiction of rights abuses, including suicide bombings in being a senior leader or one of the most civilian areas, summary executions, responsible officials during the Khmer Rouge abductions, recruitment of child soldiers, and regime. looting and destruction of public and private property. During the year, the group carried In June, closing statements were made in a second trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu out at least 150 attacks, including 48 suicide Samphan in Case 002. The case against bombings, killing at least 250 civilians. The them had been severed by the Trial Chamber crimes were part of a widespread and of the ECCC in 2011, resulting in two trials on systematic attack on the civilian population Amnesty International Report 2017/18 112

113 across the Lake Chad basin. Boko Haram authorities to clarify whether investigations were being carried out. deliberately targeted civilians in attacks on markets, mosques, commercial areas and FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION, other public places. On 12 July a female ASSOCIATION AND ASSEMBLY suicide bomber detonated explosives in a Human rights defenders, including civil crowded video-game shop in the town of society activists, journalists, trade unionists, Waza, killing at least 16 civilians and injuring lawyers and teachers continued to be more than 30. On 5 August, a suicide intimidated, harassed and threatened. bomber in the village of Ouro Kessoum, near On 17 January, following protests in the Amchide, killed eight children and injured English-speaking regions of the country, the four more. Minister of Territorial Administration banned TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT the activities of the political party Southern Security forces continued to arbitrarily arrest Cameroons National Council (SCNC) and the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society individuals accused of supporting Boko 2 The same day, the Consortium (CACSC). Haram, often with little or no evidence and president of the CACSC, barrister Nkongho sometimes using unnecessary or excessive Felix Agbor-Balla, and its Secretary General, force. Those arrested were frequently Dr Fontem Aforteka’a Neba, were arrested detained in inhumane, life-threatening conditions. At least 101 people were detained after signing a statement calling for non- violent protests. Held incommunicado at the incommunicado between March 2013 and State Defence Secretariat, they were charged March 2017 in a series of military bases run under the 2014 anti-terrorism law, without by the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) and any basis. They were transferred to the facilities run by the intelligence agency. They were subjected to torture and other ill- Prison Principale in the capital, Yaoundé, 1 treatment. before eventually being released following a These routine and systematic presidential decision on 30 August, along practices continued throughout 2017, although at least 20 people were reported to with 53 other Anglophone protesters who had have been transferred from the BIR military been arrested between late October 2016 and February 2017. base in Salak to the central prison in Maroua in late August. Between January and April, and in early It was highly likely that senior military October, telephone and internet services officers based in Salak were aware of the were cut in the English-speaking regions, with no official explanation. torture, but they did nothing to prevent it. US On 24 May, authorities shut down an military personnel also had a regular Amnesty International press conference presence at the BIR’s base at Salak and an scheduled to take place in Yaoundé. Amnesty investigation was launched into their possible knowledge of human rights violations at the International staff had planned to present more than 310,000 letters and petitions base; its outcomes were not published during asking President Biya to release three the year. students imprisoned for 10 years for sharing No investigations were known to have been conducted by the Cameroonian authorities a joke by text message about Boko Haram. No written administrative justification was into the allegations of incommunicado detention, torture and other ill-treatment, nor provided for the prohibition of the press conference. efforts made to prevent such occurrences or to prosecute and punish the perpetrators. More than 20 protesters were shot by In December the UN Committee against security forces in the Anglophone regions Torture expressed deep concern about the between 1 and 2 October, and more than use of torture and incommunicado detention, 500 arrested. Others wounded in the protests and criticized the failure by Cameroonian were forced to flee hospitals where they Amnesty International Report 2017/18 113

114 sought life-saving treatment out of fear of having already served this sentence. Their trial was marred by irregularities. During their arrest. In addition, dozens of members of the security forces, including soldiers and initial period of detention, the two men had been held incommunicado for more than 40 gendarmes, were killed in attacks perpetrated days in an illegal facility run by the General by Anglophone insurgents in the South and Directorate of External Relations and North West regions during the year. subjected to torture. UNFAIR TRIALS DETENTION Unfair trials continued before military courts, Prison conditions remained poor, marked by which were often marred by irregularities. chronic overcrowding, inadequate food, On 10 April, Radio France Internationale correspondent Ahmed Abba was sentenced limited medical care, and deplorable hygiene to 10 years’ imprisonment, convicted by the and sanitation. Maroua prison housed around 1,500 detainees, more than four times its Yaoundé Military Court of “complicity with intended capacity. The population of the and non-denunciation of terrorist acts”. The central prison in Yaoundé was approximately trial was marred by irregularities, including 4,400, despite a maximum capacity of 1,500. documents not being disclosed to defence The main factors contributing to lawyers. Ahmed Abba had been arrested in Maroua in July 2015 and was tortured while overcrowding included the mass arrests since held incommunicado for three months at a 2014 of people accused of supporting Boko facility run by the General Directorate of Haram, the large number of detainees held without charge, and the ineffective judicial External Research. On 21 December the Appeal Court of the Yaoundé Military Court system. The government finalized the construction of at least 10 new cells for the ordered his initial sentence to be reduced to prison in Maroua. 24 months, which he had already served. The Court upheld the charge of “non- REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS denunciation of terrorism”. At least 250,000 refugees from the Central The appeal of Fomusoh Ivo Feh, who was African Republic lived in harsh conditions in arrested in December 2014 for forwarding a sarcastic text message about Boko Haram crowded camps or with host families along border areas of southeastern Cameroon. and sentenced to 10 years in prison, had not Some 60,000 refugees from Nigeria lived in begun at the end of the year. Scheduled to begin in December 2016, his hearings had the UN-run Minawao camp in the Far North been adjourned at least seven times. region; around 30,000 others struggled to cope outside the camp, facing food On 30 October, journalists Rodrigue Tongué, Felix Ebole Bola and Baba Wamé were insecurity, lack of access to basic services, acquitted by the Yaoundé Military Court, harassment by the security forces and the risk of having been initially charged in October 2014 refoulement as they were perceived to with “non-denunciation of information and be supporters of Boko Haram. sources”. Facing trial alongside the On 2 March, Cameroon, Nigeria and UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, signed a journalists were opposition party leader Aboubakary Siddiki, and Abdoulaye “Tripartite Agreement for the Voluntary Harissou, a well-known notary detained since Repatriation of Nigerian Refugees Living in Cameroon”. However, between January and August 2014. The Yaoundé Military Court sentenced Aboubakary Siddiki to 25 years’ September, Cameroon forcibly returned at imprisonment on charges including hostility least 4,400 Nigerians. These forced returns were part of a larger deportation operation against the homeland, revolution, and contempt of the President. Abdoulaye carried out by Cameroon. Human Rights Harissou was sentenced to three years’ Watch estimated that, since 2015, imprisonment, and subsequently released Cameroonian authorities and security forces Amnesty International Report 2017/18 114

115 had summarily deported more than 100,000 DEATH PENALTY People accused of supporting Boko Haram Nigerians living in areas located along the Cameroon-Nigeria border, often with continued to be sentenced to death following unfair trials in military courts; none were unnecessary and excessive use of force. executed during the year. The cases were all Some of those forcibly returned, including children, weakened by living for months or prosecuted under the deeply flawed 2014 years with limited or no access to food and anti-terrorism law. health care, died during the deportations. In December, UNHCR reported having 1. Cameroon’s secret torture chambers: Human rights violations and registered more than 5,000 Cameroonians, war crimes in the fight against Boko Haram ( AFR 17/6536/2017 ) mainly women and children, who had fled Cameroon: Arrests and civil society bans risk inflaming tensions in 2. the Anglophone areas of Cameroon to English-speaking regions ( Press release , 20 January) Nigeria. RIGHT TO AN ADEQUATE STANDARD CANADA OF LIVING The conflict with Boko Haram led to the Canada internal displacement of around 240,000 Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Julie people in the Far North region and Payette (replaced David Johnston in October) exacerbated the hardships experienced by Head of government: Justin Trudeau communities, limiting their access to basic social services, and disrupting trade, farming Discrimination against Indigenous Peoples and pastoralism. In December, almost 3.3 continued, in particular the failure to million people, of whom 61% were in the Far protect their rights to lands and resources. Urgent measures were required to ensure North region, were in need of humanitarian assistance, including food and medical care. the safety of Indigenous women and girls while a national inquiry was under way. Humanitarian access continued to be restricted by the ongoing conflict. There was a substantial increase in numbers of asylum-seekers crossing the RIGHT TO EDUCATION border from the USA irregularly. Dozens of schools were closed in the English- INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS speaking regions between November 2016 and September 2017, following strikes and Government commitments to respect and boycotts called for by trade unions and protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples were members of civil society. Extreme elements contradicted by the failure to address within Anglophone pro-secession groups violations of treaty-protected Indigenous carried out attacks on education facilities that hunting and fishing rights by the planned “breached the boycott”. flooding of the Peace River Valley in the province of British Columbia for the Site C Between January and September 2017, more than 30 schools were burned and dam. severely damaged. In the Far North region, The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal 139 primary schools in the departments of issued three non-compliance orders against the federal government for discrimination in Logone and Chari, Mayo Sava and Mayo Tsanaga remained closed because of services for First Nations children and insecurity and at least eight were occupied by families. security forces, affecting almost 40,000 The Public Inquiry Commission on Relations children. between Indigenous Peoples and Certain Public Services in Québec held hearings throughout the year. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 115

116 number of relatives of missing and murdered In June the province of Ontario agreed to women and girls expressed frustration about fund the clean-up of a river system the Inquiry’s slow progress and poor contaminated with mercury. In November the federal government agreed to provide communication, and several staff and one of five Commissioners resigned. Community specialized medical care for mercury hearings commenced in June and an interim poisoning as long sought by members of the report was issued in November. Grassy Narrows First Nation. In October, Quebec passed the Act to Foster In July the Supreme Court of Canada, in a case brought by the Inuit hamlet of Clyde Adherence to State Religious Neutrality requiring everyone, including Muslim women River, ruled that the government has an wearing a niqab, to uncover their faces to use obligation to intervene when regulatory or provide government services, including on agencies fail to protect Indigenous rights. In August the UN CERD Committee public transit and in libraries. A court ruling in December suspended application of the expressed concern about Indigenous land Act until a constitutional challenge is heard. rights violations and Canada’s failure to respect the right of free, prior and informed RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, consent. The Committee asked Canada to TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE report back within one year on measures to address the impacts of the Site C dam. In In June, Parliament passed legislation adding December the provincial government in gender identity and expression as prohibited grounds for discrimination in Canada’s British Columbia announced that Human Rights Act and Criminal Code. construction of the Site C dam would continue, despite the objections of affected COUNTER-TERROR AND SECURITY First Nations. In November the government announced In January, six worshippers were killed and support for a bill to develop a legislative 19 others injured when a gunman opened fire in a mosque in Quebec City. framework for implementing the UN In March, parliament adopted a motion Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. calling for a committee study to develop a new approach for addressing Islamophobia In November, the Supreme Court rejected a and religious discrimination. potentially groundbreaking legal challenge by In March, Canadian citizens Abdullah the Ktunaxa Nation in British Columbia which sought to apply constitutional protection of Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin received compensation and an religious freedom to the preservation of Indigenous Peoples’ sacred sites. apology for the role of Canadian officials in their unlawful arrest, imprisonment and WOMEN’S RIGHTS torture in Syria and Egypt between 2001 and 2004. In June, the federal government launched a In June, national security legal reforms were Feminist International Assistance Policy and proposed, including improved review and committed to placing women’s rights, gender equality and sexual and reproductive rights at oversight of national security agencies. Continuing concerns included insufficient the core of its foreign policy. In November the government released its second National information-sharing safeguards, inadequate appeal provisions for people named on “no- Action Plan on women, peace and security. fly lists”, and expanded mass surveillance In June, the federal government released a strategy to combat gender-based violence, and data-mining powers. but without a national action plan. In June, legislation was passed reversing 2014 Citizenship Act reforms which had The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls allowed dual nationals convicted of terrorism proceeded throughout the year. A growing Amnesty International Report 2017/18 116

117 and other offences to be stripped of regardless of immigration status. New guidelines released in November required Canadian citizenship. that minors only be held in immigration In July, Canadian citizen Omar Khadr detention in “extremely limited received compensation and an apology for circumstances”. the role of Canadian officials in violations Annual government refugee resettlement against him at the US detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for 10 years from targets declined to pre-2016 levels of 7,500, following an increase to 25,000 in 2016 as 2002. In September, revised guidelines part of the government’s Syrian refugee resettlement programme. strengthened safeguards against complicity in torture in intelligence sharing with other CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY governments, but failed to absolutely prohibit the use of information obtained through The British Columbia Conservation Officer Service concluded its investigation into the torture by other governments. 2014 Mount Polley Mining Corporation JUSTICE SYSTEM (MPMC) tailings pond collapse, without bringing charges. A federal level investigation In June, federal legislation was tabled for violations of the Fisheries Act was proposing to establish a 20-day limit on solitary confinement, to be reduced to 15 ongoing. In April, against the wishes of Indigenous and other communities, British days once the law has been in force for 18 Columbia authorities approved MPMC’s plan months. The draft law did not prohibit to discharge mine waste water that does not holding people suffering from mental illness meet provincial drinking water guidelines into in solitary confinement. A court ruling in Quesnel Lake. In June the UN Working December declared existing solitary Group on Business and Human Rights confinement provisions to be unconstitutional supported British Columbia Auditor General’s because of inadequate safeguards and provided the government with one year to recommendation to establish a compliance adopt new standards. and enforcement unit independent of the Ministry of Energy and Mines. In August, a In October the Journalistic Source Protection Act was passed, establishing a private prosecution was filed against MPMC. Also in August, the CERD Committee called “shield law” to protect journalists and their sources. on Canada to report within one year on action to address the 2014 disaster. REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS In January the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled that a lawsuit against Tahoe More than 18,000 asylum-seekers irregularly Resources regarding the shooting of crossed from the USA into Canada during the protesters outside its mine in Guatemala year, as conditions for refugees and migrants in the USA deteriorated. Asylum-seekers could be heard in Canada. In November the crossed irregularly to avoid the ban on Court upheld a lower court ruling that a making claims at official border posts, lawsuit against Nevsun Resources for complicity in forced labour at its mine in pursuant to the 2004 Canada-US Safe Third Eritrea could proceed. Country Agreement. A legal challenge to the In December, the government announced Agreement was launched jointly by civil plans to establish, in early 2018, a human society groups and individual asylum-seekers in July. rights Ombudsperson for Canadian extractives companies operating abroad. In August, the CERD Committee pressed Canada to set a maximum time frame for Negotiations to revise the North American immigration detention, end the immigration Free Trade Agreement between Canada, Mexico and the USA, including Canadian detention of minors and provide access to essential health care for all people in Canada, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 117

118 proposals on gender equality and Indigenous BACKGROUND Peoples, were under way. There was a resurgence of violence mainly in Talks regarding a potential free trade deal and around the Ouaka, Basse-Kotto and Haute-Kotto prefectures (districts). Ex-Seleka with China continued, amid concerns over and Anti-balaka armed groups controlled possible implications for human rights much of the country. protection in China. The mandate of the UN Multidimensional LEGAL, CONSTITUTIONAL OR Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENTS African Republic (MINUSCA) was renewed In June the government tabled legislation to until 15 November 2018. Its forces were strengthened following criticism of its accede to the UN Arms Trade Treaty, but without it applying to arms transfers to the capacity to protect civilians and respond to USA, the primary market for Canadian arms attacks. In June, the UN agreed to reduce sales. the MINUSCA budget by USD18.8 million, In October the Justice for Victims of Corrupt and the budgets of 14 peacekeeping missions. Foreign Officials Act was passed, US and Ugandan troops, deployed under strengthening redress and sanctions in the African Union-led Regional Task Force to designated cases of serious human rights violations. eliminate the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), withdrew from the country between April and In December, federal, provincial and May. territorial ministers responsible for human In May, the national assembly presented a rights met for the first time since 1988 and peace roadmap, which included a national committed to establish a “senior level committee of victims and excluded amnesties mechanism” to more effectively co-ordinate for war crimes, to the government. implementation of Canada’s international human rights obligations. In June, the government and 13 of the 14 armed groups signed a peace agreement which included an immediate ceasefire, political representation for armed groups and CENTRAL AFRICAN the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It also incorporated the REPUBLIC potential for pardons. In July, the AU produced the Roadmap for Central African Republic Peace and Reconciliation in the Central Faustin-Archange Touadéra Head of state: African Republic, which launched a joint Head of government: Simplice Sarandji mediation. The government had minimal control ABUSES BY ARMED GROUPS AND outside the capital, Bangui. Armed groups CRIMES UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW continued to fight for territorial control, and Armed groups were responsible for killings, targeted civilians, humanitarian workers and peacekeepers. Widespread impunity further torture and other ill-treatment, sexual fuelled instability and conflict. Increasing assaults, abductions, arrests, extortion and looting, recruitment and exploitation of numbers sought refuge in neighbouring countries or were internally displaced, in children and attacks on humanitarian workers and premises; they also prevented dire conditions. At least 2.4 million people depended on humanitarian assistance and access to humanitarian assistance. 1.4 million remained food insecure. The International NGO Safety Organisation reported that over 390 security incidents targeted relief agencies and at least 15 local humanitarian workers were killed. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 118

119 Between 20 and 21 March, at least 20 civilian deaths and over 24,000 people displaced. people, including civilians, were killed in In August, clashes between Anti-balaka and clashes between ex-Seleka and Anti-balaka UPC in the town of Gambo, near Bangassou, in the towns of Bakouma and Nzako, resulted in at least 36 civilian deaths Mbomou prefecture. including six national Red Cross workers. In April, 11 civilians were killed in fighting In September, clashes between rival FPRC between Anti-balaka and the Union for Peace factions left 10 people dead in Bria. in the Central African Republic (UPC) in loose alliance with herders along the Hundreds of Muslims returned home in the Bangassou-Rafai road. southwest but continued to be persecuted; fear of attacks forced them to restrict their On 2 May, Return, Reclamation and movements and, in some cases, hide their Rehabilitation (3R) killed 12 people in Niem- religion. Yelewa and occupied the town for 12 days. In the southeast, international NGOs Between 7 and 25 May, UPC’s attacks killed reported 113 attacks by the LRA and at least hundreds of civilians and displaced thousands in the southeast including in the 12 civilian casualties and 362 kidnappings. On 10 October, at least 25 people were towns of Alindao, Nzangba and Mobaye. At least 130 civilians died in Alindao; women killed in a mosque when Anti-balaka attacked were systematically raped. Kembe town, in the Basse-Kotto province. On Between 12 and 13 May, Anti-balaka 18 October, clashes between Anti-balaka and UPC fighters in Pombolo, in Mbomou attacked the predominantly Muslim province, led to at least 26 deaths. neighbourhood of Tokoyo in Bangassou, In November, four people were killed when Mbomou prefecture, and the MINUSCA unidentified assailants threw a grenade at a base. The UN estimated that at least 72 people were killed, 76 injured and 4,400 concert in Bangui. displaced, while the national Red Cross VIOLATIONS BY PEACEKEEPING FORCES estimated at least 115 deaths. From 16 to 18 May, at least 17 civilians Reports of sexual exploitation and abuses were killed in clashes between ex-Seleka and (“SEA”) by UN peacekeeping troops continued. In January, the UN Secretary- Anti-balaka in the town of Bria, and some 15,000 displaced. General announced a new task force to prevent and respond to SEA. However, the On 6 June, at least 18 civilians were killed when Popular Front for the Rebirth of Central UN registered 21 SEA cases, including African Republic (FPRC) elements attacked against six children, involving peacekeepers. Anti-balaka positions in Nzako. In June, the Republic of the Congo withdrew nearly 650 troops in light of sexual abuse and From 20 to 23 June, over 80 civilians died during fights between Anti-balaka and FPRC misconduct allegations. in Bria. On 30 September, at least one Mauritanian Between 27 and 30 June, at least 22 people peacekeeper allegedly drugged and raped a woman in the town of Bambari. MINUSCA were killed when Anti-balaka attacked rapidly deployed investigators and committed Muslim neighbourhoods in Zemio town, and the local population retaliated. to pursuing the issue. On 1 July, at least 10 people were killed in Several SEA complaints involving French forces, deployed under Operation Sangaris, fighting between the Central African Patriotic were dismissed following investigations. In Movement (MPC) and Anti-balaka in Kaga- Bandoro, Nana-Gribizi province. March, the Paris Prosecutor requested the Between 29 July and 1 August, clashes dismissal of a rape case which allegedly between ex-Seleka and Anti-balaka in the occurred between 2013 and 2014 at an town of Batangafo resulted in at least 14 internally displaced people’s settlement in M’Poko in Bangui. At least 14 Operation Amnesty International Report 2017/18 119

120 Sangaris soldiers and five soldiers of the Abdoulaye Hissène, a leading FPRC member, African-led International Support Mission to and Maxime Mokom, an Anti-balaka leader. the Central African Republic (MISCA), AU In June, Chad announced that it had frozen Abdoulaye Hissène’s assets and banned him troops, and peacekeepers, were allegedly from crossing the Chadian borders. involved. The Prosecutor’s decision was that the victims’ testimonies did not sufficiently INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE establish the facts. Progress was made in operationalizing the REFUGEES AND INTERNALLY Special Criminal Court (SCC) which will try DISPLACED PEOPLE individuals suspected of serious human rights violations and crimes under The number of people seeking refuge in international law committed since 2003. The neighbouring countries increased due to an SCC Special Prosecutor took office in May escalation of violence in April and May. By the end of the year, at least 538,000 people after which five national magistrates and two international magistrates were nominated, had fled the country for neighbouring and a committee to select judicial police countries Chad, Cameroon, DRC and officers was created. Republic of the Congo; while 601,000 were internally displaced, living in poor conditions The ICC investigations on the “Central African Republic II situation” continued but in makeshift camps with inadequate access to food, water, health care and sanitation. no arrest warrants were issued. In March, the ICC increased Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo’s IMPUNITY 18-year prison sentence to 19 years after he Many suspected perpetrators of human rights and his legal team were convicted of abuses and violations, including armed attempting to bribe witnesses in 2016. groups and security forces, were not NATURAL RESOURCES investigated or tried. Impunity was On 20 July, the General Court of the exacerbated by the collapse of the national European Union upheld the asset freeze justice system and its slow reconstruction. against the Belgium-based diamond On 26 February, MINUSCA arrested six FPRC and MPC members. Central African companies BADICA and KARDIAM, which had procured diamonds from the Central authorities detained them from 1 March and African Republic despite a ban. opened investigations. Suspects had not been brought to trial by the end of the year. RIGHT TO AN ADEQUATE STANDARD Between November and December, eight OF LIVING Anti-balaka members were sentenced in four The UN reported that nearly half the cases, in a court in the western town of population (2.4 million) needed humanitarian Bouar, to up to 20 years’ imprisonment for assistance, and 1.4 million were food crimes including criminal association, insecure. unlawful possession of homemade arms, murder and theft. Others were sentenced in The health system collapsed due to the conflict and the population depended almost their absence. The Central African authorities failed to entirely on humanitarian organizations for basic services. Escalating violence led implement an asset freeze which was humanitarian organizations to temporarily extended by the UN Security Council on 27 withdraw staff from cities and villages. January until 31 January 2018 along with an The UN said that about a third of the arms embargo and travel ban. Several listed population had access to safe drinking water individuals continued to collect their state salaries. and adequate sanitation facilities. Between April and December, the US imposed financial sanctions including against Amnesty International Report 2017/18 120

121 On 30 May a woman was abducted by Boko Haram about 4km from Kaiga Kindjiria. CHAD Similar attacks were reported in May and June in other areas including Bodou-Doloum Republic of Chad in the Baga Sola sub-prefecture, which Idriss Déby Itno Head of state: Albert Pahimi Padacké Head of government: resulted in the killing of three people and the abduction of three others. The armed group Boko Haram continued to FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY commit abuses around Lake Chad. Chadian During the year, the authorities banned at authorities repeatedly banned peaceful assemblies and arrested and prosecuted least six peaceful assemblies, and those organizing and participating in protests were human rights defenders, activists and arrested. journalists, some of whom became On 6 and 15 April respectively, Nadjo Kaina prisoners of conscience. The right to and Bertrand Solloh, leaders of the citizen freedom of association was violated with movement IYINA (“We are tired”), were unlawful restrictions on the right to organize arrested by ANS agents for calling on citizens freely, including the criminalization of to wear red on the anniversary of the 2016 certain citizens’ associations. More than 408,000 refugees continued to live in dire presidential election as a protest against conditions in camps including in Baga Sola. corruption and impunity. They were detained by the ANS without access to their families or BACKGROUND lawyers, before being handed over to the judicial police. They were charged with Revisions to the Criminal Code were attempted conspiracy and organizing an promulgated by President Déby, repealing unauthorized gathering and given a six- the death penalty except for “terrorism”, and increasing the minimum age for marriage to month suspended sentence. The two men reported being tortured while in detention, 18 years. including by being suffocated with plastic New powers, including the power to arrest, bags containing chili. were provided to the National Security On 12 April, Dingamnayal Nely Versinis, Agency (ANS). president of the organization Collectif A severe economic crisis, following a sharp Tchadien Contre la Vie Chère, was arrested drop in the price of petrol in recent years, led by ANS agents at the city hall in the capital, to austerity measures, public discontent and strikes in sectors including health, education Djamena. He had called on traders at the ’ N N’Djamena Millet Market to strike in protest and justice. at an increase in market fees. He was ABUSES BY ARMED GROUPS detained without access to his family or lawyer and charged with fraud and using a The armed group Boko Haram continued to false identity, before being released on 27 kill, abduct and injure civilians, and to April by the Public Prosecutor on the grounds destroy property. that he had committed no offence. On 5 May, Boko Haram members killed at least four civilians and burned 50 houses in FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION Kaiga Kindjiria. On the night of 25 May, a Boko Haram attack on Kirnatchoulma village, Certain social movements and civil society in the west of Kaiga Kinjiria, resulted in at platforms were banned and the right to strike least three people being killed and three was restricted in contravention of wounded. On 26 and 27 May, Boko Haram international law. carried out several attacks on the villages of The citizens’ movement IYINA remained banned and, on 6 January, the Minister of Konguia, Wangui and Kagrerom, in the area of Tchoukoutalia. Territorial Administration banned the activities Amnesty International Report 2017/18 121

122 conflict between herders and farmers in of the National Movement of Citizen Awakening (MECI), a movement bringing Doba. He was released the following day and the prefect who ordered his arrest was together civil society organizations, trade removed from office. unions and political parties, describing it as “unnatural” and “without any legal basis”. On PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE 27 May the police interrupted and banned MECI’s General Assembly. The authorities continued to arrest and detain The rights of trade unions were violated in journalists for doing their work and activists and human rights defenders for exercising response to the strike action they initiated from September 2016 to January 2017. They their freedoms of expression and opinion. Online activist Tadjadine Mahamat Babouri remained subject to a decree introduced in (also known as Mahadine), who was arrested 2016 limiting the right to strike, and their on 30 September 2016, remained in requests to protest were rejected. In January the authorities interfered in the detention. He was arrested by ANS agents after posting several videos on Facebook internal affairs of the trade union criticizing the government’s alleged representing researchers and university mismanagement of public funds. He was teachers, SYNECS, to force the removal of its president and end its strike. The same later charged with undermining the constitutional order, threatening territorial month, visas were denied to representatives of the General Confederation of Labour, an integrity and national security, and collaborating with an insurrectional international partner of Chadian trade unions. movement. He reported that, while detained FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION by the ANS, he was deprived of food and Journalists critical of the government water for three days, electrocuted and beaten. received threats and were subject to On 5 May, Maoundoe Decladore, surveillance, while defamation and contempt spokesperson of the organization Ça doit laws continued to be used in an attempt to silence them. changer (“It must change”), was arrested at Between 22 and 24 February, Eric night by four armed men in plain clothes in Kokinagué, the Director of Publication of the Moundou. He was detained for 25 days Tribune Info newspaper without any access to his family or lawyer, in , received more than a dozen anonymous, threatening calls from what he believes was an ANS facility. He was different numbers after he published an transferred to the judicial police on 30 May article heavily critical of President Déby. On and charged with public disorder. Maoundoe 25 February, the columnist who wrote the Decladore was released on bail due to his article, Daniel Ngadjadoum, was abducted by deteriorating health and was awaiting trial at armed men, detained for up to 24 hours in the end of the year. what he believes was an ANS facility, and On 20 June, Sylver Beindé Bassandé, a forced to write a letter of apology to the journalist and director of community radio Al President. Nada FM in Moundou, was sentenced to two In June, Déli Sainzoumi Nestor, editor of the years in prison and fined XAF100,000 Eclairages bi-monthly newspaper , was (USD180) by the High Court of Moundou for charged with defamation after Daoussa Déby complicity in contempt of court and Itno, former minister and brother of President undermining judicial authority. He had been Déby, filed a complaint about an article charged after airing a radio interview with a alleging his involvement in fraud in the sugar municipal councillor, who had criticized industry. judges after having been convicted with two On 4 September, radio journalist Mbairaba other councillors in a separate proceeding. Jean Paul was arrested and accused of Sylver Beindé Bassandé lodged an appeal defamation after he reported on a communal and was released on bail on 19 July. On 26 Amnesty International Report 2017/18 122

123 against Mapuche Indigenous Peoples. The September, the Court of Appeal overruled the Anti-Terrorism Law was used against decision by the High Court of Moundou, Mapuche people, despite violating sentencing Sylver Beindé Bassandé to international standards on due process complicity in defamation and fined him XAF100,000 (USD180). He appealed to the guarantees. A law decriminalizing abortion Supreme Court. in three specific circumstances entered into force; abortion continued to be otherwise REFUGEES AND INTERNALLY criminalized. DISPLACED PEOPLE BACKGROUND More than 408,000 refugees from the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Presidential and congressional elections were held between November and December, and the Congo, Nigeria and Sudan continued to live in poor conditions in refugee camps. Sebastián Piñera Echenique was elected President. The President-elect and new Insecurity caused by Boko Haram attacks members of Congress were due to begin their and military operations resulted in the mandates in March 2018. displacement of more than 174,000 people including at least 25,000 in 2017 alone. REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS In June, nearly 5,000 people fled a wave of Boko Haram attacks on villages around Kaiga Congress considered a bill proposed by the Kindjiria and Tchoukoutalia, creating two new executive for a new immigration law. sites for internally displaced people: Kengua The first 14 Syrian families (66 people) (Kiskra canton, Fouli department) and Kane arrived in October under a resettlement programme announced in 2014. Ngouboua (Diameron). Since July, around 6,700 people arrived in Baga Sola from Niger POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES after the withdrawal of Chadian troops from There were continuing reports of excessive the country and in fear of attacks from Boko use of force by the police. Haram. In June, police used tear gas in close RIGHT TO FOOD proximity to a school in the Temucuicui Mapuche community where young children The Chadian military continued to impose restrictions on the movement of people and were attending class. The action was deemed “proportionate” by the Supreme Court. goods along the shores of Lake Chad, In November, a judge in Collipulli, Malleco hampering the livelihoods of communities and heightening the risk of food insecurity. Province, opened an investigation against a police officer for shooting 17-year-old According to the UN, severe acute Brandon Hernández in December 2016; he malnutrition increased from 2.1% to 3.4% in received more than 100 pellet wounds in his the region during the year. Countrywide, the back. The hearing was rescheduled three UN estimated that 2.8 million people were food insecure, including more than 380,000 times because the accused police officer did people at crisis or emergency level. not appear in court. The Supreme Court reopened the case of Alex Lemún, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ercilla, Malleco Province in CHILE 2002. A military court had closed the case in 2004 without finding anyone responsible. Republic of Chile Michelle Bachelet Jeria Head of state and government: IMPUNITY Impunity for past and present human rights Victims of human rights violations during violations remained a concern. Police Chile’s military regime continued to demand continued to use excessive force, especially truth, justice and reparation. Although courts Amnesty International Report 2017/18 123

124 acquittal were declared null and void. The had heard hundreds of cases, most of those trial was due to be repeated in 2018. convicted did not serve prison sentences, and many victims continued to lack access to The government and Attorney General’s Office also brought “terrorism” charges institutional mechanisms to demand against four Mapuche men for a fire that reparation. destroyed a church in the city of Padre las Congress discussed a bill to make information gathered by former truth Casas in June 2016. No one was hurt in the commissions available to prosecutors and fire. The men were arrested, detained and parties to relevant judicial proceedings. indicted on the day of the incident and continued to be held in pre-trial detention at In May the government filed a bill before Congress to establish a National Mechanism the end of 2017. After the four accused held a prolonged hunger strike, the government for the Prevention of Torture. filed a request for reclassification of the INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS crime. However, the prosecution decided to In June the government announced the Plan continue pursuing terrorism charges. In September the government implemented for the Recognition and Development of Araucanía to promote Indigenous Peoples’ “Operation Hurricane”, arresting and charging eight people with conspiracy to participation, economic development and commit terrorist acts in connection with protection of victims of violence. burning and planning to burn dozens of President Bachelet extended a formal cargo vehicles. No one was hurt in these apology to the Mapuche People for “errors and horrors” perpetrated by the state against incidents. The eight accused were held in pre-trial detention until October when the them. A bill was under discussion to create a Ministry of Indigenous Issues. Supreme Court declared their detention unlawful and ordered their release, since the As part of the process of developing a new judge had not sufficiently justified the need Constitution, scheduled to be completed in 2018, a consultation was conducted with for pre-trial detention. Investigation of the Indigenous Peoples’ representatives. The alleged crimes was ongoing. process was criticized by some HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS representatives for excluding some key issues brought forth by Indigenous Peoples. In April, Rodrigo Mundaca and other leaders The Attorney General’s Office and the of the Movement for the Defence of Water, government continued to misuse the Anti- Land and the Environment (MODATIMA) in Terrorism Law to prosecute Mapuche people the province of Petorca received death in violation of due process guarantees. In threats. An investigation was ongoing into the 2014, similar applications of the Anti- harassment and intimidation that Terrorism Law against Mapuche activists MODATIMA’s leaders had been subjected to for a number of years. were found by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights − in Norín Catrimán et al v. In May the Temuco Public Prosecutor’s Office announced the closure of the Chile − to be in violation of the American Convention on Human Rights. investigation into the abduction and torture of In October, 11 Mapuche people, including Víctor Queipul Hueiquil, a Mapuche lonko (traditional community authority) in the Machi Francisca Linconao, who had been charged with “terrorism” for a fire that killed Autonomous Community of Temucuicui in June 2016. He had been threatened with landowners Werner Luchsinger and Vivian Mackay in January 2013, were acquitted. death if he continued his work as a leader The 11 defendants had been held in pre-trial and supporter of the Mapuche People. The detention or under house arrest for 18 Public Prosecutor said that the investigation months. Upon appeal by the Attorney could not proceed because Víctor Queipul did not collaborate with the investigation. In General’s Office in December, the trial and Amnesty International Report 2017/18 124

125 May, the National Human Rights Institute filed a new lawsuit relating to the torture of CHINA Víctor Queipul; the investigation for the second case was ongoing. People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping Head of state: SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS Head of government: Li Keqiang In September a law entered into force The government continued to draft and decriminalizing abortion in three enact new laws under the guise of “national circumstances: when the pregnancy poses a security” that presented serious threats to risk to the life of the pregnant woman or girl; when the foetus is not viable; or when human rights. Nobel Peace Prize laureate pregnancy is a result of rape. It also Liu Xiaobo died in custody. Activists and human rights defenders were detained, established the right to conscientious prosecuted and sentenced on the basis of objection for medical professionals and institutions who choose not to perform vague and overbroad charges such as abortions even in those circumstances. “subverting state power” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. Police Guidelines for the implementation of the law detained human rights defenders outside were approved in December. Abortion formal detention facilities, sometimes continued to be criminalized in all other circumstances. incommunicado, for long periods, which posed additional risk of torture and other ill- RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, treatment to the detainees. Controls on the TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE internet were strengthened. Repression of In August a criminal case filed against a religious activities outside state-sanctioned churches increased. Repression conducted judge for allowing the change of name and gender markers for a transgender girl was under “anti-separatism” or “counter- closed with all charges dropped. terrorism” campaigns remained particularly In June the Senate approved the Gender severe in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and Tibetan-populated areas. Identity Bill, which established the right of people over the age of 18 to have their Freedom of expression in Hong Kong came under attack as the government used vague gender identity legally recognized by and overbroad charges to prosecute pro- changing their name and gender markers on democracy activists. official documents through an administrative process, without requiring gender LEGAL, CONSTITUTIONAL OR reassignment surgery or medical certification. INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENTS The bill was pending before Congress at the Sweeping national security-related laws and end of the year. regulations continued to be drafted and In August the government filed a bill in the Senate establishing marriage and adoption enacted, giving greater powers to the rights for same-sex couples in equality with authorities to silence dissent, censor information and harass and prosecute different-sex couples. human rights defenders. On 1 January the foreign NGO management law, whose provisions impeded independent operations of registered NGOs, came into effect. Foreign NGOs that had not yet registered and continued to operate in China could face a freeze on bank accounts, sealing of venues, confiscation of assets, suspension of activities and detention of staff. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 125

126 In November, writer and government critic In June, the National Intelligence Law was Yang Tongyan, who had spent nearly half his adopted and entered into force. These laws life in detention, died shortly after his release were part of a national security legal on medical parole. architecture introduced in 2014 − which also Among the nearly 250 targeted individuals included the Anti-espionage Law, Criminal who were questioned or detained by state Law Amendment (9), National Security Law, security agents following the unprecedented Anti-terrorism Law and Cyber Security Law − and presented serious threats to the government crackdown on human rights protection of human rights. The National lawyers and other activists that started in July Intelligence Law used similarly vague and 2015, nine were convicted of “subverting state power”, “inciting subversion of state overbroad concepts of national security, and power” or “picking quarrels and provoking granted effectively unchecked powers to national intelligence institutions with unclear trouble”. Three people were given suspended sentences and one “exempted from criminal roles and responsibilities. All lacked safeguards to protect against arbitrary punishment” while remaining under detention and to protect the right to privacy, surveillance and five remained imprisoned. In freedom of expression and other human April, Beijing lawyer Li Heping, detained 1 rights. since the beginning of the crackdown, was The draft Supervision Law, which opened given a three-year suspended prison sentence for “subverting state power”. He for consultation in November, would, if enacted as is, legalize a new form of arbitrary claimed that he was tortured during pre-trial detention, including being force-fed detention, named liuzhi , and create an an was sentenced in May to ’ extrajudicial system with far-reaching powers medicine. Yin Xu with significant potential to infringe human three and a half years’ imprisonment. Wang 2 rights. Fang was sentenced in July to three years’ imprisonment. Beijing lawyer Jiang Tianyong, The authorities continued to use “residential who went missing in November 2016 and surveillance in a designated location”, a form “confessed” at a trial in August to fabricating of secret incommunicado detention that allowed the police to hold individuals for up the torture account of lawyer Xie Yang by Chinese police and attending overseas to six months outside the formal detention workshops to discuss changing China’s system, without access to legal counsel of political system, was sentenced in November their choice, their families or others, and to two years’ imprisonment for “inciting placed suspects at risk of torture and other subversion of state power”. Hu Shigen and ill-treatment. This form of detention was used Zhou Shifeng, convicted in 2016, remained to curb the activities of human rights defenders, including lawyers, activists and imprisoned. Beijing human rights lawyer religious practitioners. Wang Quanzhang, held in incommunicado detention since the beginning of the HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS crackdown, was still awaiting trial at the end On 13 July, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu of the year, charged with “subverting state Xiaobo died in custody from liver cancer. The power”. In January, an interview transcript authorities had refused a request from Liu with Xie Yang was published in which he said Xiaobo and his family that he travel abroad to he faced torture and other ill-treatment 3 At the end of the receive medical treatment. during detention. Xie Yang was released on bail without a verdict in May after his trial. On year, his wife Liu Xia remained under surveillance and illegal “house arrest” which 26 December, the court announced his had continued since Liu Xiaobo was awarded conviction on the charge of “inciting the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. At least 10 subversion of state power” but ruled that he was “exempt from criminal punishment”. He activists were detained for holding memorials for him. remained under surveillance. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 126

127 Lawyer Li Yuhan was detained in October In July, Beijing lawyer Wang Yu, whose detention on 9 July 2015 marked the and claimed she was tortured and ill-treated beginning of the crackdown, wrote in an during detention. article published online that she was ill- WORKERS’ RIGHTS treated during detention. She was released on bail in mid-2016 but remained under In May, labour activists Hua Haifeng, Li Zhao close surveillance. Lawyers Li Shuyun, Ren and Su Heng were detained in Jiangxi province while investigating work conditions Quanniu and Li Chunfu, and activist Gou Hongguo, reported that they were drugged at Huajian shoe factories. The activists were 4 released on bail in June but remained under during detention. close surveillance. In addition to the 250 targeted individuals, activist Wu Gan, who worked in a law firm In July, a Guangzhou court sentenced labour activist Liu Shaoming to four and a later targeted by the authorities in the half years’ imprisonment for publishing his crackdown, was tried in August in a closed reflections about joining the pro-democracy hearing for “subverting state power” after nearly 27 months’ pre-trial detention. On 26 movement and becoming a member of China’s first independent trade union in December, he was sentenced to eight years’ 1989, and experiences during the 1989 imprisonment. Tiananmen crackdown. In March, Guangdong activist Su Changlan was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION – INTERNET for “inciting subversion of state power” for her online criticism of the Chinese Thousands of websites and social media services remained blocked, including Communist Party and the Chinese socialist Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. On 1 June, system. She was detained in 2014 after expressing support for Hong Kong’s 2014 the Cybersecurity Law came into effect, making it obligatory for internet companies pro-democracy Umbrella Movement. She operating in China to censor users’ content. was released in October after serving the full In August, the Cyberspace Administration of sentence but with health concerns aggravated by poor conditions in detention. China and the Guangdong Provincial On 19 March, Lee Ming-Cheh, manager of a Cyberspace Administration launched an Taiwan NGO, was detained by state security investigation into internet service providers Tencent’s WeChat, Sina Weibo and Baidu’s officers when he entered mainland China from Macao. In September, he was tried in Tieba because their platforms contained user Hunan Province for “subverting state power” accounts which “spread information that and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in endangers national security, public security 5 November. and social order, including violence and At least 11 activists were detained in June terror, false information and rumours and pornography”. In September, China’s for commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown; most were accused of “picking dominant messaging service WeChat introduced new terms of service to collect a quarrels and provoking trouble”. Li Xiaoling and Shi Tingfu remained in detention, and wide range of personal information, and Ding Yajun was sentenced to three years’ made data on its over 900 million users imprisonment in September. available to the government. In August, lawyer Gao Zhisheng went Huang Qi, co-founder of, a missing from an isolated village in Shaanxi website that reports on and documents province, where he had lived under tight protests in China, was accused of “leaking surveillance since his release from prison in state secrets”. He was allowed to meet his 2014. The family later learned he was in lawyer only eight months after he was authorities’ custody but his location and detained and claimed that he was ill-treated in detention. At the end of 2017, 10 condition remained unknown. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 127

128 journalists of were in prison: DEATH PENALTY Wang Jing, Zhang Jixin, Li Min, Sun Enwei, Li In March, the President of the Supreme People’s Court announced that over the last Chunhua, Wei Wenyuan, Xiao Jianfang, Li Zhaoxiu, Chen Mingyan and Wang Shurong. 10 years, since the Court regained the Liu Feiyue, founder of human rights website authority to review and approve all death sentences, capital punishment “had been Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch, was strictly controlled and applied prudently” and detained in late 2016 and charged with only applied “to an extremely small number “inciting subversion of state power”. His of criminals for extremely severe offences”. lawyer said that the charge was mostly However, the government continued to related to opinions he had expressed publicly conceal the true extent of the use of the and posted on the website. death penalty, despite more than four In August, Lu Yuyu, who documented decades of requests from UN bodies and the protests in China on Twitter and in a blog, international community for more was convicted of “picking quarrels and information, and despite the Chinese provoking trouble” and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. authorities’ own pledges to bring about greater openness in the criminal justice In September, Zhen Jianghua, executive 7 director of online platform Human Rights system. Campaign in China, was criminally detained TIBET AUTONOMOUS REGION AND on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state TIBETAN-POPULATED AREAS IN OTHER power” and later placed under residential PROVINCES surveillance at a designated location. Police ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS confiscated numerous documents related to his website which contained reports from In June, in his report of a 2016 visit to China, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme grassroots rights activists. poverty and human rights stated that while FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF achievements towards alleviating poverty In June, the State Council passed the revised were generally “impressive”, the situation of Tibetans and Uighurs was deeply Regulations on Religious Affairs, to come into effect on 1 February 2018. It codified far- problematic, and “that most ethnic minorities reaching state control over every aspect of in China are exposed to serious human rights religious practice, and extended power to challenges, including significantly higher authorities at all levels of the government to poverty rates, ethnic discrimination and monitor, control and potentially punish forced relocation”. religious practice. The revised law, which Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan education emphasized national security with a goal of advocate, remained in detention awaiting trial at the end of the year, without access to his curbing “infiltration and extremism”, could be used to further suppress the right to family. He was taken away in early 2016 for freedom of religion and belief, especially for giving an interview to the in New York Times Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims and which he expressed fears about the gradual 6 unrecognized churches. extinction of the Tibetan language and culture. Falun Gong practitioners continued to be FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION subjected to persecution, arbitrary detention, Ethnic Tibetans continued to face unfair trials and torture and other ill- treatment. Chen Huixia remained detained discrimination and restrictions on their rights since 2016 for suspicion of “using an evil cult to freedom of religion and belief, of opinion and expression, of peaceful assembly and of to undermine law enforcement”. In May, her association. trial was adjourned after her lawyer requested the court exclude evidence extracted through At least six people set themselves on fire in torture. Tibetan-populated areas during the year Amnesty International Report 2017/18 128

129 in protest against repressive policies, bringing Islamic in origin, and required all children under 16 with these names to change them. the known number of self-immolations since In May, there were media reports that the February 2009 to 152. On 18 March, Pema Chinese authorities in the XUAR had initiated Gyaltsen set himself on fire in Ganzi (Tibetan: a policy to compel all Uighurs studying Kardze) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in abroad to return to China. Six Uighurs who Sichuan Province. Tibetan sources said that he was believed to be alive when he was had studied in Turkey but had returned to the XUAR were given prison sentences taken away by the police. His relatives were ranging from 5 to 12 years on undefined detained and beaten when they approached the authorities asking for his whereabouts. charges. In April, Chinese authorities detained relatives of several students in Egypt Tibetan NGOs abroad said that Lobsang to coerce them to return home by May. Kunchok, a Tibetan monk detained after Reports were received that some who surviving a self-immolation attempt in 2011, 8 returned were tortured and imprisoned. In On 26 was released from prison in March. July, the Egyptian authorities began a December, Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup massive round-up of hundreds of Chinese Wangchen was reunited with his family in the USA, almost 10 years after he was first nationals in Egypt, mainly Uighurs. Of these, detained in China for making an independent at least 22 Uighurs were forcibly returned to China. documentary about the views of ordinary Buzainafu Abudourexiti, a Uighur woman Tibetans ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. who returned to China in 2015 after studying XINJIANG UIGHUR AUTONOMOUS for two years in Egypt, was detained in March REGION and sentenced in June to seven years’ 9 imprisonment after a secret trial. Under the leadership of new regional In August, international media reported that Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, education authorities had issued an order in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region June in the largely Uighur-populated Hotan (XUAR) authorities put new emphasis on “social stability” and increased security. Prefecture to ban the use of the Uighur Media reports indicated that numerous language in schools, including for “collective activities, public activities and management detention facilities were set up within the XUAR, variously called “counter extremism work of the education system”. Media reports centres”, “political study centres”, or stated that families across the region were “education and transformation centres”, in required to hand copies of the Qur’an and which people were arbitrarily detained for any other religious items to the authorities or unspecified periods and forced to study risk punishment. Chinese laws and policies. HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE In March, the XUAR enacted the “De- REGION extremification Regulation” that prohibits a wide range of behaviours labelled A series of actions taken throughout the year “extremist”, such as spreading “extremist by the Hong Kong authorities increased concerns about whether freedom of thought”, denigrating or refusing to watch public radio and TV programmes, wearing expression and freedom of peaceful assembly were at risk. burkas, having an “abnormal” beard, resisting national policies, and publishing, In March, the founders of the Occupy Benny Tai, Chan Kin- – Central campaign downloading, storing or reading articles, publications or audio-visual materials man and Rev Chu Yiu-Ming – were charged containing “extremist content”. with “public nuisance”-related offences, In April, the government published a list of carrying a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment, for their involvement in the prohibited names, most of which were Umbrella Movement. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 129

130 In July, the High Court disqualified four MACAO SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE elected pro-democracy legislators − Nathan REGION In August, the Macao government stopped Law, Leung Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai and Yiu Chung-yim − for failing to meet the four Hong Kong journalists from entering requirements specified in the National Macao to report on the destruction and clean-up work of Typhoon Hato, which media People’s Congress Standing Committee’s reported caused 10 deaths. In December, interpretation of the Hong Kong Basic Law when they took their oaths of office in Macao’s legislature voted to suspend pro- October 2016. democracy lawmaker Sulu Sou and to remove his legislative immunity. He was In August, the Court of Appeal sentenced elected in September and charged in Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law to six, seven and eight months’ imprisonment November for taking part in a May 2016 peaceful protest against Macao’s Chief respectively for their part in a student-led Executive. demonstration in September 2014 which triggered the Umbrella Movement. Joshua Wong and Alex Chow had been found guilty 1. China: Submission on the draft “National Intelligence Law” ( ASA in 2016 of “taking part in an unlawful ) 17/6412/2017 assembly” and Nathan Law of “inciting 2. ASA China: Submission on the draft “Supervision Law” ( others to take part in an unlawful assembly”. 17/7553/2017) court originally ordered ’ A magistrates Liu Xiaobo: A giant of human rights who leaves a lasting legacy for 3. community service or suspended sentences China and the world ( Press release , 13 July) but prosecutors successfully appealed, 4. Further information: China − lawyer on bail remains under tight 10 ) ASA 17/6307/2017 surveillance: Xie Yang ( Joshua Wong seeking harsher penalties. and Nathan Law were released on bail in Press China: Taiwanese activist sentenced to five years in jail ( 5. release ) October and Alex Chow in November Why China must scrap new laws that tighten the authorities’ grip on 6. pending their appeals. News story religious practice ( , 31 August) The District Court sentenced seven police 7. ) ASA 17/5849/2017 China’s deadly secrets ( officers to two years’ imprisonment in February for assaulting protester Ken Tsang 8. China: Disclose the whereabouts of two Tibetans who attempted self- ) ASA 17/6098/2017 immolation ( during the Umbrella Movement protests. 9. China: Uighur woman incommunicado after secret trial – Buzainafu After the sentencing, China’s state Abudourexiti ( ) ASA 17/7168/2017 mouthpieces initiated an orchestrated Hong Kong: Freedom of expression under attack as scores of peaceful 10. campaign attacking Hong Kong’s judiciary. News story , 26 September) protesters face “chilling” prosecutions ( Appeals were pending at year end. RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE COLOMBIA In April, the Court of First Instance ruled that the government’s refusal to extend work Republic of Colombia benefits to the same-sex husband of a civil Juan Manuel Santos Head of state and government: servant was discrimination based on sexual Calderón orientation. In September, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Immigration Department’s refusal to grant The civilian population, especially a dependant visa to the same-sex civil Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendant and partner of a foreign professional on a work peasant farmer communities, and human visa was discriminatory. The government rights defenders, continued to be the main appealed against the decisions in both cases. victims of the ongoing armed conflict. Although official figures indicated that there was a decrease in the number of civilians killed in military actions involving Amnesty International Report 2017/18 130

131 UN Monitoring and Verification Mission in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia established by UN Security Council Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian resolution 2261 (2016). The process to verify security forces from the start of the FARC disarmament, which was due to be negotiations to signing of the Peace Agreement in 2016, the armed conflict completed in 180 days, began on 1 March. On 27 June, the process of surrendering of persisted in 2017 and in some parts of the weapons by individuals ended, and on 15 country it seemed to have intensified. August the process of removing arms and Concerns remained about impunity for crimes committed during the armed munitions from the 26 FARC camps was conflict. Security forces used excessive completed. In accordance with the Peace Agreement, the UN Security Council adopted force, sometimes causing civilian deaths. resolution 2377 (2017) approving a second Violence against women, particularly sexual verification mission on the political, economic violence, persisted. and social reintegration of FARC members, INTERNAL ARMED CONFLICT which commenced on 26 September. PEACE PROCESS Despite the stipulations in the “Ethnic Chapter” of the Peace Agreement, there were On 11 October, the Constitutional Court gave complaints about the lack of guarantees for backing to the Peace Agreement signed by the effective participation of Indigenous the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla group on 24 November 2016. Peoples and Afro-descendant communities in the implementation of the Agreement. On 21 However, at the end of 2017 legislation had September, members of the Permanent yet to be implemented for most of the points in the Peace Agreement. Bureau for Co-ordination with Indigenous Peoples and Organizations declared During separate negotiations in Quito, themselves to be in a state of emergency and Ecuador, between the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group and the permanent assembly to demand that the provisions of the Peace Agreement be fully Colombian government, the parties declared on 4 September that a bilateral ceasefire complied with. would take effect from 1 October until early CIVILIAN VICTIMS OF THE ARMED CONFLICT 2018. The ceasefire was declared in principle The Unit for the Victims’ Assistance and Reparation, created in 2011 by Law 1148, for a period of four months, after which the recorded a total 8,532,636 victims for the Colombian government and the ELN would begin to discuss a possible peace agreement. five-decade duration of the armed conflict. However, from October there were various This included 363,374 victims of threats, 22,915 victims of sexual offences, 167,809 reports of ELN attacks against civilians in contradiction of the ceasefire agreement. victims of enforced disappearance, ELN acknowledged one such attack: the 7,265,072 victims of forced displacement and 11,140 victims of anti-personnel mines. killing of Aulio Isaramá Forastero, an Indigenous leader from Chocó, by ELN Crimes against 31,047 victims of the armed members on 24 October. Civil society conflict were recorded for the first time organizations in the Department of Chocó between January and October 2017. issued a call for a “Humanitarian Agreement In the departments of Chocó, Cauca, Antioquia and Norte de Santander, among Now”, directed at the national government and the ELN guerrillas, in order to implement others, crimes under international law and concrete humanitarian actions to stop ethnic human rights violations persisted, including communities in Chocó continuing to be put at targeted killings of members of Afro- risk by confrontations in their territories. descendant communities and Indigenous Between 28 January and 18 February, Peoples, collective forced displacements, the forced confinement of communities within 6,803 FARC guerrillas moved into 26 demobilization zones with the support of the their territories (limiting their freedom of Amnesty International Report 2017/18 131

132 Dios, in the Cacarica River Basin, department movement and access to essential services of Chocó, searching for several people said to and food), the forced recruitment of children, 2 On 6 March, a be on a “death list”. sexual violence, and the use of anti- paramilitary incursion was reported in the personnel mines. town of Peña Azul, municipality of Alto Despite the signing of the Peace Agreement, the armed conflict intensified in Baudó, Chocó, which resulted in the large- some areas of Colombia as a result of armed scale displacement of families and the forced confrontations between ELN guerrillas, confinement of many people within their 3 On 18 April, communities near Peña Azul. paramilitary groups and state forces seeking residents of Puerto Lleras in the Jiguamiandó to fill the power vacuum left by the collective territory, Chocó, reported that they demobilized FARC guerrillas. On 27 had received threats and that there had been November, 13 people were killed as a result of a confrontation between FARC dissidents a paramilitary incursion into the Humanitarian Zone of Pueblo Nuevo that put í and ELN members in Magü Payán Nariño 4 all the inhabitants at risk. department. There were complaints about the weak state presence in areas that were Indigenous Peoples and Afro-Colombian historically controlled by the FARC, which communities continued to be at risk from facilitated incursions and control by other anti-personnel mines on their territory; the laying of such mines is a grave violation of illegal armed groups, putting Afro- descendant and peasant farmer communities international humanitarian law. On 11 July, Sebastián Carpio Maheche, from the and Indigenous Peoples at risk. Wounaan Indigenous community of Juuin Paramilitary structures continued to operate Duur in the Embera Wounaan Katio de in various parts of the country, despite their supposed demobilization under the terms of Quiparadó Reserve in the municipality of Riosucio, Chocó, was injured by an exploding Law 975, passed in 2005. There were reports 5 anti-personnel mine. of paramilitary attacks and threats against leaders of the Peace Community of San José Clashes between ELN guerrillas, the security 1 forces and paramilitary groups put de Apartadó in the department of Antioquia. Indigenous Peoples and Afro-Colombian On 29 December, armed men attempted to 6 kill Germán Graciano Posso, the legal According to the communities at serious risk. National Indigenous Organization of representative of the community. Other Colombia, between 1 November 2016 and community members disarmed them, but were injured in the process. The Peace 31 July 2017, 3,490 Indigenous people were Community had sought to distance itself from victims of mass forced displacements, 827 the armed conflict by formally refusing to were subjected to forced confinement, 115 allow state security forces, guerrilla groups or received threats and 30 were killed, including paramilitary groups to enter their territory. community leaders. Despite their efforts to remain neutral, people The ELN abducted two Dutch journalists on 19 June in the area of El Tarra, Norte de living in San José de Apartadó continued to be victims of attacks, torture, sexual abuse Santander. Both were released on 24 June. and forced displacement at the hands of all According to the Office of the parties to the conflict. Ombudsperson, hostage-taking by ELN There were reports of paramilitary guerrillas continued. incursions in the department of Chocó, in REPARATION FOR VICTIMS northwestern Colombia, particularly affecting Point 5 of the Peace Agreement created the “Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non- Afro-descendant communities and repetition System”, which included the Indigenous Peoples. On 8 February, a group of paramilitaries belonging to the Gaitanista Special Jurisdiction for Peace and judicial Self-Defence Forces entered the mechanisms such as a unit for investigating and dismantling the criminal organizations Humanitarian Zone of Nueva Esperanza en Amnesty International Report 2017/18 132

133 with the FARC. Police, army and navy officers that succeeded paramilitarism. Point 5 also were present in the area. Protesters reported defined the position regarding reparations for that tear gas was used against peaceful the victims of the armed conflict. In this demonstrators. The Ombudsperson reported context, victims of the armed conflict that approximately 205 children as well as 10 demanded guarantees of access to justice, as pregnant women and 19 elderly people well as guarantees of the right to truth and suffered health complications as a result. In reparation and, especially, of non-repetition total, health problems as a result of exposure of abuses such as forced displacement and sexual violence, for Indigenous, Afro- to tear gas were reported by 313 people, and descendant and peasant farmer communities 16 people sustained gunshot injuries or at risk. These demands had yet to be met, trauma from blunt objects. The “Civic Strike” ended on 7 June. and the long-term viability of the Peace One Indigenous man, Felipe Castro Basto, Agreement was threatened due to the perpetrators of crimes under international was reported to have died in the municipality of Corinto, in the North of Cauca, when law, including war crimes, crimes against ESMAD opened fire on a demonstration by humanity and human rights abuses not being 200 Indigenous people. brought to justice. The Association of Community Councils In April Legislative Act No.1 of 2017 was Mira, Nulpe and Mataje (Asominuma) adopted, to ensure Congress would pass reported that, on 5 October, security forces legislation implementing Point 5 of the Peace killed nine peasant farmers by Agreement. One of its provisions provided for the separate – and privileged – treatment of indiscriminately firing at a peaceful demonstration in Tumaco (Nariño). state agents before the law, to the detriment of the rights of victims of crimes by the state HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS in the context of the armed conflict. The law Human rights defenders continued to be the also provided for the possibility that the state victims of threats and targeted killings. The would not pursue criminal prosecutions in Office of the UN High Commissioner for certain cases – although how this would be Human Rights reported that at least 105 implemented was not clear – potentially human rights defenders were killed in breaching the obligation of the state to Colombia during the year. There was investigate, prosecute and punish grave violations of human rights, undermining the continuing concern over the increase in the rights of victims to truth and full reparation. number of attacks against defenders, On 27 November, Congress approved the especially community leaders; defenders of land, territory and the environment; and Special Jurisdiction for Peace. those campaigning in favour of the signing of POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES the Final Agreement with the FARC. There continued to be an alarming rate of attacks There were allegations of deliberate killings by state forces and allegations of excessive against defenders of the rights of Indigenous use of force by the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad and Afro-descendant people, peasant (ESMAD) during protests in Chocó, Valle del farmers and women, calling into question the implementation of the Peace Agreement. Cauca, Cauca and Catatumbo. According to the organization Somos Inhabitants of Buenaventura on the Pacific coast reported police repression of peaceful Defensores, the number of killings of defenders increased by 31% in the first half demonstrations which were part of the “Civic Strike” declared on 16 May to demand that of the year compared to the same period in the Colombian government guarantee 2016. The killings of women exercising any economic, social and cultural rights and the kind of leadership role increased compared right of the city’s inhabitants to participate in to 2016, with seven such killings occurring in the implementation of the Peace Agreement the first six months of 2017. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 133

