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

Main menu

Facebook Share

StopTorture

    September 25, 2017

    The new Ministerial Directions announced today by the Minister of Public Safety to avoid complicity of Canadian law enforcement and intelligence authorities in torture and other mistreatment by foreign entities are a significant improvement on the previous Directives issued in 2011. However, loopholes and lack of clarity in some areas may still leave the door open to complicity in abuses and the tacit promotion of torture at the hands of foreign officials, warns Amnesty International Canada. 

    “The revised Ministerial Directions are a welcome advance on earlier versions which had taken a reckless and unlawful approach to Canada’s international obligation to prohibit and criminalize torture and had been criticized by the UN Committee against Torture.  In particular, it is welcome news that Canada will no longer share with or request information from other states if that gives rise to a substantial risk of torture,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.  

    April 04, 2017

    Governments around the world go through many efforts to cover a veil of secrecy upon their cruel practices of torture. Ammar al Baluchi's story shows the ways in which the US has tried to cover their brutal, extensive use of torture.

     

    Ammar al Baluchi faces charges, including the death penalty, for an alleged role in the 9/11 attacks.

    In April 2003, Ammar was abducted and taken into US custody in Pakistan. For the next three years, the CIA subjected him to enforced disappearance, moving him to different CIA-operated "black sites". Throughout this time, Ammar was brutally tortured by CIA authorities as part of their interrogation program. Acts of torture that he was forced to endure include: water torture similar to water boarding; continuous high volume music; extreme sleep deprivation; forced nudity, and beatings that have resulted in a painful traumatic brain injury.

     

    March 20, 2017

    Late in the day on Friday, March 17, we received the wonderful news that there has at very, very long last been settlement reached between Abdullah Almalki / Ahmad Elmaati / Muayyed Nureddin and the federal government with respect to Canada’s responsibility for the torture and other serious human rights violations the three men went through in Syria (and also Egypt in Ahmad’s case) between 2001 and 2004.  It would be an understatement to say this is overdue.  It would not be an overstatement to say this is an enormously welcome relief for the men and their families.  Above all else I pay tribute to them – and their families – for their courage and determination in not giving up in their crucial pursuit of justice and redress.

    March 20, 2017

    *By: Alex Neve, secretary-general of Amnesty International Canada’s English branch, and Béatrice Vaugrante, director-general of Amnesty International Canada’s Francophone branch

    Progress in ending the brutal worldwide scourge of torture requires ensuring accountability for this terrible crime. Torturers and those who aid and authorize torture must face justice. Survivors of torture and the families of men and women who suffer and, sadly, often die under torture must receive redress for what they have endured.

    So obvious. But so universally neglected.

    That is why the welcome news that Canadian citizens Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin are receiving a long-overdue apology and compensation for the many ways that Canadian action and inaction set them up to be tortured in Syria (and also Egypt in Mr. El Maati’s case) is an important step in the right direction.

    March 17, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the announcement that settlement has been reached and the federal government will provide Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin with compensation, including an official apology, for Canada’s role in the grave human rights violations, including torture, that the three men experienced in Syria, and also Egypt in Mr. Abou-Elmaati’s case, between 2001 and 2004. The organization pays tribute to the three men and their families for all that they have endured.

    March 01, 2017

    Panel discussion at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 3 March

    Governments must close loopholes in international trade law that allow the sale and export of equipment used to torture detainees, Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation will urge at a panel event at the UN Human Rights Council on 3 March.

    Every year law enforcement officials in many countries around the world use abusive equipment – such as electric shock devices, spiked batons, and leg irons – to subject detainees to torture and other forms of ill-treatment. In addition, equipment with a legitimate law enforcement use, like ordinary handcuffs, tear gas or Tasers, are routinely and systematically abused.

    “After years of campaigning by Amnesty International and Omega, the European Union did the right thing by introducing robust restrictions on the sale, brokering and promotion of tools of torture,” said Patrick Wilcken, Researcher on Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International.

    December 08, 2016

    The Sri Lankan authorities must take decisive action to stop torture and other ill-treatment, investigate complaints, and hold perpetrators accountable, Amnesty International said today following the publication of the concluding observations by the UN Committee against Torture on Sri Lanka.

    “If the Sri Lankan authorities are serious about breaking with the harrowing legacy of the country’s decades-long conflict, it must end impunity for torture and other acts of ill-treatment,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    “Sri Lanka has taken important and positive steps. However, we also share the UN Committee against Torture’s alarm over Sri Lanka’s failure to prevent these crimes by the security forces and their concern that torture and other ill-treatment continue to take place. Impunity persists for perpetrators, as well as for those who have committed enforced disappearances, and deaths in custody and the use of coerced confessions continue to be reported.”

