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Freedom of Expression

    April 29, 2015

    In the lead up to World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, the parents of Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste, who was recently released from prison in Egypt, remain concerned about his colleagues Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy.

    As we proudly watched our son Peter Greste finally speak outside the Tora fortress that had been his prison for more than a year, addressing an audience filled with politicians and journalists at the National Press Club in Canberra, our pride couldn’t help be tinged by the knowledge this freedom couldn’t be shared by his Al Jazeera colleagues, Mohamed and Baher.

    These welcoming faces felt a long way from June 2014, when Peter, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, the ‘Al Jazeera three’ as they’d become known, were sentenced to between seven and 10 years in prison on charges of broadcasting false news and aiding the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. This nightmare had followed their arrest on the 29th of December, 2013, for simply doing their jobs and was without a doubt the lowest point in the campaign to have all three released.

    February 18, 2015
    By Levan Asatiani, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Ukraine @levan_asatiani 

    At least 77 people died as a result of clashes between police and protesters at Kyiv’s EuroMaydan roughly a year ago and another 1,000 were severely injured.

    These numbers may sound like dull statistics, but for me they were transformed into real individual stories of injustice as I attended launch of Amnesty International’s report: A year after EuroMaydan, justice delayed, justice denied in Kiev this morning. One of the most outspoken victims of police violence at EuroMaydan – Vladyslav Tsilytskiy – was present at the report launch.

    Fighting for justice

    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.

    Motivating them to come in the first place wasn’t that hard – I could see the energy and the anger in their faces. They were outraged at what was happening to Raif Badawi, and they wanted to act. Another reason to attend: standing beside me, upright, silent and proud, small in stature but great in spirit, was Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, who has taken refuge in Quebec along with their three children. Together, we our determined to reunite this family.

    January 09, 2015

    An eyewitness account of the flogging today of Raif Badawi an activist in Saudi Arabia sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up a website for public debate. The witness has not been named for security reasons.

    When the worshippers saw the police van outside the mosque, they knew someone would be flogged today.

    They gathered in a circle. Passers-by joined them and the crowd grew. But no one knew why the man brought forward was about to be punished. Is he a killer, they asked? A criminal? Does he not pray?

    October 01, 2014
    By Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International in Hong Kong.

    The streets of Hong Kong are hard to recognize these days. The exhilarating energy filling the city’s main roads, crowded with hopeful protesters, is something I have not seen since I was a young student back in 1989, when we took to the streets in solidarity with the Tiananmen protesters.

    But not even then had so many people taken to the streets in Hong Kong – nor had the police’s response been so brutal.

    What started as a student protest around a week ago has now taken over large parts of Hong Kong, with citizens claiming nothing but to be allowed to have a say on how their city is run, and by whom.

    July 11, 2014
    By Milena Buyum, Amnesty’s Turkey Campaigner

    On 2 June last year, Özge Ünlütezcan, a 24-year-old drama student, grabbed her phone to send out a series of tweets. Shortly after, she was stunned to be called into a police station where she was questioned and detained for 18 hours. She says when I call her that she was simply using her right to pass on information about the protests that had begun in Gezi Park some days earlier, and which were rapidly sweeping the country.

    She was not alone in her response. During that summer of protests, Turkey’s 10 million-plus Twitter users lit up the internet with millions of tweets detailing what was happening. So why are Özge and 28 other young people now facing up to three years in prison?

    June 06, 2014
    By Atila Roque, Director at Amnesty International Brazil

    Brazil is about to host the biggest football frenzy on the planet, where teams from around the world fight for the Cup every fan wants to hold.

    But as Messi, Neymar and Rooney come face to face, outside Brazil’s shiny new stadiums another more serious standoff is taking place – one in which the ‘rules’ are being openly flouted.

    Since June 2013, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in unprecedented numbers of cities and towns across Brazil demanding better public services, including transport, among other rights. Many of them complain that authorities are paying too much attention to FIFA’s demands and too little to the needs of their own people.

    The response of the authorities has been nothing short of disgraceful.

    Military police units sent to keep the protests “under control” have not hesitated for a second before shooting tear gas at peaceful protesters – in one case even inside a hospital. They have fired rubber bullets and beat men and women with batons despite them posing no threat.

    June 04, 2014

    Originally published by Amnesty International UK

    It is our duty to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen protests and crackdown, as Amnesty and as ordinary people outside china. We should do it because we can.

    The opening phrase of a book, The Drowned and the Saved by Primo Levi, an Italian Jewish chemist and writer who survived the holocaust, has always stuck with me; it quotes a letter from a Nazi soldier who said that the victims of the holocaust would not get to write the history of the holocaust, because they would not exist. History belongs to the victor.

    In a recent poll of students in China, only 1 in 10 was able to identify an image which, for the rest of the world, is iconic. There are few global events with which an image is as entrenched as the Tiananmen protests is with ‘Tank Man’.

    May 03, 2013

    Governments and other organizations across the world are perfecting techniques to prevent journalists from shining a light on corruption and human rights abuses. From trumped-up charges, removing work licences to murder, here are 10 ways journalists are repressed and prevented from reporting freely and fairly.

    Physical attacks

    In some countries such as Syria, Turkmenistan and Somalia, governments, military forces and armed groups attack and even kill journalists who are seen to be critical of their policies and practices.

    Take Action Online Stop the targeting of journalists in the Syrian conflict!

    Read Amnesty's report Shooting the Messenger: Journalists targeted in Syria

    December 06, 2012
    Demonstrators and security forces outside the presidential palace ©Amnesty International

    From the Amnesty International Egypt team.

    When he took office just a few months ago Mohamed Morsi promised to be the president of all Egyptians.

    But hopes that he would take steps to resolve the current situation and give up the wide-ranging powers that triggered this latest crisis have been dashed after a bitter and bloody night of clashes between the president’s opponents and supporters.

    The clashes followed an attack by the president’s supporters – believed to be largely made up of members of the Muslim Brotherhood – on a sit-in staged by his opponents outside the Presidential Palace in Heliopolis.

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