134 by women’s organizations of serious cases of There were reports of killings of Afro- descendant leaders. On 8 June, Afro- sexual violence perpetrated during the year. descendant human rights defender Bernardo According to the organization Sisma Mujer, Cuero Bravo of the National Association of between 1 January 2016 and 31 July 2017, the Ombudsperson issued 51 statements Displaced Afro-Colombians in Malambo, warning of the risk of sexual violence, Atlántico , was killed. He had been threatened including six reports and notes associated and attacked many times on account of his with women defenders/leaders, in which he work for the community and as a defender of highlighted the extraordinary risks faced by those who had been forcibly displaced. women leaders and human rights defenders. Despite his repeated requests, he had not been granted any protection measures by the Due to weak protection mechanisms, there National Protection Unit. was a heightened risk of gender-based In November and December, two land violence, particularly domestic violence claimant leaders from collective Afro- against women, in the context of the transition towards peace. Official figures descendant territories were killed by paramilitaries from the Gaitanistas Self- recognized that following the demobilization Defence Forces of Colombia. There were of the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) in 2005 there was a 28% reports of at least 25 other leaders being increase in cases of sexual violence in the threatened by paramilitaries in these areas communities where ex-combatants from the during the year. Many death threats against human rights AUC were reintegrated. However, the defenders and other activists were attributed government had yet to implement mechanisms for prevention and for ensuring to paramilitary groups, but in most cases of care, assistance, protection and access to killings it was difficult to identify which groups justice for women survivors of sexual were responsible. However, the nature of the violence, notably in communities where work carried out by the victims, many of FARC guerillas were to be reintegrated during whom were community leaders or land and the year. There were also weaknesses in environmental rights activists, suggested that mechanisms to ensure that survivors of several of them may have been killed sexual violence are heard and can participate because of their human rights work. Moreover, it appeared that denouncing equally in all bodies responsible for implementing the Peace Agreement. abuses was perceived as a threat by regional and local economic and political interests, as well as by various armed groups, including 1. AMR Colombia: Paramilitary build-up in peace community ( 7 paramilitaries. ); Colombia: Spike in attacks against peace community 23/5614/2017 News story shows conflict still alive ( , 21 March) VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS Colombia: Paramilitary incursion in humanitarian zone ( AMR 2. 23/5685/2017 ) ’ The efforts of women s organizations ensured that the Peace Agreement established that Colombia: Over 300 displaced due to paramilitary incursion ( 3. AMR ) 23/5826/2017 people suspected of committing crimes of 4. Colombia: Further information: Continued paramilitary presence in sexual violence would be required to appear AMR 23/6082/2017 Chocó ( ) before transitional justice tribunals. In Colombia: Wounaan Indigenous community in danger ( 5. AMR addition, the Agreement confirmed that such 23/6774/2017 ) crimes would not be subject to amnesties or 6. Colombia: Recent collective displacements and violence indicate the pardons, although human rights groups had lack of non-repetition guarantees for Chocó’s Indigenous Peoples and serious reservations as to whether this ) AMR 23/6946/2017 Afro-Colombian communities ( provision would be genuinely implemented. 7. The human rights situation in Colombia – Amnesty International’s Official statistics showed no progress in written statement to the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights ) AMR 23/5573/2017 Council (27 February-24 March 2017) ( access to justice for women survivors of sexual violence, despite repeated allegations Amnesty International Report 2017/18 134

135 Conditions, and the United Forces for Freedom and Democracy. The organizations CONGO (REPUBLIC had intended, during the demonstration, to give the Prime Minister a letter raising OF THE) concerns about the human rights situation. The right to freedom of expression was Republic of the Congo restricted. On 11 January, Ghys Fortuné Denis Sassou Nguesso Head of state: Talassa Dombé Bemba, editor of the Clément Mouamba Head of government: newspaper, was summoned by the judicial police in connection with charges of Dozens of political opponents remained in “complicity in undermining state security”. detention; some were prisoners of This followed his publishing a statement by conscience. There were no investigations into allegations of torture and other ill- Reverend Ntumi, leader of the “Ninjas”, an treatment by security forces and prison armed group operating in the Pool guards. Armed conflict between security department. PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE forces and armed groups continued in Pool; around 81,000 internally displaced people In November Paulin Makaya completed a two-year prison sentence for participating in (IDPs) from the area continued to live in an unauthorized protest. However, he appalling conditions; and the rate of acute remained in prison at the end of the year as a malnutrition reached alarming levels. result of additional charges brought against BACKGROUND him on 6 January 2017 which included “undermining national security, complicity in The government conducted military a plan to escape from detention, and operations, including air strikes, in the complicity in the unlawful possession of arms southeastern department of Pool. Government restrictions and the continuing and munitions of war”. The charges related to a shooting in Brazzaville central prison in armed conflict limited access to the area. December 2016 in which, according to The Congolese Labour Party won 90 of the 151 National Assembly seats in legislative witnesses, he played no part. POLITICAL PRISONERS elections in July while elections in Pool had Little progress was made in judicial been postponed indefinitely due to the conflict. On 23 December, the government proceedings involving opposition leaders and and armed groups led by Frédéric Bintsamou members detained since 2015 for opposing changes to the Constitution, or the (also known as Reverend Ntumi) signed up presidential election results. to a ceasefire in Pool. The opposition Initiative for Democracy in On 31 March, the Republic of the Congo Republican Front for – ratified the International Convention on the the Republic of Congo the Respect of Constitutional Order and Protection of the Rights of All Migrant said – Workers and Members of Their Families. Democratic Change (FROCAD-IDC) that over 100 political prisoners remained in FREEDOMS OF ASSEMBLY AND detention in Brazzaville central prison at the EXPRESSION end of the year. Local human rights organizations compiled a list of names of 90 The authorities used restrictive legislation, political prisoners held during the year. They relating to public gatherings and assemblies, included opposition leaders Okouya Rigobert to curtail the right to freedom of assembly. On of the Convention for Action, Democracy and 23 March, the Prefect of Brazzaville, the capital, rejected a request to hold a peaceful Development (CADD); Jean-Marie Michel demonstration from the Congolese Mokoko, a presidential candidate and retired Observatory of Human Rights, the army general; and Jean Ngouabi, a member of the latter’s campaign team. In January, Association for Human Rights and Prison Amnesty International Report 2017/18 135

136 grounds, in public buildings, or in André Okombi Salissa, former member of the overcrowded makeshift sites. National Assembly and president of CADD, was arrested and detained at the General REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS Directorate of Territorial Surveillance after spending almost a year in hiding. The refugee status of around 10,000 Rwandan refugees expired on 31 December, Also in January, Noël Mienanzambi Boyi, under the Cessation Clause for Rwandan president of the Association for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence and a broadcaster refugees, on the grounds that Rwanda was a safe country. Some of the refugees may be for a community radio station, was arrested in Kinkala, the main town in Pool. The permitted to choose between voluntary authorities claimed that he was transporting repatriation and residency in their host countries, or otherwise retain their refugee medicine and food to Reverend Ntumi, and charged him with “complicity in undermining status if they fulfill certain criteria. state security”. Local NGOs said that he was RIGHT TO FOOD arrested after he agreed to organize According to the UN, 138,000 people in Pool mediation between the authorities and required humanitarian assistance, and over Reverend Ntumi on the government’s 50% of families were food insecure. request. They also alleged that he was tortured in various detention centres before Global Acute Malnutrition − the measurement of the nutritional status of being transferred to Brazzaville central prison in June where he remained at the end of the those in long-term refugee situations – year. affected between 17.3 and 20.4% of IDP children aged under five who fled from Pool. TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT Several cases of torture and other ill- treatment by security services were reported. CÔTE D’IVOIRE No investigations or judicial proceedings into these allegations were conducted by the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire authorities. Alassane Dramane Ouattara Head of state: On 24 January, Modeste Boukadia, Head of government: Amadou Gon Coulibaly (replaced president of the opposition Congolese Circle Daniel Kablan Duncan in January) of Democrats and Republicans, was admitted Around 200 detainees, loyal to former to Clinique Guénin in Pointe Noire city as a result of injuries he sustained when prison President Laurent Gbagbo, awaited trial in guards beat him at Pointe Noire prison in connection with post-electoral violence in 2010 and 2011. Killings in the context of November 2016. The beating resulted in two fractured bones, and caused him to have mutinies and clashes between demobilized high blood pressure and a heart condition. soldiers and security forces were uninvestigated. The rights to freedom of INTERNALLY DISPLACED PEOPLE expression, association and peaceful assembly were restricted; some protests Following fighting between government forces were prohibited. Simone Gbagbo, wife of and the Ninjas armed group, around a third former President Gbagbo, was acquitted of of residents in Pool fled their homes. An estimated 81,000 people were IDPs; 59,000 crimes against humanity and war crimes. The ICC tried Laurent Gbagbo and Charles of them were registered displaced in 2017. Blé Goudé. IDPs were in dire need of shelter, food, water, basic health services and adequate BACKGROUND sanitation. They were forced to live with families in host communities, on church The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) concluded its mission in June, 13 years after Amnesty International Report 2017/18 136

137 One student said the police arrested her with its establishment by the UN Security Council. her friends in her room, and beat her. Some The UN Independent Expert praised Côte of those arrested had thrown stones at the d’Ivoire’s gradual progress towards national police, but others were peaceful. All were reconciliation and stability which, he warned, charged with disruption of public order and was fragile given the unrest in January. The government launched an investigation, provisionally released after 20 days. supported by UN investigators, into the IMPUNITY discovery of an arms cache in a house owned People suspected of supporting former by a close aide of the President of the National Assembly. President Gbagbo were tried for human rights In July, there were several attacks by armed violations committed during and after the 2010 election. In contrast, none of President groups. Three soldiers were killed when Ouattara’s supporters were arrested or tried armed men attacked a military camp in in connection with human rights violations. Korhogo in the north. In May Simone Gbagbo was acquitted of FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION crimes against humanity and war crimes by Legislation which contained provisions that the Assize Court of Abidjan. Victims of human rights violations were denied their curtailed the right to freedom of expression, legal right to participate in the hearing. New including in relation to defamation, offending lawyers, appointed by the head of the bar the President and disseminating false news, was adopted. after her lawyers withdrew in 2016, also pulled out in March saying the Court was In February, six journalists were detained for irregularly constituted because a judge was two days in the city of Abidjan, accused of appointed after the trial had begun. divulging false information on army mutinies. Around 200 supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, They were not charged but continued to be summoned by authorities for questioning. arrested since 2011 for crimes allegedly committed during the post-electoral violence, In August, two Le Quotidien journalists were arrested over an article they wrote about the were still detained awaiting trial. Two of them − Assi Jean Kouatchi and Bonfils Todé – died National Assembly President’s finances. in custody in 2017. FREEDOMS OF ASSOCIATION AND Some detainees were provisionally released ASSEMBLY and awaited trial. They included Antoinette Meho, a member of civil society organization In February, the police used tear gas and Solidarité Wé, released in May. She was rubber bullets to repress a peaceful protest charged with undermining state security. In by cocoa planters and National Agricultural Union members in Abidjan. December Hubert Oulaye, a former minister In July, demobilized soldiers held peaceful who was provisionally released in June, and Maurice Djire, were sentenced to 20 years in protests in Bouaké city calling on the government to deliver on promises made prison for the murder of, and complicity in after protests in May (see below). Amadou the murder of, UN soldiers in 2012. Despite Ouattara, Mégbè Diomandé and Lassina defence lawyers’ requests, the court did not Doumbia, members of “Cellule 39” (an provide testimonies from two prosecution association of demobilized soldiers), were witnesses during their trial. In July, Adou Assoa, another former arrested and charged with public disorder and organizing an unauthorized protest. minister was sentenced to four years’ At least 40 students were arrested in imprisonment for public disorder but cleared September after FESCI (Fédération of charges of undermining state security. estudiantine et scolaire de Côte d’Ivoire) David Samba, opposition activist and president of the NGO Coalition des Indignés organized protests across the country against police violence and increased university fees. de Côte d’Ivoire, completed his six-month Amnesty International Report 2017/18 137

138 where 540,000 litres of toxic waste were sentence for public disorder in March 2016. Prior to completing that sentence, he was dumped in Abidjan in 2006. The waste had been produced by the company Trafigura. charged with a new offence of undermining state security in relation to an attempted The authorities had still not assessed the long-term health risks to individuals of uprising in Dabou in 2015 and was held exposure to the chemicals in the waste or pending trial at the end of the year. monitored victims’ health. Compensation MUTINIES claims against the company continued At least 10 people were killed and dozens although many had not received payments. wounded in mutinies and clashes between the security forces and demobilized soldiers. Four people were killed between 12 and 14 May during a mutiny in Bouaké which spread CROATIA to other cities. It was led by soldiers who had been integrated into the army in 2011 and Republic of Croatia were demanding the payment of bonuses. On Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović Head of state: 13 May a group of mutineers went to the Head of government: Andrej Plenković office of “Cellule 39” and shot at them, in response to “Cellule 39” condemning the Discrimination against ethnic and sexual munity. Issoufou Diawara was killed after he minorities persisted. Refugees and migrants entering irregularly were returned without was shot in the back, and several were access to an effective asylum process. wounded. The violence ended when the government agreed to meet the mutineers’ Croatia accepted less than a 10th of the payment demands. refugees and asylum-seekers it had committed to relocate and resettle under On 22 May, four demobilized soldiers were killed in clashes with police when they held EU schemes. Access to abortion remained restricted. protests calling for an agreement equivalent to the one obtained by the mutineers. They CRIMES UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW said they were unarmed when police fired on them. (The demobilized soldiers were former Of the over 6,000 people who went missing members of armed groups who fought on the during the 1991-1995 war, the fate and whereabouts of more than 1,500 remained side of President Ouattara during the 2010-2011 election violence.) unclarified. The International Commission on There was no indication that suspected Missing Persons reported that Croatia failed perpetrators, including security forces, would to make significant steps towards fulfilling the rights to truth, justice and reparation for be brought to justice for human rights violations by the end of the year. victims, including by failing to account for over 900 unidentified mortal remains in its INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE mortuaries. The ICC trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles DISCRIMINATION Blé Goudé for crimes against humanity, including murder and rape during the post- Discrimination against ethnic and sexual electoral violence, continued. In July, the ICC minorities remained widespread. Appeals Chamber ordered the Trial Chamber Civil society organizations criticized new government proposals for a national strategy to review its ruling to deny Laurent Gbagbo’s provisional release. and action plan to fight discrimination that were presented in March. The policies CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY subsequently adopted by the government in The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) December failed to reflect and adequately delayed until 2018 the publication of its address human rights violations faced by assessment of lasting pollution at the 18 sites Serbs, Roma and sexual minorities. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 138

139 Unaccompanied minors represented a In February, the European Court of Human v. Croatia Škorjanec quarter of all asylum-seekers in the country. Rights found in that the By the end of the year, fewer than 200 authorities had failed to guarantee the applicant’s right to be free from torture and asylum-seekers had been granted international protection. other inhuman or degrading treatment by Croatia committed to accept 1,600 refugees failing to adequately investigate and and asylum-seekers under the EU prosecute the racist motives of the assailants who violently attacked and beat the applicant resettlement and relocation schemes by the and her partner, who is Roma, in 2013. end of the year; by mid-November, fewer than 100 people had been relocated, and REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS none had been resettled. In June, amendments introduced to the Law Croatia continued to return to Serbia refugees on Foreigners forbade the provision of and migrants who entered the country assistance in accessing basic needs, such as irregularly, without granting them access to housing, health, sanitation or food, to foreign an effective asylum process. These push- nationals irregularly residing in Croatia, backs by police, sometimes from deep inside except in cases of medical and humanitarian Croatian territory, routinely involved coercion, emergencies or life-threatening situations. intimidation, confiscation or destruction of private valuables and the disproportionate VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS use of force by the police. In July, the Court of Justice of the European The criminal justice system continued to fail Union ruled that Croatia had acted against many victims of domestic abuse by routinely treating abuse as a minor offence. the rules of the Dublin Regulation (which In June, the European Court of Human defines which EU member state has the Ž.B. Rights found in that the v. Croatia obligation to evaluate the asylum claims) by allowing transit for refugees and migrants authorities violated the right to respect for through the country in 2015 without private and family life of a victim of multiple examining applications for international instances of domestic violence. The protection. authorities had failed to criminally prosecute the alleged perpetrator and establish the The NGOs Are You Syrious and Centre for facts, suggesting that the victim should have Peace Studies documented that between January and April, at least 30 asylum acted by herself as a subsidiary prosecutor and pursued private prosecution. applications – including those from families Croatia had yet to ratify the Council of with children – had been dismissed on the Europe Convention on preventing and grounds of “security concerns” during a routine security check carried out by the combating violence against women and domestic violence. Security and Intelligence Agency as part of the asylum process. The notes of these RIGHT TO HEALTH applications were marked as “classified” and In April, the UN Special Rapporteur on the could not be seen and thus could not be rebutted or challenged on appeal by those right of everyone to the enjoyment of the seeking asylum or their legal representatives. highest attainable standard of physical and Cases with classified notes led to an mental health noted with concern the automatic rejection by the Ministry of Interior. renewed and pending revision of the 1978 Subsequently, the failed asylum-seekers were Act on Health Care Measures for Exercising at risk of expulsion from the country and at the Right to a Free Decision on Giving Birth, heightened risk of refoulement – a measure which could potentially restrict access to abortion. Individual doctors, and in some forcing an individual to return to a country where they would risk serious human rights cases health care institutions, continued to violations. refuse abortions on grounds of conscience, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 139

140 forcing women to undergo clandestine and economic embargo on Cuba, which continued to undermine economic, social unsafe abortions. In March, the Constitutional and cultural rights. Court ruled against a challenge seeking the At least 12 lawyers from the human rights 1978 Act to be declared unconstitutional and called on the national assembly to refrain organization Cubalex received asylum in the from adopting any laws which would USA after being harassed, intimidated and threatened with imprisonment for their effectively ban abortions. In pharmacies, peaceful human rights work. women and girls continued to be assessed Cuba had not ratified the ICCPR or the against a questionnaire for which they had to ICESCR, both of which it signed in February reveal personal information about their sexual behaviour and reproductive health as a 2008, nor the Rome Statute of the ICC. condition of accessing emergency In December the government announced that President contraceptives that were available without Raúl Castro would step down in April 2018. prescription, in violation of their right to privacy. ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS Roma children and women continued to be disadvantaged in accessing health care, and Human rights and political activists continued to be harassed, intimidated and arbitrarily one fifth of this group lacked access to it altogether. detained in high numbers. The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, a Cuban NGO not officially recognized by the state, recorded 5,155 CUBA arbitrary detentions in 2017, compared to 9,940 in 2016. Republic of Cuba The Ladies in White, a group of female Raúl Castro Ruz Head of state and government: relatives of prisoners detained on politically motivated grounds, remained one of the Arbitrary detentions, discriminatory primary targets of repression by the dismissals from state jobs, and harassment in self-employment continued to be used to authorities. During detention, the women silence criticism. Advances in education were often beaten by law enforcement were undermined by ongoing online and officials and state security agents dressed as offline censorship. Cuba remained mostly civilians. In January, Danilo Maldonado Machado, closed to independent human rights monitors. known as El Sexto, was released from a maximum security prison. He had been BACKGROUND arrested in November 2016, hours after the announcement of Fidel Castro’s death, for Lifting of travel restrictions on Cubans in 2013, removal of limits on receiving on a wall having written Se fue (“He’s gone”) 1 remittances, and the draw of visa-free in the capital, Havana. In August, Yulier Perez, a graffiti artist countries continued to be important push factors for emigration. Cubans continued to known for painting dilapidated walls in leave in large numbers, despite the country’s Havana, was arbitrarily detained after months changing international diplomacy, pushed by of intimidation and harassment from the exceptionally low salaries and a tight web of authorities for freely expressing himself 2 control on freedom of expression. through his art. In June, the administration of US President PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE Donald Trump made an almost complete The leader of the pro-democracy Christian reversal of the USA’s political rhetoric towards Cuba. This reduced the chance of US Liberation Movement, Dr Eduardo Cardet Congress passing legislation to lift the Concepción, remained in prison having been Amnesty International Report 2017/18 140

141 lawyers limited effective recourse through the handed a three-year sentence in March for 3 courts. publicly criticizing Fidel Castro. A family of four human rights defenders RIGHT TO EDUCATION were detained in Holguín, southeast Cuba, for allegedly leaving their house during the Undue restrictions in access to information and freedom of expression online followed period of state mourning for Fidel Castro in decades of offline censorship, undermining 2016. The three siblings were given one-year Cuba’s advances in education. prison sentences for “defamation of Between May and mid-June, the Open institutions, organizations and heroes and martyrs of the Republic of Cuba” and “public Observatory of Network Interference 4 disorder”. conducted testing on a sample of websites in Their mother was sentenced to Cuba and found 41 sites blocked by the house arrest. On 2 April, after a prolonged authorities. All the blocked sites expressed hunger strike, the three siblings were freed criticism of the Cuban government, reported under conditional release, but they continued on human rights issues, or discussed to be intimidated by the authorities. techniques to bypass censorship. Jorge Cervantes, a member of the political opposition group Patriotic Union of Cuba While the government continued to expand (UNPACU), was detained for approximately access to the internet, it prioritized access to the highly censored, government-curated three months between May and August. national intranet. Access to the global Weeks before, UNPACU had published on its internet remained prohibitively expensive for YouTube channel a video called “Horrors in 7 most Cubans. jail” in which Jorge Cervantes interviewed a man who had allegedly been ill-treated in a INTERNATIONAL SCRUTINY Cuban prison, and a series of videos which 5 alleged corruption by public officials. In April, the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons conducted a visit to The authorities continued to present Cuba, and in July the country received the trumped-up charges for common crimes as a UN independent expert on human rights and way to harass and detain political opponents, international solidarity. meaning there were likely many more Most independent human rights prisoners of conscience than documented. organizations continued to be denied access WORKERS’ RIGHTS to the country and to its prisons. Cuba remained the only country in the Americas The state continued to use its control – as the region to deny access to Amnesty biggest employer in the country, and as a regulator of the private sector – as a way to International. stifle even the most subtle criticism of the 6 government. Politically motivated and ) AMR 25/5545/2017 Cuban graffiti artist released ( 1. discriminatory dismissals continued to be 2. Urban artist at risk in Cuba ( AMR 25/7000/2017 ) used against those who criticized the Cuba: Activist sentenced to three years in jail after criticizing Fidel 3. government’s economic or political model. , 21 March) News story Castro ( Workers pushed out of employment in the ) AMR 25/6001/2017 Cuba: Prisoners of conscience on hunger strike ( 4. public sector for freely expressing themselves Cuba: Opposition activist in maximum security prison ( 5. AMR were often further harassed after entering the 25/6671/2017 ) emerging but highly regulated self- s web of control over free 6. ’ Cuba: “Your mind is in prison” – Cuba employment sector. expression and its chilling effect on everyday life ( AMR The de facto prohibition on independent 25/7299/2017 ) trade unions limited workers’ ability to 7. Cuba’s internet paradox: How controlled and censored internet risks independently organize and appeal against Cuba’s achievements in education ( , 29 August) News story discriminatory dismissals. The executive’s strong influence over the judiciary and Amnesty International Report 2017/18 141

142 In September, the NGO Future Worlds Center warned of the need for a contingency CYPRUS reception plan, especially in case of an increase in refugees arriving by boat. Republic of Cyprus According to the UN Migration Agency, 851 Head of state and government: Nicos Anastasiades people arrived by boat on Cyprus between January and November 2017 in comparison UN-backed peace talks for the reunification to 345 in the previous year. of the island collapsed in early July. Reception conditions for asylum-seekers ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES remained a cause of concern. Between January and the end of December, BACKGROUND the Committee of Missing Persons in Cyprus After intense negotiations, high-level peace exhumed the remains of 46 people, bringing the total number of exhumations since 2006 talks for the reunification of Cyprus failed to to 1,217. Between 2007 and 31 December reach an agreement in early July. The Greek- 2017, the remains of 855 missing individuals Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot leaders could not (645 Greek Cypriots and 210 Turkish agree on security, including the withdrawal of Cypriots) were identified. Turkish troops, and property issues. REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS DISCRIMINATION – PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES In February, the Supreme Court rejected an In May, the UN Committee on the Rights of application challenging the detention and extradition of Seif el-Din Mostafa, an Egyptian Persons with Disabilities expressed concerns national accused of hijacking an EgyptAir about the insufficient access to health care by people with disabilities, the high level of plane in March 2016. Despite concerns he unemployment among them and the would be at real risk of torture or other ill- treatment if returned to Egypt, the Supreme insufficient measures to promote their access to employment in an open labour market. Court decided not to accept additional evidence regarding the risk of torture. The TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT Court held that the applicant could be extradited regardless of his not having had a In April, the European Court of Human Rights final decision in his asylum claim. In found that the Cypriot Ombudsperson and the national police complaints mechanism November, the Supreme Court also rejected an appeal lodged against its previous had failed to investigate effectively the alleged ill-treatment of a Kenyan national during his decision. However, on the same day the ). Thuo v. Cyprus deportation in March 2007 ( European Court of Human Rights halted Seif el-Din Mostafa’s extradition to Egypt. The Court also held that the applicant’s detention conditions in Nicosia Central Prison In May, the CERD Committee expressed amounted to degrading treatment. concerns about the limited employment At the end of August, a 60-year-old Turkish options for asylum-seekers living on the national claimed to have been ill-treated by a island, the insufficient amount of social police officer outside and inside a police assistance they received and the limited station near a designated crossing point of reception facilities. The Committee also the UN Buffer Zone. The incident was being raised concern about the insufficient access investigated by the national police complaints to services for those asylum-seekers staying at the Kofinou Reception and mechanism at the end of the year. Accommodation Center for Applicants for International Protection, the only official centre hosting asylum-seekers on the island. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 142

143 affect new tenants or those who move to or within these zones. NGOs raised concerns CZECH REPUBLIC that the new regulation would disproportionately affect Roma and poor Czech Republic people. Miloš Zeman Head of state: Andrej Babiš (replaced Bohuslav Head of government: Sobotka in December) REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS The Czech Republic accepted only 12 asylum-seekers out of the 2,691 it had been The government refused to participate in assigned under the 2015 EU Emergency the EU mandatory refugee relocation quotas. Despite reforms, Roma pupils Relocation Scheme – which aimed to relocate continued to be segregated in schools. An refugees from EU member states such as Greece and Italy – by the end of the year. In amendment allowing municipalities to June, the European Commission started declare zones of “socially pathological behaviour” with restricted access to housing infringement procedures against the Czech Republic, as well as Poland and Hungary, for benefits entered into force. refusing to participate in the scheme. In July, DISCRIMINATION – ROMA the government stated it would not accept any further asylum-seekers. In December, RIGHT TO EDUCATION the European Commission decided to step up One year after the reform of the primary education system that aimed to facilitate the the action against all three countries and referred them to the Court of Justice of the inclusion of pupils from disadvantaged European Union over their refusal to accept backgrounds into mainstream schools, Roma the asylum-seekers under the scheme. children continued to face discrimination in There were 974 applications made for access to education. In July, the government international protection by the end of the published data which showed that over 24% year. Thirteen people were successful in their of Roma pupils continued to be educated in applications; 79 applications were rejected. ethnically segregated schools. Sixteen asylum-seekers from Afghanistan In March, a district court ordered a primary school in the city of Ostrava to apologize to were refused an extension to their temporary protection. The government continued to two Roma pupils. The school had refused to register the pupils in 2014, claiming that it base such asylum decisions on its arbitrary designation of certain areas in Afghanistan as had reached full capacity. Legal guardians of “safe”, despite evidence to the contrary and the pupils complained that the director justified his decision by claiming that non- with violence continuing to escalate in Roma parents could start removing their Afghanistan during the year. children from the school as there were RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA already nine Roma pupils registered in that High-level government officials, including the grade. The court held that a fear of “white President, made xenophobic statements flight” could not justify the treatment of pupils on the basis their ethnicity. about refugees and migrants. During the pre- election campaign, the Minister of Interior RIGHT TO HOUSING In July, an amendment to the law on welfare presented as a success the restrictive policies benefits entered into force and dozens of that led refugees to avoid the Czech municipalities announced that they would Republic. restrict access to housing allowances. The In February, the police discontinued their amendment allows municipalities to declare investigation into the 2016 death of a Roma zones of “socially pathological behaviour” man at a pizzeria in Žatec, determining that no crime had been committed. The man died where residents would be barred from after he was restrained by municipal police claiming some housing allowances. This will Amnesty International Report 2017/18 143

144 officers and some customers as a result of his allegedly aggressive behaviour. The DEMOCRATIC victim’s family had filed a complaint against the police in January, alleging that the REPUBLIC OF THE investigation was not thorough; their lawyer criticized the police for failing to secure the CONGO scene and evidence. In May, the Council of Europe Democratic Republic of the Congo Commissioner for Human Rights urged the Head of state: Joseph Kabila Czech authorities to remove a pig farm from Bruno Tshibala Nzenze (replaced Head of government: the site of a former Nazi concentration camp, Samy Badibanga Ntita in April) where most of the victims were Roma, in the The human rights situation further village of Lety u Písku. While appreciating the deteriorated. Violence in the Kasaï region government’s efforts to buy the land, the Commissioner was concerned over the length left thousands dead, at least 1 million internally displaced, and caused more than of the process, and the government’s 35,000 people to flee for neighbouring repeated failure to remove the pig farm and create a memorial as a measure of reparation Angola. In the east, armed groups and for the Roma who suffered and died there government forces continued to target civilians and engage in illegal exploitation during the Second World War. In November, of natural resources with impunity. Police, the government signed a contract to buy off intelligence services and courts continued the land from the owner of the pig farm and made a commitment to build a memorial on to crack down on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful the site. assembly. Human rights defenders and SECURITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS journalists were harassed, intimidated, arbitrarily arrested, expelled or killed. The Czech Republic continued to export arms to countries where there was a BACKGROUND substantial risk that such arms could be used President Kabila remained in post although to commit or facilitate serious human rights his second constitutional term ended on 19 violations, including the unlawful use of force against protesters or opposition groups. In December 2016. A political agreement was signed in December 2016 by the ruling May, during an arms fair in the city of Brno, coalition, the opposition and some civil the President stated that the Czech arms society organizations. It provided that industry needed to “export globally”, denying that the country had responsibility to prevent President Kabila would remain in power, and the re-export of its equipment to countries a government of national unity would be which are “not safe”. appointed, led by a Prime Minister designated by the Rassemblement, the main opposition, with the task of organizing the elections by December 2017. The agreement established the National Council for the Implementation of the Accord and the Electoral Process (CNSA) to monitor progress, led by Rassemblement leader Etienne Tshisekedi. The agreement included a commitment by President Kabila to adhere to the constitutional two-term limit and not undertake a revision or change of the Constitution. Implementation of the Amnesty International Report 2017/18 144

145 Congolese and foreign journalists were agreement stalled over the appointment and distribution of political posts to the intimidated, harassed and arbitrarily arrested and detained while carrying out their work. In transitional institutions. In February Etienne many cases, their equipment was confiscated Tshisekedi died. In April, President Kabila or they had to erase recorded data. The unilaterally appointed Bruno Tshibala as Minister of Communication issued a decree Prime Minister; the Rassemblement refused in July introducing new rules requiring to recognize the appointment. In July, Joseph Olenghankoy was also unilaterally appointed foreign correspondents to obtain authorization from the Minister to travel as chairman of the CNSA. The main opposition leaders, the Catholic Church and outside the capital, Kinshasa. In August, the day before a two-day protest, the international community denounced organized by the opposition, calling on these appointments as violating the people across the country to stay at home to agreement. Voter registration in the run-up to the encourage the publication of an electoral calendar, the Post and Telecommunications elections was significantly delayed. In July, the president of the Independent National Regulatory Authority ordered telecommunication companies to strictly limit Electoral Commission announced that all social media activity and communication. elections could not be held in December 2017, on grounds including the security FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY situation in the Kasaï region. Violence that erupted in 2016 over the Authorities continued to ban and repress public dissent and peaceful assemblies killing of Chief Kamuena Nsapu spread to five organized by civil society organizations and provinces, triggering an unprecedented the opposition, especially protests concerning humanitarian crisis. In the east, several armed groups stepped up their attacks to the political crisis and elections. Opposition expel President Kabila. Both the Democratic peaceful protesters were intimidated, harassed and arrested by security forces; Republic of the Congo (DRC) security forces and the UN Organization Stabilization government supporters’ demonstrations took place without interference from the Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) were unable authorities. to tackle the insecurity and neutralize more than 40 local or foreign armed groups that On 31 July, more than 100 people, remained active. including 11 Congolese and foreign The annual inflation rate increased by journalists, were arrested during country-wide around 50% in 2017, contributing to demonstrations organized by the Struggle for deepening levels of poverty. Strikes were held Change (LUCHA), to demand the publication of the electoral calendar. A journalist was demanding salary increases for teachers, university professors, doctors, nurses and charged in connection with the protest and civil servants. A cholera epidemic affected at remained in detention in Lubumbashi; four demonstrators received prison sentences. least 24,000 people; over 500 died between The others were released without charge the January and September. same or following day. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE Press freedom and the right to information were restricted. The granting of visas and Protests other than those organized by accreditations to foreign correspondents was government supporters were often met with excessive and sometimes lethal force. drastically limited. At least one journalist, a Belgian national, was expelled in September; On 15 September, in Kamanyola, the army a French national and a US national were and police fired at a crowd of Burundian unable to renew accreditation in June and refugees protesting the detention and deportation of four refugees by DRC August respectively. On at least 15 occasions, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 145

146 people; 62 were children, 30 of them aged intelligence services; 39 protesters were under 8. killed, including at least eight women and five children, and at least 100 were injured. No VIOLATIONS BY SECURITY FORCES The Congolese police and army carried out legal action was known to have been taken hundreds of extrajudicial killings, rapes, against the perpetrators by the end of the year. arbitrary arrests and acts of extortion. Between February and April, internet videos HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS showed soldiers executing alleged Kamuena Nsapu followers, including young children. Human rights defenders and youth activists The victims were armed with sticks or were targeted by security forces and armed defective rifles, or were simply wearing red groups for their work; they included Alex headbands. The government initially Tsongo Sikuliwako and Alphonse Kaliyamba, dismissed the accusations, saying they were killed in North Kivu. “fabricated” to discredit the army. However, In May, the Senate passed a bill purporting in February it acknowledged that “excesses” to strengthen protection for human rights had taken place and pledged to prosecute defenders. However, the bill contained a restrictive definition of what constituted a those suspected of serious human rights violations and abuses in the region, including human rights defender. It strengthened the its security forces. state ’ s control over human rights LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY organizations, and threatened to curtail their activities. It could result in the non- On 6 July, seven army soldiers were given sentences of between one year and life recognition of human rights organizations. imprisonment in connection with extrajudicial CONFLICT IN THE KASAÏ REGION executions in Mwanza-Lomba, a village in Kasaï Oriental province. The sentences Violence in the region, which erupted in followed a trial in which the victims were not 2016, spread to five provinces and left identified and nor were their relatives given thousands dead, and by 25 September, 1 million were internally displaced; there was the opportunity to testify before the court or widespread destruction of social seek reparations. On 12 March, Swedish national Zaida infrastructure and villages. Militias emerged, which increasingly attacked people on the Catalan and US national Michael Sharp, both basis of their ethnicity, namely those members of the UN Security Council DRC Sanctions Committee’s Group of Experts, perceived to support the Kamuena Nsapu uprising. were executed during an investigative Followers of Kamuena Nsapu were mission in the Kasaï Central province. Their suspected of human rights abuses in the bodies were found 16 days later, near Bunkonde village. Zaida Catalan had been region, including recruitment of child beheaded. Three of their drivers and an soldiers, rapes, killings, destruction of over 300 schools and of markets, churches, police interpreter who accompanied them stations and government buildings. disappeared and had not been found by the The Bana Mura militia was formed around end of the year. In April, the authorities March by individuals from the Tshokwe, showed diplomats and journalists in Kinshasa a video of the execution of the two experts; Pende and Tetela ethnic groups with the the origins of the video remained unknown. support of local traditional leaders and security officials. It launched attacks against The video, which claimed that Kamuena the Luba and Lulua communities whom it Nsapu “terrorists” were the perpetrators, was shared on the internet and admitted as accused of supporting the Kamuena Nsapu uprising. Between March and June, there evidence in the ongoing military court trial of were reports that in Kamonia territory, the the people accused of the killings. The trial began on 5 June in the city of Kananga. Bana Mura and the army killed around 251 Amnesty International Report 2017/18 146

147 Bundu dia Congore, resulted in the escape of In June, the UN Human Rights Council over 4,000 prisoners. On 11 June, 930 established an independent international prisoners escaped from the Kangbayi central inquiry, which was opposed by the prison in Beni city, including dozens government, to investigate serious human rights violations in the Kasaï province. In July, convicted a few months earlier for killing the UN High Commissioner for Human civilians in the Beni area. Hundreds of other detainees escaped from prisons and police Rights announced the appointment of an detention centres in Bandundu-ville, international team of experts, which in September began investigating the incidents Kasangulu, Kalemie, Matete (Kinshasa), Walikale, Dungu, Bukavu, Kabinda, Uvira, and is expected to issue its findings in June 2018. Bunia, Mwenga and Pweto. Prisons were overcrowded, and conditions CONFLICT IN EASTERN DRC remained dire, with inadequate food and Chronic instability and conflict continued to drinking water, and poor health care. Dozens of prisoners died of starvation and disease. contribute to grave human rights violations and abuses. In the Beni region, civilians were CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY targeted and killed. On 7 October, 22 people were killed on the Mbau-Kamango road by In August, the Ministry of Mines validated a unidentified armed men. National Strategy to Combat Child Labour in Mining. National and international civil Kidnappings increased in North Kivu; at least 100 cases were recorded in Goma city. society groups were given the opportunity to In North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri, dozens of provide feedback. The government armed groups and security forces continued announced that it would “progressively” implement many of their recommendations to commit murder, rape, extortion, and to and eradicate child labour by 2025. engage in illegal exploitation of natural resources. The conflict between the Hutu and Nande in North Kivu resulted in deaths, displacement and destruction, especially in DENMARK the Rutshuru and Lubero areas. In the Tanganyika and Haut-Katanga Kingdom of Denmark provinces, communal violence between the Head of state: Queen Margrethe II Twa and the Luba continued. In Tanganyika Head of government: Lars Løkke Rasmussen the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) reached 500,000. Between January The government annulled an agreement with UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, to and September, over 5,700 Congolese fled to Zambia to escape the conflict. accept refugees for resettlement. The classification of transgender identities as a Despite the security situation, the authorities “mental disorder” was ended. continued to close IDP camps around the town of Kalemie, forcing displaced people to REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS return to their villages or to live in even worse conditions. Denmark failed to accept any refugees for resettlement. The government annulled its DETENTION standing agreement with UNHCR to receive There was an unprecedented number of 500 refugees annually for resettlement. From prison breakouts across the country; January 2018, the government, not thousands escaped, and dozens died. On 17 Parliament, will decide each year if Denmark May, an attack was carried out on Makala is to accept refugees for resettlement. Individuals granted subsidiary temporary Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Centre, Kinshasa’s main prison. The attack, which protection status had to wait three years before being eligible to apply for family the authorities blamed on the political group Amnesty International Report 2017/18 147

148 reunification. In May, the High Court of RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, Eastern Denmark ruled that the TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE postponement of family reunification of a In January, Parliament’s landmark 2016 Syrian refugee with his wife was not in resolution to end the pathologization of violation of the right to family life under the transgender identities was implemented. However, existing procedural rules on access European Convention on Human Rights. In to hormone treatment and gender-affirming November, the Supreme Court confirmed this ruling. surgery continued to unreasonably prolong the gender recognition process for In January, the Supreme Court ruled that transgender people. the compulsory overnight stay and twice daily reporting regime at a centre for individuals on No national guidelines from the Danish Health Authority outlined how doctors should “tolerated stay” (those excluded from treat children with variations of sex protection but who could not be deported), characteristics and the approach was not constituted a disproportionate measure human rights-based. This allowed non- amounting to custody when extended beyond emergency invasive and irreversible medical a period of four years. The government procedures to be carried out on children, implemented the ruling, but also decided that typically under the age of 10, in violation of any person leaving the centre to live with their family would lose their right to health the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. These procedures can be carried out care and financial assistance for food. In March, the Parliamentary Ombudsman despite the lack of medical research to support the need for surgical intervention, concluded that government policy to separate asylum-seeking couples when one partner and despite documentation of the risk of 1 lifelong harmful effects. In October the UN was under the age of 18 was a violation of the Danish Act on Public Administration and Committee on the Rights of the Child raised concerns regarding surgical interventions on possibly a violation of the right to family life. intersex children. The policy did not provide for a process to determine whether the separation was in the interest of the younger spouse and did not Europe: First, do no harm − ensuring the rights of children with 1. consider their opinion. variations of sex characteristics in Denmark and Germany ( EUR ) 01/6086/2017 VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN In April, a proposal by the opposition to introduce a consent-based definition of rape, DOMINICAN in line with the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence REPUBLIC against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) ratified by Denmark in Dominican Republic 2014, was rejected in Parliament. In Danilo Medina Sánchez Head of state and government: November, the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Limited progress was made in solving the Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) statelessness crisis. Abortion remained encouraged the Danish authorities to change criminalized in all circumstances. Excessive the current sexual violence legislation and use of force by the police and gender-based base it on the notion of freely given consent violence continued. as required by the Istanbul Convention. BACKGROUND The Dominican Republic suffered from a series of natural disasters that hit the Caribbean during the year, including two Amnesty International Report 2017/18 148

149 major hurricanes in September. This, along The naturalization plan established by Law 169-14 for people in “Group B” (those whose with previous flooding earlier in the year, left tens of thousands of people temporarily birth was never registered in the Dominican Civil Registry) had made little or no progress displaced and badly damaged infrastructure. during the year. Of the 8,755 individuals who Like many small, developing island states, the Dominican Republic remained very were able to register under the new plan (16% of the estimated 53,000 people in vulnerable to climate change, which scientists linked to the increasingly extreme Group B, according to the government), it was believed that as few as 6,545 had had weather. On 21 September, the Dominican their files approved by the authorities by the Republic ratified the UN Paris Agreement on end of the year. The law required a two-year climate change. waiting period after the approval of the Allegations that several Dominican officials registration for them to be able to formally were bribed by the Brazilian construction request their naturalization as Dominicans. company Odebrecht triggered massive By the end of the year no one was known to country-wide demonstrations against corruption under the Green March have been naturalized under the new plan. Most of the individuals affected remained movement. In September, the Inter-American stateless in the absence of another Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held nationality. a public hearing on the issue of “human During the year, the authorities failed to rights and reports of impunity and corruption discuss, design or implement new solutions in the Dominican Republic”. to guarantee the right to nationality for the In May, the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children visited tens of thousands of Dominican-born people who could not benefit from Law 169-14, in the country. She urged the government to put particular the remaining 84% of those in child protection at the core of any tourism strategy. Group B, and all those who were left out of the scope of the 2014 legislation. DISCRIMINATION – STATELESS Responding to this situation, in April the PERSONS IACHR incorporated the Dominican Republic in Chapter IV.B of its annual report that The Dominican Republic continued to fail to uphold its international human rights included countries in need of special human obligations with respect to the large number rights attention. of stateless people born in the country who By the end of the year, no public official had were retroactively and arbitrarily deprived of been held accountable for discriminatory their Dominican nationality in practices in granting registration and identity 1 documents, including for the 2013 mass September 2013. arbitrary deprivation of nationality. Affected Law 169-14, adopted in May 2014 to address the statelessness crisis, continued to people continued to be denied a range of be poorly implemented. According to official human rights and were prevented from accessing higher education, formal statistics, only 13,500 people of the so-called “Group A” created by the law (out of an employment or adequate health care, among official estimate of 61,000 individuals) were other things. able to access some sort of Dominican POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES identity document proving their Dominican nationality. In the meantime, many had their The Office of the Prosecutor General reported original birth certificates nullified and their 110 killings by security forces between new ones transferred to a separate civil January and October. The circumstances registry without the necessary measures in around many of the killings suggested that place to avoid further discrimination. they may have been unlawful. The homicide Amnesty International Report 2017/18 149

150 rate remained high, at nearly 16 per 100,000 of killings of women and girls, compared with inhabitants during the first half of the year. the same period in 2016. The media reported allegations of the RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, repeated use of unnecessary and excessive TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE force by the police during social protests. The Dominican Republic continued to lack REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS legislation to combat hate crimes. In June, The authorities remained unable to process the body of a transgender woman, Rubi Mori, 4 most of the cases of irregular migrants that By was found dismembered in wasteland. they received during the National the end of the year, no one had been brought to justice for her killing. Regularization Plan for Foreigners with Irregular Migration Status that operated between 2014 and 2015. As a result, in July 1. Dominican Republic: What does it take to solve a statelessness the authorities renewed for a further year the crisis? ( News story , 23 May) temporary “regularization carnets” issued to 2. Dominican Republic: Vote against decriminalization of abortion, a registered individuals, allowing them to stay Press release betrayal to women ( , 1 June) in the country. 3. República Dominicana: Amnistía Internacional y Oxfam llaman a AMR Cámara de Diputados a garantizar derechos de las mujeres ( ); Dominican Republic: Further information - Congress 27/6605/2017 SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ); Dominican rejects regressive abortion reform ( AMR 27/6724/2017 The Dominican Republic remained one of the Republic: Further information: Abortion vote pending after President’s few countries worldwide that criminalized ) veto ( AMR 27/5478/2017 abortion without exception. 4. Dominican Republic: Horrifying killing of transgender woman In May the Senate voted against a proposal, , 6 News story highlights need for protection against discrimination ( June) supported by President Medina, to 2 On 11 July the decriminalize abortion. Senate’s vote was rejected by the Chamber of Deputies, providing the possibility of future ECUADOR reforms that would protect the rights of 3 women and girls. Republic of Ecuador Lenín Boltaire Moreno Head of state and government: In August, a petition was presented to the Garcés (replaced Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado IACHR seeking justice and reparation for the in May) death in 2012 of 16-year-old Rosaura Almonte Hernández, publicly known as Indigenous leaders, human rights defenders “Esperancita”. Because of the country’s and staff of NGOs faced persecution and restrictive legislation on abortion, Rosaura harassment amid continuing restrictions on Almonte Hernández, who was seven weeks the rights to freedom of expression and pregnant, was denied life-saving treatment association. The right to free, prior and for leukaemia for several days and died shortly after. informed consent of Indigenous Peoples continued to be restricted. The Bill to An investigation published in August by the NGO Women’s Link Worldwide found that Prevent and Eliminate Violence against one woman died every two days in the Women was pending revision by the National Assembly. Dominican Republic during the first half of 2017 from pregnancy-related causes due to BACKGROUND the lack of access to quality maternal health services. On 24 May, Lenín Moreno Garcés became President. Shortly afterwards he called for a VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS referendum and a popular consultation, to be According to official statistics, the first half of held in February 2018, for Ecuadorians to decide on matters including the amendment the year saw a 21% increase in the number Amnesty International Report 2017/18 150

151 of the Constitution to eliminate indefinite re- were pending revision by the National election of authorities, the banning of mining Assembly at the end of the year. in protected areas, and reducing the area of INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS oil exploitation in the Yasuní National Park. In July, Indigenous and human rights INTERNATIONAL SCRUTINY organizations denounced before the IACHR In May, Ecuador’s human rights record was intrusions of the state into the territory of the para People for future oil extraction. They examined under the UN UPR process. S á also denounced government bids for oil Ecuador accepted recommendations to adopt extraction in the territory of the Kichwa a national action plan on business and human rights, create an effective consultation People of Sarayaku without obtaining their mechanism for Indigenous Peoples, align free, prior and informed consent, despite the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling national laws on freedoms of expression and assembly with international standards, that the Kichwa People must be consulted. ensure the protection of journalists and In April, Shuar Indigenous leader Agustín Wachapá was released on parole after four human rights defenders, and guarantee protection from discrimination based on months in pre-trial detention on charges of inciting violence in Morona Santiago in 2016. sexual orientation and gender identity. The Shuar People continued to face a Ecuador pledged to lead on creating an international legally binding instrument on dispute over the development of two copper transnational corporations and human rights. mines in their territory. Ecuador received a total of 182 HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS recommendations of which it accepted 159, NGOs denounced before the IACHR the lack noted 19, and left four for further review. of an adequate protection system or In July, the Inter-American Commission on specialized institution responsible for Human Rights (IACHR) held hearings on investigating attacks against and violence and harassment against human rights defenders, and on extractive industries criminalization of human rights defenders. They also denounced the frequent misuse of and the right to cultural identity of Indigenous Peoples in Ecuador. The IACHR expressed the charge of attacking or resisting authority concern over the absence of state to prosecute human rights defenders. representatives at both hearings. ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND The UN Committee on Enforced ASSOCIATION Disappearances noted in March that no criminal responsibility had been established In January, the Ministry for the Environment for 17 cases of enforced disappearances rejected a complaint filed by the Ministry of the Interior aimed at shutting down the NGO from 1984 to 2008 identified by the Truth Ecological Action Corporation, based on a Commission, and that the whereabouts of 12 of those victims remained undisclosed. lack of evidence linking the NGO to violence that occurred in 2016 in Morona Santiago province. EGYPT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS In November the National Assembly Arab Republic of Egypt approved a Bill to Prevent and Eliminate Head of state: Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Violence against Women. In December, Sherif Ismail Head of government: President Moreno partially vetoed the Bill and proposed a series of modifications, which Egypt’s human rights crisis continued unabated. The authorities used torture and Amnesty International Report 2017/18 151

152 Willayet Sinai, affiliated to the armed group other ill-treatment and enforced Islamic State (IS), claimed responsibility for disappearance against hundreds of people, most of the attacks across the country, with and dozens were extrajudicially executed smaller attacks claimed by other armed with impunity. The crackdown on civil society escalated with NGO staff being groups, such as Hasm, Liwaa al-Thawra and Ansar al-Islam. In April, IS claimed subjected to additional interrogations, travel responsibility for the bombing of two bans and asset freezes. Arbitrary arrests and churches in Tanta and Alexandria which left detentions followed by grossly unfair trials at least 44 dead. of government critics, peaceful protesters, In October, at least 16 officials from the Ministry of the Interior were journalists and human rights defenders killed in an ambush in the western desert, a were routine. Mass unfair trials continued rare attack on the mainland. In a significant before civilian and military courts, with dozens sentenced to death. Women shift in targeting by armed groups, a November attack on a mosque in North Sinai continued to be subjected to sexual and during Friday prayers killed at least 300 gender-based violence and were people. discriminated against in law and practice. The authorities brought criminal charges for HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS defamation of religion and “habitual The authorities continued to curb the work of debauchery” on the basis of people’s real or human rights defenders in an unprecedented perceived sexual orientation. manner as part of their relentless efforts to BACKGROUND silence all critical voices. In February the In June, President al-Sisi ceded sovereignty authorities shut down the El-Nadeem Center, an NGO offering support to survivors of over two uninhabited Red Sea islands to torture and violence. The criminal Saudi Arabia, leading to widespread public criticism. In July, EU-Egypt Association investigations into so-called “Case 173” against human rights defenders and NGOs council meetings resumed for the first time were ongoing; investigative judges since 2011 and the priorities of the summoned at least 28 additional human Association were finalized. rights defenders and NGO staff for In February a member of parliament interrogation during the year, bringing the proposed a constitutional amendment to total to 66 people summoned or investigated extend the presidential term from four to six years. In April, President al-Sisi passed a new in the case since 2013. They were questioned in relation to charges that set of legislative amendments weakening fair trial guarantees and facilitating arbitrary included “receiving foreign funding to harm Egyptian national security” under Article 78 arrests, indefinite pre-trial detention, enforced disappearances and the passing of of the Penal Code, which carries a sentence more sentences. The amendments also of up to 25 years’ imprisonment. The investigative judges also ordered three allowed criminal courts to list people and entities on “terrorism lists” based solely on additional travel bans, bringing to 25 the number of human rights defenders banned police information. Also in April, President al- from travelling outside Egypt. In January a Sisi approved the Judicial Bodies Law 13 of 2017, granting him the authority to appoint court ordered the freezing of the assets of the the heads of judicial bodies, including the NGOs Nazra for Feminist Studies and the Arab Organization for Penal Reform and their Court of Cassation and the State Council, two courts that had hitherto been regarded as the directors. most independent judicial bodies in holding In May, President al-Sisi signed a draconian 1 the executive to account. new law giving the authorities broad powers At least 111 security agents were killed, to deny NGOs registration, dissolve NGOs and dismiss their boards of administration. mostly in North Sinai. The armed group Amnesty International Report 2017/18 152

153 The law also provided for five years’ ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS Security forces continued to arrest hundreds imprisonment for publishing research without 2 of people based on their membership or government permission. The government had not issued the executive regulations to perceived membership of the Muslim Brotherhood, rounding them up from their enable it to start implementing the law by the homes or places of work or, in one case, from end of the year. a holiday resort. FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND The authorities used prolonged pre-trial ASSEMBLY detention, often for periods of more than two years, as means to punish dissidents. In Between January and May, courts sentenced at least 15 journalists to prison terms ranging October a judge renewed the pre-trial from three months to five years on charges detention of human rights defender Hisham related solely to their writing, including Gaafar, despite him having been detained for defamation and the publication of what the more than the two-year limit under Egyptian law. Photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, authorities deemed “false information”. On 25 September a court sentenced former known as Shawkan, had already spent two presidential candidate and prominent human years in pre-trial detention when his trial rights lawyer Khaled Ali to three months’ started in August 2015. Throughout 2017 he remained in detention alongside 738 co- imprisonment on charges of “violating public decency” in relation to a photograph showing defendants as their trial continued. him celebrating a court ruling ordering a halt Upon release, political activists were often to the handover of two islands to Saudi required to serve probation periods of up to 3 From May onwards, the authorities 12 hours a day in a local police station, Arabia. blocked at least 434 websites, including amounting to arbitrary deprivation of liberty. those of independent newspapers such as EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS AND Mada Masr and human rights organizations ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES such as the Arab Network for Human Rights Information. In March the Minister of Justice Forces of the Ministry of the Interior continued to subject to enforced referred two judges, Hisham Raouf and Assem Abdelgabar, to a disciplinary hearing disappearance and extrajudicially execute for participating in a workshop organized by people suspected of engaging in political violence. According to the Egyptian an Egyptian human rights group to draft a law against torture. Commission for Rights and Freedoms, Security forces arrested at least 240 political security forces subjected at least 165 people activists and protesters between April and to enforced disappearance between January September on charges relating to online and August for periods ranging from seven to posts the authorities considered “insulting” to 30 days. The Ministry of the Interior claimed that the President or for participating in unauthorized protests. In April, a criminal more than 120 people were shot dead in an court sentenced lawyer and activist exchange of fire with security forces during Mohamed Ramadan to 10 years’ the year. However, in many of these cases the imprisonment in his absence under the people killed were already in state custody 4 draconian Counter-terrorism Law. after having been subjected to enforced In December, an Alexandrian court sentenced disappearance. In May the Ministry human rights lawyer Mahinour El-Masry to announced the death of schoolteacher two years’ imprisonment for her peaceful Mohamed Abdelsatar “in an exchange of fire participation in a protest. with the police”. However, his colleagues had witnessed his arrest a month earlier from his workplace. In April, a leaked video showed military forces in North Sinai extrajudicially Amnesty International Report 2017/18 153

154 executing six unarmed men and a 17-year- heavily on reports of the National Security old boy. Agency and unsound evidence, including confessions obtained under torture, in their DETENTION sentencing. Civilians continued to face unfair trials before military courts; at least 384 Torture and other ill-treatment remained civilians were referred to military trials during routine in official places of detention and was the year. systematic in detention centres run by the National Security Agency. In July, a Coptic DEATH PENALTY man was arrested and detained in Manshyet Ordinary and military courts continued to Nasir police station in the capital, Cairo, in hand down death sentences following grossly relation to a minor offence; 15 hours later, he unfair mass trials. In June the Court of was dead. Family members stated that they Cassation upheld the death sentences of saw bruises on the upper part of his body, and the official autopsy report stated that his seven men in two different cases after grossly unfair trials. At least six of the men had been death was the result of a “suspected criminal subjected to enforced disappearance and act”. tortured to force them to “confess” and the Prison authorities, including in Tora court relied heavily on these coerced Maximum Security Prison and Wadi el- Natrun Prison, punished prisoners detained confessions in its verdict and sentencing. for politically motivated reasons by placing Also in June, the Military High Court upheld death sentences against four men following them in indefinite and prolonged solitary grossly unfair trials in which the court relied confinement. In February the Ministry of the on “confessions” obtained under torture Interior amended the prison regulations to during 93 days of incommunicado allow solitary confinement to be increased up 5 detention. On 26 December the authorities to six months; a practice that can amount to torture or other ill-treatment. Political activist executed 15 men who had been convicted by Ahmed Douma spent his third year in solitary a military court of killing nine military confinement in Tora Prison, confined to his personnel in North Sinai in 2013. cell for at least 22 hours a day. Muslim WOMEN’S RIGHTS Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Hadad remained indefinitely detained in solitary Women and girls continued to face confinement in Al Aqrab maximum security inadequate protection from sexual and gender-based violence, as well as gender prison since his arrest on 17 September 2013. discrimination in law and practice. The Other forms of ill-treatment and medical absence of measures to ensure privacy and protection of women reporting sexual and negligence in prisons continued; dozens of gender-based violence continued to be a key prisoners died, often due to prison authorities refusing to transfer them to hospital for factor preventing many women and girls from reporting such offences. Many who did report medical treatment. In September, former Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Mahdi offences faced harassment and retaliation Akef died in prison from pancreatic cancer. from the perpetrators or their families. In some cases, state officials and members of UNFAIR TRIALS parliament blamed victims of sexual violence and attributed the incidents to their Hundreds were sentenced, some to death, “revealing clothing”. In March a young after grossly unfair mass trials. In September student was attacked and sexually assaulted a Cairo criminal court sentenced 442 people by a mob in Zagazig city, al-Sharkia in the case of the August 2013 al-Fateh mosque protests to prison terms of between governorate. Instead of arresting the five and 25 years after a grossly unfair trial of perpetrators and bringing them to justice, the 494 defendants. Courts continued to rely Security Directorate in al-Sharkia governorate Amnesty International Report 2017/18 154

155 issued a statement mentioning that by people to prison terms of between three months and six years on charges that “wearing a short dress” the victim had included “habitual debauchery”. The other “caused the mob attack”. Women continued to face discrimination in people arrested remained in detention facing questioning by prosecutors. the judiciary. A number of women who attempted to apply to the State Council for In late October, a group of parliamentarians appointment as judges were not given the proposed a deeply discriminatory law explicitly criminalizing same-sex sexual papers needed to process their requests. One relations and any public promotion of LGBTI woman filed a suit against the State Council gatherings, symbols or flags. The proposed on grounds of discrimination. law carried penalties of up to five years’ REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS imprisonment, or 15 years’ imprisonment for Asylum-seekers and refugees continued to a person convicted of multiple charges. face arrest, detention and deportation for FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF entering or exiting the country irregularly. The authorities continued to violate the right Between January and April, immigration to freedom of religion by discriminating officials deported at least 50 asylum-seekers from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, including against Christians. In August, security forces prevented dozens of Coptic Christians from young children, to their countries of origin praying in a house in Alforn village in Minya without giving them access to legal governorate, citing reasons of security. There representation or to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. The forced return of Eritrean asylum- was continued impunity for sectarian attacks on Christian communities, and the authorities seekers, as well as Ethiopian and Sudanese continued to rely on customary reconciliation nationals with a well-founded fear of and settlements agreed by local authorities persecution, constituted refoulement . In July and religious leaders. Amid this impunity, the authorities rounded up Chinese students, violence by non-state actors against mostly of the Uighur ethnic minority, arresting Christians increased significantly. Armed at least 200 and deporting at least 21 men and one woman to China, in violation of groups in North Sinai killed seven Coptic obligations. Egypt’s Christians between 30 January and 23 non-refoulement February, prompting an unprecedented RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, internal displacement of at least 150 Coptic 6 TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE families living in North Sinai. The authorities failed to offer them the necessary protection In the worst crackdown in over a decade, the authorities across Egypt rounded up and or appropriate compensation. In December, IS claimed responsibility for the shooting of prosecuted people on the grounds of their perceived sexual orientation after a rainbow 10 people in an attack on a church in Helwan in southern Cairo. flag was displayed at a concert in Cairo on 22 In November, an attack on a mosque in September. These prosecutions provoked a North Sinai during Friday prayers killed at public outcry. Security forces arrested at least 76 people and carried out at least five anal least 300 worshippers. No group claimed examinations, a practice which amounts to responsibility for the attack. torture. Those arrested included a man and a WORKERS’ RIGHTS woman who were detained for three months for carrying the rainbow flag at the concert, The authorities subjected dozens of workers as well as people who made online and trade unionists to arrest, military trial, dismissal and a range of disciplinary expressions of support for the raising of the flag. Many of those arrested were entrapped measures, solely for exercising their right to by security forces through online dating strike and form independent trade unions. In applications. Courts sentenced at least 48 June a Cairo Misdemeanours Appeal Court Amnesty International Report 2017/18 155

