Amnesty International has issued a travel warning calling for possible travelers and visitors to the United States to exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the country due to the rampant gun violence.
“Travelers to the United States should remain cautious that the country does not adequately protect people’s right to be safe, regardless of who they might be. People in the United States cannot reasonably expect to be free from harm – a guarantee of not being shot is impossible. Once again, it is chillingly clear that the U.S. government is unwilling to ensure protection against gun violence” said Ernest Coverson, campaign manager for the End Gun Violence Campaign at Amnesty International USA.
The travel advisory addressed growing gun violence, mostly hate crimes, including racism and discrimination, highlighting that the traveler’s race, country of origin, ethnic background, sexual orientation or gender identity may place them at higher risk after recent attacks linked to white supremacist ideology.
The action called attention to the extent to which all aspects of life in the United States have been compromised in some way by unfettered access to guns, without comprehensive and uniform regulation of their acquisition and use. By prioritizing gun ownership over basic human rights, the U.S. government is willfully and systematically failing on multiple levels and ignoring its international obligations to protect people’s rights and safety.
Amnesty International has been calling for common sense reform regarding the use and possession of firearms, including comprehensive background checks, national regulations for registering and licensing firearms, required training, a ban on high capacity magazines/assault weapons, and mandatory safe-storage laws. Amnesty International USA’s campaign to end gun violence has focused efforts on passing S.42., the Assault Weapons ban, and the Disarm Hate Act.
Nigeria’s Presidency on Sunday August 4, accused Amnesty International of ‘promoting tweets that call for the overthrow of the Nigerian constitution’.
This came after the human rights group was allegedly placed on a security watch list and a subsequent protest by some ‘pro-government‘ protesters at its office in Abuja.
The Presidency in a tweet shared on its official handle, said it had no problem with Amnesty International but queries its motive in promoting tweets that call for the overthrow of the Nigerian constitution. Read the tweet below;
The Government of Nigeria has absolutely no difficulty with @amnesty , and no objections to the work that they do in line with their stated mandate. But does @AmnestyNigeria have any defence for their promotion of tweets that call for the overthrow of the Nigerian constitution?
The human rights group had in a statement released by its spokesperson Isa Sanusi on Saturday August 3, explained its aim and interest in Nigeria.
“Amnesty International is a human rights organization and not affiliated to any interests, political, religious or commercial. We have been working on Nigeria since 1967 our role is to hold governments to their obligations to respect and protect human rights, and to ensure that anyone whose rights are violated has an effective remedy.”
“For this reason, the organization continues to call on the Nigerian government to use its authority and resources to investigate all allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including of rape, torture, arbitrary detentions and unlawful killings, to ensure reparation for the victims, to hold the perpetrators accountable, and to ensure non-repetition of the violations.
“Despite sponsored protests, we will not stay silent. In the face of efforts to evade responsibility or to smear our organization, we will continue to raise our voices whenever and wherever we see injustice, sexual abuse, discrimination against women, or any other violations of human rights in Nigeria.”
Protesters have reportedly besieged the Amnesty International office in Abuja, demanding that the human rights group leave Nigeria just after they were allegedly placed on security watchlist by the Federal Government.
Isa Sanusi, a spokesperson for Amnesty International Nigeria confirmed the protest and also told Premium Times that the protesters appeared to be pro-government as they were angry with the group’s criticism of the Buhari-led administration.
Chanting denigrating songs, the protesters also held placards that were unsympathetic with Amnesty International.
We reported earlier that Amnesty International was placed on security watchlist by the Presidency ahead of a nationwide “revolution” protest scheduled for August 5 and promoted through #RevolutionNow. The human rights group was labeled anti-government for retweeting the notice of revolution which the Presidency claimed is aimed at overthrowing the constitution.
Bandits, cattle rustlers have been granted amnesty by governors in the north-west. This was disclosed by Aminu Masari, governor of Katsina state, who read a communiqué issued at the end of a one-day security and reconciliation meeting with security agents, vigilante, volunteer groups, herdsmen and farmers on Thursday in Katsina.
Over the past few months, many lives have been lost in clashes between farmers and herders in the region. The governors agreed that in pursuit of peace, bandits should drop their weapons and no herdsman should be attacked.
“As from today, no vigilante group member or volunteers should attack or kill any herdsman, as sacrifice must be made by both sides to ensure peace reign. Herdsmen and their families should be allowed to go about their normal businesses, attend markets and worship places without molestation provided they don’t carry arms.
“Those bandits who rustled animals from communities should immediately return them to the government or Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association. Bandits should surrender their weapons and immediately release all those kidnapped and now under their custody. We are happy that we have seen some releases of kidnapped victims from Zamfara and other states” the communiqué read.
Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara state who was in attendance, also added that the states would provide grazing reserve for the herders for them to settle in one place in the zone.
“We are concerned that herders are always roaming around with their animals thereby exposing themselves to different kinds of hazards. The governors took a uniform measure, you should also take a uniform decision not to rustle animals, kidnap or kill anyone. You should immediately release all people in your custody in order to show the world that you have truly repented” he said.
Amnesty Nigeria has been placed on security watch list by the Presidency ahead of the nationwide “revolution” protest scheduled for August 5 and promoted through #RevolutionNow.
The human rights group was labeled anti-government for retweeting the notice of revolution which the Presidency claimed is aimed at overthrowing the constitution. Amnesty Nigeria, a known critic of President Buhari’s administration has been quite vocal over the alleged injustice and trampling of human rights being witnessed in Nigeria especially in the last 4 years.
Confirming the group has been placed on security watch list, a government official told Punch;
“There is a hashtag calling for revolution. A revolution means to overthrow Nigeria’s constitution. Those behind the move have sent out messages that they will start the revolution on August 5.
“Amnesty International Nigeria Office retweeted that message. The issue with is not with the organisers really.
“Of course, the government has been having sleepless nights over consistent reports by Amnesty which have been projecting the government in a bad light.
“But for the organisation to get involved in national politics and retweet such a message is alarming.
“When a Presidency official asked them whether their Twitter handle was hacked, they deleted the tweet. The Presidency is watching Amnesty Nigeria because of this. “
Rights group, Amnesty International, has condemned the Federal Government’s decision to proscribe the Shi’ite group, Islamic Movement of Nigeria.
In a statement released today, AI described the proscription as an attempt to cover up the massacre of over 350 Shi’ites in Kaduna State in 2015 as well as the murder of several others in subsequent protests that occurred.
The statement read in part, “Amnesty International is concerned that Nigerian authorities are increasingly depriving members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria of freedom of religion and freedom of association.
“The proscription of IMN is a deliberate attempt to divert attention from crucial issues including; justice for the massacre of over 350 in Zaria in December 2015 as well many other IMN supporters killed by security agencies over the years.”
The rights group said many Shi’ites have been missing and the Nigerian authorities have not even bothered to address their plight.
It said the Buhari-led government blatantly refused to release the leader of the IMN, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, who was granted bail in 2016.
AI noted, “Many members of IMN have been missing since 2015; their families and relatives are yet to know their fate and their search for justice has been largely ignored by Nigerian authorities.
“Despite Federal High Court order of December 2016, Nigerian authorities have continued to keep Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky in unlawful detention and his bail application perpetually delayed, despite repeated concerns over deterioration of his health.
“The fact that authorities have not indicated any attempt to investigate and ensure justice in all incidences involving IMN clearly shows a government resolve to deprive them of their fundamental human rights.
“We insist that Nigerian authorities ensure justice in all cases involving all Nigerians, including IMN.”
The attention of the Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE has been drawn to recent claims by Amnesty International (AI) that troops’ abandonment of their deployment led to the killing of 60 civilians in Rann on 28 January 2018.
Undoubtedly, it is disheartening that the situation of Internally Displaced Persons( IDPs) who are already traumatized having been displaced from their ancestral homes by insurgency is being further aggravated by recent callous Boko Haram attack on the IDP community.
However, it is most unacceptable and unfair for AI to make such outlandish and unverified claims that troops abandoned their deployment a day before Boko Haram attack on the location, thereby exposing the IDPs to a deadly attack.
This claim is not only bereft of truth, but in its usual mannerism, another futile effort by AI to portray the Nigerian military as incapable,nas well as project the Nigerian government as not protective of her people in the eyes of the global community. It is therefore inevitable to address this misinformation being peddled and fed the public, from AI’s obviously uninformed report.
It must be clarified that contrary to insinuations by AI that troops abandoned their deployment a day before Boko Haram astorgous attack on Rann on 28 January 2019, Rann never actually came under any attack on the date claimed by AI.
Rather Rann experienced that unfortunate attack on 14 January 2018 and in that encounter, the troops proved their mettle and gallantry by neutralizing two suicide bombers and three Boko Haram foot soldiers, while several took to their heels with gun shot wounds. With the support of troops from the Muliti National Joint Task, who later joined in the battle, the insurgents were finally overpowered.
It is also crucial to mention here, as has been reported in an earlier press release, signed by Deputy Director Army Public Relations of Sector 1 that the Theatre Commander, Major General Benson Akinroluyo and the Commander Sector 1 Operation LAFIYA DOLE Brigadier General Bulama Biu wasted no time in swiftly responding to the development, as they immediately embarked on a long range patrol to Rann, as well as other adjoining communities within the area, during which they conducted battle damage assessment.
