Edition 1, 2024

Campaign location

Every day we see evidence of how easy it is to take a life, whether through crime, targeted killings, or war. This is despite the right to life being the most supreme right from which there can be no derogation.

The most recent quarterly crime stats released by the SA Police Service in February showed that murder had gone up by 2.1% compared to the same period of the previous year. A total of 7,710 people were killed between October and December 2023. This is almost 84 people killed a day. The stats also continued to paint a horrific picture for women in South Africa. The murder of women increased by 3.1% – about 12 women were killed a day in those three months. 

Campaigning by political parties is in full swing ahead of this year’s national election, increasing the risk of political killings, especially in KwaZulu-Natal. In February, the SA Local Government Association chairperson Thami Ntuli, said more than 19 town councillors had been assassinated in KwaZulu-Natal since the November 2021 local government elections.

He said action needed to be taken to stem the tide of these types of killings, and called for political tolerance before the 2024 national and provincial elections. 

Speaking out about corruption also puts a target on people’s backs. Amnesty International South Africa has been working with Abahlali baseMjondolo whose activists have been killed for doing just this. This human rights month, our message has been clear – no one should be killed for fighting for their basic human rights. You can read more about this in this edition of Lesedi. 

Since October last year, we have been inundated with visuals and news of thousands of people being killed in the attacks between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The consistent bombardment of civilians in Gaza by the Israeli army has caused a man-made humanitarian crisis. There is little to no regard for human life. We continue to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

All these examples of loss of life are devastating. One life lost is one too many. This is why we need to continue our work to ensure that the human rights of all are upheld and why we need you to continue to support organisations like ours. 

The first quarter of 2024 has been a busy one, and a reflection of what we can possibly expect for the rest of the year. 

South Africa has been a focus globally since the government brought a case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide over allegations of genocide against the Palestinian people in the wake of the attacks on 7 October 2023 by Hamas and other armed groups.

In January, the court ordered provisional measures in response to South Africa’s case which was an important step that could help protect the Palestinian people in the occupied Gaza Strip from further suffering and irreparable harm. 

However, Israel has been ignoring the court’s order. AISA campaigner Cassandra Dorasamy writes more about this in this edition of Lesedi. 

Since this move by the South African government, AISA took the opportunity to remind President Cyril Ramaphosa to fulfil his commitment to uphold and safeguard the human rights of all living in South Africa with the same fervour demonstrated in advocating for the rights of the Palestinian people ahead of his 2024 state of the nation address. The president rightly emphasised the obligation of a nation that fought and defeated apartheid to advocate for justice and human rights globally. However, it is imperative that this commitment extends to addressing the pressing human rights issues within South Africa itself.

With this in mind, you will see that for the first time AISA has launched a human rights election campaign ahead of the country’s 29 May poll. But let me be clear, this does not mean we are endorsing any political party or candidate. We remain non-partisan. Our aim is to inspire people to make informed decisions based on the state of human rights in South Africa, and to vote with purpose. The right to vote is enshrined in the constitution and many people lost their lives fighting for this right. You can read all about our campaign in Lesedi and my hope is that you will get involved and ensure that human rights is at the centre of elections this year. 

From the governance side, AISA inaugural board, elected at our first Annual General Meeting as a section, has hit the ground running and I am working with them to ensure that from a governance perspective Amnesty International South Africa is moving in the right direction. 

I hope you enjoy this edition of Lesedi and thank you for your continued support and for taking injustice personally. 

Mahatma Gandhi said:

It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.

Aluta Continua

Shenilla Mohamed


At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in December 2023, five independent board members were elected as the inaugural five-year term board. This is the first Amnesty International South Africa board following the obtaining of section status and ushers in a new era of governance. 

The national board provides governance, leadership and stewardship as part of a global movement of human rights defenders. It ensures that our global vision, mission and plans, as well as any decisions made at the Global Assembly (international AGM) and our national AGMs, are implemented in South Africa.

The board members elected in December were Nwabisa Piki, Xander Ehlers, Kayan Leung, Duduzile Mabaso and Rabia Parker. 

The board’s work has started in earnest with it holding its induction and first official board meeting of the year in February. 