    Lingering shadow of the conflict

    December 04, 2016

    Released 21:01 GMT 4 December 2016

    Under the military’s dominance, the Pacific island nation of Fiji has seen an ingrained culture of torture take root among its security forces, a new Amnesty International report says today.

    Famed for white-sand beaches and sweeping views of turquoise water, Fiji is known as a holiday destination. But over a decade since the 2006 coup, the military remains in control of key institutions, including the police, with a militarization of the justice system that allows torture and other ill-treatment to go unpunished.

    The new Amnesty International report, Beating Justice: How Fiji’s Security Forces Get Away with Torture details how uniformed officials on Fiji’s islands have inflicted severe beatings, rape and other sexual violence, attacks by police dogs, shootings and other forms of torture and ill-treatment or punishment in violation international law.

    May 03, 2016

    by Alex Neve 
    Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    How is it that a government minister beat us to a perfect campaign slogan! 

    “The Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture will not be optional anymore for Canada.”  

    It has always been an unwieldy name for a United Nations treaty that deals with something so incredibly important: preventing torture around the world. How fitting and powerful therefore to hear Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion use those very words to make it clear that Canada is now going to get on board and join the Optional Protocol. His tremendous announcement, at an Amnesty International parliamentary reception co-hosted by 10 Members of Parliament and Senators, elicited immediate and sustained applause.

    December 14, 2015

    Today marks five years since Spain forcibly returned Ali Aarrass, a Belgian-Moroccan national, to Morocco, breaching its international human rights obligations.

    Upon his arrival in Morocco, Ali Aarrass said he was held incommunicado and tortured for 12 days in a secret detention centre in Témara near the capital, Rabat. He is now serving a 12-year prison term for participating in and procuring arms for a criminal group after an unfair trial, based on a “confession” obtained under torture. In September 2012, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture visited him in prison and detected signs of torture compatible with his testimony.

    Although the Moroccan authorities announced in May 2014 that they were opening an investigation into Ali Aarrass’ torture allegations, his lawyers recently revealed that the investigation had been closed. They said they had not been informed that any witnesses were questioned or any locations identified were searched, and have yet to receive the medical report of the examination he undertook a year ago.

    November 06, 2015

     

    By Stephanie Tran – Youth Intern, Amnesty International

     

    Over 30 000. That’s the number of cards of solidarity written for Raif Badawi with urgent calls for his freedom. Written by supporters from around the world, sentiments of solidarity came from around 20 countries altogether. Along with Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi’s wife, we brought 17 boxes filled with these cards to the Saudi Arabian Embassy. They refused to accept any of them.

    “What does the Saudi Embassy fear by refusing them?,” asked Director General of Amnesty Canada’s Francophone Branch, Beatrice Vaugrante. “It is disappointing but it will in no way lessen our determination to campaign for Raif.”

    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.

    June 24, 2015

    Yecenia Armenta Graciano has spent almost three years in prison, while the men who brutally tortured her remain free.

    Her nightmare began in 2012, while she was driving relatives to the Culiacán airport in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa. Plain-clothed state policemen pulled her car over, forced her out, blindfolded her and drove her away. They subjected her to near asphyxiation with a plastic bag over her head, poured water over a cloth covering her mouth to simulate drowning, hung her upside down naked, and raped her. “I wanted them to just give me a bullet to the head so that it would all stop”, she says.

    After almost 15 hours of torture, the police officers threatened to bring in Yecenia’s children to rape and kill them. It was at that moment that Yecenia succumbed to their demands to sign a confession to involvement in the murder of her husband, all while still blindfolded.

    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 18, 2015
    In 2012, Dave, a young bakery worker in the Philippines, was arrested, accused o

    In 2012, Dave Enriquez, a young bakery worker in the Philippines, was arrested and accused of stealing two roosters. In the police station, Dave, who suffers from intellectual disabilities, wasn’t allowed to contact his lawyer or family. Instead, four policemen beat Dave with a wooden paddle, pounded his fingers with a stapler and banged his head against the metal gate of his cell.

    Dave has been since been released, however, a complaint filed against the police, with support from the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, was dismissed by the prosecutor’s office. No one has been held responsible.

    In recent years reports of torture have risen dramatically in the Philippines, but to date not one torture survivor has obtained justice. The few victims who do manage to initiate proceedings against their torturers find themselves confronted with a dauntingly complex criminal and administrative complaints system.

    Pages

    Subscribe to StopTorture
    rights