156 4. Egypt: 10-year prison term for insulting President an outrageous sentenced 32 workers from the privately , 13 April) Press release assault on freedom of expression ( owned Tora Cement Company to two months’ Egypt: Seven men facing imminent execution after being tortured in 5. imprisonment after they were convicted of custody ( Press release , 16 June); Egypt: Four men facing imminent participating in an unauthorized protest and ) MDE 12/6590/2017 executions after grossly unfair military trial ( “assaulting security forces”, despite the 6. Egypt: Government must protect Coptic Christians targeted in string peaceful nature of their 55-day sit-in to Press release , 1 March) of deadly attacks in North Sinai ( protest at their dismissal. In December, the MDE Egypt: On Labour Day – relentless assault on labour rights ( 7. Military Court in Alexandria resumed the trial ) 12/6154/2017 of 25 workers from the military-run 8. Egypt: Release 24 Nubian activists detained after protest calling for Alexandria Shipyard Company. The trial , 12 September) respect of their cultural rights ( Press release started in May 2016 on charges that included “inciting the workers to strike”. The government and the official Egypt Trade EL SALVADOR Union Federation sought to deprive independent unions of the de facto Republic of El Salvador recognition they had obtained in 2011 Salvador Sánchez Head of state and government: through a declaration issued by the then Cerén Minster of Manpower. The authorities continued to deny their legal recognition and El Salvador’s high rate of gender-based hinder their ability to function freely through a violence continued to make it one of the 7 range of measures. On 5 December most dangerous countries to be a woman. A parliament passed a new trade union law, total ban on abortion persisted, and women were convicted of aggravated homicide after replacing Law 35 of 1976, creating excessive suffering miscarriages or other obstetric requirements for unions to have at least 150 emergencies. To combat violence, the members to obtain legal recognition or face automatic dissolution. government implemented a series of security measures, which did not comply INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS with human rights standards. Measures Despite an explicit constitutional provision were taken to address impunity for historical abuses; however, the executive recognizing the Nubian Indigenous people’s right to return to their traditional lands, the and legislative branches of government government continued to deny displaced admitted being in contempt of a 2016 Supreme Court judgment that declared the Nubians the right to access their traditional 1993 Amnesty Law unconstitutional. lands, posing a threat to the preservation of their cultural, historical and linguistic identity. BACKGROUND On 3 September, Nubian activists held a protest calling on the authorities to repeal a El Salvador continued to have one of the world’s highest murder rates, although the 2014 presidential decree that classified 16 number of homicides fell from 5,280 in 2016 villages on traditional Nubian lands as to 3,605 in 2017. The figure for 2017 military zones and prohibited residents from included 429 femicides. living there. The police arrested 25 activists 8 and detained them for three months. WOMEN’S RIGHTS Abortion continued to be prohibited in all New legislation threatens judicial independence in Egypt ( Press 1. circumstances, and carried criminal penalties , 27 April) release for women and health care providers. Women Press Egypt: NGO law threatens to annihilate human rights groups ( 2. from poor backgrounds were , 30 May) release disproportionately affected. Egypt: Former presidential candidate given jail term in bid to stop 3. In March, the Inter-American Commission , 25 September) Press release him running in 2018 election ( on Human Rights (IACHR) admitted a Amnesty International Report 2017/18 156

157 petition in the case of Manuela, a woman threats, and being the victim of extortion by convicted of homicide after having a criminal gangs. Between January and miscarriage, and who died from cancer in September, the Association for Communicating and Training Trans Women in prison while serving her sentence. El Salvador (COMCAVIS TRANS) reported 28 On 5 July, Evelyn Beatriz Hernández Cruz serious attacks, most of them murders, was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment 1 after being convicted on charges of perpetrated against LGBTI people. aggravated homicide after suffering obstetric EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS complications resulting in a miscarriage. On In September the Human Rights Institute of 13 December, a court denied the release of José Simeón Cañas Central American Teodora del Carmen Vásquez; she had University and the NGO Passionist Social suffered a stillbirth in 2007 and was later Service reported before the IACHR that the sentenced to 30 years for aggravated homicide. armed forces and National Civilian Police were responsible for carrying out extrajudicial In August a parliamentarian for the opposition Nationalist Republican Alliance executions. presented a new proposal to decriminalize POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES abortion in two circumstances: when a woman’s life is at risk or when the pregnancy In November the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged El Salvador to end the is a consequence of rape of a minor. The extraordinary security measures adopted proposal remained pending in Parliament. since 2016 to combat gang violence and This followed previous, unsuccessful organized crime, which failed to comply with attempts at partial decriminalization of international human rights standards. The abortion in 2016. In August, Congress approved a law measures included prolonged and isolated banning child marriage, without exceptions. detention under inhuman conditions, and In November, the IACHR admitted a petition prolonged suspension of family visits to on the case of “Beatriz”, a woman who in prisoners. 2013 was denied an abortion despite her life INTERNALLY DISPLACED PEOPLE being put at risk by the pregnancy, and the On 6 and 13 October, for the first time, the foetus being diagnosed with fatal impairment, which would not have allowed its survival Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court amparo ) to of Justice issued two injunctions ( after birth. protect internally displaced people. The HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS injunctions included protective measures for In June the home of human rights defender a family that had been forcibly internally displaced due to rape, threats, beatings and Sonia Sánchez Pérez was illegally searched harassment by a gang. The decision was by National Civilian Police officers. In 2015 the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman welcomed by the IACHR and the UN Special had granted her precautionary measures for Rapporteur on the human rights of internally her environmental protection work. displaced persons. RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, IMPUNITY TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE Measures were adopted nationally and In October, Karla Avelar, a human rights internationally to redress crimes under defender and founder of the first association international law and punish perpetrators of of trans people in El Salvador, announced human rights violations committed during El that she would claim asylum in Europe Salvador’s armed conflict from 1980 to 1992. because of a lack of protection by the In May, a court ordered the reopening of the authorities, despite several security incidents, scar Arnulfo Romero y case of Monseñor Ó Amnesty International Report 2017/18 157

158 Galdámez, Archbishop of San Salvador, who corruption and money laundering while he was Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. was murdered in 1980 by a death squad while celebrating mass. In November’s legislative and municipal elections, the ruling Democratic Party of Following a judgment by the Supreme Court Equatorial Guinea won 99 of 100 seats in the in 2016 in which the 1993 Amnesty Law was Chamber of Deputies, all elected seats in the ruled to be unconstitutional, the Court held a hearing in July to determine what steps the Senate, and all but one seat in the municipal government had taken to comply with the elections. Opposition parties denounced ruling. In that hearing, both the executive and electoral irregularities and intimidation. Internet access was severely disrupted for at legislative branches of government admitted least five days. to being in contempt of the ruling. In September the government created a HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS commission to search for people who were subjected to enforced disappearance during The authorities continued to harass, the armed conflict. intimidate and arbitrarily detain human rights In November, the Supreme Court of the defenders. USA cleared the way for Colonel Inocente On 17 April, Enrique Asumu and Alfredo Okenve, leaders of the Centre for Orlando Montano Morales to be tried in Spain on charges that he conspired in the killing of Development Studies and Initiatives, were six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her detained in the capital, Malabo, after they objected to the authorities’ decision to daughter in El Salvador in 1989. prevent Enrique Asumu from boarding a plane to Bata city the previous day. Enrique – Americas: “No safe place” 1. Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Asumu was released eight days later on Hondurans seeking asylum in Mexico based on their sexual ) orientation and/or gender identity ( AMR 01/7258/2017 health grounds after paying a fine of CFA francs 2 million (USD3,500). Alfredo Okenve was released on 4 May after paying the same fine. The Ministry of Interior had suspended EQUATORIAL the Centre’s activities in 2016. On 16 September, state security agents GUINEA arrested and detained Ramón Esono Ebalé, a cartoonist and critic of the government, and Republic of Equatorial Guinea two Spanish nationals as they left a Head of state and government: Teodoro Obiang restaurant in Malabo. They were handcuffed, Nguema Mbasogo their mobile phones confiscated, and taken to the Office against Terrorism and Harassment, intimidation and arbitrary n Esono Dangerous Activities where Ram detention of human rights defenders ó continued. The rights to freedom of Ebalé was questioned about his cartoons. The Spanish nationals were released the association and assembly were curtailed; same day. Ramón Esono Ebalé was people attending peaceful gatherings were arbitrarily detained and beaten. Pregnant transferred three days later to the Black Beach prison in Malabo. National TV girls were barred from attending school. reported that he was accused of heading an BACKGROUND organization involved in money laundering On 27 October, Vice-President Teodoro and counterfeiting money. On 27 November Nguema Obiang Mangue, the President’s he was charged with counterfeiting money and remained in detention at the end of the son, was given a three-year suspended prison sentence, and a suspended EUR30 year. million fine by a court in Paris, France, for Amnesty International Report 2017/18 158

159 DEATH PENALTY FREEDOMS OF ASSEMBLY AND Death sentences continued to be handed ASSOCIATION down. On 16 September Raimundo Nfube On 8 March, police arrested 47 women, four children and at least 12 men at an Onva and Fausto Luis Nve Adugu were sentenced to death for a ritual killing International Women’s Day training session in Mbini city, southwest of Bata, in the office of committed in 2016. the opposition Convergence for Social Democracy party. The police threatened to arrest Epifania Avomo, the party’s executive ERITREA women’s officer, but when other women protested they were all arrested and taken to State of Eritrea Mbini police station. Some of them were Head of state and government: Isaias Afwerki beaten at the police station, after which they Thousands continued to flee Eritrea while were all released the same day. the authorities severely restricted the right In May, taxi drivers’ organizations called for to leave the country. Indefinite mandatory a three-day strike in Malabo to protest at the national service continued to be imposed. high prices of permits and papers. Security Restrictions on the rights to freedom of forces arbitrarily arrested at least 17 people and beat some of those believed to be expression and of religion remained. Arbitrary detention without charge or trial participating in the strike, leaving several of them in need of medical assistance. They continued to be the norm for thousands of prisoners of conscience. Thousands were were released without charge about one week denied the right to an adequate standard of later. living. On 27 May, security forces arbitrarily arrested rapper Benjamín Ndong, also known BACKGROUND as “Jamin Dogg”, in Malabo, for releasing two weeks ealier a song supporting the striking Skirmishes broke out between the Eritrean taxi drivers and denouncing government and Ethiopian military periodically. Military hostilities with Djibouti escalated over intimidation. He was released the same day ownership of the disputed territory of Ras without charge. Doumeira. ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS CULTURAL RIGHTS Thousands of Eritreans continued to flee the In June, the NGO Human Rights Watch country. They faced serious human rights issued a report highlighting the lack of abuses while in transit and in destination investment in health and education despite countries. Sudan remained a key transit for the increase, over two decades, of the per Eritrean refugees. In one case in August, capita GDP which arose mainly from oil Sudanese courts deported 104 refugees to revenues. The government continued to Eritrea where they were at risk of serious focus spending on large infrastructure human rights violations. In a context where projects, from which some government officials profited, at the expense of health and little is known about the fate of those education sectors. deported across the border with Sudan, there Pregnant girls continued to be banned from were reports that 30 of them were deported from Kassala city, eastern Sudan, after being school following a 2016 order issued by the Ministry of Education as a means to reduce charged with illegal entry. Eritreans also adolescent pregnancies. risked arbitrary detention, abduction, sexual abuse and ill-treatment on their way to Europe. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 159

160 calls from the international community on the Attempts to address the causes of migration from Eritrea continued at an international government to limit conscription to 18 months. Significant numbers of conscripts level. Following the High Level Dialogues on migration under the EU-Horn of Africa remained in open-ended conscription, some Migration Route Initiative (Khartoum for as long as 20 years. Despite a minimum Process), which involves the EU and African legal conscription age of 18, children states and aims to address migration flows, continued to be subjected to military training the European Commission apportioned over under the requirement that they undergo grade 12 of secondary school at Sawa EUR13 million for Eritrea in order to support National Service training camp, where they employment opportunities and skills faced harsh living conditions, military-style development in the country as a means of discipline and weapons training. Women, in reducing migration. The EU channelled particular, faced harsh treatment in the camp EUR100 million to Sudan through the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for including sexual enslavement, torture and Africa for use in addressing the root causes other sexual abuse. Men of up to 67 years of age were of migration and displacement in the region. conscripted into the “People’s Army”, where FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT they were given a weapon and assigned The imposition of indefinite military national duties under threat of punitive repercussions, service, along with the general human rights such as detention, fines or hard labour. situation, created severe difficulties for many ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS Eritreans. The right of people to leave the Arbitrary detention and enforced country was severely restricted. The disappearances continued, for which security authorities continued to prohibit those aged forces were not held accountable. Thousands between five and 50 from travelling abroad, and anyone attempting to leave was subject of prisoners of conscience and political to arbitrary detention. People seeking to leave prisoners, including former politicians, journalists and practitioners of unauthorized to avoid indefinite national service and other human rights violations, or for family reunion religions, continued to be detained without with relatives abroad, had to travel by foot charge or trial and lacked access to lawyers and use unofficial border crossings in order or family members. Many had been detained to take flights from other countries. If caught for well over a decade. by the military, they were detained without FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF charge until they paid exorbitant fines. The amount payable depended on factors such Bans on religious faiths, other than Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Protestant Lutheranism as the commanding officer making the arrest and Catholicism, remained in place. Many and the time of the year. People caught Evangelical Christians practised their religion during national holidays to commemorate in secret to avoid imprisonment. independence were subject to higher fines. Patriarch Antonios, head of the Eritrean The amount was greater for those attempting Orthodox Church, was reported to have been to cross the border with Ethiopia. A “shoot-to- kill” policy remained in place for anyone seen attending mass in the capital, Asmara, in July. He had last been seen in public 10 evading capture and attempting to cross the years earlier just before he was sentenced to border into Ethiopia. Children close to house arrest for objecting to government conscription age caught trying to leave were sent to Sawa National Service training camp. interference in church affairs. FORCED LABOUR AND SLAVERY The mandatory national service continued to be extended indefinitely despite repeated Amnesty International Report 2017/18 160

161 In accordance with the November 2016 RIGHT TO AN ADEQUATE STANDARD OF decision of the Tallinn Appeal Court, which LIVING ruled against the blanket application of the UNICEF said that malnutrition rates had “safe third country” concept for applications increased over the past few years in four out of six regions of Eritrea, and cited research from asylum-seekers entering from the Russian Federation, the merits of eight which projected that 22,700 children individual asylum requests were assessed. under five would be affected by severe acute These cases were pending at the end of the malnutrition during the year. It also noted year. national data indicating that half of all children had stunted growth. In her June In May, the government presented a draft report, the UN Special Rapporteur on the amendment to the Asylum Act. The draft situation of human rights in Eritrea cited extended the exceptions under which refoulement – the forcible return of people to UNICEF’s report. She further highlighted countries where they are at real risk of accounts from Eritreans living abroad describing their relatives at home as persecution – was allowed in situations where “struggling to meet their basic needs”. Many refugees have been sentenced to imprisonment for certain types of crimes. of them could not afford “adequate and UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, raised sufficient basic supplies” and were dealing concerns that the proposed amendment was with “acute water shortages, especially in not compliant with the UN Refugee Asmara”. Reports suggested that more and more people were leaving “drought-affected Convention. In particular, it recommended regions in search of better living conditions.” that the government clarify the term “danger She noted that the government’s draconian to the community of Estonia”, which was included among the grounds for removal of a regulations that limited cash withdrawals refugee from the country. from individuals’ bank accounts prevented people from buying adequate food and other A number of refugees faced legal basic items. uncertainty and difficulty in accessing services as a consequence of the March 2016 Supreme Court decision which held that asylum-seekers who received a negative ESTONIA decision on their application immediately lose their status. The NGO Estonian Human Republic of Estonia Rights Centre raised concern over access to Head of state: Kersti Kaljulaid legal aid for asylum-seekers held in detention Jüri Ratas Head of government: centres. This lack of access particularly A draft amendment to the Asylum Act affected asylum-seekers who entered the would increase the risk of country via its border with Russia. refoulement for refugees sentenced to imprisonment for The lack of thorough investigations into racially motivated crimes against refugees certain types of crimes. The Supreme Court and migrants persisted. ruled that the Family Law does not prohibit recognition of same-sex marriages DISCRIMINATION – ETHNIC MINORITIES registered in other countries. 80,000 people resident in Estonia remained REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS stateless – almost 7% of the population, most By the end of the year, Estonia had of them Russian speakers. Roma continued to suffer discrimination across a range of relocated 141 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece under the EU Emergency Relocation social and economic rights. Scheme; however, of these, 71 people had left the country by the end of the year. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 161

162 credible investigation into the cause and RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, scale of the deaths. TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE In June, the Supreme Court held that TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT although the Family Law does not provide for Reports of torture and other ill-treatment of marriage of same-sex couples, it does not people accused of terrorism persisted. preclude recognition of same-sex marriages registered in other countries. The decision Detainees repeatedly complained to the courts that police tortured and ill-treated involved an Estonian-US lesbian couple initially forced to leave Estonia after the them during interrogations. Although, in authorities had refused to provide one of the some cases, judges ordered the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to partners with a residence permit. investigate the allegations, the investigations did not adhere to international human rights standards. Angaw Tegeny and Agbaw Seteny ETHIOPIA were tried under the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP) along with 35 others, in Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia connection with a fire at Qilinto prison on the Mulatu Teshome Wirtu Head of state: outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa. The two Hailemariam Desalegn Head of government: men complained that the police suspended a The government lifted the state of water bottle from their scrotums and flogged them on the soles of their feet. However, an emergency in June. In August protests resumed in Oromia against income tax EHRC report to the Federal High Court did not refer to their torture complaints. increases and calling for the release of Beqele Gerba, Merera Gudina and other ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS political prisoners. In February, 10,000 Arbitrary detention continued under the state people who had been arbitrarily detained were released. Reports of torture and other of emergency declaration which was lifted in ill-treatment, unfair trials and violations of June. On 2 February, the government the rights to freedom of expression and of ordered the release of 10,000 of the 26,000 association continued. people arbitrarily detained and arrested, under the declaration, in 2016. BACKGROUND Hundreds of people were detained under the ATP, which includes overly broad and The authorities failed to implement the vague definitions of terrorist acts punishable reforms they had promised to address grievances raised during protests in 2015 by up to 20 years’ imprisonment. Detainees and 2016 in Amhara and Oromia. The were held in excess of four months, the demonstrators had been protesting against maximum period allowed under the law for the forced eviction of farmers from their lands pre-trial detention. Seven Oromo artists, for in Oromia in the past 20 years; arbitrary example, were detained for more than six months when the prosecutor finally charged arrests and detention of opposition political party leaders; and severe restrictions on the them on 29 June. rights to freedom of expression and of UNFAIR TRIALS association. Instead, the government declared a state of emergency in October Hundreds of political activists, dissenters and 2016 after mobs torched farms and peaceful protesters faced unfair trials on businesses in Oromia and Amhara following a charges brought under the ATP law. The trials stampede during the Oromo Thanksgiving were marked by prolonged pre-trial Ceremony (Irrecha) in which at least 55 detention, undue delays and persistent people were killed. The Ethiopian authorities complaints of torture and other ill-treatment. have yet to conduct an independent and Amnesty International Report 2017/18 162

163 provided rehabilitation for victims and their Prominent leaders of opposition political parties such as Merera Gudina, Chairman of families by the end of the year. the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), and EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS Beqele Gerba, Deputy Chairman of the OFC, The Ethiopian Somali Liyu Police (Liyu were tried on charges under the ATP for their alleged role in organizing the November 2015 Police), a special force in Somali Regional Oromia protest. Beqele Gerba’s trial was State in eastern Ethiopia, and local Ethiopian militia, extrajudicially executed hundreds of repeatedly adjourned. Finally the court Oromos living in the Somali Region. Among dismissed the terrorism charges against him. However, it ruled that his trial should proceed those killed were infants as young as six on charges of provocation and preparation for months. The Liyu Police also evicted at least 50,000 Oromos living in the Somali Region outrages against the Constitution or the between September and October. It attacked Constitutional Order as per the Criminal the neighbouring Oromia Regional Districts Code. and displaced thousands of residents in FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION February, March, August, September and October. The Federal High Court convicted journalists, bloggers and other activists on terrorism ABDUCTION OF CHILDREN charges and handed down prison sentences. The authorities failed to adequately protect Yonatan Tesfaye was convicted of encouraging terrorism in his Facebook posts people in Gambella Regional State from and sentenced to six-and-a-half years in repeated attacks by armed members of the prison. Getachew Shiferaw was sentenced to Murle ethnic group based in neighbouring 18 months in prison for sending emails to South Sudan. The Murle gunmen crossed the leaders of a banned opposition political party border to Ethiopia on 12 March and abducted 22 children from the Anuwa based abroad. The court convicted him on charges including expressing appreciation community. The authorities were not known to have taken steps to ensure the return of of someone who, in 2012, publicly the abducted children to their families. denounced the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. IMPUNITY ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND The police and army continued to enjoy CULTURAL RIGHTS impunity for human rights violations On 11 March, 115 people were killed as a committed in 2015 and 2016. During the year, the government rejected calls for result of a landslide at the Koshe rubbish independent and impartial investigations into dump, the largest dump in Ethiopia, located human rights violations committed in the on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, in an area inhabited by hundreds of people. Most of the context of protests in various regional states. In the few cases where the EHRC conducted victims lived next to the site and supported investigations and found that human rights themselves by recycling rubbish. The authorities had been aware that the landfill violations had taken place, the government did not investigate or bring to justice was full to capacity, and the residents had no option but to live and work there because the suspected perpetrators. government failed to protect their right to adequate housing and decent work. More than 80 million birr (around USD3 million) was fundraised for rehabilitation of the victims. Although the municipal government managed the fund, the authorities had not Amnesty International Report 2017/18 163

164 posting anti-government graffiti in public places in 2011. FIJI On 26 June, Jope Koroisavou, a youth leader from the opposition Social Democratic Republic of Fiji Liberal Party, was arrested and detained for Head of state: Jioji Konousi Konrote Head of government: Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama 48 hours after he carried placards in the capital, Suva, calling for justice in torture cases. The government failed to ensure accountability for the torture and other ill- TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT treatment of detainees by security forces. In two incidents, individuals were forcibly Police and military officers charged in 2015 in connection with the torture of Iowane returned without due process to countries where they may be at risk of serious human Benedito had not been brought to trial by the end of the year. rights violations. The increasing use of sedition charges, and the arrest of a lone DEATHS IN CUSTODY peaceful protester on the International Day Vikrant Nand, aged 18, died in police in Support of Victims of Torture highlighted the continuing restrictions on the rights to custody in February. The police promptly announced an investigation into his death but freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. by the end of the year it remained unclear what steps had been taken since the autopsy. BACKGROUND REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS In June, the UN Special Rapporteur on On two occasions, people were forcibly racism published a report from his December 2016 mission to Fiji. The government had not returned to countries where they may be at risk of serious human rights violations. In implemented several of the report’s recommendations by the end of the year, January, Iranian refugee Loghman Sawari including calls to combat hate speech while fled Papua New Guinea for Fiji to seek protecting the right to freedom of expression, asylum. On his way to meet Fiji’s Director of Immigration, police intercepted his vehicle, to facilitate meaningful dialogue to address past injustices and current inequalities and to arrested him and separated him from his strengthen the Human Rights and Anti- lawyer. He said the police officers punched and attacked him with pepper spray. He was Discrimination Commission to ensure it returned to Papua New Guinea without due complies with the Paris Principles. process (see Papua New Guinea entry). FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND In August, 77 Chinese nationals PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY were returned to China in co-operation with The authorities used restrictive legislation to the Chinese authorities. The Fijian authorities claimed that they had committed “computer stifle the media and curtail the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful crimes” and breached the terms of their visas, charges which they were not given the assembly, including by imposing sedition opportunity to contest. They were charges. In March, three senior staff at the Fiji Times not permitted to seek legal advice or appeal and the author of a letter to its their forcible return. editor were charged with sedition, which carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years. In May, opposition MP Mosese Bulitavu and Fiji United Freedom Party leader Jagarth Karunaratne went on trial on sedition charges for their alleged role in Amnesty International Report 2017/18 164

165 RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE FINLAND Legislation on legal gender recognition continued to violate the rights of transgender Republic of Finland people. They could obtain legal gender Sauli Niinistö Head of state: Head of government: Juha Sipilä recognition only if they agreed to sterilization, were diagnosed with a mental disorder, and Changes to the asylum procedure continued were aged over 18. Despite an April decision by the European Court of Human Rights to affect asylum-seekers negatively. Support condemning sterilization, the government did services for women who experienced not consider amending the law. domestic violence remained inadequate. Legislation on legal gender recognition VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS continued to violate the rights of NGOs and state institutions working to transgender people. Draft legislative combat violence against women and girls changes limiting the right to privacy were proposed. remained systematically under-resourced. Neither adequate and accessible walk-in REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS services nor long-term support services for survivors of violence were in place. Existing Many changes in the law introduced in 2016, including restrictions of the right to free legal legislation did not sufficiently protect institutionalized or hospitalized individuals representation and reduced time frames for from sexual violence. appeals, continued to affect refugees’ and asylum-seekers’ rights. The likelihood of In May, the first Sexual Assault Support Centre was opened at the Women’s Hospital asylum-seekers being forcibly returned to countries where they might be at risk of in the capital, Helsinki. Finland still lacked a nationwide, accessible service network for ) was refoulement human rights violations ( increased. The government had not victims of all forms of sexual violence, which evaluated the combined impact of these could also provide long-term support. changes by the end of the year. In January, an Administrative Committee on Coordination on violence against women, as Family reunification remained difficult for required by the Istanbul Convention, started most refugees due to both legislative and practical obstacles, including high income its work to enhance the implementation of requirements. the Convention and facilitate work to prevent violence against women. However, neither Despite international NGOs raising concern, Finland continued to forcibly return asylum- women’s nor victims’ support organizations seekers whose applications were rejected to were represented in the Committee and it Afghanistan. was also inadequately resourced. Contrary to international standards, the RIGHT TO PRIVACY authorities continued to detain unaccompanied children, and families with In April, draft civilian and military intelligence children, based on their immigration status. legislation was published. It enabled the There was no time limit on detaining families acquisition of information on threats to national security by giving military and civilian with children. In February, “directed residence” was introduced as a new form of intelligence agencies permission to conduct deprivation of liberty for asylum-seekers and communications surveillance without any requirement for a link to a specific criminal migrants. It meant that asylum-seekers had to report to a reception centre up to four offence. times a day. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 165

166 The law required prefects to seek a judicial CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS Conscientious objectors to military service authorization only in respect of searches. continued to be punished for refusing to The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights undertake alternative civilian service, which and fundamental freedoms while countering remained punitive and discriminatory in terrorism had in September expressed length. The duration of alternative civilian service was 347 days, more than double the concern that the bill included a vague shortest military service period of 165 days. definition of what constituted a threat to national security and had the effect of transposing emergency measures into ordinary law. FRANCE FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY French Republic Prefects continued to resort to emergency Emmanuel Macron (replaced François Head of state: measures to restrict the right to freedom of Hollande in May) peaceful assembly. In particular, they Édouard Philippe (replaced Head of government: Bernard Cazeneuve in May) adopted dozens of measures restricting the freedom of movement of individuals to prevent them from attending public The state of emergency, introduced in 2015, was eventually lifted. A new law assemblies. Authorities imposed these increased the government’s powers to measures on vague grounds and against impose counter-terrorism measures on individuals with no apparent connection with any terrorism-related offence. Prefects vague grounds and without full judicial imposed 17 measures to prevent individuals scrutiny. Authorities continued to return from participating in the public assemblies Afghan nationals to Afghanistan in violation calling for police accountability after a young non-refoulement of the principle of . A new man reported he had been raped by a police vigilance law imposing obligations on large companies entered into force. officer on 2 February. The Paris Prefect of Police imposed 10 measures to prevent COUNTER-TERROR AND SECURITY protesters from attending the public In July, Parliament approved the assembly scheduled for International Workers’ Day on 1 May. government’s proposal to extend the state of On 5 January, a police officer was indicted emergency until 1 November and then to end it. It had been in force since the attacks for firing a sting-ball grenade that blinded carried out in the capital, Paris, on 13 protester Laurent Théron in one eye. The trial of the police officer was ongoing at the end of November 2015. the year. The investigation into the alleged In October, Parliament adopted a governmental bill to introduce new counter- excessive use of force by police against terrorism measures into ordinary law. The law dozens of protesters who had attended the increased the powers of the Minister of the public assemblies organized in 2016 against the reform of labour laws was still ongoing at Interior and the prefects to impose administrative measures on individuals, in the end of the year. cases where there was not sufficient In March, a new law on the use of force and evidence to open a criminal investigation. weapons by law enforcement officials entered into force. The law permitted the use of some The measures included restrictions on freedom of movement, house searches, weapons, including kinetic impact projectiles, in instances that did not fully comply with closure of places of worship, and the establishment of security zones where law international standards. enforcement officials were permitted to In June, the Constitutional Court ruled that the emergency measure that had allowed exercise enhanced stop-and-search powers. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 166

167 Municipal authorities refused to fully comply prefects to restrict freedom of movement was with the ruling and only allowed the unconstitutional. However, in July Parliament distribution of one meal a day. In June, the included the same measure in the law that extended the state of emergency. Prefects Public Defender of Rights (Ombudsperson) expressed concerns about the human rights imposed 37 such measures between 16 July violations experienced by migrants and and 30 October. asylum-seekers in Calais and called on REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS authorities to ensure the respect of their Between January and July, the prefectural social and economic rights, in particular access to water and to adequate housing, authorities of Alpes-Maritimes department and to provide them with effective stopped 28,000 refugees and migrants who had crossed the border from Italy. The opportunities to seek asylum in France. authorities sent 95% of them back to Italy, Authorities continued to prosecute and including unaccompanied minors, without convict individuals who supported migrants providing them with the right to seek asylum and refugees in entering or staying in France irregularly, for example by providing food or in France. shelter. In August, an appeal court convicted Between January and August, authorities placed more than 1,600 Afghan nationals in Cédric Herrou, a farmer living close to the detention centres in view of returning them to French-Italian border, and sentenced him to a suspended sentence of four months’ other European countries under the Dublin III imprisonment for helping migrants and Regulation – a mechanism for allocating refugees to cross the border into France and responsibility for the examination of asylum claims among EU member states − or to for sheltering them. Afghanistan. In the same period, according to DISCRIMINATION civil society organizations, authorities returned about 300 Afghan nationals to other In January, a law extending the moratorium on evictions of informal settlements during EU countries and expelled at least 10 of them winter entered into force. Authorities to Afghanistan. Authorities returned 640 individuals to Afghanistan in 2016. All returns continued to forcibly evict people from informal settlements, many of them Roma to Afghanistan constituted a violation of the − the principle principle of migrants. Civil society organizations reported non-refoulement that authorities had evicted 2,689 individuals according to which states are obliged not to in the first half of the year. return any person to a country where they On 14 March, the Court of Justice of the EU would risk human rights violations − given the volatile security and human rights failed to uphold Muslim women’s rights to non-discrimination by ruling that a private situation in Afghanistan. French employer had not breached EU anti- In the aftermath of the eviction of the discrimination law in dismissing a woman for informal settlement near Calais, known as wearing a headscarf. “The Jungle”, in November 2016, authorities put in place punitive measures against the CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY hundreds of migrants and refugees who had subsequently returned to Calais. They In March, a law imposing a “duty of enhanced police stop-and-search operations, vigilance” on large companies entered into which raised concerns over ethnic profiling. force. The law required companies to In March, municipal authorities prohibited establish and implement a “vigilance plan” to humanitarian organizations from distributing prevent serious human rights abuses and meals to migrants and asylum-seekers in the environmental damage resulting directly or indirectly from their own activities and those town. At the end of March, a court ruled that the decision constituted an inhumane and of subsidiaries and other business partners. Victims of human rights abuses resulting degrading treatment and suspended it. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 167

168 from a company’s failure to comply with the FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION, law could seek compensation before a ASSOCIATION AND ASSEMBLY French court. In January, the new Communications Code came into force. The Code was criticized by ARMS TRADE journalists for its vague and overly broad The government continued to license weapon provisions, including prohibitions on Gabonese nationals working for local media transfers to governments that were likely to outlets outside the country, and use them to commit serious violations of international human rights law and provisions banning the use of pseudonyms, holding printers and distributors jointly humanitarian law. The government continued to license weapon transfers to members of responsible for any infractions, and an the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen and obligation for media to “contribute to the to Egypt. country’s image and national cohesion”. On 17 March, the authorities suspended the In May, the Senate recommended the use of armed remotely piloted vehicles (drones) activities of CONASYSED, the main teachers’ union, citing “disturbance of public order” for the armed forces to improve their caused by strikes that began in October effectiveness in military operations. The Minister of Defence confirmed concrete plans 2016. The Minister of Education also ordered the suspension of the payment of salaries to to use armed drones from 2019, but the authorities were yet to articulate and over 800 teachers in order to end the strike. In June 2017 the National Council of implement clear policies on their use and Les Echos du Nord , transfer. Communication banned a newspaper considered to be close to the political opposition, for statements deemed defamatory against President Bongo and GABON Prime Minister Issoze-Ngondet. The outlet reopened in August. Gabonese Republic Ali Bongo Ondimba Head of state: ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet Head of government: On 14 April, Alain Djally, an assistant to opposition leader Jean Ping, was arrested The new Communications Code was without a warrant in the capital, Libreville. He criticized by journalists for its vague and was blindfolded and ill-treated by men in overly broad provisions, and a newspaper plain clothes, but allowed to see his lawyer was suspended. Prominent opposition the day after his arrest. After that he was supporters were arbitrarily arrested. The activities of the teachers’ unions were denied access. He was detained at the Direction Générale de la Recherche, a facility severely restricted. Representatives of the ICC conducted a two-day visit. run by the Gabonese intelligence services, before being transferred to the central prison BACKGROUND in Libreville, where he was kept in solitary Presidential candidate Jean Ping continued confinement for the entire period of his detention. He was charged with to contest the results of the August 2016 presidential elections, and in September impersonating an active service member and 2017 he was temporarily denied the right to illegal possession of firearms, for retaining his leave the country. Legislative elections were old military ID card and possessing a blank- firing gun. His lawyer claimed such a weapon postponed until April 2018. In November, the did not require a permit, and that the charges report submitted by Gabon and parallel reports submitted by civil society were politically motivated. He was provisionally released on 23 June. organizations were examined under the UN UPR process. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 168

169 On 15 June, Marcel Libama, an adviser for reforming the security forces. Steps were taken to begin a transitional justice process. CONASYSED and the union confederation Dynamique Unitaire, was arrested in BACKGROUND Tchibanga city after discussing the case of a Following mediation by regional leaders and detained colleague, Cyprien Moungouli, the threat of a military intervention by during a Radio Massanga show. He was held 1 ECOWAS, for three days at a police station, and on 20 former President Yahya Jammeh June transferred to the local prison. He was accepted the results of the December 2016 presidential elections and departed Gambia charged with insulting a magistrate, 2 on 21 January for Equatorial Guinea. obstruction of justice and defamation. On 17 ECOWAS had a coalition force stationed in June, Juldas Biviga, a journalist from Radio Gambia scheduled to withdraw in mid-2018. Massanga, was also arrested for refusing to delete recordings of archived interviews, Adama Barrow was inaugurated in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, on 19 January during the among other things. On 13 July, both Marcel Libama and Juldas Biviga were severely impasse. beaten by their prison guards. Suffering LEGAL, CONSTITUTIONAL OR injuries to his ankles, ribs and ears, Juldas INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENTS Biviga was transferred to hospital. They both received sentences of 184 days in prison and On 10 February, the government cancelled a EUR450 fine. the planned withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the ICC which had been introduced On 27 August, security forces arrested 3 Hervé Mombo Kinga, an activist and under President Jammeh’s rule. prominent supporter of Jean Ping. He had On 21 September, Gambia signed the publicly projected videos next to his internet Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, in an café, and was charged with “instigating apparent step towards abolishing the death violence” and “insulting the Head of State”, penalty. and spent one and a half months in solitary Plans were initiated to begin a constitutional confinement. He remained in detention at the reform process and to reform other repressive laws implemented under the end of the year. previous President. IMPUNITY Bills on the Constitutional Review The ICC continued its preliminary Commission and Human Rights Commission examination into whether alleged crimes were passed by the National Assembly on 13 December. committed after May 2016, including in the context of the 2016 presidential elections, POLITICAL PRISONERS could amount to crimes under the Rome Statute, and whether the criteria for opening Between December 2016 and January 2017, an investigation were met. In June, dozens of political prisoners and prisoners of representatives of the ICC conducted a two- conscience were released, including day visit. prisoners of conscience Amadou Sanneh and Ousainou Darboe. On 30 January, President Barrow pardoned Ousainou Darboe and dozens of others arrested for taking part in a GAMBIA peaceful protest in April 2016. Republic of the Gambia DETENTION Adama Head of state and government: Prison conditions did not meet international Barrow (replaced Yahya Jammeh in January) standards due to inadequate sanitation, food The new government committed to and access to medical care. In February, 174 reforming several repressive laws and prisoners were released to commemorate Amnesty International Report 2017/18 169

170 independence celebrations and a further 84 against electricity and water shortages, but permission was denied on 11 November. The were released in March in order to reduce prison overcrowding. Legal aid provision was protest was dispersed on 12 November by riot police. limited, especially outside of the capital, Banjul. New judges were appointed, in order POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES to address the need for a more independent In February the National Intelligence Agency judiciary. (NIA), which practised torture and arbitrary FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION detention under the previous government, was renamed the State Intelligence Services The government committed to reforming several repressive media laws. A number of and its powers of detention ended through a government policy decision. However, the journalists returned to the country, having changes were not supported by new fled into exile due to harassment or threat of legislation. During the following months, the imprisonment under the previous heads of the police, prison, intelligence government. agency and military were replaced. However, On 19 February, a woman was arrested and detained for breach of the peace after she there had not been systemic reform of these allegedly insulted President Barrow. She was institutions, or any vetting of people who had granted bail on 2 March, and the case was committed serious human rights abuses. Civil society groups expressed concern that the dismissed by the Brikama Magistrates Court on 3 April. government had not taken steps to preserve documentary and physical evidence of In November, at a symposium marking the abuses by the security forces, particularly the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes NIA. against Journalists, the government In July, 12 soldiers were arrested on announced that it would comply with judgments by the ECOWAS Community Court allegations connected to “mutinous and seditious” posts on social media in support of of Justice on state involvement in human rights violations against three journalists former President Jammeh. They were held – Deyda Hydara, Chief Ebrima Manneh and without charge in military detention until being brought to court on 17 November, in Musa Saidykhan. This would include negotiating compensation payments with violation of detention time limits set in the Constitution. On 27 November, 10 were victims’ families. charged with treason and mutiny and two FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY with negligent interference of lawful custody. Restrictive laws on freedom of peaceful TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE assembly had not yet been amended. On 23 Ten soldiers were arrested and detained in November, Gambia’s Supreme Court ruled that Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1961, January, accused of involvement in enforced requiring police permission for peaceful disappearances and killings, but were not assembly, did not violate the Constitution. charged and remained in detention at the end of the year. On 2 June, one person died and at least six were injured when the ECOWAS coalition In February, criminal proceedings began force fired live ammunition to disperse against nine NIA officers, including the demonstrators near Yahya Jammeh’s former former director, accused of murdering residence in the village of Kanilai. The opposition activist Solo Sandeng in April government committed to holding an 2016. investigation, but no information had been In October, victims of human rights abuses, made public by the end of the year. civil society organizations and international The Occupy Westfield movement was human rights groups formed a coalition to initially authorized to peacefully protest campaign for Yahya Jammeh and others who Amnesty International Report 2017/18 170

171 committed serious human rights abuses Abortion remained a criminal offence, except in cases where the pregnant woman’s during his rule to be brought to justice. life was at risk. Ousmane Sonko, Minister of Interior from 2006 until he fled the country in September 2016, faced investigation in Switzerland for 1. , News story Gambia: Adama Barrow must not forget his big promises ( crimes against humanity committed during 19 January); Gambia: State of Emergency no licence for repression , 18 January) ( News story President Jammeh’s rule. On 13 December, the Truth, Reconciliation News story Gambia: Response to the departure of Yahya Jammeh ( 2. , 22 January) and Reparation Commission (TRRC) bill to examine events during President Jammeh’s Gambia: Progress in first 100 days of Barrow government requires 3. News story major reform to break with brutal past ( , 27 April) rule, was passed by the National Assembly, following consultation on the bill with national and international actors. On 10 August, a Commission of Inquiry was GEORGIA set up to investigate Yahya Jammeh’s alleged mismanagement of public finances and Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili Head of state: abuse of office. The government also froze Head of government: Giorgi Kvirikashvili assets believed to belong to him. A Panel on Missing Persons, a specialized Continued impunity for human rights police unit investigating enforced abuses committed by law enforcement disappearances during President Jammeh’s rule, was created in February. In March, the officials emphasized the need for an independent investigation mechanism. A bodies of four people, possible victims of enforced disappearance, were exhumed, legal dispute over a pro-opposition TV channel caused concern about judicial including that of Solo Sandeng. It is expected independence and media freedom. The to submit the list of missing people to be fencing of the de facto border around the investigated by the TRRC. breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, Ossetia continued to have a negative impact TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE on local residents’ economic and social Same-sex relations remained criminalized. A rights. law approved in October 2014, for example, BACKGROUND imposed sentences of up to life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality” offences. The Parliament – under the majority ruling LGBTI people continued to suffer party Georgian Dream – adopted a new discrimination and threats from non-state Constitution in October. It deferred until actors. 2024 the introduction of a fully proportional electoral system, which the opposition had SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS long been seeking, and ensured that from In November, the government and 2024 mandates won by political parties that development partners launched the fail to reach the election threshold are Comprehensive Sexuality Education assigned to the winning party. Under the new rules, electoral blocs will no longer be allowed programme to be delivered in schools. Despite laws criminalizing female genital from 2020, and the president will no longer mutilation (FGM), it remained widespread. be elected by direct popular vote after 2018. The government and development partners In December, Parliament started the developed a communication strategy to process of changing the Constitution again to further educate communities about the accommodate some of the opposition’s harms of FGM. demands which were excluded from the new Constitution. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 171

172 evidence. The prosecution appealed against Far-right movements organized xenophobic the Court’s decision. and homophobic marches in the capital Tbilisi. LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY The national currency, Lari, continued to On 29 May, Azerbaijani investigative devalue, adversely affecting living standards. journalist Afghan Mukhtarli – who was exiled In February, Georgian nationals were granted visa-free travel to the Schengen Area in Georgia – vanished from Tbilisi, and after the government implemented several reappeared the following day in Azerbaijan in official custody, falsely accused of illegal key institutional and legislative reforms demanded as a precondition by the EU. border crossing and money smuggling. He told his lawyer that he had been abducted by Georgian-speaking men, some wearing IMPUNITY Georgian criminal police uniforms, and trafficked across the border. The authorities Impunity for human rights abuses committed denied the involvement of Georgian forces, by law enforcement officers persisted, while the government continued to promise, but and started an investigation into Afghan failed to deliver, an independent investigation Mukhtarli’s allegations. The investigation was mechanism. In June, instead of an not known to have produced substantial results; he remained in detention in independent investigation mechanism, the Azerbaijan at the end of the year. government proposed a new department within the Prosecutor’s Office with a mandate JUSTICE SYSTEM to investigate alleged abuses by law enforcement officers. The litigation over the ownership of Rustavi 2 Broadcasting Company, a pro-opposition TV In June, two members of the rap group Birja channel, continued. On 2 March, the Mafia were arrested for alleged drug possession, and demonstrations erupted in Supreme Court ruled to transfer the their support. The arrested musicians said ownership of Rustavi 2 TV to its former co- police had planted drugs on them in revenge owners – known to be government supporters for a YouTube video satirizing a police officer, – upholding previous rulings by the court of and cited earlier threats from police first instance and the Court of Appeals. Local demanding that they remove the video. The NGOs raised concerns about possible protests resulted in their release on bail government interference in the judicial pending trial. An investigation was launched process and called the trial unfair. In March, into the musicians’ allegations of police the European Court of Human Rights abuse and was ongoing at the end of the requested that enforcement of the Supreme year. Court’s decision be suspended until it had In June, the first instance court in Kutaisi considered the case. acquitted the police officer charged with FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT “exceeding official capacity”. The alleged victim, Demur Sturua, a 22-year-old resident Russian forces and de facto authorities in the of Dapnari, western Georgia, committed breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South suicide on 8 August 2016. The prosecution’s Ossetia continued to restrict movement evidence included Demur Sturua’s note across the de facto border, briefly detaining and fining dozens of people for “illegal” blaming the police officer for his suicide, a postmortem examination confirming signs of border crossing. The increased fencing along ill-treatment, video footage showing the the administrative boundary lines continued officer picking up Demur Sturua with his car to adversely affect the rights of local on the day of the suicide, and phone call residents, including the rights to work, food logs. NGOs criticized the court’s decision, and an adequate standard of living, owing to calling it unsubstantiated in light of the Amnesty International Report 2017/18 172

173 the loss of access to their orchards, pasture and farm land. GERMANY RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, Federal Republic of Germany TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE Frank-Walter Steinmeier (replaced Head of state: Joachim Gauck in March) The new Constitution restricted the definition Angela Merkel Head of government: of marriage from “a voluntary union based on equality between the spouses” to “a union Parliament passed a law granting same-sex between a man and a woman”. Same-sex couples were not legally recognized. couples the right to marry. The authorities On 25 August, police arrested two LGBTI continued to deport to Afghanistan asylum- activists after a violent incident at a nightclub seekers whose applications had failed in Batumi, the second largest city. The despite the worsening security situation in activists questioned why they, the targets of the country. The federal Parliament extended police powers to conduct violence, were arrested and charged with surveillance measures and to impose “disorderly conduct” and not their assailants, administrative measures on individuals and complained of beating and verbal abuse by police. An investigation was opened into identified as “potential attackers”. their complaint and was ongoing at the end INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE of the year. In March, September and November, 22 REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS Syrian nationals residing in Germany submitted four criminal complaints to the On 24 May, Mustafa Çabuk – a Turkish office of the Federal Prosecutor General national resident in Georgia since 2002 – was against 27 Syrian officials working for the detained under an extradition request from military police and different intelligence Turkey which claimed that he was “supporting terrorism” and had links with the services for their alleged involvement in Fethullah Gülen movement. Mustafa Çabuk torture as a war crime and a crime against humanity. The alleged crimes were was at real risk of torture and other ill- treatment if returned to Turkey. His committed in Saydnaya and other military application for refugee status in Georgia was prisons and in prisons of the Air Force rejected. Appeals were made against the Intelligence in Damascus and other places in Syria. In May, the Federal Prosecutor General decision; Mustafa Çabuk continued to be held in pre-extradition detention at the end of carried out hearings with Syrian witnesses. Investigations were ongoing at the end of the the year. year. WORKERS RIGHTS ’ COUNTER-TERROR AND SECURITY Throughout the year, more than a dozen cases of fatal occupational accidents In April, the federal Parliament passed an amendment that expanded the control were reported, particularly among miners and construction workers. The need for stricter powers of the Federal Criminal Police to regulations and their effective monitoring by impose administrative measures for an independent labour standards regulatory “potential attackers”, such as electronic authority remained. ankle tagging, assigned residency and telecommunication surveillance. These “potential attackers” were vaguely defined as “individuals who could be involved in committing a terrorism-related offence in the future”. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 173

174 In May, the federal Parliament passed a law Despite the worsening security situation in Afghanistan, authorities continued to forcibly that facilitated the detention of people return Afghan nationals whose asylum claims representing a “significant security threat” to had been rejected, in violation of the society, pending their deportation. The law principle of also granted the Federal Office for Migration non-refoulement. By the end of the year, 121 Afghan nationals had been and Refugees the power to seize the forcibly returned. electronic devices of asylum-seekers who do In March, the Federal Council rejected a not possess identity documents. draft law from the government that sought to In July, the state of Bavaria increased the classify Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia as period of administrative police detention “safe” countries of origin and to establish a without charge for “potential attackers” from fast-track procedure to determine the refugee 14 days to up to three months. status of applicants from those countries. RIGHT TO PRIVACY Germany had relocated around 9,100 asylum-seekers who had arrived via Italy and In June, the federal Parliament passed a law granting police authorities the power to use Greece by the end of December. Germany also resettled almost 280 refugees from Egypt new surveillance techniques, including by and Lebanon, and around 2,700 Syrian installing surveillance software on computers refugees from Turkey as part of the EU- and phones. Turkey deal. Also in June, a Higher Administrative Court ruled in an urgent procedure that the DISCRIMINATION – HATE CRIMES indiscriminate retention of data prescribed by a law that was due to enter into full force in In June, the second Committee of Inquiry – established by Parliament in 2015 to address July, was not in compliance with EU law. The the authorities’ failure to investigate the racist law was not enforced pending the final ruling. crimes perpetrated by the far-right group Also in June, a parliamentary committee of Nationalist Social Underground (NSU) inquiry – established in 2013 following between 2000 and 2007 – concluded that Edward Snowden’s revelations regarding the USA’s surveillance of its allies, including the authorities had to establish clear rules for Germany – concluded that the Federal infiltrating “far-right extremist” movements, Intelligence Service had resorted to an overly provide long-term funding to civil society broad interpretation of surveillance laws and initiatives against racism and assist victims of racist crimes. The authorities continued to fail had implemented surveillance measures, to launch an official investigation into the such as mass surveillance of foreign-to- foreign communications, without sufficient potential role of institutional racism behind legal basis and oversight. Germany’s failure to investigate the crimes committed by the NSU. REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS In the first nine months, the Interior Ministry There were 222,683 asylum applications reported 1,212 criminal offences against made, a drop by 70.1% compared to 2016, refugees and asylum-seekers, and 210 offences against asylum-seekers’ and the decisions on 68,245 claims were accommodations. Federal and state pending. authorities continued to fail to implement a The right to family reunification for comprehensive assessment strategy to beneficiaries of subsidiary protection remained suspended throughout the year. identify the risks of attacks against asylum This had a particularly negative impact on shelters, in order to provide adequate police Syrian refugees who were increasingly protection if necessary. In June, following a comprehensive granted subsidiary protection instead of full refugee status, providing them with fewer consultation with civil society organizations, rights. the federal government adopted a National Amnesty International Report 2017/18 174

175 The federal government continued to Action Plan against racism and other forms of license the export of arms and other related discrimination, including homophobia and military equipment to countries, such as transphobia. India and Turkey, where there was a risk that TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT such arms could be used to commit or Authorities at both the federal and the state facilitate serious human rights violations. levels continued to fail to establish any CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY independent complaints mechanism to In March, Parliament passed a law investigate ill-treatment by police. implementing the 2014 EU Directive on non- Civil society organizations continued to financial reporting, which required certain report discriminatory identity checks by large companies to report on the human police on members of ethnic and religious rights impacts of their global operations. minorities. However, the law was more limited than the In November, the central investigation unit Directive, requiring companies to report only in Hamburg was investigating complaints on risks that were “very likely to cause severe filed against 109 police officers for the negative consequences” on human rights alleged unlawful use of force during protests and only to the extent necessary for an against the G20 summit in Hamburg in July. understanding of their business operations. In eight federal states, police officers There continued to be a lack of a binding remained under no legal obligation to wear identification badges. In October, the newly mechanism requiring business enterprises to exercise due diligence to ensure that they elected Parliament in North-Rhine Westphalia repealed the recently introduced respect human rights throughout their requirement for law enforcement officials in operations and supply chain. Access to the the federal state to wear identification justice system for victims of human rights badges. abuses by or involving business enterprises In October, prosecutorial authorities closed remained burdensome. the new investigations opened in May into the RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, death in custody of Oury Jalloh, a Sierra TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE Leonean national who died in a fire in a cell of a police station in Dessau in 2005. In In July, the federal Parliament passed a law November, media reports revealed that granting same-sex couples the right to marry months before the investigations were closed, and to access adoption. fire experts meeting in February had Children and adults with variations of sex characteristics continued to suffer human unanimously excluded the possibility of Oury Jalloh setting fire to himself. In December, rights violations. Invasive and irreversible the Minister of Justice of Saxony-Anhalt medical procedures carried out on children newly assigned the investigations to the with variations of sex characteristics Prosecutor General of Naumburg. continued and had lifelong harmful effects. Guidelines drawn up by intersex activists and ARMS TRADE medical professionals for treatment of individuals with variations of sex The selective post-shipment control system to improve the monitoring of German small characteristics had not been widely arms exports to ensure compliance with end- implemented. use certificates entered its pilot phase. In In November, the Federal Constitutional May, a first control mission on the Court ruled that individuals should be allowed to choose a legal gender other than male and whereabouts of exported sniper rifles in India female by the end of 2018. was conducted in agreement with the Indian authorities. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 175

176 arrests. No official report concerning the death had been released by the end of the GHANA year. Republic of Ghana CHILDREN’S RIGHTS Head of state and government: Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (replaced John Dramani Mahama in In May the Minister for Gender, Children and January) Social Protection launched a strategy for 2017-2026 to address the issue of child Concerns were raised around unfair trials marriage. Some regions were disproportionately affected by child marriage; and poor prison conditions for people on 34% of girls in northern Ghana were married death row, as well as the shackling of before the age of 18. The strategy included people with psychosocial disabilities. LGBTI people continued to face discrimination, accelerating access to quality education and violence and police harassment. sexual and reproductive health information and services, as well as enforcing the existing BACKGROUND legal and policy frameworks in relation to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New child marriage. Patriotic Party was inaugurated as President DEATH PENALTY in January, following presidential and parliamentary elections in December 2016. Scores of people on death row, including six officially considered to have mental and LEGAL, CONSTITUTIONAL OR intellectual disabilities, faced poor prison INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENTS conditions. Inmates experienced In July, Ghana signed the AU Convention on overcrowding and lack of access to health care and educational and recreational Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection, facilities. and the Protocol to the African Charter on Many death row inmates reported that they Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of had not received adequate legal Older Persons in Africa. representation at their trials. Fewer than one WORKERS’ RIGHTS in four death row inmates interviewed by Amnesty International had been able to On 23 March, Ghana ratified the UN Minamata Convention on Mercury, which appeal against their conviction or sentence. aims to protect workers from toxic liquid Few inmates interviewed were aware of how to appeal or access legal aid, while most were metal by reducing mercury use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining and protecting unable to pay for private lawyers. The Ghana children from exposure. About 1 million Prison Service reported that only 12 death people were working in Ghana’s gold mines, row inmates had filed appeals since 2006 – 1 and nearby communities were often directly half of which were successful. Proposals exposed to mercury. In April, the government made by the Constitutional Review began a campaign to end illegal small-scale Implementation Committee to abolish the gold mining (known as “galamsey”), the death penalty continued to be stalled as a negative impacts of which include increased result of delays in the constitutional review process. crime, lost revenues and environmental damage as well as encouraging hazardous JUSTICE SYSTEM child labour. The government launched a five-year project to provide illegal miners with Access to justice remained limited, especially alternative livelihoods in the legal mining for people from low income or marginalized sector. More than 300 people were arrested backgrounds. The Ghana Legal Aid Scheme on suspicion of illegal gold mining; one suffered from funding shortages; just 23 lawyers offering legal aid were available to the person was shot dead by police during the Amnesty International Report 2017/18 176

177 country’s population of more than 28 million Locked up and forgotten: The need to abolish the death penalty in 1. people. ACT 50/6268/2017 Ghana ( ) RIGHT TO HEALTH Shackling of people with psychosocial GREECE disabilities remained common, particularly in private “prayer camps” across the country. Hellenic Republic The practice involved restraining a person Prokopis Pavlopoulos Head of state: using chains or ropes and locking them in a Alexis Tsipras Head of government: confined space such as a room, shed or cage. In June the Mental Health Thousands of asylum-seekers and migrants Authority of Ghana released 16 people, remained trapped on the Greek islands in including two girls, held in shackles at appalling conditions. The European Court of Human Rights found that Greece failed to Nyakumasi Prayer Camp, a “spiritual healing centre” in the Central Region. Those freed, prevent human trafficking in the case of 42 migrant workers from Bangladesh. New some of whom had mental health conditions, were taken to nearby Ankaful Psychiatric legislation reforming legal recognition of Hospital. A coalition of civil society gender identity was adopted. organizations called on the government to BACKGROUND adopt and enforce a ban on shackling and to invest in appropriate community-based Unemployment rates dropped but remained high, particularly for the 15-24 age group. In services to support people with mental health conditions. They also called on the July, the unemployment rate was 20.5% and youth unemployment was at 39.5%. Also in government to fully implement the Mental Health Act 2012, which, among other things, July, Greece returned to the international bond market after a three-year hiatus. required the establishment of regional mental health committees responsible for monitoring According to the 2017 Gender Equality mental health facilities across the country. Index, Greece ranked last among EU states in terms of overall gender equality. In Funding for mental health services remained November, the Ministry of Justice presented lacking. a bill on the ratification of the Council of RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, Europe Convention on Preventing and TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE Combating Violence against Women and Consensual same-sex sexual relations Domestic Violence. between men remained a criminal offence. REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS LGBTI people continued to face discrimination, violence and police Nearly 47,000 asylum-seekers remained trapped in Greece due to the closure of the harassment as well as extortion attempts by members of the public. In February the Balkans migration route and the Speaker of Parliament stated in the media implementation of the EU-Turkey deal in that the Constitution should be amended to March 2016. By the end of the year, 29,716 make homosexuality completely illegal and people had arrived by sea from Turkey in punishable by law. In July he also stated in comparison with 173,450 in 2016. However, the media that Ghana would not Greece continued to be one of the main entry decriminalize homosexuality as this could points for refugees and migrants into Europe. lead to bestiality and incest becoming THE EU-TURKEY MIGRATION DEAL legalized. The expectation that everyone arriving irregularly on the Greek islands, including asylum-seekers, would be returned to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal of March 2016 Amnesty International Report 2017/18 177

178 continued to condemn many to extended In June, the three refugee camps in the Elliniko area in the capital Athens – which asylum procedures while being stranded in housed around 1,000 refugees and migrants, appalling reception conditions on the islands. including many children – were evacuated. In September, the Greek Council of State, The majority of refugees and migrants were the highest administrative court in the country, rejected the final appeals of two transferred to alternative camps. The Syrian refugees, against previous decisions conditions in the Elliniko camps, which declaring their asylum claims inadmissible on occupied two former Olympic sites and the arrivals terminal of an unused airport, had the basis that Turkey was a safe third country. been appalling and unsafe. NGOs had raised This decision could result in the first forcible serious concern regarding security in Elliniko, returns of Syrian asylum-seekers under the EU-Turkey deal. especially for women and girls. Many women By the end of the year, 684 individuals were reported verbal harassment and being at risk returned to Turkey from the Greek islands of sexual and gender-based violence. (1,485 in total since the EU-Turkey deal In January, three men died within one week in Moria camp on the island of Lesvos. Their became effective). Out of those, five were deaths were suspected to be linked to carbon Syrian nationals in detention who did not challenge their return after their claims were monoxide poisoning from makeshift heaters used to heat their tents. By the end of the found inadmissible at second instance. In October, NGOs, including Amnesty year, the investigation into the deaths had not International, documented instances in which been concluded. Following these deaths, the Greek Syrian asylum-seekers were automatically detained upon arrival as the authorities authorities transferred thousands of vulnerable asylum-seekers from the islands expected them to be shortly returned to to the mainland. However, in August, rising Turkey, under the EU-Turkey deal. numbers of people arrived on the islands and Greek authorities discriminated against asylum-seekers of certain nationalities. Due reception facilities returned to being overcrowded. The authorities had not been to the EU-Turkey deal, many of those with able to provide reception conditions on the nationalities of countries prejudged to be producing “economic migrants” rather than islands that met minimum standards under “refugees” were automatically detained and EU law by the end of the year. expected to be returned to Turkey. The use of urban accommodation for EU RELOCATION SCHEME asylum-seekers, largely flats, increased. By the end of the year, there were around The EU relocation scheme continued to be one of very few formal options available, for 18,000 asylum-seekers and refugees staying in flats and other urban accommodation those eligible, to safely leave Greece and rather than in camps. The majority of those move elsewhere in Europe. However, asylum- living in the urban accommodation were in seekers who arrived in Greece since the EU- mainland Greece; there were fewer than Turkey deal came into effect, were arbitrarily 1,000 asylum-seekers living in flats on the excluded from the scheme. A total of 21,703 asylum-seekers had been relocated from islands. Greece to other European countries, out of UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN the 66,400 that were foreseen to be relocated In September, the Council of Europe under the scheme. Committee for the Prevention of Torture RECEPTION CONDITIONS criticized the continued and routine detention Security continued to be a main concern in of unaccompanied migrant and refugee many of the remaining refugee camps, in children. As of 15 December, there were particular in overcrowded “hotspots” on the 2,256 unaccompanied children waiting to be islands. placed in shelters, including 74 detained in police stations. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 178

