Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Torture

    September 20, 2017

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner for Amnesty International Canada.

    It may not have grabbed headlines but it was nonetheless long overdue good news from Mexico!

    The CNDH, the Mexican government’s human rights commission, issued an important public statement on September 10, calling for action by authorities to ensure justice for Angel Amílcar Colón, the indigenous Garifuna human rights defender who was tortured and unjustly imprisoned for 5 long years.

    In September 2014, our Secretary General Alex Neve visited Angel in jail and blogged about his grace, dignity and inspiring commitment to justice, despite the horrendous abuses he was suffering.

    Amnesty International named Angel a prisoner of conscience and began campaigning for his release with the legal team at Mexico’s Centro Prodh human rights centre.

    We were thrilled when our joint efforts successfully won Angel his freedom in October 2014.

    August 18, 2017

    By Aubrey Harris, Amnesty Canada's Coordinator for the Abolition of the Death Penalty. Follow Aubrey on Twitter @AmnestyCanadaDP

    The fact that torture occurred in Guantanamo Bay is not news. Not only did former president Barack Obama state it bluntly as “we tortured some people,” even former vice-president Dick Cheney implied it in his “dark side” quote justifying some forms of torture. International law, however, is explicit in it. The International Convention Against Torture makes clear that any statement extracted as the product of torture cannot be used except as proof that the torture occurred.

    Efforts to present the public perception of torture as “acceptable” exist not only in the tough-guy films of Clint Eastwood and Quentin Tarantino, but most explicitly in the propaganda film “Zero Dark Thirty.” For the first 25 minutes of the film, a man is portrayed being tortured by operatives at CIA black sites in order to obtain information to find Osama bin Laden.

    August 18, 2016

    International attention may have moved on, but the crisis in Burundi continues. In April 2015, President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term in office. This sparked largescale protests across the country, which were violently repressed by security forces. Several months later, bodies were being found on the streets the capital on an almost daily basis. Now the crackdown has become less isible, but the climate of fear remains. y May 2016, some 262,000 people had led the country. It’s not hard to see why.

    345 PEOPLE TORTURED
     
    345 cases of torture were reported in the first four months of 2016, according to the UN. Amnesty had already pointed out a rise in the use of torture against political opponents in 2015 in the report Burundi: Just Tell Me What to Confess to.

    474 PEOPLE KILLED

    Over 474 people were killed in the first year of the crisis, including 130 in December 2015 alone. Among them were 29 children and 77 police officers.

    36+ PEOPLE MISSING

    July 13, 2016

    It may seem like just one letter, just one petition signature, or just one day tabling at a farmer’s market. But when every signature, every conversation, and every  action are added together we accomplish extraordinary things we transform lives. And that’s just what we did through Amnesty's Stop Torture and My Body My Rights campaigns.

    Over the past two years we campaigned for Canada to join a key torture prevention treaty, we took action to support torture survivors in Mexico as they seek justice, and we called on countries around the world to end the secrecy in detention centres which allows torture to take place. We raised awareness of sexual and reproductive health rights issues, helped secure the release of women in El Salvador imprisoned for having pregnancy-related complications, and successfully helped to change laws on early and forced marriage in Burkina Faso.

    June 23, 2016
    Alex Neve, Amnesty International Canada's Secetary-General, documents the Mexico Defensoras Delegation's visit to Ottawa on the eve of the Three Amigos summit. They came with an urgent message for Prime Minister Trudeau, President Peña Nieto and President Obama: Don't sweep Mexico's grave human rights crisis under the carpet!    The Mexico Defensoras Delegation are: Claudia Medina Tamariz- Breaking the Silence about Sexual Torture, Rompiendo el Silencio Brenda Rangel Ortiz - Justice for the Disappeared, Desaparecidos Justicia CA Marta Sanchez - Mesoamerican Migrant Movement, Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano Pilar Arrese Alcaca - Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Centre, Centro Prodh   DAY 1
    April 13, 2016

    We're still celebrating the release of scores of prisoners of conscience in Myanmar, including student leader Phyoe Phyoe Aung, on April 8!

    And now we get to take a moment to reflect on how amazing March was for human rights – activists were released, unfair laws were changed, and people who committed serious human rights abuses were brought to justice. We’ve picked out 15 successes, wins and pieces of good news, and they were all made possible thanks to your support.

    >> For the latest good news stories, click here!

     

    October 27, 2015

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner with Amnesty International Canada

    There’s good news and bad news, as the old saying goes.

    The good news has names like Ángel Colón (left) and Claudia Medina (below right). Both of them were tortured by Mexican security forces to extract ‘confessions’ but ultimately released from that nightmare, the unjust charges against them dropped, after Amnesty supporters flooded authorities with messages of concern.