The initial meeting was infused with emotion and optimism for the tasks and responsibility at hand. The board members constitute themselves into these five critical roles:

Chair: Nwabisa Piki

Vice Chair: Xander Ehlers

Secretary: Kayan Leung

Youth Representative: Duduzile Mabaso

Treasurer: Rabia Parker

You can read about the new board members here

In line with Amnesty International’s motto: “Taking injustice personally”, the board and the secretariat took action calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and called for justice for the murder of Eswatini human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko. Thulani was shot dead in his own home for speaking out about Eswatini’s repressive laws and excessive state violence. No one has been held accountable for Thulani’s killing. 


By Genevieve quintal, Amensty International South Africa Media & Comms Officer

No individual should ever be subjected to harm or death for standing up for their basic rights. In a society that values justice and equality, the protection of those who advocate for human rights should be paramount.

Human rights defenders play a crucial role in holding authorities accountable and advancing human rights and social justice. Yet, tragically, many of these brave individuals face intimidation, harassment, and even violence and death for their noble efforts.

An example of this has been the harassment and killings of Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) activists. Amnesty International has put its might behind the grassroots movement and its General Secretary Thapelo Mohapi, who is in hiding and facing threats because of his activism. Thapelo has dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of people across South Africa, particularly in areas suffering economic hardship and living in informal settlements.

Thapelo Mohapi was one of Amnesty International’s global Write for Rights campaign and since the start of the campaign in October 2023, 516,614 people took action globally calling on the police to investigate cases thoroughly, impartially and effectively so that there is justice for AbM activists killed, and to provide adequate protection for Thapelo and other AbM members currently under threat.

Earlier this month, the South Africa Human Rights Commission announced that an SA Police Service task team in KwaZulu-Natal had been set up to investigate the killings of AbM activists. While Amnesty International South Africa welcomes this long overdue move, the task team needs to be efficient, independent and transparent to ensure protection for AbM members. 

Amnesty International South Africa has also campaigned for justice for Fikile Ntshangase, and protection of Nonhle Mbuthuma and continues to call for the protection of all HRDs. 

South Africa has a long and painful history of violence, where life is often regarded as cheap. However, the right to life is a fundamental human right that must be respected and protected by all. Every person, regardless of their beliefs or affiliations, deserves to live without fear of persecution or harm.

South Africa will be celebrating 30 years since the end of apartheid on 27 April 2024, and still people are being assassinated and murdered for standing up for what they believe in, fighting for basic services, or speaking out against corruption. 

The attacks on those fighting for basic rights are a grave violation of human dignity. It is imperative that our government takes decisive action to ensure the protection of these individuals and enacts strong legislation to safeguard their rights.

There is an urgent need for legislative measures to safeguard the lives of human rights defenders. 

We cannot allow a culture of impunity to prevail. No one should pay the ultimate price for demanding their rights.

Amnesty International South Africa is calling on the government to uphold its obligations under international law to protect human rights defenders and ensure their safety, and urge all living in South Africa to stand in solidarity with human rights defenders and demand an end to violence and impunity.


By Rejoyce Motaung, Amnesty International South Africa’s Activism Coordinator: Organising 

In its 6th consecutive year, the Human Rights Festival – hosted annually around 21st March at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg – has done an excellent job of ensuring that South Africa’s human rights history is remembered. Homage is paid to all those who have lost their lives in the struggle for human rights, including those killed in Sharpeville in 1960.

This year, the festival saw a diverse array of attendees, prominently featuring a remarkable number of young people eager to delve into discussions surrounding human rights issues in South Africa and the world.

One of the standout events was the Activism Row, featuring organisations from various sectors that add depth and breadth to the discourse on human rights. From grassroots initiatives to internationally renowned NGOs, each entity brought its unique perspective and expertise to the table, fostering enriching exchanges and collaborative efforts.

Within the Activism Row, AISA hosted an activation stall promoting the #VoteForHumanRights campaign. 

AISA managed to get a total of 495 supporters by the end of the festival, exceeding our expectations as well as showing the commitment of South Africans in prioritising human rights at the May polls.

This success is due to AISA volunteers and chapters who came out in their numbers and on each day, worked tirelessly to promote the campaign pledge and recruit supporters.

The membership and growth team would like to thank all volunteers, activists, and chapters who contributed to this campaign’s success, and send a huge thank you to the organisers of the human rights festival for yet another great festival. 



It is crucial for political parties and candidates contesting elections to commit to ensure that the human rights of all are upheld ahead of and after this year’s general election, but the electorate must also use its power to ensure this happens.