179 FORCED LABOUR AND SLAVERY RACISM Numerous hate-motivated attacks were Chowdury and Others v. Greece, In March, in reported during the year. Between August in a landmark judgment, the European Court 2016 and the end of 2017, over 50 attacks of Human Rights found that 42 migrant reportedly took place in the town of workers from Bangladesh had been Aspropyrgos where groups of young locals subjected to forced labour and human attacked migrant workers from Pakistan. In trafficking while working at a strawberry farm June, representatives of national NGOs filed a in the village of Manolada. The Court also complaint and authorities launched a found that Greece had failed to prevent human trafficking and to conduct an effective criminal investigation. In October, police arrested three young men suspected of being investigation into the offences committed. linked to one of the violent attacks. CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS Sixty-nine individuals linked to the far-right party Golden Dawn, including the party’s Conscientious objectors continued to be leader and MPs, were put on trial in 2015 for arrested, repeatedly prosecuted, tried in military courts and fined. In June, a 53-year- the murder of anti-fascist singer Pavlos old conscientious objector who was Fyssas in 2013 and for participation in a criminal organization. In October, the Athens prosecuted for having refused to enlist in 1990, was tried in a military court, but was Court of Appeal completed hearing evidence acquitted. from all prosecution witnesses called to testify According to the 2016 submissions of the in the trial. Greek National Commission for Human RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, Rights and the European Bureau for TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE Conscientious Objection, the duration of Refugees and migrants stranded on the alternative civilian service for certain Aegean islands were also subjected to hate- categories of conscientious objectors was still motivated crimes. Some of the victims were not conforming with the European Social Charter. In July, the European Committee of transgender women and gay men. In October, amid transphobic reactions Social Rights asked Greece to provide further information. inside and outside Parliament, the government passed a new law reforming legal TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT recognition of gender identity. Law 4491/2017 expressly stated that transgender Allegations of ill-treatment and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials people could change their identity documents without the requirements of persisted. The majority of victims of the reported incidents were refugees and medical interventions, tests and psychiatric migrants trapped on the Aegean islands as a assessments. However, the new legislation also contained several flaws, including a result of the EU-Turkey deal. There were allegations that police used single status requirement and the validation of gender recognition by a local court. While excessive force against asylum-seekers the procedure was open to individuals above during an operation to arrest protesters who the age of 15, blanket age restrictions were clashing with the police in the Moria camp, on Lesvos, on 18 July. Police also remained and 15- to 16-year-old children allegedly ill-treated some of those arrested seeking legal gender recognition faced the and detained in the island’s main police additional barrier of a psycho-medical assessment. station following the clashes. In July, a local prosecutor ordered a criminal investigation FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION into the allegations. The investigation was In October, Parliament adopted a legislative ongoing at the end of the year. amendment seeking to implement three Amnesty International Report 2017/18 179

180 European Court of Human Rights judgments. military, including the former head of the High Command of the Guatemalan Army, The judgments were regarding the violation of were sent to trial charged with crimes against the right to freedom of association in relation humanity and rape against Emma Guadalupe to the authorities’ refusal to register associations of Greece’s national minorities in Molina Theissen, and the enforced disappearance of her younger brother, Marco 2007, 2008 and 2015. The new provision Antonio Molina Theissen. amended the Code of Civil Procedure to allow Criminal proceedings remained stalled the possibility of reopening proceedings in these cases. However, the NGO Greek against former members of the military on Helsinki Monitor expressed concern over the charges related to multiple cases of enforced limitations placed by the law in relation to the disappearances and unlawful killings carried reopening of such proceedings, including on out in a military base, now known as Creompaz, in the northern Alta Verapaz grounds of national security and public order. region. Appeals filed against decisions affecting the victims’ rights were pending and several officers remained at large. In both GUATEMALA cases, victims and human rights defenders were intimidated and harassed inside or Republic of Guatemala outside the court and online. After several Head of state and government: Jimmy Morales Cabrera failed attempts since 2015, the trials of Thousands continued to flee the country to former military head of state José Efraín Ríos Montt and former intelligence chief escape high levels of inequality and Rodríguez Sánchez resumed in October. violence. Human rights defenders, in particular those working on land, territorial IMPUNITY and environmental issues, were at great risk Judges and prosecutors continued to face and faced smear campaigns. Impunity and intimidation and pressure. Efforts to fight corruption persisted, undermining public impunity were at great risk of setbacks due to trust in local authorities and hindering access to justice. Recent progress to increased resistance from certain political actors. A constitutional reform introduced in consolidate the criminal justice system and the rule of law was challenged. High-profile Congress in November 2016, aimed at consolidating efforts towards justice and cases of past crimes under international law accountability and strengthening the remained stalled. independence of the judiciary, had not been LEGAL, CONSTITUTIONAL OR approved at the end of the year. Mass INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENTS protests took place in August and September In August, Augusto Jordan Rodas took up and the country faced a political crisis when several members of the government resigned office as Ombudsperson for Human Rights. In November, the last criminal provisions in September, in reaction to President Morales’ attempt to expel the head of the referring to the death penalty were declared unconstitutional. International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (an independent body established TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE by the UN and the Guatemalan government in 2006 to strengthen the rule of law post- Despite progress in the prosecution of some crimes against humanity committed during conflict). the internal armed conflict (1960-1996), HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS efforts towards truth, justice and reparations remained halted, and the vast majority of Human rights defenders faced continuous cases continued to suffer setbacks and threats, stigmatization, intimidation and attacks. undue delays. Five former members of the Amnesty International Report 2017/18 180

181 The Guatemalan NGO Unit for the 400 people, including children and elderly Protection of Human Rights Defenders in people, who were stranded at the northern border with Mexico from early June in poor Guatemala said that defenders working on sanitary conditions. They had abandoned rights related to land, territory and the environment faced the highest number of their community situated in Laguna Larga hours before a massive eviction was carried attacks. In January, Sebastián Alonso Juan was killed during a peaceful protest against out. By the end of the year the authorities the construction of hydroelectric projects in had not facilitated their return. the Ixquisis region of San Mateo Ixtatán. REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS In addition, human rights defenders were constantly subjected to smear campaigns to Thousands of Guatemalans migrated to the USA through Mexico in an effort to escape stigmatize and discredit them and their work the high levels of inequality and violence in an attempt to force them to stop their affecting marginalized groups. UNHCR, the legitimate activities. From the end of June, members of the Centre for Environmental, UN refugee agency, said that between Social and Legal Action were targeted with January and October 18,764 Guatemalans sought asylum in other countries. smear campaigns after they challenged the Unaccompanied children from Guatemala licence of Minera San Rafael mining company in San Rafael Las Flores. The comprised the biggest group of arrivals apprehended at the US border. Although justice system was regularly misused to target large numbers of people continued to be and harass human rights defenders in an forcibly returned to Guatemala, there was no attempt to break up movements and comprehensive mechanism or protocol in organizations, and silence human rights defenders. place to address the needs of returnees who were sent back to the same conditions and A General Instruction by the Public danger that they had fled. Prosecutor ’ s Office containing guidelines to effectively investigate attacks against human CHILDREN’S RIGHTS rights defenders was under review pending In March, 41 girls died in a fire in the Virgen its approval for several months. Despite some progress, the process to create, in de la Asunción government-run shelter in San José Pinula municipality while locked consultation with civil society, a comprehensive public policy for the inside a classroom. The deaths revealed the lack of sufficient and adequate measures to protection of human rights defenders had not protect children’s rights in Guatemala. A concluded by the end of the year. number of public officials were charged, but LAND DISPUTES delays in the investigation were reported. In September the Supreme Court recognized High levels of child pregnancy remained a particular concern. The Observatory on the lack of prior consultation with the Xinca Indigenous People of Santa Rosa and Jalapa, Sexual and Reproductive Health registered who had been negatively affected by the 69,445 births by girls and young women aged from 10 to 19 between January and activities of the mine of San Rafael Las Flores. The Court ordered the Ministry of September. Energy and Mines to carry out a consultation, but it also allowed the company to continue mining operations. As a result, an appeal was filed before the Constitutional Court, which remained pending. In September the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered Guatemala to protect the rights of around Amnesty International Report 2017/18 181

182 neighbourhood, and taken to a gendarmerie detention centre. He was charged with GUINEA “participating in an unlawful assembly” and was detained without trial at the Maison Republic of Guinea centrale, Conakry’s main prison, until his Head of state: Alpha Condé Mamady Youla Head of government : release on bail on 21 December. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION The security forces continued to use excessive force against demonstrators. Journalists, human rights defenders and others expressing dissent were beaten and Journalists, human rights defenders and arbitrarily detained. At least 20 people were others expressing dissent were arbitrarily arrested solely for exercising their right to arrested. Impunity was widespread. The freedom of expression and 20 others were right to adequate housing was not fulfilled. subjected to police violence. BACKGROUND In February, Radio Lynx FM reporter The postponement of local elections until Mariam Kouyaté was arrested by security February 2018, along with speculation about agents as she investigated health services at whether President Condé would run for a the Ignace Deen Hospital in Conakry. She was questioned at a police station after third term, led to social and political tensions. refusing to hand over her press badge and FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY recording equipment, and released the same At least 18 people were killed and dozens day without charge. In May, Gangan TV were injured during demonstrations. In journalist Aboubacar Camara was beaten by gendarmes as he filmed a land dispute in a February, seven people were killed in the capital, Conakry, during protests connected Conakry suburb where he believed the security forces were using excessive force. to a strike over the authorities’ decision to The officers forced him into their car, took review teachers’ terms and conditions, and to him to the gendarmerie and released him school closures. The security forces dispersed the demonstrators with tear gas, later the same day after deleting his batons and live ammunition. recordings. On 20 February, the police arrested seven In June, the High Authority of human rights defenders of the Voice of the Communication suspended Espace FM radio People movement who had organized a sit-in presenter Mohamed Mara for one month on grounds that he had used “insulting” in Conakry calling for schools to reopen. They language during a radio debate on polygamy. faced charges of “disturbing public order”, later amended to “participating in an In November, the Authority ordered that the radio station be taken off air for one week unlawful assembly”, and were released the same evening. Three days after his release, after the station discussed under-resourcing national television journalist Hassan Sylla − in the army which the authorities claimed could undermine national security and one of the seven − was suspended from his morale among the armed forces. In July, job for six months for gross misconduct; no National Television suspended Alia Camara, explanation was given. Security forces used live ammunition during one of their journalists, for criticizing the low pass rate in baccalaureate examinations. violent protests against poor living standards in the Boké region in April, May and On 27 June, gendarmes arrested September. At least four people died from guiné journalist Amadou Sadio gunshot wounds. Diallo in Lélouma for “disturbing public On 22 August, former soldier and trade order” after he published what the authorities unionist Jean Dougou Guilavogui was described as “false news” about a possible arrested by gendarmes in Matoto, a Conakry Amnesty International Report 2017/18 182

183 cholera outbreak. He was released the none of the suspected perpetrators had following day. been brought to trial by the end of the year. On 30 October, four Gangan TV journalists In September, a group of victims filed a kouba Konaté, who served lawsuit against S were arrested by gendarmes in Matam, a é as Minister of Defence in 2009, as well as neighbourhood of Conakry, and charged with transitional President between 2009 publishing false information and offending 1 the head of state by spreading rumours of and 2010. President Condé’s death. Three of them were There was no progress in the judicial proceedings against security force members released hours later and one was released for the human rights violations committed the following day. At least 18 journalists who gathered in solidarity with the arrested during demonstrations in Conakry between 2011 and 2017, in Zogota in 2012 and journalists at the Matam gendarmerie were beaten and had their equipment broken by during the occupation by the security forces of the village of Womey in 2014. security forces. LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS RIGHT TO HOUSING In August, at least 10 people, including two In June, the National Assembly adopted a children, were killed in a landslide at a new Military Code of Justice, which if promulgated would effectively abolish the rubbish dump site at Dar-Es-Salam, a death penalty. The Code also contained neighbourhood of Conakry. In September, the government spokesperson acknowledged a provisions that could undermine the rights to failure in the sanitation services. The National fair trial and justice, including by allowing the trials of civilians before military courts. Director of Humanitarian Actions at the Ministry of Territorial Administration said that IMPUNITY the remaining inhabitants should be evicted immediately. In February, an Anti-Crime Brigade captain in Kipé, a neighbourhood of Conakry, was arrested and charged with torturing a man in 1. , 27 Guinea: 8 years later, justice for massacre needed ( Press release police custody in March 2016. At least 10 September) other gendarmerie and police officers were suspended over the incident, but were not brought to justice. HAITI There was progress in the trial proceedings relating to the killing of over 150 peaceful Republic of Haiti demonstrators and the rape of at least 100 Jovenel Moïse (replaced Jocelerme Head of state: women in the Conakry Stadium in 2009. In Privert in February) March, Aboubacar Sidiki Diakité was Jack Guy Lafontant (replaced Head of government: extradited to Guinea from Senegal after being Enex Jean-Charles in March) at large for several years, and faced charges Violence against women and girls, in connection with the Stadium event. He was the former aide to Moussa Dadis Camara particularly sexual violence, continued. (leader of the military junta in 2009). Several Legislators sought to approve openly discriminatory laws against LGBTI people. people charged in connection with the killings and rapes retained influential BACKGROUND positions, including Mathurin Bangoura, In February, Jovenel Moïse assumed the Moussa Tiégboro Camara and Claude Pivi who were senior officials in the military junta presidency after being elected in November 2016 following an electoral crisis; a new at the time. In November, the investigating judges announced that the judicial Prime Minister was appointed. investigation had been completed; however, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 183

184 nationals was due to expire in January 2018 In March, prompted by the Haitian government, the mandate of the UN with a delayed effective date of 18 months Independent Expert on the situation of which, according to the Department, would human rights in Haiti ended. “allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on 22 July, 2019”. In October, UN Security Council resolution TPS is granted to nationals from particular 2350 ended the mandate of the UN countries on the grounds that they cannot Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) return safely to their country due to after 13 years. Peacekeepers left following conditions there. years of controversy over their alleged responsibility for the cholera outbreak of RIGHT TO HEALTH – CHOLERA 2010, and numerous reports of sexual EPIDEMIC violence. It was replaced by the UN Mission Between January and June, there were 7,623 for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), new cases of suspected cholera and 70 mandated to strengthen the rule of law. The authorities took steps to re-establish the related deaths, a decrease of more than 60% army which had been dissolved in 1995. It in comparison with the same period in 2016. Since the 2010 outbreak, more than 800,000 was unclear what vetting processes would be established to recruit soldiers following the people had been infected and nearly 10,000 had died, according to the authorities. widespread allegations of human rights violations committed by previous forces. The UN’s “new approach to cholera in Haiti”, presented in 2016, was severely INTERNALLY DISPLACED PEOPLE underfunded. There were no consultations The International Organization for Migration with cholera survivors, as planned. Individual assistance was consequently suspended. reported that by June, 37,867 people were internally displaced because of the 2010 Victims ’ advocates objected to this on the grounds that it was inconsistent with the earthquake; most of them lived in makeshift camps. right to remedy. According to the government, almost 70% DISCRIMINATION − STATELESS of the Haitian population did not have access PERSONS to health services. In March, Parliament voted to accede to the VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS 1954 and 1961 UN Conventions on Sexual violence and violence against women Statelessness, following recommendations made during Haiti’s examination under the and girls was prevalent although under- 1 UN UPR process in 2016. Haiti had not reported. signed or ratified the Conventions by the end In April, the government tabled comprehensive reforms of the Criminal Code of 2017. in Parliament. It contained new provisions to REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS tackle sexual violence, including criminalizing rape in marriage. In July, the NGO Doctors In July, the UN Office for the Coordination of Without Borders found that 77% of survivors Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported an increase in deportation cases at the of sexual and gender-based violence who were treated in its specialized clinic in the Dominican-Haitian border. Despite a request in October from the capital, Port-au-Prince, between May 2015 and March 2017, were under the age of 25; Haitian government for a further extension, 53% were under 18. the US Department of Homeland Security announced, in November, its decision to terminate the temporary protected status (TPS) for nearly 60,000 Haitians at risk of deportation from the USA. TPS for Haitian Amnesty International Report 2017/18 184

185 RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, 1. Following political crisis Haiti must urgently advance human rights TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE AMR 36/5899/2017 ) agenda ( The Senate supported bills which 2. Haiti: Human rights defenders’ lives in danger ( AMR 36/6045/2017 ) discriminated against LGBTI people; they Haiti: Women’s rights defender threatened with death: Sanièce Petit 3. were pending approval by the Chamber of AMR 36/7598/2017 ) Phat ( Deputies at the end of the year. In July, the Senate voted for certificates to be issued which would vouch for an individual’s “good HONDURAS moral” standing and from which anyone deemed to be “homosexual” would be Republic of Honduras excluded. In August, it approved a law Head of state and government: Juan Orlando making same-sex marriage and public Hernández Alvarado support or advocacy for “homosexuality” illegal. The level of insecurity and violence HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS remained high. Widespread impunity continued to undermine public trust in the Human rights defenders David Boniface and Juders Ysemé reported fearing for their lives authorities and the justice system. Protests in the aftermath of the presidential election following the sudden death in March of their were brutally repressed by security forces. colleague Nissage Martyr. He died a day after Honduras remained one of the most the three men filed a lawsuit in the USA against Jean Morose Viliena − former Mayor dangerous countries in the Americas region of Les Irois, their hometown in Haiti − for for human rights defenders, especially for grave human rights violations. Jean Morose those working to protect land, territory and the environment. The government Viliena had fled to the USA from Haiti in announced the creation of a Ministry for 2009. The men said that they had been subjected to repeated death threats and Human Rights and Justice, to become to violent attacks by or on behalf of the operational in 2018. former Mayor since 2007. However, the EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE authorities did not implement adequate Mass protests, which began on 29 November protection measures, although the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights around the country to denounce the lack of granted them precautionary measures to transparency around the presidential 2 election, were brutally repressed by security ensure their safety in 2015. Sanièce Petit Phat reported that she forces. Hundreds of people were arrested or detained and a 10-day curfew was had received death threats because of her work in defence of the rights of women and implemented in December. Security forces 3 used excessive force against protesters, . girls including with lethal weapons. At least 31 RIGHT TO EDUCATION people were killed, and multiple cases of people being injured by firearms or brutally In June, the UN Economic and Social beaten by security forces were also reported, Council Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti criticized inefficiency in the education sector. as well as cases that could amount to torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading It noted that most schools were privately treatment. managed, “making education an expensive, profit-based system” too expensive for many HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS Haitian families. Illiteracy among over-15s was over 50%. Human rights defenders, particularly environmental and land activists, continued to be at risk of human rights abuses. They Amnesty International Report 2017/18 185

186 were subjected to smear campaigns by both INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS state and non-state actors to discredit their Several Indigenous Peoples continued to work, and were regularly targeted with claim that their rights to consultation and to intimidation, threats, and attacks. In June, free, prior and informed consent were three members of the Civic Council of violated in the context of projects to explore and exploit natural resources in their Popular and Indigenous Organizations of territories. Killings, aggressions and cases of Honduras (COPINH) were attacked by armed assailants while they were in a car, returning misuse of the justice system against those defending Indigenous Peoples were reported. from a meeting. Local NGOs said that the justice system continued to be misused to The Draft Framework Law on Free, Prior harass and discourage human rights and Informed Consultation of Indigenous Peoples faced criticism, including of the defenders. Unnecessary and excessive use of insufficient participation of Indigenous and force by security forces during peaceful protests was also reported. Garifuna (Afro-descendant) communities in the process. The vast majority of attacks registered Reparation measures ordered in 2015 by against human rights defenders remained unpunished, as a result of multiple obstacles the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in two cases where Honduras had violated the hindering investigations and trials. There was collective land rights of the Garifuna little progress in the investigation into the killing in March 2016 of Berta Cáceres, the communities had yet to be implemented. Indigenous environmental defender and co- LAND DISPUTES founder of COPINH. The public hearings of Conflicts persisted due to the lack of secure eight suspects detained in relation to the land tenure. High levels of violence were case were postponed on multiple occasions. Independent experts revealed a lack of due reported in the Aguán Valley where long- diligence in the investigations, including a standing land disputes remained unresolved. According to the Unified Campesino lack of prosecution of other individuals Movement of the Aguán, precautionary potentially involved in the crime. There was measures granted by the Inter-American no information about any progress made by the Public Prosecutor in identifying those Commission on Human Rights to protect the responsible for planning her killing. life and integrity of leaders in the Aguán Valley were not adequately implemented. Although some progress was made to protect human rights defenders through the GENDER-RELATED VIOLENCE National Mechanism to Protect Human Women, girls and LGBTI people continued to Rights Defenders, Journalists, Social face high levels of gender-related violence. Commentators and Justice Officials, efforts to Between January and October, 236 violent ensure their comprehensive protection deaths of women were registered by the remained insufficient. Centre for Women’s Rights. According to the New provisions of the Criminal Code on Lesbian Cattrachas Network, killings of LGBTI terrorism and related criminal offences people also increased, with a total of 35 approved by Congress in February and people killed. Impunity remained high in September were defined in an overly broad these cases, as authorities lacked sufficient and vague manner, contrary to the principle capacity and resources to investigate, of legality. The provisions could lead to the prosecute and punish those responsible. arbitrary and inadequate application of the Code against peaceful protesters and human SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS rights defenders, which could further criminalize their work and obstruct social The failure to protect women’s and girls’ movements. rights and guarantee access to safe and legal abortion in any circumstances continued. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 186

187 Despite recommendations from international REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS Hungary continued to severely restrict access human rights bodies and mechanisms, in to the country for refugees and asylum- April Congress decided to maintain the seekers, limiting admission to its two prohibition of abortion in all circumstances in operational border “transit zones” in which the new Criminal Code. only 10 new asylum applications could be REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS submitted per working day. Consequently, Widespread violence across Honduras between 6,000 and 8,000 people were left in remained a key factor of forced migration inadequate conditions in Serbia, in substandard camps and at risk of from the country. According to UNHCR, the homelessness and of further refoulement UN refugee agency, between January and south to Macedonia and Bulgaria. October, 14,735 Hondurans sought asylum worldwide, mostly in Mexico and the USA. In March, the European Court of Human v. Hungary However, large numbers of Hondurans also Rights ruled in Ilias and Ahmed continued to be forcibly returned from these that the confinement of asylum-seekers in “transit zones”, essentially heavily guarded countries to the same life-threatening container camps at Hungary’s external land situations which initially pushed them to borders, amounted to arbitrary deprivation of escape. To date, there was no comprehensive liberty. The Court also found that, due to the mechanism or protocol to detect and address in a systematic manner the protection needs poor conditions in which asylum-seekers were held for weeks and the lack of judicial of deportees. remedies available against this form of detention, Hungary had failed to provide adequate protection against a real risk of HUNGARY inhuman and degrading treatment. The same month, a package of Hungary amendments to five laws on migration and János Áder Head of state: asylum was passed in the National Assembly, Head of government: Viktor Orbán enabling the automatic detention, without judicial review, of all asylum-seekers in The systematic crackdown on the rights of border “transit zones”, including refugees and migrants continued. Foreign- unaccompanied minors of 14-18 years of funded universities and NGOs faced age. These amendments also allowed for the restrictions under new legislation. detention of asylum-seekers for the whole BACKGROUND duration of their asylum processes, including any appeals, and for the summary expulsion The government faced domestic protests and of all irregular migrants found on Hungarian increased international scrutiny for its continued rollback on human rights and non- territory to the external side of Hungary’s extensive border fences. compliance with EU law. The European Consequently, most asylum-seekers in Commission launched and moved forward Hungary either absconded from the with four formal infringement proceedings procedure or were detained in the border following the introduction of legislation “transit zones” indefinitely. By the end of the deemed incompatible with EU freedoms, and in May the European Parliament adopted a year, almost 500 asylum-seekers were unlawfully detained at the border. The comprehensive resolution expressing alarm Hungarian authorities denied or provided at the situation of human rights in the country. More than a quarter of the extremely limited access to human rights population remained at risk of poverty and monitors and NGOs providing legal aid. social exclusion and 16% were severely These draconian measures were originally materially deprived. supposed to apply during a “crisis situation Amnesty International Report 2017/18 187

188 caused by mass immigration”. However, a Commission took legal action against “crisis situation” had been continuously Hungary by launching infringement proceedings. In the Commission’s invoked since September 2015 and was assessment, the law was not compatible with extended in August until March 2018, fundamental EU freedoms, including the despite the lack of a factual or legal basis for freedom to provide services, the freedom of its prolongation. establishment, and academic freedom. In Hungary further enhanced its border fences October, the National Assembly voted to and police presence at its southern borders. extend the deadlines by which the new More than 20,000 people were summarily requirements had to be met by one calendar and sometimes violently returned to Serbia or otherwise prevented from entering Hungary year. By the end of the year the government without access to fair and efficient asylum had failed to strike an agreement with the State of New York that would allow for the processes and an examination of their protection needs. In March, the newspaper continued operations of the CEU. revealed that, contrary to the Magyar Nemzet In June, the National Assembly passed a government’s statements refuting allegations law effectively stigmatizing NGOs that of abuse, more than 40 investigations had received foreign funding. Under the law on been launched into instances of excessive the transparency of organizations funded from abroad, NGOs receiving more than use of force by police at the border over a EUR24,000 direct or indirect funding from period of 18 months; most of the abroad had to re-register as a “civic investigations were closed without further action. organization funded from abroad” and to put this label on every publication. Additionally, In September, Hungary lost a case at the the law required NGOs to reveal the identity Court of Justice of the European Union, which ruled that it could not absolve itself of of their funders and supporters above a threshold of around EUR1,650. The law was participation in the EU Emergency Relocation Scheme for the relocation of asylum-seekers adopted amid a government-sponsored from Greece and Italy to other EU member communication campaign discrediting NGOs and accusing several of undermining national states. Hungary continued to refuse to sovereignty and security. By only covering relocate any of its minimum quota of 1,294 asylum-seekers, or to participate in other certain types of civil society organizations, the law directly discriminated against these regional solidarity mechanisms. By the end of organizations and imposed limitations on the year, it had not resettled or relocated anyone. their right to association, including the right to seek, receive and utilize resources. In mid- FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION July, the European Commission notified In April, the adoption in an emergency Hungary of another infringement procedure, procedure of amendments to the National based on an assessment that this law imposed measures at odds with the right to Higher Education Law prompted widespread protests and criticism from academic experts freedom of association and unjustified and disproportionate restrictions on the free and the general public. The law, widely movement of capital, and raised concerns in interpreted as targeting the operations of a relation to the obligation of protecting private particular educational institution, the Central European University (CEU), introduced new life and personal data. requirements for foreign universities In August, a coalition of more than 20 NGOs submitted a complaint to the Constitutional operating in Hungary under an extremely Court requesting that the law be annulled. tight deadline – including the requirement of a bilateral state-level agreement – putting at risk the continued functioning of those institutions. The same month, the European Amnesty International Report 2017/18 188

189 cow protection groups. Press freedom and COUNTER-TERROR AND SECURITY free speech in universities came under In June, an appeals court in the southern attack. India failed to respect its human town of Szeged annulled the conviction of rights commitments made before the UN Ahmed H, a Syrian man sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for allegedly committing Human Rights Council. The Supreme Court and High Courts delivered several “acts of terror” while participating in a riot by progressive judgments, but some rulings refugees and migrants at the Serbia-Hungary undermined human rights. Impunity for border in September 2015. On appeal, the court found that available evidence had not human rights abuses persisted. been properly assessed and ordered a retrial. ABUSES BY ARMED GROUPS In August, the Prosecutor General appealed against this decision to the Curia (the highest In January, three road construction workers were killed in an attack on a military camp by court in Hungary). In November, the Curia suspected members of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa ruled that the appeals court should have armed group in Akhnoor, in the state of delivered a binding judgment instead of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The United ordering a retrial; this, however, did not affect ongoing proceedings. Ahmed H’s case was Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) claimed responsibility for detonating seven pending before a newly appointed court of bombs across Assam state on 26 January; no first instance at the end of the year. casualties were reported. In July, suspected VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba armed By October, allegations of abuse committed group attacked a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims in Botengoo, J&K, killing eight people and by men holding positions of power sparked a national debate on the recognition and injuring 17. Suspected armed group members in J&K prosecution of rape and other forms of sexual violence. Hungary had yet to ratify the threatened and attacked political workers and Council of Europe Convention on preventing ransacked the homes of state police personnel. Armed groups in northeastern and combating violence against women and domestic violence, and prosecutions of these states were suspected of carrying out abductions and unlawful killings. The crimes remained limited. Communist Party of India (Maoist) armed group was suspected of killing suspected police “informants” in several states. INDIA CASTE-BASED DISCRIMINATION AND Republic of India VIOLENCE Head of state: Ram Nath Kovind (replaced Pranab Official statistics released in November stated Mukherjee in July) that more than 40,000 crimes against Head of government: Narendra Modi Scheduled Castes were reported in 2016. Several incidents were reported of members Religious minority groups, particularly Muslims, faced increasing demonization by of dominant castes attacking Dalits for accessing public and social spaces or for hardline Hindu groups, pro-government media and some state officials. Adivasi perceived caste transgressions. communities continued to be displaced by In May, two Dalit men were killed, several industrial projects, and hate crimes against injured, and dozens of Dalit homes burned Dalits remained widespread. Authorities by dominant caste men in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, following a clash between members were openly critical of human rights defenders and organizations, contributing to of the communities. In September, S. Anitha, a climate of hostility against them. Mob a 17-year-old Dalit girl who had campaigned against the introduction of a uniform national violence intensified, including by vigilante Amnesty International Report 2017/18 189

190 Rajasthan police cleared six men suspected exam for admission to medical colleges, of killing Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer who had committed suicide, sparking protests in Tamil named the suspects before he died. Some Nadu. Protesters said the exam would BJP officials made statements which disadvantage students from marginalized backgrounds. appeared to justify the attacks. In September, the Supreme Court said that state Activists said that at least 90 Dalits governments were obligated to compensate employed as manual scavengers died during victims of cow vigilante violence. the year while cleaning sewers, despite the A special investigation team set up in 2015 practice being prohibited. Many of those killed were illegally employed by government to reinvestigate closed cases related to the 1984 Sikh massacre closed 241 cases and agencies. In August, the Delhi state filed charges in 12 others. In August, the government said that people who employed Supreme Court set up a panel comprising manual scavengers would be prosecuted for manslaughter. In November, the UN Special two former judges to examine the decisions to close the cases. Rapporteur on safe drinking water and In March, mobs carried out with impunity a sanitation expressed concern that the string of racist attacks against black African s emphasis on building new government ’ toilets as part of its Clean India Mission could students in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. In prolong manual scavenging. June, three people were killed in Darjeeling, West Bengal, in violent clashes between CHILDREN’S RIGHTS police and protesters demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland. In November, statistics were published stating that over 106,000 cases of violence FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION against children were reported in 2016. In Journalists and press freedom came under June, India ratified two key ILO conventions increasing attack. In September, journalist on child labour. Activists remained critical of amendments to child labour laws which Gauri Lankesh, an outspoken critic of Hindu allowed children to work in family enterprises. nationalism and the caste system, was shot According to national survey data released dead outside her home in Bengaluru by in March, nearly 36% of children aged below unidentified gunmen. The same month, journalist Shantanu Bhowmick was beaten to five were underweight, and more than 38% death near Agartala while covering violent were short for their age. In September, 70 children died at a hospital in Gorakhpur, political clashes. In September, Uttar Pradesh, allegedly because of photojournalist Kamran Yousuf was arrested in J&K for allegedly instigating people to disruption to the oxygen supply. The share of public spending on health remained low at throw stones at security forces, under a law which does not meet international human 1.2% of GDP. Spending on government rights standards. In November, journalist programmes to provide nutrition and pre- school education to children under six Sudip Datta Bhowmik was shot dead, remained inadequate. allegedly by a paramilitary force member, at a paramilitary camp near Agartala. In COMMUNAL AND ETHNIC VIOLENCE December, a French film-maker conducting research for a documentary on the Kashmir Dozens of hate crimes against Muslims took place across the country. At least 10 Muslim conflict was detained for three days in J&K, men were lynched and many injured by allegedly for violating visa regulations. Journalists continued to face criminal vigilante cow protection groups, many of which seemed to operate with the support of defamation cases filed by politicians and members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party companies. In June, the Karnataka (BJP). Some arrests were made, but no legislature sentenced two journalists to one year’s imprisonment each for allegedly writing convictions were reported. In September, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 190

191 defamatory articles about members of the pamphlets and videos, and used the provisions of the Unlawful Activities state assembly. Repressive laws were used to stifle freedom Prevention Act, a law which does not meet of expression. In June, 20 people were international human rights standards. The same month, Jailal Rathia, an Adivasi arrested for sedition in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, following complaints that they had activist, died in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, after cheered the Pakistan cricket team’s victory allegedly being poisoned by members of a land mafia he was campaigning against. In over India. In July, 31 Dalit activists were April, Varsha Dongre, an official at Raipur arrested and detained for a day in Lucknow for organizing a press conference about Central Jail in Chhattisgarh, was transferred caste-based violence. State governments after she posted on Facebook that she had banned books, and the central film seen police torturing Adivasi girls. certification board denied the theatrical In May, four men were arrested in Chennai and held in administrative detention for more release of certain films, on vague and overly than three months for attempting to stage a broad grounds. In November, five state governments banned the release of memorial for Tamils killed in the civil war in Sri Lanka. The same month, the Odisha state Padmaavat , a Hindi period film, on the police arrested Kuni Sikaka, an Adivasi grounds that it would “hurt community activist opposing bauxite mining in the sentiments”. Freedom of expression in universities Niyamgiri hills, and released her only after presenting her to journalists as a surrendered remained under threat. The student body of the Hindu nationalist organization Rashtriya Maoist. In August, activist Medha Patkar and three Swayamsevak Sangh used threats and others protesting against inadequate violence to block events and talks at some rehabilitation for families affected by the universities. In June, eight Lucknow Sardar Sarovar dam project (see below) were University students were arrested and arrested on fabricated charges and detained detained for 20 days for protesting against for more than two weeks. the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. In September, Uttar Pradesh police personnel INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS baton-charged students, mostly women, In November, statistics were published protesting against sexual assault at Banaras stating that over 6,500 crimes were Hindu University. committed against Scheduled Tribes in 2016. In August, India’s Supreme Court ruled in a Indigenous Adivasi communities continued to landmark judgment that the right to privacy face displacement by industrial projects. The was part of the constitutional right to life and personal liberty. government acquired land for coal mining under a special law without seeking the free, HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS prior and informed consent of Adivasis. In July, an Environment Ministry panel said that In January, the Home Ministry said that it had coal mines seeking to increase production refused to renew the foreign funding licence of the NGO known as People’s Watch capacity by up to 40% did not have to because it had allegedly portrayed India’s consult affected communities. human rights record in a “negative light” In September, activists protested against the internationally. inauguration of the Sardar Sarovar dam in In March, GN Saibaba, an activist and Gujarat, saying that some 40,000 displaced families, including many Adivasi families, had academic, was convicted with four others and sentenced to life imprisonment by a not received adequate reparation. In June, Maharashtra court for being a member of 98 Adivasis in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, tried to and supporting a banned Maoist group. The file criminal cases under the Scheduled conviction was based primarily on letters, Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Amnesty International Report 2017/18 191

192 Atrocities) Act, alleging that they had been POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES In January, four Adivasi women in Dhar, forced into selling their land to agents of Madhya Pradesh, said they had been gang- private companies, following intimidation and raped by police personnel. In March, Adivasi coercion. The police accepted the complaints but refused to register criminal cases. villagers in Sukma, Chhattisgarh, accused security force personnel of gang-raping a 14- JAMMU AND KASHMIR year-old Adivasi girl. In September, two In April, eight people were killed by security paramilitary personnel were arrested on suspicion of killing a woman and raping and forces, some of them by the use of excessive throwing acid on her friend in Mizoram in force, following protests during a by-election July. for a parliamentary seat. One voter, Farooq In April, a senior officer of the paramilitary Ahmad Dar, was beaten by army personnel, strapped to the front of an army jeep and Central Reserve Police Force alleged in writing to his commanding authorities that driven around for over five hours, seemingly multiple security agencies had killed two as a warning to protesters. In May, the officer suspected armed group members in an suspected of being responsible received an extrajudicial execution in Assam. The officer army commendation for his work in counter- insurgency operations. In July, the J&K State was transferred. In July, the Supreme Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation Human Rights Commission directed the state to investigate more than 80 alleged government to pay Farooq Dar 100,000 INR extrajudicial executions by police and (around USD1,500) as compensation. In security force personnel in Manipur between November, the state government refused to pay. 1979 and 2012. The court ruled that cases should not go uninvestigated merely because Impunity for human rights abuses persisted. of the passage of time. In June, a military court set up under the paramilitary Border Security Force acquitted In June, the Madhya Pradesh police shot two soldiers of killing 16-year-old Zahid dead five farmers who were among protesters Farooq Sheikh in 2010. The force had in Mandsaur demanding better prices for crops. In August, at least 38 people were successfully prevented the case from being prosecuted in a civilian court. In July, the killed, some of them by the use of excessive Supreme Court refused to reopen 215 cases force, when they were fired on by police in which over 700 members of the Kashmiri during protests in Haryana following the Pandit community were killed in J&K in conviction for rape of a self-styled “godman”, 1989, citing the passage of time. The same or guru. month, an appellate military court suspended REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS the life sentences of five army personnel convicted by a court-martial of the An estimated 40,000 Rohingya people in India were at risk of mass expulsion. They extrajudicial executions of three men in Machil in 2010. In November, the State included more than 16,000 who were Human Rights Commission repeated a recognized as refugees by UNHCR, the UN directive issued to the state government in refugee agency. In August, the Home 2011 to investigate over 2,000 unmarked Ministry wrote to state governments asking them to identify “illegal immigrants”, graves. including Rohingya. In September, the Security forces continued to use inherently inaccurate pellet-firing shotguns during Ministry said that all Rohingya in India were protests, blinding and injuring several people. “illegal immigrants”, and claimed to have Authorities frequently shut down internet evidence that some Rohingya had ties to services, citing public order concerns. terrorist organizations. In October, in response to a petition filed by two Rohingya Amnesty International Report 2017/18 192

193 court rulings undermined women’s refugees, the Supreme Court temporarily deferred expulsions. autonomy. In July, the Supreme Court In September, the Home Ministry said that it weakened a law enacted to protect women would grant citizenship to about 100,000 from violence in their marriages, by requiring that complaints be initially assessed by civil Chakma and Hajong refugees who had fled society “family welfare committees”. In to India from Bangladesh in the 1960s. October, the Supreme Court suggested that it TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT would review its judgment. The same month, it ruled that sexual intercourse by a man with Between January and August, 894 deaths in his wife, if she was under 18, would amount judicial custody and 74 deaths in police to rape. custody were recorded. In February, Uma Bharti, a central government minister, said Several rape survivors, including girls, she had ordered rape suspects to be tortured approached courts for permission to terminate pregnancies over 20 weeks, as when she was Chief Minister of Madhya required under Indian law. Courts approved Pradesh. In August, Manjula Shetye, a woman prisoner at the Byculla jail in some abortions, but refused others. In August, the central government instructed Mumbai, died after being allegedly beaten and sexually assaulted by officials for states to set up permanent medical boards to complaining about food in the prison. A team decide such cases promptly. of parliamentarians that visited Byculla jail reported that prisoners were routinely beaten. In November, a committee set up by the INDONESIA Delhi High Court said that 18 prisoners in Tihar jail in New Delhi had been beaten after Republic of Indonesia they had objected to their pillow covers being Head of state and government: Joko Widodo taken. In September, during India’s UN UPR Indonesia failed to address past human process before the UN Human Rights rights violations. The rights to freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and of Council, the government accepted for the third time recommendations to ratify the UN association continued to be arbitrarily restricted. Blasphemy provisions were used Convention against Torture, which it signed in 1997. India’s Law Commission released a to imprison those who peacefully exercised their rights to freedom of religion and report in October recommending that the belief. At least 30 prisoners of conscience government ratify the Convention and enact a law criminalizing torture. remained in detention for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of WOMEN’S RIGHTS expression or of religion and belief. The security forces carried out unlawful killings In November, statistics were published and used excessive force during protests showing that over 338,000 crimes against women were registered in 2016, including and security operations. Two men were caned in public in Aceh after being over 110,000 cases of violence by husbands and relatives. Responding to petitions in convicted by a local Shari’a court of same- courts seeking to criminalize marital rape, the sex consensual sexual relations. central government stated that doing so BACKGROUND would “destabilize the institution of marriage”. Indonesia’s human rights record was In August, the Supreme Court banned the examined in May under the UN UPR practice of triple talaq (Islamic instant process. Although Indonesia accepted 167 divorce), declaring that it was arbitrary and out of 225 recommendations, it rejected, unconstitutional. However, in other cases, among other things, calls to investigate past Amnesty International Report 2017/18 193

194 human rights violations and to repeal In August Novel Baswedan, an investigator for the Corruption Eradication Commission, blasphemy provisions in laws and was reported to the police by the regulations. These included several Commission’s director of investigation under provisions of the Criminal Code and Law No. 1/PNPS/1965, which imposed restrictions on Article 27(3) of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, which concerns freedoms of expression and of religion and 1 online defamation. The defamation report belief. related to an email he had sent in his IMPUNITY capacity as representative of the Commission’s workers’ union, criticizing the Despite commitments made by the director’s leadership. Novel Baswedan President, Indonesia failed to address past human rights violations. In February, the suffered an acid attack in Jakarta on 11 April Administrative Court in the capital, Jakarta, that severely damaged his corneas. At the overturned a decision by the Public time of the attack he was leading an ongoing investigation into misappropriation by high- Information Commission ordering the ranking government officials of funds for an government to publish a report on the 2004 murder of human rights defender Munir Said electronic ID cards project. On 10 July President Widodo signed Thalib, which reportedly implicated senior Government Regulation in Lieu of Law intelligence officers. The Court made the (Perppu) No. 2/2017, amending the 2013 decision on the grounds that the current Law on Mass Organizations to remove judicial government had not received the report from the previous government. In August, the safeguards over the process of banning Supreme Court upheld the Administrative NGOs and other organizations. The new Court’s decision. legislation, enacted by Parliament in October, would impose restrictions on the rights to During the UPR, Indonesia promised that the Attorney General would finalize a criminal freedom of association, expression, religion and belief, which were even more extensive investigation into alleged gross human rights than those currently set out in the Law on violations in Wasior in 2001 and Wamena in 2003, both in Papua region, and forward the Mass Organizations. The Law already stifled case to the Human Rights Court established the work of human rights defenders and reflected discriminatory attitudes towards under Law No. 26/2000. However, this had 2 certain groups. not happened by the end of the year. Security forces and vigilante groups broke FREEDOMS OF ASSEMBLY, ASSOCIATION up closed-door discussions and public events AND EXPRESSION relating to serious human rights violations committed in 1965. On 1 August, the local The authorities continued to prosecute those police and military from East Jakarta participating in peaceful political activities, disrupted a workshop in Jakarta concerning particularly in areas with a history of pro- the findings of the International Peoples independence movements such as Papua. Prisoner of conscience Oktovianus Warnares Tribunal 1965, a civil society initiative to raise international awareness about the mass remained in detention because he refused to human rights violations that occurred that sign a document declaring his allegiance to the state of Indonesia, despite having served year. On 16 September the police banned a two thirds of his prison sentence and being eligible for release on parole. He had been closed-door seminar at the office of the ) in 2013 after Indonesian and Jakarta Legal Aid Institute convicted of “rebellion” ( makar taking part in activities peacefully marking featuring a discussion by survivors of the the 50th anniversary of the handover of 1965 violations. On the night of 17 September, a crowd of around 1,000 Papua to the Indonesian government by the UN Temporary Executive Authority. claiming to be “anti-communists” Amnesty International Report 2017/18 194

195 teachings. The Mayor also said that it was surrounded the office, trapping scores of artists and activists attending an event necessary to protect the Ahmadiyya community in Depok from violent attacks by concerning the recent crackdown on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful other groups in the area. assembly. Early the following morning, the POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES crowd threw rocks at the office and destroyed Human rights groups reported unlawful the fence surrounding the building. Hundreds of police officers used tear gas to killings and other serious human rights 3 violations by security forces, primarily in the disperse the crowd. context of excessive use of force during mass FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF protests or during security operations. No perpetrators were known to have been held Blasphemy provisions in Articles 156 and to account, particularly for numerous 156(a) of the Criminal Code and Article 28(2) incidents in Papua. of the ITE Law were used to imprison those EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE who peacefully exercised their rights to freedom of religion and belief. At least 11 Between September 2016 and January people were convicted under blasphemy 2017, joint police and military forces carried laws. Individuals belonging to minority out security operations in Dogiyai, Papua province, during the run-up to the 2017 local religions or faiths or holding minority beliefs elections. On 10 January police officers were often targeted for prosecution. On 9 arbitrarily arrested Otis Pekei when he May, Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese Christian known refused to hand over a knife at a police as Ahok, was sentenced to two years’ checkpoint, and detained him at the imprisonment for “insulting Islam” in a video Moanemani sub-district police station. Later that day, police delivered Otis Pekei’s body to posted on the internet. Ahok was the first the home of his family; the family accused high-ranking government official to be 4 the police of torturing him during detention. convicted of blasphemy. No investigation was known to have been On 7 March, Ahmad Mushaddeq, Mahful Muis Tumanurung and Andry Cahya, leaders conducted. of the disbanded Fajar Nusantara religious On 1 August in Deiyai, Papua province, movement known as Gafatar, were convicted police officers arbitrarily opened fire into a of blasphemy by the East Jakarta District crowd of protesters without warning, Court. The conviction was upheld by the wounding at least 10 people, including Jakarta High Court on 3 July. children. Nine police officers were subjected At the end of the year, at least 30 prisoners to disciplinary action; no criminal of conscience remained in detention for proceedings were known to have been opened. peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression or of religion and belief. UNLAWFUL KILLINGS On 4 June, the local government in Depok, The number of killings by police of suspected West Java, sealed a mosque belonging to the drug dealers increased sharply, from 18 in 2016 to at least 98 in 2017. Some of the Ahmadiyya religious minority, considered by many Islamic groups to be “deviant and officers involved in the incidents were outside of Islam”. Authorities prevented the seconded to the National Narcotics Agency. Ahmadis from using the mosque during Police claimed that all the killings were in Ramadan. The Depok Mayor argued that the self-defence or because suspects tried to flee legal basis for the closure of the mosque was the scene. No independent investigations a ministerial decree and a provincial were known to have been conducted into regulation, both forbidding Ahmadiyya these killings. The number of deaths community members from promoting their escalated after several high-ranking Indonesian officials, including the President, activities and spreading their religious Amnesty International Report 2017/18 195

196 next day the police released 126 men, but advocated during the year for tougher charged 10 of them with providing measures to address drug-related crime, including calling for the application of “pornography service” under Law No. unrestrained lethal force against suspected 44/2008 on Pornography. On 6 October, 51 traffickers. people, including seven foreign nationals, were arrested in a Central Jakarta sauna. DEATHS IN CUSTODY Most of the customers were released the Deaths in custody and torture by police following day; five employees remained in personnel were reported by human rights detention at the end of the year. The police charged six people with providing organizations. 6 pornography and prostitution services. On 27 August Rifzal Riandi Siregar was With the exception of Aceh, consensual arrested in Batang Toru precinct in North Sumatra province after he was involved in a same-sex relations were not treated as crimes fight with a police officer. When his relatives under the Indonesian Criminal Code. visited him at the Batang Toru police station, ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL he told them that he had been badly beaten RIGHTS – RIGHT TO WATER at the station by four police officers, including the one with whom he had had the On 10 October, the Supreme Court ordered the government to terminate a water altercation. On 3 September, Rifzal Riandi Siregar was found dead in the police station. privatization scheme in Jakarta. The Court approved an appeal filed by the Coalition of At the request of his family, the police Jakarta Residents Opposing Water transferred his body to a police hospital in Privatization that the private provider had Medan, where an autopsy was conducted. “failed to protect the right to water” of the The police promised to give the autopsy report to the family within a week. They had residents. The Court ordered the government not received it by the end of the year. to immediately revoke its contracts with two private water utilities. CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING PUNISHMENT Indonesia: Human Rights Council must ensure strong 1. At least 317 people were caned in Aceh ) recommendations at human rights review ( ASA 21/6156/2017 during the year for offences such as adultery, 2. Indonesia: Amendments to the mass organizations law expand gambling and drinking alcohol, as well as threats to freedom of association ( ) ASA 21/6722/2017 same-sex consensual sexual relations. ASA 3. Indonesia: Offices of human rights defenders attacked ( In May, two men were each caned 83 times ) 21/7113/2017 in public after being convicted by the Banda 4. Indonesia: Blasphemy conviction demonstrates intolerance - Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) ( ASA 21/6213/2017) Aceh Shari’a Court of consensual same-sex sexual relations (liwath) under the Aceh Indonesia: Revoke conviction and caning sentence for gay men in 5. Aceh ( ASA 21/6279/2017 ) Islamic Criminal Code. Although Shari’a by- 6. Indonesia: Arrest of 51 people fuels hostile environment for LGBTI laws have been in force in Aceh since the ) ASA 21/7289/2017 people ( enactment of the province’s Special Autonomy Law in 2001, and are enforced by Islamic courts, this was the first time that gay men had been caned under Shari’a law in 5 the province. RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE On 25 May, 141 men were arrested in North Jakarta by local police after attending what police described as a “gay sex party”. The Amnesty International Report 2017/18 196

197 Switzerland also started bilateral human rights dialogues with Iran. IRAN At the end of December, thousands of Iranians took to the streets to protest against Islamic Republic of Iran poverty, corruption and political repression, in Head of state: Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei (Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran) the first anti-establishment demonstrations Head of government: Hassan Rouhani (President) on such a scale since 2009. FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION, The authorities heavily suppressed the ASSOCIATION AND ASSEMBLY rights to freedom of expression, association The authorities continued to crack down and peaceful assembly, as well as freedom of religion and belief, and imprisoned heavily on the rights to freedom of scores of individuals who voiced dissent. expression, association and peaceful Trials were systematically unfair. Torture assembly, jailing scores of peaceful critics on and other ill-treatment was widespread and spurious national security charges. Among those targeted were peaceful political committed with impunity. Floggings, dissidents, journalists, online media workers, amputations and other cruel punishments students, filmmakers, musicians and writers, were carried out. The authorities endorsed as well as human rights defenders including pervasive discrimination and violence based women’s rights activists, minority rights and on gender, political opinion, religious belief, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and environmental activists, trade unionists, anti- death penalty campaigners, lawyers, and gender identity. Hundreds of people were those seeking truth, justice and reparation for executed, some in public, and thousands the mass executions and enforced remained on death row. They included disappearances of the 1980s. people who were under the age of 18 at the Many prisoners of conscience undertook time of the crime. hunger strikes to protest against their unjust BACKGROUND imprisonment. The authorities arrested hundreds of In March the UN Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the UN Special protesters following anti-establishment Rapporteur on the situation of human rights demonstrations that began across the country at the end of December. Reports in Iran; the Iranian authorities continued to deny her and other UN experts entry to the emerged that security forces killed and country. injured unarmed protesters by using firearms In May, President Rouhani was elected to a and other excessive force. On 31 December second term in office, following an electoral the Minister of Information and Communications Technology blocked access process that discriminated against hundreds to Instagram and the popular messaging of candidates by disqualifying them on the basis of gender, religious belief and political application Telegram, used by activists to opinion. The appointment of individuals promote and support the protests. Earlier in the year, judicial officials had allegedly involved in grave human rights violations to ministerial posts attracted public exerted persistent pressure on the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology criticism. The EU and Iran worked towards renewing to request that Telegram relocate its servers a bilateral human rights dialogue while to Iran and close tens of thousands of several human rights defenders served prison Telegram channels, which according to the sentences imposed for communicating with judiciary “threatened national security” or EU and UN officials. Several governments “insulted religious values”. Telegram said it rejected both requests. including those of Australia, Sweden and Amnesty International Report 2017/18 197

198 Other popular social media sites including TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT Torture and other ill-treatment remained Facebook, Twitter and YouTube remained common, especially during interrogations. blocked. Detainees held by the Ministry of Intelligence Journalists and online media workers faced a renewed wave of harsh interrogations and and the Revolutionary Guards were routinely arbitrary arrests and detentions before the subjected to prolonged solitary confinement presidential election in May. Those using amounting to torture. Failure to investigate allegations of torture Telegram were particularly targeted for harsh prison sentences, some exceeding a decade. and exclude “confessions” obtained under torture as evidence against suspects Freedom of musical expression remained curtailed. Women were banned from singing remained systematic. The authorities continued to deprive in public and the authorities continued to prisoners detained for political reasons of forcibly cancel many concerts. In August, adequate medical care. In many cases, this several hundred artists called on President was done as a deliberate punishment or to Rouhani to end such restrictions. The authorities continued their violent raids extract “confessions”, and amounted to torture. on private mixed-gender parties, arresting Prisoners endured cruel and inhuman hundreds of young people and sentencing conditions of detention, including many to flogging. overcrowding, limited hot water, inadequate Censorship of all forms of media and jamming of foreign satellite television food, insufficient beds, poor ventilation and insect infestations. channels continued. The judicial authorities More than a dozen political prisoners at intensified their harassment of journalists Karaj’s Raja’i Shahr prison waged a working with the Persian BBC service, prolonged hunger strike between July and freezing the assets of 152 former or current BBC journalists and banning them from September in protest at their dire detention conditions. Some faced denial of medical conducting financial transactions. The Association of Journalists remained care, solitary confinement and fresh criminal suspended. charges in reprisal. Scores of students continued to be barred CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING PUNISHMENT from higher education in reprisal for their Judicial authorities continued to impose and peaceful activism, despite President carry out, at times in public, cruel and Rouhani’s election promise to lift the ban. inhuman punishments amounting to torture. Scores of individuals, including children, Bans on independent trade unions persisted and several trade unionists were faced up to 100 lashes for theft and assault as well as for acts that, under international unjustly imprisoned. Security forces continued to violently suppress peaceful law, must not be criminalized − including protests by workers, including on extra-marital relationships, attending mixed International Workers’ Day. gender parties, eating in public during Ramadan or attending peaceful protests. Dozens of environmental activists were In January, journalist Hossein Movahedi was summoned for interrogation, detained and lashed 40 times in Najaf Abad, Esfahan prosecuted for participating in peaceful province, after a court found him guilty of protests against air pollution, disappearing lakes, river diversion projects and dumping inaccurately reporting the number of motorcycles confiscated by police in the city. practices. In August, a criminal court in Markazi Opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir province sentenced trade unionist Shapour Hossein Mousavi and the latter’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, remained under house arrest Ehsanirad to 30 lashes and six months’ imprisonment for participating in a protest without charge or trial since 2011. against unjust work conditions. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 198

199 the Judiciary, even though no official list had In February, the Supreme Court upheld a been made public. blinding sentence issued by a criminal court Trials, particularly those before in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province Revolutionary Courts, remained closed and against a woman in retribution for blinding extremely brief, sometimes lasting just a few another woman. minutes. Dozens of amputation sentences were Foreign nationals and Iranians with dual imposed and subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court. In April, judicial authorities in nationality continued to face arbitrary arrest Shiraz, Fars province, amputated the hand of and detention, grossly unfair trials and lengthy imprisonment. The authorities Hamid Moinee and executed him 10 days claimed that they were countering foreign- later. He had been convicted of murder and robbery. At least four other amputation orchestrated “infiltration projects”. In reality, such individuals were often charged with sentences were carried out for robbery. vague national security offences in The authorities also carried out degrading punishments. In April, three men accused of connection with the peaceful exercise of their kidnapping and other crimes were paraded rights to freedom of expression and around Dehloran, Ilam province, with their association. hands tied and watering cans used for FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF lavatory washing hung around their necks. Freedom of religion and belief was Eight men were similarly humiliated in Pakdasht, Tehran province, in July. systematically violated, in law and practice. The authorities continued to impose codes of In May, a woman arrested for having an intimate extramarital relationship was public conduct rooted in a strict sentenced by a criminal court in the capital, interpretation of Shi’a Islam on individuals of Tehran, to two years of washing corpses and all faiths. Non-Shi’a Muslims were not 74 lashes. The man was sentenced to 99 allowed to stand as presidential candidates or lashes. hold key political offices. Widespread and systematic attacks UNFAIR TRIALS continued to be carried out against the Baha’i minority. These included arbitrary arrests, Trials, including those resulting in death sentences, were systematically unfair. There lengthy imprisonment, torture and other ill- were no independent mechanisms for treatment, forcible closure of Baha’i-owned ensuring accountability within the judiciary. businesses, confiscation of Baha’i properties, Serious concerns remained that judges, bans on employment in the public sector and denial of access to universities. The particularly those presiding over authorities regularly incited hatred and Revolutionary Courts, were appointed on the basis of their political opinions and affiliation violence, vilifying Baha’is as “heretical” and with intelligence bodies, and lacked legal “filthy”. There were renewed concerns that hate crimes could be committed with qualifications. Fair trial provisions of the 2015 Code of impunity after two men who had admitted to Criminal Procedure, including those killing Farang Amiri because of his Baha’i guaranteeing access to a lawyer from the faith were released on bail in June. time of arrest and during investigations, were Other religious minorities not recognized routinely flouted. The authorities continued to under the Constitution, such as Yaresan (Ahl- e Haq), also faced systematic discrimination, invoke Article 48 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to prevent those detained for including in education and employment, and were persecuted for practising their faith. political reasons from accessing lawyers of their own choosing. Lawyers were told they The right to change or renounce religious were not on the list approved by the Head of beliefs continued to be violated. Christian converts received harsh prison sentences, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 199

200 which ranged from 10 to 15 years in several Members of minorities who spoke out against violations of their rights faced cases. Raids on house churches continued. arbitrary arrest, torture and other ill- Gonabadi dervishes faced imprisonment treatment, grossly unfair trials, imprisonment and attacks on their places of worship. A number were arbitrarily dismissed from and the death penalty. Intelligence and employment or denied enrolment in security bodies frequently accused minority rights activists of supporting “separatist universities. currents” threatening Iran’s territorial Those who professed atheism remained at integrity. risk of arbitrary arrest and detention, torture Iran’s border guards continued to unlawfully and other ill-treatment and the death penalty for “apostasy”. shoot and kill, with full impunity, scores of Sunni Muslims continued to report unarmed Kurdish men known as Kulbars discrimination, including restrictions on who work as cross-border porters between Iraqi and Iranian Kurdistan. In September, holding separate prayers for Eid al- security forces violently suppressed protests Fitr celebrations and exclusion from high- in Baneh and Sanandaj over the fatal ranking positions. In a departure from Iranian law, the Court of shootings of two Kulbars, and detained more Administrative Justice suspended the than a dozen people. There was a heavy police presence across membership of Sepanta Niknam, a Kurdistan province in September when Zoroastrian man, from Yazd’s City Council in members of Iran’s Kurdish minority held October, based on an opinion from the head rallies in support of the independence of Iran’s Guardian Council who said it was referendum in the Kurdish region of northern against Shari’a law to allow the governance of Iraq. More than a dozen people were non-Muslims over Muslims. At least two people were sentenced to death reportedly arrested. for the peaceful exercise of their rights to In June, security forces were deployed in freedom of religion and belief (see below). Ahvaz in advance of the Eid al-Fitr holiday to prevent gatherings planned in solidarity with DISCRIMINATION – ETHNIC MINORITIES families of Ahwazi Arabs imprisoned or Ethnic minorities, including Ahwazi Arabs, executed for political reasons. More than a dozen people were arbitrarily detained and Azerbaijani Turks, Baluchis, Kurds and Turkmen, remained subject to entrenched many more were summoned for interrogation. Ahwazi Arab human rights discrimination, curtailing their access to defender Mohammad Ali Amouri remained education, employment, adequate housing on death row. and political office. Continued economic neglect of minority- DISCRIMINATION – WOMEN AND GIRLS populated regions further entrenched poverty and marginalization. In Sistan-Baluchistan Women remained subject to entrenched discrimination in law and practice, including province, residents of many villages reported in access to divorce, employment, equal a lack of access to water, electricity, schools and health facilities. The impoverished inheritance and political office, and in family and criminal law. province retained high rates of illiteracy Acts of violence against women and girls, among girls and of infant mortality. including domestic violence and early and The Persian language remained the sole medium of instruction during primary and forced marriage, were widespread and committed with impunity. The authorities secondary education, contributing to higher drop-out rates in minority-populated areas. failed to criminalize gender-based violence; a There was ongoing criticism of the absence draft bill remained pending since 2012. The of measures ensuring minority self- legal age of marriage for girls remained at 13, and fathers and grandfathers could obtain government. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 200

