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January 23, 2015
Raif Badawi's wife Ensaf Heider joins a rally in Montreal
The injustice facing one man in Saudi Arabia has brought into focus the harrowing human-rights reality that Canada routinely overlooks in its relationship with the kingdom. As concern increases for blogger Raif Badawi, who is scheduled to receive a public flogging later this week, his case exposes the lengths to which Canada and other governments go to overlook Saudi Arabia’s disgraceful rights record. It is time for a new approach.
January 28, 2015

By Francesca Pizzutelli, Refugees and Migrants’ Rights Researcher/Advisor at Amnesty International
From the plane, the change of seasons is evident: what three months ago was a large expanse of arid, dusty yellow land, now is dark brown and punctuated by moist green patches. After a first visit in September, my colleague Khairun and I are back in Iraqi Kurdistan (officially known as Kurdistan Region of Iraq, or KRI) to assess the human rights situation of Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqis alike.
January 25, 2015
By Tarek Chatila, Montreal-area activist and writer for Amnesty Canada’s Isr/OT/PA co-group
“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” wrote French critic Alphonse Karr in 1849. Turbulent change, he observed, has a counterproductive tendency to reinforce the status quo.
A truism which precisely reflects the state of human rights in Egypt today.
January 25, 2015
By Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Program
The streets are empty. The prisons are full. The fourth anniversary of Egypt’s “25 January Revolution” is passing largely in silence, with many of the young activists who led it now firmly behind bars.

For many women in Egypt, this Sunday will bring back particularly bitter memories – of a brief moment when it seemed that a better future was finally within reach.
January 23, 2015
 By Sevag Kechichian, Researcher on Saudi Arabia at Amnesty International.
The death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has, once again, focused international attention to the oil-rich Middle Eastern country’s human rights record.
“What will be King Abdullah’s legacy?” everybody seems to be asking.
The answer is not simple.  
Since taking the throne in 2005, King Abdullah initiated some positive reforms.
January 23, 2015
Raif Badawi is sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up a website in Saudi Arabia.

Amnesty International spoke with another local blogger – who has to remain anonymous for their own safety – about different tactics the authorities use to silence people online.
 

1. Gagging anyone with an independent opinion
"Overall, the situation in Saudi Arabia is very bad, particularly from the point of view of people with independent opinions who go against the grain. Recently, there have been investigations, arrests and short-term detentions of journalists, athletes, poets, bloggers, activists and tweeters."
 
January 22, 2015
By: Alex Neve Published on Wed Jan 21 2015, originally published in the Toronto Star
There are many reasons to lament Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to cancel next month’s scheduled Three Amigos Summit with U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. At the top of the list is the missed opportunity to push for effective solutions to Mexico’s acute human rights crisis.
Posted in Mexico
January 21, 2015
Recently, the Salvadoran authorities refused to pardon Guadalupe, a young woman currently serving a 30-year jail sentence after suffering a miscarriage. One of her chief advocates is Morena Herrera. Here, the ex-freedom fighter, staunch feminist and sexual and reproductive rights campaigner tells us why El Salvador’s abortion ban needs to go.
“I was a guerrilla fighter. I was an activist for social change since I was young,” says Morena Herrera. When the civil war ended in 1992 and the Peace Accords were signed, she knew that the fight was far from over.
January 19, 2015
Guest writer: Verity Stevenson, in a special to the Globe and Mail
 










Ensaf Haidar stood beside the kitchen table, urging her three children to eat. Newspapers featuring her husband’s face on the front were spread in the spaces between three pizza boxes, and a banner covering most of the wall showed him as well, with several dozen signatures of those who attended a #FreeRaif vigil in Montreal.
 
January 17, 2015
Béatrice Vaugrante, Director General of Amnistie Internationale Canada francophone, gives a snapshot of some of the widespread global campaigning for Raif Badawi. Raif has been sentenced to ten years and 1,000 lashes after starting a website for public debate in Saudi Arabia.
When the vigil in Montreal ended, we were all frozen to the bone. It was a gorgeous day, but to motivate activists and supporters to stay outdoors for over an hour in -20 degree temperatures, you have to be creative.
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