Citizens need to tap into their people-power, exercise their civic responsibility and hold officials accountable in the lead-up to the 2024 general elections. The Bill of Rights guarantees your right to ‘vote in elections for any legislative body established in terms of the Constitution, and to do so in secret’.  Citizens who have registered to vote can use this right to advocate for a human rights centred government.

It is important for them to understand their fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Constitution as well as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Amnesty International South Africa is encouraging citizens to consider human rights when they make their mark on 29 May 2024, but it has also put together its Human Rights Manifesto focusing on 10 issues crucial for political parties and candidates to commit to, to ensure that the rights of all those who live in South Africa are upheld. 

While important progress has been made in the last 30 years, access to human rights for all remains a challenge. In recent times, the quality of service delivery has largely been weakened by corruption. This, at the expense of people living in the country who are constitutionally entitled to have their basic needs met and to live with dignity.

 To date, only one political party has signed the pledge to uphold human rights. 

While we are calling on political parties to sign the pledge, we are also calling on citizens, who are eligible and are registered to vote, to take a pledge to vote for human rights and to hold political parties and candidates accountable ahead, during and after the elections. 

People have a right to credible information so that they can make an informed decision. This is why we are equipping voters with the knowledge and resources to become informed advocates for human rights at the polls. 

 This is a pivotal moment in South Africa. Those who are meant to be serving the people need to stop the politicking and deliver on human rights obligations and  people need to use their power to ensure that this happens. 

South Africa continues to be one of the most unequal countries in the world, ranks first on the World Bank’s global poverty database, and struggles to realise the socio-economic rights of all who live in the country. An unemployment rate of 31.9%, combined with poverty and inequality, which were exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and corruption, heighten the risks of social instability. 

The release of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture’s report highlighted how deep the rot of corruption is, which has significantly contributed to the erosion of access to human rights in the country. In addition to this, the energy crisis further continues to negatively impact the realisation of socio-economic rights, such as health, education, and access to safe, sufficient, and reliable water.



Awaiting Justice - South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice

By Cassandra Dorasamy, Amnesty International South Africa Campaigner

It has been six months since the start of the latest escalation of violence in Gaza, 16 years since the beginning of Israel’s illegal and inhumane blockade, preventing freedom of movement and the transfer of goods, and 56 years since the start of occupation. How long can Palestinians wait for justice?

The South African government brought an application to the International Court of Justice in December 2023, alleging that Israel is committing acts of genocide, and urging the court to provide provisional measures to protect the people in Gaza. The case offered a glimmer of hope for international justice and an end to the man-made humanitarian catastrophe in the occupied Gaza Strip. Following hearings in early January, the court ordered six provisional measures, including for Israel to refrain from acts under the Genocide Convention, prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to genocide, and take immediate and effective measures to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza. Crucially, the Court also ordered Israel to preserve evidence of genocide and to submit a report to the Court, within one month, of all measures taken in line with its order.

A month later, Israel has failed to take even the bare minimum steps to comply with the order.  

The number of trucks entering Gaza carrying aid and commercial goods, including food, water, animal fodder, medical supplies and fuel, decreased by about a third, from an average of 146 a day in the three weeks prior, to an average of 105 a day over the subsequent three weeks. Before 7 October 2023, about 500 trucks entered Gaza every day on average. Even that quantity fell far short of meeting people’s needs. The only crossings that Israel has allowed to open were also opened on fewer days, further demonstrating Israel’s disregard for the provisional measures. Aid workers also reported multiple challenges, such as access to key areas to deliver aid, but have said that Israel was refusing to take obvious steps to improve the situation. South Africa approached the court in March again through an urgent application, asking for a strengthening of provisional measures, to prevent catastrophic famine. The court affirmed its initial order for provisional measures and ordered new ones, including for Israel to ensure unhindered provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance.

For months, every person in the Gaza Strip has been surviving with crisis-level hunger. Families have been drinking unsafe water for months and spend days without eating. The health system completely collapsed amid disease outbreaks and severe injuries due to constant bombardment. At least 20 children have recently died from severe malnutrition, dehydration and related diseases. As each day witnesses an acceleration in the deterioration of the food, water and health situation, more deaths from starvation and disease are to follow if humanitarian access continues to be impeded by Israeli authorities. The UN has warned that famine is imminent. 