201 with disabilities and non-consensual medical permission from courts for their daughters to treatments against people perceived to have be married at an even younger age. a disability, including on the grounds of All 137 women who registered as gender identity and sexual orientation. In presidential candidates were disqualified by December, parliament passed a proposed the Guardian Council. President Rouhani law on the Protection of the Rights of People included no woman ministers in his cabinet, with Disabilities which, if implemented fully, despite civil society demands. would enhance accessibility and access to Compulsory veiling (hijab) allowed police education, housing, health care and and paramilitary forces to harass and detain employment. women for showing strands of hair under In August the Ministry of Education adopted their headscarves or for wearing heavy make- discriminatory criteria for disqualifying up or tight clothing. State-sanctioned smear candidates for teaching positions. This campaigns were conducted against women included illnesses, crossed eyes, facial who campaigned against the compulsory hijab. moles, short height and heavy weight. Iran’s Civil Code continued to deny Iranian Following public outrage, the Ministry women married to non-Iranian men the right promised revisions but said that people living with HIV would still be barred as they lacked to pass their nationality on to their children, a “moral qualifications”. right enjoyed by Iranian men married to foreign spouses. DEATH PENALTY Authorities defied ongoing public pressure The authorities continued to execute to open football stadiums to women hundreds of people after unfair trials. Some spectators. executions were conducted in public. Women experienced reduced access to The authorities continued to describe affordable modern contraception as the peaceful campaigning against the death authorities failed to restore the budget for state family planning programmes cut in penalty as “un-Islamic”, and harassed and imprisoned anti-death penalty activists. 2012. Parliament passed a law in October imposing severe restrictions on imparting The majority of executions were for non- lethal drug-related offences. A new law information about contraception. adopted in October increased the quantities The authorities continued to monitor and of drugs required for imposing the death restrict foreign travel of women’s rights penalty but retained mandatory death activists. Alieh Motalebzadeh was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in August for sentences for a wide range of drug-related attending a workshop in Georgia on offences. While the new law provided for retroactive applicability, it remained unclear “Women’s empowerment and elections”. how the authorities intended to implement it DISCRIMINATION – PERSONS WITH to commute the death sentences of those DISABILITIES AND PEOPLE LIVING WITH already on death row. HIV It was possible to confirm the execution of The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons four individuals who were under 18 at the with Disabilities reviewed Iran’s human rights time of the crime and the cases of 92 other juvenile offenders who remained on death record in March. The Committee condemned row. The real numbers were likely to be much state discrimination and violence against people with physical and intellectual higher. Several executions were scheduled and postponed at the last minute because of disabilities; poor implementation of accessibility standards; and denial of public campaigning. Retrials of juvenile reasonable accommodation at the workplace. offenders pursuant to Article 91 of the 2013 The Committee also expressed alarm at Islamic Penal Code continued to result in reports of forced institutionalization of people renewed death sentences following arbitrary Amnesty International Report 2017/18 201

202 assessments of their “maturity” at the time of government authorities arbitrarily detained, the crime. forcibly disappeared and tortured civilians suspected of being affiliated with IS. Courts The death penalty was maintained for subjected IS suspects and other individuals vaguely worded offences such as “insulting suspected of terrorism-related offences to the Prophet”, “enmity against God” and “spreading corruption on earth”. unfair trials and sentenced them to death on the basis of “confessions” extracted In August, spiritual teacher and prisoner of under torture. Executions continued at an conscience Mohammad Ali Taheri was alarming rate. sentenced to death for the second time for “spreading corruption on earth” through BACKGROUND establishing the spiritual group Erfan-e Halgheh; in October the Supreme Court By December, the Iraqi government, Kurdish quashed the death sentence. He remained in forces, paramilitary militias and US-led coalition forces had recaptured the territory solitary confinement. and population centres held by IS, including Prisoner of conscience Marjan Davari was east Mosul in January, west Mosul in July, Tel sentenced to death in March for “spreading corruption on earth” in connection with her Afar in August and Hawija in October. By November, more than 987,648 people in membership of the religious group Eckankar and for translating their materials. The Nineveh governorate had been internally displaced as a result of the military operation Supreme Court subsequently quashed the to recapture Mosul and surrounding areas. death sentence and sent the case back to the Revolutionary Court in Tehran for retrial. More than 3 million people remained The Islamic Penal Code continued to internally displaced across Iraq. provide for stoning as a method of execution. On 25 September the Kurdish Regional Some consensual same-sex sexual conduct Government (KRG) held a referendum on independence in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq remained punishable by death. (KR-I) as well as in the “disputed areas” of Iraq, including areas in the governorates of Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salah al-Din and Diyala. IRAQ Preliminary results showed that approximately 93% of votes were cast in Republic of Iraq favour of independence. The government of Head of state: Fuad Masum Iraq declared the referendum illegal and Haider al-Abadi Head of government: unconstitutional. Following the referendum, Iraqi and Kurdish forces, paramilitary Iraqi government forces and pro-government forces including the Popular Mobilization militias, coalition forces and the armed Units (PMU) retook control of Kirkuk group Islamic State (IS) committed violations of international humanitarian law, governorate as well as areas of Nineveh, war crimes and gross human rights abuses Salah al-Din and Diyala governorates. in the armed conflict. IS fighters forcibly ABUSES BY ARMED GROUPS displaced thousands of civilians into active conflict, used them as human shields on a IS committed gross human rights abuses and mass scale, deliberately killed civilians serious violations of international fleeing the fighting, and recruited and humanitarian law, some of which amounted deployed child soldiers. Iraqi and Kurdish to war crimes. It forcibly displaced thousands forces and paramilitary militias of civilians into zones of active hostilities in an extrajudicially executed captured fighters attempt to shield their own fighters. IS and civilians fleeing the conflict and deliberately killed civilians who were trying to destroyed homes and other civilian property. flee the fighting and hanged their bodies in Iraqi and Kurdish forces as well as public areas as a warning to others who were Amnesty International Report 2017/18 202

203 In west Mosul, Iraqi forces consistently used contemplating escape. It carried out explosive weapons with wide-area effects, execution-style killings which targeted opponents, and recruited and deployed child such as improvised rocket-assisted munitions (IRAMs), which cannot be precisely targeted soldiers. In Mosul, IS regularly denied at military objectives or used lawfully in medical care to civilians, and its fighters occupied several medical buildings and populated civilian areas. In east Mosul, hundreds of civilians were killed in air strikes hospitals to avoid being targeted by Iraqi and launched by the coalition and Iraqi forces on coalition forces. IS killed and injured civilians across Iraq in their homes or places where they sought refuge as they followed Iraqi government suicide bombings and other deadly attacks instructions not to leave during the battle. that deliberately targeted civilians in markets, Iraqi and Kurdish government forces and Shi’a religious shrines and other public spaces. On 2 January, bombings by IS in the paramilitary militias carried out extrajudicial executions of men and boys suspected of predominantly Shi’a neighbourhood of Sadr being affiliated with IS. In the final weeks of City in the capital, Baghdad, killed at least 35 the Mosul battle between May and July, people and injured more than 60. Suicide attacks on 30 May outside an ice-cream consistent reports emerged that Iraqi forces, including the Emergency Response Division, parlour and a government building in Federal Police and the Iraqi Security Forces, Baghdad killed at least 27 people and wounded at least 50. An IS attack on a had detained, tortured and extrajudicially executed men and boys who were fleeing the restaurant frequented by Shi’a pilgrims in fighting. Nasiriya on 14 September killed at least 84 people and injured 93. ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS The UN reported in October that as many Thousands of men and boys considered to as 1,563 Yazidi women and children be of fighting age (roughly 15 to 65) fleeing remained in IS captivity in Iraq and Syria. They were subjected to rape and other territories controlled by IS were subjected to torture, assault and enslavement. Those who security screenings by Iraqi security forces, managed to escape or were freed after their Kurdish forces and paramilitary militias at temporary reception sites or in makeshift relatives paid ransoms did not receive adequate remedies, including the necessary detention facilities. Men suspected of affiliation with IS were held for days or care and support required to help rebuild months, often in harsh conditions, or their lives. The UN stated in August that at least 74 mass graves had been discovered in transferred onward. Iraqi forces, Kurdish forces and paramilitary militias, including the areas previously controlled by IS in Iraq. PMU, arrested thousands more alleged ARMED CONFLICT – VIOLATIONS BY “terrorism” suspects without judicial warrant GOVERNMENT FORCES, COALITION from their homes, checkpoints and camps for FORCES AND MILITIAS internally displaced people (IDPs). TORTURE AND ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES Government forces, paramilitary militias and Men and boys suspected of being members coalition forces committed repeated violations of international humanitarian law, some of of IS were subjected to enforced which may amount to war crimes. In west disappearance – cut off from their families Mosul, Iraqi and coalition forces launched a and the outside world – in facilities controlled series of disproportionate or otherwise by the Iraqi Ministries of the Interior and indiscriminate attacks. In one such attack, on Defence, the KRG and in secret detention 17 March in Mosul al-Jadida neighbourhood, centres. Detainees were interrogated by at least 105 civilians were killed by a US air security officers without lawyers present and were routinely tortured. Common forms of strike targeting two IS snipers. torture included beatings on the head and Amnesty International Report 2017/18 203

204 body with metal rods and cables, suspension and from their tents. Families were separated for days or months due to screening in stress positions by the arms or legs, electric shocks, and threats of rape of female procedures carried out at temporary reception centres. Women heads of relatives. Detainees faced limited access to households who sheltered in IDP camps – medical care, which led to deaths in custody and amputations. They also endured harsh particularly those whose male relatives were suspected of affiliation with IS – reported conditions, including severe overcrowding, poor ventilation and lack of access to being subjected to rape and other sexual abuse and exploitation and systematic showers or toilets. discrimination, including having inadequate UNFAIR TRIALS and unequal access to food, water and other The criminal justice system in Iraq remained basic supplies. FORCED DISPLACEMENT AND DESTRUCTION OF deeply flawed. Defendants, in particular “terrorism” suspects, were routinely denied PROPERTY In the context of the armed conflict involving the rights to adequate time and facilities to IS, Iraqi government forces and paramilitary prepare a defence, to not incriminate oneself militias forcibly displaced civilians and or confess guilt, and to question prosecution destroyed their homes on a mass scale. For witnesses. Courts continued to admit “confessions” that were extracted under example, early in the year Sunni tribal militias within the PMU known as the Hashad al- torture as evidence. Many of those convicted Ashari, alongside Iraqi government forces, after these unfair and hasty trials were sentenced to death. forcibly displaced at least 125 families from Between July and August, the Iraqi Salah al-Din governorate perceived to be authorities issued arrest warrants for at least affiliated with IS, following a decree issued by local authorities authorizing their 15 lawyers who were defending suspected IS displacement. The families were then held members, accusing the lawyers of being against their will in an IDP camp functioning affiliated with IS. These arrests caused as a detention centre near Tikrit. concern among other lawyers that they could be arrested simply for defending IS suspects. ARMS TRADE INTERNALLY DISPLACED PEOPLE Factions of the PMU, which had committed war crimes and other serious violations More than 3 million people remained across central and northern Iraq since 2014, internally displaced across Iraq. The benefited from transfers of arms from a range displaced sheltered in host communities, IDP camps, informal settlements and buildings of countries, including the USA, Russia and under construction. By November, more than Iran. The transferred weapons included armoured vehicles and artillery as well as a 987,648 people in Nineveh governorate had wide range of small arms. Poor management been displaced as a result of the Mosul military operation. Humanitarian agencies of weapons stocks and a thriving in-country reported significant shortfalls in international and cross-border illicit trade led to the arming of militia groups, further undermining funding. Civilians in IDP camps experienced security. shortages of food, water, medicine and other FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION – basic needs. Freedom of movement in IDP KURDISTAN REGION OF IRAQ camps was severely limited, and camp residents reported that civilians, including Journalists and online activists in the KR-I children, were recruited from camps by were subject to arbitrary arrest, beatings, paramilitary militias – sometimes forcibly – surveillance, death threats, and smear and that family members had been forcibly campaigns intended to damage their disappeared from public areas in the camps reputations or the reputations of their family Amnesty International Report 2017/18 204

205 members. This trend of interference in the for grave violations of international law, including war crimes, during the conflict. freedom of expression of journalists and online activists appeared to escalate in the DEATH PENALTY run-up to the independence referendum in the KR-I; Amnesty International documented Iraq remained one of the world’s most prolific 12 cases of arbitrary arrests, beatings and users of the death penalty. Scores of people intimidation of journalists and online activists were sentenced to death by courts after unfair trials and executed by hanging. The between June and September. death penalty continued to be used as a tool On 14 March, security forces, including of retribution in response to public outrage anti-riot police belonging to the KR-I and after attacks claimed by IS. In January, Syrian fighters under the command of the KRG (“Rojava Peshmerga”), used tear gas dozens of men were hanged for their alleged role in the killing of 1,700 Shi’a cadets at canisters and fired live ammunition to Speicher military camp near Tikrit in 2014. disperse Yazidi protesters. The protesters The men, whose “confessions” were were calling for the Rojava Peshmerga forces extracted under credible allegations of to leave the area, following clashes between members of the Rojava Peshmerga and torture, were convicted following deeply Sinjar Resistance Unit earlier that month. flawed and hasty trials. These mass executions followed a similar mass execution Protesters and witnesses reported that Nazeh Nayef Qawal, a Yazidi woman, was killed in August 2016, also in relation to the during the violent dispersal of protesters. Speicher massacre. On 25 September, dozens of men were executed on “terrorism” IMPUNITY charges. This mass execution took place 11 days after an IS suicide attack in Nasiriya on In response to allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law and war 14 September that killed at least 84 people. crimes committed by Iraqi forces and pro- government militias – such as torture, extrajudicial execution and enforced IRELAND disappearance – the Iraqi authorities established committees to evaluate the Ireland available evidence and launch investigations. Michael D. Higgins Head of state: Such committees consistently failed to Leo Varadkar (replaced Enda Head of government: release any findings publicly or to Kenny in June) communicate their findings to international or Historical abuses against women and girls national NGOs. More than a year since 643 were not adequately addressed. Access to men and boys from Saqlawiya in the Anbar governorate were abducted and forcibly and information about abortion remained disappeared by PMU militias, a committee severely restricted and criminalized. Concerns remained about “direct provision” established by the Office of the Prime accommodation provided to asylum-seekers. Minister on 5 June 2016 had failed to publicly release any findings. WOMEN’S RIGHTS On 21 September the UN Security Council In March, the CEDAW Committee published passed a unanimous resolution aimed at its concluding observations on Ireland’s sixth ensuring accountability for war crimes and and seventh reports. It expressed concern at human rights abuses committed by IS. Ireland’s abortion laws, measures to combat However, the resolution crucially failed to include any provisions to ensure violence against women, including funding accountability for crimes committed by Iraqi cuts to non-governmental support services, forces, paramilitary militias such as the PMU, and the impact of austerity measures on the funding for women’s NGOs. the US-led coalition and others responsible Amnesty International Report 2017/18 205

206 The Committee criticized the state’s failure abortion services. The government to establish an independent, thorough and committed to holding a referendum on the effective investigation into all alleged human Eighth Amendment in early 2018. rights abuses against women and girls in the REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS “Magdalene Laundries”, children’s Concerns remained about poor living institutions and mother and baby homes which operated with state funding and conditions in “direct provision” oversight between the 1930s and 1996. This accommodation centres for asylum-seekers, in particular limited living space and privacy, concern was echoed by the UN Committee lack of recreational facilities especially for against Torture in its concluding observations children, and little personal spending money. on Ireland’s second periodic report, In May, the Supreme Court ruled that the published in August. In November, the state’s prohibition on employment during the Ombudsman published a report criticizing asylum procedure, irrespective of its the exclusion of some women from the Magdalene Laundries redress scheme. duration, was unconstitutional; it gave the The CEDAW Committee also noted legislature six months to address its decision. numerous recommendations by other UN The Ombudsman and Ombudsman for human rights mechanisms on the unresolved Children were given statutory powers to consider complaints from “direct provision” issue of historical abuses of women and girls, including in respect of symphysiotomies residents. performed on women without their consent. In September, the government announced its commitment to developing a community SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS sponsorship programme for resettling In June, the UN Human Rights Committee refugees. found in Whelan v. Ireland that Ireland’s RIGHT TO HOUSING abortion law violated the applicant’s rights to be free from cruel, inhuman and degrading A growing number of people were experiencing homelessness, many as a result treatment, as well as her rights to privacy and non-discrimination in forcing her to travel of reduced availability of affordable rental abroad for an abortion. In its August properties. The number of homeless families increased by 31% between October 2016 concluding observations, the UN Committee and October 2017, with many children living against Torture stated that Ireland’s abortion in unsuitable hostel-type accommodation. In law causes women and girls “severe physical and mental anguish and distress”. October, the European Committee of Social In June, the Citizens’ Assembly, established Rights published a decision finding Ireland in violation of the Revised European Social by the government to make Charter. The decision related to conditions in recommendations on possible constitutional reform, recommended the removal of the some local authority housing. Eighth Amendment to Ireland’s Constitution, SEX WORKERS which placed the right to life of the foetus on In February, the Criminal Law (Sexual a par with that of the pregnant woman. It recommended that access to abortion be Offences) Act 2017 was enacted which, provided without restriction in early among other provisions, criminalized the purchase of sex. While the Act removed pregnancy, and in a broad range of circumstances thereafter. Its criminal penalties from sex workers for soliciting and loitering, several aspects of sex recommendations were considered and supported by a specially convened work remained criminalized, despite international evidence that this can place sex parliamentary committee, which also workers at high risk of stigmatization, recommended decriminalizing women and medical professionals accessing or providing Amnesty International Report 2017/18 206

207 isolation, violence and other human rights humanitarian crisis. The Israeli authorities abuses. intensified expansion of settlements and The Council of Europe Group of Experts on related infrastructure across the West Bank, Action against Trafficking in Human Beings including East Jerusalem, and severely restricted the freedom of movement of noted reports of possible negative impacts of Palestinians. Israeli forces unlawfully killed the criminalization of the purchase of sex on victims of trafficking. It urged Ireland to Palestinian civilians, including children, analyse such impacts on the identification, and unlawfully detained within Israel protection and assistance of trafficking thousands of Palestinians from the victims, and the prosecution of traffickers. Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), holding hundreds in administrative DISCRIMINATION – TRAVELLERS detention without charge or trial. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, In March, the government granted formal including children, remained pervasive and recognition to the Traveller community as a was committed with impunity. Israel distinct ethnic group within Ireland, following years of campaigning by Traveller groups. continued to demolish Palestinian homes in This was seen as a symbolic but significant the West Bank and in Palestinian villages inside Israel, forcibly evicting residents. step towards recognizing and countering the Conscientious objectors to military service long-standing discrimination experienced by were imprisoned. Thousands of African Travellers in Ireland. asylum-seekers were threatened with FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION deportation. Concerns emerged about the growing impact BACKGROUND on civil society groups of the Electoral Act Israeli authorities intensified settlement 1997, a law which regulates political funding. The Act, as amended in 2001, prohibits expansion and land appropriation in the OPT. US and international efforts to revive overseas donations, or domestic donations over EUR2,500, to “third party” organizations negotiations failed, and Israeli-Palestinian relations remained tense. In January, Israeli for vaguely defined “political purposes”. authorities passed the so-called “regularization law” that retroactively legalized the settler takeover of thousands of ISRAEL AND THE hectares of privately owned Palestinian land and an estimated 4,500 settler homes. In OCCUPIED addition, Israeli authorities announced and issued tenders for tens of thousands of new PALESTINIAN settlement units in East Jerusalem and across the rest of the West Bank. Palestinians carried out stabbings, car- TERRITORIES rammings, shootings and other attacks against Israelis in the West Bank and in State of Israel Israel. The attacks, mostly carried out by Head of government: Benjamin Netanyahu individuals unaffiliated to armed groups, Head of state: Reuven Rivlin killed 14 Israelis and one foreign national. June marked 50 years since Israel’s Israeli forces killed 76 Palestinians and one occupation of the Palestinian Territories and foreign national. Some were unlawfully killed the start of the 11th year of its illegal while posing no threat to life. blockade of the Gaza Strip, subjecting In March, the UN Economic and Social approximately 2 million inhabitants to Commission for Western Asia issued, then collective punishment and a growing withdrew, a report determining Israel to be Amnesty International Report 2017/18 207

208 unable to access treatment outside Gaza due “guilty of the crime of apartheid” against to Israeli restrictions and delays by West Palestinians. In May, a UNESCO resolution Bank authorities in processing referrals. reaffirmed the occupied status of East Israeli forces maintained a “buffer zone” Jerusalem and criticized Israel’s conduct in inside Gaza’s border with Israel and used live the city. Following the killing of two Israeli ammunition against Palestinians who entered policemen by Palestinians, in July Israel or approached it, wounding farmers working installed metal detectors to screen Muslim in the area. Israeli forces also fired at worshippers entering the Temple Mount/ Palestinian fishermen in or near the Haram al-Sharif. The new security measures led to heightened tensions and mass protests “exclusion zone” along Gaza’s coastline, killing at least one and injuring others. by Palestinians, including collective prayers, In the West Bank, Israel maintained an across the West Bank. The prayer protests, array of military checkpoints, bypass roads often met with excessive force, ended once and military and firing zones, restricting the metal detectors were removed. Palestinian access and travel. Israel In September, the Hamas de facto established new checkpoints and barriers, administration in Gaza and the “national especially in East Jerusalem. In response to consensus” government in the West Bank embarked on a reconciliation process, which Palestinian attacks on Israelis, the military was rejected by Israel. authorities imposed collective punishment; they revoked the work permits of attackers’ In December, US President Donald Trump family members and closed off villages and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in entire areas including Silwad, Deir Abu violation of international law, sparking widespread protests across the OPT and Mishal and Beit Surik. In Hebron, long-standing prohibitions globally. limiting Palestinian presence, tightened in FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT – GAZA October 2015, remained in force. In Hebron’s BLOCKADE AND WEST BANK Tel Rumeida neighbourhood, a “closed RESTRICTIONS military zone”, Israeli forces subjected Israel’s illegal air, land and sea blockade of Palestinian residents to oppressive searches and prevented the entry of other Palestinians the Gaza Strip entered its 11th year, while allowing free movement for Israeli continuing the long-standing restrictions on settlers. In May, Israel erected a new the movement of people and goods into and from the area, collectively punishing Gaza’s checkpoint and a new fence barrier within entire population. Combined with Egypt’s Hebron’s H2 area, arbitrarily confining the Palestinian Gheith neighbourhood and almost total closure of the Rafah border crossing, and the West Bank authorities’ segregating a street alongside the area. punitive measures, Israel’s blockade triggered ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS a humanitarian crisis with electricity cuts reducing access to electricity from an Israel detained or continued to imprison average of eight hours per day down to as thousands of Palestinians from the OPT, little as two to four hours, affecting clean mostly in prisons in Israel, in violation of international law. Many detainees’ families, water and sanitation and diminishing health service access, and rendering Gaza particularly those in Gaza, were not permitted entry to Israel to visit their relatives. increasingly “unlivable” according to the UN. Gaza’s economy deteriorated further and The authorities continued to substitute post-conflict reconstruction of civilian administrative detention for criminal prosecution, holding hundreds of infrastructure remained severely hindered; some 23,500 Palestinians remained Palestinians, including children, civil society displaced since the 2014 conflict. Many leaders and NGO workers, without charge or patients with life-threatening illnesses were trial under renewable orders, based on Amnesty International Report 2017/18 208

209 information withheld from detainees and their detainees, including children, to torture and other ill-treatment with impunity, particularly lawyers. More than 6,100 Palestinians, including 441 administrative detainees, were during arrest and interrogation. Reported held in Israeli prisons at the end of the year. methods included beatings, slapping, painful Israeli authorities also placed six Palestinian shackling, sleep deprivation, use of stress positions and threats. No criminal citizens of Israel under administrative investigations were opened into more than detention. 1,000 complaints filed since 2001. In April around 1,500 Palestinian prisoners and detainees launched a 41-day hunger- Complaints of torture and other ill-treatment by the Israeli police against asylum-seekers strike to demand better conditions, family visits, an end to solitary confinement and and members of the Ethiopian community remained common. administrative detention, and access to education. The Israeli Prison Service In December the Israeli High Court of Justice accepted the Attorney General’s punished hunger-striking detainees, using solitary confinement, fines, and denial of decision not to open a criminal investigation into Asad Abu Ghosh’s torture claims despite family visits. credible evidence, thus condoning the Palestinians from the West Bank charged continued use of stress positions and sleep with protest-related and other offences faced unfair military trials, while Israeli civilian deprivation against Palestinian detainees by courts trying Palestinians from East Israeli interrogators. Jerusalem or the Gaza Strip issued harsh UNLAWFUL KILLINGS sentences even for minor offences. Israeli soldiers, police and security guards In April the Israeli High Court of Justice killed at least 75 Palestinians from the OPT, issued a decision to reduce excessive sentencing of Palestinians under the military including East Jerusalem, and five Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. Some of judicial system and ordered that legislation those killed were shot while attacking Israelis be amended to apply shorter sentences as of or suspected of intending an attack. Many, May 2018. Despite the ruling, the sentences would remain harsher than those in the including children, were shot and unlawfully Israeli civilian judicial system. killed while posing no immediate threat to Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Palestinian life. Some killings, such as that of Yacoub Legislative Council and board member of the Abu al-Qi’an, shot in his car by police in Umm al-Hiran in January, appeared to have NGO Addameer, and Addameer staff been extrajudicial executions. member Salah Hammouri, remained in administrative detention at the end of the EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE year. Israeli forces, including undercover units, The trial of Mohammed al-Halabi, a Gaza- used excessive and sometimes lethal force based humanitarian worker, began at Beer when they used rubber-coated metal bullets Sheva District Court on charges of embezzlement from the NGO World Vision to and live ammunition against Palestinian protesters in the OPT, killing at least 20, and fund Hamas. Neither an Australian government review of World Vision Gaza nor injuring thousands. Many protesters threw an internal World Vision audit found any rocks or other projectiles but were posing no evidence to support the charges. Mohammed threat to the lives of well-protected Israeli al-Halabi stated in court that he was tortured soldiers when they were shot. In July, in response to the tensions over Temple Mount/ during interrogation and detention. Haram al-Sharif, the authorities killed 10 TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT Palestinians and injured more than 1,000 during the dispersal of demonstrations, and Israeli soldiers and police and Israel Security conducted at least two violent raids on al- Agency officers subjected Palestinian Amnesty International Report 2017/18 209

210 Palestinian human rights NGOs, including Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem. In Al-Haq, Al Mezan and Addameer, December, wheelchair user Ibrahim Abu encountered increased levels of harassment Thuraya was shot in the head by an Israeli by Israeli authorities. Israeli authorities soldier as he was sitting with a group of protesters near the fence separating Gaza initiated tax investigations against Omar Barghouti, a prominent advocate of the from Israel. boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION, in what appeared to be an effort to silence his ASSOCIATION AND ASSEMBLY work. Several Israeli human rights organizations, The authorities used a range of measures, both in Israel and the OPT, to target human including Breaking the Silence, Gisha, rights defenders who criticized Israel’s B’tselem and Amnesty International Israel were also targeted by government campaigns continuing occupation. to undermine their work, and faced smears, In March the Knesset (parliament) passed stigmatization and threats. an amendment to the Entry into Israel Law banning entry into Israel or the OPT to RIGHT TO HOUSING – FORCED anyone supporting or working for an EVICTIONS AND DEMOLITIONS organization that has issued or promoted a In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, call to boycott Israel or Israeli entities, the Israeli authorities carried out a large including settlements. The authorities number of demolitions of Palestinian continued to obstruct human rights workers’ attempts to document the situation by property, including 423 homes and structures built without Israeli permits that denying them entry into the OPT, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the human remained virtually impossible for Palestinians rights situation in the OPT. An Amnesty to obtain, forcibly evicting more than 660 people. Many of these demolitions were in International staff member was denied entry Bedouin and herding communities that the after he was questioned about the organization’s work on settlements. Israeli authorities planned to forcibly transfer. Using public order laws in East Jerusalem, The authorities also collectively punished the and military orders in the rest of the West families of Palestinians who had carried out Bank, Israeli authorities prohibited and attacks on Israelis, by demolishing or making suppressed protests by Palestinians, and uninhabitable their family homes, forcibly arrested and prosecuted protesters and evicting approximately 50 people. human rights defenders. In July, the military Israeli authorities forcibly evicted eight members of the Shamasneh family from their trials of Palestinian human rights defenders Issa Amro and Farid al-Atrash began on home in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, charges related to their role in organizing allowing Jewish settlers to move in. The authorities also demolished dozens of peaceful protests against Israel’s settlement policies. Israeli authorities continued to Palestinian homes inside Israel that they said harass other Hebron-based human rights were built without permits, including in Palestinian towns and villages in the Triangle, activists, including Badi Dweik and Imad Abu Shamsiya, and failed to protect them from the Galilee, and in “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Negev/Naqab region. In settler attacks. January the Israeli police forcibly demolished From May to August, the Israeli authorities detained prisoner of conscience and writer the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, to begin building a Jewish town in its place. The Ahmad Qatamesh under a three-month administrative detention order solely on Knesset passed a law in April that raised the account of his non-violent political activities fines for building without permits, charging and writing. punitive costs for the demolition to those whose homes have been demolished, and Amnesty International Report 2017/18 210

211 Zayoud, who was stripped of his citizenship limited recourse to the courts for those challenging demolition or eviction orders. In and rendered stateless by the Minister of the Interior following a conviction for attempted August, the authorities demolished al-Araqib village in the Negev/Naqab for the 116th murder. An appeal against the decision was pending before the Supreme Court at the end time. Residents were ordered to compensate of the year. The authorities also revoked the the state 362,000 new shekels citizenship of dozens of Palestinian Bedouin (approximately USD100,000) for the cost of residents of the Negev/Naqab region without demolition and lawyers’ fees. process or appeal, leaving them as stateless IMPUNITY residents. More than three years after the end of the REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS 2014 Gaza-Israel conflict, in which some 1,460 Palestinian civilians were killed, many The authorities continued to deny asylum- seekers, more than 90% of whom were from in evidently unlawful attacks including war crimes, the authorities had previously Eritrea or Sudan, access to a fair or prompt refugee status determination process. More indicted only three soldiers for looting and than 1,200 asylum-seekers were held at the obstructing an investigation. In a rare move, in January an Israeli military Holot detention facility and at Saharonim Prison in the Negev/Naqab desert at the end court convicted Elor Azaria, a soldier whose of the year. According to activists, there were apparent extrajudicial execution of a wounded Palestinian in Hebron was filmed, more than 35,000 asylum-seekers in Israel; of manslaughter. His conviction and 18- 8,588 asylum claims remained pending. In month prison sentence, which was confirmed December, the Knesset passed an amendment to the anti-infiltration law that on appeal but reduced by four months by Israel’s military Chief of Staff in September, would force asylum-seekers and refugees to accept relocation to countries in Africa or failed to reflect the gravity of the crime. Israeli face imprisonment. Tens of thousands were authorities failed to investigate, or closed investigations into, cases of alleged unlawful at risk of deportation. killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces in CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS both Israel and the OPT. The Prosecutor of the ICC continued her At least six Israeli conscientious objectors to military service were imprisoned, including preliminary examination of alleged crimes Tamar Zeevi, Atalia Ben-Abba, Noa Gur under international law committed in the OPT Golan, Hadas Tal, Mattan Helman and Ofir since 13 June 2014. Averbukh. Israeli authorities recognized VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS Tamar Zeevi as a conscientious objector and There were new reports of violence against released her from conscription after she women; Palestinian communities in Israel served a total of 100 days in prison. were particularly affected. In June, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women issued recommendations urging ITALY Israeli authorities to carry out law and policy reforms by integrating CEDAW standards; to Italian Republic combat and prevent violence against women Head of state: Sergio Mattarella in Israel and the OPT; and to investigate Head of government: Paolo Gentiloni reported abuses. Italy co-operated with the Libyan authorities DEPRIVATION OF NATIONALITY and non-state actors to restrict irregular On 6 August the Haifa District Court migration through the central Mediterranean. This resulted in refugees confirmed the citizenship revocation of Alaa Amnesty International Report 2017/18 211

212 CO-OPERATION WITH LIBYA TO CONTROL MIGRATION and migrants being disembarked and In February, to reduce arrivals, Italy signed a trapped in Libya, where they faced human Memorandum of Understanding with Libya, rights violations and abuse. Roma committing to provide support to Libyan continued to be forcibly evicted and segregated in camps with sub-standard authorities responsible for official immigration living conditions. The European detention centres. Torture and other ill- Commission failed to take decisive action treatment remained widespread in these centres. Italy continued to implement against Italy for discrimination against measures to increase the Libyan coastguard’s Roma in access to adequate housing. Legislation criminalizing torture was capacity to intercept refugees and migrants introduced; however, the new law did not and take them back to Libya. This was done meet all the requirements of the Convention amidst growing evidence of the Libyan against Torture. coastguard’s violent and reckless conduct during interceptions of boats and of its REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS involvement in human rights violations. In Over 2,800 refugees and migrants were May, Italy provided the Libyan coastguard estimated to have died at sea while with four patrolling speedboats. Italy also attempting to reach Italy from Libya on continued to train Libyan coastguard and unseaworthy and overcrowded vessels. The navy officials as part of the EU Naval Force Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR Med) operation. numbers were down from more than 4,500 In July, following a request from the Libyan deaths registered in 2016. Over 119,000 people survived the crossing and reached government, Italy deployed a naval mission to Libyan territorial waters to combat irregular Italy, compared to 181,000 arrivals in 2016. L’Espresso In May, the Italian magazine migration and the smuggling of refugees and migrants. published new information regarding the 11 In November, a Libyan coastguard vessel October 2013 shipwreck in the Maltese search and rescue region of the central interfered in an ongoing rescue operation in Mediterranean. Over 260 people died, mostly international waters. Several people drowned. Syrian refugees, among them about 60 The Libyan coastguard’s vessel – one of those children. According to recorded phone donated by Italy – was recorded on video departing at high speed, ignoring people in conversations obtained by the magazine, in the water, and with a man still holding on to the period preceding the capsizing of the ropes the Libyan officials had thrown off the refugees’ boat, Italian navy and coastguard vessel. officials were reluctant to deploy the Italian warship Between August and December, Italy’s co- Libra which was the closest to the operation with Libyan authorities was boat in distress, despite repeated requests by Maltese authorities to do so. In November, a criticized by various UN experts and bodies, judge of the Rome tribunal ordered that including the UN High Commissioner for charges be brought against two high-ranking Human Rights as well as the Council of officials of the Italian navy and coastguard Europe ’ s Commissioner for Human Rights. respectively and that further investigations be The Committee against Torture expressed carried out into the conduct of the Libra concern over the lack of assurances that co- ’s captain. The charges against four other navy operation with the Libyan coastguard or other and coastguard officials were dismissed. The Libyan security actors would be reviewed in trial was pending at the end of the year. light of human rights violations. The government continued to fail to adopt NGOS’ SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS the decrees required to abolish the crime of Many of those who reached Italy by sea – “illegal entry and stay”, despite being over 45,400 – were rescued by NGOs. In instructed to do so by parliament in April July, Italy, with support from the EU, imposed 2014. a code of conduct on NGOs operating at sea, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 212

213 statements and abuse of power, included limiting their capacity to rescue people and disembark them in Italy. During the year, three high-ranking police officers and the judge who validated the expulsion. rescue NGOs were targeted by some officials, claiming that they encouraged departures UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN Nearly 16,000 unaccompanied children from Libya. Criminal investigations were reached Italy by sea. A new law to strengthen opened and were ongoing at the end of the year against some NGOs for abetting irregular their protection was introduced in April. It covered access to services and introduced migration. safeguards against expulsions. However, the ASYLUM PROCEDURES authorities continued to struggle to ensure By the end of the year, nearly 130,000 their reception in accordance with people sought asylum in Italy, a 6% increase international standards. over the nearly 122,000 in 2016. Throughout RELOCATION AND RESETTLEMENT SCHEMES the year, over 40% of applicants received Of the around 35,000 asylum-seekers who some form of protection in the first instance. were to be transferred to other EU countries In April, legislation was introduced to speed under the EU relocation scheme, only 11,464 up asylum procedures and counter irregular had left Italy by the end of the year, while a migration, including by reducing procedural safeguards in appeals against rejected further 698 were about to be transferred. asylum applications. The new law failed to Italy continued to grant humanitarian access to people transferred through a adequately clarify the nature and function of scheme funded by the faith-based NGOs the hotspots set up by the EU and the Egidio, Federation of ’ Comunità di Sant government following agreements in 2015. Evangelical Churches and Tavola Valdese. Hotspots are facilities set up for the initial reception, identification and registration of Over 1,000 people were received under the scheme since its beginning in 2016. asylum-seekers and migrants coming to the EU by sea. In its May report, the National At the end of December, Italy also granted access to 162 vulnerable refugees evacuated Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture from Libya to Italy by UNHCR, the UN highlighted the continued lack of a legal basis and applicable norms regulating the refugee agency. detention of people in hotspots. RIGHT TO HOUSING AND FORCED Also in May, the UN Human Rights EVICTIONS Committee criticized the prolonged detention of refugees and migrants at hotspots. It also Roma continued to experience systemic discrimination in access to adequate criticized the lack of safeguards against the housing. The European Commission still incorrect classification of asylum-seekers as failed to take decisive action against Italy for economic migrants, and the lack of investigations into reports of excessive use of breach of EU law for discrimination in its force during identification procedures. In denial of the right to housing, including the December, the UN Committee against Torture lack of safeguards against forced evictions expressed concern about the lack of and the continued segregation of Roma in safeguards against the forcible return of camps. people to countries where they could be at In April, hundreds of Roma living in the informal settlement of Gianturco in Naples risk of human rights violations. In September, the criminal trial started in were forcibly evicted after authorities failed to Perugia against seven officials implicated in carry out any meaningful consultation with the illegal expulsion to Kazakhstan of Alma the affected families. The only alternative the Shalabayeva and Alua Ablyazova, the wife authorities offered was the rehousing of 130 and daughter of Kazakhstani opposition people in a new authorized segregated camp. politician Mukhtar Ablyazov, in May 2013. The remaining adults and children were rendered homeless. Around 200 of them The accused, charged with kidnapping, false Amnesty International Report 2017/18 213

214 settled in a former market area in Naples and batons. The trial was pending at the end of the year. remained at risk of being forcibly evicted. In August, the authorities forcibly evicted DEATHS IN CUSTODY hundreds of people, including many children, In July, following a second police from a building in the centre of Rome. Many of them were recognized refugees who had investigation which started in 2016, five been living and working in the area for police officers were charged in relation to the several years. The authorities failed to provide death in custody of Stefano Cucchi in 2009. adequate housing alternatives, leaving scores Three officers were charged with of people to sleep in the open for days, manslaughter and two with slander and making false statements. The trial was before they were violently removed by police pending at the end of the year. in riot gear. Several people were hurt by police using water cannons and batons. Some families were eventually rehoused temporarily outside Rome. JAMAICA TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT Jamaica In July, Italy finally introduced legislation Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by criminalizing torture, having ratified the Patrick Linton Allen Convention against Torture in 1989. However, Head of government: Andrew Michael Holness in December, the Committee against Torture Unlawful killings – some of which may noted that the definition of torture in the new amount to extrajudicial executions – law was not in line with the Convention. The continued to be carried out by the police new law also failed to provide for the with impunity. A review of national implementation of other key provisions, legislation related to sexual offences, including the reviewing of interrogation policies and provision of redress to victims. domestic violence, child care and child In September, the Council of Europe protection was underway. NGOs raised Committee for the Prevention of Torture concerns over the right to privacy after proposals to introduce national identity (CPT) published the report of its visit to Italy in April 2016. The CPT received allegations cards. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people continued to face of ill-treatment, including unnecessary and excessive use of force by law enforcement discrimination in law and in practice. Gay and bisexual prisoners continued to be at officials and prison officers in virtually all heightened risk for HIV. detention facilities it visited. The CPT noted that overcrowding persisted, despite recent BACKGROUND reforms. In October, the European Court of Human Despite committing to the establishment of a national human rights institution, Jamaica Rights found that the treatment of 59 people had not established the mechanism by the by police and medical staff during their end of the year. detention, following the protests against the Jamaica continued to have one of the 2001 Genoa G8 summit, amounted to torture. highest homicide rates in the Americas. Between January and June, homicides Also in October, 37 police officers, serving increased by 19% compared with the same in the Lunigiana area in northern Tuscany, were charged in relation to numerous cases period in 2016, according to police data. of personal injury and other abuses. Many of POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES these abuses were against foreign nationals, on two occasions involving the use of electric Between January and March, the police oversight mechanism, the Independent Amnesty International Report 2017/18 214

215 Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) RIGHT TO PRIVACY received 73 new complaints of assault and The NGO Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) raised documented 42 killings by law enforcement concerns that the National Identification and Registration Authority Act could undermine officials. During the year, 168 people were killed by law enforcement officials, compared the right to privacy and that Article 41 with 111 people in 2016. specifically could limit access to public goods Female relatives of those allegedly killed by and services. the police continued to battle an CHILDREN’S RIGHTS underfunded, sluggish court system in their 1 JFJ made a series of recommendations to the fight for justice, truth and reparation. More than a year after a Commission of Parliamentary Joint Select Committee to Enquiry published its findings into the events strengthen the Child Care and Protection Act. Among other things, JFJ recommended that took place in Western Kingston during expanding the list of authorities to which the 2010 state of emergency that left at least 69 people dead, the government had still not members of the public can make a legally mandated report of child abuse, to make officially responded on how it planned to reporting easier. implement the recommendations, or made a public apology. In June, the Jamaica RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL Constabulary Force completed an internal PEOPLE AND TRANSGENDER administrative review into the conduct of officers named in the Commissioners’ report. There remained no legal protection against discrimination based on real or perceived However, it found no misconduct or responsibility for human rights violations sexual orientation or gender identity. As a result, LGBT people continued to face during the state of emergency. In June, legislation was passed to create harassment and violence. Consensual sex between men remained “zones of special operations” as part of a criminalized, and there was limited protection crime prevention plan. INDECOM hosted a Caribbean Use of Force against intimate-partner violence for Conference to develop a region-wide Use of people in same-sex relationships. NGOs Force Policy consistent with best practice in recommended that laws be amended to human rights. Law enforcement officials from ensure that rape is treated as a gender- neutral offence. across the region participated in the forum, As transgender people continued to be along with experts in policing and human unable to change their legal name and rights. gender, LGBTI organizations were concerned VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS that the proposed national identification system could undermine the privacy of In March, women’s movements and survivors of gender-based and sexual violence took to transgender people and expose them to the streets in the capital, Kingston, to protest stigma and discrimination, including from potential employers. against impunity for sexual violence. Jamaica’s third annual Pride event took Jamaican NGOs made a series of recommendations to the Joint Select place in August and continued to increase Committee of Parliament tasked with visibility for the LGBTI community and create reviewing national legislation related to sexual opportunities for engagement with wider offences, domestic violence, child care and society. child protection. These included, among RIGHT TO HEALTH other things, repealing marital rape exceptions under the Sexual Offences Act to In June, the NGO Stand up for Jamaica protect women against rape, irrespective of released Barriers Behind Bars , a report which analysed the high risk of sexual their marital status. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 215

216 violence, human rights violations, and abused, authorities in the city of Osaka approved a gay couple as foster parents. The consequently HIV, faced by gay and bisexual couple had been looking after a teenage boy men in Kingston’s General Penitentiary, in since February. This was the first case of a which gay and bisexual men are segregated from the general prison population. The same-sex couple becoming foster parents and being considered as a single household report aimed to generate discussion about by the city. Sapporo City and Minato Ward best practices for reducing HIV in prisons. advanced towards recognizing same-sex INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE partnerships, following the practices of five other municipalities in 2015 and 2016. Jamaica again failed to ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC, which it signed in FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION September 2000, nor had it adhered to the In June, the Diet (parliament) adopted an UN Convention against Torture or the International Convention for the Protection of overly broad law targeting alleged conspiracies to commit “terrorism” and other All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. serious crimes. The law gave authorities broad surveillance powers that could be , 15 Jamaica: A thank you from Shackelia Jackson ( News story 1. misused to curtail the rights to freedom of December 2017) expression, association and privacy, without sufficient safeguards. The law also presented a threat to the JAPAN legitimate work of independent NGOs, as the definition of “organized crime group” was Japan vague and overly broad and not clearly Shinzo Abe Head of government: limited to activities that would constitute organized crime or pose a genuine threat to Despite harsh criticism from civil society national security. Protests were held in and academics expressing fears that human rights would be weakened, parliament multiple locations against the law’s potentially passed a controversial law targeting adverse effect on civil society. conspiracies to commit “terrorism” and FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY other serious crimes. Authorities in Osaka city approved a same-sex couple as foster Prominent peace activist Hiroji Yamashiro parents, and two municipalities moved was arrested and detained for five months towards recognizing same-sex partnerships. from late 2016 until March 2017, under restrictive conditions and without access to Detention of a prominent peace activist his family, for his role in protests against new raised fair trial concerns. A District Court supported tuition waivers for a Korean US military construction projects on 2 The protracted detention of one of Okinawa. school that was excluded due to their the most vocal opponents of the US military alleged ties to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). construction on Okinawa, without respecting the presumption of release pending trial, had Executions continued to be carried out. a chilling effect on others exercising their RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, right to peaceful assembly. Some activists TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE hesitated to join protests for fear of reprisals. While pervasive discrimination based on real DISCRIMINATION – ETHNIC MINORITIES or perceived sexual orientation and gender In July the Osaka District Court ruled as identity continued, some progress was made 1 in local municipalities. illegal the government’s exclusion of Osaka Under the foster care scheme providing support to children without Korean High School from its high school education tuition waiver programme. The guardians or children who are neglected or Amnesty International Report 2017/18 216

217 Court found that this hindered the right to Japan: Human rights law and discrimination against LGBT people 1. education of children of Korean origin. This ( ) ASA 22/5955/2017 was the first ruling in a number of similar Japan: Prominent peace activist detained without bail - Hiroji 2. lawsuits on the eligibility of such schools for Yamashiro ( ) ASA 22/5552/2017 the programme. Although public high schools had been exempt from tuition fees under the programme since 2010, the government JORDAN excluded Korean schools due to concerns that the subsidies may be misused because Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan of the schools’ historical ties to North Korea. King Abdullah II bin al-Hussein Head of state: Head of government: Hani Al-Mulki WORKERS’ RIGHTS – MIGRANT WORKERS Parliament approved several reforms including the repeal of a law which allowed In November, the government began to rapists to escape prosecution if they accept the first of 10,000 Vietnamese nationals to be admitted over three years married their victims. Women continued to under the Technical Intern Training Program be discriminated against in law and in practice. Parliament passed a law that to meet Japan’s labour shortage. The scheme would guarantee certain rights for pre-trial had been harshly criticized by human rights advocates for causing a wide range of human detainees and reduce the length of custodial sentences. Local governors rights abuses. Critics feared that expanding continued to issue orders to hold the scheme without addressing its problems individuals in prolonged detention without would result in increased incidents of sexual charge. The rights to freedom of expression abuse, work-related deaths and working and of association continued to be conditions amounting to forced labour. restricted. Migrant workers were REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS inadequately protected from exploitation While the number of asylum applications and abuse. Around 50,000 refugees from Syria remained trapped in the desert on the continued to increase dramatically, the government reported in February that it had border with Syria in appalling conditions. approved 28 out of 10,901 claims in 2016, Death sentences were imposed and executions carried out. which was a 44% increase in claims from the previous year. BACKGROUND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS Jordan remained part of the US-led military President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of coalition fighting in Iraq and Syria against the armed group Islamic State (IS) (see Iraq and Korea (South Korea) made a statement in Syria entries), and of the Saudi Arabia-led December that the 2015 agreement between coalition engaged in the armed conflict in Japan and South Korea on Japan’s Military Yemen (see Yemen entry). Sexual Slavery System failed to solve the In August, local elections were held which, issue, following the findings of the task force appointed in July to review the deal. The for the first time, included local governorate- level councils in accordance with the 2015 agreement had been criticized by civil society organizations as well as historians for its Decentralization Law. In February, the government adopted failure to provide a fully victim-centred several measures to address the economic approach and to provide an official, unequivocal recognition of responsibility by crisis amid public protests driven mainly by Japan for serious human rights violations rising unemployment and low wages. They committed by its military against women and included subsidy cuts, and tax hikes on fuel girls before and during World War II. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 217

218 terrorism, espionage, treason, drugs and and commodities as well as counterfeiting. telecommunication services. In May, the national Law on the Rights of The NGO Sisterhood Is Global Institute in Jordan reported that women who were Persons with Disabilities came into force; its provisions were largely in line with the UN victims of domestic violence or at risk of so- Convention on the Rights of Persons with called honour crimes were held under Disabilities, which Jordan ratified in 2008. administrative detention for their protection. More than 1,700 such women were held in In July, Parliament held ordinary and administrative detention, which represented a exceptional sessions to discuss a 16-bill 16% decrease since 2015. package of draft laws and by-laws proposed by the Royal Committee for Developing the FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION Judiciary and Enhancing the Rule of Law, which was established by the King in In August, the Companies Control Department notified the Attorney General that October 2016. the Center for Defending Freedom of DETENTION Journalists (CDFJ) violated the 1997 Law on In April, the National Centre for Human Companies by receiving foreign funding while registered as a “civil company” instead of a Rights published a report that detailed “non-profit company”. CDFJ received a copy ongoing human rights violations by security of the notification which ordered it to stop forces during arrest, including late-night receiving foreign or domestic funding and security raids where excessive force was used, and in pre-trial detention in temporary calling itself a non-profit company. Prior to this, CDFJ had not received an detention facilities. Detainees were denied access to a lawyer during interrogations, and official warning about its funding although it faced torture and other ill-treatment. The had been active for 19 years with the stated report also documented poor detention mission to protect media freedoms, address conditions and the lack of a classification violations of journalists’ rights, and to reform legislation to protect press freedoms. system to protect detainees’ safety, including by holding incompatible categories of FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION detainees in the same cell. In mid-2017, Parliament enacted laws that The Audiovisual Commission continued to block access to several websites and online guaranteed suspects the right of access to a lawyer on arrest, created a legal aid fund, platforms under Article 49 of the Press and and limited the use of pre-trial detention as Publications Law, which required any an “exceptional measure” for specific “electronic publication that engages in purposes. The new laws set a maximum publication of news, investigations, articles, three-month period for those charged with or comments, which have to do with the internal or external affairs of the Kingdom” to minor offences, and up to 18 months for serious charges. The legislation also obtain a licence, and granted executive authorities the power to close unlicensed introduced alternatives to pre-trial detention, sites. such as electronic monitoring, travel bans and house arrest but did not cover detention WOMEN’S RIGHTS under the General Intelligence Directorate. ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION In February, the CEDAW Committee noted The authorities continued to detain suspects Jordan’s efforts to address discrimination under the 1954 Crime Prevention Law that against women in marriage and the family, allowed detentions of up to one year without but remained concerned about the continued charge or trial or any means of legal remedy. application of discriminatory provisions in the It was used particularly in cases related to Personal Status Act, particularly in relation to the guardianship of women. It also raised Amnesty International Report 2017/18 218

219 concerns about the persistence of child such as the issuing of unified standard contracts, protection under Labour Code marriage in accordance with legislation that provisions, regulation of employment allows Shari’a courts and legal guardians the agencies, and the adoption of a law which discretion to allow marriage, in certain circumstances, of girls aged 15 and over. The criminalized trafficking in people. It remained Committee further noted the continued concerned, however, that the measures were insufficient due to the lack of shelters, discrimination in inheritance law, and the restricted access to justice, the largely tendency of Shari’a courts to rule in favour of husbands in divorce, alimony and child ineffective application of the Labour Code custody proceedings. and lack of regular inspection visits to the In July, Parliament abolished Article 98 of workplace. the Penal Code which was invoked in so- REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS called honour killing cases and allowed a Jordan hosted about 655,000 Syrian man to receive a reduced sentence if he killed a woman relative and the act was refugees registered by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, in addition to over 13,000 deemed to have been committed in a “fit of rage caused by an unlawful or dangerous act Palestinian refugees from Syria, and over 2 on the part of the victim”. However, Article million long-term Palestinian refugees, 340 remained; it allowed for a reduced among others. Some 50,000 refugees from Syria remained sentence on grounds of mitigating trapped at Rukban in the “berm”, a desert circumstances in cases where a man murdered his wife or any woman relative after area between Jordan and Syria, with humanitarian access effectively blocked finding her in an “adulterous situation”. Although this applied to both men and since June 2016, apart from in June 2017 when the authorities permitted one round of women, men remained less likely to face adultery charges in a polygamous system. aid distribution. Refugees were trapped in In August, Parliament repealed Article 308, appalling humanitarian conditions: food, which allowed rapists to escape prosecution medical assistance and shelter were if they married their victims. extremely limited, and they had sporadic access to water. WORKERS MIGRANT RIGHTS – ’ In October, Jordan ended even limited WORKERS cross-border aid and said that aid could only The NGO Tamkeen Fields for Aid said that be delivered from Syria. The international community and Jordan failed to agree to a almost 1.2 million migrant workers resided in Jordan although only 315,016 had work long-term solution for the stranded refugees permits. Migrant workers continued to face who were denied access to asylum exploitation and abuse, including confiscation procedures or opportunities for resettlement of their passports by employers, poor working to third countries. and living conditions, the denial of their right According to humanitarian agencies, by to change employment, forced labour, and September the authorities had forcibly returned more than 2,330 refugees to Syria. human trafficking. Migrant women domestic workers continued INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE to be denied their annual leave entitlement, and were subject to ill-defined working hours, In December, the ICC ruled that Jordan failed verbal, physical and sexual abuse, to comply with its obligations as a state party to the Rome Statute of the ICC after it did not confinement to their employers’ home and execute the Court ’ s request for the arrest of unpaid wages. In February, the CEDAW Committee Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. The welcomed measures adopted to protect Court decided to refer Jordan’s non- compliance to the Assembly of States Parties women migrant domestic workers’ rights, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 219

220 of the Rome Statute and to the UN Security property and sentenced to two years’ Council. Jordanian authorities failed to arrest imprisonment, and on 25 July, Larisa Kharkova was sentenced for abuse of power President al-Bashir when he visited the and given a sentence of four years of country in March for the Arab League restricted freedom by a court in Shymkent. In summit. The ICC has issued two arrest the period 19-24 January, 63 oil workers warrants against him on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in were prosecuted and fined for their Darfur, Sudan. participation in the hunger strike. In June, the Committee on the Application of DEATH PENALTY Standards of the ILO expressed concern Courts continued to hand down death about the “grave issue” of the dissolution of sentences and several people were executed. the KNPRK and called on the authorities to ensure that the KNPRK and its affiliates “are able to fully exercise their trade union rights”. KAZAKHSTAN PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE On 20 January, the Atyrau Regional Court in Republic of Kazakhstan western Kazakhstan upheld the sentence of Head of state: Nursultan Nazarbayev human rights defenders and prisoners of Bakytzhan Sagintayev Head of government: conscience Maks Bokaev and Talgat Ayan to five years’ imprisonment for their involvement Leading or participating in an unregistered organization continued to be an offence. in organizing peaceful demonstrations and for their posts on social media against the Trade unions and NGOs faced undue Land Code. At the end of January, they were restrictions. Torture and other ill-treatment transferred to a penal colony in in detention facilities persisted. Journalists Petropavlovsk, northern Kazakhstan, were subjected to politically motivated 1,500km from their home city. Maks Bokaev prosecutions and attacks. Women and and Talgat Ayan were not informed in people with disabilities continued to face advance of their transfer and did not have discrimination. adequate clothing for the winter weather WORKERS’ RIGHTS conditions in northern Kazakhstan. On 13 Independent trade unions faced restrictive April, the Supreme Court rejected Maks Bokaev’s and Talgat Ayan’s appeals. On 22 laws and closure. Trade unionists were prosecuted on fabricated charges of inciting August, following his lawyer’s successful petition, Talgat Ayan was transferred to a illegal strikes or embezzlement. On 4 January, a court ordered the penal colony in Aktobe, in northwestern dissolution of the Confederation of Kazakhstan, closer to his young children. Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT (KNPRK), and two affiliates, the National Following its second periodic report to the Healthcare Workers' Union and National Union, on the grounds ’ UN Human Rights Committee, in April Domestic Workers that they failed to meet a registration Kazakhstan reported that the Prosecutor deadline. On 5 January, hundreds of oil General’s office received 700 allegations of workers began a hunger strike to protest torture in detention facilities in 2016, and against the dissolution, and three union that over the past five years 158 officials had leaders were arrested. On 7 April, Nurbek been convicted of torture. Kushakbaev was sentenced to two and a half In June, the UN Committee against Torture found that Aleksei Ushenin had been years’ imprisonment. On 16 May, Amin Yeleusinov was charged with subjected to torture and other ill-treatment misappropriation or embezzlement of and that the authorities failed to conduct a Amnesty International Report 2017/18 220

221 , which is critical of the authorities, prompt, impartial and effective investigation Tribuna was sentenced to three years of restricted into his complaint. Aleksei Ushenin claimed freedom for money laundering. He claimed that he was beaten for two days in August 2011 to force him to confess to a robbery. that the charges were politically motivated. Zhanbolat Mamai had been detained since Police officers put a plastic bag over his head February. On 14 May, Ramazan Yesergepov, until he lost consciousness, stubbed out cigarettes on his body, and repeatedly journalist and chairman of the NGO inserted a rubber baton into his anus. Journalists in Trouble, was stabbed while travelling by train to the capital Astana to IMPUNITY discuss Zhanbolat Mamai’s case with foreign The authorities had not fully and effectively diplomats and international experts. He investigated allegations of human rights believed that the attack was linked to his critical reporting and interest in Zhanbolat violations committed in connection with the violent clashes between police and Mamai’s case. demonstrating oil workers in Zhanaozen in FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY December 2011, during which at least 15 Organizing or participating in a peaceful people were killed and over 100 were seriously injured when the police reportedly demonstration without the authorities’ prior used excessive force against demonstrators. authorization remained an offence under both the Administrative Offences Code and FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION the Criminal Code, punishable by heavy fines or up to 75 days’ detention. NGOs faced undue restrictions, stringent On 13 July, the UN Human Rights reporting requirements under legislation Committee found that Andrei Sviridov’s right introduced at the end of 2015, and frequent to freedom of peaceful assembly had been tax inspections. Failure to regularly supply accurate information for the central database violated in 2009 when he was prosecuted for holding a one-man picket to protest of NGOs led to fines or a temporary ban on against the prosecution of human rights activities. The NGOs International Legal Initiative (ILI) defender Yevgeny Zhovtis. He was found guilty of conducting a demonstration without and Liberty Foundation faced punitive fines for allegedly failing to pay tax. On 6 April, the prior authorization and fined 12,960 tenge Special Inter-District Economic Court of (EUR33). On 1 August, peaceful protesters Askhat Almaty upheld the decision of the Tax Directorate that ILI should pay corporate Bersalimov and Khalilkhan Ybrahamuly were detained and sentenced to five and three income tax on grants received from foreign days’ administrative detention respectively for donors, although not-for-profit organizations were exempt from paying tax. On 31 May, the taking part in an unauthorized Special Inter-District Economic Court of demonstration. They were part of a group of a Almaty rejected Liberty Foundation’s appeal dozen people who gathered in Mahatma against the Tax Directorate’s decision. The Ghandi Park in the city of Almaty on 29 July, organizations paid fines of 1,300,000 tenge walked to the main post office and sent appeals to foreign governments and and 3,000,000 tenge (EUR4,000 and 8,300) respectively. international organizations on behalf of Zhanbolat Mamai and other prisoners. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION WOMEN’S RIGHTS Independent journalists critical of the authorities were subjected to politically The Ministry of Internal Affairs said that motivated prosecutions and attacks. during the first half of the year, 35,253 In September, Zhanbolat Mamai, editor of protection orders were applied in cases of domestic violence. However, NGOs reported the independent newspaper Sayasi Kalam Amnesty International Report 2017/18 221

222 that violence against women was under- reported and that there was a low rate of KENYA prosecution of cases of violence against women as well as in sexual harassment Republic of Kenya cases. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta Head of state and government: The authorities continued to refuse to acknowledge that Anna Belousova had been Police used excessive force against a victim of sexual harassment despite the opposition protesters following the CEDAW Committee ruling in 2015 that elections, leaving dozens dead. The ruling party made statements threatening the recommended that Kazakhstan provide her with adequate compensation. In March, the independence of the judiciary after the Supreme Court upheld a ruling by a court in Supreme Court annulled the election Kostanai that she was not due compensation. results. The NGOs Coordination Board In July, the Saryarkinsk District Court refused threatened organizations working on human a claim for compensation against the Ministry rights and governance with closure and of Finance. Anna Belousova had been other punitive measures after they criticized the electoral process. Prolonged strikes by employed at a primary school in Pertsevka medical workers had an impact on access to since 1999. In January 2011, the school’s public health care, disproportionately new director threatened to dismiss her unless she engaged in sexual relations with him. She affecting the poor. refused and her employment was terminated BACKGROUND in March 2011. The general election held on 8 August was INTERNATIONAL SCRUTINY contested by the ruling Jubilee Party, led by incumbent President Kenyatta, and the In April, the NGO Coalition for the Defence of opposition coalition, the National Super Human Rights Defenders and Activists sent a petition to the President. It called for the Alliance (NASA), led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. On 11 August, the adoption of legislation to allow for the implementation of decisions by UN treaty Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission declared that President Kenyatta bodies relating to Kazakhstan. The Coalition had won 54% of the vote and Raila Odinga stated that of 25 decisions taken in favour of 44%. NASA rejected the presidential results applicants from Kazakhstan since 2011, citing irregularities in the counting process, none had been implemented due to the absence of necessary legislation. and the way the results were transmitted. It In September, the UN Special Rapporteur filed a petition against the results with the on the rights of persons with disabilities Supreme Court on 18 August. On 1 September, the Court ruled that the visited the country. The Special Rapporteur called on Kazakhstan to bring its national election results should be annulled because they were “invalid, null and void”, and legislation on legal capacity and mental health in line with international human rights ordered a new presidential election to take place. NASA said they would not participate law and standards. She highlighted the fact that under current legislation people with unless their demands were met including, disabilities may be institutionalized and among other things, the appointment of new subjected to medical interventions without returning officers in all 291 constituencies, their free and informed consent. and the engagement of independent international experts to monitor the electoral information and communication technology system. On 10 October Raila Odinga announced his withdrawal from the contest Amnesty International Report 2017/18 222