    There have been other promising developments since Amnesty issued a damning report in September 2014 entitled Out of Control: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Mexico.  

    September 18, 2015

    Tarek Tito's brother Mahmoud Hussein has spent over a year in an Egyptian jail, simply for wearing an anti-torture T-shirt. On the anniversary of Mahmoud's 600th day in jail, Tarek writes his younger brother a letter.

    My little Mahmoud, 600 days have passed and you are not yet home.

    I can no longer stand your absence.  The bitterness of separation disrupts our small family. Mother makes your bed every morning while she hides her tears from us, and Father stares at your face in the photos that now cover his room. It’s as if he is getting to know you all over again. We miss your laughter and await your freedom with every sunrise.

    The day I almost lost my mind

    You have been detained for more than 600 days for wearing a t-shirt that said “Nation without Torture”. That was our dream following the 25 January Revolution – the dream of a country that respects and honours the human body and protects it from torture.

    September 01, 2015

    The following statement was read by Monia Mazigh, Maher Arar's wife, as a press conference earlier today.

    I welcome today's announcement by the RCMP to lay criminal charges against Colonel George Salloum who was directly responsible for my torture while I was detained at the Palestinian Branch of the Syrian Military Intelligence.

    Since I launched my complaint in 2005, I gave the RCMP investigating team, during the many interviews I had with them, the information they needed to advance their investigation. This lengthy international investigation took the officers overseas to gather evidence. As a result, they were able to better understand the nature of interrogations in Syrian detention centers. Upon their return, the investigators were able to pass on their knowledge to other RCMP staff. 

    I believe this is vital for the RCMP to grasp given the increased urge to share information even with regimes who don't respect our understanding of basic human rights.

    September 01, 2015

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada

    One of the most unexpected and consequential phone calls I ever answered was back in September 2002.  A woman who introduced herself as Monia Mazigh was calling with a request for Amnesty International’s assistance.  Her husband Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, had disappeared in US custody while changing planes at JFK Airport in New York City on his way home from a family vacation in Tunisia. 

    Monia said to me, I do not know what accusations they are making against him.  All I demand is that they give him justice. 
     

    July 03, 2015

    By Moses Akatugba, Nigeria (30 June 2015).

    June 23, 2015
    Amnesty activists with torture survivor Angel Colon. Halifax, May 2015.
    One year ago, Amnesty International launched a global campaign to Stop Torture. And it’s working.

    We have shone a light on torture taking place in Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Uzbekistan. In each of these countries we have campaigned alongside families of torture survivors and NGO partners, and we have seen results. Here are a few of the highlights.

    Mexico

    October 15, 2014 – Mexico releases Honduran torture victim and prisoner of conscience, Ángel Amilcar Colón without charge after more than five years of pre-trial detention. 20,000 people signed petitions as part of an Amnesty International campaign calling for his release.

    February 10, 2015 – The last remaining charge was dropped against torture survivor Claudia Medina Tamariz. Over 300,000 people signed petitions as part of an Amnesty Internatioanl campaign calling for charges against her to be dropped.

    June 22, 2015

    By Louisa Anderson and Justine Ijeomah

    After 10 years in jail, and over 800,000 messages from activists around the world, Moses’ life has been spared. Here, we speak to Justine Ijeomah, Director of the Human Rights, Social Development and Environmental Foundation (HURSDEF) in Nigeria and long-time ally in the campaign for Moses’ freedom. He describes Moses’ journey from schoolboy to death row inmate, and how the 26-year-old torture survivor reacted when he found out his life had been spared.

    June 16, 2015

    By Sevag Kechichian, Saudi Arabia Researcher at Amnesty International

    Today, like many people around the world, I waited to find out if Raif Badawi would again be hauled out of his prison cell and mercilessly lashed another 50 times in a public square in Jeddah.

    The same suspense has gripped people for 23 weeks since the first time this act of cruelty was inflicted on the imprisoned blogger on 9 January this year. That day, a crowd of onlookers gathered in the square immediately after Friday prayers to witness this hateful spectacle.

    While flogging and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments are commonplace in Saudi Arabia, they are not necessarily carried out on Fridays and in public. There is often an air of secrecy even around the many beheadings and other executions in the country – which have seen a macabre spike since the beginning of this year.

    Amnesty International has campaigned for Raif’s release since his arrest in 2012. Since he was flogged, it joined more than a million activists, journalists and political leaders in calling for an end to the horror and for his immediate release.

    April 17, 2015

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    The tremendous news that three Mexican police officers have been criminally charged with torturing Adrián Vázquez in Tijuana in 2012 is a historic breakthrough; and a great day for justice.  It is obviously very welcome news for Adrián himself; and it can and must spur greater efforts across Mexico to ensure that those who have been responsible for the staggering crisis of torture the country has faced over the past decade are held accountable.

    Pages

    rights