As we’ve seen, the ICJ decision alone cannot put an end to the atrocities and devastation Gazans are witnessing. Alarming signs of genocide in Gaza, and Israel’s flagrant disregard for international law highlight the urgent need for effective, unified pressure on Israel to stop its onslaught against Palestinians. We need an immediate and permanent ceasefire. States such as the USA, France and the UK that are providing weapons to Israeli authorities, must stop all arms transfers that risk being used in international crimes, as well as implement meaningful measures to enforce an immediate ceasefire, unrestricted humanitarian access and accountability for perpetrators. 

On day 166 of the war, the UN reported that 31,988 Palestinians have reportedly been killed, and 1.7 million people internally displaced since 7 October. Time is running out. Palestinians can no longer wait for justice.  

Previous reports by Amnesty International on violations and crimes committed in the context of fighting between Israel and Palestinian armed groups can be found here.





Understanding the long roots of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel

The armed conflict between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) is one of the longest running in modern history. It’s also open to various interpretations, stories and misinformation. Learning more about the roots causes of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel is important to help us prevent future violations and for the respect of International Humanitarian Law.  

Both international human rights law and international humanitarian law are fully applicable to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Outside of the present conflict international human rights law is applicable in Israel, where Palestinians also live under a system of apartheid. 

This Human Rights Education blog can help build your knowledge and understanding of the roots of the conflict and it provides links to additional education materials and a free online course if you wish to continue your learning.

Read the full blog here.



Chapters Induction and Training

By Rejoyce Motaung, Amnesty International South Africa’s Activism Coordinator: Organising

Amnesty International South Africa (AISA) is back again building a youth movement across South Africa. This year, the chapters have a presence in seven of the nine provinces: Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape. Many of the chapters are based at tertiary institutions and have dedicated themselves to advocating for human rights within their respective spaces.

In quarter one of the year, as part of the induction process, the chapters attended a three day training where they were introduced to AISA’s way of working as well as priority campaigns for 2024. Each of the chapters subsequently developed a plan for the campaigns and has committed to promote the #VoteForHumanRights campaign in quarters one and two ahead of the elections on 29 May.

Part of the deliverables are to promote the #VoteForHumaRights campaign pledge; collect vox pops for the campaign, as well as paint murals in different parts of the country calling on everyone to tap into their power and prioritise human rights when they vote.




Quiz night – 14 March

The chapter invited their counterparts at the University of Johannesburg chapter for a supporters/members quiz night where they engaged members on voting and the #VoteForHumanRights campaign.



 AI Rhodes University

Opening Event – 9 February 

Youth from Rhodes University reestablished the chapter based in Makhanda (Grahamstown). The chapter hosted an opening event reintroducing Amnesty International to students on campus.


 AI University of Cape Town

Opening Day – 6 March 


The chapter hosted an opening event to introduce the AISA chapter to new members and had a total of 70 people attend the event.


palestine event – 20 march 

The event promoted solidarity with Palestine and the continued call for a sustained ceasefire. The chapter also facilitated a discussion about apartheid in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 


AI University of Pretoria

Marketing Day – 11 & 12 March

The chapter hosted a marketing day activation where they introduced the AISA chapter to students and engaged with them on the #VoteForHumanRights campaign.


Annual General Meeting – 15 March 

To secure registration as an organisation on campus, the chapter hosted an annual general meeting (AGM) with members of the chapter. A total of 30 members attended the event which secured the chapter’s registration as a student society on campus. The chapter also used the AGM as an opportunity to promote the #VoteForHumanRights campaign.


AI North West University

Pop-Up Event – 14 March 

This new chapter based at the Mafikeng campus hosted a pop-up event. The chapter promoted the #VoteForHumanRights campaign and pledge, and asked students if they would prioritise human rights at the polls in May.


To stay up to date with future events, follow each chapter on social media or contact rejoyce.makhetha@amnesty.org.za  for more information.

Check the AISA website to keep up to date with youth activities around the #VoteForHumanRights campaign.



Young People Take Center Stage In Human Rights School Dialogues 

By Rejoyce Motaung, Amnesty International South Africa’s Activism Coordinator: Organising

In line with national Human Rights month in March, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) initiated a series of dialogues aimed at evaluating the extent to which South African schools uphold democratic values, social justice, and fundamental human rights. Concerns highlighted by media outlets regarding human rights violations within schools prompted action by the DBE. The Social Cohesion Directorate collaborated with Amnesty International South Africa to conduct three dialogues across Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

The dialogues, which took place after school hours, were designed to engage stakeholders including School Governing Bodies (SGB), Senior Management Teams (SMT), Representative Councils of Learners (RCL), parents, and teachers. These sessions were aimed at resuscitating discussions on rights and responsibilities within school communities as well as promote the DBE’s RCL handbook which is a tool used to promote human rights and social cohesion within schools.  