223 because the Commission had not made the permitted to demonstrate without interference. necessary reforms. On 19 September, Jubilee Party supporters The election re-run was planned for 26 protested outside the Supreme Court in October. On 30 October, the Commission declared that Uhuru Kenyatta had won with Nairobi against its decision to annul the election; they accused the Court of “stealing” 98% of the vote from a turnout of under 40% their victory. − less than half the turnout recorded in They blocked a main highway and burned August. On 31 October, Raila Odinga called for a “national resistance movement” and the tyres. There were similar demonstrations in formation of a “people's assembly” to bring the towns of Nakuru, Kikuyu, Nyeri and Eldoret. The demonstrators, mostly young civil society groups together to “restore democracy”. people, accused the judges of making an illegal judgment. JUSTICE SYSTEM On 28 September, University of Nairobi students clashed with General Service Unit High-ranking members of the Jubilee Party police during a protest outside the university verbally attacked the Supreme Court after its premises against the arrest of MP and former 1 September ruling annulling President student leader Paul Ongili. Paul Ongili was Kenyatta’s August election victory. On 2 September, President Kenyatta announced arrested the same day for abusive remarks he allegedly made about President Kenyatta that there was a problem with the judiciary. A in connection with the election. Following the record of telephone calls by one Court judge protest, the police raided the university appeared in the media, prompting him to buildings and beat students with batons, pursue legal action on defamation grounds against the Senior Director of Innovation, injuring 27 of them. The Inspector General of Police said the university administration had Digital and Diaspora Communication in the Office of the President. invited the police to enter after the protesting students stoned motorists. The university On 24 October, an unidentified gunman Senate then closed the university on 3 shot and injured the Court Deputy Chief Justice’s driver in the capital, Nairobi. The October; it had not reopened by the end of the year. incident happened a day before the Court’s ruling that there would be an election re-run Following the 26 October election, there on 26 October. were further killings when police fired live ammunition at protesters. The real number of EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE deaths during this period was unknown; In the run-up to the 8 August election, the relatives of victims did not report the killings police classified opposition stronghold areas for fear of reprisals from the police. of Nairobi, including Mathare, as likely FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION “hotspots” for election-related violence. In the period following the August election The authorities continued to use legal and administrative measures to restrict the and the Supreme Court’s decision to annul it, supporters of both parties took to the streets activities of civil society organizations working on human rights and governance. In May the in protest. Nairobi High Court ruled that the government The police used excessive force to disperse protesters who supported the opposition should publish the Public Benefit party and demonstrated against the electoral Organization (PBO) Act 2013. If process, including with live ammunition and implemented, the law could improve the tear gas. Dozens died in the violence, working environment for civil society including at least 33 people who were shot by organizations and NGOs. It contains police and of whom two were children. provisions, in line with the Constitution, guaranteeing the right to freedom of Meanwhile, pro-government protesters were Amnesty International Report 2017/18 223

224 association. However, the authorities of the Constitution and Kenya’s obligations continued to use the Non-Governmental under international law with regard to the and the Organization (NGO) Law, which restricted the principle of non-refoulement prohibition of discrimination on grounds of full realization of these rights. race or ethnicity. Thus, Dadaab refugee Between 14 and 16 August, the NGOs camp remained open. The ruling also stated Coordination Board (within the Ministry of that the government’s move to revoke the Interior and Co-ordination of National Government) accused two human rights assumed refugee status of Somalis who had fled to Kenya was unconstitutional and organizations – the Kenya Human Rights Commission and the Africa Centre for Open violated rights guaranteed in national and international instruments. Governance (AfriCOG) – of financial and The authorities continued the voluntary regulatory impropriety. It called upon the repatriation of Somali refugees, initiated in Kenya Revenue Authority, the Directorate of 2014 under the Tripartite Agreement Criminal Investigations and the Central Bank of Kenya to take action against them, framework. Between May 2016 and September 2017, over 70,000 refugees were including by freezing their accounts and repatriated from Dadaab to Somalia. arresting and prosecuting AfriCOG’s directors 1 and board members. On 17 February, the Court of Appeal upheld On 16 August, the a 2013 High Court ruling which quashed NGOs Coordination Board threatened to arrest the heads of both organizations, as well government directives to round up all as a former UN Special Rapporteur on the refugees living in urban areas and relocate them to refugee camps, as part of a plan to rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of repatriate them. association, who also served on AfriCOG’s board of directors. The same day, Kenya On 25 April, a High Court in Garissa ordered the deportation of 29 Somali asylum-seekers Revenue Authority officials, accompanied by to Somalia. The group had been arrested in police, attempted to raid AfriCOG’s offices with irregular search warrants. They stopped Mwingi in March and charged before a the raid on the orders of an official in the Magistrate Court with being in Kenya Ministry of Interior and Coordination of unlawfully. The magistrate ordered that they National Government who also suspended be taken to Dadaab refugee camp and registered by the Refugee Affairs Secretariat the closure threat for 90 days. AfriCOG and (RAS); however, the RAS officer refused to the Commission had been at the forefront of those exposing the electoral irregularities. register them. The magistrate’s order was ultimately quashed by the High Court and all REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS 29, including 10 children, were deported to Kenya continued to host almost 500,000 Somalia on 4 May 2017. refugees, most of whom resided in Dadaab INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS refugee camp in Garissa County, and Kakuma refugee camp in Turkana County. Elias Kimaiyo, Indigenous Sengwer Other refugees were located in Nairobi. The community leader and human rights majority of refugees in Dadaab were from defender, suffered a broken collar bone when Somalia; the majority of refugees in Kakuma he was beaten and shot at by a Kenya Forest Service guard in Embobut Forest on 5 April. were from South Sudan. By September, appeals for international support from He was attacked when he photographed UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, for the guards burning Sengwer huts in violation of a regional refugee crisis had secured only 27% 2013 injunction issued by the High Court of of the necessary funding. Eldoret to stop arrests and evictions of the In February, the High Court declared the Sengwer people. 2016 government directive to close Dadaab On 26 May, the AU African Court on Human refugee camp by May 2017 to be in violation and Peoples’ Rights ruled that the Amnesty International Report 2017/18 224

225 government had illegally evicted Ogiek detained in political prison camps, where conditions fell far short of international Indigenous People from the Mau Forest, and failed to substantiate its claim that the standards. Restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of eviction would serve to conserve the forest. movement remained severe. Workers sent RIGHT TO HEALTH abroad suffered harsh working conditions. The strike by doctors in public hospitals BACKGROUND which began in December 2016 ended in The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea March 2017. The strike followed the breakdown, after several years, of (North Korea) conducted a nuclear test on 3 negotiations between the government and the September, the sixth in its history, and carried out numerous medium- and long-range Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists missile tests throughout the year. The military and Dentist Union regarding the Collective provocations resulted in the UN issuing Bargaining Agreement signed in 2013. The strike took place against a background of unprecedentedly stringent sanctions on the country. Exchange of military and political alleged massive financial corruption at the threats between authorities of North Korea Ministry of Health. It was followed in June and the USA further escalated tensions. by a strike by public hospital nurses which lasted until November, when the government Concerns over the safety risks of nuclear tests increased after media reports of and the nurses’ union signed the 2013 landslides near a nuclear test site, and Agreement. people who had previously lived near sites The strikes adversely affected public health services across the country, and showing signs of possible radiation exposure. The killing of Kim Jong-nam, half-brother of disproportionately impeded access to health leader Kim Jong-un, in Malaysia on 13 care for people who could not afford private medical insurance cover, particularly those February by two women allegedly using living in informal settlements. chemical agents raised questions about the possible involvement of North Korean state agents. Kenya: Attempts to shut down human rights groups unlawful and 1. , 15 August) News story irresponsible ( ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS Systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations continued as up to 120,000 KOREA people remained in detention in the four known political prison camps, and were (DEMOCRATIC subjected to forced labour as well as torture and other ill-treatment. Some of the violations amounted to crimes against humanity; no PEOPLE’S action to ensure accountability was known to have been taken during the year. Many of REPUBLIC OF) those living in the camps had not been convicted of any internationally recognized Democratic People’s Republic of Korea criminal offence; they were detained Head of state: Kim Jong-un arbitrarily for being related to individuals Head of government: Pak Pong-ju deemed threatening to the state, or for “guilt- by-association”. Although the government took some positive steps to engage with international human Foreign nationals continued to be arrested rights mechanisms, the situation on the and detained for extended periods. Tony Kim ground failed to show real progress. Up to and Kim Hak-song, both US nationals and 120,000 people continued to be arbitrarily academics at the foreign-funded Pyongyang Amnesty International Report 2017/18 225

226 University of Science and Technology, were reported cases of North Koreans dying while working in Russia, which hosted at least arrested on 22 April and 6 May respectively for “hostile acts against the country”. A US 20,000 North Koreans. In May, two diplomat was allowed to meet them in June. construction workers died in the Russian capital Moscow after complaining of North Korean authorities said that they were breathing problems; they were believed to investigating their alleged crimes, and have suffered acute heart failure. A verdicts and sentences were pending in the courts. The two men remained in detention at subcontractor of a World Cup stadium project in St Petersburg, where a worker died from the end of the year. heart failure in November 2016, said in a US national Otto Warmbier, imprisoned in media interview that many workers suffered 2016 for stealing a propaganda poster, died on 19 June, six days after he was returned to from severe fatigue due to working long hours continuously for months without rest days. the USA in a coma. North Korean authorities failed to adequately explain the cause of his FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT poor state of health. A coroner’s report released on 27 September in his home state During the year, 1,127 North Koreans left the country and resettled in South Korea (the of Ohio noted no evidence of torture or other Republic of Korea), the lowest number since ill-treatment, but also did not rule out its possibility. 2002. Tightened security on both sides of the Chinese-North Korean border could be a Lim Hyeon-soo, a Canadian pastor who was possible reason for the change. Some North sentenced in 2015 to life imprisonment with Korean women were able to leave the country hard labour, was released on 9 August for “humanitarian reasons”, after more than two through deals with human traffickers, only to find themselves subjected to physical and years of detention during which adequate 1 medical treatment was not provided. sexual abuse or exploitative work conditions once on the Chinese side of the border. WORKERS’ RIGHTS – MIGRANT The year saw larger numbers of North WORKERS Koreans being detained in China or forcibly returned to North Korea, where they were at The authorities continued to dispatch workers risk of forced labour or torture and other ill- to other countries, including China and 2 Media also reported that the Russia. The number of workers deployed was treatment. hard to estimate and believed to be in North Korean government was actively requesting that China repatriate individuals decline, as some countries, such as China, Kuwait, Poland, Qatar and Sri Lanka, stopped suspected of leaving North Korea without renewing or issuing additional work visas to prior approval. North Koreans in order to comply with the A number of sources, including the UN new UN sanctions on North Korea’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human economic activities abroad. North Korea rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, reported cases of North Koreans who derived part of its state revenue from these workers, who did not receive their wages had left the country, but returned or directly from their employers, but from their expressed a wish to return after arriving in government after significant deductions. The South Korea. Some individuals who returned North Korean authorities maintained tight appeared in state media testifying about the control on the workers’ communications and hardships they faced outside North Korea. As the procedures for these people to re-enter movement, and deprived them of information about workers’ rights in the host countries. North Korea remained unclear, their Workers remaining in their host countries appearance led to speculations about continued to be subjected to excessive whether they had returned voluntarily or were working hours and were vulnerable in terms abducted back to the country, and whether of occupational health and safety. The media they had been persuaded by the North Amnesty International Report 2017/18 226

227 Korean authorities to give fabricated for some children to perform extensive testimonies. amounts of strenuous labour. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION North Korea: Pastor Lim Hyeon-soo released after more than two years 1. The government continued to exercise severe ) of imprisonment ( ASA 24/6921/2017 restrictions over information exchange China: Eight North Koreans at risk of forcible return ( 2. ASA between North Koreans and the rest of the 17/6652/2017 ) world. All telecommunications, postal and 3. North Korea: Amnesty International's submission to the United broadcasting services remained state-owned, ASA 24/6500/2017 Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child ( ) and there were no independent newspapers, other media or civil society organizations. Apart from a select few in the ruling elite, the KOREA (REPUBLIC population had no access to the internet and international mobile phone services. OF) Despite the risk of arrest and detention, people close to the Chinese border continued Republic of Korea to contact individuals abroad by connecting Head of state and government: Moon Jae-in (replaced with the Chinese mobile network using acting President Hwang Kyo-an in May, who replaced smuggled mobile phones. Media reports said Park Geun-hye in March) the authorities further strengthened efforts to Large protest rallies took place in response trace mobile phone activity on Chinese to a corruption scandal involving former networks and jam the signals through the President Park Geun-hye. She was removed installation of new radar detectors in the border areas. from office in March. Following the change of government, the Korean National Police INTERNATIONAL SCRUTINY Agency accepted recommendations for Following the state’s ratification of the UN comprehensive reform that called for a Convention on the Rights of Persons with change in the overall approach to policing Disabilities in December 2016, the Special assemblies so as to better respect freedom Rapporteur on the rights of persons with of peaceful assembly, although their full disabilities conducted an official visit to North implementation remained pending at the Korea between 3 and 8 May. This was the end of the year. An increasing number of first visit to North Korea by an independent lower courts handed down decisions expert designated by the UN Human Rights recognizing the right to conscientious objection. Discrimination against Council. The CEDAW Committee and the UN LGBTI people remained prevalent in public Committee on the Rights of the Child life, especially in the military. Arbitrary detention based on the vaguely worded reviewed North Korea’s human rights record in 2017. North Korea submitted state party’s National Security Law continued. A series reports to the Committees, after an interval of of deaths of migrant workers raised 14 and nine years respectively, and concerns about safety in the workplace. responded to questions at the sessions. In its BACKGROUND review, the Committee on the Rights of the Child noted the inability of North Korean Moon Jae-in, a former human rights lawyer children to regularly communicate with their and leader of the Democratic Party, was parents and family members who live in a elected President in May, following the 3 decision by the Constitutional Court in March different country. They also noted the exclusion of children aged 16 and 17 under to uphold a parliamentary vote impeaching then President Park. Charges against her the current domestic Act for the Protection of 1 the Rights of the Child, and the requirement included bribery and abuse of power. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 227

228 courts ruled in favour of men who refused FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY Han Sang-gyun, president of the Korean military service for reasons of conscience. They included at least 44 District Court Confederation of Trade Unions, was held decisions during the year. criminally responsible for sporadic clashes In May and December, the Seoul between protesters and police, and for his Administrative Court ordered suspension of role in organizing a series of largely peaceful the practice of publicly disclosing personal anti-government protests in 2014 and 2015. In May, the Supreme Court rejected his final information about conscientious objectors, including name, age and address, until it had appeal against a three-year jail sentence, made its final rulings on two cases brought despite an opinion by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that the charges against the Military Manpower Administration for issuing the lists. The Administrative Court against Han Sang-gyun violated his rights to noted the irrevocable damage to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly, and that his detention was conscientious objectors caused by this public arbitrary. The Working Group called for his disclosure. immediate release. Calls to introduce an alternative to military In June, Lee Cheol-seong, commissioner service increased. In May, two additional bills to amend the Military Service Act by general of the Korean National Police Agency introducing an alternative service were (KNPA), offered an apology to the family of submitted to the National Assembly. In June, Baek Nam-gi, an activist farmer who died in 2016 as a result of injuries sustained when the National Human Rights Commission of police used water cannons during protests Korea again issued a recommendation to the Ministry of National Defense to introduce an against the government’s agricultural policies. alternative to military service. The family and civic groups criticized the belated apology that lacked a clear RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, acknowledgement by police of their TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE responsibility. In September, following calls by civil society Gay men faced considerable difficulties in fulfilling compulsory military service free from organizations, the KNPA accepted recommendations by the newly established violence, bullying or verbal abuse. In May, a 2 Police Reform Committee. gay soldier was found guilty of violating These included a presumption that assemblies would be Article 92-6 of the Military Criminal Act that peaceful and that spontaneous and other prohibits military personnel from engaging in urgent peaceful assemblies would be same-sex consensual sexual activity. Dozens protected, marking a shift in the previous of others were charged under the same overall approach to policing. While the Article. The advocacy group Center for Military decision was an important step forward, the measures fell short in other regards, Human Rights Korea published screen shots including not lifting the blanket ban on of dating app conversations that the group outdoor assemblies taking place at specific said resulted from military pressure on times and places. In addition, the adopted targeted men to identify other supposedly gay measures still needed to be firmly enshrined men. The group said that military in law to bring them into line with investigators had confiscated mobile phones international human rights law and belonging to up to 50 soldiers suspected of being gay and insisted that they identify other standards. gay men on their contact lists and gay dating CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS apps. At the same time as the Constitutional Court In September, the National Assembly was examining the legality of conscientious rejected Kim Yi-su as chief justice of the objection, an increasing number of lower Constitutional Court despite his nomination Amnesty International Report 2017/18 228

229 by President Moon Jae-in. He had been Commission had claimed that the site questioned during the National Assembly’s breached the NSL, which had been used in public hearing about his support for LGBTI the past to imprison people for “praising” or expressing sympathy for North Korea. rights and there were active campaigns by some religious groups opposing his CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY candidacy. Courts handed down decisions WORKERS’ RIGHTS − MIGRANT acknowledging the responsibility of WORKERS multinational corporations for the work- related death or illness of former or current Migrant workers continued to be vulnerable employees. These included a Supreme Court to exploitation under the Employment Permit judgment in August against Samsung System, including having to work long hours with little or no rest time, low and irregularly Electronics that a former factory worker paid wages, and dangerous working should be recognized as suffering from an conditions. occupational disease. The Supreme Court In May, two Nepalese migrant workers died returned the case to the High Court, noting that the lack of evidence resulting from the from suffocation while cleaning a septic tank company’s refusal to provide information and at a pig farm in North Gyeongsang Province. Two weeks later, two migrant workers from an inadequate investigation by the government should not be held against the China and Thailand died after losing consciousness while cleaning excrement at a worker. different pig farm in Gyeonggi Province. In August, a Nepalese migrant worker in South Korea: 8-point human rights agenda for presidential 1. North Chungcheong Province committed ASA 25/5785/2017 ) candidates ( suicide in a factory dormitory. He left a note ASA Mission failed: Policing assemblies in South Korea ( 2. stating that his employer had refused to allow 25/7119/2017 ) him to either change his workplace or return to Nepal to receive treatment for severe insomnia. KUWAIT ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS State of Kuwait Arbitrary detention of individuals based on Head of state: Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al- the vaguely worded National Security Law Sabah (NSL) continued. Lee Jin-young, owner of Head of government: Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al- online library “Labour Books”, was brought to Hamad al-Sabah court for alleged violations of the NSL after distributing online materials deemed to The authorities continued to unduly restrict freedom of expression, including by “benefit” the Democratic People’s Republic prosecuting and imprisoning government of Korea (North Korea). A District Court critics and banning certain publications. acquitted him in July, but an appeal by the Members of the Bidun minority continued government to the High Court remained to face discrimination and were denied pending. citizenship rights. Migrant workers FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION remained inadequately protected against exploitation and abuse. Courts continued to In April, the Seoul Administrative Court ruled hand down death sentences and executions as unlawful the decision by the Korea resumed after a hiatus of four years. Communications Standards Commission, which censors internet content, to ban a blog entitled “North Korea Tech” covering IT development in North Korea. The Amnesty International Report 2017/18 229

230 “confess” to offences he did not commit. He BACKGROUND remained on trial on other similar charges. On 6 April, Parliament reversed a 2015 Former MP Musallam al-Barrak was amendment to the Juvenile Law, once again released in April after serving a two-year raising the age of minors from 16 to 18 years. As such, those arrested below 18 years of prison term for criticizing the government. He continued to face separate trials on other age could be protected from life-term prison charges. sentences and the death penalty. Bidun activist Abdulhakim al-Fadhli was In July the authorities reinstated mandatory released on 1 August after serving a one-year military service, imposing punitive measures for those failing to register for military service prison sentence in relation to a peaceful within 60 days of reaching the age of 18. demonstration in 2012, after which he had been due to be expelled from Kuwait. In Kuwait led mediation efforts seeking to February, the Cassation Court had overturned resolve the Gulf crisis that erupted in early his acquittal along with 25 other Bidun men June, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab for their participation in peaceful Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed demonstrations in Taima. The court relations with Qatar. Kuwait remained part of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition engaged in reinstated their two-year prison sentence, as armed conflict in Yemen (see Yemen entry). well as a bail of 500 Kuwaiti dinars (about USD1,660) to halt the implementation of the FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION prison sentence on condition that they signed The authorities continued to unduly restrict a pledge to no longer take part in demonstrations. Abdulhakim al-Fadhli signed the right to freedom of expression, the pledge which, in his case, also annulled prosecuting and imprisoning government critics and online activists under penal code his expulsion order. provisions that criminalized comments In August the Public Prosecutor ordered a ban on publications in connection with deemed offensive to the Emir or damaging to relations with neighbouring states. reporting on ongoing state security cases before the courts. The ban was despite the In March, UK-based writer and blogger Rania al-Saad was sentenced on appeal and Cassation Court establishing in May that in her absence to three years in prison on there were no provisions in the law charges of “insulting Saudi Arabia” on criminalizing the breach of “confidentiality” Twitter. The Appeal Court reversed her earlier or prohibiting the publication of such acquittal rendering this verdict final. information. In May the Cassation Court upheld an COUNTER-TERROR AND SECURITY Appeal Court verdict in the “al-Fintas group” On 18 July, the Cassation Court issued its case of 13 men charged in connection with verdict in the case against 26 defendants on WhatsApp discussions about video footage that appeared to show government members charges that included “spying for Iran and Hizbullah”. The court upheld the death advocating the Emir’s removal from power. sentence of one defendant in his absence Six were acquitted and seven were sentenced and commuted that of another to life to between one and 10 years’ imprisonment, some in their absence. The trial was marred imprisonment. Thirteen men had their by irregularities. acquittals overturned and were sentenced to In July the Cassation Court upheld a 10- between five and 15 years in prison. During year prison sentence against blogger Waleed the trial, some of the 26 defendants reported Hayes on vaguely worded charges that that they had been tortured in pre-trial included “defaming” the Emir and the detention; their allegations were not judiciary. During his trial, Waleed Hayes investigated. In August the authorities re- claimed he was tortured to make him arrested 14 men who had been acquitted and released on appeal. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 230

231 DEPRIVATION OF NATIONALITY DEATH PENALTY Executions were carried out on 25 January, In March the Emir ordered that the nationality of some government critics and their families the first since 2013. Courts continued to hand down death sentences for offences be reinstated. On 2 January the Court of Cassation including murder, drugs offences and terrorism-related charges. suspended the Appeal Court’s decision to restore the nationality of Ahmad Jabr al- Shamari and his family until it issued its verdict. In early March, Ahmad Jabr al- KYRGYZSTAN Shamari withdrew his appeal against the 2014 government decision to strip him of his Kyrgyz Republic nationality and in April the Cassation Court Sooronbai Jeenbekov (replaced Head of state: closed the case, declaring the dispute Almazbek Atambaev in October) resolved. Sapar Isakov (replaced Sooronbai Head of government: Jeenbekov in August) DISCRIMINATION – BIDUN More than 100,000 Bidun residents of The authorities restricted the rights to Kuwait remained stateless. In May 2016, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, particularly in the run-up to the Parliament had approved a draft law that presidential elections. LGBTI people would grant Kuwaiti citizenship to up to continued to face discrimination and 4,000 Bidun, but it had not been enacted by the end of 2017. In September the UN violence from state and non-state actors. Vulnerable groups, including people with Committee on the Elimination of Racial disabilities, faced additional difficulties Discrimination recommended that all Bidun accessing health care. The life sentence of should be guaranteed access to adequate prisoner of conscience Azimjan Askarov was social services and education on an equal upheld following his retrial. footing with Kuwaiti nationals, and that in its next periodic report Kuwait should provide PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE information on access to education for Bidun. On 24 January, the Chui Regional Court WORKERS’ RIGHTS – MIGRANT completed the retrial of prisoner of WORKERS conscience Azimjan Askarov, an ethnic Migrant workers, including those in the Uzbek human rights defender, and upheld domestic, construction and other sectors, his conviction and life sentence for continued to face exploitation and abuse “participating in ethnic violence and the under the official murder of a police officer” in 2010. In March kafala sponsorship system, which prevents them from changing jobs or 2016, the UN Human Rights Committee recommended that Azimjan Askarov be leaving the country without their employers’ released immediately, recognizing that he permission. had been tortured, denied the right to a fair WOMEN’S RIGHTS trial and detained arbitrarily and under In May, the UN Working Group on the issue inhumane conditions. Following the 24 January decision, the UN Office of the High of discrimination against women in law and in practice recognized improvements, including Commissioner for Human Rights stated that women’s rights to vote, to stand for elections the Court’s decision highlighted “serious and to receive equal pay to men. shortcomings” in the country’s judicial Discrimination against women continued, system. however, with regard to laws on inheritance, In September, a court in the town of Bazar- marriage, child custody, nationality rights and Korgan overturned the 2010 court decision to confiscate Azimjan Askarov’s family home. If domestic violence. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 231

232 approved, the confiscation order would have FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND rendered his wife, Khadicha Askarova, ASSEMBLY homeless. The authorities imposed restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, assembly, particularly in the run-up to the TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE October presidential elections. Independent journalists, media outlets, human rights LGBTI people continued to face discrimination and violence from state and defenders and political activists faced intimidation and harassment, including non-state actors. Labrys, an LGBTI rights prosecution on charges of spreading false group, continued its efforts to bring to justice the suspected perpetrators of a violent attack information and destabilizing the country. in 2015 on its office and on a private event to Between March and April, the General Prosecutor’s Office initiated a number of civil mark the International Day against court proceedings for defamation against Homophobia and Transphobia. Criminal trials online media outlet, its co- against the members of a nationalist youth founders and independent journalists group behind the attacks collapsed when the Narynbek Idinov and Dina Maslova, and victims named in the court documents human rights defender Cholpon Dzhakupova. “reconciled” with the perpetrators. This was in connection with media articles SEX WORKERS critical of the President. In June, the court ruled in favour of the plaintiff in two trials and Sex work was not criminalized but continued to be highly stigmatized, and sex workers ordered as well as the other three faced discrimination and violence. Police defendants to pay 3 million soms operations targeting sex workers through (USD44,000) each in moral damages. The Supreme Court upheld the rulings in arbitrary arrests for “petty hooliganism” and November. other purported administrative offences continued throughout the year. Police officers On 18 March, police disrupted a peaceful regularly extorted money from sex workers. demonstration in the capital Bishkek and arrested a number of participants. Human RIGHT TO HEALTH rights defenders, journalists, and other activists had organized the march to protest Marginalized groups, including people living against the deterioration of freedom of in rural areas, people living in poverty, and expression. The route had been previously people with disabilities, continued to face barriers to accessing adequate health care. agreed with the relevant authorities. Five Although they were entitled to free or demonstrators were charged and sentenced to five days’ administrative detention for subsidized health care, they were routinely disrupting traffic. The hearing was closed, denied access to quality health care facilities, including to the defendants’ lawyers who specialist treatment and medications. Informal payments to medical personnel, who were denied access to the courtroom. In July, a court in Bishkek accepted a were affected by low salaries, were commonplace. request by the Mayor’s Office for a blanket ban on all public demonstrations at key LEGAL, CONSTITUTIONAL OR locations until after the presidential elections. INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENTS The ban, however, did not apply to official Kyrgyzstan signed the UN Convention on the events organized by the authorities. Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2011, but had not ratified it, citing Kyrgyzstan’s economic difficulties as the primary reason. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 232

233 FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION, ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION LAOS Various criminal code provisions and restrictive decrees were used to imprison Lao People’s Democratic Republic activists and to suppress the rights to Head of state: Bounnhang Vorachith Head of government: Thongloun Sisoulith freedom of expression and assembly. Broadcast media, print media and civil society activity remained under stringent The rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly state control. Political parties other than the remained severely restricted, and the state ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party remained banned. exercised strict control over media and civil society. Three activists were convicted in a After a secret trial held in April, activists trial concerning their participation in Soukan Chaithad, Somphone Phimmasone and Lodkham Thammavong were convicted protests in Thailand and comments made on charges relating to co-operating with on social media. There was no progress on foreign entities to undermine the state, investigations into a number of enforced disappearances. distributing propaganda, and organizing protests to cause “turmoil”. They were BACKGROUND sentenced to between 12 and 20 years in prison. The three had been arrested the Laos submitted state party reports to the UN previous year after returning from Thailand to Human Rights Committee, as well as to the renew their passports. They had previously CEDAW Committee and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. participated in a protest outside the Lao embassy in the Thai capital, Bangkok, and ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES posted a number of messages on Facebook Despite signing the International Convention criticizing the Lao government. In August, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention for the Protection of All Persons from declared that their detention was arbitrary. Enforced Disappearance in 2008, Laos had Also in August, the government passed a yet to ratify the treaty. The government failed to establish the fate Decree on Associations that imposed onerous or whereabouts of Sombath Somphone, a registration requirements and restrictions on prominent civil society member who was NGOs and other civic groups and stipulated abducted in 2012 outside a police post in the harsh criminal penalties for failure to comply. capital, Vientiane. CCTV cameras captured ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL him being stopped by police and driven RIGHTS away. Authorities also failed to establish the Villagers affected by development projects, fate or whereabouts of Kha Yang, a Lao ethnic Hmong arrested after his forced return including the construction of dams and a Laos-China railway, were forced to relocate. from Thailand in 2011, and of Sompawn They claimed that they had not been Khantisouk, an entrepreneur who was active on conservation issues and abducted in 2007 adequately consulted or compensated. In by men believed to be police. April, the Prime Minister acknowledged In July, Ko Tee, a Thai political activist problems with implementing land concession sought by the Thai government, disappeared regulations. Activists expressed concerns in Laos. The Lao government made no about damage to livelihoods and the environment caused by the construction of apparent efforts to investigate his disappearance. hydropower dams. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 233

234 Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights described the fine as disproportionate LATVIA and raised concerns about the harmful effect of such a measure on the right to freedom of Republic of Latvia expression in the country. Head of state: Raimonds Vējonis Māris Kučinskis Head of government: DISCRIMINATION Ill-treatment of detainees by law In August, the government put forward draft enforcement officials continued to be legislation which effectively prohibits wearing the full-face veil in public. The Justice reported and prison conditions remained Ministry argued that the measure would poor. A disproportionate fine imposed on a protect people’s welfare and morality, and news portal for defamation gave rise to facilitate the integration of immigrants. Critics concerns about the right to freedom of expression. The government put forward called the legislation discriminatory and disproportionate. draft legislation that would discriminate against women wearing full-face veils in REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS public places. Latvia continued to build a fence along its UNFAIR TRIALS border with Russia, expected to be completed in 2019 and to cover a 90km In January, the European Court of Human area, with the stated aim of preventing an Rights found that Latvia had violated the “influx of migrants”. European Convention on Human Rights, Under the EU relocation and resettlement including in relation to Article 6 because schemes, Latvia pledged to relocate 481 proceedings had exceeded a reasonable time asylum-seekers from Greece and Italy. By in the case of a man seeking compensation for injuries inflicted on him by a police officer May it had relocated 308. upon his arrest in 1995. The man alleged he WOMEN’S RIGHTS had lost his sight as a result of being beaten In March, the Minister of Welfare announced and kicked by the officer. Although the perpetrator was convicted of ill-treatment in that the government would ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and 2003, the complainant had not received adequate reparations. combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) by DETENTION the end of 2018. In June, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture called on the authorities to address inter-prisoner violence and LEBANON improve prisoners’ access to health care. It also expressed concerns about allegations of Lebanese Republic excessive use of force by police officers Head of state: Michel Aoun during the apprehension and questioning of Head of government: Saad Hariri suspects in the absence of their lawyers. Lebanon hosted more than 1 million FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION refugees from Syria, in addition to several hundred thousand long-term Palestinian In January, the Riga Higher Court ordered the news portal Tvnet to pay a EUR50,000 fine refugees and more than 20,000 refugees for damaging the reputation of the Latvian from other countries. The authorities National Opera and Ballet. Tvnet had maintained restrictions that effectively published an article criticizing it for becoming closed Lebanon’s borders to people fleeing Syria. Parliament repealed a law allowing a “public house of Putin’s court”. The Amnesty International Report 2017/18 234

235 agency, from registering newly arrived people accused of rape to escape punishment by marrying their victim, and refugees. Syrian refugees faced financial and passed a new law criminalizing torture. Access to essential services remained administrative difficulties in obtaining or curtailed by the economic crisis. Authorities renewing residency permits, exposing them handed down death sentences; there were to a constant risk of arbitrary arrest, detention no executions. and forcible return to Syria. In February the authorities introduced a waiver of the BACKGROUND 300,000 Lebanese pound (USD200) The economic crisis continued. Access to residency fee for Syrian refugees registered basic services, including electricity and water, with UNHCR, excluding those who had remained severely curtailed across the entered Lebanon after January 2015 or who country. Public protests and strikes had renewed their residency through work or continued throughout the year, including by a private sponsor, as well as Palestinian judges, public sector staff, parents and refugees from Syria. The waiver was not workers, as well as residents living near sites applied consistently by government officials, of unprocessed waste. Waste and many refugees were not able to renew their residency permits. mismanagement, which had prompted the Refugees from Syria continued to face largest protests in years, remained severe economic hardship. According to the unresolved. UN, 76% of Syrian refugee households lived On 4 November, Prime Minister Hariri below the poverty line and more than half announced his resignation in a speech lived in substandard conditions in delivered from the Saudi Arabian capital, overcrowded buildings and densely Riyadh, under circumstances that remained populated neighbourhoods. Refugees faced unclear. President Aoun did not accept his restrictions to finding official work and were resignation. The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the subjected to curfews and other restrictions on their movement in a number of armed group Hezbollah launched two military operations in the northern border town of municipalities. Several municipalities served Arsal against the armed groups Jabhat Al- refugees with eviction notices, forcing them Nusra and Islamic State (IS), in July and to seek alternative places to live in an August respectively. By the end of August, increasingly hostile and xenophobic the LAF had regained control of Arsal and the environment. In March the LAF issued eviction notices to refugees living in camps in surrounding area, and retrieved the bodies of the vicinity of Riyak Airbase in the Bekaa 10 Lebanese soldiers taken hostage by IS in 2014. region, affecting around 12,665 individuals. In the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el- The UN humanitarian appeal for Syrian Helweh, in the southern city of Saida, clashes refugees in Lebanon was only 56% funded erupted between IS and IS-affiliated groups by the end of the year and resettlement places in other countries remained on the one hand, and Palestinian armed groups and the LAF. inadequate. In June, the Parliament approved a new On 30 June the LAF conducted raids on two electoral law and scheduled the twice- informal tented settlements accommodating postponed parliamentary elections for May Syrian refugees in Arsal. At least 350 men 2018, the first to take place since 2009. were arrested during the raids. Most were subsequently released but there were reports REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS that some detainees were tortured and A government decision from May 2015 otherwise ill-treated by soldiers and four men died while in custody. The authorities did not continued to bar UNHCR, the UN refugee Amnesty International Report 2017/18 235

236 publish any findings from their investigations Committee on the Rights of the Child also into these deaths. included this recommendation in its concluding observations on Lebanon, in Between June and August, thousands of addition to calling on Lebanon to ensure that Syrians returned from Arsal to Syria, mostly citizenship would be conferred to children following agreements negotiated by who would otherwise be stateless. Hezbollah with armed groups in Syria. Women migrant workers continued to suffer Palestinian refugees, including many long- term residents in Lebanon, remained subject discriminatory laws and practices, restricting their rights to freedom of movement, to discriminatory laws excluding them from education and health, including sexual and owning or inheriting property, accessing public education and health services, or reproductive health. working in at least 36 professions. At least RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, 3,000 Palestinian refugees who did not hold TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE official identity documents faced further The Internal Security Forces (ISF) continued restrictions denying them the right to register to arrest people and press charges under births, marriages and deaths. Lebanon had not yet ratified the 1951 UN Article 534 of the Penal Code, which Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. criminalized “sexual intercourses which contradict the laws of nature” and was used TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT to prosecute LGBTI people. In May the ISF banned several activities that In May, Lebanon made its first appearance before the UN Committee against Torture, had been planned across the country to mark International Day against Homophobia and following ratification of the UN Convention Transphobia, citing security concerns against Torture and its Optional Protocol in 2000 and 2008, respectively. A new anti- following threats made by radical Islamist torture law came into effect on 26 October. groups. The law was largely aligned with Lebanon’s FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION international obligations but failed to incorporate the Committee’s observations The ISF Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Bureau continued to interrogate, arrest and with regards to the statute of limitations and penalties for committing the crime of torture. hold in pre-trial detention peaceful activists Moreover, the law failed to provide that army for posting comments on social media. The officers accused of torture would be tried Public Prosecution issued at least four arrest orders on charges that included “insulting before civilian courts. the President... the flag or the national WOMEN’S RIGHTS emblem”, “defamation” and “libel and slander”. During their pre-trial detention, In August, the Parliament repealed Article which lasted several days, most of the 522 of the Penal Code which allowed a person convicted of kidnapping or rape, activists were denied access to their lawyers including statutory rape, to escape and families. prosecution if they proposed to marry the RIGHT TO HEALTH victim. Civil society organizations continued to call for the repeal of Articles 505 and 518, In August the governmental General Disciplinary Council confirmed that expired which allowed for marriage with minors aged and fake drugs were being used to treat between 15 and 18 as a way to escape cancer at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri University prosecution. Women’s rights groups continued to Hospital, the capital’s largest public hospital, and took disciplinary action against the head advocate for the right of women married to of the hospital pharmacy. foreign nationals to pass their nationality to their husband and children. The UN Amnesty International Report 2017/18 236

237 Police Commissioner said that a criminal Civil society raised a number of cases before the judiciary related to violations of the investigation into the case was ongoing. rights to health and clean water, including In August the High Court ruled in favour of a cases related to the sale of expired drugs in habeas corpus application brought by the family of Mokalekale Khetheng who public hospitals and to waste mismanagement; these efforts were disappeared on 26 March 2016 after arrest on unspecified charges by four LMPS officers unsuccessful, either as a result of delayed court rulings or failure to implement rulings. in Leribe District. In August, the police officers were arrested in connection with his DEATH PENALTY murder; Mokalekale Khetheng’s body was exhumed. The former Minister of Defence Courts continued to hand down death was then arrested in connection with the sentences; no executions were carried out. murder. He and the officers were also charged with conspiracy to cause a disappearance. The former Minister was LESOTHO released on bail in September. The former National Police Commissioner, who remained Kingdom of Lesotho abroad throughout the year, was apparently King Letsie III Head of state: implicated in the case although he was not Thomas Motsoahae Thabane Head of government: charged. (replaced Pakalitha Mosisili in June) On 5 September, Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander Khoantle Motsomotso was The continued political and security crisis shot dead in his office at the LDF led to a sharp increase in human rights violations. Allegations of torture and other headquarters in the capital, Maseru. Two ill-treatment continued. The right to suspects in the killing, LDF members freedom of expression remained severely Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo restricted. There were unlawful killings. Hashatsi, also died in retaliatory fire. The Prime Minister announced an investigation BACKGROUND into the incident. No further information On 1 March, after months of unrest, about the progress of the investigation had Parliament passed a vote of no confidence in been received by the end of the year. then Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili. On 7 IMPUNITY March, King Letsie announced Parliament’s On 14 June, Lipolelo Thabane, the estranged dissolution and elections were held on 3 June. A coalition government, led by Thomas wife of Prime Minister Thabane, was killed on Thabane of the All Basotho Convention party, the eve of his inauguration. The National was formed. Police Commissioner said that a criminal investigation into the case was ongoing. UNLAWFUL KILLINGS In August, the Southern Africa Development On 28 April, Tumelo Mohlomi, a student from Community (SADC) extended the tenure of the University of Lesotho was killed when she an oversight committee, established in 2016 to ensure implementation of the was shot in the back of the head by a Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) recommendations made by its Commission of officer while she was in a restaurant outside Inquiry. The Commission was set up in the light of heightened political instability in 2015 the campus. A police officer was arrested after the killing and apparently released on and, among other things, investigated the killing by LDF soldiers of former army chief bail. The victim’s family brought a civil case of murder against the LMPS, which sought Lieutenant-General Maaparankoe Mahao. an out-of-court settlement. The National The Commission found that he was deliberately killed and recommended a Amnesty International Report 2017/18 237

238 criminal investigation. In June his widow FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION instituted a case for damages against the The right to freedom of expression continued to be threatened. Nkoale Oetsi Tsoana, a LDF’s Commander, the Minister of Defence Moeletsi Oa Basotho , received and National Security and the Attorney journalist with General. On 1 December, eight LDF death threats from Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) supporters in August while members appeared before the Maseru he covered the Directorate on Corruption and Magistrates Court on charges connected to his killing. Economic Offences’ investigation into corruption allegations against LCD leader and UNFAIR TRIALS former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing. The same day, Palo Mohlotsane, a In August, the Prime Minister postponed indefinitely the court-martial of 23 LDF PC-FM radio journalist, received threats from officers accused of mutiny. Sixteen officers the Deputy Leader and members of the LCD were released from prison in 2016; the after he covered the same story. Nthakoana Ngatane, South African remaining seven were released on 1 March Broadcasting Corporation correspondent, 2017. All 23 were under “open arrest”, a 1 for most of the year. In received repeated online death threats from form of military bail, August, 22 of the officers had signed a June after she reported on possible motives for the killing of Lipolelo Thabane. On 16 petition to the government raising concerns that the deferred court-martial could June crowds gathered outside MoAfrika FM undermine their rights to redress and radio station’s offices and threatened the owner, Sebonomoea Ramainoane, after the requesting that due process be followed and station implicated Prime Minister Thabane in that their open arrest be cancelled. In the killing of his wife. On 8 September the November, the High Court ordered the court- Maseru Magistrate Court ordered martial against one of them to be Sebonomoea Ramainoane, also the station’s discontinued. On 18 December, a court- martial hearing found the remaining 22 editor-in-chief, to release to the LMPS the station’s audio recordings of interviews aired soldiers not guilty on all charges. between 28 August and 6 September. On 13 TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT September, the authorities closed the station for 72 hours and on 15 September detained Thato Makara said that he was tortured and Sebonomoea Ramainoane for several hours. otherwise ill-treated after he reported to the Maseru police headquarters in April; he had On 25 September, the Lesotho High Court been summoned in connection with a cancelled the Magistrate Court’s order. murder case. He attended the police station On 29 August, exiled investigative journalist with his employer, Thuso Litjobo, president of Keiso Mohloboli received online death threats the Alliance for Democrats Youth League, for comments she posted on social media about human rights violations in Lesotho. She who was released the same evening. Thato Makara said that he was taken to Ha Matela had received similar threats on 10 June. police holding cell in the Maseru area, and On 13 December, five members of the LDF went on trial for the attempted murder of the then to Lekhalo La Baroa where he was editor Lloyd Mutungamiri in Lesotho Times subjected to torture including waterboarding, rubber gloves tied over his mouth and nose, July 2016. He suffered near fatal gunshot wounds after being attacked outside his and beatings. After a habeas corpus home in Maseru. The shooting followed his application, Thato Makara appeared in court newspaper’s publication of an article claiming where he testified about his torture; he was that the outgoing LDF head was to receive an released on 18 April. He was charged with exit package of USD3.5 million. murder the next day in connection with a death at a political rally. He was bailed on 20 April. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 238

239 crimes committed by Alieu Kosiah and Lesotho: A human rights agenda for the new Lesotho government 1. Martina Johnson – commanders in rebel ( AFR 33/6468/2017 ) groups − who were arrested in Switzerland and Belgium respectively, in 2014. LIBERIA DETENTION Prisons continued to be overcrowded, partly Republic of Liberia because hundreds of people were held in Head of state and government: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf prolonged pre-trial detention. Detainees had inadequate access to medical care and recreational facilities. In June, an inmate Domestic violence, and sexual violence became pregnant by a male prisoner at against women and girls remained widespread. Impunity for human rights Tubmanburg Central Prison after she was coerced into sex. The incident was facilitated violations persisted. Prison conditions did by prison officers who then took her to have not meet international standards and an abortion without her consent. Following an individuals were frequently held in investigation, several prison officers were prolonged pre-trial detention. dismissed; however, none of them were BACKGROUND known to have been prosecuted. Presidential and legislative elections began in FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION October. George Weah, of the Congress for A bill was introduced in the House of Democratic Change party, was elected as President on 26 December and was expected Representatives to decriminalize press offences, particularly related to libel. It to take up his position in January 2018. The practice of placing government schools remained pending at the end of the year. under the control of a private company RIGHT TO EDUCATION limited children’s access to adequate education, a concern raised in 2016 by the In August, 174 national and international organizations called on investors to stop UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education. supporting Bridge International Academies, a private company that runs 25 schools in IMPUNITY Liberia and other African countries. Earlier, in Most of the 2009 recommendations of the March, the Coalition for Transparency and Truth and Reconciliation Commission were Accountability in Education highlighted yet to be implemented, including a concerns about the company’s practices recommendation to establish a criminal such as capping classroom numbers in tribunal to prosecute crimes under government schools, a practice that left international law, and measures aimed at children without access to a local school. The obtaining accountability and reparation for running of these schools had been victims. The Commission was established outsourced to the Bridge International Academies in 2016. following human rights violations and abuses carried out during the 14-year civil war which WOMEN’S RIGHTS ended in 2003. No one had been prosecuted in Liberia for Domestic violence, rape and other forms of human rights violations committed during the sexual violence against women and girls, civil war. However, Mohammed Jabbateh was including practices such as female genital convicted of perjury and immigration fraud in mutilation and early marriage remained widespread. Impunity for rape and other the USA, in relation to his role in alleged war crimes. Investigations also continued in forms of violence against women remained Switzerland and Belgium into alleged war prevalent. However, a domestic violence bill Amnesty International Report 2017/18 239

240 was passed by the legislature in July and was groups abducted, arbitrarily arrested and awaiting the President’s signature at the end indefinitely detained thousands of people. of the year. The government, the UN and Torture and other ill-treatment was development partners continued to invest in widespread in prisons under the control of armed groups, militias and state officials. sexual and gender-based violence units, Migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers were located in police stations and government ministries to investigate sexual abuse and subjected to widespread and systematic violence, as well as a specialized court to serious human rights violations and abuses deal with such crimes in Montserrado County at the hands of state officials, smugglers in the northwest. The authorities continued to and armed groups. Women faced run 12 one-stop centres in seven counties discrimination, including arbitrary restrictions on their right to travel. The which offered medical and support services death penalty remained in force; no to survivors of sexual violence. executions were reported. Affordable and accessible abortion services continued to be largely unavailable to rape BACKGROUND survivors, despite legislation allowing for Three rival governments and hundreds of abortion in sexual violence cases where the militias and armed groups continued to attack is recorded with the police and compete for power and control over territory, authorization given by two medical lucrative trade routes and strategic military professionals. Unsafe abortions continued to locations. The UN-backed Government of contribute to Liberia having one of highest National Accord (GNA) continued to reinforce rates of maternal deaths and injuries in its positions in the capital, Tripoli, gradually Africa. gaining territory through strategic alliances RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, and often after armed clashes. In May, the TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade and the Abu Salim Brigade, both affiliated to the GNA’s LGBTI people experienced discrimination, Ministry of the Interior, removed the coalition harassment and threats. The Penal Code criminalized consensual sexual activity of militias supporting the Government of between same-sex adults. A man arrested in National Salvation (GNS) from their key positions in Tripoli. These included the site of June 2012 on allegations of “voluntary sodomy” remained in detention at the Hadba prison where former senior officials from the rule of Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi were Monrovia Central Prison at the end of the detained, and Tripoli International Airport, year. where they took control of key strategic areas, including the airport road. The self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), LIBYA led by Khalifa Haftar, consolidated its power and made significant gains in eastern Libya State of Libya after defeating the Shura Council of Benghazi Head of state: Disputed Revolutionaries (SCBR) in Benghazi and Head of government: Fayez Serraj evicting the Benghazi Defence Brigades Forces affiliated to three rival governments, (BDB) from Benghazi, the oil port of Ras as well as armed groups and militias, Lanuf and the desert military base of al-Jufra. In May, the Misrata 3rd force aided by the committed serious violations of BDB attacked the Brak al-Shati air base, international law and abuses of human rights with impunity. All sides to the resulting in the deaths of 141 people conflict carried out indiscriminate attacks including LNA soldiers. The LNA regained in heavily populated areas leading to deaths control of the air base, aided by air strikes from the Egyptian air force. of civilians and unlawful killings. Armed Amnesty International Report 2017/18 240

241 Ganfouda area of Benghazi by launching an In July the Constitutional Drafting Assembly attack to drive the BDB forces out of one of approved the new draft Constitution, an their last strongholds in the city. The two- initiative that had begun in 2014. No date month siege had cut off all supplies to the was set for the referendum on the area, including food and water, and had Constitution. trapped civilians and wounded fighters In September and November, the USA without access to medical care and other carried out several strikes by remotely piloted basic services. The attack on Ganfouda was vehicles (drones) in Libya including south of Sirte, targeting the armed group Islamic State indiscriminate and resulted in the deaths of at least five civilians. LNA fighters posed for (IS). In May, the armed group Ansar al- photos with the bodies, including the Shari’a in Libya announced its own exhumed body of a BDB commander who dissolution. In September, the UN Security Council had been killed in air strikes and buried in the days prior to the ground attack. extended the mandate of the UN Support In July the LNA tightened its siege on the Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) until 15 city of Derna in its fight against the Derna September 2018. Ghassan Salamé, the UN’s newly appointed Special Representative for Mujahideen Shora Council, hindering access to food, petrol and medical supplies, resulting Libya, outlined his action plan, which in a rapid deterioration of the humanitarian included amending the UN-brokered Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), convening a situation in the city. A series of air strikes on national congress, and holding legislative and Derna killed scores of civilians and injured others, including children. presidential elections in 2018. In December, the UN Security Council reiterated its UNLAWFUL KILLINGS commitment to the LPA as the only viable In March, LNA-affiliated fighters were filmed framework for the transition period. killing captured SCBR fighters, a serious INTERNAL ARMED CONFLICT violation of international humanitarian law Armed clashes between rival forces and a war crime. In August, the ICC issued a warrant for the arrest of Mahmoud el-Werfelli continued to take place sporadically for alleged war crimes committed while he throughout the country, with armed groups and militias carrying out indiscriminate was field commander of the Special Forces attacks in heavily populated areas leading to Brigade (Al-Saiqa) affiliated to the LNA, the deaths of civilians. In February, clashes including for involvement in the March between militias in the Abu Salim area of killings. A number of mass graves were uncovered Tripoli resulted in two civilians being killed and three injured, including a child who was in Benghazi between February and October. shot in the head by a stray bullet. In July, On at least four occasions, groups of bodies were found in different parts of the city with clashes broke out between two militias near Mitiga airport in Tripoli over the control of a their hands bound behind their backs, and in local beach resort. The militias used some cases blindfolded with signs of torture explosive weapons with wide-area effects, and execution-style killing. In August, the including rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), bodies of six unidentified men were found in in densely populated civilian areas. In one a rubbish bin in the eastern Benghazi case, RPGs hit a nearby beach, killing five neighbourhood of Shabneh. The bodies civilians – two women and three children – showed signs of torture and had bullet from the same family. A forensic doctor in wounds in the head and chest. On 26 Tripoli confirmed that the deaths were caused October, the bodies of 36 men were found on by shrapnel from an RPG. a deserted road south of the town of al-Abyar, including a 71-year-old Sufi sheikh who had In March, LNA forces broke the siege they had imposed on an apartment complex in the Amnesty International Report 2017/18 241

242 armed group in Bayda abducted cameraman been abducted in August, and a medical Musa Khamees Ardia and transferred him to student. Grenada prison in the east. He was released FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION without charge on 3 November. AND ASSOCIATION Armed groups and militias abducted and unlawfully detained hundreds of people Journalists, activists and human rights because of their opinions, origin, perceived defenders were particularly vulnerable to political affiliations or perceived wealth. harassment, attacks and enforced Those abducted included political activists, disappearance by armed groups and militias lawyers, human rights activists and other aligned with various authorities of rival civilians. Militias carried out abductions with governments. the aim of extracting ransoms from families, In the west, Special Deterrence (Radaa) to negotiate an exchange of detainees, or to forces operating under the Ministry of the silence criticism. In April a militia abducted a Interior of the GNA carried out a series of arrests, targeting people for peacefully university professor in Sayyad on the outskirts of Tripoli. He was held for 47 days in an exercising their right to freedom of association and other rights. In September, undisclosed location with little access to food, water and medication. In August, unidentified an imam in Tripoli was arbitrarily arrested by Radaa on suspicion of using his mosque to militiamen abducted former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan from a hotel in Tripoli. He was incite violence. He remained in detention at released after eight days. the end of the year. In November, Radaa forces raided a comic-book convention in JUSTICE SYSTEM Tripoli and arrested 20 people, including the organizers and some attendees. They were An environment of impunity continued to prevail, leaving perpetrators of serious abuses released at the end of November. In the east, forces associated with the LNA emboldened and without fear of accountability, which in turn threatened targeted journalists and others deemed to have criticized Khalifa Haftar and LNA forces. prospects of political stability. Courts and Armed groups composed of adherents of the prosecutors’ offices were dysfunctional and Madkhali doctrine, a strand of Salafism often feared reprisals for their work. The post of Public Prosecutor remained vacant. In inspired by the Saudi Arabian sheikh Rabee al-Madkhali, burned books and abducted September, senior prosecutor Sadik Essour student members of a university group who announced that 800 arrest warrants had been issued and 250 people had been had organized an Earth Day event on their campus in Benghazi. Those abducted referred to court for their involvement in included photographer Abdullah Duma, who political violence. In October, just hours was later released. In September a radio host before one of these trials was due to start, a gun and suicide-bomb attack on a court in from the city of al-Marj was detained for nearly three weeks for openly criticizing a GNA-controlled Misrata killed four people - decision made by Abdelraziq al-Nathouri, the two civilians and two security personnel - and injured at least 40. IS claimed responsibility LNA’s military governor of eastern Libya. for the attack. ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS Torture was widespread in prisons, where thousands were held without charge. Many Militias, armed groups and security forces affiliated to rival governments continued to detainees had been held since 2011 with no arbitrarily arrest and indefinitely detain judicial oversight or means to challenge the legality of their detention. thousands of people. In the east, militias operating as security forces associated with None of the parties to the conflict the LNA abducted people and imprisoned implemented any of the human rights provisions in the UN-brokered Libya Political them without charge or trial. In June, an Amnesty International Report 2017/18 242

243 Agreement of December 2015, including organization CNN showing the apparent sale of migrants into slavery caused international those obliging them to release detainees held without legal basis. outrage. Libyan law continued to criminalize the irregular entry, stay or exit of foreign INTERNALLY DISPLACED PEOPLE nationals, and still lacked a legal framework for asylum. In November, UNHCR, the UN Some 40,000 former residents of the town of refugee agency, announced that it had Tawargha, near Misrata, remained displaced reached an agreement with the Libyan for a sixth year. In June a political agreement authorities to temporarily accommodate was signed by the mayor of Misrata, the people from a transit centre who were in Tawargha local council and the Misrata- need of international protection. However, Tawargha Reconciliation Committee there was no progress on a Memorandum of chairman, in the presence of Prime Minister Understanding that would formally recognize Serraj, ostensibly to allow the displaced former residents to return to Tawargha. UNHCR’s operations in Libya. The International Organization for Migration However, the agreement made no mention of calculated that there were 416,556 migrants accountability for past crimes. Three days later, a group of Tawargha families attempted in Libya at the end of September. UNHCR to return but were threatened and intimidated stated that 44,306 people in Libya were registered as refugees or asylum-seekers as at a checkpoint manned by residents of of 1 December, but the actual number of Misrata and forced to return to Tripoli. By the refugees was likely to be higher. The end of the year there had been no progress on the return of the Tawargha people or the International Organization for Migration continued to assist in the “voluntary return” implementation of the agreement. of 19,370 nationals to their home countries MIGRANTS, REFUGEES AND ASYLUM- during the year, often from detention centres. SEEKERS In a significant development, UNHCR began Migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers were evacuating refugees and asylum-seekers, subjected to widespread and systematic taking 25 people to Niger for resettlement in serious human rights violations and abuses at France in November and 162 people to Italy the hands of detention centre officials, the in December. Libyan Coast Guard, smugglers and armed WOMEN’S RIGHTS groups. Some were detained after being intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard at sea Women were particularly affected by the trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. ongoing conflict, which disproportionately It was estimated that up to 20,000 people affected their right to move freely and to were held in detention centres in Libya run participate in political and public life. by the Directorate for Combating Illegal In February the military in eastern Libya Migration (DCIM), a division of the Ministry of issued Decree No. 6 of 2017, restricting the Interior of the GNA. They were held in Libyan women under the age of 60 from horrific conditions of extreme overcrowding, travelling abroad without a legal male lacking access to medical care and adequate guardian. Following a public outcry and calls nutrition, and systematically subjected to from civil society for its removal, Decree No. 6 was replaced on 23 February with Decree torture and other ill-treatment, including sexual violence, severe beatings and No. 7, which stipulated that no Libyan male extortion. While the DCIM formally controlled or female between the ages of 18 and 45 between 17 and 36 centres, armed groups could travel abroad without prior “security and criminal gangs ran thousands of illicit approval”. The Decree failed to specify the procedure required to obtain such approval holding sites throughout the country as part of a lucrative people-smuggling business. In or the criteria that would be used to grant or deny it. November, a video released by US media Amnesty International Report 2017/18 243

244 In the face of intimidation and targeting, RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, high-profile women activists continued to be TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE In April, the Vilnius City District Court ordered forced to retreat from public and political the Civil Registry Office to change the identity engagement. documents of a transgender individual who had applied for legal gender recognition, without them having to undergo gender LITHUANIA reassignment surgery. In May, the Court ruled that the Civil Registry Office should change Republic of Lithuania the gender marker and personal identity Head of state: Dalia Grybauskaitė number of another transgender applicant. Saulius Skvernelis Head of government: In July, the President signed an amendment The President signed legislation which to the Law on Equal Opportunities which discriminated against lesbian, gay and defines family members as “spouses or direct bisexual people. Parliament considered a descendants”, effectively excluding unmarried partners and thereby preventing – law which would severely restrict access to among others – same-sex couples from being abortion. Lithuania offered visas to two gay legally considered as family members. men from the Russian republic of Chechnya who feared for their safety. In two separate SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS cases, a district court ruled in favour of two In October, Parliament considered a draft law transgender people seeking to change their initiated by the Electoral Action of Poles in identity documents without undergoing Lithuania, a political party. If implemented, it gender reassignment surgery. would restrict women’s access to abortion in INTERNATIONAL SCRUTINY cases where the pregnancy poses a risk to the woman’s life or health, or when it is the Abu Zubaydah v. Lithuania The case of result of rape. remained pending before the European Court of Human Rights. Abu Zubaydah alleged he had been forcibly disappeared and tortured at a secret CIA detention centre in Antaviliai, MACEDONIA a neighbourhood of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, between 2005 and 2006. In The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia September, the UN Committee on Enforced Head of state: e Gjorg Ivanov Disappearances urged Lithuania to Head of government: Zoran Zaev (replaced Emil investigate its involvement in US-led rendition in May) Dimitriev and secret detention programmes; hold those Impunity for war crimes persisted. Asylum- responsible to account; and provide victims with appropriate redress and reparation. seekers and migrants were unlawfully detained. A court’s judgment provided for REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS legal gender recognition for transgender people. In May, Lithuania offered visas to two Chechen men who were seeking international BACKGROUND protection outside of Russia for fear of Following elections in December 2016, the persecution based on their sexual orientation. Internal Macedonian Revolutionary This followed allegations of abductions, torture and other ill-treatment and in some Organization - Democratic Party for cases even the killing of men suspected of Macedonian National Unity gained over half being gay in Chechnya (see Russian the seats, but could not form a government. The Social Democratic Union of Macedonia Federation entry). (SDSM) agreed to form a coalition with ethnic Amnesty International Report 2017/18 244