Contrary to AI’s claims, at no point of the assessment , was any report of the killing of 60 civilians made either by the civilians themselves, whom the Sector Commander interacted with or by the members of the Joint Task Force who were at hand during the assessment.
Again a Search and Rescue Operation that followed after the attack did not recover the said 60 bodies of killed civilians as AI would want members of the public to believe. The troops commenced a clearance operation in villages surrounding Rann and destroyed Boko Haram terrorists camps that were uncovered during the operation.
In one of such clearance operations on 30 January 2019, the troops encountered an ambush staged by the terrorists along Gamboru – Mafa road and gallantly fought through it, overpowering the insurgents.
Another issue in the controvertible AI report is the alleged attack on Rann on 28 January 2019, where as, there was no such attack. Rather, an alarm was raised by IDPs in Rann of the sudden withdrawal of Multinational Joint Task Force ( MNJTF) troops from the location, to which the authorities of Operation LAFIYA quickly responded, following which the Commander Sector 1 returned to Rann on Monday 29 January with reinforcement troops to beef-up and support the troops there.
The astronomical statistics of human casualty touted by AI and the alleged abdication of duty by our selfless and resilient troops cannot hold water in the face of facts of the several exemplary physical involvements of the Theatre Commander and the Commander Sector 1 as well as Commanders of 22 Brigade and 3 Battalion in ensuring normalcy returns to Rann and the reinforcement and replenishment of the troops.
Evidently, in its characteristic inclination to swiftly accuse the Nigerian military of wrong doing, AI failed again to conduct a validity check on its manufactured data before cooking its report.
No doubt, in battles, collateral damages are unfortunately incurred and troops in the front line are first victims to suffer such damages, up to the point of sacrificing their lives, as they are saddled with the duty to defend their country and the citizenry.
We are deeply touched by the demise of those who fell during the callous attack of Rann by Boko Haram terrorists. We are also empathic with humanitarian organizations as well as members of International and local NGOs who were affected by the attack.
It is indeed another reminder and clarion call on the international and local communities to support the Nigerian military to bring the dastardly and mindless acts of Boko terrorists to a decisive end.
We seize this opportunity to reiterate that our responsibility of defending our fatherland and protecting our people remain our pride and conscience no matter the amount of distraction and smear campaigns.
ONYEMA NWACHUKWU Colonel Deputy Director Public Relations Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE 2 February 2019
The Presidency has reacted to Amnesty International’s report on Nigeria, just after the Nigerian army on Monday morning accused Amnesty International of plotting to destabilise the country.
Amnesty International in its report titled “Harvest of Death: Three Years of Bloody Clashes Between Farmers and Herders”, revealed how government negligence has worsened the farmers, herders conflict which has caused over 3,000 deaths in the past three years.
In a statement released on behalf of the Presidency by Garba Shehu, President Buhari stated that the federal government is increasingly concerned about the role that Amnesty International is playing in the war against terror in Nigeria.
“While President Muhammadu Buhari cherishes and encourages the noble ideals on which institutions like Amnesty International are founded, the organisation’s operations in Nigeria seem geared towards damaging the morale of the Nigerian military.
“It often appears as if the Nigerian government is fighting two wars on terror: against Boko Haram and against Amnesty International.
“The obvious bias and inaccuracies in Amnesty International’s recent country reports on Nigeria risk Amnesty’s reputation as an impartial international organisation.
“President Buhari appeals to the leadership of Amnesty International to scrutinise its advocacy in Nigeria, especially as it relates to the war against terrorism” the statement read.
Amnesty International has accused the Nigerian government of being unwilling to deal with Boko Haram insurgents.
Amnesty International who accused the Nigerian government of failing to bring those responsible to justice, on Monday also called on the International Criminal Court to start a full-blown investigation into atrocities committed on the course of the war against the Boko Haram insurgency.
While ICC chief prosecutor, Fatma Bensouda in her latest annual report claimed that there appeared to be a “tangible prospect” of proceedings against Boko Haram members but not against troops “since the Nigerian authorities tend to deny any allegation”, Amnesty International suggested that the Nigerian authorities was keeping her “in limbo” by giving the impression of domestic action but in reality doing very little.
“Eight years since the opening of the preliminary examination and faced with the continuing commission of crimes under international law and the possibility of a never-ending preliminary analysis, it is time for the OTP (Office of the Prosecutor) to open a formal investigation in Nigeria,” it said.
According to Daily Post, Amnesty International said Nigeria had failed to meet its obligations under international law to investigate and prosecute crimes as part of the ICC’s preliminary examination.
“It is in the interests of both the OTP and Nigeria to demonstrate that serious steps are being taken to cure Nigeria’s inability or unwillingness to bring perpetrators to justice. Above all, it is in the interest of victims,” it said.