Key themes addressed included the empowerment of pupils’ voices in school governance, the importance of fostering respect, addressing gender-based violence, and promoting wellbeing and health while addressing risky behaviours. Each stakeholder group contributed their perspectives to foster a rights-based, socially inclusive, and cohesive school environment.

The dialogues, which occurred exclusively in high schools, aimed to promote a culture of respect, protection, and promotion of human rights in education, equality, and freedom from discrimination and violence. By engaging all members of the school community, including pupils, parents, and teachers, the initiative sought to strengthen relationships and create a safe and supportive learning environment.

With high attendance and great engagement, the impact of the dialogues was profound. Pupils felt comfortable confronting the SMT and SGBs on issues of racism, unfair treatment and discrimination and insisted that these issues be addressed. They also requested that the sessions between all three stakeholders be held at least once a month to measure how the schools were creating environments that are human rights friendly.

Pupils emerged with a better understanding of their rights and their ability to claim them. The dialogues served as a crucial step towards fostering a culture of respect, inclusivity, and dignity within South African schools, leaving a lasting impression on the participants.

The dialogues took place as follows:

12 March 2024 – Witbank High School

14 March 2024 – Willowmoore High School

19 March 2024 – Silverton Hoërskool



President Cyril Ramaphosa must fulfil his commitment to uphold and safeguard the human rights of all living in South Africa with the same fervour demonstrated in advocating for the rights of the Palestinian people, Amnesty International South Africa said ahead of the president’s State of the Nation (SONA) address.

In his weekly newsletter on 30 January, following the International Court of Justice’s order on provisional measures in response to South Africa’s genocide case against Israel, President Ramaphosa spoke about the country’s “obligation to stand up for justice and fundamental human rights for all people, everywhere”.

“The president rightly emphasised the obligation of a nation that fought and defeated apartheid to advocate for justice and human rights globally. However, it is imperative that this commitment extends to addressing the pressing human rights issues within South Africa itself,” Amnesty International South Africa Executive Director Shenilla Mohamed said.

Read the full statement here.



The disproportionate response and intimidation tactics used by SA Police Service’s (SAPS) public order police (POP) during a peaceful protest outside Standard Bank headquarters in Johannesburg on Friday is intolerable, Amnesty International South Africa said.

Amnesty International South Africa attended a protest as human right observers outside the bank. The protest was held by environmental movement, Extinction Rebellion Gauteng. The group requested Amnesty International South Africa observe the protest following a disproportionate response by the police when demonstrating outside Standard Bank in the past. Extinction Rebellion has been protesting against what it calls Standard Bank’s “funding of climate crimes in Africa” and wants the bank to not fund new coal projects.

The group of seven Extinction Rebellion activists attempted to stage a sit-in in front of one of the parking entrances to Standard Bank, situated on a public road. However, before they could sit, SAPS members started being heavy handed.

Read the full statement here

In the first quarter of 2024, Amnesty International South Africa carried out  18 interviews on various topics.

On 7 February 2024, Amnesty International South Africa Executive Director Shenilla Mohamed spoke to Newzroom Afrika about expectations ahead of the 2024 State of the Nation address and the need to uphold human rights for all.

Watch the interview here.

On 8 March  2024, Amnesty International Southern Africa regional researcher on economic, social and cultural rights Mandipa Machacha spoke to Newzroom Afrika about governments of Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe who have failed to protect women participating in Informal Cross-Border Trade.

Watch the interview here.


On 21 March 2024, Amnesty International South Africa Campaigner Cassandra Dorasamy spoke to eNCA on national Human Rights Day about the importance of protecting human rights defenders and the need for legislation. 

Watch the interview here.


Southern Africa: Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe failing to protect the human rights of women working in informal, cross-border trade

The governments of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe have failed to protect women participating in Informal Cross-Border Trade (ICBT) from gender-based violence and economic exploitation, which has impeded the women’s ability to exercise their human rights in the context of decent work, Amnesty International said today in a new report.