245 Albanian parties and formed a government in June 2014 of the killing of five Macedonians May 2017 following a violent invasion of at Easter 2012. The retrial was called on the Parliament by former government supporters. grounds that the 2014 trial had not met In November, a former police chief and international standards for fair trial. several MPs were arrested for their part in the REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS disruption. The election followed a political crisis Asylum seekers and migrants, including unaccompanied children, were unlawfully triggered by the publication by SDSM in 2015 detained at the Reception Centre for of audio recordings revealing unlawful surveillance and widespread corruption Foreigners as witnesses in criminal proceedings against smugglers, for an within the government. average of two weeks, after which they were The European Commission asked released. Most applied for asylum, but left Macedonia to implement measures including the country shortly afterwards. ensuring the rule of law, the right to privacy, freedom of expression, an independent The European Court of Human Rights judiciary and an end to government (ECtHR) considered the case of eight refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan corruption. who were among 1,500 refugees and FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION migrants forcibly returned to Greece in March Until May, media freedom was seriously 2016 by the Macedonian authorities, who failed to examine their individual compromised by government interference in print and other media, including through the circumstances or provide an effective control of advertising and other revenues, remedy. resulting in widespread self-censorship and RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, little investigative journalism. In March, 122 TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE NGOs issued a statement protesting against In September, the Administrative Court ruled the government’s apparent campaign to that a transgender person could change their undermine their work. gender marker in the official registry, IMPUNITY providing for the legal recognition of gender identity. The Special Prosecution Office, established to investigate crimes arising from the audio SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS recordings, opened an investigation into the A court in Skopje, the capital, determined in 2011 murder of Martin Neshkovski and the July that the termination of a woman’s subsequent government cover-up. In June, the Office indicted 94 former government employment contract, because she was pregnant for a second time, constituted direct officials, including former Prime Minister discrimination. Gruevski and the former head of Security and Also in July, a local antenatal clinic in Suto Counter Intelligence. Orizari, a predominatly Roma suburb of Impunity for war crimes, including enforced Skopje, was reopened after eight years. In disappearances and abductions, persisted. September, four newborn babies died within JUSTICE SYSTEM two days in the Clinic of Gynaecology and Following votes by the Council of Public Obstetrics in Skopje. A subsequent inspection found a shortage of medical staff, Prosecutors and the Parliament, Public Prosecutor Marko Zvrlevski was removed babies sharing intensive care incubators, faulty ventilation and a leaking roof. Between from office in August for his lack of January and October, 127 babies died. independence. In October, provisional Public Prosecutor Liljana Spasovska called for the retrial of six ethnic Albanians, convicted in Amnesty International Report 2017/18 245

246 DEATHS IN CUSTODY BACKGROUND An outbreak of pneumonic plague, first In March, the European Roma Rights Centre reported in August, continued throughout the highlighted the deaths in custody of young year in rural and urban areas. Of 2,348 Romani men from overdoses of methadone reported cases between 1 August and 22 only available to prison guards, and the death November, 202 resulted in deaths. of a Romani woman, allegedly after she had been ill-treated. In October the European INTERNATIONAL SCRUTINY Committee for the Prevention of Torture raised concerns about the failure since 2006 In July, the UN Human Rights Committee expressed concern about human rights to improve the management of, and conditions in, Idrizovo Prison in Skopje, violations including the excessive use of force by police against alleged cattle rustlers where nine prisoners died in 2016. ( dahalos) ; and revenge attacks by members COUNTER-TERROR AND SECURITY of the security forces after two police officers , in the northern town were killed by villagers In December, the Committee of Ministers of Antsakabary. reviewed implementation of the judgment of The Committee called on Madagascar to the ECtHR in 2012 in the case of German national Khaled el-Masri, expressing concern immediately provide the National Human Rights Commission with an independent and at the failure to make a public apology and sufficient budget to enable it to carry out its requesting information on any progress in mandate. It also recommended that the implementing the judgment. The Court held government expedite the establishment of the Macedonia liable for Khaled el-Masri's detention, enforced disappearance, torture High Council for the Defence of Democracy and other ill-treatment in 2003, and and the Rule of Law, whose mission included the promotion and protection of human subsequent handover to the CIA which rights, and provide it with financial autonomy. transferred him to a secret detention site in Afghanistan. JUSTICE SYSTEM In November, 37 ethnic Albanian The criminal justice system remained defendants were convicted of terrorism for their participation or assistance in a seriously flawed and failed to guarantee due gun battle with police in Kumanovo in 2015, process. The excessive use of pre-trial in which 18 people were killed. detention continued despite provisions in the Constitution and the Code of Penal Procedure that limited its use as an exceptional measure for specific reasons; MADAGASCAR more than 50% of prison inmates were awaiting trial. Despite constitutional Republic of Madagascar provisions guaranteeing the right to legal Hery Rajaonarimampianina Head of state: defence at all stages of the process, where Olivier Mahafaly Solonandrasana Head of government: lack of resources should not be an obstacle, There was widespread poverty; access to lawyers reported that they were not paid for food, water, health care and education was legal aid work, including trial attendance, and restricted. Prison conditions remained were prevented from fulfilling their duties. In harsh; the excessive use of pre-trial practice, pre-trial legal aid was not available. detention persisted. The criminal justice DETENTION system continued to be used to harass and The government allowed international NGOs, intimidate human rights defenders and journalists, and restrict their freedom of as well as the National Human Rights expression, particularly those working on Commission, to visit detention centres. environmental and corruption issues. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 246

247 In July, police stopped a protest planned by Prisons were severely overcrowded and the Movement for Freedom of Expression to conditions were inhumane. Food and mark the first anniversary of the passing of medical care were inadequate. Toilets and the new Code of Media Communication law showers did not work properly, and some which imposes heavy fines for offences such prisons had open sewers putting inmates at as contempt, defamation or insult against a risk of disease. Most of the country’s prisons government official. had not been adequately renovated for more than 60 years. Infrastructure was dilapidated HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS and, in some instances, put prisoners’ lives at risk. In July, four detainees were killed after a Human rights defenders who opposed wall collapsed in the Antsohihy prison in the projects to exploit natural resources, or who north. made allegations of corruption against government officials were particularly at risk Families of inmates reported being forced to pay bribes to visit their relatives and of harassment, arrests on trumped-up charges, or other abuses under the criminal detainees relied on their families for food. Antanimora prison in the capital, justice system. In June, after 10 months’ pre- Antananarivo, held around 2,850 detainees, trial detention on charges of organizing a protest which became violent, environmental the highest number of inmates in the country, and three times its intended capacity. activist Clovis Razafimalala was released from Tamatave prison. In July, the Tamatave Overcrowding was mainly due to the large Tribunal sentenced him to a five-year number of pre-trial detainees, the ineffective 1 judicial system and lengthy trial delays. Some suspended prison sentence. On 27 detainees had been held for up to five years September, environmental activist Raleva was before being brought to trial. detained in Mananjary police station, in the southeast, after he questioned the legality of In contravention of international standards, a Chinese mining company in the Mananjary convicted prisoners and pre-trial detainees 2 were held together. As of July, Tsiafahy region. He was later transferred to Mananjary prison. On 26 October, the maximum security prison near Antananarivo hosted 396 pre-trial detainees alongside Mananjary court found him guilty of using the sentenced prisoners, in inhumane false title of “Head of District”, and gave him a two-year suspended sentence. conditions, despite National Law 2006-015 stipulating that it should house only prisoners SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS serving life sentences or those considered to Abortion remained criminalized in all cases be dangerous. The need to separate children from adults was not respected in all prisons. under Article 317 of the Penal Code. Anyone providing or attempting to provide an abortion FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY was subject to a heavy fine and Peaceful protests were repressed. Civil imprisonment of up to 10 years. Medical personnel providing information on obtaining society organizations claimed that the an abortion were subject to, in addition to authorities banned protests on the grounds that they were likely to be a “high risk of imprisonment and fines, suspension from practice for between five years and life. public disorder”. In June, civil society movements Wake-Up Madagascar and Women who sought or had abortions were SEFAFI, which works to improve democratic also subject to a heavy fine and up to two processes in the country, criticized a one- years’ imprisonment. Several women were month ban on public protests which the sent to prison for abortion-related offences during the year. government said was necessary to protect public order during National Day celebrations In July, the government stated that it was on 26 June. working on a bill which would make abortion a minor offence. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 247

248 Later in July, the UN Human Rights violence. The Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare publicly Committee considered Madagascar’s fourth expressed its concerns about the killings. periodic report. The Committee called for the One of the protesters, Beatrice Mateyo, was decriminalization of abortion, and for greater efforts to make sexual and reproductive arrested and charged with carrying a placard health services more accessible to women. bearing “offensive and obscene words”. She was charged with “insulting the modesty of a woman” under section 137(3) of the Penal 1. Madagascar: A Damocles sword on environmental activist’s head Code and released on bail the same day. If ) AFR 35/6841/2017 ( convicted she faced up to one year’s Madagascar: Environmental rights defender falsely accused − 2. imprisonment. ) AFR 35/7248/2017 Raleva ( RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE MALAWI Harassment of and attacks against LGBTI people continued. In January the People’s Republic of Malawi Party spokesman, Kenneth Msonda, publicly Head of State and Government: Arthur Peter Mutharika said that “gays are worse than dogs and must Two people were killed as attacks against be killed”. Activists brought a case against him for inciting violence against gay and people with albinism resumed. Gender- lesbian people. The Constitutional Court was based violence increased. Lesbian, gay, considering whether charges should be bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) brought against him at the end of the year. people continued to live in fear of harassment and attacks. Draft legislation In August, a 12-year-old boy stopped going threatened to silence NGOs and civil society to school after he faced repeated harassment and attacks, such as people throwing stones organizations working on governance and at him and urinating on him. He and his human rights issues. family lived in fear that he might be killed. DISCRIMINATION – PEOPLE WITH Same-sex sexual relations between ALBINISM consenting adults remained illegal. However, Attacks against people with albinism the solicitor general intervened in April after resumed in January after an interval of seven political and church leaders held a protest months. Two people were killed. On 10 against LGBTI people. The Malawi Human January, Madalitso Pensulo, a teenage boy, Rights Commission indicated it would hold public consultations on whether to reform the was killed in Mlonda village in the Tyolo law. District. In February, Mercy Zainabu Banda was found murdered in Lilongwe with her HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS wrist, right breast and hair removed. In Draft amendments to the NGO law remained March, two brothers were stabbed in Nsanje. As of 30 August, 20 murders of people with before Parliament. The amendments, which introduced broad, excessive, intrusive and albinism which have taken place since 2014 remained unresolved. arbitrary controls on the activities of NGOs, could silence critics including human rights VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS groups. If implemented, the law would establish an NGO Board under the Ministry of Gender-based violence continued; seven Gender, Children, Disability and Social women were reported to have been Welfare with wide discretionary powers, murdered in August and September alone. On 14 September, around 150 women including to approve NGOs’ funding participated in a national march to protest applications to donor agencies; and to against the alarming levels of gender-based demand that such applications fall in line Amnesty International Report 2017/18 248

249 with government policies and be designed to authorities also barred several human rights defenders from entering Malaysia; they “advance the public interest”. NGOs would be forced to register with the NGO Board included Bangladeshi activist Adilur Rahman 2 and Singaporean activist Han Hui Hui, which would have power to deregister them. Khan They would also be required to sign who were deported after attempting to attend Memorandums of Understanding with local human rights conferences. Bans were government before operating in the secretive, arbitrary and not subject to appeal. No prior notice was given. community. FREEDOMS OF ASSOCIATION AND ASSEMBLY MALAYSIA Human rights defenders and opposition parliamentarians continued to stand trial for Malaysia participating in peaceful protests. In July, the Head of state: King Muhammad V Kota Kinabalu High Court reversed an earlier Najib Tun Razak Head of government: acquittal by the Magistrate’s Court of activist Civic space shrank further as a crackdown Jannie Lasimbang who had been charged under Section 9 of the Peaceful Assembly on civil and political rights continued. There was a rise in the use of open-ended and Act 2012. Her trial was ongoing at the end of arbitrary travel bans to restrict and threaten the year. Parliamentarians and activists were charged after joining the peaceful the freedom of movement of human rights defenders. Indigenous rights activists and #KitaLawan (We Fight) protest rally; they included MP Sim Tze Tzin, Maria Chin journalists were arrested and investigated for campaigning against and reporting Abdullah, Mandeep Singh and Adam Adli. human rights abuses. Charges against Maria Chin Abdullah, Mandeep Singh and Sim Tze Tzin were FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION initially dismissed by the courts, but brought again in October. Adam Adli was acquitted of The government continued to harass, detain his charges by the Magistrate’s Court in and prosecute critics through the use of November. restrictive laws such as the Sedition Act and the Communications and Multimedia Act. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS More than 60 individuals were arrested, charged or imprisoned under various pieces In January, following peaceful protests of legislation. Four individuals were charged, against logging licences granted by local and another convicted, under Section 233 of authorities, 21 Indigenous human rights the Communications and Multimedia Act defenders from the Temiar people in the northern state of Kelantan were detained. which criminalizes, among other things, the 3 Two journalists were also arrested. They “misuse of network facilities” for criticizing the government or for government-related were released within 48 hours, but the rights satire. of the Temiar to their customary lands remained under threat because logging FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT activities continued without the free, prior and informed consent of the communities. In In July, the Court of Appeal ruled that the August, 11 Indigenous human rights government has absolute discretion to bar defenders in Perak were arrested by police any citizen from travelling abroad without 1 This ruling needing to provide a reason. when peacefully protesting against a logging company. facilitated continued violations of the right to freedom of movement and the work of human rights defenders, including cartoonist Zunar and activist Hishamuddin Rais. The Amnesty International Report 2017/18 249

250 drug trafficking activities”. The provision ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS included a mandatory 15 whip lashes. Preventive detention laws such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act and Security RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE continued to be used to detain, prosecute Discrimination against LGBTI people and imprison people alleged to have continued both in law and practice. Section committed security offences. The maximum 377A of the Penal Code criminalizes detention period of 28 days under the consensual sexual relations between adult SOSMA was set to remain in force for five men. In June, the Health Ministry received years from 31 July, following a parliamentary vote. local and international criticism for its On 26 April, the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision to launch a video competition for teenagers on how to “prevent gender sentenced Siti Noor Aishah to five years’ imprisonment for possession of 12 books, confusion” which included “gay, lesbian, transgender, transvestite and tomboy”. The under a sweeping provision of the SOSMA wording was subsequently removed. prohibiting the possession, custody or control of any item associated with any terrorist 4 TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT group or the commission of a terrorist act. In July, Kelantan state assembly passed The books owned by Siti Noor Aishah had not been banned, which raised further concerns amendments to the Syariah Criminal about the arbitrary nature of the law and the Procedure Enactment 2002 which would way it was applied. allow caning of criminals to be carried out in public. Torture is not adequately defined or POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES prohibited in the state Syariah Criminal Code or the Malaysian Penal Code. Impunity for deaths in custody and excessive use of force and firearms persisted. There were at least five deaths in custody during Malaysia: Open-ended travel bans violate the rights of human rights 1. the year. They included S. Balamurugan defenders ( ASA 28/6697/2017 ) who, according to cellmates, was beaten by 2. News story , Malaysia: Bangladeshi human rights activist detained ( police during interrogation. A magistrate had 20 July) earlier ordered that he be released and given Malaysia: End harassment of Indigenous rights defenders ( 3. ASA medical attention. No police investigation into 28/5549/2017) his death was known to have been carried 4. Malaysia: Student convicted for possession of ‘illegal’ book − Siti ) ASA 28/6136/2017 Noor Aishah ( out. Malaysia: Stop execution of prisoners due to be hanged on Friday 5. ( News story , 23 March) DEATH PENALTY The death penalty continued to be retained as the mandatory punishment for offences including drug trafficking, murder and MALDIVES discharge of firearms with intent to kill or harm in certain circumstances. Executions Republic of Maldives continued to be carried out during the year Abdulla Yameen Abdul Head of state and government: Gayoom and there remained no established procedure for notification of scheduled 5 executions. In November, Parliament The crackdown on the rights to freedom of amended the Dangerous Drugs Act, expression and peaceful assembly providing the judiciary with discretion on the continued. Authorities used the criminal mandatory death penalty in the event the justice system to silence political accused is a drug courier and has co- opponents, as well as human rights defenders, journalists and civil society. The operated with law enforcement in “disrupting Amnesty International Report 2017/18 250

251 lack of independence of the judiciary prosecutions of perpetrators, and were marred by political interference. remained a concern. The President In March, journalists from Raajje TV reaffirmed that executions would resume after more than 60 years. reported to the Maldives Police Service that they had received threats of death if they sent JUSTICE SYSTEM journalists to Faafu Atoll to cover a visit by the King of Saudi Arabia. No additional security Political turmoil persisted as the President was granted by police. Around the same used the military and the judiciary to stifle the time, two journalists from the newspaper opposition. In July, the opposition initiated a were taken into no confidence motion to impeach the Maldives Independent “protective custody” by police after receiving Speaker of Parliament, but proceedings were threats from members of the ruling party. The halted with the suspension of four opposition MPs. On 24 July, parliamentarians were journalists claimed that the police read their notes and treated them like suspects. denied entry into the Parliament and the In July, seven journalists from Sangu TV and President directed the military to use pepper Raajje TV were arrested while covering a spray and tear gas to disperse them. MPs Faris Maumoon and Qasim Ibrahim were protest marking Independence Day. They were detained for several hours accused of arrested arbitrarily for allegedly bribing obstructing police. law makers to unseat the Speaker of 1 Parliament. FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY UNFAIR TRIALS Arbitrary restrictions on peaceful protesters The authorities ignored constitutional and human rights defenders continued. On provisions safeguarding the right to a fair trial, 24 July, the military used pepper spray and tear gas to disperse parliamentarians trying to as evidenced by a string of criminal cases enter the Parliament building. On 8 August, a against political opponents. On 18 July, MP march led by relatives and friends of Ahmed Faris Maumoon was arrested during a raid on his house for allegedly bribing law makers to Rilwan to mark the third anniversary of his disappearance was blocked by Specialist sign the motion of no confidence against the Speaker. He was seeking to cancel the Operations police officers who used pepper spray, snatched banners, tore up placards charges, claiming that the evidence was obtained unlawfully. and briefly detained nine people. Several In April, Qasim Ibrahim, leader of the days later, Ahmed Rilwan’s nephew and Yameen Rasheed’s sister were dismissed Jumhooree Party, was sentenced to 38 months’ imprisonment after being convicted from their posts as civil support staff at Maldives Police Service for joining the on charges including plotting to overthrow the protest. government. After repeated requests for medical attention, in September the court DEATH PENALTY granted him permission to travel abroad for The government stated that the death penalty treatment. was to be implemented “by the end of FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION September”. Executions would be the first to In April, popular political blogger and social be carried out in over 60 years. Three men – media activist Yameen Rasheed was stabbed Hussain Humaam Ahmed, Ahmed Murrath to death in his apartment building in the and Mohamed Nabeel – remained at risk of 2 The year marked three years capital, Malé. imminent execution despite serious concerns since the disappearance of journalist Ahmed about the fairness of the legal proceedings. These included the use of an apparently Rilwan. By the end of the year, neither of the investigations had resulted in successful coerced “confession” by Hussain Humaam Ahmed, which he later retracted. The UN Amnesty International Report 2017/18 251

252 cases included 21 instances of extrajudicial Human Rights Committee made repeated requests to the government to stay the executions and deliberate and arbitrary executions of the three men during 2016 and killings, 12 cases of enforced disappearance and 31 cases of torture and other ill- 2017, in accordance with Maldives’ treatment. commitments under the Optional Protocol to 3 Of the 17 prisoners on death the ICCPR. The French authorities opened an inquiry row, at least five were sentenced to death for into the death of a child during the November 2016 Operation Barkhane involving French crimes committed when they were below 18 4 soldiers. The results had not been made years of age. public by the end of 2017. In December the spokesman for the French Army said that the 1. Maldives: Opposition MP must get a fair trial ( News story , 22 internal inquiry did not reveal any individual September) or collective responsibility. 2. Maldives: Killing of popular blogger an attack on freedom of News story , 23 April) expression ( ABUSES BY ARMED GROUPS 3. Maldives: Halt first execution in more than 60 years ( News story , 20 Attacks in the central regions of Mopti and July) Ségou increased during the year. A rise in the Maldives to resume executions by September ( 4. ) ASA 29/7007/2017 presence of armed groups and in local recruitment aggravated tensions between different ethnic groups. In February, 20 MALI people were killed and 18 others injured when unidentified assailants attacked Republic of Mali members of the Fulani community. The Head of state: Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta attack followed the killing of a well-known Head of government: Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga opponent of radical influences in Ségou (replaced Abdoulaye Idrissa Maïga in December, who region. replaced Modibo Keïta in April) Between January and September, MINUSMA recorded at least 155 attacks A bill for the protection of human rights against its own peacekeeping forces, the defenders was adopted by the National Malian security forces and French soldiers Assembly in December. The government involved in Operation Barkhane. Throughout postponed the revision of the Constitution following protests. Full implementation of the year, more than 30 MINUSMA-related the 2015 Algiers peace agreement personnel, including civilians and remained delayed. Joint operations between contractors, were killed by armed groups. the Malian army and some armed groups Most attacks were claimed by the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims. Victims began in Gao under the Operational Coordination Mechanism. included eight children. In June, five people were killed and 10 INTERNATIONAL SCRUTINY wounded during an attack by an armed The UN Independent Expert on the situation group on a hotel on the outskirts of the of human rights in Mali and the UN capital, Bamako. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization In July, armed men beat 10 women who Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) raised concerns were part of a wedding party. In August, 12 about serious security threats in the northern women who were not wearing a veil were flogged in Mopti. and central regions, which put civilians at risk and hampered their access to basic social At the end of the year at least eight people services. During the year MINUSMA remained held hostage by armed groups documented 252 cases of human rights following their abductions in Mali, Burkina violations by security forces and armed Faso and Niger over the last three years. The eight included three women – Beatrice groups involving more than 650 victims. The Amnesty International Report 2017/18 252

253 violations, had not been implemented by the Stockly, a Swiss missionary, Gloria Cecilia end of the year. Agoti Narvaez, a Colombian missionary, and In August, the former head of the police unit Sophie Petronin (French) – as well as Julian of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in Ghergut (Romanian); Jeffery Woodke (US); West Africa, Aliou Mahamane Touré, was Ken Eliott (Australian); and Malian nationals convicted of “violation of internal security, . Mamadou Diawara and Soungalo Kon é illegal possession of weapons of war, criminal FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION conspiracy and aggravated assault” by the Bamako Assizes Court and sentenced to 10 Freedom of speech was under threat in the years’ imprisonment. run-up to a referendum on amendments to The trial of General Amadou Haya Sanogo the Constitution. in relation to the abduction and murder of 21 In June, at least eight people were injured soldiers in April 2012 had not recommenced when protesters against the constitutional after it was postponed in December 2016. changes clashed with police using tear gas The postponement followed a ruling that DNA and batons. tests were held inadmissible because the Physical and verbal threats against correct legal procedure had not opponents of the referendum were reported in July. Also in July, Maliba FM radio been followed. journalist Mohamed Youssouf Bathily, known RIGHT TO EDUCATION as Ras Bath, was sentenced to one year’s The UN Independent Expert on the situation imprisonment for “incitement to military disobedience” following criticisms of the of human rights in Mali expressed concern army in 2016. In November, he was about the high number of schools closed due acquitted by the Bamako Court of Appeal. to insecurity in central and northern parts of the country, depriving more than 150,000 DETENTION children of their right to education. Prisons remained overcrowded and Throughout the year, more than 500 conditions were poor. At the end of the year, schools in Gao, Kidal, Ségou, Mopti and the Bamako Central Prison housed 1,947 Timbuktu remained closed. Many schools, detainees despite a capacity of 400. Of those notably in Niono, Macina and Tenenkou, held, 581 had been convicted and 1,366 were threatened with attack by armed groups if they did not either close or convert to were awaiting trial. Detainees held since Qur’anic teaching. In May, an armed group 2013 on terrorism charges were not permitted to leave their cramped and poorly burned down a school in Mopti, threatening ventilated prison cells, even for exercise. further attacks against non-Qur’anic schools. Despite Article 39 of the peace agreement Detainees continued to be held at an unofficial detention centre known as the committing all signatories to pay particular “Sécurité d’Etat”. attention to education for all, armed groups continued to occupy some schools. IMPUNITY INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE Efforts to tackle impunity faltered as several high-profile trials related to abuses In August, the International Criminal Court held Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi liable for €2.7 committed in northern Mali during the 2012-2013 occupation failed to make million in individual and collective significant progress. The 2015 peace reparations. He was convicted in 2016 of the war crime of intentionally directing attacks agreement, which recommended the establishment of an international commission against religious and historic buildings in of inquiry to investigate crimes under Timbuktu, and sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment. ICC investigations into alleged international law including war crimes, crimes against humanity and human rights Amnesty International Report 2017/18 253

254 showed that Italian navy and coastguard war crimes committed since January 2012 in officials were reluctant to deploy the Italian Mali were ongoing. warship Libra which was the closest to the boat in distress, notwithstanding repeated requests by Maltese authorities to do so. MALTA Criminal proceedings and investigations against some of the Italian navy and Republic of Malta coastguard officials involved were ongoing in Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca Head of state: Italy at the end of the year. No investigation Joseph Muscat Head of government: was known to have been initiated by the New information emerged regarding the Maltese authorities into the incident. In August, Maltese authorities denied 2013 shipwreck in which many Syrian authorization to disembark three Libyan refugees died. It exposed Italy’s reluctance Golfo to assist Maltese authorities in rescuing the asylum-seekers from the rescue boat Azzurro , operated by the NGO Proactiva boat in distress. Malta denied three Libyan Open Arms. The three men had been asylum-seekers who were rescued within its rescued within Malta’s search and rescue search and rescue region permission to disembark. The authorities admitted 168 region in the central Mediterranean. After asylum-seekers under the EU relocation three days of negotiations between Malta and programme, a higher number than they had Italy over which country should take the committed to. Marriage rights were asylum-seekers, Italy accepted the request and the three men were taken to Sicily. extended to same-sex couples. Abortion Malta received 168 refugees and asylum- remained prohibited in all circumstances. seekers from Greece and Italy, more than the BACKGROUND 131 it legally committed to accept under the EU relocation programme, which closed on In October, journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb explosion. She had 26 September. been critical of the government and RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, investigated organized crime, corruption TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE including against politicians, and the Maltese chapter of the so-called “Panama Papers” – In July, marriage equality legislation was leaked files from an offshore law firm approved by Parliament. The new law regarding tax havens and their users. The extended full marriage rights to same-sex couples. government was under pressure from the EU and others to ensure a thorough and SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS independent investigation into Daphne Abortion remained prohibited in all Caruana Galizia’s death. In December, three circumstances. Women were denied access men were charged with her murder and to abortion even when the life of the pregnant remanded in custody. woman was at risk. REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS L’Espresso In May, the Italian magazine published new information regarding the MAURITANIA shipwreck that occurred on 11 October 2013 in the Maltese search and rescue region of Islamic Republic of Mauritania the central Mediterranean. Over 260 people Head of state: Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz died, mostly Syrian refugees, many of them Yahya Ould Hademine Head of government: children. The magazine reported that phone conversations held in the period immediately Human rights defenders, bloggers, anti- preceding the capsizing of the refugees’ boat slavery activists and other opponents of the Amnesty International Report 2017/18 254

255 government were intimidated, attacked and One of them was released without charge after three days; the others were charged prosecuted for their peaceful activities. with belonging to an unauthorized Freedoms of expression, association and organization and released six days later. peaceful assembly were restricted. International human rights activists were Ahead of the August referendum, the Office refused entry to the country. Torture and of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern about the other ill-treatment in custody was common. authorities’ apparent suppression of dissent Haratine and Afro-Mauritanian people faced and the reported use of excessive force systematic discrimination. Slavery practices against protest leaders. persist. Five days after the referendum, Senator BACKGROUND Mohamed Ould Ghadda, who opposed the vote, was arrested and charged with In March, the Senate rejected a proposal to corruption. He remained in detention without amend the 1991 Constitution. The authorities called a referendum for August; the majority trial at the end of the year. Three weeks later, 12 Senators and four journalists were voted to abolish the Senate. questioned by a judge regarding allegations FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION, that they received financial support from a ASSOCIATION AND ASSEMBLY businessman. They were required to sign weekly at the police station while the police Security forces continued to intimidate and attack bloggers, human rights defenders and were investigating the allegations. In November, the Appeal Court of others who criticized the government. Nouadhibou commuted the death sentence Anti-slavery activists, among them prisoners of blogger Mohamed Mkhaïtir to two years’ of conscience, were detained. Abdallahi imprisonment. He was convicted in Abdou Diop was released in January after December 2014 of apostasy for writing a blog serving a six-month prison sentence. critical of those who used Islam to foster Abdallahi Maatalla Seck and Moussa Biram remained in Bir Moghrein prison, more than discrimination against Moulamines (blacksmiths) and had been held since 1,000km from their homes, since July 2016. The three prisoners of conscience were January 2014. Although he was scheduled for release at the end of the year, he convicted on charges including participating in an unauthorized gathering and remained in custody; his family and his membership of an unauthorized association. lawyers were not able to visit him or confirm his whereabouts. In April, the security forces used tear gas In November, 15 human rights defenders and batons to repress a peaceful protest in were arrested in the southern town of Kaédi the capital, Nouakchott, that was organized by plain clothes men who identified by youth groups calling for policies to address youth unemployment and to support young themselves as members of the Battalion for Presidential Security. They had been people. At least 26 people were arrested. distributing leaflets and holding banners Most of them were released the same day, but 10 were detained for four days, charged calling for justice for their relatives who had been unlawfully killed between 1989 and with participating in an unauthorized 1991. They were taken to a military base and gathering. The court in Nouakchott gave one questioned about their activities. Ten were woman a three-month suspended prison released the same day and five were sentence, which was overturned on appeal. transferred to a police station and detained The others were acquitted. On 23 April, police arrested seven people, for six days, without access to a lawyer, of whom four were foreign nationals and two before being released without charge. International human rights activists and were children, in connection with their attending a religious service in Nouakchott. NGOs were refused access to Mauritania Amnesty International Report 2017/18 255

256 without adequate access to food, education, throughout the year. In May, a foreign lawyer and journalist carrying out research into water, sanitation and health care. The Special Rapporteur stressed that despite Mauritania’s slavery were asked to leave the country. In obligations under international human rights September, US anti-slavery activists were treaties, there was a complete absence of denied entry visas when they arrived at prenatal and postnatal care in rural areas. He Nouakchott International Airport. In November, the authorities refused an also highlighted that Haratines and Afro- Mauritanians, who constituted an estimated Amnesty International delegation access to two thirds of the population, were excluded the country. from many areas of economic and social life. TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT In addition, the fact that the government had not collected statistics on the numbers of Detainees reported that they were tortured Haratine and Afro-Mauritanian people in the during pre-trial detention in order to extract country, served to render their needs and confessions and to intimidate them. People rights invisible. held in police stations including the Commissariat in Nouakchott were routinely REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS placed in prolonged solitary confinement − a In his March report, the UN Special type of detention condemned by the UN Rapporteur on torture expressed concerns Human Rights Committee as a violation of the prohibition of torture or other cruel, about the collective expulsion of irregular inhuman or degrading treatment. migrants and refugees who were often abandoned on the southern border with In his March report, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture acknowledged that Senegal which could contravene the principle non-refoulement . During a visit to a site while torture and other ill-treatment was no of longer “rampant”, it occurred frequently. He where irregular migrants were held in expressed concern that the “culture of Nouakchott, he said that the 20 to 30 torture” persisted in police and gendarmerie detainees had no toilet facilities and had units, and that torture continued to be used insufficient room to lie or even sit down to to extract confessions. The Special sleep. Rapporteur noted that the practice of detaining terrorism suspects for up to 45 days without access to legal representation MEXICO was excessive; oversight mechanisms for the investigation of allegations of torture and United Mexican States other ill-treatment lacked due diligence and Enrique Peña Nieto Head of state and government: were slow; existing laws and safeguards needed to be expanded and implemented; Violence increased throughout Mexico. The and that there was no significant armed forces continued to undertake improvement in detention conditions, such as regular policing functions. Human rights overcrowding, poor sanitation and inadequate defenders and journalists were threatened, attacked and killed; digital attacks and nutrition. surveillance were particularly common. ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL Widespread arbitrary detentions continued RIGHTS to lead to torture and other ill-treatment, In his report in March the UN Special enforced disappearances and extrajudicial Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human executions. Impunity persisted for human rights concluded that while the government rights violations and crimes under had made progress in alleviating poverty in international law. Mexico received a record recent years, a large proportion of the number of asylum claims, mostly from nationals of El Salvador, Honduras, population continued to live in poverty Amnesty International Report 2017/18 256

257 the year. In August, civil society organizations Guatemala and Venezuela. Violence against women remained a major concern; new data and opinion leaders presented a proposal for the design of this institution. showed that two thirds of women had In October, the acting Attorney General experienced gender-based violence during removed the Special Prosecutor for Electoral their lives. The rights to housing and Crimes, regarded as independent by different education were compromised by two major political forces, after he publicly reported earthquakes. being subjected to political pressure to BACKGROUND disregard a high-profile corruption case. Early in the year an increase in gas prices POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES caused social unrest, including road There was a marked increase in the number blockages, lootings and protests throughout of homicides, with 42,583 recorded the country, leading to hundreds of arrests nationally, the highest annual number of and some fatalities. Throughout the year, homicides registered by authorities since the security forces carried out a number of operations to crack down on a spate of start of the presidential term in December 2012. The real number may be higher, with clandestine robberies of petroleum. At least some crimes not being reported to police, one of these security operations resulted in a likely extrajudicial execution by the army in and not all of those reported triggering official action. May. The National Human Rights In December, Congress passed a Law on Commission raised concerns over deficient security measures in prisons that affected the Interior Security enabling the prolonged presence of the armed forces in regular rights of people deprived of their liberty. policing functions without any effective There were riots in prisons including in the provisions for transparency, accountability or states of Nuevo León and Guerrero, and a hunger strike in the federal maximum civilian oversight. security prison at Puente Grande, Jalisco ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS state. Arbitrary arrests and detentions remained The new adversarial criminal justice system, fully operational since June 2016, continued widespread, and often led to further human to replicate problems from the old rights violations including torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and inquisitorial system, including violations of extrajudicial executions. Arbitrary arrests the presumption of innocence and the use of evidence collected in violation of human often included the planting of evidence, rights and other illicit evidence. Bills were commonly guns and illicit drugs, by law enforcement officials. Authorities appeared to introduced in Congress that would weaken especially target those who had historically fair trial guarantees and expand the scope of mandatory pre-trial detention without a case- faced discrimination, in particular young men by-case assessment by a judge. living in poverty. Congress approved long-overdue laws The police routinely disregarded their obligations during and following an arrest. against torture and other ill-treatment and against enforced disappearance by state They usually did not inform the persons of actors and disappearances committed by the reasons for the arrest or of their rights, such as the right to legal counsel and to non-state actors. Legal reforms allowed the use of cannabis for medical purposes. communicate with their families. Unjustified Sustained public debates over the delays in bringing the detainee before the transformation of the federal Attorney relevant authorities were common and often General’s Office, responsible for law enabled other human rights violations. Police enforcement and prosecution, into an reports of arrests often contained significant errors, fabricated information and other independent body were conducted during Amnesty International Report 2017/18 257

258 almost absolute impunity. The official serious flaws, including inaccuracies in National Register of Missing and Disappeared recording date and time of arrest. Persons indicated that the fate or The reasons for arbitrary arrests were whereabouts of 34,656 people (25,682 men varied, but included: to extort money from and 8,974 women) remained unclarified. The detainees; to detain a particular individual in actual numbers were higher because the return for payment from a third party; for politically motivated reasons; and to official figure excluded federal pre-2014 investigate detainees in connection with cases and cases classified as other criminal offences such as hostage-taking or human another crime by detaining them for a trafficking. misdemeanour that they usually had not Investigations into cases of missing persons committed. continued to be flawed and authorities There was no unified and accessible register of detention, consistent with generally failed to immediately initiate international human rights law and searches for the victims. Impunity for these crimes continued, including in the case of 43 standards, in which every detention by law students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training enforcement officials is recorded in real 1 college who were forcibly disappeared in time. Guerrero state in 2014. The investigations TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT into the case made little progress during the In February, the UN Special Rapporteur on year. In March, in a hearing before the Inter- torture issued a follow-up report to a previous American Commission on Human Rights, visit to Mexico in 2014; the report concluded state representatives reasserted the that torture and other ill-treatment remained government’s version of events that the students had been killed and burned in a widespread, including the alarming use of local rubbish dump − a theory that was sexual violence as a frequent method of torture. proved to be scientifically impossible by the In June, a new general law on torture came Interdisciplinary Group of Independent into force, replacing existing state and federal Experts appointed by the Commission. laws with nationwide application. Civil society In October, Congress passed a general law organizations welcomed it as an advance that on disappearances that defined the crime in better incorporated international standards accordance with international law and compared to the previous legislation. The provided tools to prevent and prosecute it. Special Unit on Torture of the Federal The implementation of the law was expected to require a sufficient budget allocation in the Attorney General’s Office reported 4,390 cases of torture under revision at the federal following years. level and commenced 777 investigations EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS under the new adversarial justice system. Federal authorities did not announce any Cases of extrajudicial executions were not new criminal charges against public officials, properly investigated and perpetrators nor provide any information on arrests made continued to enjoy impunity. For the fourth for the crime of torture. In Quintana Roo consecutive year, the authorities failed to state, a federal judge sentenced a former publish the number of people killed or policeman to five years’ imprisonment for the wounded in clashes with the police and crime of torture. military forces. No information was made available regarding criminal charges in the ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES cases of Tlatlaya, Mexico state, where soldiers killed 22 people in 2014; Enforced disappearances with the involvement of the state and disappearances Apatzingán, Michoacán state, where federal committed by non-state actors continued to police and other security forces killed at least 16 people in 2015; and Tanhuato, be common and those responsible enjoyed Amnesty International Report 2017/18 258

259 Michoacán state, where the security forces The Unit for the Investigation of Crimes against Migrants of the Attorney General’s killed 43 people during a security operation in 2015. Office marked two years in operation, yet remained marred by institutional challenges On 3 May, military personnel carried out in its operation and problems in co-ordinating public security operations in Palmarito with other authorities. These problems limited Tochapan town, Puebla state, and reported advances in criminal investigations, including that seven people died, including four into massacres of migrants, that remained soldiers. Days later, video footage from shrouded by impunity. security cameras installed at the location In August, a citizen consultative body were published on the internet. One of the published research demonstrating the videos clearly showed a person in military involvement of the National Migration uniform shooting dead a man lying on the Institute in a number of human rights floor. Amnesty International independently violations against those deprived of liberty in verified the video and concluded that there migration detention centres run by the was sufficient reason to believe that an 2 extrajudicial execution took place. Institute. Violations included overcrowding, lack of access to adequate medical services, REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS solitary confinement used as punishment, A total of 8,703 asylum claims were lodged allegations of torture and other ill-treatment. between January and August, a similar The authorities denied allegations of torture committed by the Institute, despite the number as for the whole of 2016. The National Human Rights Commission having percentage of claims that resulted in the also confirmed evidence of torture on prior granting of refugee status decreased from occasions. 35% in 2016 to 12% in 2017. The majority of asylum claims came from Honduran and HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS Venezuelan nationals, the latter surpassing AND JOURNALISTS for the first time the number of refugees and asylum-seekers from El Salvador and Human rights defenders and journalists Guatemala. continued to be threatened, harassed, Between January and November, 88,741 attacked and killed. irregular migrants were detained and 74,604 At least 12 journalists were killed, the deported, in most cases without the highest number recorded in one year since 2000. They included prize-winning journalist opportunity to challenge their deportation. Of Javier Valdez, founder of the newspaper those deported, 94% were from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, countries which , who was killed on 15 May in Sinaloa Ríodoce have registered some of the highest homicide state. Many of the killings of journalists rates in the world in recent years, and 20% of occurred in daylight in public places. The those deported to these countries were authorities made no significant advances into children. In February, Mexico’s Foreign the investigations of these killings. The Special Prosecutor’s Unit for Attention to Minister announced that Mexico would not receive foreign nationals turned back from Crimes against Freedom of Expression failed to investigate the journalists’ work as a the USA under the US Border Control Executive Order announced by US President possible motive in the majority of cases of Donald Trump on 25 January. attacks. The federal Mechanism to Protect In June, the government met with North Human Rights Defenders and Journalists left human rights defenders and journalists American and Central American governments, ostensibly to tackle the root inadequately protected. causes of the regional refugee crisis; they did Former Goldman Prize winner Isidro Baldenegro López and Juan Ontiveros not publish any agreements reached. Ramos, two Indigenous human rights Amnesty International Report 2017/18 259

260 defenders of the Raramuri (Tarahumara) violence against women and girls. By the end of the year, the Alerts mechanisms were not Indigenous People, were killed in January and February respectively. In May, Miriam shown to have reduced gender-based Rodríguez, a human rights defender leading violence against women and girls. the search for her daughter and other RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, disappeared persons in Tamaulipas, was TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE killed. In July, Mario Luna Romero, leader of Same-sex couples were able to marry in the Indigenous Yaqui People in Sonora state Mexico City and 11 states without recourse to and beneficiary of protection measures from judicial proceedings. Couples in states where the federal protection mechanism, was subjected to an intrusion in his house by laws or administrative practice did not allow for same-sex marriage had to file a unidentified assailants who set fire to his constitutional complaint ( amparo ) before partner’s car. In January, it became known that a network federal tribunals to have their case reviewed and their rights recognized. of people was using the internet to harass Supreme Court rulings continued to uphold and threaten human rights defenders and 3 same-sex couples’ rights to marry and to journalists throughout Mexico. In June, evidence emerged of surveillance against adopt children without being discriminated journalists and human rights defenders using against on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In March, the Supreme Court software that the government was known to ruled unconstitutional the Law of the Institute have purchased. The federal Mechanism to Protect Human Rights Defenders and of Security and Social Services for State Journalists provided no strategy to respond to Workers because it protected only different- sex couples’ rights. digital attacks and unlawful surveillance for those who have been granted protection ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL measures. RIGHTS VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS Two earthquakes in September had a serious impact on vast areas, mostly in central and Gender-based violence against women and girls was widespread. Most of the cases were southern Mexico. More than 360 people inadequately investigated and perpetrators died; in Mexico City the majority of fatalities were women. According to official figures, enjoyed impunity. Sufficient and current data on gender-based killings was not available. more than 150,000 households were affected and at least 250,000 people were made However, official data for 2016 was published homeless. indicating that 2,668 women were The government implemented survivor considered to be victims of homicide, pending further investigations. rescue and emergency care actions with the participation of both civil and military In August, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography published a survey estimating personnel and with the support of the international community. However, several that 66.1% of girls and women aged 15 or reports emerged of inadequate co-ordination above had experienced gender-based among authorities, inaccurate and untimely violence at least once in their lives, and that 43.5% of women had experienced gender- information on the rescue and recovery of based violence committed by their partners. bodies, illegal commandeering of food and Mechanisms known as “Alerts of gender- other essential services meant for survivors, based violence against women” were active and insufficient aid deliveries to many in 12 states. Established by the General Law devastated areas, especially in small, on Women’s Access to a Life Free from impoverished communities. Violence, the Alert mechanisms relied on co- Expert preliminary assessments published ordinated efforts to confront and eradicate in the media suggested that some of the Amnesty International Report 2017/18 260

261 changes were widely seen as benefiting the collapsed structures might have been in two biggest parties in Parliament, the ruling breach of building regulations. There was no Democratic Party of Moldova and the comprehensive strategy to guarantee that opposition Socialist Party of Moldova. On 19 people made homeless were provided with June, the Venice Commission of the Council safe and adequate housing options. On 6 October, President Peña Nieto called on of Europe issued a highly critical opinion on the amendments. Most of the mainstream affected families to organize themselves to media remained effectively controlled by and rebuild their houses. Educational services, including many biased towards the Democratic Party of primary schools, were disrupted for weeks or Moldova. months while safety checks and FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION reconstruction of schools were underway. A draft law on NGOs was agreed by a Thousands of national monuments and other culturally significant public buildings were Working Group which included representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the destroyed or damaged by the earthquakes. Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and several NGOs. The law False suspicions: Arbitrary detentions by police in Mexico ( AMR 1. was widely welcomed by civil society. 41/5340/2017 ) However, in July, the Ministry of Justice Mexico: Open letter to the President on a possible extrajudicial 2. unexpectedly introduced three articles into ) AMR 41/6347/2017 execution by the military ( the draft without consulting the Working Mexico’s misinformation wars: How organized troll networks attack 3. Group. These articles would compel NGOs News story , 24 and harass journalists and activists in Mexico ( January) involved in broadly defined “political activities” to publish financial reports and disclose the origin and use of their funding, among other requirements. Non-compliance MOLDOVA would incur severe penalties, including hefty fines, exclusion from the government-run Republic of Moldova Head of state: Igor Dodon financial mechanism that facilitates and Head of government: Pavel Filip encourages voluntary donations to NGOs by taxpayers, and potential closure of the NGO. The government recalled a draft law on The amendments met strong opposition from civil society and international organizations NGOs which contained undue restrictions for organizations that receive foreign who regarded them as undue restrictions on funding. Nine activists were convicted of NGOs receiving foreign funding. Critics attempting to organize mass disturbances in foresaw a stigmatizing effect on human rights defenders and civil society, particularly for 2015 and given conditional prison those critical of the authorities. In September, sentences in an unfair trial. In May, the LGBTI Pride in the capital Chișinău was the government recalled the draft law. stopped by police due to alleged security UNFAIR TRIALS concerns, while President Igor Dodon made In June, the former leader of the “Our Home homophobic statements. Public spending on health, education and social protection – Moldova” political party, Grigore Petrenco, continued to fall; discrimination against and eight fellow political activists were Roma persisted. convicted of attempting to organize mass disturbances on 6 September 2015, received BACKGROUND conditional prison sentences and were In July, the Parliament adopted controversial prohibited from attending public events. The changes to the Electoral Law despite public sentences ranged from three to protests and international condemnation. The four and a half years. On the day of the Amnesty International Report 2017/18 261

262 alleged offence, they had attempted to ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL forcibly enter a government building during RIGHTS Moldova’s third periodic report on its an otherwise peaceful rally. Their trial faced implementation of the International Covenant multiple delays and procedural on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was infringements. considered by the UN Committee on Grigore Petrenco’s lawyers, Ana Ursachi and Eduard Rudenco, who also defended Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in September. Particular concerns raised during other high-profile clients in politically the review included the continually falling sensitive cases, continued to be subjected to rate of public spending on health, education smear campaigns in pro-government media, and reported harassment by the authorities in and social protection, and the persistent connection with their work. discrimination and marginalization of Roma. The Committee described the situation of TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT Roma as a “glaring problem” and “the failure in many aspects” of the National Action Plan Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment on Roma for 2011-2015 as “a serious cause in places of detention and in the criminal justice system continued to be reported. for concern”. On the night of 26 August, Andrei Braguta, a driver who had been arrested for speeding, died in police custody. The authorities MONGOLIA claimed that he had died of pneumonia and later admitted that Andrei Braguta had been Mongolia beaten up by two fellow cell mates. Three Head of state: Khaltmaa Battulga (replaced Tsakhia police officers who were on duty that night Elbegdorj in July) and the two cell mates were arrested as Ukhnaa Khurelsukh (replaced Head of government: Jargaltulga Erdenebat in September) criminal suspects in the case. One of the cell mates claimed that Andrei Braguta had The death penalty was abolished as the new already been severely beaten when placed in Criminal Code and Code of Criminal the cell, and protested his and the other Procedure came into force. Impunity for cell mate’s innocence. The criminal torture and other ill-treatment of detainees investigation was ongoing at the end of the year. and attacks against human rights defenders continued. The economic, social and RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, cultural rights of people living in rural areas TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE ger affected by mining activities, and in The police cut short the 21 May Pride march areas − areas without adequate access to after the demonstrators had walked just a few essential services − were at risk of being hundred metres, stating that they were violated. unable to guarantee their security in the DEATH PENALTY event of violent attacks by counter- demonstrators. The death penalty was abolished for all The President publicly criticized the LGBTI crimes when the new Criminal Code came community, described the Pride march as into force on 1 July, after its adoption in 1 However, in November, the being contrary to the country’s “traditional December 2015. values”, and participated in a parallel newly elected President proposed demonstration named the “Traditional Family reinstatement to the Ministry of Justice in Festival”. response to two violent rape and murder cases. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 262

263 livestock and people. Media workers filmed HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS mining company representatives intimidating Human rights defenders continued to report journalists and herders. Following his visit to physical attacks and harassment by law Mongolia in September, the UN Special enforcement authorities and private corporations. These human rights defenders Rapporteur on human rights and the environment called for consultation with local included students with disabilities acting as whistleblowers exposing discrimination and communities before mining permits were issued, and for improved standards to ensure sexual abuse in a school, and journalists trying to report human rights issues such as safe operation. gender-based violence. Existing laws failed to RIGHT TO HOUSING AND FORCED protect them from harassment and EVICTIONS unjustified interference with their privacy. areas of the capital, ger Residents in the TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT Ulaanbaatar, continued to live with the Impunity and under-reporting of torture and possibility of forced eviction due to urban redevelopment, without updated information other ill-treatment of individuals in detention, on redevelopment plans, genuine including people with disabilities and foreign consultation or adequate compensation. nationals, continued in the absence of an Residents complained that the new local independent, dedicated investigation government elected in June 2016 had failed mechanism. The new Criminal Procedure to implement redevelopment plans agreed Code becoming effective in July did not re- with the previous government; the new establish the previously disbanded government claimed it lacked funds. These independent investigation unit, despite plans included the provision of essential advocacy efforts by civil society. components of adequate housing such as FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION safe drinking water, sanitation and energy. On 1 July, a new Administrative Offence Act came into effect, allowing for increased 1. Mongolia: Death penalty confined to history as new criminal code administrative fines including when false ) ACT 50/6646/2017 comes into effect ( information was published that could damage the reputation of individuals or business entities. A media professionals’ organization MONTENEGRO criticized the law for being vague and overly broad, and feared it could be excessively Montenegro used to suppress freedom of expression. Head of state: Filip Vujanović Media companies staged a media blackout Head of government: Duško Marković on 26 April to protest against the law, which Past murders and attacks on journalists and was subsequently passed with reduced fines. media workers were not resolved. The ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL Constitutional Court found that RIGHTS investigations into alleged torture and ill- Authorities failed to protect traditional herders treatment failed to meet international from the operations of mining companies that standards. The funding of NGOs was negatively affected their livelihoods, threatened and human rights defenders were subjected to smear campaigns by traditional culture, and access to land and media supportive of the government. clean water. The influx of mining companies and transporting trucks in the Dalanjargalan BACKGROUND subdivision of Dornogovi province caused heavy dust which severely degraded pastures Montenegro joined NATO in June. Serious and threatened the health and safety of concerns continued about criminal Amnesty International Report 2017/18 263

264 alleging his membership of a drug-trafficking proceedings against 14 men, including gang that he had been investigating – Russian intelligence officers and opposition continued at the end of the year. leaders, who were indicted in May for “violent In October, the Constitutional Court awarded overthrow of the government” and “preventing NATO accession” on election day journalist Tufik Softić EUR7,000 in in October 2016. compensation for the ineffective investigation into the 2007 attack on his life, continued LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY threats and his fear of another attempt on his life. The State Prosecutor’s Office reportedly reviewed seven war crimes cases, in which RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, all but four defendants had been acquitted, TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE to determine whether grounds existed to In April, activists proposed a model law on reopen proceedings. In September, the government reported it would pay the victims gender identity. In August, members of the NGO LGBT Forum Progress were attacked; EUR1.35 million in compensation. Proceedings opened in September against one was hospitalized. Vlado Zmajević, who was arrested in ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND Montenegro in 2016 and indicted – originally CULTURAL RIGHTS by Serbia – for war crimes in Kosovo. In January, the government cut by 25% a TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT lifetime benefit, provided under the 2016 Law In June and again in July, the Constitutional on Social and Child Protection, to mothers with three or more children who gave up Court found that the State Prosecutor’s Office employment. Protests followed, including a had failed to conduct effective investigations 14-day hungerstrike in March. In June, the into the alleged torture and ill-treatment during demonstrations in November 2015 of government abolished the benefit completely. Branimir Vukčević and Momčilo Baranin, and Although the law was potentially discriminatory, beneficiaries feared that, with Milorad Martinović, respectively. insufficient support to enable them to return Proceedings against prison officers indicted to work, the lost benefit would have a drastic in 2016 for abusing prisoners continued to impact on their family income. be delayed by their lawyers, with no verdict by December. REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION Almost 1,000 Roma and Egyptian refugees In June, the government proposed to amend who fled Kosovo in 1999 remained at Konik camp outside the capital, Podgorica, awaiting the Law on Gatherings to prohibit protests in front of Parliament. NGOs feared that resettlement into adequate EU-funded amended legislation on sources of NGO apartments, 120 of which were completed in November. income would potentially reduce their Around 800 Roma and Egyptians remained funding, and allow the government to decide whether new NGOs could be registered. at risk of statelessness, their applications for JOURNALISTS regular status pending. Some 379 had only three years’ Civil society members of a commission temporary residence. In May, the charged with monitoring investigations into government withdrew a procedure to determine statelessness from a draft Law on violence against journalists continued to be denied security clearance to classified Foreigners. documents. Four men convicted in May of grave Investigative journalist Jovo Martinović, offences against general safety, for detained in 2015, was released in February overloading a boat in 1999, resulting in the deaths of 35 Roma refugees, were sentenced after international appeals, but proceedings – Amnesty International Report 2017/18 264

265 in December to between six and eight years' protests. In the second half of the year, imprisonment. prosecutors investigated at least one protester for “false reporting” after he claimed that the police had tortured him. Courts also convicted and imprisoned journalists and activists on vague and overly MOROCCO/ broad state security and terrorism offences in what amounted to punishment for their WESTERN SAHARA criticism of the authorities. Between May and August, security forces Kingdom of Morocco arrested and detained eight journalists and King Mohammed VI Head of state: bloggers over critical coverage or online Saad-Eddine El Head of government: commentary of the protests in Rif. Othmani (replaced Abdelilah Benkirane in March) Prosecutors charged them with protest- related, state security offences. Hamid El Journalists and protesters calling for social Mahdaoui was convicted of inciting others to justice and political rights were imprisoned, take part in an unauthorized protest and often following unfair trials. Judicial authorities did not adequately investigate sentenced to three months’ imprisonment reports of torture in detention. Impunity and a fine of 20,000 dirhams (around USD2,100), increased to one year’s persisted for past human rights violations. imprisonment on appeal. Migrants continued to face excessive force and detention. Courts imposed death Seven people, including journalists, activists and the academic Maati Monjib, remained on sentences; there were no executions. trial on charges including “threatening state BACKGROUND security” for promoting a mobile application for citizen journalism that protected users’ Significant and sustained social justice privacy. Journalist Ali Anouzla remained on protests took place in Morocco’s northern Rif trial on trumped-up charges of “advocating, region. In January, Morocco rejoined the supporting and inciting terrorism” for an African Union. In February, Morocco article he had published on the website submitted a request to join ECOWAS. In in 2013. March, King Mohammed VI appointed Saad- The authorities imposed restrictions on Eddine El Othmani as head of government following a government reshuffle. In April, the some organizations in Morocco and Western Sahara perceived to be critical of the UN Security Council extended the mandate authorities. Restrictions included continuing of the UN Mission for the Referendum in obstruction of the registration of associations, Western Sahara (MINURSO) for another year 1 banning the activities of associations, and without human rights monitoring. In expelling foreign nationals invited by such September, the UN Human Rights Council associations. adopted recommendations following a review of Morocco’s human rights record under the 2 FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY UN UPR process. Authorities tried and imprisoned hundreds of FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND activists involved in social or environmental ASSOCIATION justice protests on assembly-related charges. Courts also used trumped-up criminal The authorities used Penal Code provisions charges for offences under ordinary law and on insult and on incitement to protest or rebellion to prosecute and imprison charges under vaguely defined state security journalists, bloggers and activists who and terrorism provisions to try protesters. criticized officials or reported on human In February, gendarmes violently arrested rights violations, corruption or popular peaceful environmental protesters including Amnesty International Report 2017/18 265

266 and unnecessary force to disperse peaceful Mohamed Akkad, causing significant sight protests in Western Saharan cities including loss in his right eye. He and 13 other people Laayoune, Smara, Boujdour and Dakhla, who had protested peacefully against a stone particularly against those demanding Sahrawi quarry near their village in Beni Oukil were convicted by a court in Oujda city of self-determination and calling for the release “obstructing public officials” and sentenced of Sahrawi prisoners. Several protesters, bloggers and activists were imprisoned, often to a one-month suspended prison term and after unfair trials on trumped-up charges. fines which totalled 10,000 dirhams (around USD1,050). In a separate protest, gendarmes In September, Sahrawi blogger Walid El Batal was released from prison in Smara after arrested environmental activist Abderrahmane Akhidir from Imider in the serving a 10-month sentence and receiving a Atlas Mountains. In March, a court convicted fine of 1,000 dirhams (around USD105) on trumped-up charges of insulting and him on trumped-up charges of assault and theft and sentenced him to a four-month assaulting public officers, damaging public prison term. property and taking part in an armed In April, gendarmes arrested human rights gathering. In July, a court in Laayoune convicted defenders Mahjoub El Mahfoud, Miloud Sahrawi activist Hamza El Ansari on Salim and Saif Saifeddine after they trumped-up charges of assaulting and participated in a protest organized by Zohra El Bouzidi, who self-immolated to protest insulting public officers and criminal damage for his participation in a protest in February, against her forced eviction from her home in and sentenced him to one year’s the town of Sidi Hajjaj. Gendarmes also imprisonment and a fine of 10,000 arrested Zohra El Bouzidi’s sister, Khadija El dirhams (around USD1,050). The court failed Bouzidi. A court convicted the four of to investigate his allegation that police had ill- assaulting and insulting public officers and treated him and forced him to sign a sentenced the three men to two-year prison terms reduced on appeal to four months, and statement while blindfolded. He was released Khadija El Bouzidi to 10 months’ after his sentence was reduced to three imprisonment, reduced on appeal to two months on appeal in September. months, as well as fines of 500 dirhams TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT (around USD50) each. Zohra El Bouzidi died from her injuries in October. In October, the UN Subcommittee on From May onward, the authorities deployed Prevention of Torture visited Morocco. security forces on a scale unmatched in Morocco had yet to establish a National recent years to prevent protests in the Rif Preventive Mechanism against torture. Courts continued to rely on statements region, and conducted mass arrests of largely 3 peaceful protesters, including children. made in custody in the absence of a lawyer On to convict defendants, without adequately some occasions, security forces used excessive or unnecessary force. Judicial investigating allegations that statements were authorities failed to conduct adequate forcibly obtained through torture and other ill- investigations into the circumstances of the treatment. deaths in August of two protesters, Imad El Between July and November, courts in Al Attabi and Abdelhafid Haddad. Hoceima and Casablanca tried and convicted Between July and November, courts many Rif protesters, drawing on statements convicted many protesters in relation to that defendants claimed were coerced, protests in Rif, sentencing them to terms of without adequately investigating their allegations that they were tortured and up to 20 years’ imprisonment on charges 4 ranging from unauthorized protest to plotting otherwise ill-treated in custody. to undermine state security. Throughout the In July, a civilian court convicted 23 Sahrawi activists in connection with deadly clashes in year, the authorities routinely used excessive Amnesty International Report 2017/18 266

267 Gdim Izik, Western Sahara, in 2010, and REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS Morocco did not adopt a law on asylum but handed down heavy sentences, including maintained its policy of allowing refugees some of life imprisonment, following their access to basic rights and services, including grossly unfair trial by a military court in 5 The civilian court failed to adequately education. The authorities issued asylum- 2013. seekers and refugees registered by UNHCR, investigate allegations that they were tortured in custody and did not exclude information the UN refugee agency, with documents refoulement protecting them against − tainted by torture as evidence from the 6 forcible return of individuals to a country proceedings. From September, at least 10 of where they risk serious human rights the 19 Sahrawi activists who remained violations − without taking a decision on their imprisoned went on hunger strike against prison conditions after being separated into definitive status. different prisons in Morocco. The authorities left a group of 25 Syrian refugees stranded in the buffer zone of the Detainees reported torture and other ill- border area with Algeria for three months treatment in police custody both in Morocco 8 before giving them protection in July. and in Western Sahara. Judicial authorities failed to adequately investigate these Security forces continued to participate in the summary expulsion of migrants and allegations and hold those responsible to asylum-seekers from the Spanish enclaves of account. Authorities kept several detainees in Ceuta and Melilla to Morocco, and to use excessive or unnecessary force against them. prolonged solitary confinement, which Courts imprisoned migrants for unlawful constitutes torture or other ill-treatment. Prisoner Ali Aarrass was held in isolation for entry, stay or exit from Moroccan territory, 7 more than one year. including some who had applied to regularize their status, and on some occasions put them IMPUNITY on trial without access to a lawyer. In September, two Burkina Faso nationals The authorities failed to take any steps died after Moroccan security forces used tear towards addressing impunity for grave gas against migrants attempting to enter the violations including systematic torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial Spanish enclave of Melilla. executions in Morocco and Western Sahara DEATH PENALTY between 1956 and 1999, despite recommendations by the Equity and Courts continued to hand down death Reconciliation Commission transitional justice sentences. No executions had been carried out since 1993. body. RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, POLISARIO CAMPS TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE The Polisario Front again failed to hold to account those responsible for committing Courts continued to imprison men under human rights abuses in camps under its Article 489 of the Penal Code that criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual control during the 1970s and 1980s. relations. At least two men were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment under Article 489. UN peacekeeping force in Western Sahara must urgently monitor 1. Victims of homophobic attacks reported human rights ( News story , 18 April) being afraid to approach the police to file 2. Human Rights Council adopts Universal Periodic Review outcome on complaints because of the risk of arrest Morocco ( MDE 29/7141/2017 ) under Article 489. 3. Morocco: Rif protesters punished with wave of mass arrests ( News story , 2 June) 4. Morocco: Dozens arrested over mass protests in Rif report torture in , 11 August) News story custody ( Amnesty International Report 2017/18 267

268 5. Morocco/Western Sahara: Verdict in Sahrawi trial marred by failure to The December 2016 truce reached adequately investigate torture claims ( , 19 July) News story between the government, led by the MDE Morocco/Western Sahara: Grant Sahrawi defendants a fair trial ( 6. Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO), 29/5753/2017 ) and the main opposition party, Mozambique Morocco: Further information: Health risks for detainee in isolation for 7. National Resistance (RENAMO), continued to ) MDE 29/6303/2017 232 days − Ali Aarrass ( hold in 2017, after three years of violent Syrian refugees trapped in desert on Moroccan border with Algeria in 8. clashes. Peace negotiations continued on dire need of assistance ( News story , 7 June) decentralization of government powers. The relationship between the two leaders remained tense; RENAMO leader Afonso MOZAMBIQUE Dhlakama accused President Nyusi of failing to withdraw government troops from the Republic of Mozambique Gorongosa region by the agreed time. Filipe Jacinto Nyusi Head of state and government: LAND DISPUTES The government’s hidden borrowing plunged Mining companies acquired land used by the country into economic crisis. Food residents, exacerbating already existing food insecurity deepened because of large-scale insecurity which affected over 60% of people land acquisition for mining which pushed in rural areas who depended on the land for people off land on which they depended for their livelihoods, and for food and water. subsistence. People expressing dissenting Coal mining company Vale Mozambique or critical views continued to face attacks began in 2013 to fence off land used by local and intimidation by unidentified individuals residents to graze their livestock and collect or security forces. An estimated 30,000 people with albinism faced discrimination firewood, including in the Nhanchere area in the Moatize district of Tete province. On 13 and feared for their lives, and at least 13 were killed. Violence against women and June 2017, Hussen António Laitone was shot girls remained widespread. dead by police in Nhanchere during the community’s peaceful protest against land BACKGROUND acquisition for mining; he had not The Administrative Tribunal and the participated in the protest. Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND Situation of the Public Debt stated in 2016 ASSOCIATION that the guarantees on the undisclosed borrowing by the government of USD2.2 Intimidation and harassment of and attacks billion for use in security and defence against people who expressed dissenting or critical views continued. spending was illegal and unconstitutional. The undisclosed loans were revealed in April Journalist and human rights activist 2016; it was projected that they would drive Armando Nenane was severely beaten on 17 May in the capital, Maputo, by riot police. He the public debt to 135% of GDP during 2017. Local currency lost value and prices was attacked for his views on the so-called increased substantially, a situation which was G40, a group allegedly created under the compounded by the country’s dependence government of former President Guebuza to on imports. discredit opponents in favour of the Senior government officials obstructed a government. Prior to the beating, Armando forensic audit of the loans which had been Nenane received anonymous death threats demanded by international donors in order to by telephone. No one had been held restore trust and to resume aid support. accountable for the attack by the end of the Consequently, donors withheld aid pending year. the government’s co-operation and its full On 4 October, Mahamudo Amurane, Mayor of the northern city of Nampula, was shot disclosure. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 268

269 dead in front of his house by an unidentified VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS There were high rates of women murdered, gunman. Following disagreements with the leadership of the Mozambique Democratic often by men intimately known, or related, to them. In several cases, the perpetrators Movement (MDM), Mahamudo Amurane had announced his intention to leave the party to attempted to justify their actions by claiming the victim used witchcraft against them. form his own party and seek re-election in On 10 January, a 31-year-old man stabbed October 2018 municipal elections. his 27-year-old wife to death with a kitchen On 2 December, a gunman threatened to knife in Inhagoia neighbourhood on the kill Aunício da Silva, an investigative journalist , a weekly publication, in Ikweli and editor of outskirts of Maputo. In February, in Vanduzi district, Manica province, a 27-year-old man Nampula. The gunman accused him of decapitated his mother with a machete publishing articles that tarnished the image of saying she had refused to serve him food. In Carlos Saíde, the MDM mayoral candidate for Nampula. May, a man killed his mother in Guru district, Manica province, claiming she had cast a DISCRIMINATION – PEOPLE WITH spell of sexual impotence on him. In August, ALBINISM two brothers killed their 70-year-old grandmother in the Messano locality, Bilene An estimated 30,000 people with albinism experienced discrimination and were district, Gaza province, after accusing her of casting a bad luck spell on them. In ostracized; many lived in fear of their lives. September, in the Centro Hípico Incidents of persecution increased; at least neighbourhood located on the outskirts of 13 people with albinism were known to have Chimoio, Manica province, a man killed his been killed although figures are likely to have 80-year-old mother with an iron bar after been greater. The killings were fuelled by accusing her of bewitching him. superstition or myths about the magical Although, in all these cases, the suspected powers of people with albinism. Most killings perpetrators admitted that they carried out took place in the central and northern the killings, the authorities failed to develop, provinces, the country’s poorest regions. A seven-year-old boy with albinism was resource and implement an effective strategy to combat violence against women. murdered on 31 January by four unidentified men who broke into his house and abducted him while the family slept, in Ngaúma district, Niassa province. On 28 May, a group MYANMAR of unidentified assailants abducted a three- year-old boy from his mother in Angónia Republic of the Union of Myanmar district, Tete province. On 13 September, a Head of state and government: Htin Kyaw 17-year-old youth was killed for his body The human rights situation deteriorated parts and organs in Benga area, Moatize dramatically. Hundreds of thousands of district, in Tete province. The attackers removed his brain, hair, and arm bones. Rohingya fled crimes against humanity in None of those responsible for the killings Rakhine State to neighbouring Bangladesh; were arrested or brought to justice by the end those who remained continued to live under of the year. a system amounting to apartheid. The army Despite public outcry, the government did committed extensive violations of little to address the problem. A strategy was international humanitarian law. Authorities designed to stop the killings; however, this continued to restrict humanitarian access was not implemented, allegedly because of a across the country. Restrictions on freedom lack of resources. of expression remained. There was increased religious intolerance and anti- Amnesty International Report 2017/18 269

270 Muslim sentiment. Impunity persisted for enforced disappearance of ethnic Rakhine past and ongoing human rights violations. and Mro villagers by ARSA. Rohingya who remained in Rakhine State BACKGROUND continued to live under a system amounting The civilian-led administration, headed de to apartheid, which severely restricted virtually every aspect of their lives and facto by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, 2 segregated them from the rest of society. completed its first year in office in March. Their rights to nationality, freedom of Economic reforms stagnated, while the peace process – aimed at bringing an end to movement, the highest attainable standard of health, education, work, food, freedom of decades of internal armed conflicts – stalled. The military retained significant political religion and belief, and to participate in public life were routinely and systematically power and remained independent of civilian violated on a discriminatory basis. oversight. On 6 October, Myanmar ratified the The government dismissed allegations of ICESCR, due to come into force in the country on 6 January 2018. human rights violations and ignored calls for investigations and accountability. It signed a CRIMES UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW – deal with Bangladesh to repatriate refugees CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY subject to a verification process, and announced that it would work to implement Rakhine State was plunged into crisis when Kofi Annan’s recommendations and bring security forces unleashed a campaign of development to Rakhine State. violence against the predominantly Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority in the northern part INTERNAL ARMED CONFLICT of the state, following co-ordinated attacks in Fighting between the Myanmar Army and late August by the armed group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on ethnic armed groups intensified in northern approximately 30 security posts. The attacks Myanmar. The Army committed wide-ranging took place just hours after a commission human rights violations against ethnic minority civilians, including extrajudicial headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented its recommendations to executions and other unlawful killings, “prevent violence, maintain peace and foster enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture and other ill-treatment and reconciliation” in the state. forced labour. The Army regularly fired The military, often working with Border mortar and artillery shells when fighting Guard Police and local vigilantes, killed an undetermined number of Rohingya women, ethnic armed groups, which often landed in civilian areas. In May, an 81-year-old woman men and children; tortured and otherwise ill- was killed when a mortar exploded near her treated Rohingya women and girls, including home in Namhkan township, northern Shan with rape and other forms of sexual violence; 3 State. Several of these violations were likely laid landmines; and burned hundreds of Rohingya villages in what the UN High to amount to war crimes. Commissioner for Human Rights described Ethnic armed groups committed violations as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. of international humanitarian law, including enforced disappearances, forcible The conduct of the security forces amounted 1 recruitment and extortion. Both the Myanmar to crimes against humanity. Army and ethnic armed groups laid anti- More than 655,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh as a result of the violence. Other personnel landmines or landmine-like weapons. Many displaced people were afraid ethnic minority communities were also to return to their homes as a result. affected, with an estimated 30,000 people temporarily displaced to other parts of Rakhine State. There were reports of abuses, including killings of informants and the Amnesty International Report 2017/18 270

271 Thailand, where they faced decreasing LACK OF HUMANITARIAN ACCESS humanitarian assistance. Many expressed Both the civilian government and the military continued to severely and arbitrarily restrict concerns about returning to Myanmar, citing ongoing instability, militarization in ethnic humanitarian access, placing hundreds of areas and lack of access to essential thousands of people at risk. services. In Rakhine State, authorities restricted aid access in the wake of the August ARSA PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE attacks, suspending it entirely in the north of Despite prisoner amnesties in April and May, the state. The authorities later allowed the prisoners of conscience remained in Red Cross Movement and the World Food detention. The authorities continued to use a Programme to operate in the area. However, range of vaguely worded laws that restricted their access was limited and insufficient to meet needs. In other parts of Rakhine State, the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly to arrest access was further impaired by local tensions and imprison people solely for peacefully and hostility towards international aid 4 groups. exercising their rights. Prisoner of conscience Lahpai Gam, an The authorities further restricted access to ethnic Kachin farmer, remained in prison, displaced populations in northern Myanmar, suffering from serious health conditions. He especially to people living in territory that was was tortured at the time of his arrest in 2012. not under government control. In February, the Myanmar Army prevented the delivery of The government failed to provide restitution 200 UN-stamped “dignity kits” – which to former prisoners of conscience and their families, such as compensation, assistance in included basic sanitary supplies – for women and girls displaced in areas controlled by the gaining access to education and employment opportunities, and other forms of reparation. Kachin Independence Organization. FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION, REFUGEES AND INTERNALLY ASSOCIATION AND ASSEMBLY DISPLACED PEOPLE The rights to freedom of expression, Civilians were displaced as a result of conflict, violence and natural disasters. More association and peaceful assembly remained than 106,000 people remained internally subject to severe restrictions. There was a displaced by the conflicts in northern surge in the number of people charged with Myanmar. Some 120,000 people, mostly “online defamation” under Section 66(d) of 5 Rohingya, continued to live in squalid the 2013 Telecommunications Act. Following displacement camps in Rakhine State where national and international pressure, they have been confined for five years Parliament adopted minor amendments to the law. However, “online defamation” following violence in 2012. By the end of the year more than 655,000 remained a criminal offence. Human rights defenders, lawyers and Rohingya refugees had fled to Bangladesh following unlawful and disproportionate journalists – in particular those speaking out about the situation of the Rohingya, religious military operations in northern Rakhine State. In November, Myanmar and Bangladesh intolerance and violations by the military – signed an agreement to repatriate refugees to faced surveillance, intimidation and attacks. On 29 January, Ko Ni, a lawyer, was shot Myanmar even as people continued to flee across the border. The entrenched and dead at Yangon International Airport while ongoing regime amounting to apartheid in returning from an interfaith conference in Rakhine State ensured that any returns Indonesia. At the end of the year, the trial of would not be safe or dignified. four alleged perpetrators was still ongoing; a Some 100,000 additional refugees from fifth suspect remained at large. In November, Myanmar continued to live in camps in ethnic Kachin pastor Dumdaw Nawng Lat Amnesty International Report 2017/18 271

272 reportedly remained in place at the end of and his assistant Langjaw Gam were the year. imprisoned for providing assistance to journalists reporting on military air strikes CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY near the town of Monekoe in late 2016. Both Thousands of families living near the men were sentenced to two years’ Letpadaung copper mine in Sagaing region imprisonment under the Unlawful remained at risk of losing their homes and Associations Act. Dumdaw Nawng Lat was 7 farmland under plans to expand the project. sentenced to an additional two years for “defamation”. Villagers living close to the mine continued to The operations of independent media protest against the project. In March, at least 10 people were injured after police fired outlets were increasingly restricted, and in rubber bullets at a group of villagers some cases journalists were subjected to protesting about the impact of trucks criminal prosecution for carrying out their work. In June, three media workers were transporting materials to the mine. According arrested and charged with contacting an to local authorities, six police officers were 8 wounded by protesters using catapults. “unlawful association” after returning from an In August, the Ministry of Defence rejected area controlled by an armed ethnic group a proposal to relocate a factory producing operating in northern Myanmar. They were sulphuric acid to supply the mine. Severe released after charges against them were 6 risks were posed to the health of the dropped in August. In December, two community living nearby. Environmental and Reuters reporters were detained under the Official Secrets Act in connection with their human rights concerns related to the project had not been addressed by the end of the work reporting on the situation in Rakhine State. Both were held incommunicado for two year. weeks and remained in detention at the end DEATH PENALTY of the year. Courts continued to impose death sentences FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF under legal provisions allowing for the There was a sharp rise in religious imposition of the death penalty. No executions were carried out. intolerance and anti-Muslim sentiment in the wake of the August attacks in Rakhine State. LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY The government exacerbated the situation by both allowing and directly producing hate A persistent culture of impunity remained for human rights violations committed by the speech inciting discrimination and violence in print and online. State media published security forces. Most perpetrators of past and current human rights violations, including derogatory anti-Rohingya articles; crimes under international law, had not been government officials published inflammatory posts on social media. held accountable for their actions. Throughout the year religious minorities, in The government failed to adequately particular Muslims, continued to face investigate and hold to account perpetrators discrimination. In April, two madrassas of serious human rights violations in Rakhine (religious schools) in Yangon were closed by State, including crimes against humanity. In local authorities and police following pressure August, an Investigation Commission from a mob of Buddhist hardline nationalists. established by the President to probe the In September, the Kayin State authorities October 2016 attacks and their aftermath issued an order requiring all Muslims in the published a summary of its findings in which state to report to local authorities before it acknowledged casualties, destruction of buildings, loss of property and displacement. travelling. Although the Kayin State Chief Minister later said that the order was an However, it failed to establish responsibility “administrative error”, travel restrictions for these acts, or to state whether any action Amnesty International Report 2017/18 272

273 5. Myanmar: Repeal Section 66(d) of the 2013 Telecommunications Law had been taken to prosecute perpetrators. ( ASA 16/6617/2017 ) 9 The investigation lacked independence. In Myanmar: Release journalists immediately ( , 26 June) 6. News story November, a military investigation concluded Mountain of trouble: Human rights abuses continue at Myanmar’s 7. that no human rights violations had been ) Letpadaung mine ( ASA 16/5564/2017 committed in Rakhine State following the 25 8. Myanmar: Investigate police use of force against protesters at August ARSA attacks and subsequent troubled mine ( ) ASA 16/5983/2017 military campaign. 9. Myanmar: National efforts to investigate Rakhine State violence are ) inadequate ( ASA 16/5758/2017 INTERNATIONAL SCRUTINY In March the UN Human Rights Council established an independent, international NAMIBIA Fact-Finding Mission to “establish the facts and circumstances” about human rights Republic of Namibia violations and abuses, in particular in Head of state and government: Hage Gottfried Geingob Rakhine State. The Council requested the Mission to present its findings in September 2018. The move was met with strong The right to adequate housing was opposition by the government, which restricted and the situation was exacerbated disassociated itself from the investigation and by high levels of unemployment, poverty refused to allow the team into the country. and inequality. Eight prisoners of conscience in the long-running Caprivi trial A significant increase in international were held 14 years after their arrest, on attention was focused on Myanmar and the crisis in Rakhine State following the August treason and sedition charges. attacks. On 6 November, the UN Security RIGHT TO HOUSING Council issued a presidential statement calling for an end to the violence and for the Housing remained inadequate; the restrictions on humanitarian aid to be lifted. government failed to ensure accessible, Also in November, the UN General Assembly affordable and habitable housing. Over adopted a resolution on the situation of 500,000 people lived in shacks or makeshift settlements in urban areas while only 10% of human rights in Myanmar. In December, the the population could afford to buy a house Human Rights Council held a special session on the situation of the Rohingya and other which cost on average 800,000 Namibian minorities. The EU and the USA suspended dollars (USD58,474) per household. Rural to invitations to senior military officials. urban migration, high unemployment levels, low salaries, high rents and lack of available The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation and affordable land plots with residential of human rights in Myanmar faced increasing restrictions on her access, and by the end of services led to inadequate housing particularly in the capital, Windhoek. On 28 the year had been barred from the country for the remainder of her tenure. She had March, 15 families were rendered homeless previously raised concerns about the when Windhoek City Police arbitrarily evicted them, without an eviction notice, from their deteriorating situation in the country. informal settlements in Agste Laan, Windhoek. Although the residents took their 1. “My world is finished”: Rohingya targeted by crimes against case to the High Court seeking to be allowed ) ASA 16/7288/2017 humanity in Myanmar ( to stay in the settlement and have their “Caged without a roof”: Apartheid in Myanmar’s Rakhine State ( ASA 2. shacks rebuilt while their case was finalized, ) 16/7484/2017 the Court ruled against them on grounds that “All the civilians suffer”: Conflict, displacement and abuse in 3. they were not legally resident on the site. ) northern Myanmar ( ASA 16/6429/2017 The inadequate housing in informal 4. Myanmar: Restrictions on international aid putting thousands at risk , 4 September) News story ( settlements was highlighted between 25 and Amnesty International Report 2017/18 273

274 31 August when five children in the Erongo neglect of refugees and asylum-seekers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. The and Oshikoto regions died in their homes in committee found that the main contributing separate fires after their parents left them factors were a harmful living environment, alone in corrugated shacks. uncertainty about the future, an inadequate The UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older regulatory framework (including child persons noted that, while housing conditions protection policies), a lack of transparency in for older people in rural areas had improved operations affecting refugees, and a failure to hold authorities accountable for abuses. By since the country gained independence in the end of the year, neither the Australian nor 1990, it had worsened in urban areas the Nauruan authorities had taken steps to because of the growth of informal settlements where access to essential services like remedy the situation. sanitation facilities and water and electricity Reports emerged during the year that the supplies were inadequate. Spanish multinational company Ferrovial and its Australian subsidiary Broadspectrum were CAPRIVI DETAINEES complicit in the abuse of refugees on Nauru, The trial of eight prisoners of conscience, and that they reaped vast profits from accused in the long-running Caprivi case, Australia’s refugee policies. Ferrovial stated resumed in May. Progress Kenyoka Munuma, that it would not renew its contract when it 1 expired in October. Shine Samulandela, Manuel Manepelo In August, a medical professional reported Makendano, Alex Sinjabata Mushakwa, that four refugee women were being denied Diamond Samunzala Salufu, Hoster Simasiku transfer to Australia to have abortions, which Ntombo, Fredderick Ntamilwa and John are illegal on Nauru. Mazila Tembwe were charged and convicted In November, a refugee died after a of treason and sedition in 2007. In 2013, the motorcycle accident; a police investigation Supreme Court set aside their convictions was under way. Later in the same month, and sentences ranging from 30 to 32 years another refugee received head injuries in a and ordered a retrial. However, they remained in detention pending trial, in motorcycle accident. violation of international fair trial standards, at FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND the end of the year. ASSEMBLY In May, three suspended parliamentarians, who were charged and convicted for peaceful NAURU protests in 2015, had their prison sentences substantially increased on appeal: from three Republic of Nauru months to 22 months for two defendants, Head of state and government: Baron Waqa and to 14 months for the third defendant. Their lawyer announced the intention of the Refugees and asylum-seekers remained three defendants to appeal their conviction trapped on Nauru. They had been forcibly and sentences to the High Court of Australia, sent there by the Australian government, despite widespread reports of physical, which is the ultimate court of appeal under Nauru’s legal system. psychological and sexual abuse. In Journalists seeking to visit Nauru remained September, 27 refugees were sent to the USA; over 1,000 remained on the island. subject to a non-refundable visa fee of USD6,089. This severely restricted media REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS freedom and hampered independent scrutiny of Nauru’s policies and practices. In April, an Australian Senate Committee report described numerous allegations of physical and sexual abuse, self-harm and Amnesty International Report 2017/18 274

275 marginalized and disadvantaged groups, Treasure i$land – how companies are profiting from Australia’s 1. including women, Dalits and other caste- ) abuse of refugees on Nauru ( ASA 12/5942/2017 based and ethnic minorities. In August, a vast area of the southern Tarai was flooded by monsoon rains that killed 143 NEPAL people and affected 1.7 million others. More than 400,000 people were forced out of their Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal homes, with more than 1,000 homes being Head of state: Bidhya Devi Bhandari completely destroyed. Victims were given Sher Bahadur Deuba (replaced Head of government: inadequate assistance by the government, Pushpa Kamal Dahal in June) which blocked attempts to distribute aid Nearly 70% of people made homeless by privately. Many continued to live in inadequate housing and poor conditions. the 2015 earthquake remained in temporary shelters. Thousands of people EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE affected by monsoon floods in the Tarai Security forces continued to use unnecessary region were not provided with adequate assistance, including housing. Concerns by or excessive force in response to protests in the Tarai, particularly over grievances relating Indigenous and Madhesi people about clauses they viewed as discriminatory in the to the Constitution. In March, five protesters 2015 Constitution remained unaddressed. were killed and 16 others injured when police No effective investigations took place into used firearms to disperse Madhesi protesters in Saptari district. the use of excessive force against protesters in the Tarai. Efforts toward ensuring truth, WORKERS’ RIGHTS – MIGRANT justice and reparations for thousands of WORKERS victims of human rights violations The government failed to deliver effective committed during the decade-long armed protection for migrant workers and end the conflict were inadequate. Nepali migrant culture of impunity for unlawful and criminal workers continued to be subjected to extortion, fraud and bonded labour, and recruitment practices. Migrant workers were systematically subjected to unlawful and were put at risk of further human rights criminal conduct by recruitment businesses abuse in employment abroad. and agents. Recruiters routinely charged BACKGROUND migrant workers illegal and excessive fees; Local elections were held for the first time in deceived them about the terms and more than two decades. Parliamentary and conditions of their work abroad; and provincial elections took place in November manipulated their consent to overseas work and December. In October, Nepal was through the accumulation of recruitment elected to the UN Human Rights Council. debts. Some recruiters were directly involved in labour trafficking, which is punishable RIGHT TO HOUSING under Nepal’s Human Trafficking and Hundreds of thousands of survivors from the Transportation (Control) Act. 2015 earthquake (nearly 70% of those Migrants trapped in forced-labour situations affected) were still living in temporary abroad faced extreme difficulty in accessing shelters. The government stipulated proof of support from Nepalese embassies in order to return home. Recruiters rarely provided land ownership as a condition for receiving a rebuilding grant. However, since up to 25% repatriation assistance to workers when they of the population were considered not to have encountered problems abroad despite their met this criterion, tens of thousands of the obligations under the Foreign Employment earthquake survivors were ineligible for these Act. The authorities failed to investigate – including through autopsies – the high grants. The situation primarily affected Amnesty International Report 2017/18 275

276 number of migrant worker deaths during 2014 and 2015. By the end of the year, two bodies – the Truth and Reconciliation foreign employment. Commission and the Commission of No improvements were made in the Investigation on Enforced Disappeared implementation of the government’s “Free Persons – had respectively collected over visa, free ticket” policy, which was intended 60,000 and 3,000 complaints of human to curtail recruitment charges by agencies. rights violations, such as murder, torture and Although the government made repeated public commitments to reduce migration enforced disappearances committed by state security forces and Maoists during the costs for workers and to protect them from conflict from 1996 to 2006. Effective incurring debt, it increased the burden on investigations did not take place. An acute migrants by raising pre-departure costs. In July, the Foreign Employment Promotion shortage of resources and capacity adversely affected the ability of the two bodies to deliver Board increased the amount migrant workers truth, justice and reparation. were required to contribute to the government-administered welfare fund. IMPUNITY Fewer than 100 recruitment agencies were fined or referred to the Foreign Employment Impunity remained entrenched. Political parties resisted amending transitional justice Tribunal for violations of Nepal’s foreign employment laws, even though more than laws in what was widely perceived as a prioritization of reconciliation and monetary 8,000 migrant workers filed cases against compensation over truth, justice and recruitment agents. The Foreign Employment other reparations, including guarantees of Act 2007 stipulates that victims must file non-repetition. No effective investigations had their complaints with the Department of taken place into the hundreds of killings of Foreign Employment and restricts police from actively investigating recruitment businesses demonstrators by security forces since 1990 for their violations of Nepal’s criminal in various parts of the country, including the Tarai. legislation. Recruitment businesses continued to use their political influence to DISCRIMINATION prevent investigation, prosecution and redress for their routine abuse and Discrimination persisted on the bases of gender, caste, class, ethnic origin, sexual exploitation of migrants. orientation, gender identity and religion. TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT Constitutional amendments did not fully The criminal investigation system remained guarantee equal rights to citizenship for archaic and draconian. Torture and other ill- women, nor provide protection from treatment was widespread in pre-trial discrimination to marginalized communities including Dalits and other caste-based and detention to extract “confessions”. The new Criminal Code passed by ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, Parliament in August contained transgender and intersex people. The provisions for punishment and provisions criminalizing torture and other ill- treatment, with a maximum of five years’ the statutory limitations relating to rape in the new Criminal Code were still far short of imprisonment. A separate anti-torture bill, which remained pending in Parliament, fell international law and standards. Gender- far short of international legal requirements. based discrimination continued to undermine s and girls’ ability to control their women ’ TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE sexuality and make informed choices related The government did not amend the to reproduction; to challenge early and forced marriages; and enjoy adequate antenatal and Investigation of the Disappeared Persons, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act maternal health care. 2014 as ordered by the Supreme Court in Amnesty International Report 2017/18 276

277 COUNTER-TERROR AND SECURITY In March, two anti-terrorism laws came into NETHERLANDS force for individuals suspected of being a threat to national security. The first allowed Kingdom of the Netherlands for administrative control measures on King Willem-Alexander Head of state: Mark Rutte Head of government: individuals, including travel bans and restrictions on movement and contact with certain persons, without providing sufficient Undocumented migrants continued to be safeguards against arbitrary and deprived of their rights. New security discriminatory use. The second legislation threatened to undermine human rights and the rule of law. Ethnic profiling administrative law enabled the revocation of by police continued to be a pressing Dutch nationality of dual citizens who are suspected of having travelled abroad to join concern, as was the use of Tasers in day-to- an armed group. The laws did not provide for day policing. a meaningful and effective appeal. REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS In July, the law on the Intelligence and Security Services was adopted. It gave The number of people in immigration sweeping surveillance powers to intelligence detention increased, after years of decline. and security services, threatening the rights Insufficient attention was given by the to privacy, freedom of expression and non- authorities to alternatives to detention, while discrimination. Safeguards against abuse of the necessity and proportionality of an these powers were insufficient. Serious individual’s (continued) detention were also concerns remained about the possibility of insufficiently assessed. A draft law on amending immigration detention rules was information-sharing with intelligence agencies pending at the end of the year. Although the in countries that might use such information bill offered minor improvements, the to target human rights defenders and government opponents. detention regime would remain “prison-like” in terms of facilities, detention conditions and Any person suspected or convicted of the use of disciplinary measures, including terrorism-related offences continued to be automatically placed in a specialized high- isolation cells and use of handcuffs. Despite a deteriorating security situation in security prison where they were subjected to Afghanistan, the Netherlands continued to inhuman and degrading treatment. forcibly return asylum-seekers whose claims POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES were rejected to Afghanistan, including families with children, in breach of the In order to address ongoing ethnic profiling, the police introduced a professional standard principle of non-refoulement . and a training module to promote the fair and RIGHT TO AN ADEQUATE STANDARD OF effective use of their stop-and-search powers. LIVING However, the impact of this remained unclear, as there was no systematic The authorities remained unwilling to monitoring and recording of how these stop- implement a recommendation by the UN and-search powers were executed in Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to put in place a comprehensive practice. In February, the police began piloting the strategy to ensure that everyone, including use of Taser X2 electro-shock weapons. undocumented migrants, enjoys the Police records between February and August minimum essential levels of all Covenant showed that Tasers were used in situations rights (such as the rights to food, housing, health, water and sanitation) and ensure this where there was no imminent threat of death is supported by adequate funding. or serious injury. In almost half of the cases, persons were tasered in direct contact mode, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 277

278 and/or waist restraints in at-risk units was including when already handcuffed, inside a police cell or vehicle, and in a separation cell found to amount to cruel, inhuman or in a psychiatric hospital. This usage is degrading treatment or punishment. The inconsistent with international human rights separation of children and young people in standards. “secure care” units in “care and protection” residences was found to be inappropriate. FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS A government proposal for a ban on face- The government announced the framework coverings in certain public spaces was for its pilot community sponsorship pending before the Senate at the end of the year. The ban would restrict the rights to programme for refugee resettlement, to begin freedom of religion and of expression, at the end of the year. The new refugee category allows community groups to sponsor particularly of Muslim women. 25 refugees to enter New Zealand. CHILDREN’S RIGHTS NEW ZEALAND A UNICEF report raised concern over the health and wellbeing of children in New New Zealand Zealand, due to the high rates of teen Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by pregnancy, neonatal mortality and the high Patricia Lee Reddy teen suicide rate. The UN Committee on the Jacinda Ardern (replaced Bill Head of government: English in October) Elimination of Racial Discrimination recommended the establishment of an New Zealand received criticism about its independent inquiry into abuse suffered by children, the vast majority Māori, in state care mental health services, detention facilities, high rates of Indigenous Māori between the 1950s and 1990s. representation in the criminal justice INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE system, and about poor health and The authorities declined to hold an wellbeing among children. independent inquiry into allegations that the JUSTICE SYSTEM New Zealand Defence Force committed crimes under international law during a raid The Waitangi Tribunal, a permanent in Afghanistan in 2010, resulting in civilian commission of inquiry, found that the government had failed to prioritize the deaths. Lawyers filed a civil lawsuit calling for reduction of the high rate of recidivism a judicial review on behalf of the alleged among Māori and had breached its Treaty of Afghan victims. Waitangi obligations. The commission called RIGHT TO HEALTH for urgent practical action to reduce the The Auditor-General found that problems number. The National Preventive Mechanism found that Māori were disproportionally with access to housing, rehabilitation and other services led to patients being kept in represented in all detention centres. Mental mental health units for years. health and disability in detention continued to be a concern. Separate reviews by the Ombudsman and an independent expert commissioned by the Human Rights Commission highlighted the high use of prolonged solitary confinement and restraint practices in places of detention and the over- representation of ethnic minority groups in these incidents. The use of “tie-down beds” Amnesty International Report 2017/18 278

279 INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS Impunity persisted for crimes such as NICARAGUA killings, rapes, kidnappings, enforced disappearances, death threats and forced Republic of Nicaragua displacement of Indigenous Peoples in the Daniel Ortega Saavedra Head of state and government: North Atlantic Autonomous Region, even though both the Inter-American Commission Gender-based killings became increasingly brutal. Attacks against human rights on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter- defenders persisted. A total ban on abortion American Court of Human Rights had remained in place. Impunity persisted for ordered Nicaragua in 2015 to adopt all necessary measures to investigate those perpetrators of violence against Indigenous Peoples. The authorities continued to deny crimes. a genuine and effective consultation HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS process for communities likely to be Attacks against women human rights affected by the construction of the Grand defenders continued, as reported at a public Interoceanic Canal. hearing before the IACHR in September. BACKGROUND Women’s civil society organizations reported In January, Daniel Ortega assumed office as receiving death threats as well as being President for a third consecutive term. arbitrarily detained and attacked with the complicity or acquiescence of state officials. Rosario Murillo, his wife, assumed office as Vice-President for the first time. In March, the Inter-American Court of Acosta Human Rights issued its judgment in WOMEN’S RIGHTS et al. v. Nicaragua ; it found the state Between January and December, there were responsible for having violated the rights to 55 gender-based killings of women, access to justice, truth and physical integrity ́ of human rights defender Mar according to the NGO Catholics for the Right i a Luisa Acosta, to Decide. The NGO found that the killings following the murder of her husband 1 Francisco Garc The authorities had a Valle. were more brutal than in previous years and ́ i yet to take steps to comply with the tended to be committed by perpetrators judgment, in particular to put an end to the acting in groups. In June 2017, the National Assembly impunity in the case and ensure the rights to i justice and truth of Mar a Luisa Acosta. ́ approved an amendment to the Comprehensive Law on Violence against In August the IACHR granted precautionary Women; the amendment reduced the scope measures to Francisca Ramírez and her of the definition of femicide to the private family after they were victims of death threats, harassment and attacks in retaliation sphere, limiting the crime to relations between spouses and partners. Critics said for her activism in opposition to the construction of the Grand Interoceanic Canal. the new definition denied the reality of femicides, which were also committed in GRAND INTEROCEANIC CANAL public places. Abortion remained banned in all There continued to be no genuine and circumstances. Nicaragua continued to have effective consultation process for those who one of the highest teenage pregnancy and would be affected by the construction of the maternal mortality rates in the Americas Grand Interoceanic Canal, in violation of 2 region, according to the UN Population Fund international human rights principles. (UNFPA). According to the Centre for Legal Assistance for Indigenous Peoples, the right to free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous and Afro-descendant Rama Kriol people relating Amnesty International Report 2017/18 279

280 to the project had not been guaranteed, suspected Boko Haram members went on trial. Hundreds of people, including despite several appeals lodged with the courts. Civil society organizations noted that prisoners of conscience, were arrested and the scale of the project, which would include prosecuted for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association. an oil pipeline and two ports, among other Security forces used excessive force against infrastructure, would affect hundreds of protesters. The rights of refugees and thousands of people and would put them at migrants were violated. risk of eviction. Human rights organizations and peasant BACKGROUND farmer communities continued to call for the In March, the government declared a state of repeal of Law 840, the law regulating the emergency in the western areas bordering Canal, due to its insufficient safeguards to protect Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Their Mali and extended the security forces’ powers after attacks by armed groups in demands continued to be rejected and the Tillabéry and Tahoua. It renewed the state of authorities had yet to open a meaningful dialogue with the communities likely to be emergency in the Diffa region, where attacks by armed groups continued. affected by the construction of the Canal. FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION AND FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION, ASSOCIATION AND ASSEMBLY ASSOCIATION Hundreds of people, including prisoners of In November, municipal elections took place conscience, were arbitrarily arrested and in a context of violence, with at least five prosecuted for exercising their rights to people reported to have been killed and 30 freedom of expression and association. wounded in six municipalities. In May, Insar Abdourahmane, a member of There were also reports of unnecessary and the Association of Action for Democracy and excessive use of force by the police against Human Rights, was arrested and detained for people peacefully protesting against the construction of the Canal, as well as reports more than 20 days in Agadez town for of arbitrary detention of protesters. Human criticizing the authorities on Facebook. He was given a six-month suspended prison rights defenders were also reported to have sentence for inciting violence. been harassed and intimidated for their opposition to the project. In April, security forces used excessive force to repress a student protest in Niamey, the capital, against the suspension of bursary Nicaragua: The state must uphold, without delay, the judgment 1. payments and new age restrictions on welfare AMR issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ( ) 43/6173/2017 payments. One student, Mala Bagallé, was killed after being shot in the back with a tear 2. Danger: Rights for sale − the Interoceanic Grand Canal project in AMR 43/6515/2017 Nicaragua and the erosion of human rights ( ) gas canister, and dozens were wounded. In May, a commission of inquiry found that the gendarmerie was responsible for the killing; and a judicial investigation was opened. NIGER At least 300 students, including board members of the Niger Union of Students, The Republic of Niger were arrested throughout the country, Mahamadou Issoufou Head of state: Head of government: Brigi Rafini detained for a few days and released without charge for participating in a protest and Armed conflict continued and armed groups blocking traffic. carried out at least 70 attacks, killing tens In May, Amadou Ali Djibo, leader of the of civilians. The humanitarian situation opposition coalition Front for the Restoration of Democracy and the Defence of the continued to deteriorate. Over 700 Amnesty International Report 2017/18 280

281 Abada on the Nigeria border, when they were Republic, was convicted of inciting revolt and, after 11 days’ detention, was given a 90- mistaken for members of an armed group. day conditional suspended sentence. An investigation was launched into the In April, Baba Alpha, an outspoken killings. journalist working for private television ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL channel Bonferey, and his father, who was RIGHTS born in Mali, were arrested and charged with forgery and illegal status. In July they were The UN CEDAW Committee expressed concern that 82% of the population lived in sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for extreme poverty. Women were particularly forgery. affected by food insecurity in rural areas, a In June, Ibrahim Bana, a member of fact linked to, among other things, their opposition party Moden Fa Lumana, and Gamatié Mahamadou Yansambou, Secretary socioeconomic status and the impact of General of the Union of Taxi Drivers, were climate change and extractive industries. The Committee also expressed concern that arrested and charged for attempting to influence a judicial investigation after they temporary measures to achieve greater gender equality were inadequately applied, denounced, on social media, corruption in the judicial system. In July, Ibrahim Bana including in employment, education and health. was sentenced to three months’ As the humanitarian situation deteriorated imprisonment, including two months due to conflict, the UN estimated that 2.2 suspended, and Mahamadou Yansambou was released after more than 15 days. million people, including 408,000 in Diffa, were in need of humanitarian assistance; 1.8 In July, 43 members of the teachers’ union SYNACEB were convicted of disrupting million were estimated to be severely food insecure. Over 73% of children under five public safety and inciting a riot, after they and almost 46% of women of reproductive boycotted substitute teacher evaluations. age suffered from anaemia. They spent more than 15 days in detention and were sentenced to suspended prison REFUGEES’ AND MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS terms of between one and three months. Over 60,000 refugees and migrants transited ARMED CONFLICT Niger on the way to Libya and Algeria where Armed groups including Boko Haram carried many suffered serious abuses including rape, unlawful detention in harsh conditions, ill- out at least 70 attacks on soldiers and villages in the Diffa, Mainé-Soroa, Tillabéry treatment and extortion, and unknown numbers died. Operations to arrest and Bosso regions. At least 30 people, perpetrators pushed smugglers to use more including civilians, were killed and others dangerous routes to Libya or Algeria. wounded; over 60 people were abducted. In In May, eight migrants from Niger, including June, suspected Boko Haram members killed nine people and abducted 37 women five children, died of thirst after they were abandoned on the way to Algeria; and 92 in the region of Nguigmi. The trial of 700 people accused of migrants were found close to death by the Niger Army after being beaten and supporting Boko Haram began on 2 March. Most had been arrested in the Diffa region abandoned by their driver in the desert near Bilma in the north. In June, 44 migrants, since 2013, although some had been including babies, were found dead in the detained since 2012. Among them were Nigerians, including refugees from areas desert near Agadez, central Niger, after their affected by Boko Haram. vehicle broke down on the way to Libya. In July, 13 people, including two Niger nationals and 11 Nigerian nationals, were killed by Niger soldiers in a village near Amnesty International Report 2017/18 281

282 of Kala Balge local government, in Borno state, killing at least 167 civilians, including NIGERIA many children. The military said the bombing was an accident as Rann was not identified Federal Republic of Nigeria as a humanitarian camp. Muhammadu Buhari Head of state and government: ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS The armed group Boko Haram continued to carry out attacks, resulting in hundreds of The military arbitrarily arrested and held thousands of young men, women and deaths. Reports continued of extrajudicial children in detention centres around the executions, enforced disappearances, and torture and other ill-treatment, which, in country. Detainees were denied access to some cases, led to deaths in custody. lawyers and family members. The army released 593 detainees in April and 760 in Conditions in military detention conditions October. were harsh. Communal violence occurred By April, the military detention facility at across the country. Thousands of people Giwa barracks, Maiduguri, held more than were forcibly evicted from their homes. 4,900 people in extremely overcrowded cells. ARMED CONFLICT Disease, dehydration and starvation were rife and at least 340 detainees died. At least 200 BOKO HARAM children, as young as four, were detained in Boko Haram carried out at least 65 attacks an overcrowded and unhygienic children’s causing 411 civilian deaths, and abducted at cell. Some children were born in detention. least 73 people. Sixteen women, including 10 The military detained hundreds of women policewomen, were abducted in June when unlawfully, without charge, some because Boko Haram ambushed an army-escorted they were believed to be related to Boko convoy on the Maiduguri-Damboa road. In Haram members. Among them were women July, Boko Haram ambushed a team of oil and girls who said they had been victims of prospectors in a village in Magumeri. Three Boko Haram. Women reported inhuman oil workers were abducted and at least 40 detention conditions, including a lack of other people were killed, including soldiers and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force. health care for women giving birth in cells. On 6 May, 82 Chibok schoolgirls, abducted in On 24 September, the Minister of Justice 2014, were released by Boko Haram fighters announced that the mass trial of Boko Haram suspects held in different detention centres in an exchange deal; 113 girls remained in captivity. In November, six farmers in Dimge had commenced. The first phase of trials was handled by four judges in secret, between 9 village in Mafa were abducted and beheaded. and 12 October. Fifty defendants were INTERNALLY DISPLACED PEOPLE sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. There remained at least 1.7 million internally An interim report of the Director of Public Prosecutions showed that 468 suspects were displaced people (IDPs) in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa; 39% discharged and the trial for the remainder lived in camps or similar settings and 61% in was adjourned to January 2018. host communities. The UN said that 5.2 LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY million people in the northeast remained in urgent need of food assistance; 450,000 In June, the Special Board of Inquiry to children under five were in urgent need of investigate allegations of gross violations of human rights, established by the Chief of nutrition. In July, Doctors without Borders Army Staff, found that Giwa barracks was reported that 240 children had died from malnutrition in Borno state. extremely overcrowded, with poor sanitation On 17 January, the Nigerian Air Force and insufficient ventilation, factors which bombed an IDP camp in Rann, headquarters resulted in detainees’ deaths. It cleared Amnesty International Report 2017/18 282

283 senior military officers, alleged to have UNLAWFUL KILLINGS At least 10 IPOB members were killed and committed crimes under international law, of 12 others wounded by soldiers in Umuahia, wrongdoing. Abia state on 14 September. The military In August, acting President Yemi Osinbajo claimed that they were killed when they tried set up a presidential investigation panel to probe allegations of human rights violations to resist the arrest of leader Nnamdi Kanu at carried out by the military. Between 11 his home. Witnesses say that, in addition to September and 8 November, the panel sat in those killed, at least 10 IPOB members were shot and taken away by soldiers. The the capital, Abuja, and in the cities of government subsequently banned the IPOB. Maiduguri, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Lagos and Kaduna. On 9 March, a court in Abuja sentenced two In its December preliminary report, the police officers to death for their part in the extrajudicial execution of six traders in Apo, Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC Abuja, in 2005. Three other police officers announced that it would continue to assess including the leader of the police team were the admissibility of the eight potential crimes acquitted. In 2005, a Judicial Commission of it had previously identified as having been allegedly committed in Nigeria. Inquiry had indicted six police officers for the murders and recommended their trial as well TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT as compensation for the victims’ families. One of them allegedly escaped from custody Torture and other ill-treatment and unlawful in 2015. detention by the police and the State Security In September, the High Court in Port Service (SSS) continued. In February, Nonso Harcourt convicted five SARS policemen for Diobu and eight other men were arrested and the extrajudicial executions of Michael Akor detained by Special Anti-Robbery Squad and Michael Igwe in 2009. The court also (SARS) officers in Awkuzu, Anambra state. awarded 50 million naira (USD143,000) in They were tortured and all, except Nonso Diobu, died in custody. Nonso Diobu was compensation to the victims’ families. charged with robbery and released four In December, after huge pressure on social months after arrest. media, the Inspector General of Police In May, a high court ordered the SSS to agreed to reform SARS. release Bright Chimezie, a member of the COMMUNAL VIOLENCE Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Instead, the SSS included his name in another case. Inter-communal violence linked to lingering clashes between herdsmen and farming Bright Chimezie had not been brought to communities resulted in more than 549 court by the end of the year; the SSS had deaths and the displacement of thousands in held him in incommunicado detention for more than one year. 12 states. In February, 21 villagers were Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic killed in an attack by suspected herdsmen in three communities in the Atakad district of Movement of Nigeria (IMN), and his wife Kaura, Kaduna state. Witnesses said the remained in incommunicado detention herdsmen killed, looted, and burned the without trial since their arrest in December 2015 despite a court ordering their release villagers’ houses. In June, a communal clash in the Mambilla Plateau of Taraba state left and compensation. scores of people dead, mostly herdsmen and In September, the Nigerian police launched their families. In September, at least 20 Force Order 20 which sought to reduce the people were killed when suspected excessive use of pre-trial detention by providing free legal advice to suspects at herdsmen invaded Ancha village in the police stations. In December, the Anti-Torture Miango district of Jos, Plateau state, after a Bill – intended to prohibit and criminalize the misunderstanding between villagers and herdsmen residing in the community. In use of torture – was signed into law. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 283

284 October, 27 people were killed by suspected On 2 February, a High Court in Abuja declared threats of forced evictions without herdsmen in a classroom where they were sheltering after three days of attacks in the the service of statutory notices illegal. It urged state authorities to take measures to confer Nkyie-Doghwro community of Bassa, Plateau security of tenure on affected residents. The state. In December, herdsmen attacked at least five villages in Demsa LGA in Adamawa judgment prevented the Abuja authorities from forcibly evicting hundreds of thousands state to avenge the massacre of up to 57 of residents in Mpape community. On 21 people, mostly children, in November in June, a Lagos State High Court found that nearby Kikan community. Residents forced evictions and their threat were described being attacked by a fighter jet and unconstitutional and amounted to cruel, a military helicopter as they attempted to flee. inhuman or degrading treatment. At least 86 people were killed by the herdsmen and air force bombing. WOMEN’S RIGHTS RIGHT TO HOUSING AND FORCED Nigeria’s federal Parliament and Adamawa EVICTIONS and Gombe states continued to debate the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill. In Authorities in Lagos, Imo and Rivers states continued to forcibly evict thousands of October, ECOWAS Court held that Nigeria violated the right to dignity of three women by residents, without adequate notice, wrongly accusing them of being sex workers, compensation, or the provision of alternative and unlawfully arresting and verbally abusing accommodation and resettlement. them. In Lagos state, at least 5,000 people were IDP women and girls reported gender-based forcibly evicted from Otodo-Gbame and violence including rape and sexual Ilubirin waterfront communities between exploitation, often in exchange for food and March and April, in violation of previous Lagos State High Court orders. The orders other necessities, by military officers and restrained state authorities from demolishing members of the Civilian Joint Task Force in the homes of affected communities the northeast. Households headed by women reported discrimination in access to food consisting of at least 300,000 residents, and assistance and livelihood opportunities in ordered them to consult with residents. In some locations. March, the Lagos state government pulled A group of women who were previously out of the consultations saying the communities’ demand for resettlement was confined to Bama IDP camp campaigned for the release of their husbands from military unreasonable. detention, and for justice for rape and other During the forced eviction of Otodo-Gbame abuses they suffered while in the camp community on 9 April, at least two people between 2015 and 2016. The Chief of Army were shot, one fatally, as the police fired at unarmed residents. There were no Staff was reported to have ordered an investigation in June into misconduct by investigations into the shootings. On 13 June, Lagos state authorities forcibly evicted soldiers in the camp. hundreds of people from Ijora-Badia HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS community. On 15 June, Rivers state authorities forcibly Human rights defenders continued to face evicted hundreds of people from Ayagologo intimidation for their work. Parliament waterfront community in Port Harcourt. debated a bill to regulate and restrict the On 15 November, police in Lagos arrested work of NGOs. If passed, it would establish and detained 158 residents, including six an NGO Regulatory Commission to keep a women one of whom was pregnant, who were register of all NGOs, co-ordinate their protesting against forced evictions in the activities, and monitor their budgets and state. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 284

285 funding. A public hearing on the bill took FREEDOMS OF ASSEMBLY AND place in December. ASSOCIATION The security forces disrupted, in some cases On 19 July, police arrested and detained violently and with excessive force, peaceful Maurice Fangnon for six days for calling for protests and assemblies. investigations into alleged killings and The police continued to deny IMN, which assaults of residents in Otodo-Gbame was banned by the Kaduna state government community. He was rearrested on 12 in 2016, the right to peaceful protest. On 25 December with Bamidele Friday; they were released on bail on 22 December. Raymond January, the Abuja police arrested nine IMN Gold faced criminal charges carrying a members in connection with a peaceful protest demanding the release of Ibrahim El- maximum three-year prison sentence for Zakzaky. demanding that an oil company conduct an On 25 July, police in Kano city prevented a Environmental Impact Assessment on group of women from protesting against the activities which harmed the environment. On 6 June, police officers harassed, beat and persistent rape of women and children in the state. On 8 August, police violently dispersed injured Justus Ijeoma at Onitsha Area peaceful protesters who demanded the Command. In October, he received a written return of President Buhari who was in the UK apology from the Area Command. for medical treatment. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY Journalists were harassed, intimidated and In June, the widows of four men from the arrested. On 19 January, police raided the Ogoni region in the Niger Delta who were offices of Premium Times and arrested executed following an unfair trial in 1995, publisher Dapo Olorunyomi and filed a lawsuit in the Netherlands against correspondent Evelyn Okakwu for several Shell, demanding compensation and a public hours, after the Chief of Army Staff accused the newspaper of offensive publications. apology. They accused Shell of complicity in the unlawful arrest and detention of their On 19 April, Kaduna state police arrested and detained Midat Joseph, a journalist with husbands during a brutal crackdown by the Leadership newspaper, for a WhatsApp then military authorities on the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People. International comment. He was taken to court the next day on charges of criminal conspiracy, inciting organizations called for Shell to be investigated for involvement in these crimes. disturbance and injurious falsehood. On 31 July, the court dismissed the case on Environmental pollution linked to the oil industry continued to undermine the grounds of lack of diligent prosecution. On 19 September, the Katsina state police economic, social and cultural rights of the arrested three bloggers, Jamil Mabai, Bashir Niger Delta communities. The government took limited steps to Dauda and Umar Faruq, for criticizing the address pollution in the Ogoni region of the Governor. Bashir Dauda and Umar Faruq were released after one week and Jamil Niger Delta, as recommended by the UN Mabai was detained for 22 days. Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2011. On 27 October, Audu Maikori, who was However, local communities expressed frustration at the slow progress of the arrested for publishing false information online, was awarded 40 million naira initiative and because operations on the (USD112,700) in compensation for unlawful ground had not begun. Shell failed to comply with some of UNEP’s key recommendations. arrest and detention. In September, operations to clean up the pollution caused by two large oil spills in 2008 began in the Bodo community in the Ogoni region. Amnesty International Report 2017/18 285

286 RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS There was a dramatic decrease in the TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE Arrest, public shaming, extortion of and number of people claiming asylum. By discrimination against individuals based on November, only 3,378 people had claimed their sexual orientation were reported in asylum, compared to 31,145 in 2015, according to government statistics. several parts of the country. In April, the The government continued to take initiatives Nigerian police arraigned 53 men in a to restrict the rights of asylum-seekers and magistrate court in Zaria, Kaduna state, for conspiracy and unlawful assembly and for refugees. The practice of “Dublin” returns – belonging to an unlawful society. They were requiring any asylum claim to be processed by the country in which the applicant first accused of attending a gay wedding and granted bail. arrived – to Italy continued, and restarted to In August, about 42 men and boys between Greece. Afghan nationals represented the fifth 12 and 28 years old were arrested at a hotel biggest group of people who claimed asylum in Lagos while attending an HIV intervention programme organized by an NGO. They were by the end of November. They continued to charged with “engaging in gay activities”. The face obstacles in accessing asylum and police paraded the victims to the media. forced return to Afghanistan. According to Eurostat, there was a dramatic drop in DEATH PENALTY asylum recognition rates for Afghan nationals, down to 24% by August; Norway had the Death sentences continued to be imposed; highest number of persons being forcibly no executions were recorded. In July, at the National Economic Council, state governors returned to Afghanistan. agreed to either sign execution warrants or VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS commute death sentences as a way of Gender-based violence, including rape and addressing overcrowding in prisons. Death row prisoners reported that execution gallows sexual violence, remained a serious concern. were being prepared for executions in Benin The Norwegian Penal Code was still not in and Lagos prisons. accordance with international human rights In August, the Ogun state government standards as the definition of rape was not announced that it would no longer maintain based on consent. The number of rape cases an informal commitment to refrain from reported to the police had been increasing steadily over the years. In 2016, 1,663 cases authorizing executions. of rape were reported to the police, an In September, the Senate passed a bill increase of nearly 21.9% since 2015. prescribing the death penalty for kidnapping. Shortcomings in police investigations contributed to the low level of rape prosecutions. In April, the Director of Public NORWAY Prosecutions reviewed the quality of investigations in 275 nationally reported rape Kingdom of Norway cases. The review concluded that there was King Harald V Head of state: considerable room for improvement in the Erna Solberg Head of government: quality of police investigations, and pointed Serious concerns remained about the especially at weaknesses in the initial phase, where the necessary steps to secure prevalence of, and inadequate state response to, rape and other violence against evidence were not always taken. women. The rights of refugees and asylum- Following the consideration of Norway’s seekers continued to be restricted; Afghan ninth periodic report, the Committee on the asylum-seekers faced forced returns to Elimination of Discrimination against Women Afghanistan. expressed concerns about the high level of Amnesty International Report 2017/18 286

287 gender-based violence against women, and Women remained subject to discrimination in law. Migrant workers were exposed to recommended a number of measures including the adoption of a legal definition of exploitation and abuse. The death penalty remained in force; no executions were rape in the Penal Code that places lack of reported. free consent at its centre. In addition, the Committee expressed concern at the BACKGROUND consequences of the criminalization of the Oman maintained a neutral stance in the purchase of sexual services from adults. The regional crisis in which Saudi Arabia, the committee recommended a white paper on UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed relations prostitution with a comprehensive framework which ensured that women who engage in with Qatar, as well as in relation to the Saudi sex work are not prosecuted for the selling of Arabia-led coalition fighting in Yemen since 2015. sexual services, including for acts that There was a marked decline in coverage of currently amount to criminal acts of human rights issues in the country. Oman’s “promotion of prostitution”. economy continued to be impacted by: lower RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, oil prices, Oman’s main source of income; a TRANSGENDER AND INTERSEX PEOPLE relatively high deficit; the removal of subsidies, notably on petroleum; a rise in The Penal Code still did not classify violence fees for some government services; and a motivated by discriminatory attitudes towards temporary hiring freeze for public sector transgender people as a hate crime. positions. INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION On 1 March, a 44-year-old Rwandan national The government continued to unduly restrict accused of complicity in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda was released after four years in freedom of expression. In January the authorities ordered the dismissal of a custody. The Ministry of Justice had previously concluded that he could be journalist who was reporting on sex trafficking extradited to Rwanda. The investigation into in the country, and revoked the licence of another journalist who was covering reports an allegation by his defence lawyer – that two witnesses were pressured into giving false that Oman had sought financial support from its neighbours. In February, the annual testimonies to the prosecutors – led to the Muscat International Book Fair suspended conclusion that their testimonies were not the participation of two writers, apparently in sufficiently credible. connection with their criticism of the government. In April, the authorities arrested at least two people in connection with OMAN Facebook posts; they were subsequently released. In May, the government blocked Sultanate of Oman the online publication of the Mowaten Head of state and government: Sultan Qaboos bin Said of newspaper; it remained blocked at the end Al Said the year. The authorities curtailed the rights to The chilling effect of the trials against Azamn freedom of expression and association, newspaper and its journalists Azamn continued to reverberate following using flawed legal procedures to suspend ’s newspapers and to arrest, prosecute and publication in 2016 of two reports detailing convict journalists on criminal and allegations of corruption in the government administrative grounds. Family members of and the judiciary. The government renewed a human rights defenders faced harassment rolling, temporary suspension of the and intimidation from the authorities. newspaper, despite a court ruling overturning Amnesty International Report 2017/18 287

288 the suspension. In January the Public custody, inheritance, and passing their nationality on to their children. Prosecutor appealed against the December Azamn 2016 acquittal of journalist Zaher WORKERS’ RIGHTS – MIGRANT al-‘Abri. He was released on bail in August. WORKERS Editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Maamari and deputy editor-in-chief Youssef al-Haj were Migrant workers continued to face released in April and October respectively exploitation and abuse. Domestic workers, mainly women from Asia and Africa, after completing their prison sentences. In complained that employers to whom they June, Azamn staff members approached the were tied under the official kafala government for financial support following its sponsorship system confiscated their closure. In January the High Court in the capital, passports, forced them to work excessive Muscat, overturned a three-year prison hours without time off, and denied them their full wages and adequate food and living sentence on journalist Hassan al-Basham, partly because of his ill-health, and ordered kafala conditions. The system did not provide the case back to the Appeal Court. In domestic workers with the protections available under the Labour Law. November the initial three-year prison sentence was upheld. In June 2016 the DEATH PENALTY Court of Appeal in Sohar had upheld the verdict, which was based on charges of The death penalty remained in force for a “insult” to God and the Sultan. range of crimes. No convictions or executions were reported. In January a Muscat Appeal Court overturned the three-year prison sentence and fine of 1,000 Omani Riyals (about USD2,600) handed down in October 2016 to PAKISTAN writer Hamoud al-Shukaily, a member of the Omani Society for Writers and Authors, on Islamic Republic of Pakistan charges of incitement to protest or disturbing Mamnoon Hussain Head of state: public order relating to a 2016 Facebook Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (replaced Head of government: post. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in August) The Appeal Court verdict in the case of writer and film critic Abdullah Habib was The crackdown on freedom of expression postponed several times. In November 2016 intensified. The Prevention of Electronic he had been sentenced to three years’ Crimes Act, 2016 was used to intimidate, imprisonment and a fine of 2,000 Omani harass and arbitrarily detain human rights Riyals (about USD5,200). defenders for online comments. Enforced On 23 May a lower instance court disappearances were widespread; impunity sentenced writer and researcher Mansour al- was prevalent. Blasphemy-related violence Mahrazi to three years’ imprisonment and a claimed the life of a student, triggering rare fine on charges of “undermining the state” condemnation from the government. Large and violating publication laws by writing and demonstrations took place in support of publishing a book in Lebanon without blasphemy laws, which were used to convict permission. He was appealing the case at the people expressing opinions online. end of the year. Journalists were attacked by unidentified assailants. Minorities continued to face WOMEN’S RIGHTS discrimination in the enjoyment of economic and social rights. Attempts to Women faced discrimination in criminal law and in personal status or family law, in restrict child marriage were blocked relation to matters including divorce, child by Parliament. Killings of women continued Amnesty International Report 2017/18 288

289 in so-called “honour” crimes, despite the military intelligence custody; the fifth 2016 law criminalizing the practice. remained disappeared. The draconian Prevention of Electronic Crimes BACKGROUND Act of 2016 was used to carry out a number of arrests throughout the year including, in The Supreme Court disqualified Prime June, the arrest of journalist Zafarullah Minister Nawaz Sharif from office in July for Daily Achakzai, a reporter for the newspaper failing to disclose a source of foreign income. Following his resignation, the government’s Qudrat . Over subsequent weeks, supporters authority progressively weakened as of different political parties were arrested for members of the Sharif family and ministers in social media posts critical of the authorities. the government became the subject of fresh No action was taken against social media corruption probes. The Minister for Law and accounts belonging to armed groups that incited discrimination and violence. Justice resigned in November after weeks of People were prosecuted after being protests in which he was accused of accused, particularly over social media, for blasphemy. The military took an increasing alleged breaches of vague and broad lead on foreign policy, national security and blasphemy laws, which criminalized peaceful daily governance ahead of elections due by expression if deemed to offend religious August 2018. Tensions endured between India and sensibilities. In June, Taimoor Raza was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court Pakistan against the backdrop of firing from in Punjab, southern province, for allegedly both sides across the Line of Control that blasphemous posts on Facebook. In divides the disputed territory of Kashmir. September, Nadeem James, a Christian, was Relations with Afghanistan deteriorated as sentenced to death by a court in Gujrat city the two countries accused each other of for sharing a “blasphemous” poem over using their territory as a launching pad for armed attacks. Under its new South Asia WhatsApp. Accusations of committing blasphemy policy, the USA singled out Pakistan as a triggered the execution-style killing of Mashal source of instability in Afghanistan, raising the prospect of a rupture in relations. Turning Khan, a university student, in Mardan city. In away from the West, Pakistan drew closer to April, a mob of students stormed his hostel, China with the expansion of the China- stripped him naked and beat him repeatedly Pakistan Economic Corridor, a multi-billion before shooting him. Then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to take action against dollar infrastructure project. those who “misuse” the blasphemy laws. Six Pakistan was elected to the UN Human days later, a “faith healer” accused of Rights Council in October. Pakistan’s human blasphemy was similarly killed by three rights record was examined by UN bodies attackers inside his home in Sialkot city. Two days after that, a mob in Chitral city attacked during the year: the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Human Rights a man accused of blasphemy, injuring police Committee and under th