The report, ‘Cross-border is our livelihood, it is our job’- Decent work as a human right for women cross border traders in southern Africa,details how women working in ICBT in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe frequently face physical assault, sexual harassment, and intimidation, which is often perpetrated by state officials, including border authorities. Women also face violence from non-state actors.

“The vulnerability of women in informal employment to diverse forms of abuse, combined with restricted access to justice, highlights a glaring gap in state protection. The lack of robust legal frameworks and effective enforcement mechanisms further amplifies the injustices experienced by women in the ICBT sector,” said Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.

Read the full statement here



Eswatini: One year after Thulani Maseko’s killing, justice remains elusive

Marking a year since the brutal killing of human rights defender and lawyer Thulani Maseko, who was shot dead by gunmen at his home in Luyengo, Vongai Chikwanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, said:

“One year has passed since the brutal killing of Thulani Maseko, yet justice remains elusive. The apparent lack of a prompt, thorough, impartial, independent, transparent and effective investigation into this heinous crime is deeply concerning. Maseko’s life was cut short, and his family and friends have been left without access to justice and effective remedies.

“The silence surrounding this case is deeply troubling, reflecting a broader pattern of impunity and disregard for human rights in Eswatini. Justice delayed is justice denied, and the failure to act only perpetuates a culture of impunity.”

Read full statement here


Africa: Barrage of discriminatory laws stoking hate against LGBTI persons

Last year witnessed a surge in discriminatory legislation directed against LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) persons across Africa, said Amnesty International.  

In a new briefing looking at 12 African countries, Amnesty International documents how legal systems were increasingly weaponized in 2023 to systematically target and discriminate against LGBTI individuals. This includes instances where laws were egregiously employed to persecute and marginalize members of the LGBTI community, highlighting a distressing trend of legal mechanisms being used as instruments of oppression.

Read the full statement here.


Zimbabwe: Cabinet’s move to abolish death penalty marks progress

Responding to a move by Zimbabwe’s cabinet to back abolition of the death penalty, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Khanyo Farisè, said:

“Zimbabwe has taken the right step towards ending this abhorrent and inhuman form of punishment that has no place in our world.

“Now that the cabinet has given its nod, Parliament must ensure the death penalty is truly abolished by voting to pass legislation that will make this a reality.”

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception because it violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Read the full statement here


Nigeria: ICC must not dash the hope of survivors of atrocities by the military

In response to the statement of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) following the conclusion of an official visit to Nigeria, Isa Sanusi, Director Amnesty International Nigeria said:

“Once again, the Office of the Prosecutor demonstrates its slow abandonment of victims and survivors of the conflict in northeast Nigeria. Instead of investigating the atrocities, the Office of the Prosecutor’s rare visits to Nigeria mainly consist in meeting with national authorities.

“10 years ago this month the Nigerian military slaughtered at least 640 men and boys after they fled the Giwa barracks in Maiduguri, Borno state, following a Boko Haram attack. This dreadful anniversary is now accompanied by a statement by the Office of the Prosecutor that victims must continue to wait for justice.”

Read the full statement here


Ghana: President Nana Akufo-Addo must not sign deeply discriminatory anti-LGBT law

Responding to the passing of the “Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2024” by Ghana’s parliament on February 28, Amnesty International’s Ghana Country Director, Genevieve Partington, said:

“The Parliament’s passage of this draconian bill is shocking and deeply disappointing, coming shortly after Ghana was elected to serve at the United Nations Human Rights Council. 

“The bill is one of the most draconian in Africa and seeks to further criminalize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. It also seeks to punish anyone who supports or advocates for LGBT people, including human rights defenders, medical professionals, journalists, teachers, and landlords in violation of the right to freedom of expression and association, with a prison term.”

Read the full statement here


Global: Governments’ adoption of unchecked technologies in social protection systems undermines rights 

Digital technologies including artificial intelligence, automation, and algorithmic decision-making are exacerbating inequalities in social protection systems across the world, said Amnesty International in a new briefing today.  

“From Serbia, to India, to the Netherlands, these technologies are hailed as cutting-edge solutions by governments to achieve a better distribution of resources, improve administrative systems, detect fraud, and enhance security. However, Amnesty International’s research has shown that the unchecked digitization of social protection systems poses many risks to human rights, and exacerbates inequalities,” said Imogen Richmond-Bishop, Technology & Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Researcher at Amnesty Tech.  

“In the face of multiple global crises caused by conflict, the climate emergency, and the Covid-19 pandemic, among others, robust social protection systems are more critical than ever to protect individuals and communities against income insecurity.” 

Social Protection in the Digital Age highlights the human rights risks posed by the unchecked use of digital technologies.  

Read the full statement here

Iran: Draconian campaign to enforce compulsory veiling laws through surveillance and mass car confiscations 

Iranian authorities are waging a large-scale campaign to enforce repressive compulsory veiling laws through widespread surveillance of women and girls in public spaces and mass police checks targeting women drivers, said Amnesty International ahead of International Women’s Day.

Tens of thousands of women have had their cars arbitrarily confiscated as punishment for defying Iran’s veiling laws. Others have been prosecuted and sentenced to flogging or prison terms or faced other penalties such as fines or being forced to attend “morality” classes. 

Testimonies from 46 individuals – 41 women, including a trans woman, one girl and four men – collected by Amnesty International in February 2024, coupled with a review of official documents including court verdicts and prosecution orders, indicate that a plethora of state agencies are involved in persecuting women and girls for simply exercising their rights to bodily autonomy and freedom of expression and belief. The organization has released excerpts of 20 of the testimonies ‎to provide a glimpse into the frightening daily reality faced by women and girls in Iran. 

Read the full statement here.


Russia: Prisoner of conscience Aleksei Navalny, Kremlin’s most vocal opponent, dies in custody

“Following his poisoning, unjust imprisonment and torture in prison, Aleksei Navalny has died after languishing for 37 months behind bars and being sent to one of Russia’s most remote and harshest prisons. Aleksei was a prisoner of conscience jailed only for speaking out against a repressive government” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

“He demanded political freedom for himself and his supporters. He called out corruption and challenged Putin. His death is a devastating and dire indictment of life under the oppressive and stifling rule of the Kremlin. He paid the ultimate price for being a critical voice, and championing freedom of expression. Amnesty International stands with all those fighting for human rights in and beyond Russia’s borders.

“Aleksei Navalny was denied health care, was kept for prolonged periods of time in solitary confinement and was forcibly disappeared when he was sent to one of the most remote penal colonies, near the Arctic Circle. The Russian authorities refused to properly investigate and provide transparency for previous allegations of violations of his human rights.”

Read full statement here

Anti-war Protest in Russia

People in Russia are not able to protest peacefully without fear of reprisals. A week into its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia introduced war censorship laws to make criticism the invasion a grave offence. Two years on, many people are serving lengthy prison sentences for peaceful anti-war dissent.

Read more about the campaign here



A leaked draft of Saudi Arabia’s first written penal code falls woefully short of universal human rights standards and exposes the hypocrisy behind Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s promises to position his government as progressive and inclusive, said Amnesty International in a new report launched today. Saudi Arabia’s authorities have not shared the draft penal code for consultation with independent civil society, but a number of Saudi Arabian legal experts have confirmed the authenticity of the leaked draft. 

The report, Manifesto for repressionanalyses the leaked draft code revealing how instead of improving the country’s abysmal human rights record as part of the Crown Prince’s reformist agenda, it contravenes international law and codifies existing repressive practices into written law. 

The draft code criminalises the rights to freedom of expression, thought and religion and fails to protect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. 

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UK: High Court adjournment of appeal leaves Julian Assange and all media workers in limbo  

Reacting to the UK High Court’s decision to adjourn Julian Assange’s permission to appeal his extradition to the United States, Simon Crowther, Legal Adviser at Amnesty International, said:

“The High Court’s decision today leaves in limbo Julian Assange and all defenders of press freedom — but the fight continues. The US lawyers now have a second opportunity to make diplomatic assurances which the court will consider in May. Instead of allowing this protracted legal process to continue, the US should drop all charges against Assange.

“The UK remains intent on extraditing Assange despite the grave risk that he will be subjected to torture or ill-treatment in the US. While the US has allegedly assured the UK that it will not violate Assange’s rights, we know from past cases that such ‘guarantees’ are deeply flawed — and the diplomatic assurances so far in the Assange case are riddled with loopholes.

Read the full statement here.



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Our members make change possible. They’re the people we call on whenever and wherever human rights are under attack. Their actions, big and small, put pressure on governments, institutions and decision-makers to do the right thing.